Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More Than Meets The Eye Part 1

On September 17, 1984, The Transformers animated series premiered and a fandom was born that is still going strong 30 years later. True, the comic predates this by 4 months, but this cartoon is what hooked me and millions of other little kids. Sure it's crudely animated, and the theme song is overly simplistic, but it's vehicles that transform into robots!!! C'mon! Who couldn't resist that?!? So let's take a look at this seminal first episode and see what the big deal was all about.

Warning: This post is super long...

The narrator literally gives us the history of the Transformers in less than a minute. Coming from Cybertron, the Decepticons were bent on total domination against the peace loving Autobots. There you go, bad guys & good guys set up right from the beginning. And the war had robbed Cybertron of all its resources.

And the first Transformer we see is Wheeljack!

And the second Transformer we see is Bumblebee! They're busy gathering those glowing rods for energy. On a side note, is it just coincidence that the next 2 Masterpiece figures lined up are Wheeljack and Bumblebee?

Wheeljack transforms into his Cybertronian mode, this funky, floating minivan like vehicle, and they make their way back to Iacon, the Autobot city.

But things never go smoothly as they're attacked by the seeker gang of Skywarp, Starscream, & Thundercracker.

Uh, Wheeljack, you wanna transform and help your little buddy out instead of just providing cover for him?

Remember those 3 classic Decepticons I mentioned before? Well who the hell are these guys?!? Animation errors, ah the 80's...

Anyway, the guy with the flamethrower can literally shoot a ring of fire.

And now Bumblebee transforms to his Cybertronian mode. Never mind that these guys already look like cars in robot mode.

They literally ram their way out.

And now it's time for the seekers to transform.

Hmmm, these jets leave something to be desired.

They're right after Bumblebee and Wheeljack.

And Bumblebee gets hit! These vehicles seem to be hovering, yet they have wheels. A 9-year old questions these kinds of things.

But they manage to get away.

Except Soundwave is spying on them. Hold up. Soundwave's Cybertronian mode is a freaking lamppost?!?

Anyway, Soundwave sends Laserbeak who looks completely alien and different to spy on the Autobots. And the Autobots really need to stop installing windows at the top of their base.

First appearances of Prowl, Optimus Prime, & Trailbreaker!

And now Jazz makes his first appearance as the Autobots discuss a mission to search for energy since Cybertron is practically barren.

First appearance of Megatron! Wow, look at that quality drawing.

When Megatron hears of the Autobot's plans from Soundwave, his plan is to pursue them.

First appearance of Shockwave!

Megatron leaves Shockwave in charge of Cybertron while he's gone.

Starscream meanwhile goes on about how the Autobots would have been defeated if he was in charge, right to Megatron's face! Established Starscream's ambition and weaselly nature right here.

The Autobots take off in the Ark.

And the Decepticons follow.

Prowl just detected an asteroid, and then another one showed up, and then they hit each other right in front of the Ark. The Autobots need to invest in some better long range sensors.

And now the Ark is traveling through a field of asteroids.

Which rocks the ship.

And Ironhide is the only one that gets hurt and starts leaking. Wimp...

Apparently there are no seatbelts on this ship cause Jazz gets knocked out of his seat. This is something you literally have to watch yourself. I cannot stop laughing at this.

Anyway, the Autobots fire a laser that cuts through the asteroids.

Starscream wants to blow them away, while Megatron wants to know what the Autobots are after. Guess who wins.

The Decepticons board the Ark, and Optimus orders everyone to fight.

Everybody gang up on Soundwave!

Ironhide tags in and dropkicks Soundwave from behind!

Soundwave goes for a body slam on Ratchet! There certainly are a lot of wrestling moves here.

Oh, Optimus and Megatron. You two will be fighting like this for eons.

The Ark loses control.

And crash lands on Earth. They made it all the way to Earth?!? How freaking close is Cybertron?!?

Pretty much self explanatory.

Look at the carnage. This is almost as devastating as Transformers: The Movie.

A volcanic explosion wakes up Teletran 1, the Ark's computer, and it sends out a drone.

And what does that drone do?

It freaking repairs Skywarp first. WHAT THE HELL. Go home Teletran, you're drunk.

And Skywarp gets Megatron repaired.

And all the other Decepticons get repaired as well. Thanks a lot Teletran...

Starscream says goodbye to the Autobots.

But the shot reactivates Teletran who sends his drone out again, and this time he gets it right. Thanks Starscream!

And Optimus is alive again, and his first words on Earth? THANKS!

Megatron puts Soundwave in charge of building a new space cruiser, and puts Starscream in charge of building their new base.

And Soundwave lends him Rumble to help out.

Meanwhile, Optimus sends Hound and Cliffjumper on a scouting mission to find the Decepticons (that Teletran repaired, ahem)

Hound and Cliffjumper found them pretty quick.

And the Decepticons got some serious work done on their base.

Where the hell did Cliffjumper get that huge ass gun?!?

Well, Cliffjumper missed, and now they're on the run from Laserbeak.

Meanwhile, Reflector is not just a camera.

He's a freaking Polaroid and prints out a photo!

These construction workers arrive to find a site decimated by Decepticons.

And Ravage attacks them!

Optimus orders Jazz to put together a battle unit to go after the Decepticons.

And here's where we get a listing of Transformers and their names. So that us kids could beg our parents on which one to get. Here's Cliffjumper and Prowl.

Trailbreaker and Mirage.

Wheeljack. Seriously, who the hell stands like that?!?

Ratchet and Sunstreaker.

And Sideswipe.

The Decepticons decide to attack an oil rig with these construction workers on it. It's Spike and Sparkplug!

The humans decide to fight back, and Megatron picks up this giant steel beam. This cannot end well for the humans.

Rumble takes on the humans directly. No wonder Rumble's always in a pissy mood. He's probably got a Napoleon Complex.

Soundwave makes energon cubes.

The Autobots fly in to help. Hold up, the Autobots can FLY?!?

Megatron transforms to fight off the Autobots.

Autobots attack!

See, told you you'd be fighting again for eons.

Rumble vs. Wheeljack.

Starscream vs Ironhide going the Donatello route.

Megatron vs Optimus with an assist from Laserbeak.

The Decepticons get away!

But not before Megatron sinks the oil rig.

Megatron en fuego.

Autobots treading water. Wait a minute, can't you guys fly?!?

And of course Spike and Sparkplug are trapped, and Optimus is trying to get them out.

And that's where Part 1 of More Than Meets The Eye ended.

You know when I look back on this episode, and the series in general, it really doesn't hold up well. The animation is sloppy, the plots are simplistic, and the voice acting is sometimes cringe worthy. But I can't help but see this series through my 9-year old self with a heavy dose of nostalgia. I know many people who would watch this now and think it was crap. But I remember it so fondly, it doesn't matter how crappy it is. It was part of my childhood. Part of what made my childhood happy. And definitely part of what makes me the nerd I am today. So Happy 30th Birthday Transformers! You still rock!

1 comment:

  1. It's cheesy, but it has charm! The first episode did an incredibly effective job in setting up the foundations for everything to come in just 22 minutes. The theme song, the basic story, the characterizations, the gimmicks and link to the toys... It's perfect in my mind.