Western Animation: Transformers: Robots in Disguise

Transformers: Robots In Disguise is an animated series in the Transformers franchise. The series is a sequel series to Transformers Prime taking place within the Transformers Aligned Universe.

Taking place years after the events of Transformers Prime, the series follows Bumblebee acting as leader to a new team of Autobots as they return to Earth after a prison ship carrying hundreds of Decepticons crashes there.

Not to be confused with Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the American localization of the Car Robots anime.


This series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Despite his comic-moments Denny is a subversion, as his knowledge of the area helps the Autobots. He even helped try to take down Underbite with his pickup truck along with the Autobots. He even helps them keep their cover a lot by coming up with a lot of ridiculous disguises and excuses.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In True Colors Bumblebee seems somewhat dismissive of Russel's theory that Grimlock is being controlled somehow. This takes place in the same continuity where Bumblebee was possessed by the disembodied spark of Megatron at one point.
  • Adorkable: Bumblebee under the influence of Quillfire's toxic quills. It reduces his mind to that of a child.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Sideswipe has developed a taste for Earth music.
    • Bumblebee has shown a love for Westerns.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Bumblebee, Sideswipe and Strongarm in the season finale, complete with nifty Super Mode armor and replicas of the Prime Decepticon Hunter.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version of the show uses "Save the Future" by Mitsuhiro Oikawa as the opening theme and "Try Transformers: Adventure" as the ending theme.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Strongarm is a robot version of this.
  • Animal Motifs: Most of the Decepticons exhibit this in this series, with the following tropes applying:
    • Angry Guard Dog: While Underbite resembles a giant dog, he is actually a gorgonopsian, an extinct mammal-like reptile with a doglike appearance.
    • Bat out of Hell: Nightstrike.
    • The Big Bad Wolf/Wolf Man: Steeljaw, who has a lupine appearance.
    • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Octopunch, an octopus-like Decepticon.
    • Extra Eyes: A so far unseen Decepticon that Grimlock decribes as covered in eyeballs.
    • Giant Enemy Crab: Bisk, a Decepticon with a distinctly crustacean look, including eye stalks and snapping claws. Clampdown, on the other hand, is more of a literal example, lacking Bisk's humanoid shape and looking like a straight-up robot crab.
    • Giant Flyer: Filch, a giant mechanical bird Decepticon that is strong enough to lift an RV and two Autobots.
    • Giant Spider: Chop Shop, a combiner composed of five giant spiders that merge into a humanoid robot.
    • Insect Queen: Zizza, who takes several cues from bees.
    • Killer Gorilla: Groundpounder.
    • A Load of Bull: Terrashock, a Decepticon with buffalo-like features.
    • The Marvelous Deer: Thunderhoof, whose otherwise humanoid look features some impressive antlers and cloven hooves on his feet.
    • Panthera Awesome: Razorpaw, a puma-like Decepticon.
    • Prickly Porcupine: Quillfire, a Decepticon with porcupine characteristics.
    • Puppeteer Parasite: Minitron, a tiny louse-like Decepticon, who is employed by Steeljaw to control Grimlock's behavior.
    • Sand Worm: An earthworm-like Decepticon named Ped.
    • Smelly Skunk: Malodor and his gang of Skunkticons, who have the ability to produce debilitating toxins.
    • Snake People: Vertebreak, a multiple-armed serpentine Mad Scientist.
    • Thieving Magpie: Filch, who is appropriately named, given she tends to steal shiny things. Her bird mode even has a corvid-like appearance.
    • Threatening Shark: A shark-like Decepticon resembles a hammerhead, appropriately named Hammerstrike.
  • Art Evolution: The series uses an aggressive mixture of low-framerate, cel shaded CGI with hand-painted backgrounds and the occasional use of 2D particle effects like smoke clouds, as opposed to the full CGI of Prime. The art style has also changed a little. Whilst recognizable traits from the previous series are present, it also looks to be incorporating a little of the cartoony expression of Transformers Animated as well as bearing some similarity to Transformers Rescue Bots.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Filch's fascination for anything shiny certainly gets her attention.
  • Ax-Crazy: Springload's first inclination when he meets someone (or something) new is to ask them to take him to Doradus. When they inevitably fail, he begins attacking them.
  • Bigger Bad: Like Unicron in the previous series, the finale of the first season brings in an ancient and far more dangerous evil to contend with; Megatronus, otherwise known as The Fallen.
  • Big Bad: Steeljaw, the Decepticon working to unite the other escapees together to be a competent threat. Early material released for the Phone games proclaim him as the Decepticon Leader. This makes him the first Decepticon Big Bad in western animation who isn't Megatron (or Galvatron).
  • Big Eater: The Decepticon Underbite gets stronger by eating inorganic matter, and he once ate an entire city. Naturally, he's quick to start chowing down when he wakes up on Earth.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: What Sideswipe pulls on Terrashock.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Twice it has happened in episode 12 with characters Fracture and Drift.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Quillfire conducts himself in this general fashion, though substituting bombs with venomous quills. He claims that any form of authority whatsoever is "oppression", and runs around trying to free all the animals at the zoo because he mistakes them for fellow revolutionaries who've been imprisoned by the "oppressors".
  • Bounty Hunter: Fracture and Drift.
  • Broad Strokes: Like in Transformers Prime, past fiction relating to the Transformers Aligned Universe is treated this way. Interestingly however, the series seems to be taking this approach to certain aspects of Prime itself and fiction relating to it (the Rage of the Dinobots and Beast Hunters comics as notable examples), despite being a direct sequel series.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Strongarm, who transforms into a police SUV. She repeatedly references the book by constantly citing and projecting a holographic rule book from her arm. This makes her similar to previous law enforcement-themed characters, such as Chase and Prowl.
  • Call Back: Once again, it's Bumblebee who takes out the Big Bad.
  • Cel Shading: All robot and human characters are CGI with a dose of cel-shading on them to make them more suitable to a painted background. Strangely, small creatures like birds and fish are cartoonized that makes them look weird when compared to their cel-shaded counterparts.
  • City of Gold: Doradus is a Cybertronian version of this with limitless, super Energon replacing gold and jewels.
  • Composite Character: Several examples can be found in this series:
    • Bumblebee was already based heavily on the version seen in the films, but his being shoved into the role of a leader (which already began in the previous series) and his doubts over whether he can live up to Optimus's example are evocative of Rodimus Prime and Hot Shot during their stints as leaders of the Autobots. Bumblebee differs in that he's not the leader of the entirety of the Autobots, however.
    • Sideswipe mostly resembles his Generation 1 namesake, but wields a sword, much like how his live-action counterpart was equipped with arm blades.
    • Grimlock's design combines elements of multiple previous versions of the character, transforming almost exactly like the original and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron incarnations. However, his dinosaur mode has a prominent underbite like the Grimlock of Transformers Animated, plus he's green like the film version of Age of Extinction and Robots in Disguise anime versions of Grimlock.
    • Jazz basically is a combination of many variations of his previous incarnations. He transforms into a Porche, has speakers on his shoulders for weapons, speaking in the same usual slang, and is of the same blue, silver, and black colors from his Generation 1 incarnation. He also has a retractable visor to reveal blue optics based off his Transformers Film Series self.
    • Drift is based primarily on his Age of Extinction incarnation, with samurai-styled armour and facial hair, but sports a crest on his helmet shaped more like that of the original Drift that debuted in the IDW comics.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • As has always been consistent in the Transformers Aligned Universe, the planet Cybertron bears the exact same design as originated in Transformers: War for Cybertron.
    • Tron Lines were a notable design feature of the Cybertronian forms of the characters in the games, and this series makes a return to using them more prominently.
    • Bumblebee makes a reference to saving the universe from Starscream, Megatron and Dark Energon.
    • Terrashock says he works for a Decepticon called Contrail. In the novel Exodus reveal a seeker called Contrail who was Council Secretary on the High Council in the days before the great war, but became one of Megatron's Decepticons.
    • In Episode 17, the human soldiers can be seen piloting models of the armored truck from the M.A.S.K. division, the same model that Optimus Prime scanned for his second alt-mode back in Transformers Prime.
    • In Episode 25 Bumblebee shouts Roll to the Rescue as his catch phrase before noting someone else is using it.
    • In Episode 26 Megatronus's great plan involves using the energy of Unicron, dormant within the Earth's core, to crash him into Cybertron, the revelation about Unicron was a huge reveal back in Prime.
  • Continuity Snarl: Bumlbebee, Sideswipe, and Grimlock—or rather, how they don't seem to know each other despite being set in the same universe as Transformers: War for Cybertron (where Sideswipe was on a rescue mission with Optimus and 'Bee) and Fall of Cybertron (where Sideswipe piloted Jazz and Cliffjumper on a mission to rescue Grimlock and the other Dinobots). If they're supposed to be the same characters, Bumblebee should be asking what happened to them between leaving Cybertron and now that caused Sideswipe to be a reckless racer and Grimlock to be in prison, and if they're different characters with the same names, Bumblebee should've said something.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Industrial structures near Crown City such as the dam tend to be fully automated, allowing the Transformers to fight without witnesses.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fixit's various eccentricities and faulty wiring hides the fact that he is an incredibly skilled engineer and medic.
  • Cuddle Bug: Grimlock (at first) is just a big ol' cuddle bug... a large robot dinosaur cuddle bug. The rest of the team are understandably hesitant about him being so huggy.
  • Denser and Wackier: Whilst the show is by no means fully silly, compared to its predecessor, it definitely doesn't take itself anywhere near as seriously. There's a more comical tone to it, with sound effects and exaggerated animation and expressions at times, and a good number of the Decepticons are a lot less threatening and murderous than before, some of them even downright silly with their animal-based forms.
  • Detachment Combat: Chop Shop can split apart into five robotic spiders — each of them seem to have a mind of their own. One of them even manages to make their escape even while the main body is frozen and later imprisoned inside of a stasis pod.
    • Fracture and Drift's Minicon partners work similarly; they transform into parts of their bigger counterpart's armour and detach to fight. The difference is that they're actually characters in their own right, rather than merely extensions of their partner.
  • Deus ex Machina: Optimus Prime when he saves Bumblebee and the others by taking on physical form and bringing down Underbite in the most awesomest way possible!
  • The Don: Thunderhoof back on Cybertron, running a massive crime ring that even spread to half of Autobot police force. Notably, he has the accent for the part.
  • Dirty Coward: When Minitron returns to Steeljaw with only one stasis pod, Steeljaw's first (and correct) assumption is he encountered the Autobots, then ran away. Steeljaw even calls Minitron's justification (excuse) for failure "cowardly". Given he was in control of Grimlock at the time, by far the strongest bot of the group who could easily be capable of curb stomping them all if he wanted to, Minitron definitely doesn't come across as making the best of arguments in his favour.
    • Clampdown is even worse, actively betraying fellow Decepticons to Autobot authorities to avoid punishment, both on Earth and Cybertron.
  • Down in the Dumps: Denny runs a scrapyard. The Autobots set up their headquarters there.
  • Drop the Hammer: Scowl's Weapon of Choice is a hammer formed from his alt-mode's thagomizer.
  • Dumb Muscle: Grimlock, full stop. He might not be the brightest bulb but he's so darn enthusiastic it's hard not to like him.
  • Equippable Ally: Along with turning his arms into various instruments, Fixit can turn himself into a Cybertronian-sized set of tweezers and likely other tools as well.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Everyone's favourite Space Robot Dinosaur, Grimlock, is a significant member of the cast. Notably, he starts out as a Decepticon in this series.
    • Grimlock did not instantly remove or alter his symbol upon joining the Autobots, meaning its presence may not be his choice. It seems that 'Decepticon' has become another term for a Cybertronian criminal and the symbol seems to be indicative of that for the benefit of law-abiding Cybertronians. Strongarm refers to him as a criminal for some time and initially tells him he is 'on probation'. Grimlock's rap is (unsurprisingly) accidental destruction of property.
    Grimlock: "I'm on probation! I'm on probation!"
  • Evil Brit: Chop Shop.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: The Autobots and the Clay family can manage some truly absurd cover stories. In just one episode, Filch makes a bird nest in a public monument and later on they fight her on a well-traveled bridge with the excuse that they're "bird-catchers".
    • The characters often use extremely flimsy cover stories to explain away their presence. Denny and Russell have claimed that the Autobots are simply giant animatronics multiple times.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hammerstrike loathes land-dwellers.
    • Fixit initially believes that humans are incapable of understanding Cybertronian technology. Denny proves him wrong and he quickly abandons this line of thinking.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: Steeljaw has claimed Earth as the new Decepticon homeworld after having lost Cybertron to the Autobots in the Great War.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Strongarm doesn't buy the idea that Windblade received her mission from Primus Himself.
  • Full-Name Basis: Fixit always calls Denny by his full name. None of the other Autobots do this and he doesn't do this when he talks to Russell.
  • Gender-Blender Name/Only Known by Their Nickname: Russell's new friend, Hank. Her real name is Henrietta (but she does not like being called that).
  • Genre Shift: The show is more along the lines of a cop show (albeit with a continuous story) where Bumblebee leads a team of Autobots to capture Decepticons, than the war story Prime was.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Hundreds of fugitive Decepticons have escaped from stasis pods, and the team has to catch them all.
    • Fixit even has the Pokedex-like prisoner manifest to provide exposition.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Aquatic Decepticons, like Hammerstrike and Octopunch, are still dangerous on dry land, but they are much stronger below the waves.
  • Human Popsicle: How the prisoners of the Alchemor were stored on the ship.
  • I Choose to Stay: All of the Autobots agree to stay on Earth and continue to help round up the escaped Decepticons after Megatronus has been neutralized.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Referenced by Sideswipe in Ghosts and Imposters. Defied by Drift...
    Drift: A location cannot be too quiet. It is either quiet or it is not.
  • Jerkass: Drift's perfectionist tendencies and strict code of honor causes him to clash heads frequently with the other Autobots...
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: ...but nonetheless he has honor, which is more than can be said for his rival bounty hunter, Fracture. By the end of Hunting Season, he sees Bumblebee for the honorable warrior that he is, and compliments Jetstorm and Slipstream on their performance in the last battle of the episode.
  • Jumped at the Call: Denny eagerly throws himself into helping the Autobots, providing them with supplies, lodging, and intel.
    • Bumblebee himself eagerly abandons his position and life on Cybertron to return to Earth when Optimus appears to him. Strongarm does the same when she follows Bumblebee through the Space Bridge.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Grimlock by far. Even though he gets along well with the others, his first (often only) thought is to jump into a fight and start punching.
    • For all her obsession with the law, Strongarm's not above jumping into situations she's not fully prepared for. In the second part of the pilot, she shows signs of this by shooting at one of Underbite's lunches, thus ruining Bumblebee's sneak attack.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Bumblebee is a beloved war hero at the start of the series.
  • Lighter and Softer: The series has been purposefully made to be tonally more "fun" than its predecessor.
  • Metronomic Bot Mashing: Done by Guard!Fixit to Bumblebee when Bee tries to stop him from "forcibly deactivating" Chop Shop.
    Bumblebee: Owwh, Wow! You're stronger than I would've guessed!
  • Morph Weapon: The Decepticon Hunter.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While a possible coincidence, the series' theme of Autobots facing enemies with beast-like forms, coupled with the name of its subtitle, brings to mind another Transformers' series.
    • Grimlock is not the first Dinobot to start out amongst the villains.
    • In the first episode, Optimus's spirit helps Bumblebee get to Earth by showing him the planet engraved on a circular golden disk. Golden disks are a common plot device in Transformers media, going all the way back to Beast Wars.
    • Sideswipe's primary weapon is a sword, which is evocative of the blades used by his live-action movie counterpart.
    • The premise of a gorilla (Groundpounder) fighting a T. rex (Grimlock) has been done in Transformers before as Beast Wars fan can attest too.
    • Like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Megatronus, aka The Fallen, has a face and helmet that resembles the Decepticon insignia, has telekinetic powers and also fights using a staff as one of his weapons. He's also referred to as "the First Decepticon" akin to the movie, despite Megatron being the faction's founder in this universe.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Used by Grimlock and Fixit to conceal themselves if they can't hide when someone visits the junkyard.
    • Righty does this when he infiltrates the scrapyard to free the rest of Chop Shop. And to drive the point home, he does this next to some cherub statues that he clashes against.
  • Oh My Gods!: Bumblebee uses "By the Primes!" upon seeing Vertebreak's Mad Scientist lair. Makes sense, given that the Thirteen would probably be akin to a pantheon in Transformer culture.
  • Oil Slick: Both Grimlock and Bumblebee suffer this in the third ep, but were able to use this to their advantage to capture Hammerstrike.
  • Our Founder: A statue of Optimus Prime, who made it possible for Cybertronians to continue as a society, has been constructed in his honor.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: We don't know much about Optimus other than he can't materialize for more than moments when most needed, as determined by the Thirteen.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Drift and Fracture's Minicons are more than capable of fighting Transformers three times their size.
  • Primal Stance: Pretty much Terrashock's default posture. He even runs on all fours.
  • Private Eye Monologue: While looking in a museum for a stasis pod, Russell begins talking to himself calling himself "McPlank" as though he was a detective.
  • Punny Name: Bisk, the lobster-like Decepticon. As in lobster bisque.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Minitron, a insect-sized Decepticon who can take over other Transformers by biting them.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Deceptibrand is purple, as usual, and many of the powerful Decepticons (Fracture, Underbite, Megatronus, etc.) have this as their color motif.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: As opposed to Team Prime from the previous series, who were close enough to consider one another family, Bumblebee's unit consists of himself, a cadet-in-training, a "turbo-revving young punk", a Mini-con from a crashed vessel, and a criminal Dinobot, all of whom were more-or-less thrown together by circumstances of fate.
    • Steeljaw's Pack is a villainous version of this. As opposed to the large, organized army from the previous show, Steeljaw's gang is made up of a failed revolutionary, a short-tempered mob boss, a lone bounty hunter with Mini-con helpers, an egotistical bodybuilder, and a cowardly snitch.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The officious and rule oriented cadet Strongarm repeatedly clashes with the rebellious punk, Sideswipe. Their colors even match.
  • Robot Hair: Sideswipe's helmet resembles a spiky hairdo with a set of sideburns, befitting his role as a punk and public miscreant.
  • Running Gag: Bumblebee's attempts to come up with a Battle Cry (similar to Optimus Prime's classic "Transform and roll out"), which are always terrible.
    • Fixit stuttering and needing to be tapped to continue speaking.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Many of the Decepticon escapees have no interest in conquering Earth or rampaging and simply try to find ways off planet.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Each of the Alchemor's stasis cells, with one exception, contains a dangerous Decepticon criminal.
  • Secret Other Family: When the team comes upon a Decepticon who's already been bound and gagged, Grimlock asks Bumblebee if he has a another secret team working to catch Decepticons.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Thunderhoof's main power and presumably the source of his name.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smash The Symbol: Steeljaw slashed his Decepticon insignia which he says served a dual purpose, both to separate himself from the Decepticons and to disable the tracker device the Autobots have on him. He also does this to any Decepticon he recruits.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Strongarm and Filch (with a shared voice actor, Constance Zimmer) are this for the Autobots and the Decepticons, respectively. At least, for the first half of season 1. Later on, Windblade and Zizza appear for both the Autobots and the Decepticons.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted. Underbite, the Starter Villain, is able to take on and hold the entire team with his raw power, while consecutive villains, like Hammerstrike, can be beaten by one or two team members. The Big Bad, Steeljaw, is shown to be reasonably equal with Bumblebee, which would actually make him fairly weaker than most of the villains, but he compensates by being far more intelligent and resourceful.
  • Spirit Advisor: Optimus Prime.
  • Spot the Imposter: Thanks to Pseudo. The first round is won by Drift himself, since he can deploy Slipstream and Jetstorm, and Pseudo can't. The second round is the more standard Something Only They Would Say.
    Pseudo!Grimlock: I thought it was a trick question.
  • Starter Villain: Underbite.
  • Stun Gun: In the first episode, before leaving Cybertron, Bumblebee specifically states that his gun is set on "stun". The guards' setting doesn't matter, as they had Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy training.
  • Super Mode: Granted to Bumblebee, Sideswipe and Strongarm by combining their Decepticon Hunters.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: In the first episode, Fixit hands Bumblebee a weapon that looks like a simple taser rod, but it proceeds to malfunction repeatedly over the course of several episodes. By episode six, they finally get it working and revealed to be this instead, with multiple weapon forms that include an an axe and a laser sword.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream can be barely heard from a Decepticon who got crushed by Grimlock.
  • Tank Goodness: Quillfire and Springload gain one in the ep "One of Our Mini-Cons Is Missing". Luckily bee's team was able to recapture the two and the tank was destroyed.
    • Megatronus's alt mode.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sideswipe has this with Strongarm and, to a lesser extent, Bumblebee. The only reason he's on the team is because they arrested him and brought him along in the pilot two-parter. His carefree attitude towards rules clashes with Strongarms heavy belief in obedience and Bumblebee's own attempts at projecting authority.
    • Thunderhoof and Steeljaw clash frequently over orders and what to do with Clampdown. A lack of options and desperation is the only reason they're working together.
  • Teleporter Accident: Most of the space bridges in this show are built by amateurs with substandard materials. As a result, they tend to fail more often than not, sending users to the wrong location (the arctic, an erupting volcano, etc.) One jury-rigged Spacebridge produced a black hole that nearly destroyed the planet.
  • The Chosen Many: Bumblebee wasn't the only Autobot Optimus called to Earth...
  • Time Skip: This series takes place after Transformers Prime, though its still unclear how much time has elapsed.
  • Token Minority: Among the Decepticons, Fracture fulfills this role, being the only one on the show to date without beast-like characteristics.
    • Headlock may also qualify.
  • Tomboyish Name: Hank
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bumblebee is now acting as a new Autobot leader, and he also has a much buffer, more physically imposing form. Looking at his new body head-on, he even seems to have a few design traits in common with Optimus Prime himself.
  • Villain Team-Up: Quillfire and Springload join forces in "One of our Minicons is Missing", though this partnership was doomed from the start because of how unbalanced they both are.
  • Visual Pun: Strongarm projects a copy of the rulebook from her palm whenever she quotes from it. She literally keeps the book in hand.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: The case for all of the Decepticons who break free from their stasis pods, only to find themselves on Earth. This is explored when Terrashock breaks free in a museum and finds himself confused and mystified by the showcasing of human culture. Springload, on the other hand, is so disoriented upon awakening that he believes himself to still be on Cybertron.
  • Wendigo: Thunderhoof's appearance allows him to masquerade as one, allowing him to form a cult out of some gullible humans who believe him to be a supernatural creature and trick them into helping him build a space bridge back to Cybertron.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: "Even Robots Have Nightmares" has all the Autobots experience hallucinations of their worst fears. Bumblebee is afraid of disappointing Optimus, Strongarm is afraid of becoming a criminal herself, Sideswipe suffers from claustrophobia, Fixit is afraid of being deemed obsolete, and Grimlock is afraid of... kittens.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Whether Hammerstrike's accent is British or Australian is unclear.

Alternative Title(s):

Transformers Robots In Disguise 2015