Toonzone Transformers Week - Starter Kit 2011
Starter Kit – 2011
Now if you’re a person interested in
expanding his or her knowledge of the Transformers apart from the
basics (I.e. robots in disguise, Autobots versus Decepticons, etc.):
Well look no further. This article is dedicated to helping you, a
budding Transfan (as some fans like to call themselves), get a good
start on it. As always, it is important for any franchise long
lasting as the Transformers to make a good first impression in order
to. So let us not waste any more precious time. Here are the series I
would either highly recommend you hit first, the series that you
should be wary of, and the series you should initially avoid the
first time around.
Disclaimer: Just because one series
is either highly recommended or not does not always speak of a
series’s inherent quality. This is a recommendation list of where to
START when you first get into Transformers. Quality factors in to be
sure (especially in the ‘avoid’ segment), but as always it is merely
my opinion and your mileage may vary on what is a better icebreaker.
Also I am unfortunately not
including Prime on the list because I do not have enough exposure to
the show to give a proper opinion. It would not be fair on my end to
give an uninformed view of it.
For a good Energon boosted headstart:
Transformers Generation One – Kind of
obvious, but after all it IS the one that started it all. Try to look
past the rather cheesy atmosphere that emanated in 1980s cartoons and
you will find a rather charming, but goofy action cartoon. Sometimes
it is hair-tearingly dumb, but on the other hand it is populated by a
menagerie of highly memorable characters who go on the most amusing,
and sometimes poignant adventures. Granted it is a rather awkward and
clumsy first impression, but it provides a foundation of the
franchise’s roots, and at times gives moments that reveal how the
lucrative concept of transforming robots can be much more than just
robots blasting one another for 22 minutes…
Transformers Animated – …And
thus we come to Animated. This show manages to not only pay homage to
its original source material, but stands enough on its own to warrant
watching it first. It helps that the main Autobots are very engaging
with their own set of quirks and emotional baggage. The human
characters are actually helpful, fun to watch, and above all else
don’t get in TOO much of the way. And finally the villains, are some
of, if not THE, most threatening ensemble of Decepticons ever seen in
the franchise. When they go head-to-head with our heroes, it makes
for quite an engaging David and Goliath story that lasted a
satisfying, if a bit short, three season run.
No need for much backstory, just know
the basics, and let this eager yarn rip its own path to your Spark.
Guilt or Innocence (a.k.a. Indecisive
Beast Wars– Without a
doubt one of, if not THE most famous and well-written entries in the
franchise. However I cannot help but not really recommend it heartily
as I wish I could for newcomers. While weaving its own story
millennia after the original Transformers series, it is still
tethered to its predecessor’s shadow. It works well enough in
providing a suitable backstory and establishing continuity for sure.
Then again, it requires a wee bit more knowledge and awareness of the
original series to fully appreciate never mind understand some of the
more fanservicey moments (like small cameos of classic G1 characters
and the entire episode of “Possession”) in the series. Having
such an investment in continuity with a series released roughly a
decade ago (BW premiered in 1996), can be quite a turnoff despite how
good the characters are and how fairly epic the story can get.
Plus while robots transforming into
animals is cool, it is nothing compared to robots transforming into
fighter jets, race cars, and even fully functional cities. Best in my
mind to get started where it all began instead of going into Beast
Wars cold turkey. But that is just me, you may think differently if
your curiosity is strong and are willing to engage in the backstory
of this series if it has won you over.
Avoid like Cosmic Rust:
Trilogy – Japanese Transformers series are their own
unique beast thanks to them being made and developed by and for…
well… the Japanese. As such it has a relatively anime-style feel to
them, which will either float your boat or not depending on whether
you are a fan of the medium. Even if you do like anime, the Unicron
Trilogy is an expansive universe rife with a convoluted set of plots
and events, annoying human characters, slipshod animation both
traditional and CG, and a very hackneyed rush job of a dub. It is
kind of painful to watch really, since there are so many good ideas
and concepts with some of the series (especially Armada). It
is just that the characters can be so dumb, the animation is ever so
awkward and the story can be frustratingly long-winding. It is not a
representation of the franchise at its best, and probably is good at
a later time.
Plus it also has the worst human being
in the Transformers world: Carlos. The moment he appears you will
Transformers: Robots in
Disguise – Ditto with regards to it being something a
bit TOO anime (now with more comically large sweatdrops). Unlike the
Unicron Trilogy however, it is kind of fun in its own way and rather
tongue-in-cheek. However that may work against it since you would not
really be in on the joke unless you were already a fan of
Transformers. Recommended when you are all settled into the
Beast Machines – One:
It’s a direct sequel to Beast Wars. Two: it is actually more
supplementary than complimentary. Three: Too overwhelmingly engaged
in pseudo-environmentalist falderal regarding technology and nature.
Four: The characters in this series are completely unlikeable once
you know what their original versions were like. Finally, and most
importantly, Five: There’s a Transformer who is a plant. I do not
think I need to explain any further why it’s a bad idea to ever start
with this series.
The Michael Bay Transformers
Trilogy – No. The franchise is not solely focused on
the rather asinine goings on of poorly written humans and en masse
property damage with the robots being mostly on the sidelines. It is
not solely about the rather vulgar absurdities involving alpha male
dogs and awful racial stereotypes. It is not solely about the
two-hour sensory overload that you will be bludgeoned with as it
begins. It is not solely about ANYTHING I have mentioned and then
some. Not a good way to begin at all.
Those are my recommendations and I’m
sticking to them. But perhaps YOU have a different set of
recommendations on what a new Transformers fan ought to watch first.
If so, what WOULD be the better choice in your mind?