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Old 2011-03-26, 03:19 AM   #6
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Spychangers to the Rescue
Airdate: 13 September 2001
Written By: Kazuhiko Godo
Adapted By: Richard Epcar
Japanese Title: Ninja Robo! Enter the Spychangers

The Predacon trio tries to steal a Plutonium Energy Generator, but Optimus Prime and the Autobot brothers arrive to drive them off. Optimus scolds Side Burn for his recklessness; the generator can't be damaged or it will leak deadly zirconium gas that will corrode Transformers metal. Meanwhile, Koji leaves with his friend Karl and Karl's father for a biking trip. The generator is loaded onto a truck to be transported, and the Autobot brothers follow as an escort. Side Burn, terrified of the generator leaking, tries to find an excuse to veer off but his older brothers keep him in line. Slapper hacks the systems used to control the highways, causing a massive jam. The Predacons arrive and attacks the truck carrying the generator and make off with it. The Autobots can't fire for fear of hitting everyone else in traffic. T-AI deploys three Spychangers, Hot Shot, Rev and Crosswise, who pop out of their hiding places. The trio reveal themselves to the Predacons, who retreat instead of fighting. With their special ability of being able to drive on any flat surface, the Spychangers give chase.

The Predacons leap off the highway into the beach, and knock the Spychangers down with their lasers, but the rest of the Spychanger team, Wars, Ironhide and Mirage, arrive. The Spychangers dizzy the Predacon trio by running circles around them. Sky-Byte arrives, and engages the Spychangers. He orders Slapper and Gas Skunk to retreat with the generator. Optimus and the Autobot brothers arrive, but Optimus decides to let the Spychangers handle matters on their own. The Spychangers' agile speed allows them to defeat the Predacons. Sky-Byte, deciding that the Autobots can't have the generator if he can't, opens fire with his Tsunami Blaster. The six Spychangers jump in front of the blast and are scattered away. The Predacons grab the generator and bail it. The Spychangers laugh and reveal that in the confusion, they had switched the generator with a decoy. The Predacons return to base, but when Megatron tries to activate the decoy generator it bursts open to show a statue poking its tongue out at them. Koji and Karl enjoy a bike race together while Optimus watches, glad that Koji can still enjoy himself even with his father missing.

Featured Transformers: Slapper, Gas Skunk, Dark Scream, Optimus Prime, Side Burn, X-Brawn, Prowl, Megatron (flashback and present), Sky-Byte, Hot Shot, Rev, Crosswise, Mirage, Ironhide, Wars
Notable Others: Koji Onishi, Karl, Dr Onishi (flashbck), Kelly, T-AI

Another introduction episode, but the Spychangers are so banal and identikit. At least the Brothers and Team Bullet Train have standard personality quirks which make them distinctive. Still, the Spychangers' attacking the Predacons are nicely done, and that little moai gag is pretty funny. The Predacon trio battling the Autobot brothers early on is pretty fun as well, as is Side Burn trying to escape his duties. The problem is, well, as noted, the Spychangers are all identikit 'cool ninja superspy robot squad'. Other than Mirage and Ironhide in the next episode, none of the others will have much of any sort of characterisation, making them pretty unmemorable. I miss the day of G1 where the background Autobots who never get more than two lines at a time like, say, Windcharger or Trailbreaker have funky powers that come to mind when you see their name. As it is, the only memorable thing about, say, R.E.V. is that he has a stupid name with dots.

(Four out of Ten)

Technically, in both the show and the toyline, Rev is named R.E.V. and Wars is named W.A.R.S., standing in for 'Race Exertion Vehicle' and 'Wicked Attack Recon Sportscar' respectively. But since R.E.V. takes longer to type than simple 'Rev', that's what I'm going to use. In the show they are called 'Rev' and 'Wars' instead of 'Arr-Eee-Vee' and 'Double-you-ay-arr-ass', so the point is moot. Also, methinks having names that stand for something is stupid. It's like calling yourself 'Number-Crunching-Human' or something.

First appearances of the Spychangers: Hot Shot (Artfire in Japan), Rev (Eaglekiller in Japan; awesome name), Crosswise (X-Car in Japan), Mirage (Counter Arrow in Japan), Ironhide (Ox in Japan) and Wars. The Spychangers are repaints of the G2 Go-bots subgroup, not to be confused with the Tonka GoBots.

In Japan, the Spychangers are basically an elite ninja group. Their abilities include driving on any flat surface, driving upside-down/sideways, driving on water, phasing through some solid objects, hovering while driving upside down, and puling that Easter Island statue out of nowhere to be disguised as a generator.

The Spychangers' arm can extend and fire their weapons in vehicle mode; their toys can do this as well.

Ironhide being voiced by a guy with a Southern accent is, of course, a reference to the G1 fellow. Mirage's voice is somewhat similar to his G1 counterpart as well.

This episode shows one of the rare times that Slapper does his skill of hacking computer systems.

Following 9/11, this episode was pulled out of rotation to remove all references to the Plutonium generator exploding if hit, replacing it with releasing zirconium gas that will corrode Transformers' circuity. Also several shots (civilians fleeing the scene, as well as Prowl's 'jet claw' slamming onto a truck) are removed, replaced with additional dialogue by Slapper and some stock transformation footage.

The bicycle on the roof of Karl's car is first green, but when Koji pushes his own green bicycle out Karl's bicycle turn yellow. They swap colours again a couple times.

The member select screen for Crosswise misspells his name as 'Crosswire', and Hot Shot as 'Hotshot'.

Not so much a goof as an oddity... when summoned by T-AI, Rev is hiding inside a billboard advertising his vehicle mode. What the hell is he doing there?

At some points the Spychangers hover above the surfaces they're supposed to be driving in, but let's be charitable and say it's their powers.

During the beach Sky-Byte's drawn with an erroneous mouth again.

If Optimus and the brothers don't know about the swap, why didn't they give chase?

Last edited by Blackjack; 2011-11-23 at 04:43 AM.
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