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Nohow. It references it in many ways, but it takes place in a completely separate universe.

In some way, yes; in some ways, no. It was marketed towards a slightly younger audience than most Transformers shows, thus it has a bigger emphasis on comedy and characters not acting super serious, especially in the beginning of the series. At the same time, it had a lot more firm grasp on continuity, backstories and character development than your average kids' cartoon, and lightly touched upon many considerably mature themes, such as the effects of war, responsibility towards others, doing what you feel right against authority orders, and it also showed the wrongness of a politically and morally corrupt society. Arguably, it also carried the message not to be prejudiced against other people just because they are different.

There are also hundreds of in-jokes and homages that younger kids wouldn't get, and some adult fans have fun in finding these. Do note that many staff members behind the cartoon were fans of Transformers (and other popular franchises) themselves, and used their knowledge to hide as many gags into it as possible. Several obscure references and cameos can only be caught by hard-core fans.

As for the art style looking cartoony, less complicated-looking characters are easier to draw and animate, and also allow for more fluid movements. Rumor also has it that Hasbro deliberately wanted to use this drawing style, in case the live action Transformers movies failed, to distance itself from their style.

Those clips form a history reel that the characters watch in the show, and are meant as a treat for older Transformers fans. Most younger kids wouldn't be able to recognize those scenes.

Keep in mind that this cartoon takes place in another universe where the young Optimus hasn't become a great leader yet. His low rank is explained in his backstory:

During an exploration mission on an alien planet, his team lost one of their members, for which he took responsibility. This has lead to him being kicked out of the Elite Guard Academy.

There is no definite answer.

A seemingly logical explanation is that Hasbro (the company that owns Transformers and by extension, this series) wanted to have full control over its cartoon, because Cartoon Network (the channel that aired the show) was constantly holding it back in favor of its own productions, and was also opposed to it receiving a third season.

Another explanation could be that Hasbro wanted to put more focus on the promotion of its then-upcoming Revenge of the Fallen movie and tie-in toyline.

Unfortunately, we never learn Sari's true origins. It is heavily implied that she originated from the Transformer Protoforms one of the ships had been carrying, although it is unclear how she got to Earth and how she gained Techno-organic properties. This would have been explained in the canceled fourth season.

Yes. They can be seen in crowd shots later on. Originally, when aired on Cartoon Network, some of them got cropped out of the screen, but when the HUB re-aired the series in widescreen, they became visible.

Most are, but a few are completely new characters who haven't appeared in previous Transformers cartoons or comic books. These are Lugnut, Lockdown and, most importantly, Bulkhead. All of them have proved to be popular enough to be included into other Transformers stories, and now they all have their own places in Transformers canon. Likewise, they all received toys in other Transformers figure lines.


MAIN TEAM: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, Ratchet, Prowl

ELITE GUARD: Ultra Magnus, Sentinel Prime, Jazz, Blurr, Jetfire & Jetstorm (can combine into Safeguard), Warpath

DINOBOTS: Grimlock, Swoop, Snarl

TEAM ATHENIA: Rodimus Prime, Hot Shot, Red Alert, Brawn, Ironhide

CYBERTRON INTELLIGENCE: Longarm Prime (actually Shockwave in disguise), Cliffjumper, Arcee, Highbrow

MINISTRY OF SCIENCE: Wheeljack, Perceptor, Mainframe

Others: Alpha Trion, Elita-1 (became Blackarachnia), Wasp (became Waspinator), Wreck-Gar, Omega Supreme, Yoketron

Less important characters, cameos: Autotroopers, Beachcomber, Bumper, Carrera, Chase, Cosmos, Dai Atlas, Devcon, Dug Base, Flareup, Freeway, Furo, Glyph, Grandus, Heavy Load, Hoist, Hubcap, Huffer, Kick-Off, Lickety-Split, Lightbright, Motorarm, Powerglide, Powerhug, Rattletrap, Road Rocket, Roadhandlers, Rosanna, Searchlight, Seaspray, Sedan, Sky Garry, Springer, Star Saber, Star Upper, Steeljaw, Tap-Out, Tracks, Zaur

Sari is probably of Autobot origin.


MAIN TEAM: Megatron, Starscream, Blackarachnia, Lugnut, Blitzwing

CONSTRUCTICONS: Dirt Boss, Scrapper, Mixmaster

STARSCREAM'S CLONES: Thundercracker, Skywarp, Sunstrom, Ramjet, Slipstream, Clone #3370318, Clone #2716057

TEAM CHARR: Strika, Cyclonus, Blackout, Spittor, Oil Slick

Others: Lockdown, Shockwave, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Ratbat, Swindle, Waspinator, Lugnut Supremes

In the Japanese opening theme of the show, a cloaked mystery villain appears briefly, though who he is, no one knows. He doesn't look like any character from the series. In the second, re-edited Japanese opening, a duplicate of Blackout appears, resembling Grindor in his coloration, however no such character shows up in the series either. Likewise, the opening animation shows the black and red colored Soundwave (resembling Soundblaster) as a separate character from Soundwave, however in the show, "Soundblaster" only appears in a virtual-reality simulation.

Yes. In total, this means he has five eyes.


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