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Transformers Armada (known in Japan as Transformers Micron Legend) is one of the many series that make up the Transformers franchise. It takes place in its own continuity, separate from the earlier series. The storyline of Armada continued in Transformers: Energon and Transformers: Cybertron (however, Cybertron was originally a separate continuity in the Japanese version). The three series are known as the "Unicron Trilogy".

Unlike Transformers: Robots in Disguise before it (which was only imported to buy time), it was a 'main line' series, and as such had a large toyline.

Transformers Armada mostly revolves around the Mini-Cons: a race of Transformers smaller than usual (about human size or smaller). When linked to one of their larger brethren, they cause a significant boost in power (usually resulting in extra guns appearing). Due to this, the Autobots and Decepticons warred over them until the Mini-Cons ended up leaving to stop the conflict, crash-landing on Earth millions of years in the past and laying dormant until the present day. Most of the episodes revolve around the Autobots trying to gain the support of the Mini-Cons, with the Decepticons after them with the intent to use them to conquer the Autobots, Cybertron, and presumably the universe (as usual).

It is divisive among fans not only for the focus on Mini-Con collecting (leading some to call it 'Pokeformers'), but for the frequent dubbing errors. Due to rushed production, there are several conversations that don't flow properly, or clash with what's happening onscreen. Many characters have their names mixed up with other characters,' such as pretty much everyone being referred to as Leader-1 (Megatron's Mini-Con) at least once. One particularly glaring instance was Optimus saying he'd left Thrust in charge on Cybertron - and the image has "Thrust" kept in shadow because he (actually intended to be Jetfire) hasn't been introduced yet. Of course, Thrust is the name of the Decepticon master tactician, with no sign of ever having been an Autobot - a major point of confusion for viewers. Also, unfinished animation led to some low-quality scenes, and one or two truly nonsense ones (like a black spot of nothing where Starscream was supposed to be in one battle.) But like most things, it had a few redeeming factors in the overall story and the reintroduction of the meta-villain Unicron. It is generally considered to improve substantially in the second half.

In addition to the series, a mini-manga, called Linkage was released with the Japanese DVDs, written by Hirofumi Ichikawa, which told a separate story about a group of Mini-Cons who encounter a woman named Stella Holley, who helps them free the Mini-Cons from Unicron. The story also features several links to the animated series, and even fills a few plot holes. The series was fan-translated in collaboration with Ichikawa, and can be read online here.

A comic from the now defunct Dreamwave Comics was made covering all of the series. It started out mostly mirroring the show's plot with some considerable differences (Mini-Cons could speak normally for starters, while in the show they were limited to bleeps and other electronic noises) but went off in its own direction once Simon Furman took over writing duties. The second half of the series concerns some of the first major mentions of a Transformers multiverse, Unicron invading Earth with his heralds, all Generation 1 Decepticons, and Megatron battling Generation 1 Galvatron one-on-one. The comic was received fairly positively despite (or because of?) these differences.

A video game adaptation, simply called Transformers, was released for the PlayStation 2, and is considered one of the better video game adaptations of the Transformers franchise, often being called the best one as a whole, at least until War For Cybertron came around.

This series provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Anytime an effect is used, like when the Autobots use the Warp Bridge, it's very blatantly computerized and stands out against the otherwise 2D animation. The flagships for all three factions in the episode "First Encounter" are also rendered in CGI, being the only proper, non-effect use of CGI in the show.
  • A Father to His Men: Optimus Prime — but that goes without saying. At some points, Megatron displays parallel behavior toward his men, though more of an "irritable father" compared to Optimus' "doting father."
  • All There in the Manual: Many plot points and holes are explained in Linkage, a series of short comics packed with the Japanese DVD releases of the series.
  • Animation Bump: The final few episodes have a very noticeable increase in animation quality.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Megatron spends most of his time brooding after Optimus takes a hit from the Hydra Cannon, and only snaps out of it once Optimus is miraculously reconstituted.
  • As Long As There Is Hatred: Unicron claims that the war-like nature of the Transformers has energized him.
  • Asshole Victim: When Thrust is trapped in a seam on Unicron's body, Galvatron leaves him to be slowly crushed to death. It would be cruel, but Thrust was a power hungry asshole.
  • Atlantis: The kids suspect that Underwater Ruins they visit early in an early episode titled "Ruin" are the remains of Atlantis, destroyed in conflicts over Mini-cons.
  • Ax-Crazy: To Cyclonus, shooting stuff is the meaning of life. But honestly, he's more of a pain in the ass than a serious threat.
  • Back from the Dead: What did you expect? Optimus Prime, of course!
    • There is a touch-and-go incident with Smokescreen as well, see Family Unfriendly Death below.
  • Bad Boss: Megatron often behaves like a schoolyard bully in sharp contrast to Optimus Prime. Starscream calls him out on it after his Heel–Face Turn and just before his death.
  • Benevolent Boss: Optimus Prime is hardly Optimus Prime if he doesn't respect and value of his troops.
  • Best Served Cold: Wheeljack traps himself, the one he believes responsible for ruining his life, and a mostly innocent bystander in a burning abandoned factory.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Unicron is defeated and the war between the Transformers ends, but Galvatron sacrificed himself to achieve this, and Optimus renounces leadership, feeling that he is unworthy of it. And Unicron is still around, having simply moved onto another planet.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Definitely has issues with misidentifying characters and losing track of the finer points. However, so far as idiocy goes, you ain't seen nothing yet.
  • Blood Knight: Optimus gets accused of continuing the war because he enjoys it. However, Megatron better embodies the trope; he unequivocally enjoys it.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Jetfire is Optimus Prime's second in command, and in contrast to Optimus he is on the Hot-Blooded side - he operates on instinct and is more of a cool older brother to his men than A Father to His Men.
  • Brawler Lock: The show's approach to battle scenes is mostly made up of this this sort of grappling, Blade Lock, and aerial shots of fire fights.
  • The Captain: Optimus
  • Captain Obvious: The kids probably contributed to the fandom's dislike of human characters in general. A great deal of the time, their role in an episode was to spend half an hour giving statements like this:
    Optimus: [gets hit, falls down]
    Alexis: [to Rad and Carlos, who are standing right next to her and watching the same fight] Oh, no! You guys, Optimus is down!
    Rad: Oh, no!
  • Casting Gag: Hand-in-hand with the Actor Allusion; the voices for Optimus and Megatron previously voiced Optimus Primal and the BW!Megatron in Beast Wars.
  • Clip Show: "Prehistory", "Detection", and "Cramp", however they are not the usual clip shows as they have relevancy towards the plot and contain a lot of new animation made.
  • Combining Mecha: Known in this series by the copywrite-able moniker "Powerlinx", it mainly refers to Transformers interfacing with Mini-cons to enable very powerful new weapons, paralleling the plug-in gimmicks seen in the Armada toy line.
    The series iterates on this formula with normal-sized Transformers that can Powerlinx with each other to form Super Modes. Either Optimus Prime or Megatron serve as the head of these combined forms.
  • Dancing Mook Credits: The Transformers Armada video game for the PlayStation 2 ended its credits sequence with several of the Decepticlones and Tidal Wave working out in time with the jazzy music.
  • Defector from Decadence: Starscream, after Megatron and Thrust use him as a diversion and abandon him after the Deceptions withdraw. Watch out for that Heel–Face Revolving Door, though.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Starscream fires a blast from his proton cannon during his death scene at Unicron and Megatron does the same thing shortly after. Neither has any effect as Unicron is too far out of range. The former is the better example, as it was Starscream intentionally trying to goad Unicron into exposing himself and proving his threat to Megatron.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Sideways' mission is to sow discord, and he cozies up to first the Autobots and later the Decepticons to cultivate and then exploit their trust. The Deceptions do get wise eventually and attempt to reward him as a traitor deserves, but he evades them with ease and continues to meddle with them from the shadows. Sideways operates on an entirely different level from the rest of the cast - namely, Unicron's level. His goal is to bring the two factions into greater conflict (since Unicron feeds on this) and eventually enable Unicron's reawakening.
  • The Dragon: Starscream is Megatron's right-hand man at first. Later Thrust wins Megs' favor, but the dalliance only lasts until Starscream rejoins the fold.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: A given, when considering the rushed nature of the English dub (which carried over into most of the foreign dubs). As noted above with the Thrust example, the constant misnaming of characters can affect plot points badly. In addition, a particular noticeable one in early episodes: the Autobots had no idea where the Decepticon base is located, only for the english dub to change a line into them pointing its on the Moon, while in future episodes its a plot point the fact they don't know where its located, so they can't plan an assault.
  • Dumb Is Good: Dim-witted Demolishor is probably the closest thing to a 'nice' Decepticon that you're going to find. In fact, in the sequel series he seems to have Autobot sympathies and actually fights on their side for a while before Megatron comes back from the dead. He's an all-right guy.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tidal Wave, most emblematically. Transforming into an entire battleship, he towers above every other Decepticon (or Autobot for that matter), and while his processor doesn't pack much power he's not so much stupid as he is single-minded and easily frustrated. His Pokémon Speak tendencies don't help the image of him as a complete knucklehead, either. Cyclonus and Demolishor both have some traits of this as well.
  • Evil Former Friend: Wheeljack and Hot Shot were best friends before a traumatic event separated them. Now, Wheeljack is a Decepticon.
  • Evil Laugh: Almost all of the Decepticons, most notably Cyclonus and Megatron. Though Wheeljack had a pretty creepy one in his introduction.
  • Expy: The character development of Starscream and Hot Shot mirrored that of Dinobot and Cheetor's respectively.
  • Fallen Hero: Wheeljack and to a lesser extent Starscream after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: If humans died the way Transformers do, it would be truly grizzly. The Requiem Blaster warps Smokescreen's torso beyond repair. Optimus shatters under the force of the Hydra Cannon. Thrust is crushed to death from the feet up.
    • And then there's Starscream...ole Screamer had two! First he gets blasted like Thrust (though messing with the timeline saved him), then Galvatron impales him, and finally meets his end getting disintegrated by Unicron.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: In one episode, Hoist decides to help Tidal Wave, who is stuck in a narrow tunnel. Tidal Wave promptly thanks him by knocking him on his ass.
  • Foe Romantic Subtext: Every scene between Megatron and Optimus makes the war sound like a lover's quarrel as well as their overwhelming obsession with each other. Just see Megatron's reaction at Optimus's ''death''.
  • Freudian Trio: First Autobots: Red Alert the superego, Hot Shot the id, Optimus Prime the ego. Also the kids: Alexis the superego, Carlos the id, and Rad the ego.
  • Gambit Pileup: Just barely makes it with four to five plots going on at once. The dub makes it even harder to follow. (Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Sideways, and Unicron, although Sideways was working for Unicron.)
  • Gaslighting: Megatron manages to get the Decepticons (including Starscream himself) to think Starscream is crazy, in order to get the Star Saber from him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In the comic, the Air Defense Mini-Con team willingly lets themselves be used by Armada Megatron as the Star Saber to defeat G1 Galvatron. This is after spending most of the series doing everything in their power to hide from Megs and avoid being used as a Decepticon weapon.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Scavenger demonstrates his badassery early on by fighting unarmed. He even tests himself against the Star Saber bare-handed.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The plot of the first thirteen episodes is focused around gaining Mini-cons as allies.
  • Green Aesop: The episode "Jungle" features a heavy-handed ecological message.
  • Hand Cannon: Aside from individual Transformer weapons, there's the assembled Requiem Blaster and Hydra Cannon.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Starscream, surprisingly! And Sideways, Hoo boy, Sideways.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Decepticons. All of them, except Thrust. The survivors even maintain this status through the beginning of Transformers Energon.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Sideswipe idolizes Blurr to such a degree that he follows his hero to Earth. When Blurr pawns Sideswipe off on Hot Shot, it doesn't take long for Sideswipe to transfer his hero worship to Hot Shot.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Smokescreen, Starscream Optimus as usual, even Megatron in the last episode. All of them get better at some point, at least in the sequel series.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Thrust thinks that he's joining the winning team when he betrays Megatron to join Unicron, but Unicron abandons him almost immediately.
  • Hulk Speak: Tidal Wave.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Most of the series, particularly the first half, is about the kids' view of the Autobot/Decepticon war.
  • The Hyena: Cyclonus and his incessant cackling.
  • Hypocritical Humour: In "Conspiracy", when Demolishor is planning an attack on Starscream, he looks to the others for support, including Sideways:
    Sideways: Don't look at me - I'm not taking sides!
  • Inconsistent Dub: And how.
    Wheeljack: "I think you're mistaken, Hot Shot. I didn't come here for revenge."
    Wheeljack (later): "I've come to get my revenge."note .
    • A much more straight example is the fact they use the wrong names many, many times across the series. For example, Leader-1(Megatron's mini-con) was applied to about every named mini-con at least once, and some characters reverted to their Japanese names at times (Hot Rod for Hot Shot, Shockwave instead of Tidal Wave and, more infamously, Jet Convoy in the debut episode of Jet Optimus/Jet Prime combination.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Blurr, the triple-changing speedster with antisocial tendencies. Hot Shot starts a rivalry with him, though eventually the two become friends.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The kids and the Transformers, Smokescreen and Hot Shot.
  • Jerkass: Thrust
  • Karmic Death: Oh boy, did Thrust ever earn his miserable demise.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down
  • Kid-Appeal Character: It's easy to want to root for Hot Shot. Plus, the kids in the show root for him, so it's easy for impressionable viewers to follow their example.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The other problem of the series was that there were often looooong periods of nothing.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Hot Shot picks the wrong moment to run in, guns blazing, on more than one occasion.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sideways, and to a lesser extent, Thrust.
  • The Medic: Red Alert. In fact, in the Japanese version his name is Ratchet, same as the G1 chief medical officer.
  • Memento Macguffin: The mars rocks, especially Alexis' mars rock necklace. All the rocks symbolize the children's relationship with Starscream, but while the others throw theirs away as he proceeds though the Heel–Face Revolving Door, Alexis keeps her rock. Alexis makes her rock into a necklace, upgrading its significance such that it gains empathic properties: it shatters when Starscream dies.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Megatron and Thrust use Starscream as a diversion in one battle and then completely abandon him in order to steal the Requiem Blaster. Later, once Starscream has returned to the base, he overhears Megatron and Thrust making fun of him behind his back and how they plan to continue to humiliate him, including using him as Cannon Fodder against the Autobots. This causes Starscream to snap, stealing the Star Saber, going on a rampage through the base, and joining the Autobots (even if it was only temporary).
  • The Mole: Armada loves this trope dearly and features a number of characters infiltrating the opposition, sometimes more than once.
    • First, Scavenger lets the Decepticons hire him as a mercenary, but has no intention of sticking with them.
    • Next, Sideways shows up. First he poses as an Autobot, then 'reveals' himself to be a Decepticon, and stays there for a while, lowering morale and messing with their heads. Later, he is uncovered as a servant of Unicron, sent to infiltrate and disrupt both factions.
    • Later, Sideways appears to Thrust, and convinces him to become the new mole for Unicron.
  • More Dakka: Powerlinx and super modes tend to bring this into play. Most notably Optimus combined with Overload and Jetfire. Megatron can do this too, combining with Tidal Wave for the most dakka of any Megatron to date.
  • More than Mind Control: Unicron to the minicons.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stella Holley from the DVDs' pack-in comics Linkage, a fairly mild example.
  • Not So Similar: Starscream takes offense to the insinuation he's anything like Sideways.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: In "Miracle", the Autobots are being overpowered by the Decepticons in an asteroid field, and Hot Shot, as Megatron says, is indeed "a poor substitute for Optimus Prime". But Sparkplug and Perceptor summon a team of glowing space-traveling Mini-Cons, who, with their sparks and the data in the Matrix, bring Optimus Back from the Dead.
  • Old Master: Scavenger is introduced as a formidable and cunning mercenary. Once he settles in with the Autobots], he even becomes a mentor to Hot Shot and reveals a fondness for catnaps.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Megatron becomes rather depressed when Optimus is killed. (He gets better, and all is well.)
  • Pet the Dog: Due to a mistake on Hot Shot's part, Wheeljack was trapped in a burning building. His life was saved by Megatron. Megatron did so because he wanted to convince Wheeljack that he'd been abandoned by Autobots, and that he should join the Decepticons. Feeling betrayed by his former best friend, Wheeljack agrees.
  • Personal Hate Before Common Goals: This becomes a major theme of the final arc of the series. Megatron prefers to wage war on the Autobots instead of teaming up with them against Unicron, even though Unicron poses an existentual threat to them all. Everyone - the Autobots and even his own men - desperately attempt to change his mind.
  • Pieces of God: The Mini-cons are pieces of Unicron that rebelled, gaining independent will.
  • Planet Eater: Unicron, although he doesn't get up to any planet-eating in this show.
  • Power Crystal: On a few Transformers.
  • Put on a Bus: Once Simon Furman took over writing duties in the Armada comic, the kids were all but ignored.
  • Psycho for Hire: Cyclonus
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Cyclonus and Demolishor, joined by Tidal Wave/Mirage in Energon.
  • Recut: Owing to the rush production of the American release, the Japanese version, Legend of the Microns, cleans up some (though not every instance) of the more egregious bits of animation and artwork that made it through the original release. Along with other minor changes including the odd color swap and an occasional switch up to a Mini-Con group shot.
  • Red Is Heroic: Discussed when a kid says that red robots are always the good guys.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot Shot and Red Alert. Later, Blurr as the Blue Oni.
  • Red Shirt Army: Generic background characters in the larger battle scenes come apart like tissue paper and are never mentioned (compare the reaction to Smokescreen's reversible death to the reaction to the permanent deaths of one shipful of soldiers after another near the end).
  • Remember the New Guy?: Overload is never introduced, he just appears out of nowhere in one episode as a trailer for Optimus, and everyone acts like he's been there the whole time.
  • Scars are Forever: Wheeljack has a huge scar across his Autobot insignia as a reminder of his reason for Face Heel Turning.
  • Script Wank: On occasion.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Optimus Prime gets these when combined with Overload.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Lots of characters got 'em, but Hot Shot's inspired a meme.
  • Shout-Out: The series makes liberal usage of many model sheets from Generation 1.
  • Smug Snake: Thrust practically IS this ideal.
  • The Spock: Red Alert tends to show aspects of it.
    • Spock Speak: Thankfully, he stops using it after the first time.
  • The Starscream: As obvious as it might seem, Starscream doesn't really have his heart in the backstabbing in this show, and indeed, this continuity. However, he still has the drive to face Megatron.
    • Thrust, on the other hand, is all too happy to plot against Megatron.
  • Stealth Mentor: Scavenger, at first.
  • The Strategist: Thrust
    • There IS a difference between a strategist - whether a plan should go through to achieve the long-term goal - and a tactician - how a plan goes down.
  • Take a Third Option: Hot Shot tries, and may have succeeded if not for a mole's interference.
  • Tank Goodness: Megatron could be considered a literal villainous version of this trope.
  • Temporal Paradox: A predestination paradox occurs in "Drift", where the kids travel back in time and meet the Mini-Cons when they are created, and tell them to escape from Cybertron and come to Earth, which in turn is required for all the subsequent events, including the time travel itself, apparently carried out by Highwire. First, however, the kids stop by in the alternate past where Unicron used the Mini-Cons, who never left Cybertron, to make the Transformers fight each other to exhaustion, before imprisoning and digesting them. Did we mention that the viewer gets no explanation for this?
  • Third-Person Person: Tidal Wave
  • Those Two Guys: Of the five kids, Billy and Fred are the most peripheral and the most closely associated with each other. There are stretches of episodes where they don't appear, and they mostly just bounce off each other.
  • Three Plus Two: The Token Trio plus Those Two Guys.
  • Token Trio: Rad is white, Carlos is Hispanic, Alexis seems white but according to the creators, she is of Vietnamese heritage.
  • 20 Minutes in the Future: The series is set in 2010, 8 years in the future from when the show originally aired.note 
  • Unreliable Illustrator: The show is a frequent victim of poor quality animation in general. While a lot of it is due to the fact this was the first full-lenght anime of Actas, the main culptry isExecutive Meddling from Cartoon Network, forcing the show to be rushed as they wouldn't sign it unless there was a certain amount of episodes finished. The first few episodes are very common victims of this, due to the fact they use completely different character design for a significant chunk of the cast. By the time of the the Unicron battles, the animation often averts this and looking much better than before.
    • The worst of the episodes in terms of this are Linkup and Decisive Battle. The former has many badly drawn scenes through the episode(albeit this was addressed for the Japanese broadcast, with most of the episode being re-drawn), and the latter not only has a lot of bad qualityshots, but also suffers from both Stock Footage and Special Effects Failure, with reused scenes that dont match the context of the episode(in one instance, with the episode itself happening during the day, they re-uses scenes from a earlier episode that happened during the night) and a lot of missing laser, lighting and sound effects on top of inconsistent backgrounds(The Japanese version doesn't overhaul it that much, but does address the missing laser, lightning and sound effects, as well as keeping backgrounds consistent and editing the re-used footage to match the episode).
  • Undying Loyalty: Demolishor is devoted to Megatron to the point that he comes off as a Yes-Man. But as the story proceeds, he develops into The Heart of the Decepticons. He knows he's not smart enough to make decisions, but when he can tell that something is wrong, he'll say so.
  • The Unintelligible: Mini-Cons vocalize in whirs and beeps, although High Wire starts making full sentences much later.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Hot Shot, Starscream, Thrust, especially, and possibly probably more.
  • Verbal Tic: "...Tidal Wave..." or "...Shock..." in Japan
  • Villain Episode: "Rebellion" and to a lesser extent, "Detention".
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Hydra Cannon.
  • Wham Episode: "Sacrifice", "Crisis", "Cramp", and to lesser extents "Credulous" and "Past" parts one and two.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Past".
  • Young Gun: Hot Shot. Possibly Sideswipe too.


Alternative Title(s): Transformers Micron Legend


Jet Convoy

Optimus Prime and Jetfire form Jet Optimus/Jet Convoy for the first time.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / CombiningMecha

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