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Old 2011-05-19, 05:22 PM   #31
Blackjack
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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...
 
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