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A Black Hole is threatening the universe, Optimus Prime and the Autobots have to take refuge on Earth and keep their existence hidden from the inhabitants. The Autobots are visited by the ancient Autobot named Vector Prime who tells them that the only way to stop the Black Hole is to find the 4 Cyber Planet Keys. However, the evil Megatron and his Decepticons are after the Cyber Planet Keys too. They'll have to find their locations on Earth, Speed Planet, Jungle Planet and Giant Planet to determine the fate of the universe. Written by
The Autobot character, Crosswise, is accidentally referred to as "Smokescreen." This is probably because of a figure that was named Smokescreen. The figure used Crosswise's body, but had a different paint job. Luckily, this mistake happened rarely and was fixed in later episodes. See more »
Crosswise is erroneously referred to as Smokescreen for a while after his debut. He is later called by his correct name. Later reruns of these episodes fixed this error, although foreign dubs have still been produced based on the incorrect dialogue. See more »
After two shaky series, Transformers Armada and Energon, Hasbro as now given us Transformers Cybertron. Though far from perfect, this show is a lot better than its two predecessors. It seems to incorporate some of the best elements of past Transformers fiction.
A sprawling, multi-arced, space epic from the comics
A good balance of some lighthearted elements with more heavy duty sci/fi from the original cartoon
Exceptional voice acting, scripting and a sense of fun from Beast wars
The overall plot is nicely summed up via the show's opening sequence. "Our worlds are in Danger. To save them and the galaxy, we(the autobots) must find the 4 cyber planet keys, before the decepticons can use them for evil.".
The overall plot does not feel stretched or padded for the most part. Some episodes near the middle of the series do tend to get repetitive(especially the part on Velocitron) but thanks to some entertaining scripting and multiple story threads being addressed within a single episode, they are still watchable without feeling like useless fillers. Things might start off a little slow at first, but unlike Transformers Armada, the pace picks up after only 6 episodes following its debut(which throws you thick into the action with the Autobots already in the process of evacuating their home planet).
The first act incorporates many easy-to-relate to themes, especially involving the three human protagonists. A number of episodes convey moral teachings about the importance of rules, responsibility and honesty among many others without sounding too preachy. The style for this act may come across as a little juvenile, along the lines of Digimon(which is not surprising as the director also directed a number of digimon series) with rather tame action scenes(compared to Armada and Beast Wars) and lots of time dedicated to the kids' hi-jinks instead of on the Transformers themselves.
Then comes the second act. Once the setting moves into space and across the galaxy, the story likewise soars to new heights. The writing and script changes into something better that even older teenagers can relate to, throwing in some darker aspects and more thought provoking underlying themes.
The core achievement of Transformers Cybertron, is that throughout the show's evolution into a darker storyline, it never loses its sense of fun, just like the original cartoon in the 80s. Scripts are peppered with in-jokes and homage references to past series that would please any long time fan of the franchise. The high spirited and entertaining script is help along by some of the best voice acting in Transformers since Beast Machines. Very strong performances are turned, giving each character a distinct voice and personality. Some might have found the accents distracting but i personally loved them as they added variety. Accents are, afterall, not a new thing in Transformers with a number of characters from the original cartoon did sport a variety of different accents and speech patterns.
Not everything is sunflowers and rainbows however. This series does suffer from an over usage of stock footage in the Transformations(which seem a lot longer than previous series, with some single transformations lasting a whole half a minute.) and the battle scenes. Thankfully, in the English version, dialogue is written into the otherwise repetitive and boring stock sequences. These inserted lines range from planning battle strategy, to highly comedic in-jokes. Sometimes characters even break the fourth wall by asking each other why they have to undergo the same transformation animation all the time.
Just like Energon, this series uses a mixture of 2D and 3D animation. The 2D animation does not seem as polished as in Energon, with many of the human characters and 2D artwork looking flat with only basic color filling and minimal detail. Movements are jerky at times, even for a TV series standard of animation. The 3D elements, which involve mostly the robots, are a huge step up from Energon and Beast Wars. However, they are only slightly on par with Beast Machines which was produced 5 years prior to this show. Movements are smoother but there are still scenes where the 3D models "snap" from pose to pose like photographs in a slide show instead of actually move. The style metallic shading as opposed to the previous cel-shading causes the highly detailed 3D elements to jarringly clash with the simple 2D art. Such jarring differences in the animation are especially apparent when the 2D characters have to physically interact with the 3D ones.
One would think that utilising 3D animation would allow the director more freedom and ease to choreograph a good fight scene. That is not the case. Fights tend to get repetitive with boring camera angles and sometimes lengthly monologues. Later into the series, the fights DEVOLVE into something out of Dragonball Z. Most of the combat involves each combatant charging up their power and flying at each other, smashing together in a explosion of badly rendered CGI effects. Wash, rinse and repeat the cycle, throw in some clichéd dialogue and do it all over again.
I must say that Transformers Cybertron is the best among the post-2000 co-produced Transformers series. Sub-par animation and repetitiveness is saved by its marvelous scripts, story and voice acting. Do not let the bad reputation of the other series prevent you from watching this. Sure it might not be on par with the original, or Beast Wars, but it definitely worth checking out, and a good show for which to introduce newcomers to the Transformers Franchise.
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