Robots in Disguise was the first dubbed Transformers show ever broadcast for a US audience. (English dubs of Japan-exclusive G1 cartoons like The Headmasters were produced in Asia for markets like Malaysia, but those never aired in the US because they were really, really bad.)Car Robots, the original Japanese series from which it was adapted, premiered in Japan in 2000. Originally the series was not going to be imported from Japan, but when Hasbro scrapped the planned Transtech line at the eleventh hour the Car Robots line and its attendant cartoon were imported to fill the void until a new replacement could be designed.Robots in Disguise was produced and dubbed by Saban Entertainment, and aired from September 2001 to March 2002. It was something of a return to roots for Transformers fiction, in the sense that many characters transformed into realistic, modern Earth vehicles instead of animals or abstract/futuristic vehicles, as was standard in the Beast Era. It also marked the return of the Autobot faction and sigil for the good guys. The villains were initially called Predacons as they were in Beast Wars, but the Decepticons were added later as a sub-group. The show makes a contrast between the bumbling antics of the Predacons and the professional, sinister Decepticons.Most of the voice actors were veterans of other Saban properties (basically, everyone from Digimon) but had never worked on a Transformers series before. Michael McConnohie, one of the series' voice directors and the voice of Hot Shot, had voiced Cosmos and Tracks in the original cartoon.All 39 episodes were scheduled to run during the afternoon Fox Kids programming block on the Fox television network. The third episode, "Bullet Train to the Rescue", was scheduled to air on September 11, 2001, but was not aired in most areas because of the terrorist attacks in America that day. Later episodes were edited to remove scenes that might be Too Soon for the viewers, such as buildings being blown up.Popularity-wise, the series is seen as one of those "middle-of-the-road" shows. While it wasn't praised as the most revolutionary show like Beast Wars, it still didn't receive the enormous flack that the Unicron Trilogy had. For its all its action-packed adventures, there was an equal amount of emphasis on gags and humor. For all its emphasis on stand-out characterization, the plot could at times be equally as kiddy (Omega Prime powering his Matrix Blade with the happiness of children). However, attempts to compare Robots in Disguise to Beast Wars or Beast Machines may prove fruitless in the long run as the show was made in Japan for young children. But all in all, Robots in Disguise was ultimately meant to be a transitional/filler series from the end of Beast Machines to the start of Armada and it did its job quite well.Disney now owns the cartoon through their acquisition of Saban. DVDs for this show are only available in the UK, much to the annoyance of US fans.
Camp Gay: Gas Skunk, in the Japanese version. Played by the same guy that does Emporio Ivankov in One Piece.
Canon Immigrant/ Retcon: Kiss Players retcons Car Robots into the G1 continuity family, both series take place in between the movie (set in 2005) and Season 3 (which is set in 2010 in Japan as opposed to one year after the movie). Brave Maximus time travels, arriving on the Planet Master, becoming the inspiration for the construction of Fortress Maximus from Transformers Headmasters anime.
The City: Tokyo in Car Robots; the city is named Metro City Robots In Disguise
Saban even redid the clip shows; the third one, which in Car Robots was about Sky-Byte's reflections on recent events, was completely scrapped in favor of Megatron reviewing the arrival of Ultra Magnus, even though Megatron had become Galvatron a few episodes previously, putting the episode out of order.
Cool Train: About the only series to prominently feature a team of train-based Transformers- which due to the series also paying more attention to scale than usual, meant they were much bigger than the other Transformers. In one episode, Midnight Express has become quite attached to a non-sentient steam engine. (Although that's a case of Woolseyism — J4 of Car Robots treats said steam engine as one would treat a revered elder.)
Combining Mecha: The Build Team forms Landfill, the Decepticons form Ruination, and Team Bullet Train forms Rail Racer.
Demonic Possession: A mild version, with Skid-Z being possessed by the "psychotropic energy" of a race driver, and being compelled to join any race.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: For U.S. viewers anyway. The series is not available on Region 1 DVD, though it is available in Region 2.
Kid-Appeal Character: Wedge. He's small, enormously eager to prove himself, young, and towards the end of the series, its HIS courage that inspires Omega Prime to act and pull off a big feat. To top it all off, he's yellow orange.
Most fans less familiar with the series generally associate Side Burn with the role, though... because out of the first bunch of protagonists, he's the sports car.
Meaningful Name: In Japan, this incarnation of Megatron was named Gigatron. "Giga" means a thousand units of something, which applies to this Megatron having atleast ten alternate modes, quite possibly the most out of any character in any of the series.
Mythology Gag: Many episodes of Robots in Disguise featured references to characters and events from earlier Transformers series. These were typically not written by the dub team but, rather, were added by Hasbro employee Andrew Frankel after the scripts were submitted to the company for broadcast approval.
One of the strangest is that T-AI, the RiD Autobots' computer/holographic AI, is the daughter of Teletraan-1, the Generation One Ark's main computer.
Possibly justified in that spin-off processes are sometimes called "daughter processes".
This is, in fact, one of only two series within the entire Transformers franchise where he doesn't die to come back. And what's worse is that the other series that didn't do this was the dreaded Kiss Players.
And Kiss Players takes place in G1 continuity, so it's the same incarnation of Prime that's died twice in Japanese continuity. RID Optimus is the only one never to dance with the Reaper.
Orcus on His Throne: Megatron in many early episodes - although he is stronger than all of the Predacons combined, he often sent them into the field alone instead of accompanying them.
Parental Bonus: Sky-Byte reads A Tale of Two Cities in one episode and doesn't think much of it.
Robo Family: The Autobot Brothers: Prowl, X-Brawn and Sideburn.
Running Gag: The mistreatment of Kelly, Side Burn and red sports cars, Transformers in general not seeming to realize that vehicles on this planet aren't sapient.
Serial Escalation: Megatron had six different forms (or, at least, his figure did); Bat, Jet, Claw, Car, and two-headed dragon, as well as his normal robot mode. After becoming Galvatron, he gets an extra four modes.
We get to see all of his modes during the show, though some are one-scene wonders.