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Season Two, Part 1

| Autobot Spike | The Immobilizer | Dinobot Island, Part 1 | Dinobot Island, Part 2 | Traitor | Enter the Nightbird | Changing Gears | A Prime Problem | Atlantis, Arise! | Attack of the Autobots | Microbots | The Master Builders | The Insecticon Syndrome | Day of the Machines | Megatron's Master Plan, Part 1 | Megatron's Master Plan, Part 2 | Auto Berserk | City of Steel | Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 1 | Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 2 | Blaster Blues | A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur’s Court | The God Gambit | The Core | Make Tracks | The Autobot Run |

“Autobot Spike”

Japan Title: “Frankenstein Spike”
US Airdate: 9-23-85
Japan Airdate: 9-14-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: At Autobot headquarters, Sparkplug is proud to present his latest project, a robot built from spare Autobot parts called “Autobot X”. Unfortunately for everyone in the Ark, Autobot X goes completely mental and has to be shot. Wheeljack offers to help Sparkplug improve upon the design, saying there might be a use for Autobot X as a means to store an Autobot’s mind while their body undergoes extensive repairs.

Before they can continue the discussion, Teletran-1 alerts them to the Decepticons attacking a rocket base. Optimus and a squad of Autobots roll-out and engage the Decepticons in battle. Spike and Bumblebee show up, despite orders to stay at the Ark, and get caught in the fight. The Decepticons retreat once all the rockets they intended to steal are destroyed, but to ensure his getaway, Megatron opens fire on Bumblebee and Spike. Bumblebee’s damage is minimal, however, Spike is critically wounded. Ratchet and Prowl escort Spike to the nearest hospital for treatment.

The doctor regretfully informs Sparkplug that, while Spike’s body could conceivably be healed, his mind would not be able to withstand the extensive surgery. With no other option, Sparkplug and Wheeljack put their plan into action well-ahead of schedule, and transfer Spike’s mind into the body of Autobot X. The kinks of the mind-transfer not having been worked out, Autobot Spike is hit with a nasty side-effect; he tries to kill everybody. The Autobots subdue him as gently as possible and explain the situation to him. Spike complains that it’s very hard to think and that there’s a voice in the back of his head telling him to “do bad things”. They try to keep Autobot Spike calm by sitting him down in front of a television, but as luck would have it, they’re playing Frankenstein. Realizing he’s a monster, Spike finally loses it and flees from the Ark.

Laserbeak, spying on the Autobots the entire time, relays the news back to Megatron. Megatron meets with the confused Autobot Spike and convinces him that he should destroy the Autobots for turning him into a freak. Bumblebee overhears the whole transaction and fetches Optimus Prime. Optimus and a squad of Autobots arrive to reason with Spike, but he goes berserk and wastes most of them with the help of Megatron in gun-mode. Sparkplug shows up late with Wheeljack and tries to calm his son down. He gets through to him, an Spike turns on the Decepticons. The Decepticons retreat and Spike returns to the Ark.

Back at the hospital, the operation was a success and Spike’s body is ready for reoccupation. Wheeljack zaps him back where he belongs with another mind transfer and the body of Autobot X gets thrown into storage. As Spike recovers, Bumblebee wonders what it would be like if an Autobot got turned into a human.

Notes: Bumblebee’s comment at the end about Autobots becoming humans foreshadows episodes such as “Sea Change” and “Only Human”. This episode marks the first time in the cartoon Sparkplug and Spike’s last names are referred to as “Witwicky”. The name had been used in the Marvel Comics for some time, however.

Errors: Ratchet says “Another Autobot? Even if it works, who needs it?” Apparently, they do, as tons of new Autobots show up in “Dinobot Island”. So on the exact same day that Spike gets his mind crammed into a freakish robot made from spare parts, they play Frankenstein on TV? Man, what’re the odds?

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Wheeljack, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Trailbreaker, Ratchet, Autobot X (first and only appearance), Ironhide, Prowl, Windcharger, Brawn, Megatron, Thundercracker, Starscream, Soundwave, Skywarp, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Laserbeak, Rumble, Reflector, Hound, Bluestreak, Huffer, Jazz.

Notable Others: Sparkplug, Spike, Teletran-1

Review: A very fun episode, I have to admit, and it’s nice to see one of the Transformers human buddies getting injured in battle, as realistically, you know they would. The concept of a human getting turned into a Transformer may not seem so clever in retrospect, but it made for an entertaining story. The animation from Toei was error-free and quite nice. It may just be me, but there’s something…different about Toei’s season 2 animation. Maybe the robots are shinier or something, I dunno. Autobot X has a great character design, mish-mashing random parts from various members of the cast, he really does look like an Autobot Frankenstein. Overall, it’s one of the more entertaining episodes of the series and a good way to start off season 2.


“The Immobilizer”

Japan Title: “Immobilizer”
US Airdate: 9-24-85
Japan Airdate: 10-18-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Earl Kress

Synopsis: At Autobot Headquarters, Wheeljack is ready to proudly demonstrate his new invention, the Immobilizer. Hound creates a hologram of Laserbeak for the Immobilizer to target, but the late-on-arrival Ironhide mistakes it for the real thing and damages the Immobilizer in his attack. Ironhide apologizes and begins to think he’s too old for battle. Wheeljack sends Bumblebee and Spike out to get a replacement polarizer. While out, Bumblebee and Spike stop by a video arcade and meet a girl named Carly, to whome Spike is instantly smitten. Spike and Bumblebee notice the time and leave, only to be pulled-over by a cop questioning Spike’s driving age. As they explain, Ravage attacks Bumblebee and places a spy camera on him. Ravage flees and the pair return to the Ark, with Carly following them in secret.

Back at Headquarters, the Autobots go outside to test out the Immobilizer, leaving Ironhide on guard duty. The Decepticons, learning of the Immobilizer through the spy camera on Bumblebee, show up to take it. Ironhide is distracted by Carly, allowing the Decepticons to get the drop on the Autobots. The Decepticons manage to steal the Immobilizer and escape. Ironhide blames himself for the loss of the Immobilizer and retires from active duty, much to Prime’s disagreement. Carly, having been invited into the Ark by Spike, feels responsible for Ironhide’s problem and steals a bomb from the Autobot arsenal. She scuba-dives down to the Decepticon Headquarters and attempts to blow it up. She’s taken prisoner in the process, and when the bomb explodes, it slowly fills up her prison cell with water. Ironhide, Spike and Bumblebee are alerted to her capture thanks to Teletran-1’s Skyspy and rush to her rescue. Ironhide retrieves Carly from her cell just as it fills up all the way.

Before they can leave, Megatron arrives with the Immobilizer and freezes Ironhide solid. The Autobots show up to do battle, and one-by-one they are immobilized. Carly comes up with a plan and, with Brawn’s help, sneaks up on the Immobilizer. She secretly crosses the wires, causing it to reverse the effects. Ironhide is returned to normal and uses the Immobilizer to help all his other deactivated comrades. Ironhide then destroys the device and the Decepticons retreat. Ironhide, realizing he’s not useless, returns to active duty while Spike and Carly leave base on a date.

Notes: The scene where a police officer pulls Bumblebee over because Spike looks too young to drive, and are subsequently attacked by Ravage, was almost completely identical to a similar scene in the Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer #2 manga (save Spike being replaced by Kenji). Carly says she attends MIT, which would place her age around 18.

Errors: Cliffjumper talks in Gears’ voice at the beginning of the episode. Seeing as how everyone in the world knows where the evil Decepticons’ base is located, you’d think there’d be some sort of barricade or something to keep teenagers from scuba-diving down to it. Did Carly really think she could destroy the entire Decepticon base with a hand grenade? For someone who goes to MIT, she’s pretty stupid.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Wheeljack, Optimus Prime, Hound, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Gears, Huffer, Trailbreaker, Jazz, Ironhide, Ravage, Brawn, Sunstreaker, Bluestreak, Sideswipe, Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ratchet, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Rumble, Laserbeak, Skyfire.

Notable Others: Spike, Sparkplug, Carly (first appearance).

Review: As an introduction to Carly, the episode isn’t very spectacular, but the story is fun. The Immobilizer-itself is your typical “doomsday weapon of the week”, but Ironhide’s self-doubt due to his old age carries the story nicely. The animation was impressive-enough, and I’ll give them kudos for not making Carly a giggling retard (though the Japanese dub did its best efforts to rectify that). And I’ll admit it, I chuckle every time Megatron and the Decepticons get dunked in the river when the Immobilizer’s effects wear-off. Great comic-timing on that scene.


“Dinobot Island, Part 1”

Japan Title: “Dinobot Showdown! part 1”
US Airdate: 9-25-85
Japan Airdate: 11-8-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: Bumblebee and Powerglide are investigating a strange veil of energy out in the middle of the ocean. Behind the energy veil they discover a prehistoric island filled with dinosaurs and report the news back to headquarters. At the Ark, Wheeljack tries to demonstrate how the Dinobots have become more skillful. Predictably, the Dinobots botch their demonstration and cause major damage to the base. Grimlock apologizes, saying the Dinobots are too big to train at headquarters. Optimus agrees and has Powerglide and Spike take the Dinobots to the mysterious island for training. Spike names the island “Dinobot Island”, creatively-enough, and is nearly eaten by a number of dinosaurs while exploring. After rescuing Spike, Powerglide leaves the Dinobots to train.

Soundwave, Ravage and Laserbeak spy on the Autobots, discover the location of Dinobot Island and the Decepticons head out to plunder its rich energy resources. However, the more Energon they take from the island the more violent the weather gets. Megatron and the Decepticons are spotted by the Dinbots and engage in battle. Back in the city, Spike and Bumblebee are checking out books at a library when a strange wormhole opens up in the middle of the street. A Neanderthal riding a mastodon emerges from the wormhole and begins wreaking havoc. The mastodon chases Spike and Bumblebee into an abandoned building and smashes it down on top of them. Back on Dinobot Island, Megatron causes all the real dinosaurs to stampede, forcing the Dinobots off the edge of a cliff and into a tar-pit where they promptly sink to the bottom.

Notes: Many people believe that Dinobot Island is really the island used by Cobra to clone an army of dinosaurs in the G.I. Joe episode, “The Primordial Plot”. However, upon closer examination of the island from the aerial views provided in the episodes, the islands look completely different. Additionally, the strange time-space energy veil present in “Dinobot Island” are nowhere to be found in “The Primordial Plot”. Both episodes were written by Donald F. Glut, so it’s most likely the writer having a bit of cross-media fun. Or running out of ideas. Whichever.

Errors: If Slag heat up the lake so hot that all the water evaporated, than the iguana at the bottom should’ve been boiled to death.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Bumblebee, Powerglide (first appearance), Optimus Prime, Tracks (first appearance), Grapple (first appearance), Huffer, Mirage, Wheeljack, Hound, Sideswipe, Windcharger, Cliffjumper, Gears, Blaster (first appearance), Ironhide, Trailbreaker, Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, Inferno (first appearance), Red Alert (first appearance), Smokescreen (first appearance), Hoist (first appearance), Ratchet, Ravage, Soundwave, Megatron, Starscream, Laserbeak, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Thrust (first appearance), Ramjet (first appearance), Blitzwing (first appearance).

Notable Others: Sparkplug, Spike, Teletran-1.

Review: The Dinobots completely and utterly take the spotlight in this episode, as one would expect from the title. But it makes you wonder why they bothered to introduce so many new characters in this episode if all they do is fill up space in the background. The only one that really gets any screen-time is Powerglide, and he’s absolutely obnoxious. Not a lot really happens at all here; Spike’s perils on Dinobot Island being total filler (“Whew, that dinosaur almost killed me. Well, see ya! *five minutes later* Whew, that dinosaur almost killed me. Well, see ya!”). Grimlock’s instructions during the Dinobots training session was gold, though (“Swoop, do flying-stuff!”). Overall, the episode feels a bit light and doesn’t make use of the plethora of new characters it goes out of its way to introduce.


“Dinobot Island, Part 2”

Japan Title: “Dinobot Showdown! Part 2”
US Airdate: 9-26-85
Japan Airdate: 11-15-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: Having driven the Dinobots into a tar-pit, Megatron continues sucking energy from Dinobot Island, causing more and more temporal disturbances. Back at the Ark, Ratchet and Sparkplug have finished repairing all the damage the Dinobots did. As soon as they finish, they are alerted to the time-warp near the library Spike and Bumblebee went to. Optimus Prime and the Autobots roll-out to go help. Sideswipe digs Bumblebee and Spike out from under the collapsed building and then helps the other Autobots force all the barbarians and wooly mammoths back into the time-warp before it closes.

The Autobots can’t understand what caused the time-warp, so they pick up Chip Chase and take him back to base, hoping he can deduce something with Teletran-1. As Chip gets to work, two more wormholes open up; one releasing a pirate ship upon a yacht, and another releasing a posse of cowboys upon a biker gang. Tracks, Cliffjumper and Seaspray deal with the marauding pirates while Inferno, Prowl, Jazz and Red Alert take care of the cowboys. Once the Autobots regroup, Chip manages to locate the source of the disturbances; Dinobot Island.

Prime gathers a squad of Autobots and they head out to Dinobot Island. Meanwhile, the Dinobots manage to free themselves from the tar-pit using Slag’s flame-thrower breath. As soon as the Dinobots get their wits together, the Autobots arrive and engage the Decepticons in battle. The fight is a stale-mate until Grimlock comes up with a strategy. Grimlock and the Dinobots manage to enlist the aid of a herd of random dinosaurs who rush the unsuspecting Decepticons and thoroughly trounce them. The Decepticons retreat and an impressed Optimus Prime decrees that the Dinobots have improved their skills enough to rejoin the Autobots at the Ark.

Notes: The Dinobots were shown to have been dunked in a tar-pit in the US Marvel comic #8 while fighting Shockwave. However, it took them 4 million years to free themselves instead of 4 minutes.

Errors: When the Autobots first arrive at the library in the city, Huffer talks in Hound’s voice. While fighting a wooly mammoth, Sunstreaker talks in Sideswipe’s voice. When they first exit the wormhole, one of the cowboy’s old west six-shooters makes a laser-noise. Once he’s freed from the tar-pit, Grimlock groans in Sludge’s voice. Does Prime even realize that the Dinobots had only been practicing on Dinobot Island for less than a day before he allows them back to the Ark?

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ramjet, Thrust, Hound, Sideswipe, Ratchet, Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Huffer, Bumblebee, Beachcomber (first appearance), Perceptor (first appearance), Tracks, Cliffjumper, Seaspray (first appearance), Jazz, Prowl, Inferno, Red Alert, Warpath, Smokescreen, Trailbreaker, Dirge (first appearance), Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Blitzwing.

Notable Others: Sparkplug, Spike, Chip Chase, Teletran-1.

Review: A slight improvement over part one, though the focus is much less on the Dinobots and more on the new characters. The episode takes a few opportunities to spotlight the new guys, but misses chances at the same time. To deal with the barbarians in the city, Optimus brings a squad of season 1 characters when he could’ve brought along some new blood to showcase. The new Decepticons get zero attention, though. I believe Thrust is the only new member that even gets any dialogue in the whole two-parter. The entire “Dinobot Island” arc was supposed to serve as an introduction to new characters/toys, but can’t even seem to get that right. The story is fun-enough; the pirates demanding the yuppie surrender his “wynches” and the cowboys fighting the bikers were both mildly amusing sequences. Overall, though, this arc just doesn’t do much of anything. Or, at least, it doesn’t do much of anything right.



Japan Title: “Ligier’s Betrayal”
US Airdate: 9-27-85
Japan Airdate: 9-28-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: George Hampton and Mike Moore

Synopsis: The Decepticons attack the Experimental Energy Research Laboratory and steal a set of electro cells capable of producing vast quantities of energy. The scientists working on the cells fear the energy is too unstable and might destroy the Earth if unleashed. The Autobots set out to find the Decepticons and locate them and the electro cells in a valley. Mirage claims he checked the valley yesterday and found nothing, while Cliffjumper accuses him of being a Decepticon spy and not reporting his findings. Optimus tells him to knock it off and the Autobots go to intercept the Decepticons.

Before the Decepticons can harness any of the unstable energy, the Autobots show up and attack. The Decepticons begin to lose until Megatron summons in the free-lancing Insecticons, offering them a great reward if they help. The battle begins to damage the electro cells, causing the Autobots to worry about the possibility of their exploding, and they retreat. The Autobots return to base for repairs and plot their next strike, while Cliffjumper accuses Mirage of being a traitor. Optimus tells him there’s no proof and sends Cliffjumper to spy on the Decepticons.

Mirage takes off on his own and infiltrates the Insecticons’ base, where the big bugs are upset that Megatron’s idea of a reward was two measly Energon cubes. Mirage turns invisible, sneaks in, steals the Energon cubes and leaves behind a Decepticon insignia he tore off of Skywarp during battle. Mirage takes the Energon cubes back to the valley the Decepticons are in and lays them on the ground. Cliffjumper spots him doing it and believes Mirage was delivering the Energon directly to Megatron. Just then, the Insecticons show up, believing the Decepticons stole their Energon cubes, and open fire. Cliffjumper escapes but Mirage is captured. Megatron and the Insecticons figure everything out and Mirage is brainwashed with one of Bombshell’s cerebro shells.

Cliffjumper reports his findings to headquarters and the Autobots return to the valley. They meet up with the mind-controlled Mirage, who tells them that the Decepticons and Insecticons fled. They believe him, and as soon as they get near the electro cells, are ambushed by the Decepticons. Mirage is wounded in battle and Ratchet removes the cerebro shell right in front of Cliffjumper. The Autobots corner Megatron, who destroys the electro cells so that no one else can have them. The Autobots flee the explosion, while Megatron is injured in the blast and passes out. Back at base, Optimus apologizes to the scientists from the Experimental Energy Research Laboratory for the loss of the electro cells, but they’re just pleased that the explosion didn’t destroy the planet. Meanwhile, Cliffjumper admits his accusations towards Mirage were royally stupid.

Errors: Cliffjumper, having been shown to be on friendly terms with Mirage in “More than Meets the Eye part 2”, suddenly hates his guts for no good reason. The Decepticon insignia Mirage tears off of Skywarp is made of fabric. When the Insecticons are first under fire from the Decepticons, Shrapnel talks without his voice-over effects.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Skywarp, Starscream, Megatron, Cliffjumper, Optimus Prime, Mirage, Ironhide, Prowl, Bluestreak, Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Ratchet, Jazz, Rumble, Shrapnel, Kickback, Bombshell, Reflector.

Notable Others: Experimental Energy Research Laboratory Scientists (first and only appearances).

Review: A good episode in regards to the animation quality (only one instance of Seeker confusion), but the story is ridiculous. Cliffjumper hates Mirage with absolutely no build-up. In fact, the only other time they’d ever been shown interacting, they appeared to be buddies. The Insecticons’ bitter-sweet relationship with the Decepticons was one of the better dynamics in the series, and this episode carries it quite well. Unfortunately, the main plot point of the episode, Cliffjumper loathing Mirage, was just plain stupid. To make matters worse, the writers recycled the idea of a Minibot waking up one morning and deciding “I’m going to hate so-and-so, now” with Brawn and Perceptor in “Microbots”.


“Enter the Nightbird”

Japan Title: “Shadow of the Nightbird”
US Airdate: 9-30-85
Japan Airdate: 11-1-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Sylvia Wilson and Richard Milton

Synopsis: At the Ark, Wheeljack and the other Autobots are upgrading base security with motion-sensitive floor panels. They’re interrupted by a transmission from Dr. Fujiyama, an expert in the field of robotics. He asks the Autobots to attend the unveiling of the most technically advanced robot ever built by man, and to protect it from the Decepticons. Optimus Prime agrees and the Autobots attend the unveiling, though Wheeljack and Ratchet doubt how “advanced” a robot built by humans could possibly be.

Dr. Fujiyama introduces Nightbird, a female robot ninja. No sooner does he introduce her, the Decepticons attack and steal her. At the Decepticons temporary base, Bombshell reprograms Nightbird to obey the Decepticons and Megatron sends her to infiltrate the Ark and steal the World Energy Chip, a database on all the world’s energy resources. Nightbird sneaks into the Ark using her ninja stealth, avoiding the fancy floor panels, and successfully steals the chip. The Autobots chase after her but are defeated at every turn by her awesome array of skills and powers.

At the Decepticon temporary base, Megatron is pleased with Nightbird’s success and considers her as Starscream’s replacement. Starscream freaks out and Megatron tosses him into a cage. Eventually, the Autobots manage to subdue Nightbird with an energy net. Megatron and the Decepticons head off to aid her and recover the chip. The Autobots and Decepticons engage in battle, but with Nightbird on their side, the Decepticons take the upper hand. Starscream escapes from his cage and sneaks into battle. He blasts Nightbird with his null ray and the Autobots recover both her and the energy chip. Angrily, Megatron and the Decepticons chase after the traitorous Starscream. The Autobots return Nightbird to Dr. Fujiyama, who seals her away in a metal coffin, vowing never to reactivate her. Inside the metal coffin, Nightbird appears to still be functional.

Notes: Though she never appears again in the cartoon, Nightbird shows up in Dreamwave Transformers Vol. 3 #7 as a cameo. An army of Nightbird clones also appear in one of the Botcon exclusive comics.

Errors: Why would Megatron make such a big deal about making the entrance to their temporary base a secret when the base-itself is a gigantic Decepticon insignia jutting out of the side of a mountain? Very subtle.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Ratchet, Sunstreaker, Jazz, Cliffjumper, Huffer, Trailbreaker, Gears, Wheeljack, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Windcharger, Prowl, Hound, Brawn, Mirage, Bluestreak, Rumble, Frenzy, Laserbeak, Megatron, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Starscream, Skywarp, Bombshell.

Notable Others: Dr. Fujiyama (1st and only appearance), Nightbird (1st appearance), Spike, Sparkplug.

Review: Nightbird steals the show in this episode and is indeed a pretty cool character. It would’ve been great if they’d made her a returning villain or even a regular member of the Decepticon army, as her attacks were quite flashy and she actually got an origin episode (as opposed to 90% of the cast, which are just cardboard cut-outs). But, like Devcon and other characters who appear later-on, she’s a one-shot. The whole episode is pretty much just one big fight with Nightbird, so there isn’t much story to comment on. But watching Nightbird kick the crap out of various Autobots (she smacks the Hell out of Mirage) is worth the price of admission.


“Changing Gears”

Japan Title: “Steal the Solar Energy!”
US Airdate: 10-1-85
Japan Airdate: 9-21-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Writer: Larry Parr

Synopsis: The Decepticons take hostage a trio of gold-miners, but permit one of them to call for help. The Autobots roll-out to their rescue, with the surly Gears reluctantly following behind them. The Autobots engage the Decepticons in battle, but the Decepticons retreat after they kidnap Gears; the purpose of their mission.

Megatron takes Gears to the heart of an African jungle. He needs Gears’ unique internal circuit device to complete his Solar Needle, a machine that will steal solar energy from the sun-itself. Megatron removes the circuit disk which, apparently, acts as Gears’ personality regulator. As a bizarre side-effect, Gears is now frighteningly friendly and willingly helps the Decepticons gather Energon cubes just because they ask him to.

The Autobots notice the sun acting strangely and predict that Megatron is behind things. After a brief investigation, they discover that the Sun will explode in 2 hours unless they stop Megatron’s Solar Needle. The Autobots arrive in deepest Africa and engage the Decepticons in battle. Things go the Autobots way until Megatron takes Prime hostage, forcing the other Autobots to surrender.

The Solar Needle is damaged in the fight and Megatron asks Gears to repair it. Gears, unable to refuse a favor, gets busy. Megatron prepares to execute Prime, but Prime asks for one last request. Megatron grants him that request, and Prime asks Gears for a favor of his own. Gears happily obliges, and shoots Megatron. The Autobots drive the Decepticons away, but the Solar Needle is still going to destroy the Sun. Wheeljack and Ratchet get to work trying to shut it off, but can’t agree on which wire to cut. Optimus crosses his fingers and pulls one at random. The Solar Needle shuts down and the Sun returns to normal. The Autobots return the circuit disk to Gears and destroy Megatron’s Solar Needle. The Autobots roll-out for base, with Gears back to normal, bitterly complaining about the jungle’s humidity.

Notes: The Solar Needle fiasco is referenced briefly in the Playstation 2 game, “Transformers Tatakae!”, released exclusively in Japan.

Errors: The Autobots drive to Africa from Oregon in under 2 hours. I know they do that sort of thing a lot, but they specifically gave a time-frame in this episode, which made it more irritating. When Cliffjumper first sees the Solar Needle, he talks in Huffer’s voice. When Starscream prepares to finish-off Gears at the end of the episode, he talks in Skywarp’s voice, then back to Starscream’s.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Ravage, Megatron, Optimus Prime, Hound, Cliffjumper, Gears, Ratchet, Jazz, Wheeljack, Trailbreaker, Sunstreaker, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Mirage, Bluestreak, Brawn, Huffer, Sideswipe.

Review: So they decided to dedicate an entire episode to the one Minibot with the least number of lines through-out 17 episodes? Yet they never focused any episodes on more entertaining character concepts, like Sideswipe and Sunstreaker’s brotherly-dynamic? What a waste. The episode isn’t completely terrible, really. Gears’ terminally friendly attitude after having his circuit disk removed is about the most entertaining part of the whole thing, though. But not entertaining-enough to make this a good episode. Megatron does pimp-slap Starscream twice in the first five minutes, at least.


“A Prime Problem”

Japan Title: “Two Convoys”
US Airdate: 10-2-85
Japan Airdate: 12-6-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Dick Robbins and Bryce Malek

Synopsis: The Decepticons go to investigate a mysterious energy source emanating from a valley. Soundwave ejects an auto-scout cassette into the valley and discovers Coronium Crystals, gems which destroy electronic devices on contact. Megatron devises a scheme to use the crystals against the Autobots and sets up a temporary base near the valley. The Autobots show up shortly and the Decepticons attack. Optimus is knocked out by Laserbeak who takes holographic photos of him. Megatron uses the information to create an identical Optimus Prime clone. The clone accompanies the Autobots back to the Ark.

The real Optimus eventually comes to and returns to the Ark, only to discover his clone. The Autobots can’t tell the two apart and put them through a battery of tests to decipher the phony from the genuine article. The tests prove nothing. Megatron amplifies the energy readings from the Coronium Crystals to appear dangerously unstable and draws the Autobots back to the valley (though Ironhide has usurped command until they can figure out which Prime is real). The Autobots re-engage the Decepticons in battle and Megatron comes up with a way to make the Autobots think his Prime clone is the real thing; have Prime kill a Decepticon in battle.

Spike and Windcharger eave’s drop on the conversation and are discovered. Spike is taken prisoner by Laserbeak while Windcharger falls out of the temporary base and into the valley full of crystals. Megatron then creates a clone of Starscream who goes into battle with the Autobots. He challenges the Prime clone to a duel and is destroyed. The Autobots believe the fake Prime to be the real one and follow him into the valley. Just as they reach the edge, Windcharger emerges (having transformed into vehicle mode just in the nick of time), telling them the valley is full of Coronium Crystals and that Spike is prisoner. The fake Prime says Spike is unimportant while the real Prime demands the Autobots rescue him. The Autobots get it together and destroy the Prime clone. Megatron retreats in his temporary base (which doubles as a rocket ship) and hurls Spike out the side. Powerglide rescues Spike, who is pleased to see the real Prime back in action.

Notes: Starscream attended the Cybertron War Academy, probably some time after his science expeditions with Skyfire.

Errors: Alright, here we go. Why not have Laserbeak just KILL Optimus while he’s laying out cold on the ground? How can Laserbeak get hologram photos of every angle when Optimus is laying face down in the dirt? Megatron broadcasts that he’s activating the cloning device, yet when the Optimus clone steps out, Soundwave STILL mistakes it for the real thing. Megatron, controlling the Prime clone, mistakes Ironhide for Bumblebee? How would sharp-shooting and car-racing decipher the real Prime from the fake? I think they were just doing it to kill time, as they completely ignore the results of both tests. So the Autobots believe that the true Prime would kill an enemy in battle, while up until this point, he usually goes out of his way NOT to kill any of the bad guys. While the real Optimus begs for his troops to believe him that he’s the real deal, he calls Trailbreaker “Trailblazer”. Way to prove your case, Optimus.

Transformer featured (in rough order of appearance): Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Windcharger, Cliffjumper, Jazz, Trailbreaker, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Reflector, Rumble, Laserbeak, Sunstreaker, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Huffer, Bluestreak, Gears, Prowl, Warpath, Powerglide.

Notable Others: Auto-Scout (first and only appearance), Spike, Teletran-1.

Review: Now here’s a real mess of logic errors and common sense. I pretty much covered why this episode is so terrible in the “errors” section, but there’s still more to tell. The Autobots are completely brain-dead in this episode (or more so than usual). So there’s an Optimus inside the base calling everybody by the wrong name and screaming “Killthe intruder! KILL HIM!”, and there’s an Optimus outside the base saying “Hey, guys, I got knocked out in the fight, glad to see you’re alright. Hey, who’s this guy?” yet they have trouble figuring out who’s who? C’mon!


“Atlantis, Arise!”

Japan Title: “Atlantis, Arise!”
US Airdate: 10-3-85
Japan Airdate: 10-25-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Douglas Booth

Synopsis: While out on a patrol mission, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw detect a massive energy signature coming from an underwater city. Soundwave reports this information back to Megatron who sends the Decepticons to investigate. The Decepticons stumble upon the city of Sub-Atlantica and its ruthless leader, King Nergill. The Decepticons form an uneasy alliance with the Sub-Atlaticans and help them form their rich energy resources into Energon cubes. Once fully stocked with Energon, Sub-Atlantica rises from the ocean as a massive mobile fortress. Megatron and King Nergill set out to conquer Washington DC.

At the Ark, Spike and the Autobots are playing a game of American Football with the Dinobots. They’re getting clobbered until Optimus recalls all troops to deal with the Decepticon attack on Washington. The Autobots roll-out and meet up with the Decepticons. However, Nergill uses a new device he developed which paralyses Transformers and takes down the Autobots. They send for the Dinobots who soon show up and wipe-out the Decepticons and the forces of Sub-Atlantica.

The bad guys retreat and the Autobots head out after them. The Autobots storm Sub-Atlantica; their victory assured. Nergill, not willing to be taken prisoner, races to the depths of Sub-Atlantic, intent on igniting the Energon supply and killing everybody. Wheeljack, Bumblebee and Spike chase him down but he manages to ignite the supply. The Autobots and Decepticons flee Sub-Atlantica as it self-destructs and sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Notes: The Dinobots manage to make it from Oregon to Washington DC in a matter of minutes. Though never mentioned in the cartoon, in the Japanese “Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformer” manga, which acted as a supplement to the cartoon, the “Cybertron Road” was introduced in issue #4. The Cybertron Road was a massive underground transit system which helped the Autobots go from one end of the planet to the other so quickly.

Errors: Spike plays American football with the Dinobots? Surely he must have some sort of death-wish? The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial is easily slid from its “throne”, when in reality, Honest Abe is molded in there pretty tight. When Megatron chops the Washington Monument in half, there are two Optimus Primes in one frame. Slag welds the Washington monument back-together with a blow torch? Oh, come on!

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Sludge, Bumblebee, Hound, Grimlock, Swoop, Snarl, Wheeljack, Slag, Optimus Prime, Windcharger, Jazz, Sideswipe, Trailbreaker, Brawn, Ironhide, Prowl, Sunstreaker, Rumble, Ravage.

Notable Others: King Nergill (first and only appearance), Spike.

Review: A pretty good episode. Megatron’s alliance with King Nergill was uneasy right from the start, so you knew where it was going. This episode, save for that “two Primes in one frame” bit, features some of Toei’s most gorgeous animation for the original series. The Dinobots get in some solid action and Grimlock proves more than a physical match for Megatron. When battling on the Mall, Hound’s line “Let’s try not to destroy any history!” is worth a good chuckle. And one thing I always liked in this show was when Spike would teach Earth activities to the Autobots; usually sports, like snowball fights, basketball, or in this episode, American Football. Granted, Spike would no doubt wind-up a greasy smear on the 50 yard line, especially if he’s playing with the Dinobots (Grimlock nearly bites his arm off as he tries to throw a pass to Hound). Some great animation, plenty of Dinobot action and a Decepticon plot that strays away from the “doomsday weapon of the week” we’d been getting up to this point.


“Attack of the Autobots”

Japan Title: “The Cybertron Insurrection”
US Airdate: 10-4-85
Japan Airdate: N/A
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: David Wise

Synopsis: The Decepticons attack the Ark, seemingly out of the blue. While the Autobots are fending off their adversaries, Megatron and Starscream sneak in using an invisibility spray and install a personality de-stabilizer into the recharging chambers. When the Autobots recharge, they will become evil and violent. Their mission complete, the Decepticons retreat.

The next day, the Autobots recharge, and just as Megatron had planned, turn evil. The Autobots go to destroy a near by Air Force base while Ratchet and Hound are ordered to steal plans for a solar satellite from Dr. Harding while the Decepticons secure the real thing. Bumblebee, Spike and Sparkplug are out in the desert, testing out Jazz’s newly-installed high-powered stereo system. When they return to base, they’re attacked by an evil Bluestreak. After Jazz defeats him with his sound and light show, Sparkplug develops a device to restore the Autobots to their original personalities.

Jazz and the rest rescue Dr. Harding from the brainwashed Ratchet and Hound and restore their friends to normal. They then head off to the Air Force base, and after a battle with their buddies, restore Optimus Prime and all the other Autobots. The Autobots then head out aboard Skyfire to the rocket base to stop Megatron. The rocket fires into space with all the Deceticons aboard. Skyfire chases after them and Jazz uses his new sonic stereo to damage the rocket. The Decepticons retreat as the rocket explodes and Optimus saves the solar satellite, helping it reach orbit. Back at base, Ratchet and Sparkplug argue over who the better mechanic is, until Spike and Jazz remind them they can put their skills to the test repairing all the Air Force jets the Autobots destroyed for the next couple weeks.

Production Notes: This episode was never aired on television in Japan. It was eventually dubbed and released on Laser Disk and retroactively added to the episode list.

Notes: Teletran-1’s conversation with Megatron and emotional outbursts would seem to indicate that he is a sentient being, albeit, a computer. Jazz is installed with his trademark sound and light attack in this episode. The concept of a “personality de-stabilizer”, which turns good guys evil, was touched upon again during Beast Wars in the episode “Dark Designs”.

Errors: The Decepticons have something as useful as an invisibility spray just laying around the base, and they only ever use it once?

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Ratchet, Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Brawn, Prowl, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Soundwave, Rumble, Laserbeak, Megatron, Gears, Skyfire, Trailbreaker, Hound, Sideswipe, Jazz, Bumblebee, Roller, Reflector.

Notable Others: Teletran-1, Spike, Sparkplug, Dr. Harding (first and only appearance).

Review: An enjoyable episode, though the Autobots find a cure to Megatron’s “evilizer” as soon as it causes trouble. The episode is more fun for banter between characters. We see Teletran-1 show some personality for the first time ever as he argues with Megatron and pleads for his life before Optimus smashes him. The argument between Ratchet and Sparkplug is fun, too (“You wouldn’t know a microchip from a potato chip!”). Jazz’s special attack debuts in this one (its one of my personal favorites), and Optimus’ secondary components, Roller and his laser turret, make a rare appearance as well. Not a ground-breaking episode, but a decent-enough one.



Japan Title: “The Micro Suicide Squad”
US Airdate: 10-7-85
Japan Airdate: 12-27-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: David Wise

Synopsis: In South America, an archeology crew stumbles upon the Nemesis, the starship the Decepticons used to chase the Ark from Cybertron to Earth 4 million years ago. Soundwave catches the broadcast and alerts Megatron. The Decepticons head to South America to retrieve a special item from the ship. At the Autobot base, Brawn is giving Perceptor a hard time about being a scientist and not a warrior. Teletran-1 picks up the broadcast about the Nemesis and the Autobots roll-out.

In South America, the Decepticons find the Nemesis and Megatron removes its power source, the Heart of Cybertron. Hook installs the Heart of Cybertron into Megatron, giving him immense power. The Autobots show up too late and Megatron completely trashes them with his new-found power. The Autobots quickly bury the Decepticons in an avalanche and retreat. The Decepticons dig themselves out and prepare a full-scale attack on the Ark.

The Autobots repair themselves and prepare for Megatron’s attack. Perceptor concocts a plan to shrink a squad of Autobots down, enter Megatron’s body and remove the Heart of Cybertron. Optimus orders Brawn and Bumblebee to accompany Perceptor and sends the shrunken Autobots out on-board Powerglide. Out in the desert, the Decepticons have a pre-victory celebration, guzzling Energon. They over-energize and becoming completely drunk and incoherent. Powerglide then makes his move and dumps the tiny Autobots onto Megatron. Megatron hears Powerglide and wakes up. He informs the Decepticons to attack but they’re too inebriated to give chase and pass-out. Megatron decides to attack the Ark all on his own and leaves immediately.

Inside his body, Perceptor Brawn and Bumblebee head toward Megatron’s chest. Perceptor warns them that they only have 2 hours before the shrink-effects wear off. Meanwhile, Megatron attacks the Ark and wastes all the Autobots with ease. Optimus, Wheeljack and Ratchet divert all power to a small force-field, but it won’t last long under Megatron’s attack. Eventually, the Autobots find the Heart of Cybertron, and with much effort, manage to disconnect it. They exit Megatron’s body just as they enlarge and the de-powered Megatron retreats. Perceptor discovers the Heart of Cybertron is ready to detonate and Brawn hurls it into the sky. Perceptor tracks it in microscope-mode and blasts it with a missile at the last second, destroying it. Brawn then admits that Perceptor, a scientist, is just as much a hero as any warrior.

Notes: The Nemesis crash-landed on Earth in “More than Meets the Eye part 1”. In Beast Wars, it was brought back on-line by Megatron II in “The Nemesis part 1” but was crashed once again in “The Nemesis part 2”. This episode marks the first time Transformers are shown getting drunk from over-energizing, a concept that would reappear frequently in the Japanese shows.

Errors: Perceptor is shown to have a Decepticon insignia on his chest during the scene in the Ark where he says “I can’t go.” At the end, Perceptor talks in Brawn’s voice about the Heart of Cybertron detonating.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Soundwave, Megatron, Perceptor, Brawn, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Thundercracker, Starscream, Rumble, Mixmaster, Ravage, Hook, Cliffjumper, Bluestreak, Huffer, Smokescreen, Windcharger, Hoist, Gears, Wheeljack, Longhaul, Scrapper, Powerglide, Skywarp, Laserbeak, Warpath.

Notable Others: Sparkplug, Teletran-1.

Review: Easily one of the best and most memorable episodes of the season. It answers just what happened to the Nemesis after it crashed on Earth and is appreciated more now due to its connection to Beast Wars. The animation in this episode is possibly the best of the entire season; absolutely gorgeous. Megatron’s attack on the Ark is probably the best-looking part of the episode, though the rest of the scenes are beautiful, too. The Decepticons getting s***-faced on Energon is one of the most memorable scenes of the series, and certainly the best part of the episode. David Wise does a great job with Decepticon banter in this episode, from Rumble and Starscream having a humorous argument in the jungles of South America, to Megatron’s incoherent drunken ramblings in the desert (“Errggh I remember the good ole daysh back on Shybertron…didn’t haveta walk around in theesh ugly formsh…” “Go Shybertron! Land of the…Metal…ugghh…”). Definitely one of the “Must see” episodes of the season.


“The Master Builders”

Japan Title: “Master Builder”
US Airdate: 10-8-85
Japan Airdate: 11-22-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: David N. Gottlieb and Herb Englehardt

Synopsis: Grapple has finished the designs on his greatest creation: the Solar Power Tower, a structure capable of producing mass quantities of solar energy. Grapple and Hoist present the designs to Optimus, who regretfully declines permission to build it due to the threat of Decepticons using the energy from the tower for their own reasons. Elsewhere, Powerglide is attacked by Skywarp but manages to escape, though his wing is damaged. Hoist and the depressed Grapple roll-out and repair Powerglide.

On their way back they’re approached by the Constructicons, who say they’re willing to leave the Decepticon ranks and help them build their Solar Power Tower. Grapple demands proof of their sincerity, and so the Constructicons head back to Decepticon HQ to rustle-up some Energon. Megatron, having overheard their conversation, prepares to execute the Constructicons. The Constructicons quickly reveal that it was a plot to steal the Tower from the Autobots and so Megatron willingly gives them the Energon they need. The Constructicons return to Grapple and Hoist with the Energon and construction on the Solar Power Tower begins.

Back at base, Optimus is owning all the Autobots in a 1-on-3 game of basketball when Teletran-1 reports Grapple and Hoist’s dealings with the Constructicons. Optimus and a group of Autobots head out to see what’s up. Back at the Power Tower, Grapple and Hoist have finally finished their work. As soon as they’re done, Megatron ambushes them and takes them prisoner. The Decepticons then begin to create Energon cubes at a rapid pace. The Autobots show up just in time but are quickly attacked by Devastator. Devastator beats them all down until Smokescreen tricks him into falling over onto the Power Tower, destroying it and sending the Decepticons into retreat. The Autobots search the wreckage of the Tower and rescue Grapple and Hoist. Grapple and Hoist apologize for their naivety and Optimus forgives them, though he orders them to clean-up the remains of the Tower all on their own as punishment.

Notes: Mixmaster’s insane, repetitive voice has returned once again.

Errors: Megatron angrily questions the Constructicons’ loyalty. Shouldn’t he be a little more understanding, considering he screwed their brains up with the Robo-Smasher in “The Secret of Omega Supreme” and the Autobots made it even worse with the Dominator Discs in “The Core”? When Megatron deploys Ramjet to attack Powerglide, he’s shown to be bigger than an entire mountain range.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Powerglide, Skywarp, Starscream, Grapple, Hoist, Wheeljack, Optimus Prime, Scrapper, Hook, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Longhaul, Mixmaster, Megatron, Dirge, Smokescreen, Inferno, Tracks, Brawn, Ironhide, Cliffjumper, Devastator, Ramjet.

Notable Others: Spike, Teletran-1.

Review: One of the better episodes spotlighting the Constructicons. They’re shown to sympathize with the Autobots on numerous occasions, though this time it’s left hazy whether they really wanted to help Grapple and Hoist out of admiration or if they were working undercover all along. It’s great to see Prime take such an interest in Earth culture, namely basketball. He’s shown through-out the episode playing around with a basketball even when he’s just chilling in front of Teletran-1. Stuff like this is what occasionally made Prime so much fun. The animation is pretty good, save for that size-scale mess-up with Ramjet. The Constructicons’ first transformation into Devastator was very impressive. Then there’s the spotlight on Grapple and Hoist, the most attention either of them will get until “Hoist goes Hollywood”. A nice look at just how dedicated Grapple is to his work and just how good a friend Hoist is.


“The Insecticon Syndrome”

Japan Title: “Insectron Syndrome”
US Airdate: 10-9-85
Japan Airdate: 11-29-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Douglas Booth

Synopsis: Spike and a team of Autobots go to a redwood forest to investigate sightings of giant bugs. The Insecticons have been camping out there, feasting on the trees. The Insecticons and Autobots have a skirmish but are interrupted by Megatron and the Decepticons. Megatron offers to help them attack the NOVA Power Plant so they can devour the energy core, but only if they then help him attack the military installation, Iron Mountain, and steal its secrets. The Insecticons agree and take off for the NOVA Power Plant, unaware that the Autobots heard every word.

The Autobots meet up with the Decepticons at the Power Plant but are unable to keep the Insecticons from eating the power core. The energy causes the Insecticons to increase in size and power. The Insecticons plan to over-throw Megatron, and Soundwave overhears them. Before he can report their treason, Bombshell plants a cerebro shell in Soundwave’s noggin and turns him into their slave. The Insecticons and Decepticons leave for Iron Mountain. On the way, Megatron tells Soundwave that once they’ve secured the military secrets he plans to destroy the Insecticons. The Insecticons overhear this and plot against Megatron.

At the Ark, the Autobots discover that the energy the Insecticons ate has made them extremely unstable and that, unless they are cured, they will explode and destroy everything around them. Wheeljack and Ratchet get busy on a cure while the Autobots head to Iron Mountain. The Autobots arrive too late, Soundwave has downloaded all the data from the mother computer and Bombshell has planted cerebro shells in all the Decepticons except Megatron. Megatron teams up with Optimus but they are out-numbered until Wheeljack and Ratchet arrive with the antidote. Optimus takes Megatron in gun-mode, loads him with the cure, and manages to save Kickback and Bombshell just in time.

However, the cure only keeps Shrapnel from going nuclear, but not from self-destructing. Soundwave is damaged during the fight and loses all the information he downloaded. Bombshell uses a ray-device to instantly rebuild Shrapnel and the Insecticons retreat, with an angry horde of Decepticons right on their trail. Spike jokes that, while the Insecticons gave the Autobots so much trouble, they BUGGED Megatron even more. And everybody laughs like they have nothing better to do.

Errors: Inside the Ark, Jazz has a red Decepticon insignia on his chest for some reason.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Beachcomber, Hound, Bumblebee, Kickback, Shrapnel, Bombshell, Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Wheeljack, Ratchet, Ironhide, Inferno, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw.

Notable Others: Spike.

Review: I love the Insecticons. Their uneasy, free-lancing relationship with the Decepticons always made their appearances in the original series so interesting. Their banter amongst themselves, especially in this episode, is a riot. The episode was great if you’re an Insecticon fan, like me. Otherwise, you probably won’t find much interest in the thin story. Also, any of you ever see that movie “Critters”, where the alien monsters eat everything in their path, and the more they eat the bigger they get? Probably not, but this episode kinda reminded me of that movie. Oh, and Spike, the Thundercats called. They want their joke back. Dork.


“Day of the Machines”

Japan Title: “The Computer Rebellion”
US Airdate: 10-10-85
Japan Airdate: N/A
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: David Wise

Synopsis: Megatron and Soundwave infiltrate a military base and reprogram the experimental super computer, Torq III, into working for the Decepticons. Torq has the power to control other machines via remote once they’re attached with specially designed circuit-linker cards. Megatron has Torq install the circuits into all the military hardware on the base and lock all the employees in their offices. Dr. Paul Gates, creator of Torq, manages to get a distress signal out to the Autobots.

Back at base, the Autobots get the distress signal, and at the same time, Teletran-1 alerts them to a swarm of hijacked oil-tankers converging above the Decepticon headquarters. Optimus sends Skyfire, Hound and Spike to investigate the tankers while he and a squad of Autobots go to take out Torq III. The Autobots engage Torq’s numerous machines and eventually call the Dinobots in for support. They defeat his outer defenses and Optimus goes inside the base to meet Torq face-to-face.

At the oil-pumping platform above the Decepticon headquarters, Spike, Hound and Skyfire are captured. They manage to escape their cell and shut off the force-field dome surrounding the platform. At the military base, Optimus succeeds in finding Torq and punching his lights out. The Autobots then head-out aboard an experimental hydrofoil Dr. Gates gives them and reach the oil-pumping platform. The Autobots free the tankers from Decepticon control and send the enemy packing. Megatron sets the platform to self-destruct and the Autobots escape just in time. They return the hydrofoil to Dr. Gates, who says he won’t reactivate Torq until he’s certain the machine is 100% tamper-proof.

Production Notes: This episode was never aired on television in Japan. It was later dubbed and released on laser disk and retroactively worked into the episode list.

Errors: The security guard at the military base takes items out of somebody’s office (on their desk, no less) and puts them in the lost and found. What is wrong with him? Teletran-1 shows the Decepticon base to be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, when as previously shown, it’s actually off the coast of Oregon in the Pacific Ocean. I don’t think the animators at Toei were aware that the crane Megatron was using to haul oil out of the tankers was supposed to be Hook, as they color it yellow in every scene, never show it making any sentient movement, and it doesn’t appear to have any mobile treads. Yet it IS Hook, as it talks in his voice and is addressed as such by Hound. A very strange animation error.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Soundwave, Laserbeak, Megatron, Rumble, Frenzy, Optimus Prime, Hound, Skyfire, Wheeljack, Prowl, Sideswipe, Ironhide, Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Hook (sorta), Ravage, Starscream, Thundercracker.

Notable Others: Torq III (first and only appearance), Dr. Paul Gates (first and only appearance), Teletran-1, Spike, Sparkplug.

Review: This episode wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for Torq being nothing but a glorified diversion (as Megatron had built a remote control device to control the oil-tankers, thus making Torq redundant). And why didn’t Swoop accompany the rest of the Dinobots to the military base when they were summoned? I didn’t include that in the “errors” segment, as it’s not really an error, it’s just weird. Overall, it was your standard Saturday Morning plot with nothing particularly exciting in any department.


“Megatron’s Master Plan, Part 1”

Japan Title: “Megatron’s Plan to Rule the Earth part 1”
US Airdate: 10-14-85
Japan Airdate: 1-10-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: The Mayor of Central City proudly unveils a new solar energy plant donated by his former election competitor, Sean Berger. Sean Berger watches the ceremony and is pleased when Starscream, Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust arrive to attack the plant. The plant turns out to be a fake, and tanks full of Berger’s private security force exit the building and attack the Decepticons. The Decepticons trash them and the Mayor calls for the Autobots. The Autobots arrive and take down the four Seekers, sending them into retreat. The Mayor is grateful for the rescue and declares a formal celebration of their heroics in the form of an “Autobots Day”.

Berger is enraged and fears the bad publicity, when he is kidnapped by Laserbeak. Laserbeak takes him to see Megatron, who tells him that the Decepticons are actually the good guys and the Autobots are evil. He asks Berger to help them regain their “good name” and reveal the Autobots for the villains they are. Berger demands proof so Megatron takes him to an oil field where Berger films an army of Autobots stealing energy. Megatron and the Decepticons heroically arrive and drive-off the Autobots, successfully convincing Berger.

In Central City, the Autobots are the star attraction of a parade in their honor. As the Mayor congratulates them for their heroics, Sean Berger interrupts the video feed with the tape of the Autobots raiding the oil field. Megatron edits in some extra footage of the Autobots using a ray gun to turn the Decepticons evil and Optimus Prime-himself revealing his plot to crush the Decepticons and rule the Earth. Public opinion of the Autobots changes immediately, and the Autobots (along with Sparkplug, Spike and Chip) return to the Ark. Shortly after returning, the Autobots are arrested by the Central City police force, lead by the mayor and Sean Berger. Not wanting a fight, Optimus Prime complies.

The Autobots are put on trial as the Decepticons watch on happily. As Sean Berger testifies against them as an eye-witness, Spike sneaks into Berger’s video vault to search for more evidence, though Soundwave ejects Ravage to go after him. The trial concludes and the Autobots are found guilty and banished from Earth. The Autobots board a spacecraft built by Sean Berger and leave the planet, as Prime believes that battling the Decepticons now would only further to smear their own reputation. Meanwhile, in the video vault, Spike finds the uncut footage of the oil field raid and discovers that the Autobots were really the Decepticons in elaborate costumes. As he learns this, Megatron tampers with the spaceship’s navigation coordinates and sends it toward the sun.

Production Notes: In the Japanese version of the episode, the beginning of the Autobot Day Parade (the shot of the banner, Spike, Sparkplug and Chip cheering, and the Marching Band with Autobot Day drums) is completely cut. This was most likely another time-cut, but specifically chosen because, in Japan, the Autobots are called the “Cybertrons”.

Errors: Where did everybody get the rotten fruit to throw at the Autobots all of a sudden? Weren’t they just celebrating a parade? Starscream is revealed to have been disguised as Prime, yet during the fight in the oil field, Starscream was also flying around with the other Seekers saying things like “I will avenge you!” Maybe it was another clone, like in “A Prime Problem”?

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Starscream, Dirge, Ramjet, Thrust, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Warpath, Smokescreen, Bumblebee, Tracks, Laserbeak, Megatron, Soundwave, Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, Brawn, Jazz, Hound, Mirage, Cliffjumper, Ratchet, Gears, Windcharger, Red Alert, Grapple, Bluestreak, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Ravage, Prowl, Blaster, Inferno, Beachcomber.

Notable Others: Sean Berger (first appearance), May or Central City (first appearance), Spike, Sparkplug, Chip Chase, Teletran-1.

Review: Welcome to part 1 of possibly the most ridiculous, nonsense-packed, intellectually- insulting multi-parter of the entire season. Megatron’s Master Plan is to destroy the Autobots… through bad publicity! But I thought there was no such thing as bad publicity? Well, apparently, there’s enough of it to convince the entire United States that the Autobots are evil and the Decepticons are cool in under five minutes. I think the humans deserved to get destroyed by the Decepticons if they’re that idiotic. Not that the Autobots are much smarter, agreeing to leave the freakin’ planet in a heartbeat. It’s like they were looking for any excuse they could find to ditch Earth. Man, this episode is bad. And to make things worse, there’s 2 of em.


“Megatron’s Master Plan, Part 2”

Japan Title: “Megatron’s Plan to Rule the Earth part 2”
US Airdate: 10-15-85
Japan Airdate: 1-17-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: The Decepticons are treated to a Decepticon Day parade in their honor as Earth’s new heroes. The Decepticons gradually earn more human trust by attending various publicity events. Out in space, the Autobots ship heads closer towards the Sun. Prime and Cosmos try to redirect it, but due to Megatron’s tampering with Teletran-1, are unable to take control. The ship comes too close to the Sun and explodes as Megatron and Sean Berger watch via satellite transmission. In the video vault, Spike manages to escape Ravage with the video proof that would clear the Autobots name. Spike shows it to the Mayor of Central City who wants to show it to the public as soon as possible.

As Spike, Sparkplug, Chip and the Mayor arrive at the TV studio, Megatron and the Decepticons show up to do a press announcement. Megatron reveals his true intentions to enslave humanity and take over the world. Spike is attacked by Ravage and Laserbeak, and Sean Berger (now realizing how evil the Decepticons really are) attempts to rescue him. Megatron calls off the Cassette troops and decides Spike would make a better slave. Berger asks about his reward for helping, and Megatron tells him he will get all that he earned.

The people of Central City are put to work in various energy plants, harvesting Energon Cubes. Berger is put to work as a slave as well, and isn’t very popular among the other humans. Chip wants to use Teletran-1 to signal the Autobots but needs to escape. Spike shoves a pile of Energon cubes into Rumble, creating a diversion while Chip flees. Chip hitches a ride on a truck while Megatron orders Thrust to retrieve him.

Out in space, Trailbreaker has been keeping the Autobots alive with his force-field while Cosmos attempts to tow them back to Earth. Unfortunately, his guidance systems are also controlled by Teletran-1. Chip makes it back to the Ark and learns that the Autobots ship was destroyed. He checks to see if Cosmos is still alive, and reprograms his guidance system just as Thrust arrives and destroys Teletran-1. Back in control, Cosmos pulls all the Autobots back toward Earth.

Chip is returned to work in the energy plant under stricter supervision. Airforce jets arrive to battle the Decepticons but are quickly defeated by Starscream and the other Seekers. Decepticon supremacy seems assured when the Autobots finally arrive in full force. The Decepticons are out-numbered and retreat, freeing Central City. The Mayor personally thanks the Autobots and Sean Berger is brought to justice.

Notes: Sean Berger never appears in the cartoon again, however, he does return in the Binaltech storyline written by Hirofumi Ichikawa and released exclusively in Japan. However, he is named as “Sean Berger Jr.”, leaving some debate on whether it is him or is son.

Errors: The video Spike has of Optimus unmasking himself as Starscream shows the event taking place in a city and not an oilfield. Teletran-1 misspells “Cosmos” as “Cosms”.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, Scrapper, Longhaul, Hook, Bonecrusher, Mixmaster, Scavenger, Ravage, Rumble, Laserbeak, Cosmos (first appearance), Ironhide, Optimus Prime, Hound, Huffer, Cliffjumper, Prowl, Jazz, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Skywarp, Windcharger, Mirage, Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, Dirge, Ramjet, Thrust, Blitzwing, Astrotrain (first appearance), Trailbreaker, Gears, Brawn, Inferno, Hoist, Beachcomber, Powerglide, Red Alert, Seaspray, Bluestreak, Tracks, Warpath.

Notable Others: Sean Berger, Mayor of Central City, Sparkplug, Chip, Spike, Teletran-1.

Review: Well, at least it’s over. When the Mayor sees the footage of the Autobots revealing themselves as Decepticons, he says “How could we have been so stupid?” That’s a good question. Just about the only good thing this episode offers is the intense city-wide destruction that Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust inflict on Central City. It’s animated extremely well and not the sorta thing you see in today’s Post 9-11 cartoons. Really cool, but not nearly enough to save this episode.


“Auto Berserk”

Japan Title: “Capture the Negavator!”
US Airdate: 10-16-85
Japan Airdate: 12-20-85
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Antoni Zalewski

Synopsis: At a military bunker, the Autobots are testing out a new piece of heavy artillery, the Negavator. Soundwave and his Cassette forces attack and attempt to take the Negavator. Optimus Prime and the Autobots fend him off, while Inferno and Red Alert guard the bunker. Rumble takes control of the Negavator and prepares to shoot Prime. Inferno leaves the bunker and blasts Rumble out of the machine, saving Prime’s life. As the Decepticons retreat, Rumble shoots a missile down into the bunker, directly into Red Alert’s computer console. The explosion buries Red Alert in debris and heavily damages his reason and logic circuits. Hoist rescues Red Alert, who now believes that Inferno ditched him as a ploy to get him killed.

The Autobots leave the bunker to relocate the Negavator. Megatron shows up with reinforcements and manages to sneak up on the Autobots due to Red Alert’s damaged early-warning circuitry. The Autobots fend them off and reclaim the Negavator, though Megatron leaves an injured Starscream behind. Optimus demands that Red Alert receive immediate repairs, but Red Alert believes they’re going to disassemble him and quickly makes a break for it. The Autobots chase after him as Starscream watches the whole ordeal. Red Alert takes cover in the city and meets up with Starscream. Starscream plays on his psychotic paranoia and they form an alliance to steal the Negavator.

The Autobots return to the military bunker and store the Negavator deep down in sub-level 9. Red Alert and Starscream sneak in through the repair ducts but accidentally set-off the alarms. The Autobots go to see what’s up and Red Alert fires on them with the Negavator. As he and Starscream attempt to drive it out of the bunker, Megatron and the Decepticons show up. Starscream, intimidated by Megatron, claims he was using Red Alert to steal it for the Decepticons. Red Alert and Starscream get into a fight and Starscream blasts him with his null ray. The null ray temporarily calms Red Alert’s damaged logic circuits and he gets his wits together. Red Alert then jumps inside the Negavator and sets it to self-destruct. The Autobots and Decepticons flee the bunker as it explodes, but Red Alert is left behind. The Autobots fear for his life, and Inferno rushes back into the flames, feeling responsible for Red Alert’s predicament. Inferno rescues Red Alert, and he realizes that the Autobots were his friends all along.

Errors: Soundwave ejects Laserbeak but calls him “Buzzsaw”. At the end, Red Alert’s lips keep moving long after he’s finished talking.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Smokescreen, Soundwave, Grapple, Red Alert, Hoist, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, Laserbeak, Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Dirge, Thrust, Skywarp, Ramjet.

Review: Oh man, I love this episode. Red Alert going bat-s*** crazy just steals the episode and makes it a total riot to watch. The overall plot isn’t anything special (Megatron wants to steal a death-ray, “oh boy”), so the entire thing is carried by Red Alert’s nuttiness. You kinda sympathize with him, too. He kept telling Inferno to stay behind because he needed back-up, and what happens as soon as Inferno leaves? Red Alert gets blasted with a missile. Then it only makes things worse when all the Autobots appear to take his side. It’s no wonder Red Alert went freakin’ insane. A very fun episode and one of the better installments in season 2.


“City of Steel”

Japan Title: “Steel City”
US Airdate: 10-17-85
Japan Airdate: 12-13-85
Animation: Akom Studio
Credited Writer: Douglas Booth

Synopsis: In Manhattan, Megatron begins his latest evil plot by having the Constructicons sink the Empire State Building deep below the ground. The Autobots get wind of this and head to New York to investigate, but Megatron ambushes them in Central Park. During the fight, Optimus is taken prisoner and disassembled. Megatron orders the Autobots to leave the city or else he will kill their leader. The Autobots retreat but sneak back in through the sewer system.

Back in Manhattan, Megatron unveils the totality of his plot; to rebuild New York into New Cybertron. And he starts by returning the rebuilt Empire State Building to the surface and sets it up as a command center. Meanwhile, the Constructicons use Prime’s disassembled parts as material for various creations. The Autobots, searching for Prime, happen upon an “Alligatorcon” in the sewers and manage to avoid it. After recovering Prime’s head they realize what the Alligatorcon really was and chase it down. They find Prime’s legs and Ratchet puts him back together, good as new, save for a missing arm.

The Autobots return to the surface of New York and make their way to the Empire State Building. Megatron unleashes various traps to stop them, including an army of Battle Taxis, gun turrets, pitfalls and even Prime’s arm and laser cannon, situated at the top of the Empire State Building. The Autobots make it to the building and begin scaling the side of it. Megatron sicks Devastator on them but he is blown off the top of the Empire State Building once Optimus regains control of his arm and gun. Defeated, the Decepticons flee and the Autobots return New York to its original form.

Production Notes: This is the first episode of the series to be animated by Korean studio, Akom. Akom Studio is owned by Nelson Shin, producer of the Transformers series.

Notes: Mixmaster’s lava bath from the end of “Heavy Metal War” seems to have disrupted his circuits, causing him to now talk in hyper-active sets of threes. In the G1 cartoon universe, a “Minicon” is a unit of measurement, as opposed to the Armada cartoon universe, where they are a race of tiny power-boosting Transformers.

Errors: Holy crap, where do I start? Firstly, Longhaul says “I didn’t join this outfit to be a dump truck”. According to “The Secret of Omega Supreme”, he was a dump truck 4 million years ago on Cybertron, and he never “joined” Megatron’s army, he was brain-washed. Megatron must have stolen technology from the Mole Man or something, because physically, buildings just don’t sink into the ground completely intact like that. When Scrapper is attacking Optimus from beneath Central Park, when he slams into the ceiling of the cavern, the cracks run out of the rock and over the picture, making it look like your TV screen is cracking. One zap to Optimus’ chest-grill severs his motor-relays and completely paralyses him? When Soundwave reports to Megatron that the rebuilt Empire State Building is completed, Megatron replied “Excellent, Scrapper!” Scrapper says they used Optimus’ parts “creatively” yet they appear to have just used his legs to prop up a cruddy coffee table. When Scrapper is bragging about the gun-turrets he’s setting up to ambush the Autobots, Michael Bell talks using his Sideswipe-voice instead of his Scrapper-voice. “This Alligator is BIG and HEAVY!” “From the looks of it, I’d say a little of both.” What the Hell!? Sideswipe says “It’s starting to SOUND real good!” in reference to Prime’s arrival in battle, yet Prime doesn’t make any noise at all. When Optimus meets up with Ironhide at the Empire State Building, he says “That’s the way to COOL it, Ironhide!” I imagine that was supposed to be a pun on Ironhide’s liquid nitrogen gun, but the problem is, Ironhide was just standing there doing nothing. Sideswipe says “I didn’t know Decepticons had uncles!” Yet family-dynamics are common-place among the Transformers. Just ask his “brother”, Sunstreaker. So while Prime, Ironhide and Ratchet scale the side of the building…Spike and Bumblebee just go in the front entrance and take the elevator? I guess that’s doing things the easy way. Apparently, Ratchet attaches Optimus’ arm AFTER the Autobots rebuild New York City. Because Prime is just that lazy.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Laserbeak, Soundwave, Scavenger, Hook, Scrapper, Megatron, Bonecrusher, Longhaul, Mixmaster, Optimus Prime, Bluestreak, Ratchet, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Trailbreaker, Hound, Mirage, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Reflector, Rumble, Frenzy, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Starscream, Jazz, Devastator, Buzzsaw (first appearance).

Notable Others: Spike, Sparkplug.

Review: What in the name of God just happened? I should really just skip the whole “review” portion of this and just let you gather my opinion from the extensive “errors” segment. The episode is complete nonsense (more-so than usual) and Akom’s first attempt at Transformer animation results in one of the ugliest episodes in the series. And they don’t really improve much, either. On the bright side, this is a GREAT episode to watch if you’re looking for a campy B-movie type of Transformers experience. Moments such as “This alligator’s big and heavy!” and “That’s the way to COOL it, Ironhide!” are comedy gold on the MST3K-scale. But this episode is still utter crap. So why am I giving it 2 stars instead of 1? Because no matter how bad “City of Steel” is, it’s still not as bad as “Carnage in C-Minor” or “The Girl who Loved Powerglide”.


“Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 1”

Japan Title: “Desertion of the Dinobots part 1”
US Airdate: 10-21-85
Japan Airdate: 1-24-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Earl Kress

Synopsis: The Autobots are overseeing a military project to create a new fighter plane capable of effectively combating the Decepticons. Megatron and Starscream destroy the plane and then attempt to steal the blueprints so another one can never be built. They are defeated and retreat to their secret base located in an airport hangar. At the same time, Spike, Carly and Bumblebee arrive at the airport to pick up Sparkplug and recognize the jets arriving as Decepticons. They contact the Autobots who send out the Dinobots to help. The Dinobots arrive and battle the Decepticons but are severely injured when Megatron detonates all the aircraft at once. The Decepticons escape and the Autobots return the Dinobots back to base for repairs.

As the Dinobots are being repaired, the Autobots fix the damage done to the airport. Once they are operational again, Grimlock exclaims he’s fed up with being Optimus Prime’s lackey and the Dinobots storm out of the Ark. Elsewhere, the Decepticons start tumbling out of the sky, uncontrollably. Thinking that they’re malfunction was due to some bad Energon, the Decepticons raid a power plant for a fresh supply. The Autobots arrive to battle them and everybody starts malfunctioning (transforming out of control, losing speech capabilities, special powers not operating properly, etc). Both the Autobots and the Decepticons retreat back to their bases to find out what the problem is.

Perceptor, luckily stuck in microscope mode, discovers that all the Transformers on Earth are suffering from a depletion of a vital element called Cybertonium, which gradually dissolved over the 4 million years they were stuck on the planet. The only place to get more Cybertonium is Cybertron, so Spike, Sparkplug and Carly manage to coax the Dinobots (who were built on Earth, thus not suffering from the problem) into raiding a shipment being beamed down from the Decepticon Spacebridge. The Dinobots attack the Spacebridge, maneuver past the Constructicons and head off to Cybertron, leaving behind the Cybertonium. Sparkplug contacts Grimlock to inquire what happened, and Grimlock says the Dinobots aren’t coming back. With no other choice left, Sparkplug gives Spike a communication device and Spike and Carly head off to Cybertron on their own. But as they arrive through the Spacebridge receiver on Cybertron in Carly’s convertible, Shockwave is waiting for them with guns ready.

Notes: Cybertron appears to no longer be located near Earth, as it was last seen in relatively close vicinity in “Countdown to Extinction”, following the events of “The Ultimate Doom”. The fact that new-comers such as Blitzwing, Perceptor and Powerglide are suffering from Cybertonium-depletion would indicate that they’d been stuck on Earth for 4 million years, thus having been around the whole time…somewhere.

Errors: How could Ironhide and Blaster not notice Soundwave sitting in Ironhide’s trunk. Optimus Prime tells Grapple “We all make mistakes” to which Grapple replies “Not me. Not like this”. Has Grapple already forgotten his HUGE mistake from “The Master Builders”? Shockwave appears to have a miniature version of himself in gun-mode.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Optimus Prime, Jazz, Hound, Mirage, Ironhide, Soundwave, Ravage, Blaster, Megatron, Starscream, Bumblebee, Thundercracker, Thrust, Wheeljack, Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop, Blitzwing, Rumble, Skywarp, Red Alert, Hoist, Inferno, Ratchet, Powerglide, Grapple, Perceptor, Longhaul, Scrapper, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Hook, Bonecrusher, Devastator, Shockwave.

Notable Others: Spike, Carly, Sparkplug, Teletran-1.

Review: A good beginning to a potentially interesting story. The scene at the power plant where all the Autobots and Decepticons start malfunctioning is one of my favorite moments in the season. Mirage thinking he’s invisible and getting decked in the face, Ironhide freezing himself with his own liquid nitrogen, Ravage accidentally transforming into cassette-mode and getting dumped into a trashcan by Optimus, etc. Pretty funny stuff. The whole concept of the Transformers suffering from depletion of an element found only on Cybertron makes for an interesting story, especially considering that the Autobots have a much harder time getting to Cybertron than the Decepticons. The actual desertion of the Dinobots appears to have a much larger focus in the next episode. Overall, a good episode.


“Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 2”

Japan Title: “Desertion of the Dinobots part 2”
US Airdate: 10-22-85
Japan Airdate: 1-31-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Earl Kress

Synopsis: Spike and Carly manage to avoid Shockwave’s laser blast as they arrive on Cybertron via the Spacebridge, though Carly’s convertible is destroyed. Shockwave chases them around until they duck for cover inside the Decepticons mother computer. With help from Sparkplug and Teletran-1, Spike and Carly navigate their way out of the computer. They sneak into Wheeljack’s workshop in hopes of finding Cybertonium but come across none. They meet up with Swoop who tells them that all the other Dinobots were taken prisoner as soon as they arrived on Cybertron.

Spike, Carly and Swoop, using directions from Sparkplug, take the Cybertron transportation tubes deep down into the planet to try and reach the Cybertonium pits. The tube system turns out to be damaged and the trio has to walk the rest of the way. After avoiding numerous booby traps and stumbling upon the wrecks of ancient Cybertronian drones, they find an ancient viewing room. They watch a historical documentary explaining the Decepticons initial attack on the Autobots, the Autobots creating the Transformation technique, shows many Autobots fleeing Cybertron, and relates the fact that over millions of years both Autobots and Decepticons have claimed victory in the war. As soon as the movie concludes, the three are taken prisoner by an army of Shockwave’s warrior drones.

Spike, Carly and Swoop are taken to the Cybertonium Pits to mine for Cybertonium and meet up with the rest of the Dinobots. The Dinobots appear to have had their memory circuits rearranged, making them slaves and incapable of transforming. Carly repairs them and the Dinobots realize that helping others isn’t such a bad thing. The Dinobots help Carly and Spike escape the pits and return to the surface. At the Ark, Sparkplug has constructed a temporary Spacebridge receiver and Teletran-1 has overridden the next Spacebridge transmission of Cybertonium. The Dinobots, Spike and Carly make it past Shockwave and enter the Spacebridge at the last second. They are transported back to the Ark with enough Cybertonium to repair all the Autobots. Grateful, Optimus Prime officially declares Spike and Carly as Honorary Autobots and congratulates the Dinobots for saving the day.

Notes: Wheeljack’s lab first appeared in “Divide and Conquer”. The ancient Cybertronian drones Carly comes across and considers to be the ancestors of the Autobots are likely old first generation creations of the Quintessons, as revealed in “The Five Faces of Darkness”. The documentary claims that many Autobots fled Cybertron during the Great War, a concept that would come heavily into play during the Japanese Headmasters series. Cybertron is shown to have a completely organic core where Cybertonium is mined. This would be a crucial plot point in the Beast Machines series. Spike and Carly are officially made Honorary Autobots in this episode.

Errors: Shockwave’s “Mini Me” gun, seen at the end of last episode, is suddenly missing at the beginning of this one. There’s no explosion when Shockwave fires on Carly’s convertible, yet there was one at the end of last episode. Why is there a human-sized ladder in the middle of the Decepticon mother computer?

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Shockwave, Bumblebee, Jazz, Brawn, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Cliffjumper, Megatron, Swoop, Slag, Sludge, Snarl, Grimlock, Optimus Prime, Huffer, Windcharger, Gears, Ironhide, Trailbreaker, Prowl, Bluestreak, Hound, Wheeljack.

Notable Others: Spike, Carly, Sparkplug, Teletran-1.

Review: A very educational episode in regards to the history of the Transformers. Through-out season 2, little snippets of the history of the Great War would be dropped in various episodes like “War Dawn” and “The Secret of Omega Supreme”, and the entire history would eventually be revealed in “The Five Faces of Darkness”. Still, this episode really got the ball rolling and all the little things Spike, Carly and Swoop stumble upon while combing the tunnels of Cybertron are eventually played upon later. The Dinobots actually learn a decent lesson for once; without any friends or allies they got enslaved and brainwashed. So they’re quick resolution wasn’t as stupidly convenient as it would seem. Overall, this is the best multi-parter of the season.


“Blaster Blues”

Japan Title: “Broadcast Blues”
US Airdate: 10-23-85
Japan Airdate: 6-27-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Larry Strauss

Synopsis: Spike, Carly and Blaster are attending a rock concert. Blaster decides to share the music with his fellow Autobots and transmits it at high volumes directly through Teletran-1. The noise drives all the Autobots at the Ark crazy, save for Jazz. Elsewhere, a scientist is unveiling is Voltronic Galaxer, a device capable of turning human language into impulses capable of being decoded in any alien language. Megatron, Starscream and Thundercracker steal the device and take it to the Moon. Optimus Prime and all the Autobots tell Blaster to shut up so they can hear the scientist’s distress signal. They arrive too late and send Blaster and Cosmos out into space to investigate.

Blaster and Cosmos come across the Decepticon Moon base but are taken prisoner. Megatron decides to use Blaster’s advanced broadcasting abilities in unison with the Voltronic Galaxer to transmit a blocking field which disrupts all airwave transmissions on Earth. The resulting disruption causes chaos all over the planet, and the Autobots are dispatched to help. While helping land planes at an airport, Optimus is attacked by Thundercracker and Ramjet and is injured. Powerglide, Carly and Spike take him to Omega Supreme and attempt to repair him. On the way, Blaster sends a secret transmission during Megatron’s ransom demands and Spike and Carly recognize it as the music from the rock concert. Carly traces the transmission back to the Moon and Omega takes her, Spike, Powerglide and the injured Optimus Prime to their destination. Omega Supreme arrives and is kept busy by Astrotrain while Megatron attempts to kill the unconscious Optimus.

Optimus comes to at the last moment and engages Megatron in a fair fight. Unguarded, Blaster and Cosmos destroy the Voltronic Galaxer. Optimus and Omege Supreme defeat their opponents and the Decepticons flee from the Moon. Blaster requests that they turn the old Decepticon Moon base into an Autobot sub base. Optimus agrees, but tells Blaster to be more responsible with his volume from now on. Jokingly, Blaster cranks up the noise and the Autobots angrily chase him across the Moon.

Notes: The Voltronic Galaxer appeared in the G.I. Joe episode, “My Brother’s Keeper”, as one of Cobra’s evil weapons.

Errors: The railway maintenance workers are cutting the tree that fell on the tracks in half with a handsaw. Wouldn’t it just be easier to use a chainsaw? Likewise, the train that crashes is an old-timey steam locomotive and the engineer is dressed in the old fashioned duds (you know, with the tall striped hat). It’s like there was a time-warp or something. The entire gag at the end of the episode is ruined, as no music plays when Blaster cranks up his volume.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Blaster, Cosmos, Optimus Prime, Omega Supreme (first appearance), Jazz, Hoist, Thundercracker, Megatron, Starscream, Ironhide, Ratchet, Cliffjumper, Hound, Trailbreaker, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Mirage, Prowl, Astrotrain, Bumblebee, Huffer, Tracks, Powerglide, Ramjet.

Notable Others: Spike, Carly, Sparkplug, Teletran-1.

Review: An alright episode for Blaster’s first spotlight. The scene where all the Autobots keep screaming at him to shut up is rather funny. Omega Supreme makes his first appearance, and is animated remarkably well. Still annoying how his launch-pad somehow travels with him wherever he goes. I didn’t list that as an error because it’s the same as Prime’s trailer appearing and disappearing whenever he transforms. Overall, though, it’s a fairly forgettable episode featuring another one of Megatron’s wacky schemes that never work.


“A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur’s Court”

Japan Title: “Time Travelers”
US Airdate: 10-24-85
Japan Airdate: 2-7-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Douglas Booth

Synopsis: The Autobots and Decepticons are engaged in battle near a strange cave surrounded by a Stone Henge-like structure. Starscream, Rumble, Ravage and Ramjet duck for cover inside the cave and are magically transported to England of 543 AD. Low on Energy, they meet up with Sir Wagond of Blackthorne, a king who wishes to overthrow his enemy, Sir Aikling the Red. Aikling’s daughter, Nimue, overhears the allegiance and attempts to bring the information back to her father. Ravage pursues her and she bumps into Spike, who is accompanied by Warpath and Hoist.

Warpath, Hoist and Spike follow Nimue back to her father’s kingdom and find out that Aikling and Wagond’s dispute is over a broken fence. Wagond shows up and demands Aikling meet his new champion knight in a joust; Rumble riding atop Ramjet like a steed. Aikling reluctantly agrees and armors-up. Warpath agrees to act as his steed and Aikling defeats Rumble in the joust. Starscream is fed-up with the foolishness and kidnaps Nimue, demanding Aikling’s kingdom in return.

Wagond returns with the Decepticons to his castle only to have his gold be taken by Starscream and used to make wire for an electric dynamo. Once energized, Starscream creates charcoal while he sends Ramjet and Ravage to gather rock-salt and sulfur and gives Rumble the ugly task of acquiring potassium nitrate (mass quantities of bird crap). Starscream mixes the ingredients and creates gun powder to use against the on-coming forces of Aikling the Red and the low-on-energy Autobots. Meanwhile, Wagond admits to Nimue that he never wanted to start a war and the pair fall in love.

Aikling and the Autobots storm Wagond’s castle but are over-powered by the refreshed Decepticons and their gun-powder explosives. Merlin soon shows up and summons lightning from the sky which re-energizes the Autobots. Re-powered, the Autobots trash the Decepticons. They drag them back to the time gate only to find it guarded by a fearsome dragon. Merlin gives them some of his “Dragon’s Bane”, which turns out to be gun powder. Warpath fires the gun powder into the dragon’s fiery breath and it explodes, sending the dragon away. The Transformers and Spike return to the present and back into battle with the Decepticons. Starscream, um, “tackle-hugs” Megatron in his enthusiasm, ruining Megatron’s shot at Hoist and Warpath. Starscream wonders why Megatron isn’t happy to see him as Megatron screams in anger.

Notes: This episode, along with “Autobop”, are the only episodes in the first two seasons not to feature Optimus Prime.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Starscream, Ramjet, Rumble, Ravage, Warpath, Hoist, Megatron, Skywarp, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Reflector.

Notable Others: Nimue (first and only appearance), Sir Wagond (first and only appearance), Spike, Sir Aikling (first and only appearance), Merlin (first and only appearance).

Review: Wow, what a bad episode. I suppose the idea wasn’t so bad, but the voice-acting for all the ancient English characters is utterly frustrating. Every character seems to pronounce the names of the English people differently, so my spelling may not be precise. I think Warpath calls Merlin something that sounded like “Bayort” at the end but I can never tell just what the Hell that guy’s really saying, so I’m just going with “Merlin”, here. They fit in every Knights of the Round Table cliché they can think of, yet “King Arthur” never actually shows up in the episode. Rumble getting smothered in bird poop was an unexpected gag; the show usually didn’t get that low-brow. Overall, though…do yourself a favor and skip this one.


“The God Gambit”

Japan Title: “Sky Gods”
US Airdate: 10-28-85
Japan Airdate: 2-14-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: Buzz Dixon

Synopsis: On Saturn’s Moon, Titan, a primitive race of people are busy offering their meager crops to a fake Sky God conjured-up by the evil Jerro. Taleria, a warrior woman who sees through Jerro’s years of trickery, leads an assault on the temple and takes Jerro prisoner. Out in Titan’s orbit, Cosmos is being attacked by Astrotrain, Thrust and Starscream, who are after the energy resource information he’d gathered. Cosmos requests help from Optimus just as he’s shot-down onto Titan. Many of the villagers still believe in the Sky Gods, and Jerror convinces them further when Cosmos crashes near by. Astrotrain, Starscream and Thrust overhear the villagers and use their superstition to their advantage, claiming to be the Sky Gods. Astrotrain deactivates Cosmos and props him up inside the temple. He takes the energy information Cosmos had gathered and gets to deciphering it.

Talaria, overhearing Astrotrain, realizes that the Decepticons are not Sky Gods and manages to send an emergency transmission to the Autobot base while fiddling with Cosmos. Omega Supreme, Jazz and Perceptor are deployed to rescue Cosmos. Meanwhile, with the help of Jerro, Astrotrain learns that the energy resource Cosmos located was actually a mine full of energy crystals formed from electric lava on Titan. Astrotrain forces the villagers to mine the crystals as Jerro supervises.

The Autobots arrive, though Omega Supreme is de-energized by the trip and left dangling precariously over a pit of electric lava. Jazz and Perceptor meet up with Taleria and together attempt to rescue Cosmos. The Decepticons defeat the Autobots in battle and take Taleria prisoner. Astrotrain intends to have Jerro sacrifice her to prove that he’s a real God. The Autobots stumble upon the crystal mines and free all the slaves, revealing to the villagers that they’re Transformers, not Gods. They bring enough crystals back to Omega Supreme to refuel him and they then return to the temple with proper reinforcements. Omega Supreme trashes Starscream and Thrust while the Autobots rescue both Talaria and Cosmos. The battle ignites the crystal mines, causing a devastating explosion.

Astrotrain prepares to leave the planet when Jerro arrives and begs to be taken with him. Astrotrain tells him to “Stay here and die like the worm you are”, and Jerro is killed in the explosion. The exploding mine sinks the island the villagers inhabited into the sea of electric lava. The Autobots relocate the villagers to the mainland just in time. The people offer to worship the Autobots as Gods, but they respectfully decline.

Notes: The people of Titan are giants by human standards, roughly the same size as a Minibot.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Cosmos, Optimus Prime, Perceptor, Jazz, Astrotrain, Red Alert, Starscream, Thrust, Omega Supreme.

Notable Others: Jerro (first and only appearance), Talaria (first and only appearance).

Review: Not a bad episode, though I’m a little lost on what the moral is supposed to be. “Don’t worship false Gods or you will die in a horrible explosion”? Aside from that little piece of advice, the episode is pretty “meh”. It had some guts for a kids show in the 80’s, covering the complexities of religion and actually killing-off a bad guy at the end (even if he was a nobody). A surprisingly boring episode, though, despite those high-points.


“The Core”

Japan Title: “Defeat Devastar!”
US Airdate: 10-29-85
Japan Airdate: 6-20-86
Animation: Akom Studio
Credited Writer: Dennis Marks

Synopsis: The Decepticons have set up a temporary base in a cave. The Constructicons are drilling to the Earth’s core to tap the molten energies, though the process is causing dangerous tremors. Megatron sends Mixmaster to the surface to repair Scavenger’s geological detection circuits and they’re spotted by a group of Autobots. The Autobots and Decepticons fight, and the Autobots are easily defeated by the might of Devastator.

At the Ark, the Autobots complain that Devastator is too strong, and Chip and Wheeljack unveil their new device, the Dominator Disk. With it, they can make Devastator work for the Autobots. That night, the Autobots sneak into the cave and attach the disks to the Constructicons. Starscream prepares to stop them but Megatron orders him to let them escape. He knows of their plans and has already built an over-ride device. With it he’ll retake control of Devastator when the Autobots least suspect it.

The Autobots attack the Decepticons and take control of Devastator. With Devastator’s help, the Decepticons are defeated and sealed inside their cave. The Autobots leave to deal with repairs and the Decepticons continue drilling in secret. After repairs are made, the Autobots return to finish off the Decepticons. Megatron uses his over-ride device but it conflicts with the Dominator Disks and drives Devastator completely berserk. To make matters worse, the drill is nearing the Earth’s core and threatens to destroy the entire planet on contact. The Autobots and Decepticons team up, combining the over-ride device with the Dominator Disks to completely neutralize all the effects on Devastator and return him to normal.

Megatron orders Devastator to destroy the drill before it reaches the core. Devastator does so, as Megatron and the other Decepticons flee. Devastator emerges from the drilling tunnel, wondering when Megatron went. The Autobots tell him he fled, but Devastator will not believe it and follows his leader. Chip laments, hoping that Devastator might have stayed with the Autobots, but Optimus tells him that there’s always hope.

Errors: Mixmaster does not talk in his trademark sets of threes, as he previously did in “City of Steel”. Why would Megatron order Mixmaster to repair Scavenger out in the open where they could be spotted? The Constructicons are shown drilling in the cave at the same time that Devastator is shown outside battling the Autobots. According to “The Secret of Omega Supreme”, the Constructicons were reprogrammed to the side of evil using Megatron’s Robo-Smasher, and according to Omega, the effects could never be reversed. So how did Chip and Wheeljack get the Dominator Disks to work? When transforming to Devastator inside the Ark, Hook forms only the head instead of the upper torso.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Scrapper, Hook, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Bonecrusher, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl, Jazz, Gears, Sunstreaker, Mirage, Laserbeak, Soundwave, Devastator, Wheeljack, Ironhide, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Ravage, Sideswipe, Huffer, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Hound.

Notable Others: Chip Chase.

Review: The story of the Autobots trying to turn Devastator good again is interesting, but marred by a lame “Let’s try and drain energy from the Earth’s core AGAIN” plot. The Constructicons interacting at the end, with Scavenger basically telling them all he loves them, was a nice bit of characterization. The Constructicons, despite the confusion of their origin, were pretty interesting in that they were shown to be sympathetic towards the Autobots on multiple occasions (“The Master Builders”, “The Secret of Omega Supreme”). A shame nothing ever came of that concept. Overall, this episode’s greatest detractor is the animation and an evil scheme recycled from “Fire in the Sky”.


“Make Tracks”

Japan Title: “Tracks the Warrior”
US Airdate: 10-30-85
Japan Airdate: 2-21-86
Animation: Toei Studio
Credited Writer: David Wise

Synopsis: In New York City, the Autobots are helping to fight crime, particularly, a sudden wave of car-jackings. After catching a pair of car-jackers, Tracks returns to Sparkplug’s Garage, which is really a secret Autobot sub base. Tracks prefers New York City and doesn’t wish to return to the Ark. He goes out to experience some city night life and runs across two more car-jackers working for the Ghettis Brothers. While chasing them, he accidentally crashes into a lamppost, busting-up his hood and making it so he can’t transform. A young street punk named Raul happens across him and steals him. Tracks introduces himself and Raul helps repair him.

As soon as he finishes, the Ghettis Brothers show up and shake Raul down, demanding he give them the car he promised. Tracks gets Raul’s back and they chase the Ghettis Bros to a warehouse on the Hudson River. They see the Ghettis Bros managing a bunch of thugs, transporting a fleet of stolen cars across the Hudson and towards the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Tracks and Raul follow in secret.

Searching for Tracks, Powerglide and Cosmos come across Starscream. They give chase, but Starscream manages to elude them, though Powerglide notices his direction leads towards the Pine Barrens. When Tracks and Raul arrive they discover that the Ghettis Bros have been stealing cars for the Decepticons, who have been altering the cars in a secret factory. Megatron unleashes his army of cars on New York City.

The Autobots battle the cars all over New York, as they turn out to be transforming battle drones. Blaster eventually disrupts the transmission controlling the drones by remote with a jamming frequency. The Autobots then head out to the Pine Barrens and attack Megatron’s factory. After a brief skirmish, and with some help from Raul, the Autobots chase the Decepticons off and destroy the factory. Back at Sparkplug’s Garage, the Autobots are getting to work restoring all the Deceticons stolen cars to normal. Raul attempts to sneak away, but Tracks puts his new pal to work as punishment for stealing cars in the first place.

Notes: The song Blaster plays at the beginning is “Cold Slither”, a rock song performed by the Dreadnoks in a G.I. Joe episode of the same name. Sparkplug’s Garage makes its first appearance in this episode. Tracks chases the Ghettis Bros past a movie theater playing “Transformers the Movie”.

Errors: Hoist is shown fitting in the driver’s seat of Huffer. After Tracks is rescued by the Autobots from Rumble and Ravage, Soundwave is shown in Sparkplug’s Garage standing amongst the other Autobots.

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Tracks, Blaster, Optimus Prime, Huffer, Hoist, Cosmos, Seaspray, Powerglide, Beachcomber, Starscream, Megatron, Hook, Soundwave, Rumble, Scrapper, Ravage, Sideswipe, Jazz, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Inferno, Ironhide, Windcharger, Thundercracker, Prowl, Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Longhaul.

Notable Others: Sparkplug, Raul (first appearance), the Ghettis Bros (first and only appearance), Teletran-1.

Review: Not an awful episode, and a decent spotlight for Tracks. Raul isn’t the greatest human buddy, though his wise-crackin’ attitude at least breaks up the monotony of the milquetoast Spike, Carly and Chip. Tracks is basically a carbon copy of Sunstreaker, who never got any characterization in the series, so I almost rather wish it was him instead of Tracks. The animators at Toei most likely never visited New York City. The Engrish decorating the buildings is beyond ridiculous and about 80% of them work in the word “Victoria” for some reason. Oh, and I think there was an “Abba” concert going on near the Chrysler Building, though that might’ve been more Engrish. Overall, Megatron’s plot made more sense than usual (build some drone warriors) and the dynamic between Tracks and Raul carried the pace nicely.


“The Autobot Run”

Japan Title: “Stop the Transform!”
US Airdate: 10-31-85
Japan Airdate: 10-31-86
Animation: Akom Studio
Credited Writer: Donald F. Glut

Synopsis: Spike and Chip convince the Autobots to have a race for charity, and Laserbeak overhears. Laserbeak delivers the information to Megatron, who just so happens to be finishing construction on his latest weapon, the Transfixatron, a device that will freeze Transformers in their alternate modes. Megatron orders the Constructicons to build another device, a massive trash-compactor, while he sends Skywarp out to zap the Autobots at the raceway.

As the Autobots are finishing their race, Skywarp teleports in and shoots them all with the Transfixatron. The Autobots become trapped in vehicle mode and are taken prisoner by the Decepticons. The only Autobots not racing, Wheeljack, Ratchet, Huffer, Brawn and Bumblebee, develop a device to counter the Transfixatron. Hound sends a hologram through to the Ark, detailing their location, and the remaining Autobots set out to help.

Wheeljack and the others arrive just in time to save the Autobots from the trash-compactor and engage the Decepticons in battle. Chip uses the anti-transfixation device on the Autobots and frees them. The Constructicons merge into Devastator and begin beating the Autobots senseless until they are blasted by the Transfixatron and forced into vehicle mode. The Decepticons retreats and the Autobots destroy the Transfixatron.

Notes: A Transfixatron-like device would be used against the Maximals by Megatron II in the Beast Wars episode “The Probe”. While racing, Jazz plays the song “Cold Slither”, which originated in an episode of G.I. Joe of the same name.

Errors: Shockwave appears on Earth amongst the Decepticons during a number of scenes. Hook talks to Longhaul in Scrapper’s voice. Since when does Megatron have laser eyes? Megatron needs to brush-up on his definition of “irony”. Right before he sends the Autobots into the giant trash-compactor he basically tells them “How ironic that after millions of years of trying to kill you…I finally kill you! Bwa hahahaha!” It may just be on the Rhino DVD, but for some reason the music during the second bumper (the animated segments that transition into and out of commercials) was the bumper music for G.I. Joe. I don’t usually bother noting animation errors with the Seekers, but this one was too awesome not to mention. When battling Wheeljack at the end of the episode, two Thundercrackers appear right next to each other. The one in the background teleports and when he reappears he’s suddenly Starscream. Then he talks in Skywarp’s voice. Way to condense all three Seekers into one handy character, Akom!

Transformers featured (in rough order of appearance): Bumblebee, Laserbeak, Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Thundercracker, Scrapper, Hook, Bonecrusher, Longhaul, Scavenger, Mixmaster, Skywarp, Shockwave (gah!), Bluestreak, Gears, Ratchet, Trailbreaker, Mirage, Sunstreaker, Ironhide, Huffer, Optimus, Brawn, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Jazz, Prowl, Hound, Cliffjumper, Windcharger, Roller, Ravage, Devastator.

Notable Others: Spike, Chip Chase.

Review: Well, the good news is this is the last episode of season 2 animated by Akom. So you won’t have to suffer through any more of their flat, Hanna Barbara-quality animation until “Five Faces of Darkness”. This episode had a great idea, but Akom botched it with the animation (they’ll do this frequently in season 3). Megatron’s evil plot was actually pretty clever, but like usual, he causes his own defeat by monologuing, and devising a needlessly complicated means to kill his enemies. On the bright side, practically EVERY Transformer save for the Dinobots, the Insecticons and a couple of Soundwave’s cassettes, show up in this episode (even Roller!). It would’ve been more impressive had the animation been better. Overall, they get an A for effort, but Akom dropped the ball.



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