Western Animation: Challenge of the GoBots
Challenge of the GoBots
dealt with two opposing forces of transforming robots
from the planet Gobotron: the heroic Guardians and the evil Renegades. The Guardians were led by Leader-1; others included Turbo and Scooter. The Renegades were led by Cy-Kill, with Crasher and Cop-Tur among their ranks.
The characters rarely had guns, instead shooting energy blasts out of their fists. Although Rule of Cool
may state otherwise, built-in
weaponry does make a lot more sense for a robot, when you think about it (and if you observed closely, the Transformers in the 2007 live-action movie seem to follow this rule, with all their weapons being "onboard").
The GoBots' origin as organic beings accounted for the presence of genders among the robots. Unlike Transformers
, Challenge of the GoBots
had regular female characters (the Transformers eventually also
added female castmembers, but it was never clear what gender could mean for an inorganic
race). However, the females were built like the males. Only Crasher received any distinguishable feminine features.
Also, since they did have young
GoBots who needed to be educated, and the characters did not make claims to vast age
like the Transformers
did, it appears that GoBots do age, reproduce, and experience generational turnover like any other biological race (although exactly how
their two genders reproduce would be anybody's guess
Notably, the Renegades do use nonsentient, inorganic
robots as weapons, such as the Zods
and the Puzzlers;
while the Guardians use piloted mecha
called Command Centers and Powered Armor
called Power Suits. Only one episode features a sentient
inorganic robot, and interestingly, it is human-built. The movie also introduced Nuggit, who is identified as a true robot.
Their race became cyborgs in order to survive after their long-standing civil war had decimated their planet's biosphere beyond repair. The Guardians then began converting the otherwise-dead world into a completely metal-sheathed City Planet
, breaking up entire uninhabited worldlets for the necessary materials. At the time of the series, this massive construction effort is still ongoing, accounting for the metal world's peculiar "apple-core" shape.
The series generally focused on the "lead" three robots from each faction (Leader-1, Turbo and Scooter vs. Cy-Kill, Cop-Tur and Crasher), who were virtually ever-present. Other characters seemed to rotate in "guest-star" roles. GoBots had no clear divide between the two factions. The characters, as well as the toys, had no identifying insignias or markings to indicate their allegiance, although it was clearly indicated on the packaging. Likewise, there was no commonality of design within each faction. The only "theme" to a faction was that anything that turned into a monstrous-looking robot or vehicle was a Renegade.Challenge of the GoBots
is considered to be a rip-off of Transformers
; this is only partially true. The GoBots toyline pre-dates the Transformers toyline (recycling a lot of Machine Robo
toys). However, the cartoon was created as a response to
Despite addressing some valid and interesting science fiction tropes (as listed below), the series's biggest handicap, apart from its obvious similarity to the Transformers
, was probably its "toony" character design, as compared to the comic book-realism of the Transformers
art. (This may account for the show's popularity in Europe, where toony character designs in adventure shows
are more common.)
Interestingly, it is now actually considered part
of the Transformers
Though it's emphasized that it's a distant
part of said multiverse.
There are at least two other Alternate Continuities
for the franchise, (apart from the modern Transformers version). A British comic strip
called Robo Machines
appeared in the periodical Eagle
from November of '84 to July of '85, featuring a radically different storyline (the other wiki
has information here.)
And in France, where the American show had been quite popular, the Japanese Machine Robo
series was used as a second season, despite the drastic Art Shift
between the series.
Challenge of the GoBots provides examples of the folllowing tropes: