A direct sequel to Transformers: Legend of the Microns (Transformers: Armada in the USA). Several years have passed since the war over the Microns, and peace has settled over Earth... yet a new threat arises. Human and Robot must join forces and discover the true evil threatening Earth. Written by
One episode was never dubbed, and thus never released to Western audiences. It's original title was "Return! Our Scorponok", and its English title would have been "Scorponok's Scars". The reasons for emitting the episode are unclear. It doesn't feature any offensive content that wouldn't have been accepted outside Japan, nor is its animation any worse than that of other episodes. In fact, the episode dealt with various crucial plot points and character interaction, without which not only does the overall storyline suffer, it loses its very purpose. Interestingly enough, all references from future episodes have been removed as well, opening even more unexplained plot holes. See more »
Several times, especially during the first episodes, the lines around the CGI characters appear to be immensely thick due to rescaling errors, which makes it near impossible to see just what they are doing. See more »
If Transformers Armada was a painfully slow climbing theme park ride that came with a satisfyingly good payoff once it picked up momentum, Transformers Energon/Superlink(i watched both English and Japanese versions) would be like a rocket launch disaster; starting off really strong but blowing up halfway and getting reduced to one of the worse Transformers shows in recent years.
Taking place 10 years after Armada, Transformers Energon's opening episodes are extremely well written with many character subplots thrown in and for the first time, the human characters are actually likable.
Kicker has to handle his "coming of age" angst, the added responsibilities that come with growing up and to step out of the shadows of his father and the Autobots. Demolishor has a decent character arc regarding his wavering sense of purpose with the Autobots and his uncertain loyalty to the decepticon cause that he believed no longer existed. Even Ironhide is set up as an impulsive young rookie who grows up learns the true meaning of being a soldier over the course of the episodes.
Great, all the themes and subplots are in place. Then what happens? They all get conveniently forgotten over time, leading to subsequent episodes that have little to no character development or advancement of the subplots. The main plot itself, involving the decepticon's plan to revive unicron seems stretched to breaking point over the course of the 52 episodes. I feels like only 20+ episodes of actual story material sprinkled into 52 episodes. The episodes themselves never actually contain 20+ minutes of story material since A lot of time is wasted on necessary reiteration of plot points via dialogue, rambling monologues, stock footage of battles or transformations and senseless action.
The animation is actually a step up from the final episodes of Transformers Armada. It utilities a mixture of 2D for human characters and Cel shaded 3D animation for the robots. The 2D animation is superb. Vibrant and sharp colors with attractive character designs and a better attention to detail make the humans quite appealing to the eye.
The robots on the other hand do not warrant the same level of praise. Though done in 3D with least 8 years worth of better animation software than what Mainframe had to work with on Beast Wars, the animation here is actually a lot worse that the 1996 Beast Wars. Though character designs are nice to look at due to their insane level of art detail, their movements are extremely stiff, sometimes even stiffer than the 2D animated robots from Transformers Armada. "Body Gestures" just involve the 3D models "snapping" into different positions like still photographs in a slide show and "movement" is just the 3D models pulled across the screen. The 3D characters have no feel of "mass" in the way they move. Other CGI effects like explosions and laser fire look very primitive and are sometimes off model. The action scenes are exciting at first, with large scale yet fully animated fights involving many characters are made do-able with the CGI. But after a while, the uninspired directing and unprofessionally storyboarded battles get real boring, real fast.
Having watched both Japanese and English versions, i must say that both had its good and bad points. The voice acting in the Japanese version seemed a little too "flat". Many of the characters sound alike and the human characters tend to over do a lot of their lines, giving a very "high school stage play" feel to the whole thing. The English version was by far better acted with the voices having very distinct personalities and nuances to them. Basically Lines were more realistically delivered by the actors than the Japanese version. However good acting does not save a horrible script and by golly, the script was a complete mess. The dialogue, once boring or irritating, devolved to the point of senseless babbling and even turned illogical and contradictory. Some characters have up to three different names that interchange between different episodes and sometimes a line is spoken by the wrong voice actor for the wrong character. A terrible, stilted and cliché ridden excuse for a script that sounds worse that the most horrible episodes of Power Rangers. THe Japanese script fares slightly better but is filled to the brim with cheesiness and misplaced humour.
This series is a huge pity. It started off so strong and totally went on a downward spiral into the absurd. Even the Energon comic series which showed so much potential got cut down in its prime and is now left incomplete and open-ended.
This show may make an entertaining watch for anyone below the age of 6, and maybe for the "completist" who MUST watch every single transformers series ever made.
Other than that, Transformers Energon is not worth your money, or your hard drive space.
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