May 17, 2024

DABNEY COLEMAN DEAD AT 92

 


You can read the full story here.


He voiced Horace Scope in an episode of The Magic School Bus, played Principal Peter Prickly in the Recess franchise, and played the mayor in several episodes of Pound Puppies (2010).






May 12, 2024

ROGER CORMAN DEAD AT 98

 


You can read the full story here.


Known as “King of the Bs”, he was notable for making independent films on a small budget that wound up becoming cult classics and giving many established actors their big breaks. His 1960 horror comedy film, The Little Shop of Horrors, was adapted in the 1991 animated series Little Shop on which Corman served as a consultant.

May 04, 2024

TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED

 

TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED
(Cartoon Network, December 26, 2007-May 23, 2009)
 
Cartoon Network Studios, Hasbro Entertainment

 

 

MAIN CAST:

 

For the history of Transformers, check out this post here.

 

            While Hasbro was in a transitional period with their business concerns, their new CEO, Brian Goldner, decided it was time to take Transformers “back to basics” after the Beast-era—which replaced the vehicle-themed transformations of the line with ones based on animals and insects—ran its course. Hasbro had imported the Japanese-exclusive anime Transformers: Robots in Disguise and its toyline to fill the gap between projects while they worked with their Japanese counterpart Takara Tomy on their first coproduction in the franchise’s history.



                Dubbed the “Unicron Trilogy” due to the planet-sized Transformer Unicron being central to the story, the series Armada, Energon and Cybertron were a completely new continuity at the behest of Hasbro (they were originally intended to be set in the Generation 1 continuity). It was notable for introducing a new faction of Transformers called Mini-Cons; roughly human-sized robots bursting with energy that could impart a portion of that power to their larger Cybertronian cousins, granting them extra abilities or increasing their strength through a process known as Powerlinxing. Each series ran for over 50 episodes, airing between 2002-2005. Despite being produced in Japan, an English dub of Armada was rushed out to air first on Cartoon Network’s Toonami programming block before episodes were properly finished; leaving the dubbed episodes riddled with technical errors that were fixed by the time they aired in Japan.

Character designs by Derrick J. Wyatt.


            Returning production to America, Hasbro partnered with Cartoon Network for their next animated project. Originally entering development as Transformers: Hero, executive producer Sam Register began formulating the concept and story ideas for the series with Ford Gilmore, and Sean Galloway and Yoshihiro Watanabe provided some early concept art. Marty Isenberg was brought on board as the story editor and made adjustments to Gilmore’s work; particularly when it came to the setting and character personalities. Derrick J. Wyatt was hired as the series’ lead character designer and art director, and the emphasis was on stylization to make it appear different than anything that had come before. However, the production worked closely with Hasbro and Takara Tomy toy designers to ensure those designs could be translated into action figures. Register also brought on Matt Youngberg as a director and supervising producer.

Our heroes: Bulkhead, Ratchet, Optimus Prime, Prowl and Bumblebee.


            A choice was made to set the series long after the conclusion of the Great War for Cybertron; with the Autobots having won against the Decepticons, who were now exiled from the planet Cybertron. The central characters were five Autobots who, rather than being the best warriors, were instead a lowly repair crew sent to fix the Space Bridges that allowed Cybertronians to instantaneously transport from one planet to another. They were led by the young and inexperienced academy washout Optimus Prime (David Kaye, who actually auditioned to reprise the role of Megatron from previous series), with a desire to become a hero. This marked the first time that “Prime” was used as a standard rank designation rather than a title bestowed to the leader of all Autobots and the holder of the Matrix of Leadership; that rank instead being “Magnus” and belonging to the Supreme Commander. Optimus’ alt mode was initially a half-tack truck resembling a Mitsubishi Fuso Hybrid concept truck, but on Earth became a firetruck cab that could tow a variety of trailers. His team included impulsive loudmouth Bumblebee (Bumper Robinson), who transformed into a sub-compact car; gentle giant Bulkhead (Bill Fagerbakke), whose brute tendencies tended to hide his more insightful nature and who transformed into a 6-wheeled armored military truck; cranky medic Ratchet (Corey Burton), suffering from PTSD from his time in the Great War that could become an ambulance (with flashbacks to his original alt mode as a quad-treaded van-like vehicle); and clever ninja Prowl (Jeff Bennett), who found himself stuck with a team he had no use for and could become a sleek police motorcycle. Although a character named Bulkhead appeared in Energon, this Bulkhead was an all-new character and the first designed by Wyatt. Wyatt used him to set the style tone for the other characters since he felt it would help him avoid nostalgia dictating the designs of established characters as he was a life-long fan of the franchise.

The Decepticons.


            While on a mission, the Autobots discovered the AllSpark, a legendary life-giving artifact, buried in an asteroid. This attracted a group of Decepticons who wanted the AllSpark in their bid to reclaim Cybertron and oust the Autobots. Unique to the series was the fact that the Autobots were not only smaller than the Decepticons, but wielded ordinary tools that were used as mele weaponry while the Decepticons, who were built for war, had actual weaponry like guns, blades and missiles. This particular group was led by Megatron (Burton), who initially changed into a spacecraft with VTOL turbofans before becoming a helicopter on Earth. Following him was the fiercely-loyal former gladiator Lugnut (Kaye) that became a retro-futuristic bomber plane; Blitzwing (Robinson), suffering from a split personality due to his ability to triple-change into a mech tank and a fighter jet; Blackarachnia (Cree Summer), who was once Optimus’ friend Elita-1 until she was cursed with a spidery techno-organic form she sought to be free of; and the duplicitous Starscream (Tom Kenny), who transformed into a forward-swept winged fighter jet and looked for any chance to eliminate Megatron and rule the Decepticons himself. In fact, it was Starscream’s machinations that led to the Autobots’ ship crashing on Earth and sending them into stasis for 50 years in Lake Eerie. The Autobots awakened in a future robot-laden Detroit and became public heroes after saving the city from a threat.

Captain Fanzone, Sari and Isaac.


            They befriended the spunky Sari Sumdac (Tara Strong), a young girl who was the daughter of absent-minded scientist Isaac Sumdac (Kenny, using an Indian accent). Isaac was the head of robotics company Sumdac Systems, whose technological advancements were due to his finding the remains of Megatron (whom he didn’t know was still active) and reverse-engineering Cybertronian technology. Sari was chosen by the AllSpark to wield a special key that channeled a portion of its energy that she would use at times to help the Autobots and also cause a bit of trouble since, after all, she was just a kid. Other characters included Captain Carmine Fanzone (Bennett), the machine-hating police captain; Porter C. Powell (Robinson), a shrewd businessman who did whatever he had to in order to achieve money and power; Mayor Augustus Edsel, the silent mayor of Detroit who communicated with his actions, as well as some interpretation from his press secretary, Adrias (Strong); and the Witwicky Family, Spike (Burton, reprising the role from The Transformers), Carly, Daniel (both Strong) and Nancy.


Society of Ultimate Villainy: Angry Archer, Professor Princess, Nanosec and Slo-Mo.


            To keep the Decepticons viewed as a legitimate threat rather than easily-defeated clowns, the production introduced a number of human supervillains into the mix to serve as opponents for the Autobots. Some became evil of their own accord, while others were empowered by Megatron in an effort to rebuild his body. Prometheus Black (Peter Stromare) was an expert biologist who hated Sumdac and his machines, and used his talents to turn himself into a walking acid-based man named Meltdown; Cyrus Rhodes (Burton) was a biotech-enhanced human that worked for Meltdown and used super steroids to become the muscular brute called The Colossus (making his name a play on the Colossus of Rhodes); Nino Sexton (Brian Posehn, basing his voice on Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustaine), a thief given a speed suit by Megatron to become the super-quick Nanosec; A.A. Archer (based on Transformers design director Aaron Archer, voiced by Bennett imitating John Cleese) who adopted a Robin Hood-esque look (contrasted by his robotic left hand) and quasi-Shakespearean diction to rob from the rich and give to the poor (himself) with various gimmick arrows as Angry Archer; Penny “Princess” Sutton, Ph.D. (Kath Soucie), became Professor Princess in order to eliminate all of the violent boys’ toys in the world using a “magic” wand, razor-edged flowers, exploding kitten dolls, and a flying unicorn with a complete arsenal (a play on girl-centered toy franchises); Henry Masterson (Alexander Polinsky), a young scientist that spoke in computer l33t speak and created a robot head that allowed him to take over the body of any living robot, making him the Headmaster; Master Disaster (Fagerbakke), an Australian who hosted an illegal street racing broadcast; and 1930s moxie-speaking Samantha Lomow (based on Hasbro’s former Vice-President of Marketing that relaunched the Transformers brand in 2001, voiced by Strong), who used an AllSpark-infused watch to slow down time as Slo-Mo. Slo-Mo would even unite the other villains into the team S.U.V.: Society of Ultimate Villainy. Several human villains ended up never making it onto the show, including crime boss Lazarus Undershaft; the Wrecking Crew, a bunch of rednecks in tech-wrecking vehicles who believed robots stole their jobs; and The Wraith, a glory-seeking superhero who constantly tried to upstage the Autobots. Originally, Prometheus was considered to be a distinct character from Meltdown and would have bio-engineered the show’s supervillains, with Nanosec having been one of them along with Meltdown. Megatron would also be responsible for the creation of this series’ version of the Dinobots, tricking Sari into creating them with her key, but they ultimately wanted to stay out of things and just live in peace on their island off the coast.   

Elite Guard members (from front) Sentinel Prime, Jazz and Ultra Magnus.

 
            Earth wasn’t an island, however. Other Cybertronians would make frequent appearances either through flashbacks or by coming to the planet to somewhat aid or cause new trouble for the Autobots. They included the Cybertron Elite Guard, the pinnacle of the Autobot military, comprised of Optimus’ egotistical rival Sentinel Prime (Townsend Coleman), cool and collected ninja Jazz (Phil LaMarr), lightning-fast spy Blurr (John Moschitta, reprising the role from The Transformers), surly and disagreeable Warpath (Kaye), Autobot leader Ultra Magnus (Bennett), scientists Wheeljack and Perceptor (PlainTalk), and the twins Jetfire (Kenny), who controlled fire, and Jetstorm (LaMarr), who could control wind, and could combine to form Safeguard; Cliffjumper (Kaye), a member of Autobot Intel; Arcee (voice director Susan Blu, reprising from The Transformers), a schoolteacher-turned-intel courier whose memory was accidentally wiped by Ratchet during the war; Yoketron (George Takei); head of the Cyber-Ninja Corps that trained Prowl; Omega Supreme (Kevin Michael Richardson & LaMarr), a living weapon that was put into stasis as the Autobots’ ship when he was seriously wounded in battle; Lockdown (Lance Henriksen), a bounty hunter that often worked with the Decepticons but had no real allegiances; Soundwave (Bennett), who sought to end indentured servitude of robots by humans; Swindle (Fred Willard), a smooth-talker always ready to make a deal and trading with anyone willing to do business; Rodimus Prime (Judd Nelson, reprising the role from Transformers: The Movie), once known as Hot Rod, he rose quickly in the ranks to be accepted into Autobot academy before any of his classmates and to become the youngest Autobot with his own command; Waspinator (Kenny, after they were unable to have Scott McNeil reprise the role from Beast Wars), a former Autobot that was framed for being a Decepticon spy and accused by his one-time friend, Bumblebee; Shockwave (Burton, reprising the role from The Transformers), a size-changing master of disguise who worked as an infiltrator for Megatron; Starscream clones including Skywarp (Kenny), Slipstream (Strong), Sunstorm, Thundercracker and Ramjet (all Kenny); and Team Chaar including war-loving Strika (Strong), the titanic Blackout (Robinson), chemist Oil Slick (LaMarr), the disgusting Spittor, and mysterious and nihilistic Cyclonus.

The many faces of Blitzwing.


            Jetfire, Jetstorm, Sentinel Prime and Blitzwing, despite being established characters, were radical re-imaginings from what came before. Jetfire and Jetstorm, both early Galloway creations, were modeled after Eastern European circus acrobats and were given European accents as a result. Sentinel Prime came from Isenberg’s love of M*A*S*H. He believed the franchise needed a jerk of a character that considered themselves superior to all others like that series’ Major Frank Burns, portrayed by Larry Linville. Rodimus Prime was originally planned to fill this role, but Hasbro didn’t like the notion of his being that type. When Coleman was cast in the role, Sentinel was redesigned to better resemble another Coleman character—the superhero The Tick from the 1994 animated series—by giving him blue coloring and a pronounced chin. The writers even gave Sentinel some Tick-esque nonsensical phrases. Isenberg envisioned Blitzwing was a Joker-like character that could transform into anything, which was driving him mad as a result. However, as the idea would be impossible to do in toy form, he was refined to just be a triple-changer suffering from multiple personalities (which pleased designer Eric Siebenaler as he always wanted to do a Blitzwing with face-swapping action). Robinson improvised a German accent for Blitzwing based on his name and the character was redesigned to appear more German, gaining a WWII-era Stahlhelm helmet and goggles. The Decepticons were going to have a more cobbled-together aesthetic to represent their years of exile from Cybertron, but this ended up being discarded for more simplistic designs. Megatron was originally going to use a katana as his primary weapon, but it ended up becoming twin swords that would be used to form his rotors in helicopter mode. Along with Wyatt, the final character designs were done by Irineo Maramba, Brianne Drouhard and David Sherburne. One character that never materialized would have been a wise man giving Optimus advice and inspiration about good leadership qualities. That role would have gone to original Optimus voice actor Peter Cullen.

Beachcomber entry from the AllSpark Almanac.


              The black sheep of the series was the character Beachcomber (Kenny, using a surfer-type voice); a hard-luck hippie who was laid back and tried to be everyone’s friend. The production absolutely hated the character. He was meant to debut in the episode “TransWarped”, where he would have subsequently been killed off and turned to dust. Although it was recorded, the scene ended up being cut from the episode and the character was able to appear as a background character later on. Had the series continued on longer than it did, the crew looked forward to finally giving Beachcomber his final sendoff.

Red Alert and Hot Shot: denied stardom by circumstance.


                The series, now called Transformers Animated, debuted on Cartoon Network on December 26, 2007 with a pilot movie presentation, later broken up into three episodes. The theme was composed by Andy Sturmer inspired by the original series' theme, with the rest of the music by Sebastian Evans II. Fan reaction to the art direction was negative at first, but they quickly embraced the series thanks to its deep storytelling, likable characters, and infusion of various elements from throughout the Transformers franchise up to that point. Not to mention bringing several actors from past incarnations to reprise their earlier roles (Michael Bell reportedly auditioned to reprise his roles of Prowl and Dinobot Swoop from The Transformers, but wasn’t cast). As the first Michael Bay Transformers film was being developed around the same time as the series, steps were taken to better align the two together despite neither project being related. For this reason, the speed-loving rookie Hot Shot (Fagerbakke) and gruff medical bot Red Alert (Strong) were replaced by Bumblebee and Ratchet on the Autobot team to better match the film’s line-up. The AllSpark, which played a central role in the film’s plot, was also included for this reason. As part of the promotion for the series, a series of shorts were released on Hasbro’s website or Monkeybar TV online video service introducing the characters and putting them in brief situations; such as Optimus attending career day at a school and having to deal with energetic human children.

The Constructicons.


                The series ran for three seasons, each with an overreaching story arc. The first season dealt with Megatron working behind the scenes to restore himself, Blitzwing and Lugnut coming to Earth to search for Megatron, and Blackarachnia seeking vengeance on Optimus (blaming him for her condition) as well as a cure. The destruction of the AllSpark at the end of the season led into season two; with fragments everywhere creating new Cybertronians, such as the identity-seeking Wreck-Gar (“Weird Al” Yankovic, taking over when original choice Eric Idle was unavailable) and the evil construction-themed Constructicons. The Decepticons were also working on creating their own Space Bridge back to Cybertron with a captive Isaac. Season three revealed that Sari was a Cybertronian protoform (the early development stage of Cybertonians) discovered by Isaac that became part human when it came in contact with his DNA, and the Autobots were trying to root out a Decepticon saboteur operating on Cybertron. The third season also saw a shift towards a darker tone and a return to the classic Autobots vs. Decepticons battle to put it more in line with other Cartoon Network offerings like Ben 10: Alien Force and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The series was written by Isenberg, Michael Ryan, Rich Fogel, Kevin Hopps, Andrew Robinson, Henry Gilroy, Steven Granat, Todd Casey, Marsha Griffin, Len Uhley, Stan Berkowitz, Andrew R. Robinson, Dean Stefan, Larry DiTillio, Bob Forward, Tom Pugsley and Rob Hoegee. Animation duties were handled by Mook DLE Inc., The Answer Studio Co. Ltd. and Studio4°C.



                The series made its Japanese debut on April 3, 2010 on TV Aichi and TV Tokyo, airing under the Western title and keeping most of the Western names intact for the first time. The series featured a longer opening and ending sequence with the songs “TRANSFORMERS EVO.” by JAM Project and “AXEL TRANSFORMERS” by Rey, respectively, and live-action segments featuring the Otoboto Family (based on the Japanese pronunciation of “Autobot). The Otoboto Family were characters that loved to talk about Transformers with anyone that would listen; which included fun facts about the franchise and products from Takara Tomy. These required that an average of 3-minutes of footage be cut from each episode. Originally, TakaraTomy marketing director Masahiko Yamazaki had made statements indicating that Animated would be altered to have it take place within the film’s continuity, but the resulting dub of the series ended up contracting that. Bulkhead was, however, renamed “Ironhide” (the show’s Ironhide was, in turn, renamed “Armorhide”) as he was a member of the movie’s team.

The season 4 Autobots: Ratchet going green, Optimus on fire, Bumblebee still awesome, and newcomers Jazz and Ironhide.


                A 4th season had entered the pre-production phase as they worked out the characters and ideas going forward from their 3rd season finale, which saw Optimus finally regarded as the hero he always wanted to be. An early concept for the season would’ve seen the action moved almost entirely to Cybertron with Blackarachnia as the central villain; having decided that being technorganic was better than pure machine and plotting to unleash a virus to make the rest of the planet just like her, but ending up turning the bestial Predacons into mindless zombies instead. A new human character, Time Trucker (a time-travelling trucker, as the name implied), would’ve been introduced and allowed a journey to a future where Bumblebee led the Autobots and joined the Decepticons against the zombified Predacons, as well as a trip to the past where Optimus managed to save Elita-1 and became the techno-organic spider-creature instead. An imprisoned Megatron would have returned to the background manipulation he began the series doing; this time with Sentinel Prime as his patsy.

AllSpark Almanac talking about Sari's lineage.


             Hasbro, however, wanted the series to be a closer match to the film and mandated that the season needed to stay on Earth with Megatron as the central villain. Furthering that, Bulkhead and Prowl would have been replaced with Ironhide and Jazz to bring the Autobot line-up closer to the films’, Optimus would’ve gotten the flame decals his film counterpart sported (turned into an award known as the “Flames of Cybertron” for bringing in Megatron), and Ratchet would’ve gained a new green coloring. While various titles and blurbs had been released for the planned season 4 episodes, BotCon 2019 featured a script reading for the three-part season opener, “Trial of Megatron”. A 5th season was also in very early planning stages, however the only details revealed about it was an exploration of Sari’s origins.



            Unfortunately, none of those plans ever came to pass as the series was cancelled by Cartoon Network after the 3rd season. One of the primary reasons many attribute this to is Hasbro’s desire to become more active in its media production endeavors. Hasbro was looking to partner directly with a network to air their programming, even approaching Cartoon Network in the process, but they ultimately signed a deal with Discovery Communications in 2009. That partnership resulted in Discovery Family becoming The Hub Network the following year. And since Hasbro was now becoming the competition, Cartoon Network had no desire to continue airing their programs. For a time, Hasbro toyed with the idea of continuing Animated over on The Hub, but instead opted for an all-new series, Transformers: Prime, utilizing CGI for a more cinematic look.



            Naturally, a toyline based on Animated would be produced by Hasbro. Its release was postponed until mid-2008 based on the strength of the film’s toyline, although some did show up at retailers in Cincinnati to coincide with that year’s BotCon, followed by a wider Canadian release in May. There was no line-wide extra play gimmick; opting to bring the line back to basics with a focus on the core characters and making them available at multiple price points to get them into as many hands as possible. The show’s designers, Hasbro’s designers and Takara Tomy engineers all worked closely to ensure the show’s designs could be accurately and effectively translated into figure form. The line was ultimately cut short with several planned figures left unproduced, both because of the show’s cancellation and the continued success of the movie toyline. The Takara Tomy releases overseas began in 2010, and while utilizing the same figure designs, initially featured shiny metallic paintjobs. Takara Tomy would also release some of the unproduced Hasbro figures. McDonald’s would produce toys for their Happy Meals, featuring Optimus, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Lugnut, Megatron and Starscream, with Blitzwing being exclusive to France and Latin America not receiving Ratchet or Lugnut.

Animated characters modified into new ones for "The Stunti-Con-Job" box set.


            Animated versions of the characters were included in additional toylines as well. Animated Bumblebee was included in the multi-pack “The Legacy of Bumblebee” along with the G1 and movie figure. For the Transformers: Universe toyline’s “Legends Class”, Bumblebee, Optimus and Prowl were released for the 3rd wave, with Starscream joining in wave 4. BotCon 2011 featured Jazz, Rodimus, Arcee, Lockdown and Optimus retooled/recolored into new characters as part of “The Stunti-Con-Job” box set--the latter two further modified to become Sideswipe and Toxitron for souvenir packages; Ironhide was retooled into a trio of Autotroopers (the Cybertronian police force) and Fistitron as more souvenirs; and Arcee again modified into Minerva, given to be painted and assembled by attendees of the customization class. Blurr, remade into Beast-era Cheetor, was a figure offered by the Transformer Collector’s Club in 2011, while Jazz, remade into Jackpot, was the first figure offered via their Figure Subscription Service in 2013. Jackpot was later handed out to attendees under 13 at BotCon 2014. The 40th anniversary Transformers: Legacy line included Optimus, Prowl, Bumblebee, and an Autotrooper.


Sentinel Prime and Headmaster as Kre-O figures.


            As part of Hasbro’s LEGO-like Kre-O line, Bulkhead and Lugnut were part of the 2nd collection of blind-bagged figures, with Slipstrike in the 4th. A human figure resembling Captain Fanzone was included with Bumblebee as part of the Beast Hunters subset. At BotCon 2015, the show-exclusive “Earth’s Most Wanted” multi-pack included Sentinel Prime and Headmaster. Takara Tomy released several exclusive figures for the Transformers movie, which included a translucent Optimus and Rodimus in the “Sons of Cybertron” two-pack. Slipstream was later released as part of their Transformers Legends line in 2015.



            Three video games were made based on the show. Transformers Animated – The Game was developed by A2M (now Behaviour Interactive) and published by Activision on the Nintendo DS in 2008. It was an action platforming puzzle game where players could switch between the various Autobots to make use of their special attributes; such as Bumblebee’s nimbleness or Bulkhead’s strength.  Transformers Animated – The Chase and Transformers Animated – The Shooting were developed and published by Sega and released to Japanese arcades in 2010 while the show was airing there. The Chase was a racing game while The Shooting was a rail shooter. Both introduced new characters Chromia and Grinder, and took advantage of the cards included in the Japanese releases of the Animated toyline that could be swiped to add the character into the game. Although the game and toys were based on Animated, some of the cards featured characters and toys from other lines in the franchise.

Transformers Animated: The Arrival  #1.


            IDW Publishing released two comics based on the show. Transformers Animated adapted episodes utilizing screengrabs arranged in comic book format. It ran for 13 volumes, adapted by Zachary Rau and Dene Nee and lettered by Leslie Robbins, Robbie Robbins and Tom B. Long. A 14th was planned, as was the sequel series Transformers Animated: The Adventure Continues!, but both wound up being cancelled. The Arrival featured original stories written by Isenberg that were said to be canon to the series, included characters that never made it into the cartoon itself, and filled in some of the story gaps like how Blackarachnia got to Earth in the first place. The Arrival featured art by Dario Brizuela, Leandro Corral, Marcelo Matere, Boo and Matt Frank, and additional coloring by Liam Shalloo. 5 of the planned 6 issues were released before the series was cancelled. The 6th issue would be included as a pack-in with the Safeguard two-pack, and released in a collection of the entire comic series. IDW also released two volumes of The AllSpark Almanac, which were encyclopedias written in-universe about the characters and first two seasons. They were collected with additional material in The Complete AllSpark Almanac in 2015.


Animated manga style.

            Overseas, Titan Books published a Transformers Animated magazine that only lasted 3 issues, with leftover comic strips being published in their Transformers magazine created to initially tie into the film. In Japan, a manga titled Transformers Animated: The Cool was serialized in the boys’ magazine Kerokero Ace between 2010 and 2011. The manga was written and drawn by Naoto Tsushima and adapted episode stories with some differences.

One of the Be the Hero books.


            HarperCollins published a series of books adapting episodes using screengrabs similarly to the IDW comic series. They published four of these between 2008-09, as well as two entries in their I Can Read! series, which were easy-reader books for younger kids, and four from their Be the Hero series, which was essentially choose-your-own-adventure books, as well as a number of activity books. The first story book, Attack of the Dinobots!, was later reprinted in the United Kingdom as the only story in the activity anthology Transformers Animated Annual 2009. Bendon Publishing International published five profile books that discussed the characters, as well as Metal Warriors, which featured one-on-one duels without any story or context. Phidal Publishing released three activity books—Go Autobots!, Roll Out! and Daring Defenders—which they collected into the Super Sticker Book, and the Sliding Puzzle Book which, as featured said sliding puzzle embedded into the cover. Million Publishing (now Hero-X) released Transformers Animated Encyclopedia in Japan in 2010, featuring details about the characters, the first 26 episodes, the toys and messages from the voice actors and the Otoboto family. They also released Transformers Generations 2011 Volume 1 the following year, which contained character information for Animated including the revelation of Professor Princess’ full name.

The complete series DVD.

            In North America, the feature-length premiere was released on the DVD Transform and Roll Out in 2008. A Target-exclusive version contained the extra episode “Home is Where the Spark Is.” The complete 1st season was released in 2008 and the 2nd in 2009. It wouldn’t be until 2014 that Shout! Factory finally released the complete 3rd season and the full series collection. In the United Kingdom and Germany, the first 29 episodes and several shorts were released across 6 DVDs.



            Animated’s mark would continue to be felt across various future Transformers projects. Bulkhead became a featured character Prime and would be joined in Cyberverse by Lugnut and Slipstream. Lockdown was a villain in the 2014 live-action film Transformers: Age of Extinction. Ratchet’s grumpy persona would become the default for the character in Prime and in IDW original comics. And, of course, the various figure releases and script readings at BotCon for years to come.

 

 

EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Transform and Roll Out Part 1” (12/26/07) – The Autobots discover the AllSpark while clearing a space bridge and end up attacked by the Decepticons, who get them all stranded on Earth.
 
“Transform and Roll Out Part 2” (12/26/07) – Prof. Sumdac’s nanotech ends up creating a giant monster that revives Autobots and allows them to become regarded as heroes when they stop it.
 
“Transform and Roll Out Part 3” (12/26/07) – Starscream arrives on Earth and takes hostages to demand he be given the AllSpark.
 
“Home is Where the Spark Is” (1/5/08) – Sari accidentally revives Megatron’s head and he tries to kill the Autobots with their own base.
 
“Total Meltdown” (1/12/08) – Prometheus Black experiments with the fluid Bumblebee leaked after his funding was cut, gaining acidic powers in the process and becoming Metldown.
 
“Blast from the Past” (1/19/08) – Megatron tricks Sumdac into thinking he’s an Autobot and turns the dinosaur robots he’s repairing into his new minions—the Dinobots.
 
“Thrill of the Hunt” (1/26/08) – A bounty hunter named Lockdown uses Ratchet’s own EMP generator to capture Optimus.
 
“Nanosec” (2/9/08) – To get the volatile material needed to rebuild his body, Megatron frees a thief and gives him a super-speed suit, turning him into Nanosec.
 
“Along Came a Spider” (2/16/08) – While Sari introduces the Autobots to Halloween, Blackarachnia comes looking for her AllSpark key in order to purge the spider DNA from her body.
 
“Sound and Fury” (2/23/08) – Megatron creates Soundwave as a toy for Sari that will eventually grow into his new body as she uses her key, but Soundwave ends up forming a robot army instead.
 
“Lost and Found” (3/1/08) – Optimus decides the Autobots should leave Earth when Blitzwing and Lugnut destructively arrive, but Sari refuses to help them leave and sabotages their ship.
 
“Survival of the Fittest” (3/8/08) – Meltdown forces the Dinobots to kidnap Sari for him to experiment with making a transforming human.
 
“Headmaster” (3/15/08) – Fired for creating weapons, Henry Masterson dons an exo-suit to become The Headmaster and takes over Bulkhead’s body to fight the Autobots.
 
“Nature Calls” (3/22/08) – Investigating a Cybertronian energy signals leads Sari, Prowl and Bumblebee to discover Megatron’s body taken over by Space Barnacles.
 
“Megatron Rising Part 1” (3/29/08) – The Decepticons get the key and restore Megatron while Blackarachnia captures Sari.
 
“Megatron Rising Part 2” (4/5/08) – Megatron successfully beats the Autobots until the fight moves to Dinobot Island and all the factions battle it out, leading to Optimus dispersing the AllSpark.
 
Season 2:
“The Elite Guard” (4/12/08) – The Cybertron Elite Guard arrives to search for the AllSpark while Megatron forces Sumdac to build a Space Bridge and Sari learns there’s no proof of her existence.
 
“The Return of the Headmaster” (4/26/08) – Now running Sumdac Tower, Porter rehires Headmaster who decides to try and take over Sentinel Prime’s body.
 
“Mission Accomplished” (5/3/08) – The Autobots are sent back to Cybertron to deal with a Decepticon uprising while Starscream is constantly revived when he fails to destroy Megatron.
 
“Garbage In, Garbage Out” (5/10/08) – The AllSpark creates a new Transformer from a pile of junk, which puts him at odds with Ratchet, Sari, Lugnut and Porter’s micro-bots.
 
“Velocity” (5/17/08) – Bumblebee competes in an underground race as an AllSpark fragment attracts the attention of Blitzwing.
 
“Rise of the Constructicons” (5/24/08) – Bulkhead befriends two new AllSpark fragment creations, whom the Decepticons want to use to steal supplies for Megatron’s space bridge.
 
“A Fistful of Energon” (5/31/08) – Prowl is forced to team-up with Lockdown in order to successfully capture Starscream.
 
“SUV: Society of Ultimate Villainy” (6/7/08) – A mysterious benefactor unites Angry Archer, Nanosec, Professor Princess and Slo-Mo together to steal items from the Autobots.
 
“Autoboot Camp” (6/14/08) – The Autobots are alerted to an escaped convict loose on Earth just as they intercept a message between Megatron and a double agent on Cybertron.
 
“Black Friday” (6/21/08) – Blackarachnia frees Meltdown so he can cure her, but first she must blackmail Optimus and Grimlock into getting a genetic modifier for him.
 
“Sari, No One’s Home” (6/28/08) – The Autobots go out in search of the Constructicons, who use an oil leak from Bumblebee to find their base—and Sari.
 
“A Bridge Too Close Part 1” (7/5/08) – Bulkhead is forced to help finish Megatron’s Space Bridge.
 
“A Bridge Too Close Part 2” (7/5/08) – The Autobots and Decepticons battle, with the Autobot ship revealing the robot form Omega Supreme and Sair cybernetic components.
 
Season 3:
“TransWarped Part 1” (3/14/09) – The Autobots attempt to warn Cybertron of the pending Decepticon uprising while Megatron and Starscream find and plan to use Omega Supreme.
 
“TransWarped Part 2” (3/14/09) – The Autobots must rescue Bumblebee after he was TransWarped across the galaxy while Megatron works to take over Omega’s body.
 
“TransWarped Part 3” (3/14/09) – Sari is now a teenager after upgrading herself with the key, and Megatron and Starscream are sent across the galaxy in Omega’s body.
 
“Three’s a Crowd” (3/21/09) – Bulkhead and Sumdac attempt to rebuild Megatron’s Space Bridge and end up creating the bot-controlling Dirt Boss, who sends Bulkhead on a rampage.
 
“Where Is They Sting?” (3/28/09) – Wasp comes to Earth for revenge on Bumblebee and swaps places with him to evade the Elite Guard on his tail.
 
“Five Servos of Doom” (4/4/09) – Given Sentinel Prime’s uncanny success at capturing fugitive Decepticons, Prowl suspects something is amiss.
 
“Predacons Rising” (4/11/09) – The Autobots and Elite Guard chase Wasp into Blackarachnia’s hands, who then forces him to join her by turning him into Waspinator.
 
“Human Error Part 1” (4/18/09) – Porter sells toys modelled after Soundwave for Christmas, but the Autobots have bigger concerns as they wake up one morning as humans!
 
“Human Error Part 2” (4/25/09) – Sari gets some unlikely help in freeing the Autobots from Soundwave’s virtual reality trap before they become Decepticons themselves.
 
“Decepticon Air” (5/2/09) – Swindle is revived during transport and frees the Decepticon prisoners on the Elite Guard ship, prompting Sentinel Prime to call Optimus for help.
 
“This is Why I Hate Machines” (5/9/09) – Ratchet follows Fanzone through the reactivated Space Bridge when he’s accidentally sucked through, ending up on Cybertron as the Decepticons invade.
 
“Endgame Part 1” (5/16/09) – Shockwave finally gets access to Arcee’s codes and uses it on protoforms to create duplicates of Omega, sending them to invade Earth.
 
“Endgame Part 2” (5/23/09) – Prowl sacrifices himself to reassemble the AllSpark to save Detroit from Starscream while the Autobots capture the remaining Decepticons.
 
Season 4 (unmade):
“Trial of Megatron Part 1” – Sari begins learning about herself with Arcee and Kup, while Optimus and Sentinel are pushed into a conflict for the position of Magnus.
 
“Trial of Megatron Part 2” – Sentinel gets Bumblebee to endorse him for Magnus while he makes a deal with the imprisoned Megatron for intel on raiding Decepticons.
 
“Trial of Megatron Part 3” – Megatron escapes from his trial and launches the Decepticon capitol city of Kaon, crippling the Elite Guard and heading on a collision course with Earth.
 
“Turf War” – The Autobots end up in a turf war with the Constructicons and the Decepticons as Dirt Boss attempts to take charge by gaining control of Detroit’s Energon deposits.
 
“This is Why I Hate Organics” – Rattrap ends up in the one place he never wanted: on Earth and surrounded by humans.
 
“Mirror, Mirror” – TransWarping back to Earth sends Bulkhead and Sari into a mirror universe where Autobots are evil and Decepticons are good.
 
“Gremlins in the Geers” – Ratchet and Fanzone team-up to stop renegade Minicons from disassembling all the machinery in Detroit.
 
“What a Tangled Web We Have” – Blackarachnia’s fall from grace is revealed.
 
“S.T.E.A.M.” – Anti-technology vigilantes Save The Earth And Mankind end up needing rescuing by the Autobots when they run into Soundwave.
 
“It Came from (Planet) Cybertron” – Autobot Cosmos comes to Earth to deliver a message to Optimus, but ends up losing his memory after choosing a flying saucer prop as his alternate form.
 
“Triple Threat” – New triple-changing Megatron sets out to obtain tons of Energon, but his new body ends up giving him a destructively unstable personality.
 
“AllSpark-alypse Now!” – Sentinel intends to use the AllSpark to destroy Megatron, but Prowl’s essence alerts Optimus to that being a bad idea.
 
“Process of Elimination” – Bumblebee investigates attacks on his old boot camp platoon by a mysterious assailant.
 
“Trukk vs. Munky” – The Autobots deal with one of Blackarachnia’s loyal subjects: failed cloning experiment Primal Major.
 
“Megatron Must Be Destroyed! Part 1” – The Autobots must work with Slipstream’s Decepticons, the Predacons and the Dinobots to stop Megatron from turning Earth into a new Decepticon home world.
 
“Megatron Must Be Destroyed! Part 2” – As Optimus battles Megatron, Sari discovers a connection to a Cybertron deity that may save them all.
 
Shorts:
“Career Day*” (6/17/08) – Optimus is speaking to children at Black River Elementary’s career day.
*Included without a title on DVD, title confirmed by Wyatt.
 
“Mime Time*” (9/24/08) – Sari introduces Bumblebee and Bulkhead to a mime.
*Originally aired as “Bumblebee”, title confirmed by Wyatt.
 
“Catch” (1/7/09) – Bulkhead plays some catch with Grimlock—using a tree.
 
“Evel Kinevel Jump*” (6/17/08) – Prowl tries jumping over his comrades in their vehicle forms.
*Originally aired without a title or as “Prowl”, title confirmed by Wyatt.
 
“Operating Table” (1/7/09) – Sari struggles to help Ratchet make his repairs on Bulkhead.
 
“Starscream Heckles Megatron*” (12/23/08) – While Megatron addresses his minions, Starscream chooses to make faces at him behind his back.
*In-house production title, originally aired as “Mocking Megatron”.
 
“Starscream’s Fantasy” (8/23/22*) – Starscream realizes his ambitions about crushing all of his enemies and ruling supreme!
*Unreleased officially until Isenberg gave Transformers content creator Keyan Carlile permission to do so after a Tweet about the shorts went viral.
 
“Explosive Fist” (1/6/09) – Lugnut unleashes a devastating punch on the environment.
 
“Logo” (8/23/22*) – Blitzwing uses a medallion with both factions’ logos to mimic The Transformers scene transitions.
*Unreleased officially until Isenberg gave Transformers content creator Keyan Carlile permission to do so after a Tweet about the shorts went viral.
 
“Meet Optimus Prime” – Ratchet gives the lowdown on Optimus.
 
“Meet Bumblebee” – Sari talks about Bumblebee.
 
“Meet Bulkeahd” – Optimus gives information about Bulkhead.
 
“Meet Ratchet” – Bumblebee dishes about Ratchet.
 
“Meet Prowl” – Bulkhead enviously describes Prowl.
 
“Meet Megatron” – Optimus delves into Megatron.
 
“Meet Starscream” – Starscream proudly describes his awesomeness.