[[caption-width-right:212:Hey, it's Optimus! Oh [[HesDeadJim wait]]...]]

''Transform! God On!''

''Transformers: Super-God Masterforce'' (1988) is the third or fourth (depending on how the third season of ''[[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers G1]]'' is viewed) incarnation of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' produced. Divisive even by ''Transformers'' [[BrokenBase standards]], it tells the story of a battle between Transformers who become humans, and humans who become Transformers.

Millennia ago, a group of Transformers gained the ability to disguise themselves as organic beings. Calling themselves Pretenders, they came to live on Earth, where the Autobots disguised themselves as humans. The Decepticons disguised themselves as demons and terrorized humanity until they were sealed away in the Egyptian pyramids, {{Atlantis}}, and the Nazca Lines of Peru. Much later, the Decepticon Pretenders reawaken and, led by the mysterious Devil Z, begin an assault on humanity.

A short time into the show, both factions recruited the Headmaster Juniors. These were a group of human children bonded to inanimate Transformer bodies known as Transtectors, of which they became the heads. They thus represented a medium between the American and Japanese incarnations of the Headmaster toys, while also being closest thing ''Transformers'' has had to HumongousMecha. The Autobot Headmaster Juniors transformed into emergency vehicles, while their Decepticon counterparts transformed into animals.

Later, the Godmasters (whose toys were known as Powermasters in English-speaking territories) were introduced. Godmasters were similar to Headmaster Juniors, but instead of forming their Transtectors' heads, they formed the engines. They added ''jinchokon'', the LifeEnergy of humanity, to the ''tenchokon'' (heavenly energy) and ''chichokon'' (Earth energy) of the Transformers, thus forming the ultimate lifeform - the Super-Gods of the title.

In terms of {{continuity}}, ''Masterforce'' is canonically set after ''[[Anime/TransformersHeadmasters Headmasters]]''; however, while ''Headmasters'' was clearly set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, ''Masterforce'' used contemporary technology and fashions. However, aside from a few brief instances, ''Masterforce'' is pretty much self-contained, and so knowledge of ''Headmasters'' is (fortunately) not necessary to follow or understand it.

''Masterforce'' was the first ''Transformers'' series to have an ongoing plot and CharacterDevelopment. The theme of personal transformation, rather clumsily attempted in ''Headmasters'', is skillfully shown here as the human characters are shown to initially be quite naive and to gradually evolve into powerful warriors and protectors. The final result is a rather sad but satisfying ending.

The toyline was largely the same as the American ''G1'' toyline for 1989, but with a few additions, such as the Ginrai toy (Optimus Prime in Hasbro territories) coming with the Godbomber; this would not be released outside Japan until 2003 with the 15th anniversary reissue of Powermaster Optimus Prime, where it was known as Apex Armor.

The Pretenders were rather simple toys with basic transformations and forgettable altmodes, which came with human- or demon-shaped posable outer shells. The Headmaster Junior toys were the same as the regular Headmaster toys - a large robot whose head transforms into a smaller robot and whose body becomes a vehicle or animal. The Godmasters also had two components; one was a small human in PoweredArmor that transforms into an engine which plugs into a slot in the larger vehicle. The vehicle cannot transform into robot mode unless the engine is plugged in.[[note]]At least in the fiction. The toys could easily be transformed by simply pressing the button in with your finger if you lacked the Powermaster accessory.[[/note]]

The cartoon received the same hilariously bad dub treatment as ''Anime/TransformersHeadmasters''. The dub was first broadcast in Malaysia on RTM-1 in 1988, and later in Singapore on [=StarTV=]. {{DVD}}s containing both the dub and subtitled Japanese episodes were released in the UK in 2006 (sub only) and Australia in 2008; both were also shown in the UK on Anime Central in 2007.

The entire series is now released on DVD, but you'll won't be able to find the extras post-series like you would on YouTube, since they were not included.

Followed by ''Anime/TransformersVictory''

!!The show provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Minerva doesn't like to fight, but usually comports herself well when she has to.
** DarkActionGirl: Mega. She is a [[spoiler:Godmaster]] too, after all.
* AnachronicOrder: According to the ''Transformers Wiki'', when the series was aired in Russia, this series was the first to be shown, then to Victory, then to Headmasters.
* AnimeHair: Mostly averted, though Clouder plays this one to the hilt.
* ArrogantKungFuGuy: Sixknight, also Cancer is literally one.
* AMechByAnyOtherName: Though part of the "Transformers" meta-family, Masterforce also makes use of lifeless mech bodies called 'Transtectors' that a human being can merge with, effectively ''becoming'' a giant robot as opposed to merely piloting one.
* AntiVillian: Cancer clearly has the most sympathetic backstory, is outright disgusted at some of the more serious schemes, and when Devil Z goes completely off the rails, he turns on the Decepticons.
* AsYouKnow: Blood has an unusually appropriate reaction to this trope being used on him: "Shut up! I don't need you to tell me that!"
* BattleCouple: Mega and Giga.
* BigBad: The series has you convinced that Overlord is the greatest threat for the longest time. Turns out its Devil Z.
* {{Bishonen}}: Buster's decidedly feminine appearance is a leftover from the character's original conception as a girl.
* BloodBrothers: Buster and Hydra. As an added bonus, they are literally blood relatives.
* BloodKnight: Sixknight wanders the galaxy in search of of a WorthyOpponent. Of course, Ginrai proves to be that worthy opponent.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Anytime a character sound like they're about to swear, "Scrap" is used in its place in the region 1 release. Ginrai briefly "swears" until later episodes replace any instance of swearing as "scrap" as all the others. Sometimes out of place.
* BowTiesAreCool: This is a feature of school uniform that Minerva typically wears.
* BrainWashed: Black Zarak is the ''Headmasters'' villain Mega Zarak/Scorponok in a new body. Prior to the start of the ''Masterforce'' series, Devil Z made him his mind-controlled bitch.
* BroadStrokes[=/=]ContinuitySnarl: ''Masterforce'' is both a clean break from and a continuation of ''Headmasters'' -- something that tends to frustrate ''Transformers'' fans. The creators wanted to try something new with this series, and it has a dramatically different feel compared to any ''Transformers'' media that precedes it. But it also canonically follows ''Headmasters'', which makes viewers wonder things like "if this show is set post-2020, why is its setting indistinguishable from the late 1980s?" or "considering that the Autobots previously had a public presence on Earth, why don't humans recognize Transformers anymore?" Don't expect the show to address these questions.
* ButNotTooForeign: Minerva is half-Japanese.
* ByThePowerOfGreyskull: Lots of variations: "Suit On!", "Pretender!!", "Masterforce!", "Head On!" and "God On!".
** The Hydra brothers also yell "Wing Cross!" when combining, while Ginrai gets "Double On!" and "Chojin Gattai!" for his increasingly more powerful transformations.
* CallingYourAttacks: Anything more flashy than your standard gunshot gets a fancy name. Even if it's just a whip.
* TheCameo / ContinuityNod: Chromedome makes a brief appearance in an early episode, linking this series with ''Headmasters''. Metalhawk reveals that he supplied the Transtectors for the Junior Headmasters.
* CharacterDevelopment: This is the first ''Transformers'' show where characters effectively change and grow as people. Though admittedly, the Transformers aren't subject to development. Just the humans.
* CharacterMagneticTeam: The Autobot ranks swell over the course of the series, while the Decepticons never get any new permanent additions outside of Hydra and Buster.
* ComplexityAddiction: Hydra, Hydra, '''HYDRA'''. The guy's never happy with the idea of just killing his opponents with guns, he's always got to create an overly elaborate scheme first. But his best example of this would be his plan in Ep 21. To whit; kidnap every doctor on Earth, to make people realise how short life is, to make them lose the will to live. Somehow.
* CulturalCrossReference: One episode makes a direct reference to Superman.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Sixknight bows to this.
* {{Delinquents}}: The Decepticon Headmaster Jrs., especially Bullhorn and Wilder.
* DespairEventHorizon: Buster and Hydra hatch an utterly ''ridiculous'' plan to do this with their hostages so they'll lose their will to live. This involves kidnapping ''every'' doctor in the entire world. They make Megatron or Galvatron look like geniuses.
* DistressedDamsel: Minerva, on occasion.
* TheDrifter: Ginrai wanted to be this. Until Buster and Hydra attacked his co-workers, prompting him to permanently join the Autobots.
* {{Dubtitle}}: As with ''Anime/TransformersHeadmasters'', the region 1 DVD release changes the name of several characters to match their American counterparts from their Japanese. However, "Godmaster" was never changed to "Powermaster" despite the two being similar (except that transectors are non-sentient compared the already sentient Powermaster robots).
** Plus, the name of the girl's little dog [[UnfortunateNames Pis]] is renamed to "Peace" in the subtitles. For obvious reasons. However, the grave for the dog has its name kept as is.
* EliteMook: King Poseidon, essentially.
** The Sparkdash grunts may also qualify. They seem to function as Devil Z's equivalent to the Seacons.
* EarlyBirdCameo: The intro of the series shows major characters 15-20 episodes before they are introduced in some cases. For instance, Ginrai first appears in episode 9, but he features prominently in the opening from the very start. The ending is no better either, showing all six Headmaster Jrs before the majority of them turn up in an episode.
* EmpathicWeapon: The Godbomber upgrade for Ginrai. It can't talk, but it does communicate.
* EnergyBeing: Devil Z. Though any further information on his motivations/origins are not divulged.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Most of the Decepticons who still have human components turn against Devil Z at the end, [[RedemptionEqualsDeath without]] [[BroughtDownToNormal much success]].
* {{Expy}}: Ginrai's Transtector looks essentially identical to Optimus Prime, the [[MerchandiseDriven toy]] having been designed as a new version of the character.
* EyesAlwaysShut: Ranger.
* FreudianExcuse: In "God Ginrai - Save Cancer!?", Cancer joined the Decepticons because he wanted to help his former master to give the dojo it's reputation. In "God Ginrai - Showdown at the Decepticon's Base", he also explains that he wanted to join them to become stronger. In parallels to his action at the start of the series where he, alongside Bullhorn and Wilder, cause mayhem.
* FrontLineGeneral: Ginrai when he becomes Autobot leader, and Overlord.
* GratuitousEnglish: [[AnimeThemeSong ''You are hero!'']] and ''We Believe Tomorrow''.
* HandsomeLech: Lander, who apparently is struck with a critical case of MarsNeedsWomen.
* HeelFaceTurn: Sixknight, Clouder, eventually many human Decepticons.
* HenshinHero: ''Masterforce'' is unique among Transformers series in that human beings play very active roles as both the central protagonists and the main antagonists.
* HeroicSacrifice: Sixknight. Overlord also has a try, but doesn't fare too well.
** Lightfoot's also a bit ''too'' eager to give up his life for the sake of the mission.
* HonourBeforeReason: Sixknight may be an arrogant jerk who's secure in his superiority, but he'll beat you fair and square to show ''you'' his superiority.
** Later in the series, Overlord insists on fighting the incredibly powerful God Ginrai without using any of his weapons in order to showcase 'the power of flesh' to his nutjob boss. He's willing to die in the process, if need be.
* HoistedByHisOwnPetard: In the episode "Life? Death? A Desperate Lightfoot!", Hydra threatens to cut his arms off if he dosent join them. During the battle, Lightfoot punches Buster's arm clean off.
* HotBlooded: Ginrai. Though he can also be mighty laid back, too.
* HumansAreSpecial: Jinchokon (meaning "The Power of Man" essentially) is unique to humans. It allows the Godmasters to attain their full power by combining the three primal energies of life: the other two on their own are nowhere near as potent without Jinchokon.
** The belief that humans are special is why Metalhawk and the other Autobot Pretenders have created human disguises.
* HumongousMecha [[FurryConfusion Real ones too.]]
* IAmYourOpponent: Practically Ginrai's CatchPhrase.
* IdiotBall: Ginrai decidedly chose to bring 3 Godmasters instead of just him and one other to handle Buster and Hydra, leaving the exposed Autobot base raided by Decepticons.
* TheIdiotFromOsaka: Browning.
* ImageSong: "Don't Cry".
* ImprobableAge: Clouder is (''probably'') a U.S government agent, despite looking somewhere in his early twenties at the most.
* JumpedAtTheCall: The Autobot Headmaster Jrs. Lightfoot, Ranger and Road King all seem pretty fine with having to fight evil alien robots, too.
** Clouder as well. It's just that he decided to join the Decepticons first.
* KickTheDog: Wilder literally kicked and ''killed'' a little girl's puppy simply because it was annoying him. As if he hadn't been shown to be an utter sociopath already...
* KillAllHumans: After bearing witness to the feats of the Godmasters throughout the series, Devil Z panics at the power of human potential and decides it'd be a wise move to exterminate the lot of them.
* KnightofCerebus: Devil Z significantly ups the darkness in the series. When he takes over in the final arc, there is absolutely no comedy whatsoever.
* LensmanArmsRace: Both factions race to locate the leftover Godmasters. When that comes to a close they focus on giving their respective commanders powerful upgrades.
* MadeOfExplodium: The Seacons.
* MagicCountdown: In "Crisis! The Day of Human Extinction", during BlackZarak's second countdown, approximately 27 seconds pass between "five" and "two" when God Ginrai and Overload gets into a fight and Overload tries to prevent Ginrai from stopping Devil Z's weapon from completely destroying the stratosphere.
* MeaningfulName: Cancer's name is another word for "crab". And thus, fitting for his transtector that looks like a GiantEnemyCrab. Unfortunately, it got LostInTranslation when his name was changed to "Sqeezeplay" (his American toy name) instead.
* MechanicalLifeform: The Transformers themselves.
* TheMedic: Minerva. Her transtector turns into an ambulence, after all.
** All three of the Autobot Headmaster Jrs are primarily assigned to rescue duties before engaging in combat.
* MerchandiseDriven: 'natch.
* MetaphoricallyTrue: a villainous example [[spoiler: as revealed by [[WordOfGod Ask Vector Prime]], the Godmasters being parts of a divine being, the complete Godmaster, and Godmessenger being it's sibling, as told by Devil Z, are true, with the exception of the fact Godmaster wasn't a Decepticon God he/she and it's sibling Godmessenger Devil Z, are children of a Light God member of Primus' pantheon of light, and kin to Primus and Unicron. It's more complicated though, as the origin of them eight Transtectors from the G Nebula stolen by Devil Z is also true, due to a Cosmic Paradox that created a UsefulNotes/SchrodingersCat situation.]]
* MidseasonUpgrade: Super Ginrai becomes God Ginrai.
* MonumentalDamage: The Arc D' Triomph gets blown up ''twice''.
* MultinationalTeam: The Headmaster Juniors and Godmasters on both sides are from all over the world.
* MysteriousPast: Devil Z spends most of the series looking like a pulsating energy ball. Then, when he fuses with Blackzarak, he states he is revealing his true form. We get a brief glimpse of some creepy looking foetus, and that's it. A later clip show hurriedly explained he was an energy being from space. And as further revealed by [[WordOfGod Ask Vector Prime]], Devil Z is [[spoiler: the Godmessenger from the origins of the Godmasters he described. Godmessenger (Devil Z) and Godmaster, were originally children of a Light God, but when they entered Earth's atmosphere, Godmaster got [[PiecesOfGod shattered into the 8 Godmasters]], and [[FallenAngel Godmessenger got corrupted into Devil Z]].]]
* NoExportForYou: Inverted. ''Shout! Factory'' released the entire series on DVD in North America. The only thing they did not include was the clipshows and an extra where Shuta and Grand Maximus explaining every detail about the entire story. However, it may due the fact that ToeiAnimation refuses to release the clipshows and only for the episodes, as they initially refused to send ''Scramble City'' and the 'Manga/TransformersZone'' OVA.
* OmnicidalManiac: Devil Z.
* OnTheNextEpisodeOfCatchphrase: "Now, you too use the Masterforce to transform!"
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Sixknight is not only a rare Six Changer but he's also mastered one of the three forms of Chokon energy. In any previous series he would possibly be one of the strongest Transformers in existence. Unfortunately for him by the time he shows up most of the regulars have all three forms of Chokon energy and he routinely gets kicked to the curb as a result.
* ParrotExposition: Quite commonly, one character will say something, and another character will repeat it in an awed or shocked tone.
-->'''Devil Z''': It is a powerup for Super Ginrai.
-->'''Giga''': A powerup for Super Ginrai?
* PetTheDog
* {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}: Sixknight, of the Six Tribe.
* PutOnABus: The Autobots Pretenders are quickly pushed out of the limelight to make way for the super-cool Godmasters. The title sequence even changes halfway through the series to reflect this.
** Phoenix is put on a bus almost immediately, getting virtually no screentime.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: The Decepticon Pretenders probably count.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Overlord and Sixknight get this.
* RefusalOfTheCall: Ginrai resists becoming a permanent member of the Autobot crew for a while, eventually deciding to join when the Decepticons show they won't stop making his life hell even when he's not on the battlefield.
* RedOniBlueOni: Minerva and Shuta Goh to an extent, particularly in the first half of the show. Oddly enough levelheaded Minerva had a red color scheme whereas hotheaded Shuta has a blue color scheme.
* RocketPunch: Ginrai's Godbomber upgrade allows him to do this. Fortunately, his fists return on their own.
* {{Sentai}}
* ShesGotLegs: In "Panic! Protect the Wild Animals!!," Minerva dons an outfit that shows off her legs (and invokes BareYourMidriff and WhoWearsShortShorts to boot). Shuta and Cab immediately start [[HelloNurse ogling her]].
* SiblingTeam: Hydra & Buster.
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Cab can converse with animals. He even keeps a bird and armadillo.
* StoryArc: While Masterforce does have quite a few standalone episodes, its best appreciated in a back-to-back format. Certainly executed much better than ''Headmasters'' and ''Victory''.
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: One instance has Ginrai explaining the finer points to transforming and being a Godmaster to new guy Ranger while Ranger is falling off a cliff.
* TeamMom: Mega is a rare villainous version. She genuinely seems to care about Cancer/Squeezeplay.
* TeamPet: Cab's parrot and armadillo, as well as Browning.
* TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive: Hydra and Buster attack Ginrai during his day job on a few occassions. They also take the oppurtunity to murder some of his friends.
* ThemeMusicPowerup: Several themes of Masterforce are good indicators that you're about to get the snot beaten out of you.
** Ironically, one such song that was specifically about Ginrai was played while the suped-up Hydra brothers were badly beating him.
* ThisIsUnforgivable: Most of the things the Decepticons do is usually called this by the Autobots, as per the course, but what really crosses this is when Devil Z starts killing his own minions.
* ThreeAmigos: Shuta, Cab, and Minerva.
* TitleSequenceReplacement: About halfway through the series, the original multi-character title sequence is replaced by one that focuses largely on Ginrai fighting Overlord.
* TransformingMecha
* TrueCompanions: Both good and evil.
* TooDumbToLive: As the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]] says, "Shuta comes up with the worst plan ever for dealing with a combiner". Which involves jumping on King Poseideon's arm to break it off. What?
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: No-one ever comments in the series that Ginrai's transtector is a dead-ringer for a certain famous Autobot. One of the clip shows explained that he was meant to be a new body for Optimus, until Devil Z got involved.
* UnwantedHarem ([[InvertedTrope Gender-flipped]] and G-rated)
* VillainDecay: The poor Decepticon Pretenders suffer from this. They go from being monstrously ruthless foes to the threat level of your average He-Man villain.
** King Poseidon also stops being quite as threatening when Ginrai beats seven bells out of him every other day.
* VillainousRescue: Towards the end of the series, the Autobot Headmaster Juniors and a reformed Cancer were in a pinch fighting the Seacons and just when they were about to be overwhelmed, the disgruntled Decepticon Headmaster Juniors came in and helped turn the tide of the battle.
* WalkingTheEarth: Sixknight after his humbling defeat by Ginrai.
* WatchingTroyBurn: After the Decepticons successfully attempted AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs, they utterly demolished the Autobots' base.
* WeHaveReserves: The Seacons are droves of mindless drones who show up, fire a few lasers and then explode.
** The Sparkdashers don't fare much better.
* WhamEpisode: Several of them
** "Super Warriors- The Godmaster Brothers" brings in Hydra and Buster, which suddenly not only puts the Autobots in serious trouble, but changes the entire series.
** " Eliminate the Godmaster Ginrai" brings in Devil Z, which completely changes the tone of the series.
* WhoNamesTheirKidDude: Plenty. The region 1 DVD names several characters based on their American toy. It would be hard listing all of them.
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: One episode had Hydra pretty much refuse to use his guns at the proper moment: He has Ginrai cornered and outgunned, he walks menacingly towards him, smirks and...flips his guns over and uses them as clubs. Later on his brother has Ginrai in a chokehold, so Hydra once again moves to shoot the hero, only to discard his gun at the last moment and punch Ginrai in the gut. JUST SHOOT HIM ALREADY.
* WordSaladTitle
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Giga has green hair.
* YouHaveFailedMe: As one might expect, big boss Devil Z starts to get mighty peeved at the constant failures of his underlings. So much so he almost batters Buster and Hydra to death in a fit of rage.