Reviews: Transformers Armada

Transformers Armada gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Despite what some say, Transformers Armada was an awesome, dramatic series that would sadly be replaced by the Bayformers nonsense. Don't forget, because of the Unicron trilogy, we got the movies to begin with. Armada was basically Justice League with Transformers in the same way that G1 is Superfriends.

Subpar, even past the hype

A series hyped as a remake of the original Generation 1 with the first widely available Unicron toy spawning from it was never going to be able to live up to the immense hype in front of it, particularly from Transfans, a fandom known as one of the pickiest ever. However, even stripping away all G1 nostalgia, all undue hype for the series after the divisive Beast Machines and comedic Robots in Disguise, this is a series that still falls flat on its face.

The show's main problem can be summed up in its supporting cast. Rather than having a lot of Transformers and a few humans, the show primarily focuses on a small group of human children and a rather small cast of Autobots and Decepticons. Unlike earlier and later incarnations of the Transformers franchise, the kids contribute next to nothing to the plot, even in a forced manner, making their focus all the more agonizing.

Animation, particularly in the show's initial run, was horrendous, with miscolorations, a lot of still frames, and a general lack of any dynamic action. Voice acting was passable, but filled with inane and often hilarious errors, with characters seemingly unable to remember anyone's name (for instance, in one scene, Overload being called Ultra Magnus, a character who doesn't even exist in the Armada cartoon.) This all leads to a grand showdown with Unicron that is such a tremendous letdown compared to his film and comic versions that the only good thing about his appearance was the long overdue Unicron toy finally hitting toy shelves (with the model a dead ringer for his G1 counterpart).

The comic made by the now infamous Dreamwave was leagues better, at least after the midway point when Simon Furman took over writing duties. But as it stands, the cartoon with poor writing, poor animation, and poor characterization is just well...poor all around, both on its own, and as part of the Transformers franchise. Unfortunately, things would only get worse before they got better.

"stay out of the way"

I watched a good number of episodes of this show, and what sticks out in my mind most of all is basically Optimus Prime telling the kids that they can help best by "staying out of the way." So essentially, the kids were useless in the greater scheme of things. Sheesh.