Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The Transformers

Go To
Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons!
"Many millions of years ago, on the planet Cybertron, life existed, but not life as we know it today. Intelligent robots that could think and feel inhabited the cities. They were called Autobots and Decepticons. But the brutal Decepticons were driven by a single goal: total domination. They set out to destroy the peace-loving Autobots, and a war between the forces of good and evil raged across Cybertron."
Narration from the first episode.

With their homeworld depleted of energy due to the war, the Autobots leave on their ship to find a new planet with energy sources. The Decepticons follow in a ship of their own. The ensuing battle led to them crashing on Earth. Millions of years later (in 1984), both factions wake up, resuming their war on our world.

The Transformers was the first Transformers cartoon, part of the Transformers: Generation 1 franchise. It premiered in 1984. The writing and distribution of the series was handled by both Marvel Productions and Sunbow Entertainment. Animation was done by Toei Animation and a few other (uncredited, just like its sister series) studios, including AKOM in their first project, Sei Young, some unknown studios and several feeder studiosnote . AKOM's animation was generally worse than Toei's.

The show ran for three whole seasons, plus season 4, which was just a three-part episode, "The Rebirth". The Japanese version branched off into a different continuity right after the end of the third season, replacing "The Rebirth" with Transformers: ★Headmasters. The Transformers: The Movie, released between the second and third seasons, is set prior to the third season.

The continuity of this series provided the basis for Transformers: Wings of Honor.

Recap here. The show has since been uploaded to Hasbro Pulse's official channel in its entirety.

This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A-M 
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The episode "Enter the Nightbird" ended with the robot ninja Nightbird turning out to be self-aware after her creator chose to lock her in a chamber forever, but she never appeared again. A comic from Fun Publications did pick up the story, revealing that Nightbird had been mass-produced by her creator, only for the drones to go on a rampage and force Daniel and Wheelie to sacrifice themselves to stop them. The resulting conflict led Arcee to go into hiding, eventually mutating into a techno-organic spider by the time of Beast Wars.
    • "Atlantis, Arise" ended with King Nergill escaping the destruction of Sub-Atlantica, presumably to plan revenge against the Autobots and the Decepticons. He remained a one-shot antagonist.
    • Blitzwing gets a fairly well developed character arc in Five Faces of Darkness, when he correctly deduces that the Quintessons are lying to and manipulating Galvatron by telling him that there's a Decepticon Matrix of Leadership to counter the Autobot Matrix. After Galvatron refuses to believe him, and realising that the Quintessons are trying to destroy both Autobots and Decepticons, Blitzwing teams up with Rodimus Prime to defeat the Quintessons. After Galvatron exiles him, Rodimus offers him a chance to join the Autobots. Blitzwing refuses and this plot line remains unresolved. His transgressions apparently forgotten, Blitzwing does appear in a few crowd scenes with the Decepticons later on, but is never given a speaking role again. It's thought that the episode "Starscream's Ghost" was rewritten from a Blitzwing episode to an Octane onenote , as a lot of the episode makes very little sense for Octane but a lot of sense for Blitzwing. The Legends manga eventually picked up his story.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: All of them, but the second season's stands out the most.
  • Action Girl: Arcee in the movie onwards. Also Elita One, though she's the leader of her own Amazon Brigade.
  • Actor Allusion: During the episode "Only Human", the outfit Ultra Magnus dons as a human looks very much like Robert Stack, who voiced Ultra Magnus in the movie.
  • Actual Pacifist: Cerebros, to the point where after the Final Battle of the fourth season, he asks to be shut down so he doesn't have to fight any more. Fortunately, since it was the Final Battle, he doesn't have to fight anyway.
  • Ad Bumpers: Commercial breaks would often show footage of an Autobot or Decepticon changing forms while the announcer would say "The Transformers will return after these messages" or "We now return to The Transformers". Notably, each season had their own bumpers with their own characters instead of using the same ones across the entire series.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Shockwave's bio describes him as hyper-competent and intelligent, and comics published before the cartoon came out had him overthrow Megatron because he felt he would be a better leader. Here, he's a Yes-Man with little agency besides following Megatron's orders, and he mostly serves as a (very poor) bodyguard.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • This iteration of Transformers: Generation 1 made Rumble blue and Frenzy red; their toy and comic book appearances have the colors the other way around. The Japanese dub got around this by calling the red one Rumble and the blue one Frenzy.
    • The Autobots were given blue eyes and the Decepticons red eyes regardless of what their toys had. For example, the Dinobots have blue eyes in this series instead of the red found on their toys, and Soundwave's toy's yellow eyes were switched to red. Occasionally, this would be averted - for example, Thrust, a Decepticon, had yellow eyes.
    • The Sweeps' beards are white or grey in the box art and toys, but vary between blue, grey, and black in the series.
  • A.I. Getting High: The episode "Microbots" has a scene where the Decepticons get intoxicated by consuming too much energon too quickly. The result is Megatron drunkenly reminiscing about the good old days on Cybertron while most of his troops are too disoriented to stand up straight.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese themes are different.
    • Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers (the Japanese dub of the show's first two seasons) had "TRANSFORMER" by Satoko Shimonari as the opening theme and "Peace Again", also by Shimonari, as the ending theme.
    • Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers: 2010 (the Japanese dub of the third season) had Shō Hirose perform both the opening and ending themes, with the opening theme called "TRANSFORMER 2010" and the ending theme called "WHAT'S YOU".
    • Averted with the Japanese dub of the show's three-part finale "The Rebirth", which wasn't dubbed in Japanese until years after the original show ended and was replaced with the anime Transformers: ★Headmasters. To further distance it from the Japanese continuity, the three-part episode's Japanese dub used the American names of characters that had different names in Japan and used the American theme song.
  • Amazon Brigade: A group of female Autobots led by Elita One appeared in the Season 2 episode "The Search For Alpha Trion". Said Autobots include Chromia, Moonracer, Firestar, Greenlight, and Lancer.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Tracks' human friend Raoul has brownish skin. He suddenly got lighter in his second appearance.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Tracks had mannerisms and a tone of voice that many interpreted as indicating that he was homosexual, though his voice actor Michael McConnohie has stated that Tracks was intended to sound posh rather than gay.
  • Anachronic Order:
    • Some of the episodes aired in an order that resulted in a rather confusing mess of continuity issues. One example was the second part of the three-part episode "The Ultimate Doom" featuring the Dinobots Snarl and Swoop even though only three Dinobots were established to exist and "War of the Dinobots", the episode where Snarl and Swoop were first constructed, didn't air until after "The Ultimate Doom".
    • "Ghost in the Machine" aired immediately prior to "Starscream's Ghost".
    • "Aerial Assault", which showed the Combaticons, aired prior to "Starscream's Brigade", in which the Combaticons are created.
    • Shout! Factory aimed to fix this mistake by consulting fans on what order the episodes should be in for the DVD releases, but a last-minute fluke resulted in the season three episodes on the DVD sets being in airdate order even though the DVD cases listed them in the order they were intended to occur.
    • Free streaming service Tubi airs the entire series in its proper storyline order.
  • Animation Bump: "Call of the Primitives" is the best example. The "More Than Meets The Eye" three-parter, "Atlantis Arise", "Chaos", "Dweller in the Depths", the fight between Metroplex and Trypticon in "The Ultimate Weapon" and "The Return of Optimus Prime" are also better animated than the rest of the series.
    • Despite their constant Off-Model moments, AKOM's animation does have an occasional moment of good animation in several scenes of The Five Faces of Darkness five-parter, Thief In the Night, Dark Awakening and The Rebirth series finale. AKOM's episodes also tended to have a higher frame rate than Toei's.
    • The season two opening is also better crafted than the other openings.
  • Animation Evolution: The show has had a few instances of improvement between seasons, minor they may be.
    • Though it has its share of rocky moments, Season 2 is generally considered a step above Season 1 in terms of overall technical quality. With better attempts at keeping characters shaded and episodes where the animation is of a much higher quality than usual.
    • A notable case for Toei between Seasons 2 and 3, as their animation and artwork get a significant bump in quality thanks to the movie, featuring an increased amount of shading and anime-inspired designs and techniques being used. Not so much for AKOM, whose work on the season is considered some of the absolute worst in the franchise.
  • Animesque: Due in part of being made in an era where nearly every non-Filmation show was being outsourced to Japan. Most noticeable in season 1, but later episodes, like "Chaos", "Nightmare Planet" and "Call of the Primitives" all have styles that wouldn't look out of place in an anime from that time period. Many season 2 episodes also have heavy touches of Anime to them, like the lighting effects in "Cosmic Rust", the Sub-Atlanticans in "Atlantis, Arise" looking like characters from GoLion, and the general increase of dynamic posing, angles and shading.
    • By 1987, the toy commercials also started to look increasingly like contemporary mecha anime rather than the show they were based on.
  • Another Dimension: In "Madman's Paradise", it is revealed that the Quintessons punish each other for their transgressions by banishing them into other dimensions. The main plot of the episode was about Daniel Witwicky and Grimlock ending up in Menonia, a medieval universe where a Quintesson known as Mara-Ul-Atha was banished for practicing magic.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The park ranger at the beginning of "The Insecticon Syndrome": "Giant robotic insects that eat trees?! You gotta be kidding!" Note that he's saying this to Beachcomber.
    • He was probably skeptical that giant robots could eat.
    • And the fact that they're insect robots.
  • Arm Cannon:
    • Megatron's fusion cannon. He also had an arm cannon as Galvatron.
    • Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet all have dual turrets on their forearms in robot mode
  • Arrogant God vs. Raging Monster:
    • The Dinobots have this rivalry with the Constructicons. The Constructicon gestalt Devastator is one of the few intelligent behemoths either faction has, and the Autobots are rightly terrified whenever he steps onto the battlefield. By comparison, the Dinobots are crude, primitive and barely tolerate being given direction from Optimus Prime. But their brute strength and resilience is what allows them to fight Devastator to a draw or beat him time and again.
    • The Autobot Combiner Computron has this going on with his rival, the Decepticon Combiner Abominus. Computron is the smartest of all Combiners since the Autobots who make him up, the Technobots, are five of the smartest Autobots and they combine their intelligence when they merge. Abominus, on the other hand, is a being of such mindless fury that he can't even be given orders simple enough for him to understand- the Terrorcons point themselves at something they want to destroy then combine to form him. Unfortunately, Computron is a deconstruction of the Genius Bruiser- he has to analyze a situation before he can react, which means that he's almost always unable to effectively fight against Abominus's unthinking rampages.
  • Artistic License – Biology: A group of Decepticons known as the Predacons are actually composed of Razorclaw (a lion), Rampage (a tiger), Divebomb (an eagle), Headstrong (a rhino), and Tantrum (a bull). In real life, the alt-modes of the last two are herbivores - very vicious herbivores, but herbivores just the same.
  • Ascended Extra: While Cyclonus and Scourge were introduced in the Movie, they had both had small amounts of screentime and little characterization. Season 3 of the show would go on to establish their personalities and give them much more screentime.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership:
    • Grimlock leads the Dinobots because he's physically the strongest.
    • Megatron handily demonstrates why this trope applies to him in "Triple Takeover"; not just anyone can take on a scheming lieutenant, two Triple-changers, and a rampaging Combiner all at once and come out on top, after all.
      Megatron: Get this straight: I am Decepticon leader! You are recyclable!
  • A-Team Firing: Many episodes featured large-scale gun battles between the Autobots and Decepticons... not that they managed to hit much of anything, mind you. Some of these battles would even show both sides standing right out in the open and not even attempting to dodge incoming laser fire.
  • Auto-Revive: Megatron demonstrates this ability in the season 1 episodes "More Than Meets The Eye Part 3", "The Ultimate Doom Part 3", and "Heavy Metal War".
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Optimus Prime was resurrected by the Quintessons in an attempt to destroy the Autobots in "Dark Awakening" and ended up sacrificing himself after he came to his senses. He was eventually resurrected for keeps in the two-part episode "The Return of Optimus Prime".
    • Starscream regained his body after spending some time as a ghost in the episode "Starscream's Ghost".
  • Badass Adorable: Spike Witwicky's son Daniel is just a kid, but he occasionally proves himself to be as useful an ally to the Autobots as his father. He even smart-mouths Cyclonus in "Surprise Party".
  • Badass Boast: Made by Optimus after his revival:
    Sky-Lynx: It's true. Our leader is back.
    Optimus: Yes, Sky Lynx, and this time, no force in the universe can stop me.
  • Badass Family: Spike Witwicky, his wife Carly and their son Daniel are all human allies to the Autobots.
  • Badass Normal: Lord Chumley from "Prime Target" is 100 percent British stereotype but also such a bad ass that he captures a Soviet jet with a submarine and makes mechas and traps to capture several Autobots with the goal of getting Optimus Prime.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The conclusion of "More Than Meets the Eye" makes it seem like Optimus Prime is going to be the one to face the Decepticons on his own and save the day. He isn't. Instead it's actually Mirage who accomplishes this.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits:
    • Season 3's credits feature an army of Blitzwing-like tanks that never actually appear anywhere. As such, their significance in the intro is never explained.
    • The 4th season's opening credits (i.e. the credits of the Rebirth three-parter) show the Duocon Flywheels, a character who never shows up in the cartoon proper. This is due to the animation being reused from a commercial advertising the Duocons.
  • Beard of Evil: Scourge, the Sweeps, and Unicron are all villains that somehow have facial hair in spite of being robots.
  • Big Bad: Megatron (who later becomes Galvatron), given that he is the leader of the Decepticons.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Astrotrain and Blitzwing both attempt to take over the Decepticons in "Triple Takeover". Blitzwing actually fared the better of the two, until Megatron returned and reasserted himself. You can blame Astrotrain for that happening.
    • Galvatron and Zarak form an alliance in "The Rebirth" and in the end are implied to still be working together to plan revenge against the Autobots.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In Season 3, the Autobots have to deal with both the Decepticons and the Quintessons.
  • Big Good:
    • Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and is therefore the highest ranking force of good.
    • Rodimus Prime and Ultra Magnus filled in the position after Optimus's death in the movie.
  • Big "NEVER!":
    Starscream: My time will come, Megatron.
    Megatron: Never! NEVER!!
  • Birthday Episode: The episode "Surprise Party" begins with the Autobots and Spike holding a surprise party for his son Daniel's birthday. The rest of the episode consists of Wheelie and Daniel attempting to find out Ultra Magnus's date of creation so that they can give him a surprise party in gratitude for his selflessness in rescuing them from danger all the time. After their search proves fruitless and they are forced to explain themselves to Spike, Spike resolves the issue by making it so that today was Ultra Magnus's birthdaynote .
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: "Madman's Paradise" has a Cybertron ambassador from Odessix named Ynara, whose entire body turns red when she's embarrassed, including her clothes.
  • Bloodless Carnage: During "The Rebirth," Daniel was mauled by Snapdragon after trying to save Arcee. He suffered injuries severe enough to leave him relying on life support machines, yet appeared to have not so much as a scratch on him (not even Clothing Damage). Somewhat explainable by the fact that Snapdragon threw him rather violently to the ground from a height of at least ten feet or more, and that kind of impact damage could easily not show much blood, but there still should have been damage from his teeth.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "Ghost In The Machine" has Starscream end up at the mercy of Galvatron and the other Decepticons after Unicron restores his physical body. However, Starscream is seen tumbling through space, and no sources have confirmed if Galvatron actually killed Starscream again. This has become Fanfic Fuel in recent years, though old Screamer did appear in Beast Wars for a guest appearance after the original series had ended.
  • Book Ends: The series' premiere and finale, entitled "More Than Meets the Eye" and "The Rebirth" respectively, are both three-part episodes, though the latter was originally intended to be a five-part episode.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: While Megatron is often depicted as a Mean Boss, his tirades to most of his subordinates are more subdued and he is implied to have some degree of care for them. He has much more minimal patience with Starscream however due to being, well, The Starscream, and is frequently willing to select him as a personal stress ball or as a guinea pig for his schemes. In Megatron's defence, his patience towards Starscream's own penchant for insults and back-stabs is relatively commendable for an Evil Overlord.
  • Brains Versus Brawn:
    • The Technobot combiner Computron is extremely intelligent, able to calculate the most efficient path to victory. His Terrorcon counterpart, Abominus, is sheer animalistic brute force. Their battles usually involve Computron using his intelligence to counter Abominus' savage fury.
    • This forms the B-plot of the episode Microbots, in an amusingly literal fashion. The gruff, macho puncher-of-things Brawn thinks that the bookish and generally non-combative researcher Perceptor is of little use in the fight against the Decepticons, and loudly insults him for it. Optimus' plan to reconcile them involves shrinking them and sending them inside a drunk Megatron. (It Makes Sense in Context, honest.) Brawn eats his words at the end when Perceptor demonstrates that his combination of precision, calculation, and skill means he is a formidable sniper.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Chip and the Autobots infamously attempt to do this in "The Core" by using their Dominator Disc on the Constructicons. Megatron however tried to overwrite it, causing Devastator to malfunction.
  • Brown Note: "Carnage in C-Minor" has Galvatron and Soundwave attempt to steal the three parts of a harmony that can cause great destruction to the Autobots.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Skyfire, an "old friend" of Starscream's who is revived and used by the Decepticons, and then seems to heroically sacrifice himself to save the Autobots. Only a sequel episode shows that he didn't actually die, but was buried in some ice to the extent where it took the Autobots seconds to dig him back up, they just didn't bother until they needed him to fly somewhere. In that episode, he befriends Thundercracker for all of about thirty seconds, until the Decepticons shoot him. He's then routinely ignored by the other Autobots unless they need carting around the world, and forgotten about entirely when the Aerialbots arrive towards the end of the second series. Some of this was likely due to legal issues - see here for what information there is about this. Since he didn't have a toy to promote, he was a low-priority character for Hasbro.
    • Starscream himself is this for the villains. No matter how hard he tries, even on those rare occasions where he actually manages not to be a complete idiot, he just can't seem to catch a break. In the movie, just when he finally gets what he always wanted, to be leader of the Decepticons after leaving Megatron to die, his old boss comes back as Galvatron, and as Galvatron he promptly shoots and kills Starscream after dealing out an insult and Starscream crumbles into ash and dust. Ouch. This video accurately shows much abuse Starscream goes through.
  • Came Back Wrong: Optimus Prime is brought back by the Quintessons as a zombie of sorts in "Dark Awakening". Before coming to his senses and sacrificing himself, he attempts to leave Rodimus Prime, Kup, Arcee, Spike and Daniel for dead and to bait the other Autobots into a trap by lying to them that they were killed by the Quintessons.
    • Averted in "The Return of Optimus Prime", in which another Quintesson brings him back, and does it right.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Unicron's origin as presented in the episode "Call of the Primitives, being built by an alien scientist known as Primacron, was completely ignored in subsequent Transformers fiction, instead depicting him as an ancient being who destroys entire universes by slowing eating planets one-by-one, and is Primus' brother and nemesis. It's since been re-canonized, but it's noted that this is only the case for the G1 cartoon's universe.
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: In the episode "B.O.T.", the Decepticons built a cannon designed to knock the moon out of orbit... yet it features an "OVER LOAD" button on a human-height control panel.
  • Captain Crash: While not remarked upon in show, Cosmos is rarely in an episode without crashing into something. One of the few times he got through an episode without it, it seems like Optimus is Tempting Fate by sending him out into space a third time in a day.
  • Captain Ersatz: Skyfire, who started off as a VF-1 fighter called Jetfire in his toy and commercial form before getting a name and design change for legal reasons.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Megatron had a rather grating tendency to laugh and say how evil he was, or how evil his plan was, just so that the kids knew who to root for.
  • Crossover Relatives: Earth Defense Command operative Marisa Fairborne, a close ally of the Autobots, is revealed to be the daughter of G.I. Joe operative Flint, who "appears" in the series via a Quintesson-created duplicate. The writers have confirmed that fellow Joe operative Lady Jaye is her biological mother.
  • Category Traitor: In "Megatron's Master Plan, Part 1", Spike, Sparkplug, and Chip left the city with the Autobots after they've been publicly framed. One woman called them "traitors" and a guy throwing tomatoes shouted "lousy Autobot lovers".
  • Catapult Nightmare: Daniel wakes up from his first nightmare by jumping up in his bed in "Nightmare Planet".
  • Cast from Hit Points: Elita One's special power nearly drains her of energy when she uses it to save Optimus in "The Search for Alpha Trion".
  • Cerebus Syndrome: After the movie the show took a more serious tone, toning down the silliness (for the most part) and adopting tighter continuity, more serious plots, more flawed heroes, and darker elements like death, insanity and the undead. It was played with, though. While the overall tone was less silly, it introduced a few goofy characters like Wreck-Gar to provide the occasional comedy.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Many of the Transformers that survived the events of the movie or weren't featured in the movie simply disappeared and were never mentioned again. The most notable examples include Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, Reflector, and Sunstreaker.
    • Spike's father Sparkplug and his friend Chip notably stopped appearing after season 2. While Chip's disappearance can't be easily explained (he was planned to appear as an adult in the Japanese-exclusive Headmasters cartoon), Sparkplug most likely died of old age during the 20-year Time Skip.
  • Chummy Commies: The Soviets may look and act kinda funny, but are allied to the Autobots like most Earth governments. Though in "Prime Target", the Soviets accuse the United States of stealing their experimental plane, and almost went to war until the Autobots return it with the real culprit Lord Chumley.
  • City of Adventure: Central City. "Megatron's Master Plan" establishes that its very close to Autobot Headquarters and has legal jurisdiction over it. Though the cartoon was never really big on Worldbuilding or continuity, it follows that just about any time the Autobots go "into town" or worry about events in "the city", this is the city they're referring to. It's not an airtight case, but how many major cities can there be within easy driving distance of an active volcano?note 
  • Co-Dragons: Starscream, Soundwave, and Shockwave to Megatron during Seasons 1-2.
  • Colony Drop: Galvatron attempted to crash Cybertron into Earth during "The Rebirth".
  • Combining Mecha:
    • Some of the Autobot and Decepticon sub-groups are able to combine into one giant robot. The Constructicons combine to form Devastator, the Stunticons merge to become Menasor, the Predacons merge to become Predaking, the Terrorcons have a combined form named Abominus, the Aerialbots combine to become Superion, the Combaticons merge to form Bruticus, the Protectobots combine to form Defensor, and the Technobots have a combined form known as Computron.
    • Reflector is an uncommon variation: three little robots combined into a camera for their alternate mode.
    • Though the beings inside the heads and weapons of the head/targetmasters are organic, they're still wearing a mechanical exosuit that combines with another robot.
    • If you count toys, there are the Duocons (a robot that is formed by two physically separate vehicles, though even when split it's mentally just one being), some of the cassettes (Beastbox/Squawktalk, and Raindance/Grandslam) that had a combined form (like a combiner with only two members), and the Decepticon Powermasters (Dreadwind and Darkwing) that combined into a single super-jet, Dreadwing.
  • Continuity Snarl: It's a good thing Megatron decided to build the Constructions in some caves on Earth ("Heavy Metal War", Season 1)... Especially after they built him on Cybertron 4 million years ago ("Five Faces of Darkness, Part 3", Season 3)... and then he brainwashed them into becoming Decepticons who tried to brainwash Omega Supreme ("The Secret of Omega Supreme", Season 2)... Wait, what? Then Season 3 showed that the Construticons built him?
  • Conveniently Close Planet: In the very first episode, as the Autobots and Decepticons battle, the spaceship plunges inexplicably down to earth without going through any hyperdrive or seemly traveling far at all (unless it happened between the Decepticon's launch and the asteroid collision). Then again, if we take the Marvel comics into account, Cybertron is a wandering planet that just happened to drift through the Solar System.
  • Conveniently Empty Roads: In the episode "B.O.T.", the Combaticons are shown driving down the street of a city side-by-side, with no sign of any traffic at all. This is especially notable since two of their members Vortex and Blast-Off transform into a helicopter and a space shuttle. It's also convenient that when the Combaticons encounter the Protectobots, they can freely combine into Bruticus and Defensor without risking anyone on the streets. This is especially notable because generally firefights between the Autobots and Decepticons take place away from metropolitan areas where there normally isn't any traffic anyway (e.g. military bases or temporary base camps). note 
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "Surprise Party" when Spike Witwicky makes the current date Ultra Magnus's birthday when it is revealed that not even Ultra Magnus remembers when he was first constructed (Wheelie and Daniel planned to give him a surprise party as their way of thanking him for being a selfless hero). Having gone through a lot of trouble and running into the Decepticons while trying to find out the date Ultra Magnus was first built, Wheelie points out that they could've just made up a birthdate for Ultra Magnus in the first place.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Shawn Berger from "Megatron's Master Plan" in spades. He had his own personal army, was hungry for power, and even helped the Decepticons in their plan to get the Autobots banished from Earth by making the spaceship. He's also pretty cruel, at one point forcing a man to broadcast the Decepticons' phony video of the Autobots being evil by threatening to fire him. While he is duped into believing that the Autobots are the real bad guys and later feels remorse for his actions when the Decepticons' scheme is exposed, the Autobots do not buy his apologies and Optimus Prime tells him that he is going to face justice for his treason.
  • Crossover: The cartoon has some ties to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and other Hasbro properties.
    • The Season 3 episode "Only Human" features a character called "Old Snake", who's clearly an aged Cobra Commander.note 
    • Flint and Lady Jaye are confirmed to be the parents of Marissa Faireborn, a minor character from the third season. A robotic duplicate of Flint (complete with his original voice actor) is used to lure Marissa into a Quintesson trap.
    • An instrumental version of the song performed by Cobra's band Cold Slither from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode of the same name can be heard in the episodes "The Autobot Run", "Auto-Bop", "Blaster Blues", and "Quest for Survival".
    • "This is Hector Ramirez, reporting live from multiple continuities..." note 
    • The episode Hector Ramirez cameoed in, "Prime Target", also had the Soviet jet stolen by Lord Chumley being piloted by Daina of the Oktober Guard, the GI Joe team's Soviet counterpart.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Nimue does this to Spike in "A Decepticon Raider In King Arthur's Court."
  • Darker and Edgier: Seasons 1 and 2 were largely silly, escapist affairs. The movie and season three had several established characters brutally killed off. Many episodes of the third season featured characters like Galvatron, Rodimus and Kup facing their flaws ("Webworld", "The Burden Hardest to Bear" and "Chaos") and cataclysmic battles on desolate worlds with the fate of all existence resting on the shoulders of the Autobots.
  • Daytime Drama Queen: Some of the Autobots are seen watching a soap opera, "As the Kitchen Sinks," in "Prime Target" and even complain when a news bulletin interrupts it.
  • Do Wrong, Right: "Mistake Number One" in Megatron's rule book is trying to usurp him as leader of the Decepticons. "Mistake Number Two" is failing to at least do a successful job of it.
  • The Dragon: Starscream served as Megatron's disloyal right-hand in the first two seasons (Soundwave sometimes qualified as well). After Megatron was reborn as Galvatron in the movie, his new right-hand was Cyclonus.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Sometimes, the Transformers' hands retract into their arms and are replaced with tools or weapons.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The Japanese version switches Frenzy and Rumble's names around in order to correct the animation error that reversed their colours. This means that Frenzy, a previously expendable character, became a major character. On the other hand, it means that Rumble became scarce.
    • Optimus Prime is Convoy, Jazz is Meister, Sideswipe is Lambor, Mirage is Ligier, Shockwave is Laserwave, Devastator is Devastar and Metroplex is Metroflex.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In the movie, Megatron bargains with Unicron for a new and stronger body and Unicron offers to rebuild Megatron in return for servitude, resulting in Megatron's upgrade to Galvatron. note  However, Megatron didn't have a choice, as when he tried to refuse to make a bargain, Unicron threatened to consume him. Since it's very much still Megatron in there, Galvatron's loyalty must be enforced by Mind Rape.
    • Starscream later does the same to Unicron in Season Three. However since Unicron is severely damaged and in no power to discipline unruly surbodinates anymore, Starscream actually gets away with conning him.
  • Demoted to Extra: The show introduced a large cast, one set after another, to sell toys, and some had more staying power than others. Many characters' roles went by this formula: 1: Show up one day without comment. 2: Have one really good episode of focus later. 3: Be occasionally seen in the background or fights. 4: Disappear mysteriously.
    • As an example, Jazz, who was a major character in the first two seasons of G1, had a supporting role in the movie, but when Scatman Crothers fell ill and died shortly afterwards, Jazz's later appearances were non-speaking cameos.
  • Deus ex Machina: At the end of the episode "A Prime Problem", Megatron throws Spike out of his rocket, but then Powerglide shows up out of nowhere and saves him. It could be assumed that he was there all along and simply hadn't appeared on screen, except for the fact that before this episode, all but two of the Autobots had had land-based altmodes.
  • The Dissenter Is Always Right:
    • Gears complains about everything, but the other Autobots actually like having him around. Partly because they find his complaints amusing and his behavior never leads him to trouble—and because, amidst all his complaints, he also points out legitimate flaws that need to be addressed and fixed, and sometimes they're things the other Autobots hadn't even noticed. (Amusingly, the one time he was content and helpful, it was because the Decepticons were controlling him.)
    • The Decepticon's resident complainer, Starscream, is far more likely to be wrong and just give the Autobots an opening for victory. But even he gets to point out legitimate flaws in Megatron's plans sometimes. In the opening episodes, for instance, Starscream is the only one to think of trying to destroy the Ark that still contained the defunct Autobots before getting yelled at by Megatron.
  • Divergent Character Evolution:
    • The toys of Prowl, Bluestreak and Smokescreen aren't mere palette swaps (the main differences are in the vehicle modes), but here they also have the distinction of having slightly different heads. Using Prowl as the baseline, Bluestreak has shorter chevrons while Smokescreen has a boxier head shape.
    • The toys of Sideswipe and Red Alert are simple palette swaps of each other but the cartoon gives Sideswipe a leaner, more athletic build while Red Alert's character model is given stockier proportions closer to the original toy as well as a differently-shaped and colored head.
  • Dominance Through Furniture: in "Triple Takeover," Blitzwing gets the better of several Autobots and has Constructicon Hook fashion their mangled bodies into a throne.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Generally, the combined forms of multiple Transformers aren't very intelligent, with the exception of Computron, who while very intelligent, is nevertheless still a rather slow thinker. Predaking also seems fairly smart for a combiner, at least in "The Quintesson Journal", where he even patrols in his combined form, and really only splits up when he needs to travel quickly on a planet's surface.
    • The Dinobots, especially due to engaging in Hulk Speak and at one point being easily tricked by the Decepticons into turning against the Autobots. Although Depending on the Writer, Grimlock gets somewhat more competent in later seasons.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first two parts of the Three-Part Pilot "More Than Meets The Eye" the Autobots are consistently being shown to be capable of independent flight. This ability disappears for part three with Optimus Prime suddenly needing to borrow a jetpack to chase after the Decepticons' spaceship, and later episodes depict flight as a special ability held by only a few Autobots.
    • Additionally in the pilot, the Autobot Spike bonds with the most is Hound, a notable cry from his and Bumblebee's friendship in the rest of the series.
    • "Sparks", as they're known in other continuities are called "lasercores" in this version.
      • It's been implied in other stories (not from the cartoon) that lasercores house the spark, and the mech's personality.
    • As for personalities Prime started off quite a bit less gentle and more impatient. Instead of calmly telling the Autobots he's fine after being saved from a roaring river he shrugs them off impatiently and gets annoyed.
    • Wheeljack speaks in a very noticeable southern drawl in the pilot, which is all but dropped in later episodes.
    • A retroactive version, but in "A Prime Problem", his Matrix compartment (or the Autobot Matrix of Leadership itself for that matter) did not exist yet. This is telling with both Primes were scanned, their chest cavities are a completely different design.
    • Shockwave is seen early in "More Than Meets The Eye" with TWO hands- a strange choice considering the "Astro Magnum" toy he was based on had a laser cannon on the left arm, as Shockwave's later character model would adhere to.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • In "The Five Faces of Darkness", the Quintessons blow up their own planet to destroy the Autobot Matrix (they fail).
    • Rodimus Prime has the planet Paradron detonated in "Fight or Flee" to prevent its massive energon store from falling into Decepticon hands. Thankfully, the inhabitants were evacuated before the planet was blown up.
  • Easily Condemned: "Megatron's Master Plan" had Megatron convincing Earth, with trivial ease, that the Autobots had really been the villains the whole time. This is after around thirty episodes of the Decepticons not hiding their actions or intentions and the Autobots helping whoever asked.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Primacron's creation Tornedron in "Call of the Primitives" is an energy being that assumes a few predatory forms and drains everything and everyone of their life force.
    • "Chaos" gives us the monster of the same name, a large green beast whose body is used to make highly destructive ammunition.
    • Torkulon from the episode "Webworld" is a living planet with spider-like creatures that are actually part of it. The restraints used by the alien psychiatrists to restrain their patients also appear to be part of the planet.
    • The Dweller in the Depths in the episode of the same name is half machine and half organic and turns its victims into energy-feeding vampires.
  • Enhanced on DVD: In an extremely bizarre case of receiving this treatment not once, but twice! However, they weren't really "enhanced", so to speak:
    • The first time this happened (by Rhino Entertainment at the turn of the millennium), the picture was clearer, but this was because early, pre-televised masters were used. There was also a considerable amount of animation errors that were not present when the series first aired. It also incorporated unfitting sound effects that were also never in the original release. The fans were not pleased. Moreover, the DVD authoring house that Rhino hired untruthfully claimed that those added sound effects were always therenote .
    • When Shout! Factory started releasing their own version of the series, they (wisely) planned to use the televised masters. Unfortunately, the picture quality hadn't aged well on them, which meant severe fading at points which meant they had to use Rhino's version. Fortunately, they made various corrections so that it would look as close to the original televised version as possible. They even replaced a disc on the first set that had an error they had missed. Additionally, in two episodes ("Countdown to Extinction" and "Heavy Metal War"), the sound effects track was considerably lower in volume than either the vocal or music tracks.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Skuxxoid hired by Galvatron to assassinate Octane in "Starscream's Ghost" and the one hired to use anti-electrons on the Autobots in "Grimlock's New Brain" (whether or not they're the same Skuxxoid is open to interpretation) both state that they only accepted their job because they need the money for their family.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Both "Surprise Party" and "Madman's Paradise" end with the characters present at the ending laughing.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Megatron's Evil Laugh is pretty terrifying.
    • Soundwave laughed in the episodes "Auto-Bop" and "Quest for Survival". It's fricking nightmarish.
  • Evil Overlord: Zarak is a Nebulan who tries to conquer his planet Nebulos and also sets his sights on Cybertron.
  • Evil Poacher: Lord Chumley in "Prime Target" attempted to hunt Optimus Prime and also stole a Soviet jet before setting his sights on the Autobot leader.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted with Starscream and Welker's Galvatron, who both have high-pitched voices; played straight with Megatron, Cyclonus, and Unicron, who all have voices that are deep and menacing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Plenty due to Limited Animation or directional hiccups. Two of the most infamous are "Desertion of the Dinobots" where Ironhide and Blaster fail to notice Soundwavenote  and Brawn fails to notice Laserbeak on his shoulder in "Divide and Conquer".
  • Failed Future Forecast: The Soviet Union is portrayed as active in the 21st century.note 
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Microbots", where Perceptor, Brawn and Bumblebee have to be miniaturized to enter Megatron's body and remove a major power source he just added to himself.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: "Dinobot Island, Part 2" has it all - barbarians, mammoths, dinosaurs, pirates, motorcycle gangs, cowboys, and scantily clad bikini chicks, in addition to giant space robots. "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court" with the medieval time period and the dragon. Both justified in that time travel was involved.
  • Fiction 500: Shawn Berger in "Megatron's Master Plan" is somehow rich enough to own a television station, his own army, and the resources needed to build a rocket ship large enough to carry all the Autobots.
  • Five-Episode Pilot: The series premiere, "More Than Meets the Eye", is a three-part episode.
  • Flanderization:
    • Grimlock and his Dinobots went from being strong, but unintelligent wild cards in the first two seasons to comic relief in the movie and onward.
      • In The Movie, at least, the Dinobots were still pretty badass, though they were suddenly happy to take orders from Optimus Prime and work with the other Autobots. In the third season their badassness evaporated entirely, and went from being Dumb Muscle to outright idiots.
      • Fortunately their final appearance in "Call of the Primitives" returned them (or Grimlock, at least) to their brutish and freakishly-powerful standing.
    • Optimus Prime to a certain extent, as some of his more lighthearted tendencies (i.e. joking around, playing basketball with his teammates, snarking at Megatron) melted away by the time of the movie, making him a stern, serious figure who rarely used contractions. This has become the modern depiction of Prime in most series since.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome:
    • Gears experiences this in "Changing Gears" when he finds himself quite cheerful without his personality component but also discovers to his detriment that his friendliness has also made him unable to fight back against the Decepticons.
    • Grimlock becomes super-intelligent in "Grimlock's New Brain", but in the end he sacrifices his newfound intellect so that it can be used to empower Computron, the combined form of the Technobots.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: Elita One's special power is stated to have been forbidden by Alpha Trion on the grounds that using it can prove fatal. Elita One eventually defies Alpha Trion's orders so that she can use her power to save Optimus Prime. Fortunately, Optimus was able to save her life in return.
  • Foreshadowing: Surprisingly, the show did have some. During season two, the Dinobots voiced their displeasure in having to save the Autobots all the time. The Dinobots would briefly leave the Autobots because of this in the Desertion of the Dinobots two-parter.
  • Final Girl: Arcee takes up the role in "Dweller in the Depths", being one of only two Autobots to avoid getting turned by the Dweller, and she is notably the only female in the team featured.
  • Freudian Couch: Forcibly done to Galvatron in the episode "Webworld" when the inhabitants of Torkulon use their technology to bind him onto a couch.
  • God Guise: Astrotrain pretends to be a god in "The God Gambit" to manipulate the people of Titan.
  • Genius Loci: Unicron, Torkulon, Metroplex, and Trypticon are all technically sentient locations, with the first two being planets and the last two being cities.
  • Genre Shift: "The Dweller in the Depths" rapidly shifts from an ordinary episode straight into a Lovecraftian horror movie the second the Decepticons enter the hibernation chamber. The shift is completed once they awake the Dweller.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The episode "Roll for It" includes some Japanese text from the production crew. Roughly translated, it reads "to "Gah, I need a woman. Ain't there any hot babes around? Let's call it a day, get home quick and hit the sack. Hey, Habara, did you pop your cherry yet?note  Let's go hit a Turkish bathnote  some time"." This is the sort of thing that warrants a TV-PG (USA) or PG (Canada) rating, rather than the TV-Y7/G it got.
    • "Kremzeek!" has a naked woman on the Hojoni billboard; the G rating does not allow any form of nudity.
  • Grand Finale: "The Rebirth" serves as the end of the cartoon in the American Generation 1 continuity, ending with both the Autobots and the Decepticons gaining Headmaster and Targetmaster partners as well as Cybertron finally being restored after the eons of war the Autobots and Decepticons went through. The Japanese continuity chose to ignore the three-part episode in favor of the Headmasters anime, though the three-part episode was eventually dubbed in Japanese.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The episode "Call of the Primitives" reveals that Unicron was built by a being known as Primacron. This means that Primacron was indirectly responsible for the events of The Transformers: The Movie.
  • Green Aesop: An uncharacteristically subtle one in The Golden Lagoon, where Beachcomber discovers a pool of golden liquid surrounded by an unspoiled wilderness populated by friendly forest critters. The golden liquid renders whatever's coated with it temporarily invincible. The Decepticons notice the pool as well and predictably exploit it. Beachcomber remains pensive throughout the whole episode, silently worried over the fate of the arcadia he discovered. The episode culminates in the Autobots and Decepticons duking it out over control of the lagoon. The battle is filled with shots of trees getting lasered and frightened creatures running for their lives. The episode ends with the destruction of the lagoon and the Autobots celebrating another victory, but the last shot is of Beachcomber sitting silently off to the side staring at the Scenery Gorn.
  • Green Gators: The Decepticon Headmaster Skullcruncher transforms into an alligator, with a mostly green color scheme.
  • Hate Plague: The Hate Plague from "The Return of Optimus Prime" is the Trope Namer. It is a red dust that makes the people and creatures it infects become angry and violent.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Slizardo debuts in the episode "The Gambler" as a minion of Lord Gyconi, eventually siding with the Autobot bounty hunter Devcon after having enough of his former employer's abuse. His second and last appearance is in "Grimlock's New Brain", where he and a Skuxxoid are hired by Galvatron to disable the Autobots by infecting them with anti-electrons.
  • High Collar of Doom: Scourge and the Sweeps, in their robot modes.
  • Hive Mind: Reflector is basically one mind in three bodies. His bodies usually act more or less in sync, but they are capable of acting independently if necessary.
  • Hooking the Keys: In the first episode, the Autobots catch Ravage and lock him in a cage. Hound hooks the keys to a protrusion sticking out of his hip but accidentally drops them when he's not paying attention, enabling Ravage to reach out and grab them after extending a hook from his paw.
  • Hulk Speak: The Dinobots tend to speak in third person and in incomplete sentences.
  • Robot Hammer Throw: Gears does it to Starscream in "Changing Gears".
  • Humongous Mecha: Naturally, but there are even more humongous mechas with Omega Supreme, gestalt combined forms like Devastator, Sky Lynx, Metroplex, Trypticon, Fortress Maximus, Scorponok, and Unicron.
  • Hunting the Rogue:
    • In "Auto Berserk", similar to the Brawn example above the Autobot security director Red Alert sustains damage during a skirmish with the Decepticons. His logic circuits are damaged to the point he becomes completely paranoid and convinced that Optimus Prime intends to have him deactivated, going so far as to join forces with Starscream. Naturally, the Autobots attempt to recover their friend before his damage becomes fatal.
    • "Enter The Nightbird" ends with Starscream outright shooting the titular Nightbird (a ninja robot the Decepticons stole and upgraded), due to jealousy that Megatron mockingly described Nightbird as probably being a more effective second-in-command. As this outright costs the Decepticons the battle, an enraged Megatron orders the entire Decepticon force after him as a result.
    • In "A Thief In The Night", the Decepticon Triple-Changer Octane is expelled from the Decepticons for quietly recovering the defeated Trypticon and attempting to keep the titanic Decepticon for himself. In "Starscream's Ghost", he's shown to still be on the run, with the Combaticons making repeated attempts to kill him and at least one bounty hunter attempting to take him down for the reward.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Scenes often change from one to another by showing an Autobot or Decepticon insignia rush away from the screen, spin 180 degrees, and rush back toward the screen. Which insignia showed at first depended on which faction you had been with, and the one on the other side was whichever one you were going to be with now.
  • Immortality:
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Inversion: In an episode, the Autobots have to stop a plot by Decepticons but there's a lightning storm going on, and if a bolt hits a Transformer, something very bad happens. And one of the Decepticons present is Shrapnel, who can direct lightning strikes. So the Autobots go into battle riding on other Autobots who are in their vehicle modes; the rubber of their tires on the road insulates the Autobot riding on top so they're safe.
  • Industrial World: Cybertron was built as one giant factory by the Quintessons, who used it to create the robot types who would one day become known as Autobots and Decepticons.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: The Decepticons often threaten to kill the Autobots, but their threats are usually empty.
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: Skyfire removes his Decepticon insignia in Fire In the Sky and replaces it with an Autobot insignia to signify his defecting from the Decepticons to the Autobots.
  • Insufferable Genius: Grimlock shows some signs of this in "Grimlock's New Brain" after he becomes temporarily intelligent, insulting Kup, his fellow Dinobots, and Perceptor for not understanding or being surprised by his observations and statements.
  • Insult Backfire: Happens in "Surprise Party" when Cyclonus catches Daniel and Wheelie at a lost Autobot database.
    Cyclonus: What is this place?
    Daniel: It's an ice cream factory.
    Cyclonus: You're insolent, child!
    Daniel: Thanks!
  • Irony:
    • Dispite the tagline "Robots in Disguise", this iteration or Earth's battle between Autobots and Decepticons make themselves very known very often. The Autobots, in particular, become celebrities at best and fugitives at worst. Decepticons don't care at all. While future successors aren't much better, a few of them have the Autobots take on their adversaries while remaining incognito, with only a small handful of human allies as possible.
    • Season 3 ran little fact files at the end of their episodes. One such recapped the situation post movie, ending by discussing how the Autobots had a new leader, Rodimus Prime. The irony comes from the fact that this particular clip was chosen for the end of episode 94; the first half of the 2 parter titled "The Return of Optimus Prime". The clip immediately follows the eponymous return.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: A strangely inverted case where it's personal with The Lancer. Galvatron seems to harbor a particular hatred for Ultra Magnus, more so even than his opposite number Rodimus Prime. This has carried over into other media such as the comics.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: This is generally understood as one of the major reasons why Starscream is second-in-command to Megatron despite (or rather, due to) his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. At least until the movie, when he finally offs him for good. Or so he thinks...
  • Kid with the Leash: Aron in "Child's Play" attempts to keep the Autobots and Decepticons as pets, but finds the Decepticons hard to control.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The Dweller has this type of mouth, with its energy draining webbing being a tongue.
  • La Résistance: The Nebulans fighting against the Hive in "The Rebirth".
  • Last Episode, New Character: The final episode of the first season ("Heavy Metal War") introduced the Constructicons. "The Rebirth" introduced dozens of new characters.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Megatron and Starscream butt heads for supremacy as would be a norm in the franchise, though the rivalry and banter for the first two seasons is generally much more petty and comical. It takes until The Movie for both of them to seriously act on their threats to snuff the other out.
  • Likes Older Women: Spike at the start of the series is around 15 when the series started. Carly at most is 18 years old (she's in college at the time). His father Sparkplug actually encourages him to pursue her. And they get together in the Time Skip with a kid to boot.
  • Limited Animation: While not as bad as most shows from the era, between its status as an 80s cartoon and its short production turnaround per episode (roughly 3-4 months), it can suffer from this at times. Though how limited it gets varies between episodes (and animation teams; for example, Toei episodes, especially in the third season, usually ranged between having some beautiful art to looking quite grotesque, while AKOM and the studio(s) who did episodes like "A Prime Problem" and "Kremzeek" were more akin to Hanna-Barbera).
  • Limited Wardrobe: Subverted with Chip Chase, who wore a brown jacket in most of his appearances but switched to a blue one for his final episodes. This was mainly because these episodes were animated by AKOM rather than Toei, the former having a bad habit of miscoloring characters.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Arkeville uses a device to hypnotize people into being his slaves and has no qualms with helping the Decepticons, at least until they reveal their intent of destroying all organic life on Earth...
  • Made of Explodium: Starscream's clone in "A Prime Problem" spectacularly blows up in ''one shot'' from Clone Optimus' single blast.
  • Made of Iron: Aside the usual Transformers, the humans of the series can take more punishment than you think. The Transformers wiki even calls Spike "Superhuman Spike" for all the injuries he could've sustained. Dr. Harding in "Attack of The Autobots" is another example as she manages to survive a 4-story fall from her lab building and survives getting thrown into a wall, which should have turned her into a pancake.
  • Male Gaze: When Ariel (the former self of Elita One) charges at Megatron in "War Dawn", the camera focuses on her rear for some reason.
  • Malicious Misnaming: In the second part of "The Rebirth", Daniel Witwicky addresses Cyclonus as "Cy-clown-us".
  • Me's a Crowd: The Insecticons were able to create copies of themselves.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Transformers are a race of robotic beings.
  • Mental Fusion: This is what the gestalts are. The combined form is not just a physical joining, but a mental one; the combined form has it's own personality. However, unless the participants are very compatible with each other, they generally are not good for much other than Dumb Muscle (Predaking and Computron are the only ones who might be aversions, at least as portrayed on the show), since any thoughts the combined form has can only be something all the components agree on.
  • Mentor Archetype: Alpha Trion is Optimus Prime's mentor and is much, much older than him. After merging with Vector Sigma, he becomes a Spirit Advisor.
  • Merchandise-Driven: A given, considering this show was based on a toyline.
  • Meta Mecha: Fortress Maximus is controlled by the Autobot Cerebros, who in turn is piloted by Spike Witwicky.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: In-Universe, where in "Hoist Goes Hollywood", the director was shooting a generic action flick with a car chase. After meeting the Autobots, he decided to turn it into "a great science fiction epic" titled Attack of the Alien Robots.
  • The Millstone: Starscream tends to ruin the Decepticons' plans because of his impatience and insubordination towards Megatron. Lampshaded often. In his defence Starscream himself usually lampshades how hair brained Megatron's schemes are in the first place.
  • Missing Mom: Spike's mom is never mentioned.
  • The Mole: The Autobot Punch, who deceives the Decepticons by disguising himself as a Decepticon named Counterpunch.
  • The Movie: The Transformers: The Movie is an animated film set in the continuity of the cartoon and taking place between the second and third seasons.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In "The Ultimate Doom, Part 1", Megatron forced Optimus Prime to activate the pylon or he'll be responsible for catapulting Cybertron into oblivion. Unwilling to sacrifice his home planet, Optimus activates the space bridge, bringing Cybertron into Earth's orbit, but wonders if he is dooming Earth in the process.
    Optimus: Have I saved Cybertron... only to destroy the Earth?
    Ironhide: You did what you had to do, Prime. What any of us would have done.
    • Cyclonus had this reaction in "Webworld" when he realizes that the Ayla Solution would mean Galvatron having his memories and personality erased, to his credit he tried to stop it but was stopped rather quickly.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Natural Disaster Cascade: The Pearl of Bahoudin in "Trans-Europe Express" affected Earth's weather and wrought this in the 14th century, leveling entire cities at the time before it was contained.
  • Nature-Loving Robot: Beachcomber, as showcased in The Golden Lagoon, where he discovers the titular lagoon, and immediately birds and rabbits flock to him. He also has the ability to talk to birds and understand them. An ability that never comes into play.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with. This was one of the few cartoons of the era that wasn't afraid of discussing the concept of death (and even willing to kill a few characters off), though "deactivation" was occasionally used in place of kill, which is sort of justified since the Transformers are robots.
    • An episode of season 3 was even called "The Killing Jar".
    • Megatron's Master Plan Pt. 1 has Thrust saying "Taste death!".
    • Starscream's Brigade has Starscream react to Megatron getting back up after shooting him with "But you're dead! I terminated you!"
  • New Season, New Name: In Japan, the third season becomes Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers 2010note .
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • In "Megatron's Master Plan," Thrust destroying Teletraan 1 is what cancels the override to Cosmos, allowing him (And Trailbreaker) to help the Autobots escape from being pulled into the sun and back to Earth.
    • Starscream in "More Than Meets the Eye" Part 1, when after the Decepticons exit the Autobot's ship, Starscream shoots at some rocks, and the falling of those rocks knocks Optimus Prime's body into Teletraan One's repair beam.
    • In "War Dawn", Megatron sends the Aerialbots back in time to witness an earlier Megatron and his troops gun down several Autobots, including Orion Pax, Dion and Ariel. The Aerialbots bring Orion back to Alpha Trion and he's rebuilt as Optimus Prime (while Ariel's rebuilt as Elita-1). It also shows Slingshot (who previously admired the Decepticons) just how evil Megatron really was, and the disillusioned Aerialbot swears the Aerialbots won't stop until Megatron's finished.
    • Deceptitran in "Sea Change" sends out a distress signal... but the Autobots get the call as well, and their arrival before Megatron does causes Deceptitran to attack them, and show them what Deceptitran is up to. It also allows Seaspray to enter the Well of Transformation and be somewhat human at first, then a merman like Alana. (And Alana in turn becomes an Autobot for a while for the final attack on Deceptitran.)
    • Blitzwing and Astrotrain's attempt to replace both Megatron and Starstream as potential leaders of the Decepticons in "Triple Takeover" shows Megatron their true colors, and in a battle royale against them, Starscream and Devastator, leaves Megatron as the last 'Con standing...and now the unquestionable Decepticon leader.
      • In that same episode, the Decepticons would have stayed under both triple-changer's leadership (assuming their blundering didn't cause the group to fall apart) had Astrotrain's army of train drones not crashed into each other and piled up in a tunnel, leading him to order them to keep moving, and cause one of the trains to crash into a water main that freed Megatron and Starscream from their icy imprisonment.
      • Megatron does it again in "A Prime Problem". If he hadn't had his Prime clone dismiss Spike as unimportant compared to the dangerous crystals he wanted the Autobots to get their hands on, the Bots wouldn't have been able to figure out which Prime was the real one.
  • Noble Demon: Quite surprisingly, a few Decepticons, the supposed "bad guys of a 1980's children's cartoon" have shown to be capable of honor and even compassion, most notably Skyfire (who ultimately defects), Blitzwing and Cyclonus.
  • No Endor Holocaust:
    • Though at least one subsequent episode dealt with the Autobots helping clean up after the events of "The Ultimate Doom", there is nowhere near enough damage for what the Earth went through.
    • After the Hate Plague was cured in "The Return of Optimus Prime", the entire planet really should have been in shambles, with a bare minimum of tens of millions dead and practically everyone suffering from some kind of physical injury, many serious or permanent. Then there's the mental and emotional trauma of having gone through an event like that, which would further slow efforts to rebuild and get on with lifenote . To say nothing about how universal the plague itself was over the course of the story, quite possibly affecting dozens, if not hundreds, of inhabited planets.
  • No Power, No Color:
    • Tornedron sucking out the energy from characters and objects turns them gray.
    • Transformers colors fade to gray after they die.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Megatron's plan to use the powers of all the Decepticons funneled into himself in order to defeat Optimus Prime and thus end the war. He gets caught in the end, as the Constructicons failed to count on the Dinobots keeping them from trashing Teletraan-1.
    Starscream: The Cybertron Code of Combat states that a warrior must fight as he is, without additional reinforcement. You wouldn't want to cheat, would you, Megatron?
    Megatron: I will win by any means, at any cost. Even if it means terminating you, Starscream.
    Starscream: I was only raising a legal point.
  • Not Zilla: In "Kremzeek!", there's a billboard of a Japanese monster movie called Hojoni.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the episode "The Key To Vector Sigma", Shockwave apparently defeated Omega Supreme (who is several times larger than him) in battle offscreen.
  • The Original Series: The original television series. The comic book was released a bit earlier.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "Masquerade", Starscream notes that the Stunticons (actually the Autobots disguised as the Stunticons) are driving more carefully than usual. Though Megatron believes it is so they wouldn't damage the stolen components.
  • Overt Operative: For the Autobots, it hard to be "Robots in Disguise", when the Decepticons cause trouble all over the Earth. Only a few episodes in, and some humans are able to contact the 'Bots when there is trouble.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Optimus Prime, in the episode "Prime Target". Lord Chumley learned the hard way not to mess with Optimus' fellow Autobots.
    • Spike Witwicky is at times shown to be very protective of his son Daniel. This is especially apparent in "The Rebirth", where the notion that his son is in danger drives him to create Fortress Maximus in order to defeat Zarak and the Decepticon Headmasters.
  • Paranormal Gambling Advantage: Mechanical Lifeform Smokescreen has a built-in wire that overrides non-sentient machinery. He manipulates a slot machine to his benefit and lets it all ride on one last bet. But one of the casino workers notices his wire and pulls it loose.
  • Pokémon Speak: In a rare Older Than They Think example, the Kremzeek are only able to say "Kremzeek".
  • Pink Means Feminine: Elita One/Ariel and Arcee are both female Autobots and are colored pink. Subverted with the Sweeps' pink claws, as well as the other female Autobots (Lancer, Greenlight, Chromia, Moonracer, and Firestar), who are feminine, but not colored pink.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: In "The Core", the Decepticons build a drill to tap into the Earth's core and obtain geothermal energy, which Megatron claims is the richest source of energy in the galaxy. Starscream informs Megatron that breaching the core might cause the Earth to explode, but Megatron brushes this off by setting up a space bridge next to the digging site in case the planet really does become unstable and the Decepticons need a quick getaway. Naturally, the Autobots spend the episode trying to destroy Megatron's drill.
  • Planet of Hats: The most sapient inhabitants of Torkulon in the episode "Webworld" are all psychiatrists who do their best to cure aliens with mental illnesses.
  • Planetary Relocation: The three-part episode "The Ultimate Doom" has Megatron succeed in creating a space bridge large enough to teleport Cybertron to Earth to harvest Energon from the gravitational conflict formed from Cybertron being in orbit around Earth. The worst part? He managed to get Optimus Prime to complete the teleportation by convincing him that Cybertron would be destroyed instead of Earth if the process isn't completed.
  • Planetville: Cybertron is one big city of a planet, and not that big, either (in the original animated series, anyway).
  • Public Service Announcement: 5 of them were produced, based on the ones used in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, but never aired. They were ultimately shown the light of day with the release of the Rhino DVD boxsets.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The end of "The Golden Lagoon", with Beachcomber mourning the loss of the beautiful valley he stumbled upon after the lake of electrum was destroyed.
    Beachcomber: We won...
  • Quicksand Sucks: In the episode "Countdown to Extinction", Megatron lures the Autobots into a large sandy area and they start sinking into it. He apparently believes they'll at the very least be pulled completely under the sand and thus trapped forever. Ironhide uses his liquid nitrogen to stabilize the sand (it certainly would have frozen any water mixed in with the sand) to allow the Autobots to escape.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, so of course he can put up the best fight.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The Mayor in "Megatron's Master Plan, Parts 1 and 2" is hesitant to believe the Decepticons' hoax of claiming that the Autobots are the real villains and even allows Spike to try and prove the Autobots' innocence (which is annulled when Megatron enslaves the city anyway).
    • Optimus several times over but especially in "Traitor". He calmly dismisses Cliffjumper's accusations of Mirage's treachery until proof can be given, and when it seems Mirage truly has turned against them, he is savvy enough to suspect outside forces before condemning him, allowing Ratchet to inspect and discover one of Bombshell's Cerebro-shells controlling him.
    • In "A Prime Problem", in spite of everyone clutching the Idiot Ball in terms of recognizing Optimus' behavioural patterns, Ironhide is at least savvy enough to insist an Impostor-Exposing Test before turning on one of them, foiling Megatron's plan to have the Autobots shoot the real Prime.
  • Reasonable Request Rejected: Grapple the Autobot architect once approached Optimus Prime with the plans for a solar tower. Optimus hears him out, agreeing that such an energy-generating facility would surely be helpful to the Autobots. However, he points out that such a facility would also assuredly become a target of the Decepticons and so reluctantly denies Grapple permission to build it. Grapple goes behind Prime's back and builds the tower anyway, and sure enough when the Decepticons come a battle erupts that leaves the tower nothing but debris.
  • Rejected Apology: Dr. Gregory Swofford and Dr. Mark Morgan tried to apologize to Optimus Prime after he used the Matrix of Leadership to destroy the Hate Plague that they unleashed. Galvatron, in a rare moment of calm, walked towards Optimus Prime as he pushed the two aside which made Prime to refuse their apology for good. Then we all learn a lesson about forgiveness.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The show would introduce a new character for the episode, and no explanation would ever be given as to why we've never seen this guy before, especially when they are characters who would have saved the day in earlier episodes. It's possible they're new recruits/arrivals by the time they're introduced.
    • The cast all but doubles in season two due to never-before-seen characters who are treated as having been there all along. In fact, one story depends on them having come to Earth at the same time as the others — everyone is affected by "cybertonium" deficiency due to having been away from Cybertron for so long, which rules out anything like only recently arriving on Earth.
  • Rhymes on a Dime:
    Blaster: You're sunk, you punks, and that ain't bunk!
  • Rigged Spectacle Fight: In "Heavy Metal War", Megatron cites a Cybertronian law as the basis to challenge Optimus Prime to one-on-one combat, with the loser and his forces abandoning Earth forever. Optimus accepts, but before the fight, Megatron secretly gives himself the abilities of all the other Decepticons, and is thus able to trounce Optimus in front of the other Autobots, with the depowered Decepticons cheering him on. However, his cheating is eventually discovered, and the Autobots turn the tables on the Deceptions and beat them.
  • Robot War: The Transformers' backstory is a Perspective Flip on this trope, and the creators and former masters are recurring villains.
  • Sand Worm: While the Dweller is an Eldritch Abomination, it is also a sandworm. It has the body of a worm, can travel ridiculously quickly despite its size, endlessly pursues prey, and is able to track them without them being the creature's line of sight due to being able to sense energy.
  • Say My Name: In "More than Meets the Eye, Part 3", Optimus screams Megatron's name when the Decepticons blast off.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The show had a lot of these.
    • For 4 million years, the Ark held the Decepticons and Autobots in stasis, under a volcano... until volcanic activity shook things up and woke up the evil Decepticons.
    • In "Cosmic Rust", there's a dead planet with radio beacons warning travelers to stay away or die horribly. The Decepticons plunder it, and in the process, catch the metal-eating plague called Cosmic Rust.
      • Starscream shows signs of Tabletop RPG savvy in this episode: when confronted with a sealed crypt with a curse warning on it, he proclaims that "a curse on the door means treasure behind the door" and breaks in. Unfortunately, he's in a Transformers cartoon, not a D&D game, making it a near-fatal case of Wrong Genre Savvy.
    • In "Return of Optimus Prime", the Hate Plague spores were sealed inside a star after their last outbreak. Unfortunately, the star went nova.
    • Starscream himself could be considered Sealed Evil in a Can in the episode "Starscream's Ghost"; his ghost first appears after Octane tumbles into the Decepticon crypt and knocks over the ruins of Starscream's grave marker.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Galvatron aims his arm cannon at the viewer in the Season 3 Title Sequence. Plus numerous examples in the cartoon itself, all seasons. Mostly by Starscream or Megatron/Galvatron.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: In "The Autobot Run", the Decepticons use a device called the Transfixatron to trap several Autobots in their vehicle modes.
    • Other transformers, mostly Autobots, were also occasionally shown to be incapable of transforming, or at least it was fairly difficult, due to damage. Tracks was unable to transform after a head-on collision with a pole in "Make Tracks", and Optimus had to strain to complete his transformation after rolling down a hill in "More Than Meets The Eye Part 3". And Omega Supreme was unable to transform in "The God Gambit" due to being low on power.
  • Ship Tease: "The Search for Alpha Trion" shows some blatant romantic subtext between the male Autobots and the female Autobots. It happens between Firestar and Inferno, Powerglide and Moonracer, and Chromia and Ironhide.
  • Shirtless Scene: Spike Witwicky swims bare-chested in "Atlantis, Arise!"; Seaspray in his male Tlalakan form in "Sea Change" (the male Tlalakans are a Walking Shirtless Scene).
  • Shout-Out:
    • There are several, many involving Wreck-Gar's quoting of pop culture phrases. He even quotes Star Trek: The Original Series in "The Return of Optimus Prime".
    • Soundwave's voice seems to be an homage to the Cylon voices used in the original Battlestar Galactica. It may also be an homage to the robot enemies in the video game Berzerk.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: In "The Core" a previous unconscious Devastator demands to know where his noble leader is. When Chip tries to convince him "noble Megatron" ran and left him dead, he is met with this.
    Devastator: Wrong. He withdrew. To fight Autobots another day.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: During the "Rebirth" trilogy, the Decepticons gain possession of the key to the Plasma Energy Chamber, whose energies could wipe out entire planets. The Nebulans suggest that the Autobots simply destroy the key before the Decepticons can use it. Optimus Prime is against this, as Alpha Trion had informed him that the key needed to remain intact in order for a "miracle" to happen. The argument ultimately becomes moot, due to the key being used to activate the chamber not long after.
  • Snow Means Cold: In "Fire In the Sky", the Autobots become aware that the Decepticons are cooling the Earth when it begins snowing in July at the Ark.
  • Speak in Unison: Reflector, whose three robot bodies always talk in unison in a Creepy Monotone. Justified as he is really one mind in those three bodies.
  • Spirit Advisor: The personae of all previous Autobot leaders dwell within the Matrix and occasionally surface to lend Rodimus and/or Optimus advice as the plot requires. Alpha Trion also becomes like this after he joins with Vector Sigma.
  • Stable Time Loop: A complex one involving Alpha Trion and the Aerialbots. In the second part of "The Key to Vector Sigma", Alpha Trion sacrifices himself to allow the Aerialbots to be created. Later, in the episode "War Dawn", the Aerialbots are sent to Cybertron as it was nine million years in the past and become indirectly responsible for Alpha Trion rebuilding Orion Pax and Ariel as Optimus Prime and Elita One.
  • Stalker Shot: Soundwave, Laserbeak, and Ravage would often be revealed to have been listening in on important conversations, either amongst humans or the Autobots, by having the camera pan over to some nook or cranny they'd been placed in while in their alt-modes.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Generally, a single or multi-part episode would generally end with the Autobots victorious yet not really getting close to permanently defeating the Decepticons.
    • Any time Starscream really got Megatron mad ("More than Meets the Eye" (particularly part 3), "Countdown to Extinction", "The Revenge of Bruticus", "Auto Berserk", "Enter the Nightbird", "'Triple Takeover"), he came back in the very next episode as if nothing had happened. Averted in "Hoist Goes Hollywood" — Megatron off-lined him by tearing some wires loose and he wasn't seen at all in the two-parter episode that followed.
      • The Revenge Of Bruticus is actually an aversion as well. He is only welcomed back into the Decepticons (having been exiled in Starscreams Brigade and then banished to an asteroid) after he helps them defeat said Bruticus and trick the Autobots.
  • Stock Footage: "The Ultimate Doom, Part 3" reused some scenes from Part 1. There was also a canned animation of Optimus transforming that played with this whenever it appeared.
  • Stock Sound Effects: The show loved using the sound effects library of Star Wars. Especially the TIE fighter engine effect.
  • Strictly Formula: This is mostly only true of the early episodes, with pretty much every episode's plot being the Autobots thwarting the Decepticons' latest scheme and the Decepticons retreating and vowing revenge when their plan goes south.
  • Stumbling in the New Form: In "Autobot Spike", Spike is injured during a battle. In an attempt to save him, the Autobots transfer his mind into a spare Autobot body Wheeljack had built for such an emergency (named Autobot X) while the human doctors operated to save Spike's life. When Spike awakens, he's disoriented due to his new form and staggers around, even accidentally activating weapons systems.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Justified with Laserbeak, Ravage, Ratbat or any of the other cassettes of Soundwave for the Decepticons, and via Teletraan One's Sky Spy for the Autobots. In "Prime Target", Lord Chumley has a million hidden cameras everywhere, with no apparent justification.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Optimus Prime and Megatron's iconic Energon-weapon battle at Sherman Dam in the second part of "More Than Meets the Eye".
  • 10-Minute Retirement: The Protectobot First Aid temporarily leaves the Autobots in "The Ultimate Weapon" due to believing that his pacifism makes him useless in battle. He returns after he is informed by Hot Spot that they need him for his medical expertise.
  • Terrible Trio:
    • Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker are three Decepticons with jet modes who tend to be seen together.
    • Later on, Thrust, Ramjet, and Dirge are introduced and are also three Decepticons with flying alt modes.
    • The Insecticons are a sub-group of three insect-based Decepticons, known individually as Shrapnel, Bombshell and Kickback.
    • Galvatron and his two lieutenants, Cyclonus and Scourge, are frequently seen together throughout Season 3.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, believe it or not; in "Webworld", the other Decepticons insist that Galvatron get psychiatric help after one too many insane rampages. It... doesn't go very well.
  • Third Party Stops Attack: Ravage leaps to attack the humans near the unconscious Skyfire and finds his jump interrupted as Skyfire awakens just in time to catch him one handed and then tosses him aside. Considering that Skyfire is big enough to hold him inside his closed fist, Ravage decides a prompt exit is the best course of action.
  • Throw It In: An In-Universe example occurs in "Hoist Goes Hollywood". When Rumble replaces the explosive charge with dynamite and the set is destroyed, the director gets frustrated. But Hoist calms the director down, and the latter suggests to the film crew that they can use that explosion in the film.
  • Tickertape Parade: The Autobots and Decepticons both get one in "Megatron's Master Plan".
  • Time Abyss:
    • Transformers generally can live up to millions of years. Case point, Kup, an "old veteran" type character. His age is a bit indeterminate, but a rough guess would put him somewhere well in the range of 9 to 12 million years old. To put it in comparison, humanity as a species is only 2.3-2.4 million years old (200 thousand years old, if one defines "human" as "homo genus primates anatomically identical to modern humans").
    • Alpha Trion is more ancient than most Transformers, and has even been retconned into being on the Original 13. This makes him literally older than The Earth, at over 5 billion years old.
      • And the entity known only as "It" is even older.
  • Time Skip: The series jumps from circa 1985-86 in season 2 to 2006 in season 3; see also 20 Minutes into the Future.
  • Title Drop:
    • Rodimus Prime mentions the episode's title in "Thief in the Night" and "Fight or Flee".
    • Springer gives one in the episode "Only Human" when he remarks that Victor Drath can't be much of a threat because he's only human.
  • Toilet Humour: Surprisingly occurs in the episode "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court", considering that this is a 1980's cartoon. Starscream tasks Rumble to gather potassium nitrate so that he can make gunpowder. Rumble ends up returning with a barrel of bird droppings while covered in bird droppings as well.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Quite a few characters on the show never got toys, a lot of them being one-shot characters (e.g. Devcon from "The Gambler" and the female Autobots from "The Search for Alpha Trion") or the Autobots' human allies, but the two most notable examples are Unicron and Arcee. This would be rectified in Transformers: Armada for Unicron and Transformers: Animated for Arcee (with several other versions to come).
  • Transforming Mecha: The Transformers are capable of turning into stuff, most commonly vehicles and weapons. This series is pretty much the Trope Codifier in the West.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The backstory of the Transformers and the Quintessons is that the Quintessons built Transformers to be their slaves, only for their creations to rebel once they gained sentience.
  • TV Genius: Grimlock speaks more eloquently and is a lot less clumsy when he becomes more intelligent in "Grimlock's New Brain". However, his speech patterns don't entirely change - for example, he says "I, Grimlock" instead of "me, Grimlock", which though still awkward, is grammatically more correct.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future:
    • The Movie was set in 2005. Season 3 was set in the year after.
    • The Japanese version of season 3, called "Transformers 2010" takes place in, you guessed it, 2010.
  • Undying Loyalty:
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: "The Golden Lagoon", an episode of the normally lighthearted series, ends on a bleak note, with the title lagoon destroyed in a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons over its resources.
    Beachcomber: We won...
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In "The Burden Hardest to Bear", the Autobots repel Decepticon attacks against Japan. When it's over, government officials blame the Autobots for the Decepticon presence, the damage and scaring people away.
    Rodimus: Then maybe you oughta try protecting yourselves.
  • The Unintelligible: Slizardo is only able to speak through mumbling gibberish.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: In "Madman's Paradise", the Red Wizard of Menonia who's actually a Quintesson named Mara-Al-Utha claims that he was the Golden One's most prized pupil and that he was forced to take control of the kingdom because of an accident the Golden One suffered. The accompanying flashbacks obviously show the Red Wizard being a terrible student, trapping the Golden One in a cave on purpose, and taking over the kingdom out of his thirst for power.
  • Vapor Wear: Talaria from "The God Gambit" wears a skirt that has a split down the side exposing her legs and apparently no underwear. In some shots, you can even see the outline of her rear.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Shrapnel always says the last word of his sentences twice, twice.
    • Warpath's speech is often peppered with random onomatopoeia for explosions and war-related noises, such as BOOM or WHAM.
  • Vibration Manipulation: In "Grimlock's New Brain", Computron is able to defeat the Decepticon combiner Abominus by vibrating and causing Abominus to separate back into the Terrorcons.
  • Villain Decay:
    • Devastator started out as a near-invincible foe that not even the Dinobots could best in physical combat, requiring the Autobots to outthink and out-maneuver him. Then came "The Secret of Omega Supreme," where Omega easily overpowered him. It got worse over time; The Combaticon combiner Bruticus handed him a severe beatdown in "Starscream's Brigade," and in "The Five Faces of Darkness" (part one), Menasor brought him down with a couple of swings from his sword (both of them were suffering from severe Energon depletion at this time). The worst came in "Carnage in C-Minor," where he was twice taken out seconds after forming; First, Broadside dropped on him in aircraft carrier mode, and shortly after, Perceptor was able to blast him back into his component forms with one well-placed shot.
    • Then there's Galvatron. The Movie presented him as genuinely dangerous, killing Starscream with a single shot, royally messing up Ultra Magnus and successfully stealing the Matrix, and very nearly killing Hot Rod. The only things capable of subduing him are the Matrix and Unicron; to a regular Transformer, he's virtually unstoppable. After The Movie, he became a babbling maniac who usually serves as a bigger threat to his own soldiers than to his enemies, and his firepower was greatly diminished. In general, the post-movie episodes treat Galvatron as a walking punchline who manages to actually fail more spectacularly on a regular basis than Megatron ever did. This is justified by his brain circuits being damaged between the movie and the third season; no matter how personally powerful you are, it's hard to be a serious threat when you literally can't think straight.
  • Villain Episode:
    • "Triple Takeover" focuses on Blitzwing and Astrotrain attempting to take over the Decepticons. The Autobots don't even get involved until the episode is halfway finished.
    • "Starscream's Brigade" focuses on the introduction of the Constructicons and Starscream using them to take control (once again) of the Decepticons. The Autobots only get involved when they kidnap Jazz and Cliffjumper and largely stay out of the fight otherwise.
    • "Webworld" has the Decepticons try to give Galvatron some professional help. This time, the Autobots barely appear at all, only making an appearance at the beginning on the asteroid the Decepticons try to invade for a power source.
  • Villainous Glutton: The Insections tend to have an obsession with eating a lot, though since they're robots, they tend to eat metal, Energon, and oil rather than food.
  • Villainous Rescue: In the episode "Enter the Nightbird", Starscream, of all people, saves the day. He didn't care about the Autobots, but was very pissed off at the other Decepticons, who treated him very badly during the episode, and at the titular Nightbird (a robot built by a Japanese scientist and reprogrammed by Megatron), who was placed in his rank among the Decepticons.
  • Villainous Underdog: Due to the cast of characters being formed on what toys were being sold on the shelves rather than narrative stakes, the Autobots actually outnumber the Decepticons in season 1, since more "good guy" toys were sold than "bad guy" toys. The Cons only had Megatron, Soundwave and his cassettes, the Seeker trio, and the Reflector trio initially (plus generics using the bodies of the latter two trios). At least in Season 2, while still having less toys (and therefore unique characters) than the Autobots, the Decepticons' numbers were bolstered by a Clone Army of Insecticons which were replaced by the Sweeps during Season 3.
  • Visual Pun: The Season 2 theme song has Omega Supreme stomping on and crushing tank-mode Blitzwing set to "Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons!"
  • We Want Our Idiot Back!: The Season 3 episode "Grimlock's New Brain" saw the normally dimwitted Grimlock gain super-intelligence. Unfortunately this ends up alienating him from the other Dinobots because he's no longer able to enjoy the simple pleasures the group usually indulges in. The Dinobots lament that they miss the old Grimlock who was loads more fun than brainy Grimlock.
  • Wham Line: Said by Hound in Megatron's Master Plan Part 2, when he realizes the Decepticons have sentenced them to die.
    Hound: We're targeted for...THE SUN!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Dr. Arkeville is never seen again after he's left on Cybertron as an immobile cyborg in "Countdown to Extinction".
    • The lone Quintesson that Sky Lynx brings to Earth in "The Return of Optimus Prime" is unaccounted for in the episode's conclusion, leaving it unclear if he ever made it back to Quintessa or not.
  • We Will Meet Again: Multiple times throughout the various series. Blatantly said in one Season 2 episode of the 1984 version, after Megatron knew it was time to retreat.
  • Weird Currency: In "The Gambler", Energon is used as currency in the form of chips on Monacus, the casino planetoid.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: In "Starscream's Ghost", Octane has gotten a job transporting junk for the Junkions. Galvatron sends a Scuxxoid to plant a bomb on the transport ship, and it explodes. The destruction of the ship doesn't kill Octane, however, and he's rescued by an alien vessel. The passengers are eating something that has visible steam wafting to Octane's nose, and he clearly doesn't like the smell at all.
    Octane: Sheesh, what have you been eating?
    Alien (speaks alien language and offers some nasty-looking chunky purple food in a bowl)
    Octane: Oh, gee, thanks, n-no, never mind, I just want to be taken to Autobot City, where it's safe!
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After Megatron is rebuilt into Galvatron, he goes completely insane, though that isn't entirely due to his new body as he's essentially still Megatron with a power upgrade, something he makes very clear when he disintegrates Starscream. As lampshaded by several characters, spending a year face-down in a pool of lava will do that to your sanity.
  • The Worf Effect: Occurs occasionally (although not as often as you might think) when a new team is introduced and pitted against existing characters or teams:
    • To reinforce how awesome Starcream's Combaticon combiner team and their combined form, Bruticus, are, former bad-ass Devastator was handed a severe beatdown in the episode "Starscream's Brigade." However, right when Starscream has Megatron at his mercy, the Stunticons (fairly old toys) show up, merge into Menasor and take down Bruticus and a surprised Starscream in one massive punch.
    • To be fair, Devastator benefited from the same treatment the previous year when the Constructicons/Devastator were the new guys pitted against existing Autobot heavy-weights the Dinobots in order to demonstrate their unstoppability.
    • Done less successfully when the power of new guy Defensor is demonstrated against existing power-house Bruticus. Although that could be due to the episode in question being the execrable "B.O.T."
    • In "The Rebirth," existing combiner team the Aerialbots are used to demonstrate new guy Sixshot's power.
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: A mutual example in "Ghost in the Machine", when Starscream's ghost and Unicron's head each work to restore the other's body.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Megatron and Optimus Prime know and respect each others' martial ability far too well to simply hate each other.
    • Carried over in "The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 2", after Optimus has saved the galaxy from the Hate Plague. Galvatron is on the scene and won't hear of further battles afterwards.
      Galvatron: There will be no war today, Optimus Prime. You have earned Galvatron's respect.
    • Both Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus respect each other as fellow warriors. Cyclonus actually saves Ultra Magnus from the ignominious end of being pulled into a black-hole in "The Killing Jar" because "Warriors such as you and I should meet their end in battle."
  • Wrap It Up: Declining toy sales meant the fourth season was cut to a Mini Series ("The Rebirth"), and then cut again from five episodes to three.
  • You Are Number 6: Sweeps Six and Seven in the season 3 episode "Call of the Primitives".
  • Your Size May Vary: Somehow, the Seekers (who turn into F-15 fighter jets) are no bigger than Optimus Prime (who turns into a flat-nosed semi-truck) while in robot mode. Unlike Megatron and Soundwave, the Seekers aren't explicitly portrayed with the ability to change size.
    • This trope is notorious among fans of the series. The Scale entry on the TF Wiki is one of the longest pages on the site, and the very first words on it really spells it out.
      "Scale in Transformers is, not to put too fine a point on it, screwed."

Alternative Title(s): Transformers Generation One, Transformers Generation 1


Farewell, Dinobots!

Using a heard of wild dinosaurs, Megatron forces the Dinobots over a cliff into a tarpit, where they apparently sink to their doom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / QuicksandSucks

Media sources: