While Transformers has produced many high-quality toys and works of fiction, and the fandom disagrees about nearly everything, there are some toys and works depicting the Transformers that are so horrid that everyone shuns them.
- Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify its inclusion here. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify. Also, if the work or toyline has a huge Hatedom but also has an equally large fanbase, it doesn't count either note . If it was considered this, it wouldn't have those fans.
- It isn't Horrible just because it was featured on Plastic Addict or DiamondBolt's Ruined Forever series, or because anyone from Channel Awesome or any other Caustic Critic reviewed it. There needs to be independent evidence, such as reputable, professional reviews to list it. Once it is listed, those critics can provide the detailed review(s).
- This page is not for horrible episodes or individual chapters (or even seasons) of episodic Transformers works that otherwise don't qualify for this list. For those, see Dethroning Moment of Suck instead.
- This page is not for bad Transformers Fan Fiction, as fanfics have been banned from being listed in the Horrible namespace. Nor is it for horrible unlicensed "third-party" toys, which would instead fall under Shoddy Knockoff Product. List only Transformers products that have been officially sanctioned or produced by Hasbro or TakaraTomy.
- The last wave of Beast Hunters Deluxe-class figures is infamously formed by upscaled◊ versions◊ of the Legion class◊ figures◊ from that line's first wave note . Not only are the figures less detailed and show-accurate than regular Deluxe Transformers, they actually have less articulation than the already-limited Legion figures. It doesn't help that upscaling figures is a very common practice among knockoff makers. These toys hit non-US buyers even harder, as the standard price for Deluxes can reach up to $30 or more in certain countries, so they get even less for their buck.
- The Titanium series was one of the franchise's first efforts at a collector-focused line, promising obscure characters, little intrusive gimmickry, and the return of the much-loved die-cast metal construction. Great idea, but development was outsourced to a branch of Hasbro that normally made metal statues, and consequently many of the early figures basically are metal statues. The "collector-quality" paint washes are uneven and ugly, the articulation ranges from average to bizarre with unusually small ranges of motion, and they cost $15 despite being the same size as a $10 Deluxe-class. Transformations usually consist of lying the figure down, with exposed hands and arms being the norm. The most infamous feature of the line, however, resulted from the metal itself: Not only does the metal weigh down joints, it also tends to wear down the softer plastic, creating figures that are at best floppy and at worst fall to pieces in a stiff breeze. Keep in mind that this line ran during the same year as the Classics line, often considered to be one of the best Transformers lines ever. The line picked up as time went on, but by the arrival of fairly decent figures like Cheetor or The Fallen, the damage had been done.
- The Built to Rule line was a failed early attempt at re-imagining the Transformers brand as LEGO-like construction toys. Although the toys have to be taken apart to transform, they do have an inner armature of sorts called the "Trans-Skeleton" that can be folded up to act as a base for the vehicle modes or folded out to become a robot. Sadly, the idea to have these Transformers retain some actual transforming is one of the reasons why the line failed, as these Trans-Skeletons are horribly proportioned, with the figures having giant, junky midsections; minuscule, barely-movable arms; and oddly-placed, spindly legs. The toys look very little like their actual transforming counterparts, and have masses of cluttered excess pieces stuck onto them in random places, or worse, leave out pieces even if they could easily have been fitted into the toys - resulting in some truly ugly figures which are overdesigned in some places and bare to the Trans-Skeleton in others. The line ran for a single year, with its second series (which was a drastic improvement) only receiving a limited release. Hasbro released Kre-O, their new foray into the world of constructible Transformers, eight years later, to great success this time.
- The beast mode of Beast Machines Silverbolt◊ is so laughable-looking, Hasbro themselves packaged the figure in robot mode even though the other similar-sized toys came packaged in their alternate mode. That's meant to be a condor, by the way - a humanoid condor with clawed legs dangling in front of its wings and a tubular robot head coming out of its rear - which is especially strange since the tiny head could easily have been concealed within the spacious torso, with the samurai bun-styled hairpiece blending in with the tail feathers in bird mode. The wings detach and split to form the tiniest, most pathetic sword imaginable, which the figure can't hold up due to its weight and the figure's arm joint having next to no friction. The wings can be put on the robot's back for storage, but only upside-down. They can also be folded up to look like a samurai robe, but this causes them stress against the legs due to being pre-bent. One of the main reasons why the figure is often regarded as one of the worst-ever Transformers is that Silverbolt never received another toy in the line, so the only physical representation of the cartoon's towering, awesome-looking warrior◊ is this measly, garish red-blue freak who's smaller than all the other Maximals despite being the tallest in the show. The Japanese version is at least somewhat accurate in its colors. Rumor has it the figure was originally meant to be a gryphon, which would explain why it has four legs as a condor. The fact that it has no knees as a robot and that the robot feet have an extra transformation step which isn't used in either configuration (this does allow him to have knees at the cost of the feet's stability) also reveal that the toy was only halfway through its design phase when released.
- Bear in mind, this is not only from a toyline that's universally reviled amongst the fandom due to its inaccuracy to the show, and the general quality (or lack thereof) of its Basic-class figures note , but also from the same line that introduced the short-lived "Supreme" sub-line - a series of figures that are supposed to be more show-accurate than its counterparts, yet fail hard. Case in point: Supreme Cheetor◊, a figure hyped up by Hasbro themselves to be as show-accurate as possible...only it's hindered by its obtrusive gimmicks (which affect arm articulation horribly), butt-ugly design, completely inaccurate color scheme (his normally-purple spots are black, and he's suddenly sporting green abs with no explanation), and a complete inability to stand under its own power. Needless to say, the experiment bombed, and the figure was relegated to bargain bins almost immediately after its release.
- Most of the Animorphs tie-in toys released under the Transformers banner are generally despised, as they are badly designed in both of their modes: ugly animals with human-bits sticking out and vice-versa. Transforming robots that incorporate animal parts into their designs can get away with this, but feathers, talons, claws, and such look decidedly off on a human. The Deluxe Tobias is particularly notable, given the extensive amount of clothing on the human mode that is very poorly hidden on the hawk mode, to the point that he tries to conceal his bright gold shirt by covering it up with his legs. Needless to say, it still looks like a hawk wearing a shirt, only now it has human legs and feet on it, complete with jeans and laced-up shoes. The alien toys were a bit better, thanks to no human parts hanging off, but the clumsy designs and weird color choices still hit a lot of them. The line did so poorly that the later waves had to be reworked into the Mutant Transformers, which, while not great, weren't quite as disastrous. If there's any upshot, it's that this line technically set the stage for later, more well-received crossover toys.
- Transformers Armada had some stinkers, as many of the figures sacrificed the excellent articulation of previous lines to shoehorn in the Mini-Con gimmick. However, there is one standout terribad figure: Side Swipe. Not to be confused with the G1 character, this is a character who as New Meat is already annoying, but his toy... wow. Just look at the robot mode: Incredibly limited articulation, his arms don't even look like arms, his car parts just sort of... hang off him, and he comes with the impressively bad Nightbeat, who turns from a motorcycle to a motorcycle on legs. What makes this one particularly baffling is that the toy was redecoed or remolded three times as Treadshot, Oil Slick, and Runamuck, meaning fans got to experience the wonder of this guy three years in a row (and Runamuck omitted his Mini-Con, adding a gutted gimmick on top of all the above nonsense).
- Power Core Combiners Double Clutch. Power Core Combiners was a divisive line, with some fans not liking the fact that the limbs don't transform, but others appreciated it and thought that many of the figures were fine Scout-class figures in their own right. Double Clutch was not one of those. Aside from the boring (and impressively out-of-scale) drones, the figure is riddled with design flaws leaving its robot and torso modes both floppy messes, falling down immediately if not falling apart entirely. Newer batches of the set received several running changes to amend the instability, but finding one with these improvements can be a gamble. Even so, Double Clutch and the Rallybots are still a fairly unremarkable set.
- Transformers: Prime gave the near-universally-reviled Deluxe Airachnid. While the tiny Legion figure is actually enjoyable, the Deluxe figure barely has any more usable articulation (with most joints being blocked by her kibble), an unfun transformation, ridiculous weapons, and weird-looking hands. All that, and she's tiny to boot.
- The entirety of the Scout Class toys in Transformers: Cyberverse: While the Cyberverse toyline often sacrifices articulation for the sake of gimmicks, like Armada before it, most of the gimmicks are tolerable at worst and don't completely ruin the figures. Not so with the Scout Class toys. All of the lineup's toys consist of "transformational modes", which are half-robot, half-vehicle hybrids when transformed. While the Starscream, Slipstream, and Windblade toys are forgivable (as their modes are a nod to Gerwalk forms), the rest of them are completely laughable (Scraplet notwithstanding).
Anime & Manga
- While Transformers Armada got off to a bad start, the show did improve as it went on and eventually became fairly decent by the end. The same can not be said for Transformers Energon, which was (and to some extent, still is) widely considered the worst show the franchise has had, though The Transformers: Combiner Wars (see below) is a viable contender for that dishonor. The story itself is fraught with Padding, plot points are introduced and immediately dropped, and an unlikable jerk leads the main storyline. Animation for the robots is done almost entirely with CGI, albeit very badly and with all the emotional range of a potato (though they do become hand-drawn in particularly intense scenes where emotional range is required). All this is topped off by an incredibly rushed production schedule, resulting in English scripts full of mistranslations and lines that don't fit the onscreen action, making the already confusing story nigh-incomprehensible. The voice actors almost unanimously turn in incredibly uninspired performances, despite the fact that many of them had long proven their vocal abilities in past series like Beast Wars. Even though the series does have one or two So Bad, It's Good moments, trying to watch the whole thing to find them is considered an act of torture. This is all summed up by what Alpha Q said in the finale:
- "Something cool finally happened!" note
- When Transformers Kiss Players was announced, most American fans generally chuckled at the concept of girls kissing Transformers to bond with them and power them up... but then the manga scans showed up, depicting characters being swallowed whole and alive, blatantly suggestive scenes (such as the Legions' infamous "penis-tongues" and the endless stream of implied-rape imagery), the sexist overtone-plagued antics of Atari Hitotonari (along with the Ethnic Scrappy Shaoshao, and Marissa Fairborne, a character dating back to Season 3 of the original series), and late teenagers/young adults appearing to be eight years old (no, this isn't an art style quirk, they're literally and intentionally drawn that way). On top of this, the radio drama (the other major piece of Kiss Players media) suffers from many of the same problems. Series creator Yuki Ohshima openly admitted to making the series this way for no reason other than shock value. The second half of the series attempted what can only be damage control by shifting gears and becoming a Continuity Porn series which happened to star cute girls, but by then it was too late - American fans were left disgusted, and Japanese fans feared this would set a very poor example for the perception of anime in the West. As a result, most fans tuned out. Even with the heavily-fractured nature of the franchise's fanbase, it's pretty much the only thing in Transformers that's universally hated (with the possible exceptions of Energon and Combiner Wars), which is a real accomplishment.
- The Beast Within is poorly drawn, incoherent, badly written, and completely independent of any known canon. Special mention goes to the Beast, a Dinobot combiner. Fans had been pondering what one would look like for years - the fact that this◊ was its canon appearance came off as a slap in the face. They ended up having to backpedal and introduce a new, more traditional Dinobot combiner, Volcanicus. When Hasbro acknowledged this story's canon in the Ask Vector Prime Facebook page, it was left vulnerable by Unicron and eaten by the Hytherion. Good riddance, too.
- Continuum, a typo-riddled, poorly-organized "definitive chronology" of IDW's Transformers stories up to the then-present, is jam-packed with erroneous facts, skipped-over plotlines, and events out of chronological order... and it gets even more sickening when you realize it was written by one of IDW's two Transformers editors. It was meant to let people know their official stand on Transformers continuity, but it was absolutely useless as a resource. Its writer, Andy Schmidt, regrets the book.
- The Beast Wars Sourcebook is also pretty infamous. Terrible layout and ordering, wildly varying art quality (with Frank Milkovich's take on Silverbolt◊ being especially infamous), boring writing that reads more like a plot summary of the Beast Wars cartoon than a description of the character and purges any non-Waspinator-related humor, strange and arbitrary changes to the personality of the Japanese characters, and a whole lot of typos and other editing errors. Even more disappointing, considering that the Generation 1 and Armada sourcebooks from the otherwise-reviled Dreamwave era are generally considered to be excellent.
- Heart of Darkness, which takes place during The Transformers (IDW)'s run. The writing ended up being pretty bad with forced dialogue and a rather vague Random Events Plot (with a bunch of continuity errors to boot), which was especially disappointing given that acclaimed Warhammer 40,000 writer Dan Abnett was a cowriter for it. Normally it would've just been So Okay, It's Average, but the art proved to be absolutely abysmal and dragged the comic down further into this. To this day it's regarded as the single worst entry in the IDW G1 continuity and fans try as hard as possible to ignore it, aside from some minor World Building elements that James Roberts and John Barber later built off of.
- Transformers: Convoy no Nazo note for the Famicom has Ultra Magnus as a One-Hit Point Wonder, palette-swapped bosses (including three instances of the Decepticon logo), Trypticon as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, and an ending that is nothing but text. You have to collect letters that spell out "Rodimus" and then beat the game to play as Rodimus Prime (also a OHPW, and functionally identical to Ultra Magnus); if you beat the game with him, then you get "Congratulation!" and your high score. It's yet another horrible video game that The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed on his show. TJ Omega also tore it a new one in his ''Plastic Addict'' series.
- The Transformers: Combiner Wars, a 2016 webseries co-produced by Machinima and Hasbro. Initially billed as a more mature work for hardcore fans, it was almost instantly savaged by said hardcore fans due to poor-quality CGI reminiscent of Transformers Energon, a low framerate that makes actions highly janky, an unclear and barebones narrative, a large amount of Padding despite the full miniseries only clocking in at 40 minutes, little screentime devoted to the characters the series was created to advertise, terrible characterization (with Windblade being depicted as a murderous psychopath for no apparent reason, and Starscream being depicted as humbled by having a position of leadership, only to reveal it was all an act in the final episodes for no reason) and, most infamously, the fact that the webseries was released well after the toyline it was made to promote had left retail. When TFWiki.net says Energon looks good by comparison, you know something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. Amazingly enough, it still managed to get two sequels. And the worst part? They somehow got Dashie and Jon Bailey of all people to work on it (they were the voice of Menasor and freaking Optimus Prime respectively) and not even they can save this trainwreck. At least the two follow-up series Titans Return and Power of the Primes were improvements thanks to longer episodes, better animation, more consistent characterizations, and an all-star cast such as Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, and Gregg Berger reprising their respective roles as Optimus Prime, Rodimus Prime, and Grimlock, Wil Wheaton as Perceptor, Samoa Joe as Predaking, and even Ron Perlman as Optimus Primal and Mark Hamill as Megatronus.
- BotCon was the world's largest Transformers convention for decades until it was discontinued and replaced by HasCon, a convention dedicated to all Hasbro franchises. BotCon 1996 was the first and only BotCon overseen by Men In Black Productions. Despite initial plans (and advertisements of) an abandoned Pulp Fiction theme, there was no official theme. There was, however, a celebration of the 10th birthday of Transformers: The Movie, including a screening on a TV and cake... but the VHS copy of the movie didn't work, the cake had no forks, and the only drink was water. Attendees didn't get any lanyards or anything, identification was done with generic "Hi My Name Is..." stickers. These were of course easy to forge, but even that would be unnecessary since Men In Black managed to run out, leading to people being able to walk in from the street. This event really was bad comedy. TFWiki.net has more info here.