Today’s review is one of the first of the many Transformers series that were created in Japan. You would think that given the country’s history with Giant Robots and that the series was originally the product of combining several toy franchises together that they would know exactly how to tell the perfect Transformers story. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all and the series in question is a perfect example of just how poorly the Japanese Transformers series are in their storytelling and presentation.
In the long war between the Decepticons and Autobots, a new groups has been drawn into the conflict. They are called Minicons and by combining with either Decepticons or Autobots infuse them with incredible powers. Escaping the conflict by coming to Earth million of years ago, hibernating in small devices, the Minicons are awakened by a trio of humans named Rad, Carlos, and Alexis. They soon discover that reviving the Minicons has gotten the attention of both the Autobots and Decepticons who come to earth to gather the Minicons. Wishing to help the Minicons, the trio teams up with the Autobots who are fighting to protect the universe.
I should probably start with the good points of this series before I rain down the negative points that plague it. First off I like that this show brought back Unicron as the ultimate obstacle of the series. This time thought he is mostly silent and unable to be communicated with. Also, the series does have Alexis who I stated in my Top 10 Transformer Human Companions as one of the best human companions in the history of the franchise and her bonding relationship with Starscream really is interesting to watch.
Now, let the crap storm begin. The series takes some of the best story lines in the entire history of the Transformers Franchise and executes them so poorly that the entire show is mediocre at best. Story lines including Wheeljack becoming evil, Starscream becoming good, and the introduction of a third race of Transformers caught between the two factions are handled with little to no severity that they range from average to incredible boring. This makes the series a chore to get through instead of the constant thrill ride that it should be using such unique and original plot threads.
This show also has several voice acting errors. The number of times that a character calls another character a different name occurs so much that a viewer could easily make a drinking game out of it. Don’t believe me? Just pay attention to the fact that Carlos calls his Minicon partner Grindor by the name of Alexis` partner Sureshot more than once.
Also despite all my efforts to talk about something enjoyable in this series, there still is the biggest problem that makes the series so untouchable. I speak of course of FRED: The worse human companion EVER!!! Fred`s whole gimmick is that he’s the fat kid and he likes to eat. THAT`S IT! He doesn’t have a special bond with a particular Transformer, he doesn’t have a special skill that helps him to help the team, and has like one moment in an entire series where he is useful but then we have the rest of the show where he`s whiny and complaining. I hate Fred so much.
Since this is the first Japanese Transformers I am reviewing I should probably take the time to talk about my theory with a lot of the adaptations of Western series and why they aren’t as successful as we would they they would be. Western properties such as Iron Man or Wolverine should have been incredible when they finally came to the realm of anime but they were less than essential viewing to say the least. Instead they suffered from what I like to call, Adaptation Over Protection. Basically its the idea that the the creative team is so worried about doing anything too extreme with the characters to not offend the fans that they don’t tell a proper story and the show overall feels bland and unnecessary as an entry to franchise. With Armada for example they are so afraid of telling a good story with the good drama with the characters that the show isn’t able to achieve the emotion that they were hoping for. I mean both Optimus Prime and Smokescreen die but are back so quick that we don’t feel the impact of their temporary passing. I’ll be mentioning my Adaptation Over Protection Theory in future posts on this blog.
So there it is. The first of my Japanese Transformer series reviews. Now not all the shows are this bad but there are plenty more that are actually worse then this. Armada has a lot of potential and wasted it. Wasted potential is always hard to see.
One thought on “Transformers Armada”
I enjoyed reading this post, thanks. Armada is far from the only TF show with annoying human companions but it is probably the only that (for me at least) is made truly unwatchable by the annoyingness of the kids in it. Which is a shame, because like you say there are some good ideas and as a big Starscream fan I’m interested by his plot here, I just can’t deal with Fred..