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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Denyer's review of Animated Arcee

Name: Arcee
Function: AUTOBOT Super Spy
Quote: "There's a whole site about me at http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk/?"

ARCEE has dedicated her life to the power of information. As a teacher, she saw to it that young AUTOBOTS all learned the value of the facts, and how to tell truth from lies. During the war, she turned her dedication to the truth to carrying data for the AUTOBOT High Command, often from deep behind enemy lines. She will face any danger to defend what is right, no matter what the cost.

I haven't seen Animated past the first few episodes, so consider this a review from the point of view of someone who'd still like to see the Hironori Kobayashi fan-mould mass fabricated on the principle that main characters of the movie* deserve a decent toy representation.

*The first one. If you were born in the 90s or thereafter, get off my lawn.

Nor can I claim to be particularly a fan of Arcee. 'Female' Autobots were first inserted into the original cartoon because the networks wanted to broaden their audience a bit. In that universe, Cybertronians were created as servants and combat drones, so it does make sense that behavioural programming in the non-combat product line would include gendering. Equally, in the Marvel comics, Arcee was created to improve relations with humans. However, hacks from professional as well as fan backgrounds very easily lapse into face value: if Ravage looks like a cat, the character should behave like one. If Arcee looks like a woman, the character should fit whatever damsel-in-distress, psycho-killing-bitch, mother-figure or tits-and-ass stereotype is convenient or desired. Especially desired.

In short, the appeal of the character is tainted by crap writing and being an aspirational focus for obsessive perverts, as well as encouraging all manner of self-insert characters looking to get greasy with Prowl and the 'boys'.

Arcee hasn't had much luck with transforming toy representations even slightly close to the original design, either. The first one with any chance of release was a repaint of Chromedome that didn't get past the prototype stage. Energon offered a decent enough bike alt-mode, there's a bloody awful repaint of the Overdrive/Windcharger/Decepticharge Binaltech mould that harks back to that original repurposing of Chromedome, a badly-proportioned car type prototype for the Titanium line was seen, and the new live-action movies brought further (mostly terrible) attempts at bikes.

So, this is a somewhat overdue homage. It's also nice that Animated seems to have established the character as a teacher and intelligence officer.

VEHICLE MODE / TRANSFORMATION / ROBOT MODE

As a Cybertronian Rocket Car, Arcee is still firmly from the "slightly futuristic but still has wheels" school of 80s design, updated with strong Animated lines and colours. The optional wings give it a bit more general appeal. In this mode, the character can stow the energon swords as exhaust plumess.

The transformation is pretty simple, although one of the pegs was a little too broad to slot into the back of the right leg and needed shaving down. Good condition loose examples of the figure may be hard to come by in future years, as several joints are quite thin and the plastic doesn't feel especially robust.

What else? The trademark 'backpack' is present on the shoulders, empty leg sections are filled in by rotating panels, and balance isn't hampered by the generally slight and top-heavy design. The swords are probably a reference to the IDW comics psycho-killing-bitch incarnation of the character.

The result is a solid entry for the Animated line, rather unjustly tagged onto the end of it as a Toys'R'us exclusive and thus hard to come by without rewarding eBay scalpers. (Thanks to Pun-3X for picking this one up for me, as I doubt the UK will see the figure any time soon.) There'll be a Japanese release in due course, and maybe Hasbro will get some more mileage out of the mould as a Universe release or similar.

Marks out of ten for the following:

TRANSFORMATION: 7 out of 10. Fairly average complexity, offering a decent amount of joint range without being overly complicated.
DURABILITY: 6 out of 10. I'd be a bit worried giving this to a kid, particularly the swords.
FUN: 8 out of 10. I'm easily pleased with the poseability most modern figures offer as standard.
PRICE: 7 out of 10. Deluxe is a fair price point, but you may be disappointed if you pay too much overage.
OVERALL: 7 out of 10. Altogether very competently done.
 
 
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