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TFA Kaleidoscope is a fanfic written by Emotwo. It is an AU retelling of Transformers Animated with different characters in different positions. As one reviewer put it, it's the world of Transformers Animated viewed through a kaleidoscope.

The story begins almost the same way as it did in the show. A Ragtag Bunch of Misfits finds the Allspark and are hunted down by the Decepticons because of it. However, they found something else along with it; the large non-functioning body of a fellow Cybertronian. After Megatron's assault on their ship, the Autobot group crash lands on Earth and remains trapped at the bottom of a lake for fifty years. Meanwhile, a scientist named Issac Sumdac finds Megatron's body and uses it to start his own Robotics company.

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And that's where the similarities end.


TFA Kaleidoscope provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • Unlike the cartoon, Wheeljack is exiled alongside Ratchet and the others on the Orion Crew where in the original, he was still living on Cybertron.
    • Sari was forced to live on the streets after her father died, due to not having any legal documentation to confirm her existence.
    • Optimus is no longer the idealistic young bot he was in canon. Here, he's a much older Shell-Shocked Veteran, and the Great War has caused him quite a bit of trauma.
    • Zig-Zagged with Arcee. On one hand, she doesn't remember the war and isn't forced into serving as the Decepticons unwilling access key to Omega Supreme. On the other hand, it's because she doesn't remember her past that she's part of the exiled Orion Crew and her inability to remember who she was causes her a lot of grief.
  • Adaptational Badass: Numerous characters show a greater degree of fighting capability or competence that they lacked in Animated.
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    • Optimus is now a warrior of the Great War, being able to fight against Starscream on even footing where as in the main series, he was getting his ass kicked just as much as the rest of the Autobots. Not to mention that he doesn't die like he does in Canon.
    • Starscream, like canon, is much more of a threat than he usually is. The author has gone on to state that this was the intent, as Starscream is the Decepticon 2nd-in-command for a reason. Shockwave even notes that for as much of a nuisance he can be, he does have a remarkable number of followers in the Decepticons and can prove to be a legitimate threat to Megatron's authority.
    • Combined with Age Lift below, Soundwave being a natural Cybertronian who's millions of years old grants him far more experience than his Animated version had. In addition, being a natural Cybertronian also means that he's far more durable compared to Animated Soundwave, who was a Glass Cannon due to being composed of Earth alloys rather than Cybertronian ones.
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    • Arcee is shown to be a capable combatant and makes actual use of her twin energon blades where as in the main series, she spent the entire show under the Decepticon's heel following her memory loss and never got to fight.
    • Thanks to growing up on the streets, Sari is more hardened and less spoiled than she was at the start of the series, in addition to having some pretty impressive parkour skills that let her outmaneuver security bots with ease.
    • Kelly is a police officer here and a Lieutenant, where as she was just a Recurring Extra in RID (2001).
    • The author wanted to portray Sentinel as a bit more competent than his Boisterous Weakling cartoon-self. It's also implied through dialogue that he fought in the Great War.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Thanks to being a Decomposite Character with Shockwave, Longarm isn't the mole and is genuinely on the side of good.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Optimus isn't the Ideal Hero he normally is, nor is he the Nice Guy he was in the original series. He's now a traumatized warrior who took the Allspark away from Cybertron, though not without good reason. He also starts out as kind of a jerk toward Sari, trying to evict her from her only home because he perceived her as a nuisance and potential threat to the Allspark, but he grows out of this and it's replaced with Big Brother Instinct.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Sentinel Prime is described as being moderately less of a dick than he was in canon. He also shows a bit more affability with the other Elite Guard members.
    • Prowl starts out somewhat nicer and more overtly heroic than he did at the start of the series.
    • Fanzone is less overtly gruff here and is one of the first to acknowledge the Cybertronians as sentient beings and not just machines. Keep in mind, he still hates machines here.
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • Sentinel is less of a Boisterous Weakling here and more of a snooty elitist.
    • Since Longarm is a separate character from Shockwave, his personality is more in line with G1 Red Alert.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The animal-mutants that Prometheus Black created in the show were originally implied to be people with standard jobs, albeit amoral. Here, they were robbers and criminals long before they became mutants.
  • Age Lift:
    • Prowl is part of the post-war generation in comparison to his canon counterpart, who was brought online in the waning years of the war.
    • Optimus is much older, having fought in the Great War for a long time before being discovered by the Autobots and lived through the pre-war Cybertron caste-system. This makes him comparable in age to Ratchet, if not younger, since he also grew up on a pre-war Cybertron.
    • Soundwave is one of Megatron's loyal servants, being around a comparable age to the rest of the Decepticons rather than being an Earth born Cybertronian who's a year old at best.
    • Sentinel is implied through dialogue to have fought in the Great War, which would make him much older here.
    • Ratchet is the oldest member of the Orion Crew, having been brought online during the pre-war era of Cybertron, whereas in canon Arcee and Wheeljack are implied to be slightly older than him and he was brought online somewhere during the war.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Ravager and Laserbeak have this behavior.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • Optimus has enough strength and skill to fight off the three most experienced members of the Orion crew singlehandedly as well as match Starscream, the Decepticon first lieutenant. However, he doesn't have the rank of Prime and given how none of the bots who lived through the Great War recognize him, he's implied to have been a low-ranked soldier.
    • Almost all of the Orion Crew counts, as they're way more combat capable than a repair crew has the right to be.
  • Alternate Universe: The nature of the story is that it's an AU with some characters in different positions either as composite characters, decomposite characters, and some Truer to the Text characters.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Optimus seems to have a pretty strong case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, given his frequent war-time flashbacks at even small reminders of it.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Optimus told the other Autobots that during the Great War, Starscream ascended the ranks all the way to first lieutenant at an alarming rate. This could imply that he back-stabbed his way to his position (he is The Starscream after all), but given his increased competence (with Word of God stating that Starscream is the 2nd-in-command for a reason), it's more likely that his status is legitimate.
  • An Axe to Grind: Optimus's main weapon is his energon battle-axe. It starts out rustic and without power, but gets restored back to full functionality thanks to Sari's key.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: The Beast Pretenders become these after some experiments done on them by Prometheus Black.
    • Dauros becomes a Minotaur monster thanks to being fused with ox DNA.
    • Blood becomes a mutant bat creature and later starts turning into a full-blown vampire.
    • Glimer turns into a shark monster that could give the Creature from the Black Lagoon a run for its money.
  • Arc Villain:
    • The CMX Police drone functions as this for the "Who Polices the Police Drones?" arc, functioning as the Starter Villain for the Orion crew.
    • Pyro Goblin is this for the "Fire Convoy" arc, serving as a Starter Villain for Optimus and Sari.
    • Starscream, naturally, for the "Starscream Descending" arc.
    • The Beast Pretenders are the main villains for the "Beasts and Burdens" arc, with Prometheus Black as the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Arcee was practically a Living MacGuffin in the main series and only played key roles in flashbacks or near the end of the third season. She's one of the main characters and a member of the Orion crew.
    • Wheeljack only ever had a minor cameo appearance in the show, but here he's a member of the Orion crew like Arcee is.
    • The Beast Pretenders are the mutants Meltdown created in the show, only given backstory and personality rather than having implied backgrounds and being little more than one-off monsters.
  • Axe-Crazy:
    • Pyro Goblin is batshit insane. She kills people for money, but views the money as a small bonus compared to the slaughter and carnage she gets to cause.
    • After their mutations go out of control, the Beast Pretenders become feral monsters that kill anything on sight. Though Prometheus comments that they weren't all that sane to begin with.
  • Badass Normal: The Detroit police manage to do pretty well when fighting super-powered villains, rogue weapons, and mutants.
  • Battle Couple: Lugnut and Strika.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: One of the reasons for Optimus's protectiveness of Sari is due to her showing him kindness even though he tried to kick her out of her only home.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Sari thoroughly hates it when it's brought up that she's an orphan or that she's alone. When Optimus brought this up, being Innocently Insensitive about it, she yelled at him to shut up.
      • She also gets angry when someone implies that a name has no significance.
      • She has nothing but hatred for Powell. It's not hard to see why.
    • Optimus despises inequality. He viewed the Allspark as the root of said inequality on Cybertron and hit his Rage Breaking Point when the Autobots kept arguing to bring it back to their home-world.
      • If there's one thing Optimus hates the most, it's people who hurt others for their own amusement.
    • Don't compare Starscream to Megatron. Also, don't look down on him or compare him to the Autobots either.
    • Longarm got incredibly angry at Sentinel for using the disappearance of his friends as a means to further his political agendas.
  • Black and White Morality: Propaganda from the Great War paints the conflict as simple: Autobots are good, Decepticons are evil. Ratchet states that this is all just lies and that the actual reality of the war was far more gray.
  • Blatant Lies: When Arcee asked how Sari knew so much about the layout of Sumdac Tower, she hastily and awkwardly said that she's been there on field trips. Of course, she comes off as a Bad Liar to the readers, but Arcee pretty much accepts the answer.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Optimus develops this toward Sari, even scolding her like you'd expect an elder brother or parent would after he finds out she was in danger. This also has a few shades of Papa Wolf as well, since Optimus also comes across as a father figure on some occasions.
  • Body Horror: Time has not been kind to Optimus while he was in stasis. Before his repairs, his body was heavily eroded over and rustic, with his face being almost completely gone and left in its place was a warped metal skull. Sari thankfully uses the factory equipment to repair him when she learns how to use her key. Though she doesn't manage to fully repair him until later.
  • Broken Hero: Optimus, even more so than his show counterpart could ever hope to be. Growing up under the oppressive rule of a ruthless caste system, being drafted into a seemingly endless war where he killed countless and witnessed all manner of death and destruction, then losing everything to hide the ultimate source of power in the universe and effectively cutting himself off from all life of his own volition is way too much for any normal bot to bear. Yet he perseveres all the same.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lt. Kelly tends to be on the end of a lot of slapstick, especially whenever the Autobots are concerned.
  • Came Back Strong: After Sari uses her key to restore Optimus from near death following his first fight with Pyro Goblin, he's fully restored back to the same level as he was in the Great War, with all the damage he suffered from gone.
  • The Cameo: Swindle and Lockdown make cameo appearances in the flashback chapter: "Ripples".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Following the arrest of Pyro Goblin, one of the chapter epilogue scenes ends with energy sparks arching across Kelly's police car for a brief moment. Knowing Transformers, guess which Cybertronian is most associated with being a police car?
  • Composite Character:
    • Ratchet has the role of canon!Optimus, while still maintaining his position as the team's medic.
    • Wheeljack gets some elements of canon!Ratchet as he's now the team's scientist.
    • For Cybertronians in general, their method of gaining new vehicular modes is more akin to Transformers Prime.
    • A good chunk of Fanzone's Butt-Monkey status gets transferred over to Kelly here, though that's not to say she was never the butt of many jokes back in RID (2001).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Powell. How he hasn't been caught yet can only be chalked up to very good PR.
    • Prometheus is just as corrupt as Powell, with the two being frequent business partners.
  • Culture Clash:
    • Optimus has this with his own kind. Since Optimus lived through both the Pre-war Cybertron and the Great War, he's a lot more cynical and pragmatic than the crew of the Orion, which is composed of more idealistic Post-war bots.
    • The Autobots have this with Earth customs since machinery on Earth is non-living and the planet has a divided opinion on them. The fact that Ratchet wants nothing to do with Earth and actively prohibits his crew from exploring their new surroundings doesn't help.
  • Damsel in Distress: Male example: Fanzone ends up in mortal peril a lot. It's to the point where the author has decided to call him the April O'Neal of Transformers Animated.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Optimus grew up on a Pre-war Cybertron, which enforced a caste-system that deprived them of choice. Then he was forced to fight in the Great War, where he fought and killed countless bots in many battles. This rendered him a heavily traumatized war-veteran with a pretty large chip on his shoulder due to killing many for what he considers arbitrary reasoning.
    • Sari was evicted from her home and forced to live on the streets due to being unable to prove her existence.
    • Arcee was a teacher back on Cybertron, but the Great War caused her to lose everything, including her memories. Since she sustained sever damage to her core-programming, she was barred from returning to her original occupation.
  • Death by Adaptation: Issac Sumdac dies somewhere before the story begins.
  • Declaration of Protection: Optimus makes it clear to the Autobot that he's not just the Allspark's protector anymore, he's now Sari's protector now to.
  • Decomposite Character: Longarm and Shockwave are split into separate characters rather than Longarm being an undercover identity for Shockwave.
  • Demoted to Extra: After they stop Starscream, Optimus and Sari become Out of Focus, not counting a short appearance in "Ghost in the Machine, Pt. 3". This is somewhat justified by Optimus not being part of the Orion crew and his key objectives being to protect the Allspark and Sari. Unless those end up overlapping with any of the other Autobots' predicaments, he won't get involved much. In Sari's case, she's a street orphan here and not the Autobots benefactor and guide to human society, so she's not really familiar with any of them barring Optimus (her guardian) and Bumblebee.
  • Destructive Savior: Bulkhead was reportedly too hazardous and unstable to even be allowed among the general public on his home planet.
  • Determinator: Optimus will do whatever it takes to protect the Allspark and has forced himself to endure some intense pain. Ratchet stated that for him to reactivate with all his fried circuitry would render him unconscious again, but not only does he force himself to reawaken for a long period of time, he also traverses underwater into the city while it's in the middle of a rainstorm, despite any contact with liquid making his agony even worse.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Scalpel, the Decepticon's resident Mad Scientist, experiments and tortures his subordinates if they don't show up for work.
  • Drives Like Crazy: When Sari took over Lt. Kelly's police car, her driving was pretty absurd. Justified because she's a kid, it's not like she's ever driven a car before that moment.
  • Exact Words: Fanzone has Sari promise not to let him catch her pelting anyone with tomatoes again. Her response?
    Sari: I swear I won't let you catch me doing something like this ever again.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Rhodes finds Pyro Goblin to be too insane and disturbing to work with and tells Prometheus that hiring her was a bad idea.
    • Played for Laughs. Prometheus's criminals may be bad people and know it, but they apparently find lawyers to be too horrid and amoral even by their standards.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Pre-War Cybertron enforced a segregation system where you are born for a specific class and are to stay there for the rest of your life. There is no choice in this system and what class you're born into determines how you are treated. Optimus and Ratchet lived through this and the system's cruel treatment of the lower classes was a part of what lead to the Great War. The Post-War Cybertron has completely abolished this, and Optimus is determined to make sure it stays that way.
  • Fantastic Racism: Cybertronians in general have issues with organics.
    • Ratchet tolerates them to a degree, but makes it a point to his crew that they need to maintain their distance from them at all times.
    • Optimus, on the other hand, is okay with humans, but mentions having encountered other forms of organic life that were less than friendly.
    • Blackarachnia tends to be on the receiving end of this from fellow Decepticons due to her half-organic nature.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Downplayed. Optimus doesn't exactly become friends with the other Autobots after they finish dealing with Starscream, but they at least tolerate him and decide that the Allspark is safer in his hands than theirs.
  • For Want of a Nail: Sari being an orphan and Optimus not being one of the Orion crew leaves the Earthbound Autobots a lot more dysfunctional and detached from the humans. Ratchet's leading style forbids human interaction to put their focus on getting back home and the lack of connections means that the Orion is their main base 24/7.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Optimus's reason for taking the Allspark away from Cybertron was that he felt nobody should have that kind of power. He also felt that with the Allspark's ability to create an immeasurable number of Cybertronians, it would render them expendable units that nobody cares about.
    • Since Arcee lost everything during the Great War, she's become extremely protective of what she gained afterward.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Beast Pretenders started out as just a trio of thugs and robbers that the Autobots ended up stopping by complete accident. After some experiments by Prometheus Black, they become powerful animal themed superbeings that can go toe-to-toe with the Orion crew and put the city police on edge.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Wheeljack's got the genius part down. Gadgets, on the other hand, are not really his strong suit, despite his insistence to the contrary.
  • Galactic Conqueror: While the Decepticons did their fair share of conquest during the war, Optimus stated that the Autobots have done just as much conquest, if not more, than the 'Cons before the war even started. Just like the Decepticons, all of this was for the sake of power.
  • Glass Cannon: Optimus starts out as this, as he was reconstructed with inferior Earth metals. He still has his strength, but is more fragile than the police drones. After Sari fully repairs him and he merges with a nearby fire truck, he upgrades to an all out Lightning Bruiser.
  • A God I Am: After their mutations, Dauros starts to get more angry and prideful to the point where he develops a full-blown God-complex and sees anyone who opposes him as sacrilegious heretics.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Megatron is this for the "Police Drones" and the "Ghost in the Machine" arcs since he was controlling the machines that were trying to kill the Autobots in both cases. He's also this for the whole story at the moment.
    • Prometheus Black is never encountered by the Autobots or Detroit Police in the "Beasts and Burdens" arc, but he's the one responsible for everything they have to face. He was also this for the "Fire Convoy" arc as well, being the one who hired Pyro Goblin to steal from Sumdac Systems in the first place.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Great War happens in the backstory and plays an integral part in the backgrounds of Ratchet, Wheeljack, Arcee, and Optimus, but it's never seen. The closest we get are small glimpses and minor flashbacks from Optimus every now and then.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The Great War apparently ran on this. The Decepticons were galactic warlords who sought power, but the Autobots were very much the same in this regard, having been conquerors before the war started and used various amoral tactics during the war itself.
  • I Have Many Names: Played for Laughs in regards to the Beast Pretenders. They tend to cycle through new names for their group so often that nobody can get their name right. So far they've had Monster Men, Horror Mercs, Beast Warriors, and Monsters of Myth and Mayhem. They can never seem to pick one. They get stuck with Beast Pretenders after the Autobots screw up their robbery.
  • Have We Met?: Some of the people Sari interacts with find her familiar, but have a hard time recognizing her. She often does her best to avoid being recognized for fear of being put into child services or being reminded of her non-existence. One of the police officers (Officer Lander) did recognize her as the same girl who helped with Pyro Goblin when he helped her bring Prowl his severed leg.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Autobots don't exactly have good public support. While some like them, these people are just as quick to throw them under the bus as they are to praise them for any heroic action they may commit. The police do have enough tolerance of them to work alongside them when they need help though.
  • Hypocrite: Subverted. Wheeljack accuses Optimus of being this, stating that despite his distaste for anyone using the Allspark's power for selfish reasons, he did use it to heal himself. However, Optimus didn't use it to heal himself, Sari initially used it accidentally against his will and later used it to fully repair him while he was dying. Neither of these instances had any input from him at all.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Sari made her home in a run-down and abandoned car factory, which is surrounded by the more high-tech modern day Detroit. This becomes Optimus's home as well.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Optimus was talking about human societal norms such as adults taking care of their children and how Sari is an anomaly due to having no family, he wasn't aware that he was causing her grief since she hates it when it's brought up that she's alone. She eventually yells at him to shut up and they spend the rest of the drive in silence.
  • Ironic Name: In the main series (according to the Allspark Almanac) Optimus's name was derived from his optimistic and positive outlook on life. He's, more often than, a complete cynic in this story thanks to his war-time trauma.
  • Irony:
    • You know how Optimus and Sentinel hate each other in the original series? Here, while their exact relationship is unknown, Sentinel agrees with the idea that the Allspark should remain lost since that is the reason the peace has lasted as long as it has.
    • Optimus and Ratchet are close friends across all incarnations of the series. Here, they don't know each other and pretty much hate each other on introduction.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Starscream has a massive ego and feels that the Decepticons should be his and his alone.
    • Powell is a self-centered jerk who even takes credit for what Issac did to help the city.
  • It's All My Fault: Prowl blamed himself for the injuries Arcee sustained during the fight with Megatron back on the Orion since she jumped in the way and took a deadly hit for him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Optimus does have good points on why the Allspark should remain hidden, since desiring its power was what lead to the Great War in the first place. It's telling that even Sentinel, of all bots, agrees with this viewpoint.
    • While Sentinel is a jackass, he's technically correct in that the higher-ups are white washing the numerous acts of insubordination and reckless endangerment that the members of the Orion crew committed to become exiled Space Bridge technicians in the first place.
    • While it was cold of Optimus to be willing to abandon the hostages to prioritize defeating and/or killing Starscream, he is right in that the amount of lives that the Decepticon threatens should they give him the Allspark far outweigh the hostages.
    • Ratchet has good reason to keep his crew away from humans, as the populace is divided on them and they need to focus on getting back to Cybertron.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Optimus is bitter and cynical, but he grows to deeply care for Sari as family and makes it clear that he will protect her with as much determination as the Allspark.
  • Karma Houdini: Sari gets away with pelting Powell with rotten tomatoes despite being caught by Fanzone because he lets her go. His reasoning simply amounts to "[Powell] deserves it".
  • Like Brother and Sister: Optimus has this dynamic with Sari (with some shades of Parental Substitute as well), as he cares for her and bickers with her the same way you'd expect an older brother would.
  • Mad Artist: Pyro Goblin not only delights in causing destruction and suffering through her flames, but she views what she does as artwork. After being defeated by Optimus, she starts developing an obsession for the outcast, believing that burning him to cinders will be her greatest masterpiece. She even gave herself a tattoo of Optimus burning alive.
  • Mad Scientist:
    • Scalpel is the main one for the Decepticons.
    • Blackarachnia is implied to be one, though for more sympathetic reasons since she's trying to become a normal Cybertronian again.
    • Wheeljack is a good guy variant. He loves inventing and 97% or the time, his creations explode.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Cybertronians, obviously. This causes them problems when they arrive on Earth, as they confuse other vehicles and machinery for sentient beings. Some humans also don't seem to know or understand that Cybertronians are alive. Sari got pretty pissed when Lt. Kelly told her that she shouldn't worry about Optimus simply because he's a machine and can be rebuilt.
  • Mythology Gag: How Optimus and Sky-Byte charge at each other during a flashback to the Great War is identical to how Optimus and Megatron charged at each other in the opening of Transformers: War for Cybertron.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The reason Ratchet and Wheeljack are in exile is due to having grown outspoken about the Autobots' amoral actions during the Great War.
    Ratchet: Sometimes standing up for what's right isn't taken kindly to.
  • Nominal Hero: Optimus may have noble intentions, but he only has two goals that he prioritizes above all else: protecting the Allspark and protecting Sari. When Starscream attacked, he only cared about killing the Decepticon and made it clear that the hostages that he took weren't a priority. He only goes through with Sari's plan to save the hostages on her insistence, and even then, he was very apprehensive about it since the plan involved putting the Allspark at risk.
    Optimus: No matter what the human media may think of us, we're not heroes...We cannot afford to be.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Megatron, like canon, can easily take on the entire team of Autobots by himself.
    • Starscream spends most of his fight against the other Autobots rag-dolling them. Optimus was the only one who could match him.
    • Optimus himself was able to take on three of the veteran Autobots by himself with only minor damage.
  • Only Mostly Dead: When the Orion crew found Optimus, he was still alive, but was in stasis for so long and with so much fried circuitry that any attempt to wake up at that point would render him unconscious again.
  • Only One Name:
    • Pretty much the entire crew of the Orion only has one name to go by. This applies to most Cybertronians as well.
    • In contrast to even his counterpart from Animated, Optimus doesn't have the rank of Prime and is simply referred to as Optimus. There's some implication that this might not even be his real name.
    • Subverted with Sari. Though the narrative treats that like it's the only name she has, the readers know that her last name is "Sumdac". Optimus even almost says it, but goes offline before he could finish due to his injuries.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Sari's pendant, which becomes her Allspark key.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Sari, in contrast to her canon counterpart, pretty much lives off a measly income of "however much I can pickpocket off other people" and lives in an abandoned car factory. The only things she can afford amount to a TV and food.
  • Police are Useless: Subverted. The police are pretty competent at their jobs, with the only instances where they falter involving opponents well out of their league like Decepticons or super-villains, and they hold their own against the human super-villains well enough.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Lt. Kelly's full name is Kelly Junko, which is pronounced Yun-ko. She yelled this to Optimus when he mispronounced it.
  • Propaganda Pieceinvoked: Bumblebee watched these back on the Orion while they were on Spacebridge duty. Ratchet points out that it's all just a bunch of baloney and that the war was more grueling and complicated than they make it out to be.
  • Pyro Maniac: Pyro Goblin. She's practically what happens when you take the insanity of the Green Goblin and make him obsessed with fire.
  • Quantity vs. Quality:
    • During the Great War, the Decepticons were fewer in number than the Autobots, but their members were composed of more experienced warriors who fight by choice. This contrasts them to the Autobots, who had the greater numbers, but whose soldiers were mainly trained civilians forcibly drafted into the war.
    • After Powell's takeover of Sumdac Systems, the company has mass produced more machinery on a greater scale compared to when Sumdac ran the place. However, their products have seen a large drop in quality, which leads to them cutting corners and relying heavily on the original base for most machines. This was the key factor that allowed Megatron to gain control.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Issac was shown to be a generous and benevolent businessman. When some members of his board suggested replacing the common factory workers with robots to improve efficiency, Issac shuts that idea down immediately. His mindset being that doing so would put several good people out of jobs and that the money they could save from doing so is inconsequential compared to the needs of others.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Lugnut is right in that Megatron is alive and functioning, but his beliefs are rooted in his zeal and unwavering loyalty rather than him actually knowing that Megatron survived.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Pyro Goblin's thin and lanky frame, combined with her distorted voice, made her appear to look like a man. Lander was shocked when he unmasked her and learned that she was a girl.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Beast Pretenders probably didn't have much in the way of rational thinking to start with, but their mutations just made them more aggressive and violent. After Prometheus detonates the nanobots in their systems, thereby furthering their mutations by stimulating the bio-engineered steroids in their bodies, they become ravenous monsters who only know how to destroy whatever's in their way.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Great war has not been kind to Optimus.
  • Skewed Priorities: Downplayed. While Prowl was concerned by the Beast Pretenders criminal activities, he was more concerned with how they sully the majestic image of Earth's wildlife by dressing up as animals for their crimes.
  • Slow Clap: After Issac gives his speech that they are working to serve the community and that replacing workers with robots to save time and money would put several people out of jobs and is as such not viable, people start to clap and applaud him for his dedication and generosity. Even those opposed to him end up applauding him.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Subverted. They do exist, but since Sari doesn't exist as far as the world is concerned, they don't apply to her.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Granted, his death only lasted a minute in canon since this is Optimus we're talking about, but he doesn't die at all here. Even when he was almost killed by Pyro Goblin, his spark was still glowing, so he didn't die.
  • Stealing the Credit: Powell tries to take credit for Sumdac's past achievements. No one buys it for a second.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pick any of Wheeljack's inventions. Explosions ensue.
  • Super Toughness: Lt. Kelly's police car tanks a lot of damage and comes out of the ordeal with Pyro Goblin mostly unscathed. Sari's key augmenting it may have had something to do with that.
  • Take That!: Sari wants to give Optimus a hot-rod flame paint job, but he dismisses it as unsubtle.
  • The Talk: While driving Sari to get some food, Optimus questions how exactly humans are born. Before Sari can tell him (and the readers by extension), Smash Cut to Optimus swerving in the street before reassessing himself, then Smash Cut back to Sari laughing like a maniac.
  • Talking to Themself: Megatron does this a lot. Since he's an immobile head trapped in an inaccessible lab with the only things there being extensions of his will, it's not like he has anyone else to talk to.
  • Tears of Joy: Sari cries in happiness when she sees that Optimus survived his fight with Starscream, even climbing onto him and crying on his shoulder.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • The Autobots and Optimus didn't exactly work together on the best of terms.
    • The Beast Pretenders are frequently at each other's throats, especially after their mutations.
  • Time Abyss: Most Cybertronians are older than every human on the planet combined. Optimus far exceeds the rest of the Autobots (expect Ratchet) in age and has been in stasis lock for about 4 million years, and has been fighting in the Great War for perhaps even longer than that.
  • Time-Compression Montage: During the end of "Ripples", we see from Megatron's perspective the scenes showcasing Sumdac's improved research and prestige overtime. The first being his beginnings experimenting with the applications of Cybertronian technology, the second being years later with his improved lab having made a strong degree of wealth off his robotics, and the final scene being even further after that; having fully established Sumdac Systems and having contracts to make new robots for several areas of the city.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Beast Pretenders start off as a bunch of goofy, albeit moderately competent, thugs. Thanks to their mutations from Prometheus Black, they become super-powered mutants that can fight off the Autobots and most of the Detroit police force combined.
  • Truer to the Text:
    • Soundwave and Shockwave have much more in common with their G1 counterparts than their Animated incarnations. In Soundwave's case, he wasn't created on Earth but is instead native to Cybertron and is Megatron's right-hand man, while Shockwave is the head Decepticon scientist and not The Mole.
    • In Optimus's case, he was originally a soldier who fought in the war for Cybertron in previous incarnations, unlike the series where he was a post-war Elite Guard cadet and washout. Since he's a soldier from the Great War here, he fits the mold of the original Optimus better, though he never really displayed the jerkass behavior that this one starts out with until later renditions of the character.
  • Uncertain Doom: Issac Sumdac is stated to be dead. How he died is a mystery, though there is some In-Universe speculation.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Prowl comments that Optimus doesn't look so tough when he saw his fight with Pyro Goblin. Since we later see him take on the veteran Orion crew members and match Starscream in a fight, he really missed the mark on that one.
  • Undying Loyalty: Lugnut has absolute faith in Megatron and is among the few who believe (know) that he's still alive. He also lashes out at anyone who claims he is dead or doubts his survival, referring to them as "traitors".
  • Un-person: Sari doesn't have anything to prove that she actually exists. Arcee connected herself to the human networks and couldn't find anything about her.
  • Villain Ball: Sky-Byte was able to pin Optimus to a wall and prevent him from retrieving the Allspark back during the Great War. Instead of just taking the Allspark to Megatron, he decides to let loose on Optimus and beat him within an inch of his life, giving him enough time to fight back and get out of the hold.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Both Powell and Prometheus have this, which helps them avoid the legal repercussions of their amoral business practices.
  • War Is Hell: The Great War plays a more notable role in the backstories of four of the Cybertronian characters seen so far. Among the Orion crew, Ratchet and Wheeljack despise the amoral actions they took, and Arcee lost everything because of it and can no longer remember her life prior to the war. This all pales in comparison to Optimus, as he frequently has PTSD nightmares and flashbacks to his time in the war as a front-line soldier. When the story perspective shifts to the war, we see what a horrid, energon-soaked nightmare it was, as numerous bots on both sides were killed, mutilated, and worse.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • All the Autobots agree that the Decepticons should not have the Allspark. Optimus, however, believes that the Allspark should remain lost, while the rest want it back on Cybertron.
    • Following Megatron's "death", the Decepticons have been in a state of chaos due to the void in leadership. Whenever fights break out, they usually start placing bets on who wins rather than try to stop it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Optimus took the Allspark from Cybertron to hide it from the warring factions, despite all the good it could do. His reasoning stems from how the Allspark's limitless power can corrupt those who use it and how said power can create innumerable Cybertronians, which turns them into expendable units. He also has no issues sacrificing innocent organics if it means that the rest of the planet's population will survive.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Ripples" is a large flashback chapter that focuses on what happened after The Orion and Megatron transwarped to parts unknown and how it affected the Autobots and Decepticons.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Sari's reaction to a very crappy TV show called "Beauty and the Bot".
  • Worf Had the Flu: Optimus doesn't do so well against Pyro-Goblin since his reformatting at the car factory had him rebuilt using weaker Earth metals (it's noted that even the police drones have more durability), plus he starts out the fight with a worn out and powerless ax and the entire battle was in a cramped tunnel where he didn't really have any room to move about.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Optimus has no problem fighting and hurting either gender if he has to. When Wheeljack calls him out on this, Optimus questions how much he actually fought in the Great War.
  • The Xenophile: Prowl is fascinated by Earth, the life on the planet, and it's beauty. This causes no end to Ratchet's frustration, as he wants his team to avoid all contact with the humans.

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