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:

  • Adorkable: Bumblebee under the influence of Quillfire's toxic quills. It reduced his mind to that of a child.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Sideswipe has developed a taste for certain Earth music.
    • Bumblebee has shown a love for Westerns.
  • 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: 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.
    • The Big Bad Wolf/Wolf Man: Steeljaw, who has a lupine-like appearance.
    • Frogs and Toads: Springload, a Decepticon with frog-like features.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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: A Decepticon appropriately named Stench, who has the ability to produce debilitating toxins.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Primeand 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. In fact, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Industrial stuctures near Crown City such as the dam tend to be fully automated, allowing the Transformers to fight without witnesses.
  • Detachment Combat: This is Chop Shop's deal. He can split apart into five robot spiders, and 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.
  • Down in the Dumps: Denny runs a scrapyard. The Autobots set up their headquarters there.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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".
  • Fantastic Racism: Hammerstrike loathes land-dwellers.
  • 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).
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Hundreds of fugitive Decepticons have escaped from stasis pods, and the team has to catch them all.
  • Jumped at the Call: Denny eagerly throws himself into helping the Autobots, providing them with supplies, lodging, and intel.
  • 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.
  • Lighter and Softer: The series has been purposefully made to be tonally more "fun" than its predecessor.
  • 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.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Used by Grimlock and Fixit to conceal themselves if they can't hide when someone visits the junkyard.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Thunderhoof's main power and presumably the source of his name.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thieving Magpie: Filch, who is appropriately named, given she tends to steal shiny things. Her bird mode even has a corvid-like appearance.
  • Token Minority: Among the Decepticons, Fracture fulfills this role, being the only one on the show to date without beast-like characteristics.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Hell Is That Accent?: Whether Hammerstrike's accent is British or Australian is unclear.

Alternative Title(s):

Transformers Robots In Disguise 2015