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-   -   Cartoon Episode Reviews: Robots in Disguise [completed] (http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=49777)

Blackjack 2011-04-13 03:27 PM

Commandos
Airdate: 24 September 2001
Written By: Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Adapted By: Marc Handler
Japanese Title: Quintuple Merge! Valdigus

Synopsis:
At a remote location, Scourge and the Decepticon Commandos to destroy a dam. Megatron is impressed, and the Decepticons plan to attack a larger one that humans depend on. Sky-Byte is angry that Megatron is focused on the Decepticons, and along with the Predacon trio plans to steal Scourge's thunder in the next mission by disguising as Autobots to trick the Decepticons. The four argue who gets to be Optimus. In the Autobot base, the Autobots have witnessed the Commandos' attack, and Autobots are deployed to various dams. Koji is at the Sherman Dam, and X-Brawn, patrolling nearby, encounters the Decepticons. Scourge easily tosses X-Brawn into the water where he sinks like a brick. As the Decepticons begin to climb the Dam and plant bombs, Koji alerts Optimus. Side Burn and Prowl are deployed. Sky-Byte and the Predacon trio, all disguised as Optimus Prime, open fire on the Commandos. Scourge drives off the fake Autobots and again tosses Prowl and Side Burn into the water. Dark Scream flies unnoticed and plants a transmitter on one of the bombs.

Optimus Prime arrives as well, while Megatron broadcasts a threat to Los Bogus, where lots of people (including Kelly) watches. Megatron monologues and then orders Scourge to detonate the charges... but nothing happens when Scourge presses the detonator. Megatron is enraged, and Sky-Byte tells Megatron he could do it. Before he could press the new detonator, Optimus arrives and battles the Predacon four. The detonator falls into the water where the Brothers have sunk in, sitting and waiting for help. Megatron is enraged and orders the Decepticon to tear the dam apart. Mega-Octane blows a hole in the dam, causing a blackout in Los Bogus, just before Kelly gets a jackpot. Optimus Prime attack Scourge, while the Brothers, washed down by the water gushing out of the dam, charge the ground-bound Commandos. Movor and Ro-Tor arrive, but so do Team Bullet Train. The Predacon quartet fire indiscriminately from the dam to take out everyone in their way, but a bunch of stray shots from Optimus sends the quartet into the water. Team Bullet Train combines into Rail Racer, but the Commandos combine as well into Ruination. Ruination initially gains the upper hand, but the Brothers disrupt the Decepticon, allowing Rail Racer to blast Ruination apart. The Decepticons retreat. The dam is repaired, power is restored, Megatron is angry, Kelly doesn't win anything and Sky-Byte swears vengeance.

Featured Transformers: Scourge, Megatron, Mega-Octane, Ro-Tor, Armorhide, Rollbar, Movor, Dark Scream, Sky-Byte, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Optimus Prime, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Prowl, Midnight Express, Rapid Run, Railspike, Rail Racer, Ruination
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Kelly

Review:
Another forgettable, overlong episode. The Decepticons are generic yes-man thugs, Scourge is an angry, super-powered generic thug (in here), the Predacons are bumbling fools, and the battle between Ruination and Rail Racer falls flat. Megatron, after seeming more menacing after several episodes of being kept out of the limelight, comes off a total idiot more concerned about speeches instead of napalming the dam. Add that to the uninteresting plot and the big plot hole of why didn't the stupid Predacons and Decepticons blow up the dam with their weaponry and have to rely on mines... Sky-Byte's jealousy is executed terribly here, being flat and unsympathetic unlike how his jealousy would be in later episodes.

Kelly is also godawfully irritating. It was funny at first when she appeared for a couple of seconds to be chased by Side Burn or run off the road and all. Give her a wee bit more screentime and she gets on your nerves. The only good bits here are the gag scenes — the Predacons cosplaying as Optimus Prime and discussing about who gets to be Prime, and X-Brawn's swim-swim-swim scene. Charming, but gags won't save a crap episode.

(Two out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Ruination, otherwise known as Valdigus in Japan, which is a play on Bruticus' name (upon whom Ruination/Valdigus is repainted off). Ruination has two combination modes since he's a scramble city-type gestalt. Here is the more common one with air-based Movor and Ro-Tor as arms and the ground-based Armorhide and Rollbar as legs.

The Ruination five are referred as 'Commandos', while the group as a whole with Scourge is referred as 'Decepticons'.

Ruination uses the combined weapons of his components.

Los Bogus is, of course, Las Vegas in all but name.

When G1 gestalts combine, the extra parts (fists, head et al) are grown from the combiners' body. Ruination, however, has his combiner kibble (head, chestplate et al) flying in out of nowhere during the stock footage.

The first feud between the Decepticons and Predacons. Won't be the last.

Slapper quotes Optimus Primal's catchphrase 'Well ain't that just Prime'.

Sherman Dam had been featured in the second G1 episode 'More than Meets the Eye Part 2', where that series' Optimus and Megatron had their iconic (and clunky) fight with the energy axe and flail.

Goofs:
The Autobot Brothers can swim underwater pretty well in 'the Hunt for Black Pyramid' but here they sink like bricks, despite X-Brawn's efforts.

Why don't the Decepticons and Predacons, you know, shoot the dam? Mega-Octane alone should be able to create enough holes to cause enough stress for the dam to break.

When Ruination first combines, his thumb clips onto his chest.

Blackjack 2011-04-17 02:29 AM

Volcano
Airdate: 25 September 2001
Written By: Tads Hayakawa
Adapted By: Tom Wyner
Japanese Title: En Garde! Two Convoys!

Synopsis:
Megatron dispatches the Predacons and Decepticons to investigate a volcano in a Caribbean resort which might be tapped into energy. The Predacon trio is dispatched to investigate the volcano, while Sky-Byte and Scourge guard the mouth of the volcano, and ignore each other. The Predacon trio triggers an eruption and flees for their lives as a stream of molten lava gushes out and begins to 'chase' them through the tunnels. Kelly happens to be in the resort, and is using the hot springs. As the eruption heats it up she thinks that the hotel workers had turned up the heat for her just as requested. Optimus Prime and the Spychangers arrive, and Sky-Byte and Scourge attack them. Scourge pushes an indignant Sky-Byte aside to battle Optimus, much to his chagrin. Optimus tries to stop the lava from erupting with his Blizzard Storm, but the Commandos arrive and try to shoot him down. Scourge easily knock around the Spychangers, but Wars slows Scourge enough for Optimus to freeze the lava... but it's good only for for eight minutes. Ruination forms and pins down the Spychangers with rapid fire. The resort is evacuated bar Kelly, oblivious to everything.

Sky-byte destroys the ice plug so that it would get rid of both Optimus and Scourge. The Spychangers push Ruination over, and tries to hold the lava back with rock barricades. Ruination destroys the barricade, and Optimus knocks down the combiner. However, too many lava has oozed out. Scourge confronts Sky-Byte over attacking him, but he insists he was only trying to hit Optimus. All the while, the Predacon trio run for their lives as they emerge from the tunnels to find more lava. Hot Shot orders the Spychangers to initiate their group 'Inferno Blast' attack to carve a path for the lava and redirect it. Scourge pays Sky-Byte back by shooting him and the Predacons, sending them into the ocean. Optimus takes down Ruination, and the bad guys retreat. Kelly emerges from the hot spring, on the verge of collapse.

Featured Transformers: Dark Scream, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Scourge, Sky-Byte, Optimus Prime, Wars, Ironhide, Mirage, Hot Shot, Crosswise, Rev, Ro-Tor, Rollbar, Movor, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Ruination
Notable Others: Kelly, T-AI

Review:
Terrible again, sadly., although a wee bit better than 'Commandos'. The plot is uninteresting, with waaay too much time devoted to Kelly being a dumbass and trying to get a holiday. The Spychanger's magic glowing attack, the Predacon trio trying to run away from lava, are all superfluous and overlong. And the lava being treated like something half-sentient is rubbish. Also, we have random fugly action scenes, which are boring and repetitive. I mean, Ruination holds all the Spychangers down by using his big gonzo guns. Optimus gives one order and they charge and push Ruination's legs over, and he doesn't even try to stop them. What. Also, overexposition. How many times do the Predacon trio say 'the lava is still coming' or some variant thereof?

There are some bits of nice character: Sky-Byte's rivalry with Scourge, Sky-Byte's little haiku and Scourge's encounter with Optimus Prime. But those are two shining moments amid a sea of banal plot. It's like a G1 cartoon episode, but with terrible dialogue and repetitive action scenes. At least they've got Sky-Byte. While not exactly a great character like the BW guys, the fact that somebody like Sky-Byte became so memorable is because none of the other members of the cast have any personality to speak of.

(Three out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Ruination's second configuration, with the land-based Commandos as hands and the air-based Commandos as legs. In Japan it's called the 'Land Mission' mode. What it accomplishes aside from denying Ruination his shoulder-rotor-blade attack thing is unknown.

Again, Spychangers do their toy gimmick of extending arms in vehicle mode, like in 'Spychangers to the Rescue'.

In a moment of proper biology (in a show that features a flying shark and a two-headed dragon) Dark Scream reveals he cannot fly per se, only glide from higher places. Of course, this means that it only applies when the plot calls for it.

Goofs:
Lava shouldn't freeze into ice, it should become rock if subjected to colder temperatures.

Lava isn't alive.

Scatterbrained as Kelly is, how could she miss the damned volcano erupting, big giant robots beating each other up and a mass evacuation?

For that matter, how did the hotel staff miss a guest? It's chaotic and all, but when they cleared the pool...

Also, other than the human immortality that often occurs in Transformers cartoons, being boiled in a hot spring while the volcano supplying it is erupting would decidedly do much worse than burn your skin. Like, internal organ damages and stuff.

Blackjack 2011-04-22 11:30 AM

Attack From Outer Space
Airdate: 12 January 2002
Written By: Kazuhiko Godo
Adapted By: Matthew V Lewis
Japanese Title: Aiming From Space! Shuttler!!

Synopsis:
A space shuttle is launched into orbit by the humans, but they are unaware that the shuttle is really Movor. When he reaches orbit Movor began observing Autobots to locate their base. However, tracking Tow-Line and later Prowl proved fruitless, since those two are in the process serving the law and catching criminals. Megatron and the others are getting impatient. Movor then observes the Predacon goons carving a giant Megatron face onto the ground, having been fooled by Mega-Octane into doing so. He watches as X-Brawn battles the Predacons. Movor tries to warn them that surrounding a lone hero never works out, but X-Brawn knocks the Predacons down. Movor tracks X-Brawn, but loses track of him and then begins to track Side Burn, who is chasing Kelly's red sports car. Side Burn pursues Kelly around and around. Convinced that Side Burn would lead him to the Autobot base, Movor sends the rest of the Decepticons to attack the sector Side Burn seems to head to, but when the Decepticons have leveled the area they only find a graveyard.

Each location Side Burn goes to is reported as the Autobot base by Movor, leading the Decepticons to destroy summer homes, a power plant, an airport and a shipyard. Scourge and Mega-Octane are not happy. Kelly, meanwhile, falls down a hole and Side Burn loses her. The Autobots try to figure out why the shuttle isn't responding, and with some hacking and deduction they realise Movor has been tracking their movements. They trick Side Burn into going to a pier for a date with a red car. The irritated Decepticons are directed there by Movor. Optimus Prime, Prowl, X-Brawn and the Bullet Trains arrive to engage the Decepticons. Scourge and Optimus fight one-on-one, and Movor tries to attack Optimus from space. However, due to the combatants constantly moving around, Movor hits Scourge twice. Seeing their disadvantage Mega-Octane calls for a retreat. The Autobots laugh at the whole situation. Movor is knocked out of orbit by a satellite, burns upon reentry and lands in the ocean.

Featured Transformers: Movor, Optimus Prime, Scourge, Megatron, Ro-Tor, Armorhide, Rollbar, Mega-Octane, Tow-Line, Prowl, Gas Skunk, Slapper, Dark Scream, Sky-Byte, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Railspike, Rapid Run, Midnight Express
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Kelly

Review:
It's a pretty fun episode that gives Movor, Scourge and Octane some much needed characterisation. Movor as a clueless, scatterbrained yet genre savvy Decepticon is pretty fun, too. However, while the plot is much more realistic in a warring situation, that is, finding the Autobot base, there are loads of major plot holes that leads us to wonder how bloody incompetent the Autobots are... and how bloody incompetent the Predacons are for not utilizing the Autobots' stupidity better.

Yeah, because a bunch of villas, an airport, a shipyard and a power plant get blown up for no good reason other than comedy, this episode was never aired. Which is a good thing, I suppose... Movor is great, but a good deal focuses on Side Burn's stupid obsession. It's gone from 'stupid but cute' to outright irritating, especially when Kelly, nowhere likeable at all, gets involved. Nice action scene at the end, though, with hilarious results from Movor. Movor is great, Scourge and Octane are good fun as well, X-Brawn and Sky-Byte get some good lines. All in all not a bad episode, although after watching the likes of Prime and Animated whilst doing this review I can't help but be unimpressed that this is actually one of the better RID episodes.

Woe betide whenever I get to doing the Unicron Trilogy.

(Six out of Ten)

Notes:
This episode was never aired in the US due to 9/11, since the Decepticons randomly blow up a lot of buildings and properties just for the hell of it.

Side Burn describes movies that are probably 'Titanic' and 'Jurassic Park'. Also, aliens that take over people's minds.

Prowl is 'unit three' by the Metro City police, and can communicate on their radio frequency. No idea whether it's part of his disguise or if the police employs Autobots now.

Goofs:
How can the space agency miss their shuttle replaced like that? And no humans responding? Are there no security?

When Movor tracks Tow-Line, the insignia at the bottom left of the display switches from a Predacon insignia to a Decepticon insignia at random.

When the Decepticons attack the graveyard, Rollbar is missing and replaced by Movor, who should be in space.

Why don't the Autobots mobilize when the Decepticons begin to blow up random properties?

Normally Movor's vehicle mode is about the size of the other Decepticons (i.e. the size of a tank or a helicopter). However this episode suddenly he becomes a full-sized space shuttle.

Why can't Movor fly out to space without the hassle of disturbing human launchs, which attracted Autobot attention? If he had, the Autobots wouldn't suspect Movor's plans at all.

Blackjack 2011-04-30 01:07 PM

The Test
Airdate: 26 September 2001
Written By: Junki Takegami
Adapted By: Tom Wyner
Japanese Title: Awaken to Righteousness! Black Convoy

Synopsis:
Sky-Byte is dispatched to destroy a drilling platform in the ocean, but as he celebrates his success, Scourge attacks him. Optimus Prime arrives, and this drives Sky-Byte away. Optimus tries to recruit Scourge, appealing to his Autobot nature and tells him to reject Megatron's programming but Scourge leaves without a word. At the Predacon base, Sky-Byte reports to Megatron about Scourge's betrayal but Megatron refuses to believe him. Sky-Byte is convinced that something is wrong. In Autobot HQ Optimus is convinced that the Decepticons' good side is winning out but the Brothers are much more distrustful. T-AI receives a clandestine transmission from Mega-Octane, requesting a meeting with Optimus. Despite advice otherwise, Optimus arrives at the location and meets with the Decepticon. Mega-Octane explains that the Decepticons wants to defect to the Autobots. Optimus is pleased, while an eavesdropping Sky-Byte hatches a plan to get rid of the Decepticons. Afterwards Mega-Octane reports to Megatron that their plan to fool the Autobots is working, and that they will discover the Autobots' secret base in no time. Scourge is unhappy with all these non-fighting schemes.

The Brothers argue with Optimus Prime, who insists on giving the Decepticons a chance. Side Burn has an idea to subject the Decepticons to menial tasks. The Decepticons are set to clean up a random forest of fallen leaves with giant brooms, but after some protests the Decepticons work anyway, surprising the Autobots with their 'enthusiasm' and dedication. The Decepticons are set to direct traffic, working construction and cleaning waterways. As the Decepticons huddle around after the ordeal, Mega-Octane barely keeps Scourge from exploding, but the Brothers are satisfied. Optimus is about to take the Decepticons to HQ when Sky-Byte attacks, intent on destroying the traitors. The Decepticons consider that blowing the Predacon up will prove their loyalty to Prime whilst getting rid of competition, and attacks. Scourge goes after Sky-Byte but nearly kills a passing Kelly if not for Optimus' intervention. Mega-Octane tries to calm things down, but Scourge lost his temper and mocks Optimus for his gullibility. Enraged at this, Optimus Prime single-handedly takes down all six Decepticons, forcing them to retreat. Later Optimus Prime apologizes to the Brothers for allowing blind hopes override better judgment.

Featured Transformers: Sky-Byte, Optimus Prime, Scourge, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Dark Scream, Megatron, Side Burn, Prowl, X-Brawn, Mega-Octane, Rollbar, Armorhide, Movor, Ro-Tor, Ruination
Notable Others: T-AI, Kelly

Review:
The Autobots are stupid, the Decepticons are stupid, Megatron is stupid. Sky-Byte, on the other hand, shines. Actually seeming dangerous by blowing the oil rig up, lobbing haikus and poems (with excellent delivery for once), trying so hard to defeat Scourge and the Autobots yet failing at every turn, yet keep getting back up to attack the Autobots... with uninteresting Autobots and unbelievably incompetent Decepticons in this episode, I can't help but cheer solely for Sky-Byte. He is the only source of any points I give this episode. Rollbar (I think) manages to become the second Commando to have a personality by carrying the fake act even when they don't have to, but that's not saying much. Any suspense that they are actually defecting is ruined by the illusion being dissolved very early on.

The Commandos and Brothers are flatly characterised. Scourge, usually portrayed as a competent leader, now hugs the idiot ball by simply not being able to control his temper in order for the plan-of-the-week to succeed. It's pretty daft, although playing on Optimus' hopes (although Optimus himself shares the idiot ball with Scourge) is a pretty interesting concept... if used properly. And what do the Autobots do when six Decepticons join them? Do they launch a full scale assault with two combiners, the Spychanger squad and human military at the remaining five Predacons? No, they set them to sweep parks of fallen leaves. No wonder they never get anything done.

(Three out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Optimus Prime's missile rain thing (the name sort of varies dfrom episode to episode.

Sky-Byte once again hums the Jaws theme soundtrack as he moves towards the drilling platform.

I don't think I mentioned this before, but Scourge's trailer, like Optimus Prime and his G1 counterpart, disappears and reappears from off-screen as needed.

Goofs:
Ro-Tor is missing his rotors at one point.

Ruination's scale relative to Scourge are out of whack. Well, more than usual anyway.

while helping the law and traffic and stuff might be understandable considering how RID Autobots help the humans, what good is cleaning a forest of fallen leaves?

Why didn't Sky-Byte attack the Decepticons when they were, like, sweeping the forests or something?

Blackjack 2011-05-01 01:07 PM

The Fish Test
Airdate: 27 September 2001
Written By: Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Adapted By: Marc Handler
Japanese Title: Secret Strategy! Gelshark

Synopis:
Slapper watches as Sky-Byte takes an online 'fish personality test' on the computer, but is dejected when the quiz identifies himself as a jellyfish. Megatron summons Sky-Byte, and assigns him to lend assistance for Scourge's latest plan. Scourge's orders? Remain at base and stay out of the way. Dark Scream manages to find out that Scourge plans to siphon energy from Earth's power plants, and Sky-Byte begins to concoct a plan to sabotage this effort with his troops. Scourge leads his troops to a power plant, and are ambushed by the 'Autobots', who, in reality, are the Predacons in disguise. A firefight soon ensues. In Autobot HQ, Side Burn also takes the fish test, but is interrupted by an alert on the power plant battle. The Brothers are dispatched, and begin to engage the Decepticons... and despite this being part of Sky-Byte's plan, the Predacons are caught in the crossfire, making their intervention blatant for all to see. At the Predacon base Sky-Byte is scolded severely by Megatron for interfering with their plans. Afterwards, however, Dark Scream gets word of the Decepticons' next attack location. Sky-Byte tries to warn the Autobots, picking Side Burn, but because he interrupted Side Burn's chase with a red sportscar, Side Burn blows Sky-Byte away. The Predacons track down X-Brawn, but the Autobot isn't trusting either. Prowl and Side Burn arrive as well, and after demanding that Sky-Byte perform a set of humiliating tricks to prove his sincerity, the Brothers check out the Predacon's tip.

The Autobots and Sky-Byte wait at the Bayshore power plant... only for both T-AI and Dark Scream to tell both parties respectively that the Decepticons are attacking a different power plant. The Brothers assume Sky-Byte has tricked them. The Bullet Trains arrive on the other power plant, and drive off the Decepticons. Sky-Byte sulks at a cliffside, feeling pretty sorry for himself. However, the Predacon Trio managed to convince him to try again, and Sky-Byte attacks a power plant by his lonesome... only to discover that Megatron and the Decepticons are already there, siphoning energy covertly, and Sky-Byte's grandiose attack has only drawn the Autobots on-site. Both Megatron and the Autobots give Sky-Byte hell, both verbally and physically. Sky-Byte finally manages to escape the Autobots... only to be scolded again by Megatron at HQ, ordering him to cleaner duty. A dejected Sky-Byte looks at his horoscope... and sees that it warns him against attempted betrayal for the day or he would be humilitaed utterly. Sky-Byte smashes the computer with his claw... only to be electrocuted.

Featured Transformers: Sky-Byte, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Scourge, Megatron, Dark Scream, Mega-Octane, Armorhide, Rollbar, Side Burn, Optimus Prime, Prowl, X-Brawn, Midnight Express, Railspike, Railspike, Rail Racer
Notable Others: T-AI, Kelly, Koji Onishi

Review:
Surprisingly, despite what the title implies, the Fish Test itself does not figure too much into the episode. It's pretty fun if it drags on for quite some time. Sky-Byte's antics alone are fun, if silly. The whole episode is clearly played out for laughs, and unlike previous installments the rivalry between Sky-Byte and the Decepticons are more entertaining here instead of tiring and uninspired before. The Predacon trio also get some nice lines, as do the Autobots (who have finally caught up to the fact that the Predacon four are yesterday's goons and can be blasted away with impunity). Poor Sky-Byte is the Waspinator of this series, which only endears him more.

The moment where Sky-Byte sulks in the cliff is a nice moment ruined only by the narmish delivery of the lines at the end. I absolutely adore how Sky-Byte acts like a stereotypical flamboyant anime hero of justice while disguised as Rail Racer, while the Trio chuckle about it. Being forced to act like a seal was hilarious as well. The rivalry between Sky-Byte and Scourge is explored deeper after episodes of the past, and while Scourge is clearly the more competent (if arrogant) of the two, Sky-Byte can't help but be endearing by way of being a woobie. Both Sky-Byte and Scourge get played well this episode. Dark Scream also gets some nice moments acting as the Predacons' resident spy. Sadly, this is not by far a spectacular episode, and is about any good as the second leg of RID would get. Which, sadly, isn't any good compared to shows like Prime or Beast Wars.

(Six out of Ten)

Notes:
This is the second time the Predacon four have tried to pass themselves off as Autobots to sabotage the Decepticons. The result is still the same. Although to their credit, they picked different Autobots to disguise themselves as.

Slapper asks Sky-Byte to perform the 'universal greeting dance', a reference to the universal greeting seen in 1986's Transformers the Movie.

Sky-Byte acknowledges that the jellyfish isn't a real fish, a nice touch of basic Biology.

When the Predacon trio comment on Sky-Byte's horrible acting, Gas Skunk breaks the fourth wall by saying that Sky-Byte can always work in cartoons.

Goofs:
Before the logo transition after T-AI sends out the call to investigate the first power plant attack, there is a stray shot of Sky-Byte talking to the Predacon trio from early on in the episode for a couple of seconds.

When Sky-Byte is confronted by Megatron, he holds up two hands to form two peace gestures... when his left hand is supposed to be a four-pronged trident-claw thing.

Ro-Tor and Movor are missing from the Decepticon ranks for the entire episode.

Blackjack 2011-05-04 10:59 AM

Wedge's Short Fuse
Airdate: 28 September 2001
Written By: Junki Takegami
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: Hot-Blooded Warriors! Buildmaster

Synopsis:
The Predacons attack a diamond mine in Antarctica. T-AI dispatches the Autobot Brothers to Antarctica, but the Brothers are unable to do so when they realise the Global Space Bridge section to Antarctica is incomplete, and the Build Team is working on it. The young leader of the Build Team, Wedge, strikes a deal with Optimus Prime in order to prove themselves in battle duty. Optimus is sceptical about sending an inexperienced construction crew into battle, but doesn't have a choice. T-AI is then forced to go through the Battle Protocol all over again. In the Antarctic, the Predacons are waiting for the Autobots to arrive and be captured in a trap (with a massive net, no less) in order to discredit Scourge. While the Predacon Trio initially mistake the unfamiliar Build Team as transport trucks, Sky-Byte recognizes them as Autobots and a battle breaks out. The Predacons overwhelm the inexperienced Build Team and Sky-Byte traps the smaller Wedge on his jaws. The Predacon holds the young Autobot hostage, and Heavy Load strikes a deal — a disc containing a full map of the Global Space Bridge network in return for Wedge's release. Knowing that such knowledge would tip the war in their favour, and agrees. Heavy Load places the disc on a rock despite his teammates' protests, and Slapper is about to claim the prize with his tongue when Optimus Prime arrives.

Wedge breaks free and rallies the Build Team to chase after the disc... which had fallen on the head of a penguin that snowboards away. The Predacons and Optimus Prime chase after it as well, but Ro-Tor arrives, snags the disc and gives it to a waiting Scourge. Sky-Byte demands Scourge return his 'rightful property', and when Scourge refuses the Predacons and Decepticons battle. Wedge charges into the fray, despite Heavy Load's warning not to. Optimus asks Heavy Load what he was thinking, Heavy Load reveals that the disc was bogus, containing sewer schematics instead of the Bridge map. However Wedge does not hear this, and charges Sky-Byte. Fortunately for him the Predacons and Decepticons are too preoccupied with each other to treat the smaller Autobot as anything more than a distraction. As a result of the scuffle the disc flies back to Sky-Byte, who announces that there is an entrance to the 'Space Bridge' nearby and plans to attack the Autobot HQ from there. The Predacons jump into the tunnel, the Decepticons hot on their tail. A still-clueless Wedge wants to follow but the other Build Team members restrain him and fill him in. The Predacons and Decepticons land in a heap in the sewer, and as they realize they have been duped, Optimus launches a Blizzard Storm that freezes them solid. Optimus talks tosthe Build Team, telling them that their unlikely victory and mistakes are valuable experience, and they will improve.

Featured Transformers: Optimus Prime, Dark Scream, Gas Skunk, Slapper, Prowl, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Wedge, Heavy Load, Grimlock, Hightower, Sky-Byte, Ro-Tor, Scourge, Movor, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Rollbar
Notable Others: T-AI

Review:
Ah, the Build Team. A bunch of builders who wants to fight but messes everything up in general until their 'New Toy™' status kicks in next episode. Let us take out the context that the magical set of teleporting portals is now a physical set of tunnels, and the sheer stupidity of the Build Team literally digging their way through Earth's crust from wherever Metro City is to Antarctica in ten seconds flat. And the long, tiring Battle Protocol sequence that even annoys our resident dry, lifeless T-AI. And the whole nonsense with the penguin. And the Antarctic sewer. Out of the four new characters introduced, Hightower and Grimlock are really lifeless; you could plop in any of the Spychangers and there wouldn't be any difference. Wedge, for all the showtime he receives, is blander than even the likes of Prowl and Gas Skunk, and that's saying something. He's basically this supposed Jimmy Neutron-styled boy genius, but comes off as an over-eager, hot-headed idiot who gets into fights he can't win. Plus those treads sliding like awkwards gloves can't help to make him look any better. He comes off as terribly irritating.

On the other hand, it is nice for the Predacon goon squad to get a win or two once in a while, and Sky-Byte, Scourge and even Slapper gets some nice moments of character here. The civil war was fun as well, with the Predacon trio clearly unwilling to join but can't help but getting dragged in. Heavy Load was the only new character that's fun with his planning, but when you realise he could've prevented his team captain from rushing into battle if he had told him earlier brings up the fact that the entire Build Team is another bunch of uninteresting boring enthusiastic generic good guys. Add that to the plot, or lack thereof, and this episode is a slow watch. I just hope the Build Team doesn't show up so much, or at the very least get personalities if they do.

(Two out of ten)

Notes
First appearance of the Build Team — Wedge (Build Boy in Japan), Heavy Load (Build Typhoon in Japan), Grimlock (Build Hurricane in Japan) and Hightower (Build Cyclone in Japan).

So the Global Space Bridge is actually a physical network of bridges, not a magic teleporting interdimensional thing. This makes a lot less sense.

This episode is the first that sensibly does not feature the luckless, omni-present Kelly. Poor girl didn't even get a name dropped in the show itself...

Goofs
Despite the episode occurring in the Antarctic, the tunnel project is always referred as the 'Arctic Link'.

Why the hell does T-AI even go through the Battle Protocol nonsense when there is a crisis brewing?

There are sewers in Antarctica. What.

Blackjack 2011-05-04 03:28 PM

Landfill
Airdate: 22 June 2002
Written By: Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: Quadruple Merge! Build King

Synopsis:
X-Brawn is pursued by the Decepticon Commandos, and looks as if he would be boxed in... when he jumps into a Global Space Bridge warp tunnel. The Decepticons decide to deal with the Autobots' teleportation technology. Armorhide is in favour of blowing it into pieces but Mega-Octane suggests that they turn the technology against the Autobots. In Metro City, the Build Team work on the Space Bridge's Arctic tunnel link. Wedge suggests that they go for some battle practice, and the team heads off for the 'Battle Zone'. Grimlock leaves behind and uploads the Arctic link data into the Space Bridge's computer network located in a building in the city. Ro-Tor trails Grimlock and after the Autobot is gone the Decepticons arrive, and switch part of the programming discs with one of their own. Scourge tampers with the system again, and dispatches Movor to shoot the city up. When Team Bullet Train tries to respond, the Global Space Bridge deposits them on a busy freeway. Afterwards the Bullet Trains return to HQ. Rapid Run and Wedge get into a heathed argument about whose fault it is for the malfunction. Optimus dispatches the Build Team to check the Bridge for the error, while Scourge dispatches the Commandos to different parts of the city, blowing things up. The Brothers and Bullet Trains move through the Space Bridge again, but Mega-Octane sends them into a variety of undesirable situations, such as the underground levels of a mall, the top of a random building, a desert, a cement mixing and a baseball stadium.

Scourge meets up with Megatron at the North energy research facility, and while the Autobots are distracted by their own Space Bridge, the two will be free to plunder all the energy there. T-AI discovers the Decepticons tampering at the main terminal, and alerts the Build Team. The Build Team engage the Commandos, and Optimus Prime arrives to blow the Decepticons away. The Build Team is able to repair the damage done, replacing the swapped circuitry. The scattered Autobots are collected and together they are sent towards where the Predacons are attacking. Megatron and Scourge engage the Autobots, Megatron getting an advantage in a glacier due to being able to walk with his claws. Team Bullet Train prepares to combine into Rail Racer... when Wedge intervenes, saying that this was personal to the Build Team due to the Predacons' sabotage. Build Team combiens into Landfill and easily knocks Scourge and Megatron around, sending them into retreat. Rapid Run and Wedge apologize to each other and Optimus Prime talks about teamwork for a bit before they head home.

Featured Transformers: X-Brawn, Rollbar, Ro-Tor, Scourge, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Heavy Load, Wedge, Grimlock, Hightower, Optimus Prime, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, Railspike, Side Burn, Prowl, Megatron, Landfill
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Kelly

Review:
Pretty average. The Build Team is still irritating, and while the Autobots-popping-out-everywhere is funny the first few times it gets old really, really fast. However, the Decepticons are back to being competent again, and the sabotage on the Space Bridge is well done. However, Wedge still comes off as pretty irritating as always, and Heavy Load is again the voice of reason. Heavy Load's got some pretty fun action scenes with his massive dump truck claw thing, which is fun to see. There are way too many logic loopholes here to make it enjoyable, though. Why is the system for the Global Bridge in a random bunker in a city instead of their secure base? Why didn't Scourge and company just blow it up when the Build Team arrives? Stuff like that.

Bits of little character moments for guys like Armorhide and Grimlock and the Bullet Trains, which is good. Rapid Run dissing Wedge off is pretty fun as well. The scene where the Commandos shoot the city up is pretty fun as well. Scourge hogs all the good lines. Funny, isn't it, that Landfill, Wedge and Optimus Prime all come off as hollow and lifeless, while the rest of the secondary cast seem to be much more fun? Solid proof that random heroic good guy is the most unattractive character you could ever get. How they figure out that the Cons have tampered with the system... instead of Build Team being the geniuses and figuring things out, the uninteresting TAI has to point it out for them. Also, Landfill's attack is, what, three different shoulder charges which are basically the same? And the stupidly named 'single laser'? This episode wasn't aired, which didn't affect the flow of the show any bit, despite Landfill being introduced this episode. I might be a little too harsh on RID, but then again it's the truth. It isn't bad per se, but it's boring, repetitive and filled with loop holes most of the time.

(Five out of Ten)

Notes:
The first appearance of Landfill (Build King in Japan). Landfill has three limb combinations since any one of the non-Wedge Build Team members can form either the arms or either leg.

This episode never aired in the US due to post 9/11 sensitivities, since lots of buildings get blown up real good just for laughs. But since it featured the debut of a new character (Landfill) the events of this episode would be the main event of the next clip show, which proves that clip shows can too be useful under circumstances like this.

Optimus Prime's combination sequence into his battle mode now has an extended sequence that pops up every single time he enters battle mdoe from now on.

X-Brawn's dialogue, 'they are on me like Insecticons on a power core', is a shout out to the G1 episode where the Insecticons attack and eat a power core. Was it 'the Insecticon Syndrome' or 'the Core'? All those G1 titles are so vague...

Movor destroys a sign with a stylized Ronald McDonald on it.

Megatron's "next time, Autobots!" line is very similar to Doctor Claw's catchphrase as he escapes.

The first episode ever in Robots in Disguise that Sky-Byte or the Predacon trio do not feature in any capacity, not even as background characters.

Goofs:
The Build Team are working on an 'Arctic Link Tunnel', presumably the Antarctic Link seen last episode... but even then, why would an Arctic/Antarctic link be dug out in the middle of a city?

Whose bright idea was it to place the Space Bridge's computing system in a bunker without even security cameras or alarm systems instead of the otherwise unknown Autobot HQ?

As Rapid Run pops out and crashes down a hill, he speaks with Railspike's voice. It was probably intended to be Railspike since we saw Rapid Run a fair bit ago, but the animators screwed up... or something.

Presumably the Bullet Trains cannot return to Autobot HQ with the malfunctioning Space Bridge, so why didn't the Decepticons follow them to the HQ?

Midnight Express and Rapid Run constantly get their colour schemes swapped at one point or another while in vehicle mode.

Despite Scourge's dialogue to tell the Decepticons to move out, in the next shot the Decepticons are still in the terminal.

The people around Koji at the baseball game changes in every single shot.

At one point Heavy Load's entire face is yellow like his helmet.

Blackjack 2011-05-04 07:18 PM

Sky-Byte Saves The Day
Airdate: 23 June 2002
Written By: Tadashi Hayakawa
Adapted By: Matthew V Lewis
Japanese Title: Friend of Righteousness? Gelshark

Synopsis:
Optimus Prime and T-AI discuss about the O-Parts, and affirms that finding them is their number one priority. In Metro City, Sky-Byte and the Predacon trio arrive at the grand opening of the CGA Tower, one of the tallest towers in the world. Sky-Byte plans to topple the tower, which would make the Predacons famous. Despite their skepticism, the Predacons follow Sky-Byte as they attack the support rods of the tower. Build Team is deployed, but their arrival provokes the Predacons to open fire indiscriminately at buildings, and Wedge negotiates with Sky-Byte not to harm the hostages. Sky-Byte, not realising that the people in the tower could be used as hostages, attempts to improvise as if he has planned this and demands to talk to Optimus. When asked for demands, Sky-Byte and the Predacons randomly babble for a 'thingy'. Optimus and T-AI think that it is a demand for the O-Parts, which Sky-Byte confirms... although they have no idea what the O-Parts are. Optimus goes off to deliver the O-Parts personally. Sky-Byte feels pretty good about the situation... and knocks the last tower support off by leaning on it.

Sky-Byte and Wedge rush to hold the tower up, and the rest of their teams rush in to help as well. To the onlookers and hostages, it looks as if the Predacons are helping. The Decepticons ambush Optimus Prime, wanting to steal Sky-Byte's thunder. Optimus Prime swiftly blasts Ruination and then Scourge, and drives on. In the tower, the Predacons are not really happy (Sky-Byte has an itch) but the kids cheer for Sky-Byte, something that has never happened to the Predacon before. Optimus arrives but so does Scourge, who opens fire out of revenge because he can't get the O-Parts. Optimus battles Scourge while the Build Team tries to keep Scourge's missiles away. Sky-Byte struggles to keep the tower upright despite the crossfire, wanting to 'save his dear hostages'. The Autobots drive Scourge off and Landfill drills a hole for the tower to go in. The day is saved! Afterwards Sky-Byte and the Predacons watch the sunset and recover from their back pain and itches... and realise that they forgot to pick the O-Parts from Optimus.

Featured Transformers: Optimus Prime, Sky-Byte, Dark Scream, Gas Skunk, Slapper, Hightower, Wedge, Heavy Load, Grimlock, Megatron, Scourge, Movor, Ro-Tor, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Rollbar, Ruination, Landfill
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Jenny, Karl, Kelly

Review:
Much silliness, but the good kind of silliness. While the Build Team is still largely uninteresting at least Wedge isn't as irritating as he was in the past two episodes. Sky-Byte is absolutely golden, being clueless yet still persistent enough to try to get whatever he is supposed to get... and foul up because he tries to save the people who actually cheer for him. You just pity him, he's this harmless bully that's unappreciated by everyone else, but too stupid to make the leap from evil goon to anti-hero. The Predacon trio are still by-and-by generic, sarcastic troublemaking goons, but they've grown personalities. Not distinct, but as a whole. Kelly is still irritating, and both T-AI and Koji are still lifeless. All is well with the world.

Optimus Prime's pretty fun as he trashes both Ruination and Scourge in three hits to save the humans. And all the while this ties in to the O-Parts plot. Scourge is pretty nice to see as well, a real villain, that Scourge. He just can't stand to see Sky-Byte succeed, even though the Decepticons clearly outclass Sky-Byte's Predacons in every way. He's an angry, jealous soul, unwilling to let others even get the slightest bit of victory. Sky-Byte undoubtedly steals the show, though, and at the end of the day you find that you won't root for the Autobots or Decepticons or Megatron, but for Sky-Byte. It's funny, isn't it? The character meant to be a pathetic joke is the one with the most distinct characterisation? Despite all the episodes we've been through, only Sky-Byte and Scourge, and maybe Side Burn have any kind of interesting development. Enjoy Sky-Byte, he's the best thing RID gave us. He's no Waspinator but he's his own brand of crazy fun.

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
An episode about a group of Predacons holding a tower with hundreds of people inside hostage, with it threatening to topple being the main plot of the episode? Yeah, this episode so never aired in the US.

Although it was not mentioned in that episode itself, apparently in 'Volcano' the Decepticons were looking for the O-Parts. Poor Sky-Byte wasn't informed, though.

Landfill combines in a different way this episode. Normally Landfill forms with Grimlock as arms and the other two as legs (Hurricane mode in Japan) but for this episode, Heavy Load forms the arms and the other two become legs (Typhoon mode in Japan). According to the Japan writers, Hurricane Mode gives Landfill a balance between offense and defense, while Typhoon Mode gives a higher offense. The third mode, Cyclone Mode, with Hightower as arms (not seen until much later) is the defensive mode.

Goofs:
The CGA tower's relative height varies widely, sometimes reaching for the skies, sometimes only as tall as the buildings around it.

Both the Tower and Autobot HQ are in Metro City, so why does Optimus Prime drive away from the city?

Blackjack 2011-05-07 06:28 AM

A Test of Metal
Airdate: 29 September 2001
Written By: Kazuhiko Godo
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: Targeted Buildmasters

Synopsis:
The Commandos attack the East Power Station, and Team Bullet Train arrive to stop them. Both teams combine and battle, but Ruination does not notice the Build Team taking the energy away. The Autobots escape through the Space Bridge, and the Commandos are chewed out by Megatron and Scourge. The Commandos are pissed at the Autobots' ability and decide to destroy the Space Bridge, and do so by destroying the Build Team. The Commandos attack random construction sites to draw out the Build Team and threatens to keep doing so until the Build Team shows up. Optimus Prime wants the Build Team working on the Space Bridge so he sends in the Brothers and the Bullet Trains. However they fail to stop the Commandos. Wedge finds out about the attack on construction sites, but Optimus Prime orders him not to attack. The Build Team can't take it, and disobey Optimus' orders and sabotages the Space Bridge so they can fight the Commandos without interruption.

The Commandos find the Build Team not much of a challenge in battle. Landfill and Ruination both form, but Landfill finds himself outclassed against Ruination. The Brothers try to help them but the Space Bridge deposits them in a random desert thanks to Heavy Load's tampering earlier. Landfill digs a pit to bring the fight underground and finds a series of underground caverns. The two combiners exchange weapons fire, and the cavern fills with oil up to the combiners' chests. Ruination calls a truce not to open fire because it will ignite the oil. Landfill fires anyway after a Mexican standoff. The Commandos are blasted away, while the Build Team are set on fire. Optimus Prime arrives and puts the fire out, and the Autobots tsake a dip in the remaining oil pools. Wedge apologizes.

Featured Transformers: Armorhide, Rollbar, Ro-Tor, Movor, Mega-Octane, Optimus Prime, Wedge, Railspike, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, Rail Racer, Ruination, Heavy Load, Hightower, Grimlock, Megatron, Scourge, Prowl, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Landfill
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi

Review:
It's not that it's particularly bad, but it's a dreary retread of the same old plot. There's absolutely no creativity, no plot twists, you know Landfill will win out at the end. The whole 'Decepticons seeking for revenge while planning vague ambush' is not at all unpredictable. Instead of focusing on the more interesting Scourge, the main villains this episode is the Commandos... who have as much character as five bricks. Really, where is the fun Movor we had before? Combine that with the sub-par voice acting and action sequences makes watching this a long drag. Does anyone honestly believe a random oil explosion will kill either Ruination or Landfill? Honestly, how many times must they show stock transformation footages? Even by the standards of RID, this episode obscenely doubles the standard fare of streaky anime lines. I honestly can't bring myself to say anymore other than this episode is dull.

(Two out of Ten)

Notes:
Apparently the Autobots consider oil pools the way we humans consider hot springs.

T-AI is voiced by another voice actor this episode, which makes T-AI's already bland and dry voice sound even more bland and dry.

Goofs
Why didn't the Commandos attack the control bunker thing from last episode and blow it up?

The entire power plant appears to explode after the first shot but remains intact (if charred) in all subsequent shots.

After Ruination battles Rail Racer, the scene transition is Predacon-Predacon, even though when Scourge and company are involved the transition is usually uses the Decepticon symbol.

When Landfill and Ruination has that Anime pushing contest in a fight, his eyes are tiny compared to his face.

Blackjack 2011-05-11 03:33 PM

Ultra Magnus
Airdate: 6 October 2001
Written By: Junki Takegami
Adapted By: Tom Wyner
Japanese Title: Enter! God Magnus

Synopsis:
In Metro City a mysterious Autobot stands on top of a building and declares he will take back what is rightfully his from Optimus Prime. In an oil refinery, the six Decepticons are in the middle of a raid when the Autobot Brothers arrive. Even though they realise they can't fire for fear of igniting the oil, Side Burn tries to bluff. However, the mysterious Autobot car carrier bears down, unleashing his firepower. The Autobot Brothers stop this mystery Autobot, and in the confusion the Decepticons escape. Prowl and Side Burn trade barbs with the newcomer, who accuses them of being incompetent and being traitors. Watching nearby, Sky-Byte is about to attempt his own raid on the now-abandoned oil refinery, but Koji and his friends, having turned into fans of Sky-Byte arrive and talk to him. Panicked yet elated, Sky-Byte flies away. Despite his failure Megatron forgives the Predacon and sends him to find the remaining O-Parts. However, Sky-Byte's orders to the other Predacons are relayed by Mega-Octane to the Autobot headquarters. Optimus dispatches the Brothers to the coordinates.

Sky-Byte, meanwhile, digs for the O-Part but only finds a rubber duck. He doesn't give up, however. However, en-route the Brothers are intercepted by the mysterious Autobot, who warns them of an ambush. He then uses a stun ray, shocking the Brothers into unconsciousness before carrying them and junking them in a junkyard. Mega-Octane and Scourge discuss their plan to lead the Autobots to their ambush using Sky-Byte's transmission as bait, but the mysterious Autobot arrives and introduces him as Ultra Magnus. Magnus is unimpressed by the Decepticons' attacks, and easily blasts Ruination into his component parts. When Optimus Prime arrives, the Decepticons retreat. Optimus Prime offers Magnus a place on the team, but Magnus refuses. A startled Optimus asks why Magnus is so aggressive, to which Magnus recounts how Optimus is chosen to carry the Matrix of Leadership over him. The resentful Magnus is here to take it back.... meanwhile Sky-Byte digs up an old bomb which explodes on his face.

To be continued...

Featured Transformers: Ultra Magnus, Scourge, Armorhide, Rollbar, Mega-Octane, Ro-Tor, Movor, X-Brawn, Prowl, Side Burn, Optimus Prime, Sky-Byte, Megatron, Ruination
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi

Review:
Hate him or love him, Ultra Magnus' arrival marks the start of an overreaching plot across the remaining RID episodes in that they are actually interconnected instead of just vaguely related via the O-Parts which have about five seconds of screentime in the episodes they were in. I personally find Magnus irritating, but probably it's because I can't stand anime-styled anti-hero vigilantes, and Magnus had to be that while being a total jerkass. While the mystery about Magnus is well-kept for once instead of being revealed five seconds off the bat, the execution of this episode is far from perfect. Other than Magnus, Optimus, Sky-Byte and maybe Prowl, everybody's dialogue is simply horrible stuff a six-year old could make up. Especially the Commandos.

Also, while Megatron playing at Sky-Byte's ego to trick him into providing a distraction is well done, there are ludicrous amounts of padding scenes here. What is the use of the whole sequence of Magnus dumping the Brothers? Or Scourge and Mega Octane going over their ambush plan twice? Also, while the action scenes are pretty well-done, you just can't help but wish that Magnus' character model was a little less blocky, it looks so awkward as he does all those fighting moves. I am not Ultra Magnus' biggest fan, he comes off as really irritating and being a jerk unnecessarily. Also, he is able to steamroll his way through any fight. However, at least Magnus has an actual personality, even if it's a tired cliché.

(Six out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Ultra Magnus, a.k.a. God Magnus in Japan. His alternate mode was obviously based on his G1 counterpart. He's also partly based on the Japanese-exclusive Godbomber toy as well.

Magnus is the first Autobot that can fly in the RID series.

Also, first appearance in the series of Cybertron, as well as mention of the Matrix of Leadership. Cybertron is glowing green for no good reason.

The kids liking Sky-Byte stems from the episode 'Sky-Byte Saves the Day'. Since it wasn't aired in the US, to them it must seem like Koji and company suddenly liked the old main baddie for no good reason at all.

Optimus mentions that somebody had chosen him over Magnus as leader of the Autobots, and the one that inherited the Matrix of Leadership.

The Brothers at one point drive past Dongwoo Animation Co. Ltd, a real-life Korean animation studio.

Sky-Byte digs out a gigantic rubber ducky, which is a blindingly obvious shout-out to BW Megatron's quirky habits of keeping one in his tub.

Goofs:
Ultra Magnus' Autobot insignia is coloured wrongly at several shots.

The Brothers found Magnus suspicious because he knew who Optimus Prime was. Why wouldn't any Autobot know who their leader was?

The Predacon trio never show up to Sky-Byte's summons.

Blackjack 2011-05-19 05:22 PM

Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion!
Airdate: 13 October 2001
Written By: Junki Takegami
Adapted By: Matthew V Lewis
Japanese Title: Forced Fusion! God Fire Convoy

Synopsis:
Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus are facing off against each other, and Optimus Prime is disappointed at Magnus' grudge. Magnus opens fire despite Optimus refusing to fight. The Brothers make their way towards the battlefield, wondering why Optimus wouldn't fight Magnus. Movor observes the battle from orbit and transmits it to the Megastar, and Megatron watches in amusement as Ultra Magnus knocks Optimus Prime around. Megatron muses how his Decepticons can't get the job done. Sky-Byte, flying from where he was blown away previously, stumbles upon the battle. The Brothers arrive to rescue Optimus Prime from defeat. Sky-Byte manages to surreptitiously tag Optimus Prime with a tracking device. Ultra Magnus is too slow to stop them from disappearing through the Space Bridge. Sky-Byte follows the signal, anticipating eagerly the rewards that would surely be given to him if he kills Optimus Prime, unaware that both Magnus and Movor are tracking him.

Despite losing the signal for a bit, Sky-Byte manages to fly towards the island where Landfill and Ruination had battled before. Indeed, Optimus is being repaired in that island. Optimus Prime tells Side Burn that Magnus is his brother, and that Magnus is carrying a grudge because Optimus was chosen as commander instead of him. Optimus asks for some time alone and Side Burn leaves via the Space Bridge. Sky-Byte seals the portal hurriedly with a bunch of large rocks, and is about to destroy the weakened Optimus Prime when Megatron and the Decepticons arrive. However, as they begin to open fire, Ultra Magnus arrives and begins to knock the Decepticons around. The Commandos merge into Ruination and he ignites the oil deposits which causes an explosion. The Brothers try to help after being alerted by T-AI, but their end of the Space Bridge is sealed by Sky-Byte's handiwork. In the flames Magnus approaches the weakened Optimus and asks for forgiveness... but it's apparently a feint to steal Optimus' power. Unexpectedly the two Autobots combine into a new form, Omega Prime. Everybody present (including the Brothers, who broke through the blockade) watches in stunned amazement. Magnus finds he cannot control Omega Prime, and is reduced to watching as Omega Prime lay waste to the Decepticons, and drive them off. After separating, Ultra Magnus too flies off.

Featured Transformers: Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, X-Brawn, Prowl, Side Burn, Movor, Megatron, Mega-Octane, Scourge, Sky-Byte, Ro-Tor, Armorhide, Rollbar, Ruination, Omega Prime
Notable Others: Koji Onishi, T-AI

Review:
Pretty good, surprisingly. Ignore the more emo bits, and Ultra Magnus is a pretty great character. It is refreshing to see an Autobot with actual motivations and a wee bit of corruption — envy and greed — rather than the bland identikit cast we are having so far. I thought it was going to be another cheesy standard good guys scene when Ultra Magnus approaches Optimus Prime in the flame, but the cruel subversion as Magnus tries to steal Optimus' power is well played. The voice actors, sadly, aren't just that expressive and it sound kind of plain. As expected with a Japanese dubbed show, New Toy Syndrome™ hits in full fever, and both Ultra Magnus and Omega Prime simply blows away everybody else with little effort. Still, while there are some continuity goofs this episode is pretty engaging instead of terribly silly, something RID hasn't been for a little while.

I also like the sense of continuity with the previous episode. Even though episode naming isn't quite that creative, it's a nice contrast to the previous standalone episodes. We also get some nice character work in Side Burn after a long time of being a Hot Rod expy with a thing for red cars. Side Burn showing concern at Optimus' depression, and his shock at seeing how badly screwed up the Optimus-Magnus brotherhood is... well, while Transformers siblings seldom make sense, it does lend credence to how disappointed Optimus Prime is. Sky-Byte and Movor again get some nice development, but poor Scourge gets downgraded to just another thug this episode. Megatron comes off as uninteresting and lazy, actually. This is the first time he's seen action for quite a while.

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Omega Prime (God Fire Convoy in Japan).

Optimus and Magnus are brothers. They were both created by Alpha Trion, a reference to Trion 'creating' Optimus Prime in the original cartoon.

At various points it is said that Optimus was selected to lead by the Matrix, by the AllSpark or by Vector Sigma. All three were mystical semi-sentient plot devices in G1, and Beast Machines in the case of the AllSpark. Whether this is a case of inconsistency, or Optimus is so good three plot devices chose him is unknown.

In the original Car Robots series, both Magnus and Optimus have their own Matrices, and Magnus wants to add Optimus' Matrix to his own to become more powerful instead of just stealing the one true Matrix of Leadership.

The island is first seen in 'A Test of Metal'.

Goofs:
When originally aired the title was spelled wrongly as 'Ultra Magnus: Forced Fushion!' This was repaired in subsequent airings.

Koji wasn't in the HQ last episode.

Movor gets to space relatively fast, although previous episodes ('Attack from Outer Space') indicates that he needs assistance to reach orbit.

One of Scourge's excuses to Megatron is 'Armorhide can't fly that day'. Armorhide is a tank, so he can't possibly fly! Probably they meant Ro-Tor?

A dubbing mistake: the action on the screen shows Ultra Magnus flying into the air to finish Optimus with a dramatic kick, but the dubbers are seemingly confused by Magnus activating his jetpack, and they added a line that Magnus is giving Optimus one cycle to hand the Matrix over. Especially jarring since a little dialogue before he's demanding Optimus hand over the Matrix that instant.

If the Predacons have tracking devices, why don't they use them on the Autobots in previous episodes so they don't have to undergo all the grief of trying to hack the global space bridge and stuff?

Sky-Byte remembers the climatic battle between Landfill and Ruination in 'A Test of Metal' to identify the island... but he wasn't there in the episode.

Why does Optimus go to the island instead of HQ? Sure, Sky-Byte doesn't find out where Autobot HQ is, but still...

Blackjack 2011-05-20 08:26 PM

Lessons of the Past
Airdate: 14 December 2001
Written By: Tom Wyner

Synopsis: Optimus, Koji and T-AI watch footage of Optimus Prime fighting the Decepticons. Koji and Optimus regrets not being able to obtain the Protoforms from the Predacons. Optimus and company then reviews the time when Scourge sabotaged the Space Bridge, and battles Landfill. Optimus decides to test the Space Bridge to make sure it is fixed. A long roll call later, they all test the Bridge.

Featured Transformers: Optimus Prime, Ro-Tor, Movor, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Rollbar, Ruination, Scourge, X-Brawn, Slapper, Dark Scream, Gas Skunk, Sky-Byte, Prowl, Megatron, Side Burn, Kelly, Grimlock, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, Railspike, Wedge, Heavy Load, Hightower, Landfill, Mirage, Hot Shot, Rev, Crosswise, Ironhide, Wars
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi

Review:
You cannot expect any better from a clip episode, and the tediously soporific roll call at the end doesn't make things any better. However, at least this clip show is justified in that the second half basically recaps 'Landfill', which the US broadcast never got to watch. It's just as well. However, while not as terrible as the previous clip show it is still arduous and boring. I mean, the plot amounts to the Autobots sitting at home re-watching vidcams of their previous episodes.

(Two out of Ten)

Notes:
The footage reviewed here is taken from 'Sky-Byte Saves the Day', 'the Decepticons', 'Wedge's Short Fuse' and 'Landfill'. Mostly 'Landfill' and 'the Decepticons'. Of the four episodes, two of them did not air in the US.

As with other clip shows, the entirely of this episode is made up of spliced footage from previous episodes. However, I do not care enough to identify which episodes these are from.

In Japan, a different clip show, 'Assemble! New Troops!' is shown instead. It focuses on the introduction of the Decepticons, Build Team, Ultra Magnus and Omega Prime.

Goofs:
When reviewing the Sky-Byte saves the day footage, Optimus mistakenly says he is on his way to meet the Build Team instead of meeting Sky-Byte.

'Landfill' took place quite some time ago, and the Autobots have been using the Space Bridge regularly ever since the Build Team repaired it. Why the hell check it now?

Blackjack 2011-05-21 10:30 AM

The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus
Airdate: 20 October 2001
Written By: Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Adapted By: Michael McConnohie
Japanese Title: Stalemate! 3 Car-Robo Brothers

Synopsis:
Reviewing their encounters with Ultra Magnus, Megatron, Sky-Byte and Scourge ponders the mysterious Autobot. Sky-Byte points out that Magnus does not get along well with Optimus Prime, and suggests recruiting him to the Decepticons. Megatron dispatches Sky-Byte to go forth with his mission. In the Autobot base, Koji and the Autobots likewise discuss about Magnus. In the city, the Brothers encounter Sky-Byte, and later Ultra Magnus, and a rumble ensues. Sky-Byte manages to get Ultra Magnus alone, and the Predacon offers a team-up against Optimus Prime. Magnus pretends to be interested in the offer, while secretly wanting only to gain information from the clumsy Predacon. The Brothers have been eavesdropping and confront Magnus (who they think is a traitor). Before Magnus could decide whether to keep up the act, the Commandos ambush the Brothers and trap them in a net. Optimus and T-AI send Team Bullet Train to investigate the Brothers' disappearance. As a test of loyalty, Megatron sends Ultra Magnus to kill any one of the Bullet Trains. Scourge, meanwhile, sets up a trap with the Brothers as bait to lure Optimus Prime in. Ultra Magnus gets the location of the trap from Sky-Byte, and rushes from the cliff to attack the Bullet Trains... before turning around and shooting Sky-Byte. The four Autobots quickly take care of the Predacon shark.

Optimus Prime arrives in the location Scourge has contacted them with, but Ultra Magnus has told the Bullet Trains of the trap, and they charge in to the rescue. However, they cannot fight back as well due to Scourge holding the Brothers hostage. Ultra Magnus arrives to the warehouse where the Predacon Trio are guarding the Autobot Brothers, and tricks Slapper into letting him in. Sky-Byte's warning comes in too late, and Magnus knocks the Predacon Trio silly before freeing the Autobot Brothers. Magnus carries the Autobot Brothers into the battlefield. Seeing that the Brothers are free, Optimus Prime and Rail Racer hold nothing back. Everybody joins the battle, but Megatron stomps down on the three Brothers. Ultra Magnus' chest glows with a green power at this, something that surprises even him, and the energy is transferred to the Autobot Brothers. The Brothers change colour into stronger versions of themselves. To add more fuel to the fire, Optimus and Magnus form Omega Prime, and the Predacons and Decepticons quickly hightail it. Despite this, Ultra Magnus tells Optimus that their grudge still stands. Privately, Magnus wonders if the strange power is caused by the two of them somehow sharing the Matrix...

Featured Transformers: Megatron, Sky-Byte, Scourge, Ultra Magnus, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Prowl, Mega-Octane, Ro-Tor, Rollbar, Optimus Prime, Railspike, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, Gas Skunk, Darkscream, Slapper, Movor, Armorhide, Rail Racer, Omega Prime
Notable Others: Koji Onishi, T-AI, Kelly

Review:
Actually a pretty fun episode. While as with other episodes of RID, there are a lot of superfluous scenes that could be cut to avoid banality -- Ultra Magnus driving the Brothers past a stunned Kelly; the Autobots basically repeating what the Decepticons had just said about Ultra Magnus, et al -- the episode is still quite fun. Both Ultra Magnus and Sky-Byte are well defined, and Sky-Byte's voice actor has improved a lot, delivering Sky-Byte's lines with the same sort of incompetence and surprise that the character has. It's so fun to see the naive Predacon be tricked by Ultra Magnus. Ultra Magnus also comes along as a jerk and one of the smarter characters of the series, stringing along Sky-Byte like a guitar before cutting him off. The plot is pretty nice too, although it is pretty repetitive. I mean, how many times does an Autobot need to be taken captive by the Predacons? Side Burn and Prowl's indignance at Magnus' apparent betrayal is well portrayed as well.

However, the whole 'brothers hating each other' point is rendered moot somewhat. While Magnus and the Brothers are warming up to each other, if Magnus hates Optimus so much why do they keep combining into Omega 'unstoppable' Prime? The Brothers' supercharged modes do nothing other than look cool, and the poor Decepticons and Predacons just can't catch a break. Makes you wonder why they don't just shoot the Brothers when they had the chance. Megatron comes off as uninteresting and boring, while Scourge is reduced to Megatron's lackey for this episode.

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of the 'Super' colour versions of the Brothers. This, of course, reflects the new repainted toys that the Autobot Brothers have in the market. Side Burn becomes red in a paintjob similar to Hot Rod, Prowl becomes dark blue, and X-Brawn becomes somewhat similar to G1 Wheeljack's paintjob. Unlike most 'upgrades', however, these Supercharged modes are not permanent and are called upon as necessary, somewhat like Super Modes.

It's a bit unsettling that Side Burn, whose main characterisation amounts to molesting red sports cars, is now turned into a red sports car himself. This raises, some, um, interesting questions about what this is supposed to represent. Self-harassment?

According to Side Burn, he is first in his class in theoretical mechanics back on Cybertron. Apparently Side Burn is the team's medic, based on the dialogue. Kind of an informed ability, considering how the guy acts...

The Japanese show has Ultra Magnus' Matrix activating for the first time to power up the Autobot Brothers. Here it is theorised by Magnus to be the two of them somehow sharing the Matrix of Leadership's power together. Although it begs to question why Magnus would show more concern to the Brothers than Optimus Prime.

Goofs:
Surely a net can't hold the Brothers down? At the very least Side Burn has a bayonet that could easily cut through the net...

Why didn't the Brothers contact T-AI? 'HALP THE DECEPTICONS HAVE CAPTURED US!'

Why didn't Optimus Prime suspect a trap? Surely the Spychangers or the Build Team could've teleported in nearby, ready to support Optimus Prime?

Apparently the time Sky-Byte needs to remember that he needs to warn Slapper that Magnus has crossed them is the same time that Magnus needs to drive to said location.

Blackjack 2011-05-21 03:07 PM

Power to Burn!
Airdate: 19 October 2001
Written By: Tadashi Hayakawa
Adapted By: Tom Wyner
Japanese Title: Invoke! Double Matrix

Synopsis:
Optimus, T-AI and Koji try to figure out the mechanics of the Brothers' magic power-up, and realise that the power came from Magnus. In the Decepticon base Megatron admonishes Sky-Byte. Scourge comes up with a plan to try and persuade Ultra Magnus to join them and defeat Optimus, and Megatron is somehow impressed. T-AI contacts Side Burn and asks him to look out for Side Burn. Side Burn is distracted by Kelly's red sports car, but he unexpectedly powers up. Prowl, driving nearby, comments that Magnus has been near. The two find Magnus some distance ahead. Side Burn is excited and begins to talk non-stop to Magnus, who tries to get away from Side Burn. Magnus meets Scourge, and pursues him to a clearing. Prowl and Side Burn follow. Scourge proposes to Magnus that they join forces to destroy both Optimus Prime and Megatron. Ultra Magnus turns Scourge down. Ruination arrives, but when Side Burn and Prowl arrive to back Magnus up, Magnus flies away in annoyance.

Side Burn and Prowl power up, and X-Brawn arrives. However, during the battle Side Burn and Prowl unexpectedly power down, and fall exhausted. Ultra Magnus watches from a distance and regrets leaving the two to Decepticons. However before he can enter the battle, Optimus Prime arrives. The Autobot leader takes on the Decepticons while X-Brawn drag Side Burn and Prowl to safety. Ruination separates and the Decepticons open fire in a concentrated attack against Optimus, who is overwhelmed. Ultra Magnus rejoins the fight against the Decepticons. Megatron, Sky-Byte and the Predacon Trio arrives, and they begin to attack Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime gives a speech about how goodness will always prevail (which weirds out the Predacon Trio) before combining with Magnus into Omega Prime. Omega Prime shrugs off every single thing the Predacons and Decepticons throw, and forces the Predacons into full retreat. Ultra Magnus flies away, and the Brothers speculate that next time Magnus might join the team.

Featured Transformers: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Sky-Byte, Scourge, Side Burn, Prowl, Ultra Magnus, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Movor, Ro-Tor, Rollbar, Ruination, X-Brawn, Dark Scream, Omega Prime
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Kelly

Review:
Still great material, surprisingly. Ultra Magnus is a fun character, and this ia a nice character development as he begins to warm up to the Autobot Brothers and even Optimus Prime (even if he justifies it as protecting the Matrix) but it is nice not to see the status quo dragged on for the entire series. That heroic BSOD moment as Magnus realises that his jerkass attitude causes the Brothers to be placed in danger is nicely done. Also, Side Burn also gets some development. Seeing that initially he was the one that most strongly opposes Ultra Magnus, and now he's the one that most strongly encourages the others to trust Magnus, it's again a nice touch. The whole upgrade thing all happen without warning, though.. if you consider the time limits of their cooldown, it doesn't really make sense.

The Predacon Trio finally pop out after several episodes of being MIA, and immediately get to their stuff by delivering funny lines. Their reaction at Optimus Prime's good will always triumph speech is pretty funny. Scourge also gets a nice moment when he shows his true power-hungriness in wanting to get rid of Megatron... the competent yet disloyal Scourge is a nice contrast to the bumbling yet fully loyal Sky-Byte. However, the main characters of the story, Optimus and Megatron, fall flat on their faces and have no weight whatsoever other than being 'good' and 'evil', being even more bland than their G1 counterparts. The climax is also handled badly. Would anyone expect Optimus Prime to die because of the concentrated Commando fire? And Omega Prime basically blowing away the entire army of bad guys in ten seconds bodes ill for any hope that the bad guys would ever gain an upper hand in subsequent episodes...

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
Unlike the G1 Matrix, in the RID continuity if Optimus Prime dies, the Matrix dies with him since it is tethered to the holder's lifeforce. Which is one of the reasons that Ultra Magnus can't kill Optimus just yet.

The Brothers apparently can power up if they are excited enough and Magnus is near. Considering how Side Burn powers up when he was excited by Kelly's red sports car... this raises some... unfortunate implications if you look at it.

Whenever the Brothers use their power ups, they are left exhausted and drained.

Goofs:
Apparently Megatron forgot that Sky-Byte's plan that he admonishes is the exact same one he praises Scourge for.

During the review of the footage as the Brothers power up, X-Brawn's line 'what the bejillickers' is replaced with 'what in tarnation'. An improvement in dialogue, sure, but a continuity goof nevertheless.

The Decepticons react in surprise at the Autobot Brothers' power up, even though they were there when the Brothers powered up last episode.

You would think that Brawn would make driving away the Decepticons a priority other than using all the time given by his power up to drag Prowl and Side Burn away.

Ruination's scale is haywire relative to Scourge and the Brothers.

At one point during the battle Scourge's sword is coloured black instead of red.

Blackjack 2011-05-21 03:11 PM

People who have watched the Japanese show: is my notes about the two Matrices thing correct? I am not sure at all...

Blackjack 2011-06-08 11:37 PM

Fortress Maximus
Airdate: 27 October 2001
Written By: Kazuhiko Godo
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: Arise! Cybertron City

Synopsis:
Megatron and his lieutenants watch as they see the memories of Doctor Onishi as he oversees a drilling operation to find an energy source in some underground ruins. Doctor Onishi's equipments malfunction as they hit some electronic shielding, but before the dream could continue it fades out. Megatron orders Scourge to take the Decepticons to investigate the site. Elsewhere, Side Burn harasses Kelly. At Autobot HQ, T-AI reports that she has extracted information on the ruins the Doctor was excavating and suspects that they contain something from Cybertron. Build Team is called in, and they recall that when they were excavating in the area previously they experienced hallucinations and began seeing each other as Predacons. Wedge resolves that this time this won't happen. The Decepticons are soon sighted in the area. T-AI mobilises all the Autobots to protect the site. As the Decepticons prepare do descend lower into the city, the Spychangers attack. Armorhide and Rollbar stay to hold them back, while the other Decepticons journey deeper underground.

After evading the Autobot Brothers, Movor and Ro-Tor are left to battle Railspike and Rapid Run in the subway tunnels. Ultra Magnus joins in the battle, but his recklessness causes a flood that washes all the combatants (and a hapless Midnight Express) away. The Build Team began to see hallucinations again and fight among themselves. Only Heavy Load has enough common sense to realise they have seen this before and contacts Optimus Prime, who believes that the hallucinations are caused by Cybertronian radiation. Heavy Load resolves to get his comrades to see sense. Elsewhere other Transformers also hallucinate — Side Burn sees a line of red sports cars instead of a subway train, Armorhide sees Sky-Byte, while Sky-Byte sees a cake. After eating the 'cake', really a subway train, Sky-Byte locates Scourge and Mega-Octane. The other Decepticons rendezvous with the two, and Sky-Byte tails the Decepticons. Underground, Build Team finds the ruins in a massive subterranean chamber with green liquid and Transformer statues. The flood washes everyone in the tunnels, including the Decepticons, into the ruins as well. Scourge begins to experience flashbacks. All the combiners combine, and Optimus Prime shows up to form Omega Prime. As they begin to battle, Scourge steps closer to the ruins which causes to crumble as an even larger metallic fortress rises out of the water...

Featured Transformers: Sky-Byte, Mega-Octane, Scourge, Megatron, Side Burn, X-Brawn, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Movor, Ro-Tor, Armorhide, Rollbar, Wedge, Heavy Load, Grimlock, Hightower, Hot Shot, Rev, Wars, Ironhide, Mirage, Crosswise, Railspike, Rapid Run, Midnight Express, Ultra Magnus, Ruination, Landfill, Rail Racer, Omega Prime, Fortress Maximus
Notable Others: Doctor Onishi, Kelly, Koji Onishi, T-AI

Review:
Due to the full-out brawl between every major Transformer in the series excepting the Predacon trio, this episode is entertaining. The Autobot Brothers and Team Bullet Train in particular are fun, with great scenes in between them. Sky-Byte's antics as he follows the Decepticons are great as well. Scourge seems to be developed little by little as well, being created into something more than an angry powerful ninja thug. The race to get to the mysterious object underground is pretty fun, with the Decepticons beating up every team sent their way. But this is spoiled by the simple stupidity of Build Team (bar Heavy Load) which really has been played to its limit, surely?

Also, when while the three combiners form, you would expect a big-ass fight, right? No. Instead Omega Prime pops out (groan), no doubt to send the bad guys home with a single blow. Still, the revelation of Fortress Maximus is pretty dramatic, and I like how massive he is compared to the others. Not a terrible episode, but nothing spectacular. Plus points for actually advancing what passes for an overreaching plot, though.

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Fortress Maximus, who is repainted from the G1 character of the same name. He is called Brave Maximus in Japan. Fortress Maximus is not released as a toy in the RID toyline due to new toyline laws that mean the Fortress Maximus mold is no longer child-safe.

Entering the ruins opens up old memories in Scourge of his Autobot ancestry, something that would be followed up in future episodes.

The Predacon Trio's models are used as hallucinations but they do not appear.

The stone Transformer carvings that surround the ruins are stylized Optimus Prime heads. This is not addressed nor mentioned by anyone.

Goofs:
Build Team spends a good long scene describing how they were fooled by hallucinations in the underground episodes... and within less than five minutes they (other than Heavy Load) are fooled by the same hallucinations. Apparently, for a genius team that can design a Global Space Bridge system, the Build Team has less common sense than a five year old.

Seeing how hopeless the Build Team is, it's difficult to believe they survived the first hallucination incident.

Where did Optimus Prime pop up from at the end of the episode?

Blackjack 2011-06-10 11:52 PM

Koji Gets His Wish
Airdate: 3 November 2001
Written By: Junki Takegami
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: JRX vs Valdigus

Synopsis:
The Decepticons having apparently retreated, Optimus Prime orders the Autobots to keep the Predacons away from Fortress Maximus while he puts a plan into action. At the Decepticon ship, Megatron is overjoyed that Fortress Maximus has been located. Scourge suggests that Megatron sends Sky-Byte to find Cerebros, the key to Fortress Maximus' power. Later Mega-Octane demands an explanation why Scourge has seemingly given Sky-Byte an opportunity to obtain glory that is rightfully theirs. Scourge explains that if they can find the Maximus first (since by sending the incompetent Sky-Byte, Megatron would not go personally) they would no longer need the Predacons. Sky-Byte tries to eavesdrop but is not successful, and merely thinks that Scourge is trying to curry favour with Megatron. In the Autobot HQ, Koji misses his father, but T-AI assures Koji that the doctor must still be alive since the Decepticons found out about the ruins. Koji returns home and has a long moement remembering his father taking him on a fishing trip.In the Predacon base, Sky-Byte plans to take Doctor Onishi to extract information about Cerebros' location, and switches him with a drawing, before strapping the pod with Doctor Onishi onto his back. In the city, Rail Racer and Ruination both battle. Scourge, equipped with a set of goggles to prevent hallucinations, proceeds into the underground tunnels. Wedge observes the battle from behind a construction site's coverings, and very nearly jumps into battle in all eagerness before Heavy Load stops him.

Underground, Sky-Byte sings along, and Scourge, tailing the Predacon is confronted by Optimus Prime. Scourge and Optimus Prime battle, causing Scourge to drop his goggles. Sky-Byte runs away from the two of them as their struggle takes them into the underground cavern. Sky-Byte hightails it out of the underground tunnels. Once aboveground, Sky-Byte is beset by Koji, who tearfully asks Sky-Byte to take a present to give Doctor Onishi, who is in the Predacon base. Sky-Byte initially refuses and tries to intimidate Koji, but fails and finally agrees. He does not mention that Doctor Onishi is technically strapped to the pod on his back for fear of angering Megatron. The Autobot Brothers arrive and open fire at Sky-Byte, thinking he was trying to kidnap Koji. As the battle between Scourge and Optimus reaches the underground site, Scourge is shocked to discover that Fortress Maximus is gone. After a brief battle, Ultra Magnus arrives and combines with Optimus Prime, easily sending Scourge into a retreat. In the streets above, Sky-Byte tosses the pod containing Doctor Onishi aside in order to transform into robot mode, but even then the Autobot brothers easily overpower the Predacon. Koji discovers that the pod contains his father and thanks Sky-Byte for rescuing Doctor Onishi, and the Autobot Brothers apologize. Scourge arrives just then, and realises what Sky-Byte has done. All the Predacons and Decepticons retreat. Koji introduces the Autobots and his father to each other, and it is revealed that the Autobots had hidden Fortress Maximus smack dab in the middle of the city, with its four sides covered with like a building under construction. In the Predacon base, Sky-Byte is surprised when Scourge covers for his mistake, and later suggests that the Decepticons and Predacons join forces to find Cerebros. Sky-Byte suspects an ulterior motive, which Scourge clearly has...

Featured Transformers: Fortress Maximus, Ultra Magnus, Prowl, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Heavy Load, Wedge, Optimus Prime, Hightower, Grimlock, Rapid Run, Railspike, Midnight Express, Megatron, Scourge, Sky-Byte, Mega-Octane, Koji Onishi, T-AI, Kenneth Onishi, Ro-Tor, Movor, Rollbar, Armorhide, Ruination, Rail Racer, Omega Prime
Notable Others: Koji Onishi, T-AI, Doctor Onishi, Kelly

Review:
Pretty blah. Don't get me wrong, both Sky-Byte and Scourge are great material as always, the Brothers aren't bad, and even Koji gets a few nice moments. But so many plot holes and unnecessary scenes happen here that you just keep waiting for Sky-Byte to show up. At least with Sky-Byte you are guaranteed a dose of silliness. He seems to have taken up singing as a new hobby, which is pretty funny. Scourge, in contrast, is a nice foil by being all serious and dark and everything. Koji's longing for his father... well, call me cold-hearted, but how many episodes has it been since he last said anything about his father? Bastard kid. Well, lousy continuity in show, anyway. This shows how incompetent the Autobots are, surely? I mean, Doctor Onishi was kidnapped from the very first episode, but the Autobots never so much as looked for him, and in the end he was freed by Sky-Byte.

Also, hiding Fortress Maximus in a place where any flying Decepticon could easily spot? Terribly stupid. And I don't even want to know what happened to the buildings that should be where Fort Max is sitting at. The fight between Optimus and Scourge is dull as well, since the bad guys here really don't have a hope against the Autobots. There's not even the tension seen that the Autobots just might lose this fight. Events happen seemingly at random too. Didn't Scourge want to find Cerebros? Why let Sky-Byte go? Megatron is such an incompetent leader that he never sets off personally anyway. And why the hell did Sky-Byte bring the doctor with him? All in all this episode severely lacks any sort of cohesive content, other than Sky-Byte.

(Four out of Ten)

Notes:
The ship that the Decepticons (before they were Decepticons) use to travel to Earth is based on the Axalon, the Maximals' shuttle from Beast Wars. According to Scourge their original mission as Autobots was to reactivate a fortress hidden on Earth.

First reference to Cerebros. How anybody knew about him is a mystery. We could suppose Optimus was briefed about it, and Scourge has his memories, but Megatron and Sky-Byte seem to understand what Scourge is talking about.

Sky-Byte's second song is a parody of the song 'the Lady is a Tramp'.

Scourge name-drops the Scraplets at one point during his fight with Optimus Prime... in the sense of the word 'scrap', not the metal-eating pests that is the real meaning of 'Scraplets'.

When intimidating Koji Sky-Byte strikes a pose similar to the iconic Jaws poster.

Goofs:
This episode picks up where we left off last episode... but when we left off, the Autobots and Decepticons were locked in battle as Fortress Maximus rose. Here, the Autobots are alone with Fortress Maximus, while the Decepticons and Sky-Byte are already at the Decepticon ship.

The recap has Omega Prime call out Fortress Maximus' name, which never happened in the previous episode.

Early on when Wedge runs to ask if the Build Team can join the others, he clips through Grimlock's arm.

Koji's flashback features dialogue of Doctor Onishi congratulating Koji on catching a big fish, but the images show that the Doctor is the one who caught it.

Before fighting Rail Racer, Ruination has the airborne Commandos as arms and the land-bound Commandos as legs, but when the battle begins the two pairs switch. When we cut back, it switched back again.

Blackjack 2011-06-16 05:46 PM

A Friendly Contest
Airdate: 1 November 2000
Written By: Yukiyoshi Ohashi
Adapted By: Matthew V. Lewis
Japanese Title: Gelshark's Trap

Synopsis:
The Autobot brothers and the Build Team search for O-Parts using a detector developed by T-AI and Doctor Onishi. After Side Burn finds one, the Brothers and Build Team decide to have a contest to see who would find more O-Parts. The Decepticons arrive, but the Autobots evade them with the Global Space Bridge. Elsewhere Sky-Byte and Slapper discuss their plan to find O-Parts. Sky-Byte has created a fake O-Part and attempts to bury it as a decoy at some ruins. However, the Autobots turn up and swipe the real O-Part. The Decepticons arrive and the Autobots retreat, while Sky-Byte and Slapper find themselves buried in the hole they made. Some time later Sky-Byte hides more fake O-Parts around other ruins, but realises that their detector can't tell the fake O-Parts from the real ones, and marks the bogus O-Parts with an S. Scourge arrives and takes the real O-Part, but the Autobots and Ultra Magnus steal it from him. At another site, the Build Team locates another O-Part. Sky-Byte pretends to be on their side and tricks them and swaps his fake O-Part and the real one. However, fire from Scourge (who, for once tries to help Sky-Byte but is not aware that the Predacon is acting) and the Autobots causes the fake O-Part to end up on Scourge's hand, and the Autobots to make off with the real one.

At a Pyramid Wedge locates the last O-Part, meaning that the Build Team wins their friendly contest. Side Burn is depressed. However, Megatron and the Decepticons arrive and attack. Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus likewise arrive to support the other Autobots. In the resulting scuffle Megatron takes Wedge hostage and demand Optimus hand over the O-Parts. Sky-Byte, watching from the sidelines and not understanding, charges in and tries to switch the real O-Parts with the fake ones. Sky-Byte collides with Optimuis and mixes up both real and fake O-Parts. In the commotion, Optimus and Magnus form Omega Prime. Wedge also manages to break free, allowing Omega Prime to open fire at the Predacons. The Predacons flee, and Megatron promises punishment at Sky-Byte's meddling. In their headquarters, the Autobots bring all the O-Parts they have gathered together, and they react to form something. Doctor Onishi believes it's a key to a brave new world, but T-AI isn't so sure...

Featured Transformers: Side Burn, Prowl, X-Brawn, Wedge, Heavy Load, Hightower, Grimlock, Scourge, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Movor, Sky-Byte, Slapper, Ro-Tor, Ruination (flashback), Rollbar, Ultra Magnus, Megatron, Fortress Maximus, Omega Prime
Notable Others: Doctor Onishi, Koji Onishi, T-AI, Kelly

Review:
Pretty fun, with Sky-Byte and Slapper taking center stage. The two of them are pretty fun and have been sidelined quite a lot with new toys being introduced. Scourge and Side Burn make decent secondary characters with their own goals clearly defined, and even Wedge is not quite that annoying here. Scourge's backstory is great, and his willingness to help Sky-Byte, albeit grudgingly, is a nice justification as well. A solid, fun episode which basically details on the antics of Sky-Byte with the fake O-Parts, but while at the same time moving on the overdue O-Parts plot. Also, sadly poor Magnus have been reduced to nothing but a deus ex machina lately.

It still grates at some points and feels that it could be told in less than half of what it is. There are also many plot holes, like why the Autobots carry the O-Parts around with them when placing them securely at base would've saved them all the grief. Or why the Brothers and Build Team don't just hop into the Global Space Bridge before the final battle. Or why Sky-Byte doesn't just steal all the scattered O-Parts and sort them out later. Some of the jokes are blatantly not funny. It's not quite handled quite as gracefully or seriously as it should, but the slapstick and kind of half-assed, funny-not-quite-funny manner reflects the tone of the entire series. It's not quite terrible, but could never be mistaken of even approaching spectacular either... which, again, is a very accurate description of RID.

(Seven out of Ten)

Notes:
Thirty episodes and the Autobots only found two O-parts. This episode they found everything else in less than ten minutes. Quite anti-climatic, eh?

All of the O-Parts are found in archaeological sites, or similar copyright-friendly equivalents. Of course, none of them are named.

Scourge's memories as an Autobot continue to return. Apparently Scourge has the ability to detect O-Parts and their ilk.

Goofs:
Gas Skunk and Dark Scream are absent for the entirely of this episode for no explicable reason.

The webbings on Slapper's hands disappear when he catches the fake O-Part from Sky-Byte.

When Sky-Byte and Slapper are about to be buried under the soil, Slapper mouths Sky-Byte's lines along with him.

Slapper's lower teeth are coloured like the interior of his mouth when he pops out of the ground.

When Wedge is being held hostage by Megatron his right shoulder scoop disappears.

As he tries to escape, Sky-Byte disappears from view before he reaches the edge of the screen.

Blackjack 2011-07-27 11:16 AM

I'm back and finished the series, and after Animated and Prime this ****shit just pisses me off.
 
Peril from the Past
Airdate: 17 November 2001
Written By: Tadashi Hayakawa
Adapted By: Michael McConnohie
Japanese Title: The Final Key? Farewell, Ai

Synopsis: T-AI informs the Autobots that she will be able to extract the information they need if she merges with the O-Parts, despite the danger the procedure would posess. The O-Parts form into a glowing sphere identified as the key to the Orb of Sigma, and T-AI interacts with it. T-AI founds that the orb in question is hidden in the Sahara desert, but she finds that she cannot extract herself from the O-Parts. T-AI says that the sphere must be taken to the Orb to get her out, and the Autobots make their way there. A worried Koji rides in Side Burn. Through the desert trek X-Brawn rescues Kelly and drops her at an oasis. However, Movor sees them and reports this to Megatron, who insists that he lead this mission due to the feelings that this battle will be a great one. The Autobots find a bunch of ruins. Optimus is not happy that Koji had tagged along, and leaves both Koji and Side Burn outside the ruins.

Optimus, Prowl and X-Brawn explore the ruins. In the surface the Predacons and Decepticons attack, causing a cave-in that leads Side Burn and Koji plummeting into the subterannean ruins as well. Optimus' group reaches a pyramid and finds the Orb of Sigma on a pedestral. T-AI's voice tells them to get the Orb back to base, before contact with her is lost. The Predacons and Decepticons choose that moment to attack. The supercharged brothers battle the Commandos, but Megatron knocks Optimus Prime off the pyramid and grabs the Orb of Sigma. Upon contact with Megatron's hand, however, a bolt of lightning from a booby trap tears through him. Side Burn and Koji arrive through a series of tunnel acrobatics, to see what is happening. As the cavern begins to collapse, Side Burn snags the Orb of Sigma from the still-convulsing Megatron and makes his way to the surface, the Decepticons in hot pursuit. However, the other brothers and Ultra Magnus stop the Decepticons. Scourge and the Decepticons retreat, despite Sky-Byte telling them to wait for Megatron. Megatron and Optimus burst out of the ground, locked in combat. Omega Prime forms, and after a show of attacks, Omega Prime blows up the pyramid, leaving only smoke and rubble. The Autobots return to the base and extract T-AI, who reports that the Orb shows the location of Cerebros, the key to Fortress Maximus. The Autobots wonder what that means. In the ruins of the underground pyramid, the Predacon trio digs themselves out of rubble, finding that the pyramid's energy is still present. Suddenly, they find their power being drained by an unknown force, and the trio collapse and Megatron rises out of the rubble, declaring that he is... Galvatron.

Featured Transformers: Prowl, X-Brawn, Side Burn, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Movor, Slapper, Gas Skunk, Dark Scream, Sky-Byte, Scourge, Megatron/Galvatron, Armorhide, Mega-Octane, Rollbar, Ro-Tor, Omega Prime
Notable Others: T-AI, Koji Onishi, Doctor Onishi, Kelly

Review:
Terrible. A lot of time is wasted on the whiny bitch Koji speaking about how he'll never see T-AI again and stuff. Nevermind that T-AI is not even remotely living (the thing is a computer program!) and Koji's voice actor is really unexpressive, it's not like anyone would believe that T-AI would really be killed off in a show like this. Besides, killing T-AI may be the best thing that happens to the show, she's got absolutely no personality at all. Likewise, throughout this episode most of the characters, human or otherwise don't do shit. It's not that I'm being mean or anything, it's just that, you'd think that after 32 episodes at least one or two of the main characters would be... characterised, you know? So far the closest thing we have to a fresh character that's not another cut-and-paste trope is probably only Sky-Byte, and he's getting tiresome each episode. And action scenes are particularly terrible and are dragged on for a long time. How long does Megatron have to scream like a blithering idiot while holding on to the orb? Yes, T-AI is trapped in the orb, don't need to repeat it seven times before you get into the space bridge.

And what is it with Galvatron anyway? While it's a dramatic thing, sucking the energy out of your goons to give yourself an upgrade, any drama or tension is cut short by the fact that the Predacon trio is fine next episode. This is a very gimmicky and forgettable episode filled with the ever-tiring 'OMEGA ARSENAL BLAST' or 'super whatchamacalit flying donkey spray punch' or whatever they have to say every time they open fire. Or punch. They need to say something long winded every time they do something, even if it's just throwing a single punch. Another thing I really hate is that Kelly and Ultra Magnus always wind up in whatever magic location that the Autobots are at, Kelly to get 10 seconds of banal sceraming and Ultra Magnus just to pop out and become Omega Prime. Poor Magnus has lost all of the rebellious characterisation, and is reduced only to pop out near the end of the episode to combine. Poor sod. And he still isn't part of the Autobots' secret clubhouse.The only good thing about this episode is that it indicates that Fortress Maximus is near, so we're already at the last legs of this series.

(Two out of Ten)

Notes:
First appearance of Galvatron, or Devil Gigatron as he's known in Japan. Galvatron gains six new alternate modes, and the one we see here is the 'griffin' mode. No, it's not the jet mode with the dragon limbs deployed. You're bluffing yourself. This is the first Megatron other than the original who is upgraded into Galvatron.

Optimus Prime says 'transform and roll out' for the first time in this series.

Goofs:
Movor used to need help to get into orbit, if 'Attack from Outer Space' is anything to go by. Here he pops from orbit into the desert in short order.

Sky-Byte's teeth go AWOL at one point during the battle.

Blackjack 2011-08-12 04:30 PM

Maximus Emerges
Airdate: 16 February 2002
Written By: Kazuhiko Godo
Adapted By: Tom Wyner
Japanese Title: Stolen Plasma

Synopsis:
The Decepticons track the Autobots to an old temple. The Autobot Brothers and Build Team are looking for Cerebros, and the Decepticons attack them. Build Team manages to dig a way out, and Ultra Magnus wipe out the Decepticons. However, Sky-Byte and the Predacon trio sneak in and steal Cerebros away. T-AI chews out the Autobots for letting Cerebros slip through their fingers. T-AI theorizes that Cerebros is programmed to ignore an enemy. Optimus Prime dispatches the two combiner teams to search for Cerebros, while the Brothers protect the apparently still-hidden Fortress Maximus. Prowl gets Tow-Line to tow Side Burn because he keeps getting distracted. In the Decepticon ship, Scourge and Mega-Octane revive Cerebros. Scourge tells those present that because he scanned Optimus Prime while taking an Earth mode, he has an Autobot signature. Cerebros activates upon Scourge's contact and they locate Fortress Maximus.

In Metro City, Fortress Maximus lights up as a beacon and the Decepticons spot him (really it's silly that they didn't spot him earlier, but whatever). Scourge has Cerebros turn Fortress Maximus into robot mode. Koji runs from the Autobot base, believing that he can help. An all out battle tears out. The combiners duke it out, and the Autobot Brothers supercharge. Galvatron arrives all of a sudden, reintroducing himself and congratulating his minions for gaining control over Fortress Maximus... only for Maximus to refuse to obey Scourge. Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus form Omega Prime, but even he cannot stop Fortress Maximus. Koji arrives and shouts at the giant Autobot to stop, which it does. The Autobots drive off the Predacons and Decepticons. Fortress Maximus sinks into the ground, but Galvatron manages to take Cerebros. Scourge theorizes that Koji is the key to controlling Maximus. The Autobots are clueless to why Fortress Maximus stopped, though.

Featured Transformers: Ro-Tor, Movor, Armorhide, Rollbar, Mega-Octane, Scourge, X-Brawn, Prowl, Side Burn, Hightower, Grimlock, Heavy Load, Wedge, Cerebros, Sky-Byte, Dark Scream, Gas Skunk, Slapper, Megatron (flashback), Omega Prime (flashback and present), Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, Fortress Maximus, Tow-Line, Rapid Run, Railspike, Midnight Express, Emissary, Ruination, Landfill, Rail Racer, Galvatron
Notable Others: Koji Onishi, T-AI, Kelly

Review:
Horrible. Massive plot issues abound... why didn't the Predacon trio mention anything about Galvatron? Why didn't the Decepticons and Predacons see the giant robot city in the middle of not-Tokyo City? The one time the Autobots have to defeat the Decepticons and they let Cerebros fall into enemy hands? The episode is very banal, with not even a single redeeming line of nice dialogue. Even usual gems like Sky-Byte fail to impress.

Koji being able to control Fort Max is a stupid plot point which is, even by Saturday morning cartoons, a horrible idea. Worst of all, both Galvatron and Fortress Maximus' debuts are handled poorly and the two seem as stupid as breadsticks. Galvatron does not even have the same weight/threat as, say, the Commandos when they were introduced. Maximus is all scary with his stock footage, but fail to make much of an impact. A failure and a pain to watch.

(One out of ten)

Notes:
First proper appearance of Cerebros (Plasma in Japan), as well as the unnamed Emissary (Brave in Japan). It's also the debut of Fort Max's robot mode.

Fortress Maximus is referred to as a 'Headmaster' by Cerebros, a reference to the identical technology used to refer to robots turning into heads in G1.

Galvatron claims that Megatron is dead and he is a different person, just like his G1 counterpart. RID Galvatron isn't much different from Megatron, though. Galvatron's new alternate modes include one-winged dragon, hydrofoil, iron mammoth and griffin. I can't be arsed to track which episodes these new alternate modes pop out.

I mean, really. The Decepticons and Predacons can't find Maximus for so long? Good lord, it's a wonder they manage to find their own base when they go home in the night.

Goofs:
The recap section has altered dialogue, as usual with flashback sequences.

More importantly, the Predacon Trio are just fine after the events of last episode, and didn't mention Galvatron at all, and acts just as surprised as everybody else when Galvatron does show up.

Rollbar and Armorhide both shout 'Rollbar, transform' when they transform.


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