View Single Post
Old 2010-12-05, 06:13 AM   #2
Blackjack's Avatar

Master of the House
Airdate: 25 September 1999
Written By: Bob Skir & Marty Isenberg
Japanese Title: Breaking of the Wild

The Maximals have set up shop in Cybertron's underground caverns, out of reach of the Vehicon drones. Optimus Primal instructs them to relearn how to transform. The Maximals now require emotional balance and deep concentration in order to transform. Cheetor and Blackarachnia are able to unlock their transformations, but Rattrap is still unable to concentrate enough to do so. A Mole Drone attacks, and Optimus Primal battles the Vehicon, explaining that the Maximals reverted back to their beast modes because they lost their emotional balance. Optimus Primal orders them to leave to a new location, but the other Maximals want to seek out survivors and reformat them to bolster their forces. However, Primal tells them that it's stupid to go looking for trouble when they can't master their transformations. The Maximals split up to find a new base.

Cheetor and Blackarachnia goes up to the surface, despite Primal's orders. They find themselves in Cybertropolis, but it is deserted. The Cybertron Info-Core is likewise deleted. However, they are assaulted by a fleet of Jet Drones. Cheetor tries to transform, but the heat of battle distracts him from concentrating. Optimus Primal arrive to bail them out, but is overwhelmed by numbers. Cheetor and Blackarachnia use the lull in battle to transform, and head in to defeat the Vehicons. Primal chews the Maximals out, but decides to follow through on their discoveries. They head to the Council Citadel. While the other Maximals hold off the drones, Optimus Primal enters the chambers of the Maximal Elders.

Primal enters the main room, and comes face to face with the new lord of Cybertron... Megatron, encased in a suit of control armour connected to Cybertron itself. Megatron 'fills in' the gaps in Primal's memory, telling Primal that he had won the Beast Wars, and that he decided to remodel Cybertron in his image, a technologically pure paradise with no impure organics there. However, outside the room, the Maximals' ingenuity allows them to overcome the mindless legion of drones. Megatron, frustrated by the failure of his drones and stressed at controlling so many at a time, transforms involuntarily to his draconic beast mode, disconnecting from the control harness and deactivating the drones. Megatron and Primal duke it out, but Megatron reconnects to his control harness and summons more drones. The Maximals drag Primal away as they escape. When questioned about this later, Optimus Primal resolves to correct his mistake and ending Megatron's threat.

Featured Transformers: Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Cheetor, Blackarachnia, Mole Drone, Jet Drones, Tank Drones, Cycle Drones, Megatron

The intrigue continues. Things are revealed, and more questions arise. I really like the very close-knit episode form of Beast Machines. It really feels like a multiple chapters of a story, not just random episodes with plots that don't connect like G1. The Maximals learning the act of transformation is kind of corny, I'll grant you that. It's realistic that not everyone gets it right at the first try. The guerilla warfare feel, and the Maximals being totally outnumbered, is excellently portrayed, though. Marty Isenberg and Bob Skir clearly wants to take Transformers to new things, making the whole prospect of Beast Machines exactly that — half-organic, half-robotic Transformers. Once you get over the 'WTF?' phase, however, Beast Machines would prove to be one of the best transformers series in terms of storytelling.

Megatron as supreme ruler of Cybertron is handled well, and I especially like the irony that he himself still has a beast mode. He is still the magnificient bastard from Beast Wars, though a little more unhinged now, as expected. The Vehicon drones also provide great cannon fodder enemies, although having the Maximals constantly battling random drones does kind of get boring after some time, especially considering that Beast Machines begins to use stock footage attacks. It's not quite as bad as the Japanese shows, but in Beast Machines several attacks — like Blackarachnia slamming her feet down to sent the web running on the ground, Optimus' forcefield thing, or every single time that the Maximals transform — is repeated multiple times across the span of the series, something that Beast Wars avoids. Mostly it's the virtually identical Transformation that irritates me, so it's a small issue.

This episode is nice enough, revealing the new gimmicks and status quo of the series. There is a lot that gets explored here, and the interest with the series continues to grow. One thing that I dislike about Beast Machines is this — the Maximals' heads. What's up with them? Every time Cheetor or Optimus changes bodies in Beast Wars, their distinctive heads remain the same. Optimus has those Prime-y antennas and helm, Cheetor has that crest and grinning mouth, Rattrap has bucktooths and visible brain-ish structure... the Beast Machines CG designs really changed their faces, which I couldn't say to be an improvement. Still, the characters themselves are excellently characterized, and it is distinctive what each character is feeling, something that I couldn't say for many of the post-BM series.

(Eight out of Ten)

The Maximals' new catchphrase after finding their inner balance is "I am transformed!" The Maximals require concentration to stay in robot modes, and could be jarred back into beast modes when their concentration is broken. Well, for early episodes when they haven't mastered beast modes yet, anyway.

They are Techno-organic, so they are both and neither beast nor machine, but a mixture of both.

The Maximals have memory gaps, explaining why they can't as of yet remember Rhinox and Silverbolt.

Also, since the Maximals don't have guns to use in this series, they've gotten themselves some new abilities:
-Optimus Primal: a force field that absorbs enemy blasts and returns it to them.
-Blackarachnia: webs and poison stingers.
-Cheetor: two scimitar blades that can be used to fly.

Cybertron's capital is Cybertropolis, in contrast to the city of Iacon from the original G1 cartoon. This little oddity (with the rather uncreative name) would be explained much later in the series. Cybertropolis' population is ten million, before Megatron's arrival.

Megatron now has a scar on his right eye. The origin of this scar is yet to be revealed.

Megatron's body is similar to the Dragon we saw in Beast Machines. However, in robot mode Megatron insists on covering his body with his wings like a cloak, whilst sticking his head into the control harness connected to Cybertron itself. If he gets angry, he reverts to his dragon mode. His dragon mode now looks like a patchwork cyborg. Explained later on, this is due to numerous failed experiments to purge his organic side.

Megatron's control room is full of floating screens that move at his whim, very similar to the floating windows that appeared in animation studio Mainframe's original production, ReBoot.

Blackarachnia knows a lot about the Cybertron InfoCore, even though this is her first time visiting Cybertron. Of course, she was kind of an addict with historical tapes...

One of the Cycle Drones that pursue Optimus Primal in the citadel has Thrust's colours, even though Thrust has yet to be created.

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-01-23 at 09:05 AM.
Blackjack is offline   Reply With Quote