YMMV: Transformers

Franchise-wide items
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Very common amongst the various universes and incarnations, both in-universe and out. Quite a few people view the Decepticons as Well-Intentioned Extremists and the Autobots as a peaceful but oppressive group. The series has had a long history of varying morality to it, with each version differing on just how good or evil the Autobots and Decepticons are. The general official stance nowadays seems to be this: Autobots are flawed but are largely good and the Decepticons are extremists who kick the dog a lot and are more often than not unabashedly racist towards other races.
  • Base Breaker: Mikaela. Some wished she was the main human protagonist, next to Lennox, since she was less whiny, more assertive and just more competent than Sam. On the other hand she doesn't have quite enough of those moments so it still feels like she's just there to show Sam is a heterosexual.
    • Unicron, he's either a fearsome God of Evil that provides neat Enemy Mine situations or the biggest Generic Doomsday Villain the franchise has to offer.
    • The Classics Seeker Mold. When the Classics launched to Fan acclaim, the Classics Seeker mold was considered the de-facto mold for the Seekers, updating the animation models with modern technology to produce Starscream and the rest of his posse, the retools even giving the Coneheads accurate functional toys. However now fans question if the mold has been overused (and also prone to producing more easily broken figures as is the unfortunate fate of molds kept in circulation for long periods of time), and if it should be ditched in favor of the more articulate and sleeker Fall of Cybertron Seeker mold. Such debate has been put to rest with the retiring of the mold come Nacelle and the G2 Starscream.
    • Action Masters. From their debut till today, they are still derided for being Transformers who don't Transform, the very antithesis of the brand. Since the debut, however, there has been a bit of fan softening about them, as they provided posable figures who's character models matched closer to the cartoon then their original toys. The In-universe Justifications; the original one being that Nucleon was injected into them, making them more powerful at the expense of their alt-modes, and the Reimagining the Artifact in the IDW version (there called Monoformers, bots who forgo their Transformation Cog either due to religious reasons or just damage) have been met with approval, or at least acceptance. The new-characters created for the line all have their own fans, and even get new toys retooled into them today... all these new toys, however, are able to Transform.
    • Alpha Bravo, Offroad, and Rook. Many fans see them as Replacement Scrappies for Slingshot, Wildrider, and Groove of the Aerialbots, Stunticons, and Protectobots respectively while others believe that they bring variety to the teams in Alpha Bravo and Offroad's case.note  In Rook's case, many of his defenders state that it is more logical for a SWAT vehicle than a motorcycle (that has to be made larger) to make up a limb of a gestalt, despite not usually being a problem otherwise.
  • Broken Base: It's a franchise steaming past 30 years so there's bound to be divisions.
    • Repaints and Retools. Due to cost reasons, toys are frequently repainted and in some cases altered (most prominently given a new head) and sold as another character. This has been going on since the beginning of the franchise and it causes a bit of consternation. On the one hand, many repaints go on to be accepted as their own character and fans happily anticipate the mold's reuse; the Seekers are the biggest example of this. On the other hand certain fans feel the practice is lazy and extensive use of repaints can decay the mold used to create the toy leaving later produced figures more prone to breaking. In addition there are the outliers who feel other characters are more deserving of remolds than some of the one's chosen. Finally there's the issue of factory errors. If a figure has a design flaw and the retool doesn't fix it, fans are left with two toys with the same problem (such is the case of Generations Blitzwing's infamous shoulder flaw that carried over to his retool, Doubledealer).
    • The more mystical aspects of Transformers lore, are they out of place or do they fit in well with the sic-fi? Such a debate plagues even the writers and toy designers.
    • When toylines are released which makes the better figure/gives the better paint job: Hasbro or Takara?
    • RIRFIB and FIRRIB: what colors are Rumble and Frenzy? Due to switching them for the cartoon Rumble (who's toy was red) became blue and Frenzy (who's toy was blue) became the red one. The japanese dub of G1 switched the character names so they would match their toys, and since then the debate has taken off reaching memetic levels and producing countless jokes. Different comic series, books, video games, all assign colors to them and there's no set consistency. The Tfwiki has a humorous article on it. One of the few consensus on the matter is that The Transformers IDW made a mistake by making Rumble Red and Frenzy Blue and then changing it around for no reason before changing it back, confusing everyone.
  • Complete Monster: So many of them, it has its own page.
  • Crack Is Cheaper: The Masterpiece figures. Want a G1 cartoon-accurate Soundwave or Megatron? Prepare to plonk down upwards of 100 bucks then!
  • Creator's Pet: Kicker.
    • Bumblebee has become this, due to his Movie and Prime incarnations being overpacked in case assortments and, especially in Movie BB's case, having too many just-slightly-different versions of the same toy.
      • Transformers Rescue Bots is filled with Bumblebee toys, including a large playset. Bumblebee only appears in three episodes as a guest.
      • A lot of fans are bemoaning the oversaturation of Bumblebee, and wishing Hot Shot would make a comeback.
      • In fact, the creators of Animated vyed for Hot Shot (in a main role, at least), but since execs wanted 'Bee instead, they had to compromise. And for all his charm, he has a lot of screentime and is intentionally annoying.
    • Simon Furman has Grimlock, Thunderwing and Bludgeon.
      • While there are more than a few who complain about how he overuses Big Grim, few seem to have any problem with Furman's take on Thunderwing. And as for Bludgeon? The guy's a friggin' Ensemble Dark Horse, proving that even Creators' Pets don't have to suck.
    • And then we have Skids and Mudflap. They got almost as much toys as Bumblebee in ROTF, and had more screentime than any other Autobot. Thing is, it's possible that them flopping and flopping hard led to Bumblebee becoming a Creator's Pet.
    • Drift started out as this. The guy read like a laundry list of every bad TF fanfic trope - Bad Ass Angsty Ninja Samurai with a BFS who pulled a Heel-Face Turn in a woefully overwrought backstory. The only one he didn't have was (thankfully) any feelings for a human girl. However, thanks to James Roberts' More Than Meets the Eye ongoing, Drift has been (mostly) Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. It also didn't hurt that his toy was really great.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Oh Primus. Some fans take the Well-Intentioned Extremist interpretation to the next level and act as if the Decepticons are the actual good guys rebelling against the "fascistic" Autobots. This often involves conveniently glossing over the numerous horrible war crimes, abusive behavior, and horrific racism that the Decepticons commit. This is especially bad in series that give the Decepticons a sympathetic/tragic backstory or avert Always Chaotic Evil. This often leads into...
    • Ron the Death Eater: According to some the Autobots were horrible oppressors who are being overthrown by the "heroic" Decepticons. This view pretty much requires that one believes dictators frequently encourage their slaves to express free will and despise cultural discrimination.
  • Ear Worm: Transformers... more than meets the eye...
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Quite a few from all series.
  • Fanon Dis Continuity: Exactly what it is varies from person to person. The live-action movies are especially popular for this treatment.
  • Fan Nickname: It isn't uncommon to see "OP" for Optimus Prime, and "Megs" for Megatron.
  • First Installment Wins: For better or worse, G1 is the most known of the series, and only the live-action movies can stand up to it in terms of general recognizability. It get's the most callbacks, most parodies in popular culture draw from it, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are considered the best Optimus and Megatron, the comic series that are produced in the present day draw from the G1 reference pool far more than others, and future series base their characters more on the old designs than any others. Even the toylines feature the most homages to G1, and the old toyline has the most figures given updates with modern toolings. The Masterpiece series, aimed to the collectors, features a predominant Gen 1 cast.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Somewhat surprisingly with Doctor Who of all things. It helps that many of the better-regarded writers for the franchise are also Whovians; also of note is that Ensemble Darkhorse Death's Head (originally from the Marvel UK Transformers comics) made the jump from this franchise to the mainstream Marvel Universe via an encounter with The Doctor.
    • It's also very close with the G.I. Joe fandom and most people who like one like the other. Not surprising given the two series are not only made by the same people but are also frequently set in the same universe and crossover often.
  • Growing the Beard: The series as a whole settled into it's own around 1985, when the second wave of toys started up and introduced massively improved mechanics and fan favorite characters like the Dinobots and Constructicons. It was also around this time that Simon Furman started writing for the Marvel comic, which led to the creation of much of the franchise's mythos and characterization.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: There's an unmade transformer called Buffalo Dump. I wonder if James Rolfe knows about this guy?
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Fans generally only care about the robots themselves and are ambivalent at best towards the human characters.
  • Magnum Opus: Animated and Beast Wars are easily the two most beloved shows of the franchise. As far as video games go, the 2002 Armada game and War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron are the best-regarded, with the console version of Revenge of the Fallen also receiving similar praise. More Than Meets the Eye is an Ensemble Darkhorse powerhouse of a comic, and for the movies, generally either the first or third ones are the best-regarded.
  • Memetic Badass: Optimus Prime is the Robo-Jesus.
  • My Real Daddy: Simon Furman, who breathed new life into the comics, established much of the lore and characterizations for the franchise, and has wrote a good majority of Transformers comics.
  • Periphery Demographic: Transformers has a massive and varied fanbase of people from numerous demographics. Hasbro is quite aware of this; the comics can essentially do the things that the children-focused cartoons can't so that adult fans aren't left out.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A small contingent of fans feel that the Decepticons are the real good guys, and that the Autobots are evil. Granted, a few continuities show that the Bots aren't perfect paragons of justice, and the Cons had good reasons to rebel, but stories where Decepticons take small children hostage (or kill a puppy) show that they are NOT nice mechs.
    • Given a bit more weight in Transformers Animated in which the Autobots are the ruling empire led by someone who's just a bit too willing to do bad things to achieve victory for comfort while the Decepticons are the scrappy rebels, albeit vicious and ruthless ones.
    • In the IDW comics the Autobot government was evil (well corrupt at least) and the Decepticons were laid off blue collar workers living in slums until this one miner showed up... (Most of the story is set millions of years later, by which point they're rather less sympathetic.)
    • One of the movie prequel comics showed one part of the falling out between the Autobots and Decepticons was Prime wouldn't allow Megatron to attack a hostile force on their way to Cybertron, until they arrived and started attacking. Megatron was just trying to protect Cybertron.
    • In the Transformers: War for Cybertron continuity, Megatron was initially a gladiator who rebelled against an oppressive, caste-based society ruled by the Autobots, so initially it was the Autobots themselves who were the Empire and you should have rooted against. But Megatron became too prideful and ruthless, to the point his ideal of a caste-less society was buried by his desire to rule. Transformers seems to have been moving over the years from "Decepticons evil, Autobots good" to an almost Star Wars-like setup, where Cybertronian society badly needed shaking up but the Cons went too far and the necessities of war turned the Autobots into the casteless society the Decepticons wanted, while the Decepticons became too obsessed to remember their original intentions.
    • The Megatron in Beast Wars seems to imply that the Predacons are currently stuck as servants to the ruling Maximal class and its Council of Elders. Megatron himself is made into a very nationalistic figure, fighting to improve the lot of his suffering people after their terrible losses in the last war, damn the consequences. And get power himself in the process.
  • The Scrappy: Wheelie and most of the human characters. Apparent exceptions are Stella Holley, the Cybertron humans for not being Kicker, Lennox and Epps, Simmons, Jerry Wang, and Dutch, Sari Sumdac and Captain Fanzone, and most of the humans apart from Miko.
    • Bumblebee is starting to develop into this, due to becoming a Creator's Pet. His less than flattering portrayal in Robots In Disguise under John Barber's pen isn't exactly helping this.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Whether if the TV show/movie is good or bad, you can always expect Peter Cullen to deliver a stellar performance as Optimus Prime. Peter always gives it his all simply out of love for the character.
  • Villain Decay: Usually dealt with by upgrading the villains to new forms (with new toys, naturally).
    • Animated tried to prevent this by way of making appearances of the Decepticons in season one and most of season two rare, with human villains picking up the slack. This backfired horribly, turning off many fans who wanted to see the Decepticons and didn't want to suffer through countless episodes of the Autobots fighting lame archer and princess-themed villains.
      • However, as many fans think that the Decepticons' rare appearances, and the sheer effort it took to fight them, successfully kept them from succumbing to villain decay.
      • Eventually it did kick in, though not severely as some other examples (Well, except for Lugnut).
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: There are fans who insist that Hasbro and Takara should only make big, expensive toys for the adult collector market and ignore those little kids who buy the toys to play with. Some have actually complained about Transformers Animated because it has humor and plots aimed at pre-teen kids, which are the Target Audience of almost all Transformers incarnations.
    • Hasbro actually tried a line of big, expensive toys for the adult collector, and it didn't sell well enough to keep it going for too long. Turns out the adult collectors are a smaller piece of the pie than they thought, and kids are in fact the primary consumers of toys. Who knew?
    • It's become worse with the release of GI Joe: Resolute. More than a few fans are wanting a Transformers series in the same vein due to it.
    • Transformers scribe Simon Furman complained about this trope in regards to the dark Beast Machines.
      • It should be noted just how much of Simon Furman's work fits into this category. When the writer of the bloodbath the Marvel Generation 2 comics became calls something too dark, you know you've taken Darker and Edgier Up to Eleven.
      • Furman was specifically concerned about the "For Kids" part of this trope. He was very much about darker, more fatal Transformer stories, but he was explicitly writing with an older audience in mind than the cartoon series are marketed towards.
    • It's a bit understandable, though, if you look at the premise devoid of context: Two factions of a race of alien war machines come to Earth, their war having gone on so long that battling for the resources our planet can give them to continue the war effort is more important than the war itself. The weakest of them has enough power to slaughter dozens of human soldiers and come away with nothing more than a badly-scratched paint job. At best, their feelings towards us are paternalistic, and they look down with a combination of pity and admiration on those of our species who see it as their sworn duty to defend us from them. At worst, they find us repulsive and enjoy slaughtering us when they have a chance. A sunny kids' show is not what you'd imagine it would look like.
    • Kiss Players is infamous for how ungodly not kid friendly it is. To give an idea of how bad it was, Kiss Players is a Sailor Moon-esque Magical Girl manga. T Fwiki compares it to Narutaru. The writer/artist of the manga has explicitly said he deliberately designed the comic to shock people for kicks.
  • The Woobie: Stepford Smiler Bluestreak, who talks over his own bad thoughts and memories of what happened to his hometown.