Rewatching Beast Wars for the first time in years...

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Jaynz
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Post by Jaynz » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:05 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:I meant more that's what might have been confusing you concerning when Crap Universe came out.
Yes, that was near the end of my 'regular line' collecting and it's hard to believe that it's already been ten years ago now. It does sort-of all blurr on the toy end for me...

No, but it is 30-odd more than had come out in previous lines of G2.
Spread out over four years, though. I can't think of a main Transformers line with that few new molds per year. Battlestars, maybe? My only point, really, was that they weren't throwing nearly as much money into the line as you would first think.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:47 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:The problem with using Argos catalogue space (I can't speak for Sears) is that Argos have long had a good relationship with Hasbro, hence their ongoing series of exclusives (MP figures, much of the Alternators line, various movie multipacks and assortments, IIRC something from RiD , etc.). Hasbro in return get a lot of space in the book - it's hype, not demand (especially as toy chains began to close and Argos were one of the few widespread chains to carry a significant amount of TFs). Broadly, the UK market spent best part of a decade paying penance for Euro Classics and our extra year of G1 figs ;)

The toy market is a lot more wide open here, and Sears has never really been a major player in it. Walmart, Toys'R'Us and Zellers (soon to be Target) have the top spots pretty well sewn up, with places like Sears or The Bay in the second tier. And I believe Beast Wars launched after Woolco and K-Mart had shut down so things haven't changed much since then. Dunno if that means the Sears catalogue is any more trustworthy as a source, though.

Cliffjumper wrote:Nah, but distribution seemed to work out better for RotF so there was always choice (and Deluxes didn't cost significantly more).

I think Hasbro has a better idea of what was going to sell, too. They know ahead of time that they need to produce a million Bumblebees, for example, but if memory serves they didn't pack the show characters in a higher ratio than the non-show characters during the first few years of Beast Wars and were completely blindsided when it was impossible for kids to find characters like Cheetor on the shelves.

Cliffjumper wrote:I think it also didn't help that the RotF Scouts were such an uninspiring-looking bunch of figures - I can't see many kids going mad about Ransack and Ejector, for example. TBH I'm not the least bit surprised they dropped the assortment for DotM; I can see future lines taking the "Bigger Legends" route even if Cyberverse Commanders seem to be shelf-warming over here. It's definitely Hasbro's weakest price point (to my mind, the only really successful Basic range was the twin-pack Spychangers), and that they've tried so many different things there when Deluxes and Voyagers have been more-or-less constant (aside from cosmetic name changes) for over a decade.

I think the Minicon three-packs during the Armada days were pretty successful, too. But you're right that the bog-standard Basic/Scout figures have always been an unspectactular performer all the way back to Beast Wars. The Deluxes seem to be the 'flagship' price point, so to speak, and they get the lion's share of the media advertizing (with the rest usually devoted to the Voyagers and other 'big guys'). It's a big departure from G1, where the Minibots and Cassettes got a lot of attention in the cartoon and comics and probably served as a 'gateway drug' since kids could get toys of characters they knew for pocket money.

I notice that they rarely go on sale, either, which often results in stores with a bunch of regular-price $10 Scouts right beside the obviously much bigger sale-price $10 Deluxes.

TFVanguard wrote:I'll malign it lots! Universe 2.0 was a very very different beast, as you know, and its entire concept was based on branded characters rather than random repaints with random names done randomly. It really owes a lot more to the surprise hit of the Classics line than to Universe 1.0.

Again, you're speaking from a fan's perspective. Sunstreaker or Onslaught or Powerglide or Acid Storm were just as much 'nobodies' as Frostbite or Longhorn or Magna Sampede to the kids who make up 90+% of Hasbro's sales.

TFVanguard wrote:They sort by brand, wave, and assortment, in that order of importance. They do see a branding difference between the current movie line, the current cartoon, and the filler line. But don't count on them to really understand those differences. (This is why we saw so many universe-bound exclusives become RotF exclusives, and is also why Wal*Mart's action figure aisle has a shit load of action-movie toys that never sell, and endless Star Wars.)

That sounds like they understand the difference perfectly to me. Maybe not in terms of fiction, but it's their job to sell the toys, not to characterize them. And if they know Movie toys sell better than other toys then it makes perfect sense for them to say "We don't want any more Universe toys, thanks." when Armada and Energon were vastly outperforming it.

Knightdramon wrote:There's a 99.9 percent chance there's still a Deluxe BW Retrax in the toystore ten metres from my house. :lol:

Up until a few years back (maybe even until they closed their toy department entirely because they'd put a Zellers in) The Bay downtown had a colony of Drill Bits taking up three or four pegs's worth of space and selling for above MSRP. No other BW toys, sadly, which is a shame because every other Basic in his wave looks like a pretty cool toy. I bought one in 2002 or so, strictly out of morbid curiousity (he really was that bad), and they still had them every time I checked that store right up until I graduated from University. Memory might be playing tricks, but I think they may still have had them as late as 2007 or 2008.

For at least a few years' time, their Transformers section consisted of nothing but Drill Bits and Spychanger two-packs. This was during the years that Armada and Energon were running, mind you.

TFVanguard wrote:Spread out over four years, though. I can't think of a main Transformers line with that few new molds per year. Battlestars, maybe?

Beast Wars II probably wins in that department, with a grand total of three new molds: LioConvoy, Moon and Galvatron.

RiD didn't have many new molds for a 'main line' either, did it? I'm only counting seventeen (Prime, Magnus, Gigatron, the Car Bros., the two Autobot combiners and four new Spychangers) and it ran for about three years. Even if you count the unreleased BM molds (Megabolt, Air Attack Primal and Bruticus) that's still only twenty.

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Post by Cliffjumper » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:06 pm

And the four cancelled Spychangers. Wasn't there only a year between RiD and Armada, with RiD then just used as a convenient sub-title for any non-UT pre-Universe recolours they fancied doing?

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Post by Jaynz » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:15 pm

Again, you're speaking from a fan's perspective. Sunstreaker or Onslaught or Powerglide or Acid Storm were just as much 'nobodies' as Frostbite or Longhorn or Magna Sampede to the kids who make up 90+% of Hasbro's sales.
Yes. But on the other hand you had a Ratchet that, as bad as the figure was, LOOKED like Ratchet. You had a Hot Shot that looked like Hot Shot. You had a Starscream that looked like Starscream, etc. Even if kids didn't know who these characters were, the decos were, by and large, also very nice. It really was just superior to the Universe 1.0 line.
And if they know Movie toys sell better than other toys then it makes perfect sense for them to say "We don't want any more Universe toys, thanks." when Armada and Energon were vastly outperforming it.
Right, but my point was that Hasbro could just say "All these Universe toys are really Energon toys" and repackage them as such and suddenly the retailers will want the exact same toys. They worship the branding to the near exclusion of all other considerations. The kids, however, will know the difference, which is why you get shelfwarmers...
Beast Wars II probably wins in that department, with a grand total of three new molds: LioConvoy, Moon and Galvatron.
To be fair to BWII, Japan hadn't seen most of the BW figures yet (and they were less than a year old). So, they were new molds, effectively, just repackaged for Japan. So we would realistically have to include the 17 Maximal, Insectron, Jointron, and Magnaboss figures as 'new'.

I won't include Megastorm or the Autorollers here, though, since they couldn't really be considered 'new', even if it was the first time Japan got them. I'm also, of course, not including the Eggbots or the Seacons in that either. The 'cyborg beats' seems a bit unfair to include as 'new' as well.
RiD didn't have many new molds for a 'main line' either, did it? I'm only counting seventeen (Prime, Magnus, Gigatron, the Car Bros., the two Autobot combiners and four new Spychangers) and it ran for about three years. Even if you count the unreleased BM molds (Megabolt, Air Attack Primal and Bruticus) that's still only twenty.
Yeah, but we already knew that RID was 'quick and cheap filler' while Hasbro got its act together again. 20 new molds for nine months still outpaces G2 by a significant margin though.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:22 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:Wasn't there only a year between RiD and Armada, with RiD then just used as a convenient sub-title for any non-UT pre-Universe recolours they fancied doing?
Closer to a year and a half, I think. Enough time that RiD got a full line of toys released in 2002 before Armada showed up, anyway.

I don't think they expected RiD to be as successful as it was, because they pushed out almost all of the new molds in time for Christmas 2001. But Armada didn't start showing up until the second half of 2002 (maybe even closer to Christmas 2002, my memory isn't that great re: Armada) and they needed something on the shelves even though the only mass-retail figures left that had been on the show were the Super Car Brothers. So they filled up the 2002 RiD line with Spychanger redecos along with a bunch of completely random redecos from as far back as G2 just so there was something new.
TFVanguard wrote:Yes. But on the other hand you had a Ratchet that, as bad as the figure was, LOOKED like Ratchet. You had a Hot Shot that looked like Hot Shot. You had a Starscream that looked like Starscream, etc. Even if kids didn't know who these characters were, the decos were, by and large, also very nice. It really was just superior to the Universe 1.0 line.
To most of the target market Ratchet was a yellow Hummer, Starscream is a chicken-legged monkey who turns into an F-22 and Hot Shot is no one they've ever heard of. Most kids aren't like us -- they grow out of Transformers toys in a couple years and move on to something else.

The toys are generally better in Universe 2008 than in Universe 2003, but not that much better. The line had more than it's fair share of bad toys, but generally gets looked at through rose-coloured glasses because it's mostly G1 guys.

From Hasbro's perspective, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the 2003 line was more successful just because it cost them so much less.
TFVanguard wrote:Right, but my point was that Hasbro could just say "All these Universe toys are really Energon toys" and repackage them as such and suddenly the retailers will want the exact same toys. They worship the branding to the near exclusion of all other considerations.
And with good cause. Branding does help to sell the figures, especially when one brand is tied to a major media franchise and one isn't.

But purchasers aren't stupid, either. Mixing Classics stuff or even Energon/Cybertron stuff with Movie-styled figures works because they're not that different. Trying to cram Animated Blackout and Wasp into ROTF would have caused problems because they're stylized so differently that they're blatantly just being crammed in. The same would probably hold true with Universe toys in Armada. The organic stylings of the figures (and the eye-searing colours) would have stood out too much. There's a reason why the Transmetals made the cut in Armada while Silverbolt, Razorclaw and Reptilion had to be put into a completely different line.

The people who make these sort of decisions have a lot of experience judging what kids will or won't fall for, don't forget.
TFVanguard wrote:To be fair to BWII, Japan hadn't seen most of the BW figures yet (and they were less than a year old). So, they were new molds, effectively, just repackaged for Japan. So we would realistically have to include the 17 Maximal, Insectron, Jointron, and Magnaboss figures as 'new'.
I didn't realize that...always thought that BWII was contemporary with Beast Machines for some reason. If the toys were coming out at more-or-less the same time as they did in the West, then you're right. They'd qualify as 'new' for all intents and purposes.

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Post by Jaynz » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:58 am

Warcry wrote:To most of the target market Ratchet was a yellow Hummer, Starscream is a chicken-legged monkey who turns into an F-22 and Hot Shot is no one they've ever heard of. Most kids aren't like us -- they grow out of Transformers toys in a couple years and move on to something else.
Yes and no. While that's true of the movie audience, keep in mind that Hasbro's still is pushing G1 cartoons, the animated line, etc. It's a little counter-productive, though, since when a kid asks for "Optimus Prime", you have to respond "Which one?"
The toys are generally better in Universe 2008 than in Universe 2003, but not that much better. The line had more than it's fair share of bad toys, but generally gets looked at through rose-coloured glasses because it's mostly G1 guys.
I wasn't really singing Uni 2.0's praises as I was decrying Uni 1.0. There wasn't quite as much awful the second time around, particularly when concerning decos. A few of the molds were crap, though, of course...
From Hasbro's perspective, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the 2003 line was more successful just because it cost them so much less.
I don't really think so. Hasbro didn't move much product for Uni 1.0, and there weren't any must haves. Uni 2.0 seemed to largely move quickly, with some very notable exceptions.
The people who make these sort of decisions have a lot of experience judging what kids will or won't fall for, don't forget.
Everyone can screw up from time to time, it happens.
I didn't realize that...always thought that BWII was contemporary with Beast Machines for some reason. If the toys were coming out at more-or-less the same time as they did in the West, then you're right. They'd qualify as 'new' for all intents and purposes.
They got BWII around when we got season three of Beast Wars. They got Beast Wars Neo with our Beast Machines first season, and then they finally dubbed Beast Wars Metals. Beast Machines would be years later for them.

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Post by may2hoo » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:52 am

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Post by Paul053 » Wed May 30, 2012 3:04 pm

No intention on bringing up this old thread, but, yep, Beast Wars is now on Netflix and I just watched the first episode last night.

Besides Rattrap, I don't know Dinobot's voice was that annoying also. I also felt kind of annoying when everybody shouted terrorize and maximize. Anyway.......

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Post by Brimstone » Wed May 30, 2012 3:21 pm

It was better than "I am transformed...." :)

(I do actually enjoy Beast Machines, though)
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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:00 pm

Blaster wrote:You ever try to do that voice? The fact Latta could do it episodes at a time is god damned amazing. His vocal chords had to be a mess at the end. I don't think I've ever heard an effective immitation of Latta's Starscream or Cobra Commander.
I thought the VA who did the voice of Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Resolute did a good of sounding like Latta (if Latta ever had the chance to play Cobra Commander as a deadly serious villain instead of comical buffoon villain).
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Post by relak » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:33 am

Cyberstrike nTo wrote:I thought the VA who did the voice of Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Resolute did a good of sounding like Latta (if Latta ever had the chance to play Cobra Commander as a deadly serious villain instead of comical buffoon villain).
That was the same va for bay movie starscream. He's voice is lower than latta's

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Post by starlord » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:08 am

I love the show especially dinobot. I also love Silverbolt.
A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest of decepticons.

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Post by CounterPunch » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:32 am

Cliffjumper wrote:Tigerhawk is a massive anticlimax, God-like emissary to cannon fodder in about three episodes.
This thread is like the Duracell bunny, jus keeps on going!

Dunno how familiar you are with the ins and outs of BW Cliffy, but I read the other day (and apologies if this has been covered) that the whole Tigerhawk thing was down to dreaded "executive interference."

Hasbro developed a toy for Tigerhawk, said "hey lads, put this guy in the show" so they did, they then told Mainframe that the toy had been cancelled, and gave them an order to kill him off, so they did... Hasbro then decided to un-cancel the toy, but it was too late to save him in he show.

I always felt the whole Vok thing was the most unfortunate part of BW, it really deserved at least half a season of its own to really develop, in the end it fell by the wayside.

On the subject of BW in general, I'm (for some reason, mainly the last portion with Unicron) rewatching Armada, and the difference in quality in voice acting (with the returning VA's) is astonishing. It really shows just how well BW used the talent it had... Some voices might be a little irritating, but they all have range, and emotion in them. Welker might be the definitive Megatron, but Kaye will always be my favourite, so deliciously evil.

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Post by Terome » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:55 pm

I quite like how Tigerhawk was dispatched. Why shouldn't he be killed by a big enough gun? Take that, you self-absorbed git.

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Post by CounterPunch » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:13 am

Currently rewatching Beast Machines now... Enjoying it an awful lot more than the first time I saw it. Yes it has some whacked out concepts, and Nightscream is just a horrible character from design through to voice, but overall it's pretty damn good.

Also, I must say, the CGI quality is fantastic, you really notice it the most with Rattrap's face.

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Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:57 am

Yeah, I got through watching Beast Machines again recently too. having sold my R1 set a picked up the R2 versions (with faux live action typeface and er, Beast Wars screenshots on the back - a cheap cash in job, Universal? Surely not! And what are you doing with Beast Wars, btw? Any chance of that showing up...?).

The story is what's great about Beast Machines. The characterisation is horrible flat though, only Nightscream really stands out for being the kid-identification character and is therefore by turn, extremely annoying. Everyone else is kind of drab and one-dimensional and seems to be an off the shelf 'kids action show stereotype'. I think that's what makes the show such a hard sell for me. After the well rounded personalities we got in Beast Wars, it was a bit of a shock to regress from that. There's only the episode with Silverbolt's guilt over his actions that comes close to what the writers had managed to do with BW.

It's also definitely a show thats better for older eyes to watch. its probably the closest Transformers has ever come to being the serious grown up sci-fi show that some fans pretend its always been. I can't imagine any kids watching had any interest in a debate over the progress of technology at the expense of organics and the loss of identity in an era of inter-connectivity and technological precision.

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Post by Jaynz » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:59 pm

CounterPunch wrote:Currently rewatching Beast Machines now... Enjoying it an awful lot more than the first time I saw it. Yes it has some whacked out concepts, and Nightscream is just a horrible character from design through to voice, but overall it's pretty damn good.
I've probably analyzed Beast Machine's failures to death over the years, but the two biggest things wrong with it are that a) It followed Beast Wars, which was the high-bar for pretty much any cartoon back then. b) The characters were incidental to the plot (which was whatever nonsenical thing the Oracle wanted that week), making it hard to invest in them.

It had some good episodes, and there were good moments, but it never hit the highs of either G1 or BW, but it certainly did hit the low moments. Of course, since then we got Armada, et al, to show us just how bad a Transformers series could be...

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Post by CounterPunch » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:43 pm

Jaynz wrote:I've probably analyzed Beast Machine's failures to death over the years, but the two biggest things wrong with it are that a) It followed Beast Wars, which was the high-bar for pretty much any cartoon back then. b) The characters were incidental to the plot (which was whatever nonsenical thing the Oracle wanted that week), making it hard to invest in them.

It had some good episodes, and there were good moments, but it never hit the highs of either G1 or BW, but it certainly did hit the low moments. Of course, since then we got Armada, et al, to show us just how bad a Transformers series could be...
That's been my biggest issue with it throughout, the incidental nature of the characters. Great animation and fantastic voice acting (especially Jetstorm), but the story had very little to do with the characters, they were just along for the ride, they could have been anyone and the story would have played out in exactly the same way.

... In fact, one of the signs (in my opinion) that something isn't a good addition to a franchise (even if it is good by itself) is if with a few minor changes it could act as a completely different product. Change the names of the characters and Cybertron and the only recognisably "Transformers" part of it (aside from references) are the Vehicons.

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Post by Skywarp the Seeker » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:25 pm

I'm doing BW for the first time. Finally swallowed geewun pride and admit that I'm liking it, although it's terribly flawed and dated. Just had to get through those first episodes. Just finished Dinobot's death episode. I think the Agenda is next.

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Post by Skywarp the Seeker » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:48 pm

Finished Beast Wars, and enjoyed it for the most part.

I'm going through Beast Machines, just finished "The Key," and honestly I just don't know if I'm going to make it through. There's too much I dislike, but mostly in that I don't recognize these characters, either physically or in their personalities. Who thought it was a good idea to make my favorite Maximal, Rhinox, and turn his worldview on its head for no discernable reason? As a writer, you've got to do something awful for a viewer whose willing suspension of disbelief accepts a war between a race of transforming space robots with organic alt-modes to come crashing to the ground. Rhinox's heel turn in his core consciousness kind of did that for me. I can buy Cheetor's late-teen angsty maturation, but not Megatron's sudden rejection of self, Rattrap's cowardly ineptitude (the episode where he made a deal with Megatron and assaulted the Maximals is such a stark contrast with his BW persona--useless body or no--that I almost quit there), and especially not Optimus' transformation into Zen Hippie (his fire-and-brimstone preaching from the Covenant of Primus in the penultimate episode of BW was also out of left field, but forgivable). I often imagine that Prime's voice actor must have had a lot of fun getting to voice and emote in BW, then began tearing his hair out in boredom when forced monotonely ramble endless paragraphs of humorless, spiritual mumbo-jumbo in BM. And as an actor, trying to make that leap look like a natural progression of a character arc must have been maddening.

Also, who's the genius that thought that the chief struggle in this series should be a Buddhist Ape vs. a Silver Pickle Marionette? Have fun playing with THOSE toys, kids!

Also, that tuneless techno soundtrack and the slo-mo wire-fighting action really makes this show seem dated to '99, doesn't it? Man, there's no corner of pop culture the Matrix didn't infect in that era, huh? Cheetor may as well been voiced by Keanu and the Buddhist Ape by Laurence Fishburne. Agent Smith can pull double duty as the Jetstorm army and Silver Pickle Marionette. A red pill can play the Oracle.

Also, trees and organic food/goo on Cybertron, incidentally never once discovered during any of the multitude of trips towards the depths of the planet in any previous continuity? OK, at this point, sure. Put it in. Why not?

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