Transformers is a huge franchise and has spawned many films, shows, and games. Most of the animated shows for Transformers have been hand drawn in the past, but Prime still isn’t the first CGI show (Beast Wars) in the franchise. I’m always more of a traditional animation fan myself, but I’m always open to new methods. After TF Animated, I was ready for just about anything!
Transformers Prime is a lot grimmer than the other shows in the franchise and has a War For Cybertron feel to it. Prime modernized the designs for a lot of the characters and completely switched Soundwave’s. This show actually managed to make it past the dreaded “2 Season curse” and ended with three seasons. A movie is coming out soon to finish up the franchise, so let’s take a look at the series as a whole.
Season 1’s plot is what you would expect from the franchise. The Autobots are badly outnumbered and outgunned. The Decepticons, (Lead by Megatron of course) have amassed a large army and they are ready to conquer Earth. The heroes never seem to have a chance for the 1st season and while they can hold their own, they couldn’t defeat all of the Decepticons in a straight out battle. Luckily, the Autbots aren’t alone since Agent Fowler, Jack, Miko, and Ralph are here to provide backup support. They may be mere mortals, but they have seen their share of action. (Basically, they are here so that we can have the generic human characters on the team) The climax involves the Mighty Unicron, (Who is a lot smaller than his G1 counterpart) who is pretty unimpressive. Prime and Megatron can both take on his avatars when they need too.
The best part of Season 1 was the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron. The music was pretty epic and it was a long battle. It was basically the whole episode, which is rare for many (non anime) shows. Even by the end of season 3, this ranks as my favorite battle. Another solid episode was when Ratchet injected himself with Synthetic Energon and decided to storm the Decepticon’s base. It was good to see Ratchet actually fight and it shows that he does have some latent fighting ability.
Season 2 is the start of the Sword battles and both teams struggle to to collect the ancient relics. They manage to obtain a lot of useful items, like the Battle Armor and a device that lets you phase through walls. They also obtained the forge that only a Prime can wield. With it, the Autobots build the Star Saber, while Megatron (Who isn’t a Prime, but obtains a Prime hand) builds the Dark Star Saber. The Autobots get some new firepower when Smokescreen joins the ranks, but the Decepticons match the new addition with Dreadwing. (Who could defeat Smokescreen, meaning that the gap actually got wider) Season 2 was definitely more exciting than the first season, (Barring the final episodes of Season 1) but watching them try to get the relics can get old. Starscream isn’t with the Decepticons for the most part and is a loner for a while. Things don’t really work out for him. M.E.C.H. is also around and they build their own robot so that they can finally defeat the dreaded Autobots/Decepticons. The final episode of the season was pretty epic and ends the season on a good note. The Decepticons make things even tougher for the heroes and manage to deal a lot of damage. Not to mention that the Decepticons get two new warriors to add to their ranks.
Season 3 feels like the final season of the show from the beginning. The Autobots are in hiding and one of their own appears to be reaching the end of his road. The Decepticons have all, but conquered the planet and Earth may be doomed. The Autobots really have no shot, but things get brighter once Ultra Magnus appears. He may be the Autobots’ last hope, but can he fit in? The Decepticons unleash the mighty Predaking and he quickly proves to be a formidable opponent. Optimus Prime undergoes an upgrade and he’s ready for battle. About halfway through the season, things go back to the status quo, as both teams are back to square one. Megatron decides to revive Cybertron so that he can rule the planet, which leads into the climax of the season. There’s a lot of action in the final battle, although a certain Decepticon misses out on actually fighting.
Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots in the show and he’s about what you would expect. He’s always been a solid leader and that doesn’t change in this show. He’s stronger than the other Autobots and he’s the only one who can go up against Megatron in a fair fight. His upgrade in Season 3 is good, although I miss his original look. (I’ll never like Machine Guns) At one point, Prime reverts back to his Orion Pax form, but I’m glad that he didn’t stay that way.
Bumblebee is pretty similar to his movie counterpart and he can’t talk in the show. His voice box was…damaged a long time ago and now he can only make robotic noises. Ralph can understand him for some reason, but it’s one of those things that you just need to take in stride. I can’t say that I’m a fan of Bumblebee, but he’s not a bad character. I just never found him that interesting.
Arcee is vastly different from her G1 counterpart (Well, a little similar to her G1 comic counterpart) and she’s more of a fighter. This is definitely her best incarnation and she’s a quick fighter. She’s managed to take on high ranking Decepticons like Shockwave and Starscream and is a pretty good shot. She’s easily one of the better Autobots on the team and even has a rival in Airachnid. In a fight, I would still go with Arcee, thanks to her speed, but Airachnid is definitely tough.
Ratchet is the team medic and gets a pretty small role for the entire show. He mildly fights in Season 1 when he is injected with the energon and when he helped Prime fight the zombies in one of the earlier episodes. Ratchet is a decent fighter, but he’s not that quick and his attacks are lethal, but very short range. He wasn’t the best character, but he was all right.
Bulkhead is also on the team, but half of the time you can forget that he’s there. He doesn’t really bring much to the table. He’s pretty tough, but Prime is tougher. Bulkhead is not really that useful in combat and while he can fight, I’d probably take Ratchet over him. Wheeljack is a part time member, and he’s pretty tough. While his G1 counterpart may have been more of a thinker, Wheeljack is a close combat fighter. He has twin blades that can deal a lot of damage and he’s always got an explosive up his sleeve. He doesn’t always follow orders which is definitely a plus.
Jack is arguably the lead human and he gets a lot of screentime. I can’t say that I ever became a fan, and his scenes are usually a little wince worthy. His best feat was when he caused a Decepticon to back up in fear. (Or shock) Miko is the head strong one of the group, but she can’t fight as well as most head strong characters. (Ichigo, Yusuke, Ash Ketchum) Mostly, she ends up getting in the way. She does manage to deal some damage when she’s in a ship or in armor, but it’s a little hard to take seriously. Ralph’s pretty smart and he’s able to understand Cybertronian, but I never cared for the character.
Smokescreen joined up with the Autobots later on. He’s less experienced than the other bots, but he tries to make up for it by being an optimist. Unfortunately, he’s not that powerful and usually gets knocked around. Ultra Magnus joins up with the team as well, but he didn’t really impress me. Supposedly he’s pretty tough, but he was getting knocked around by Predaking just like the others.
I would mention Agent Fowler and Jack’s rival, but they’re mostly irrelevant so let’s talk about the Decepticons. Megatron is their fearless leader and he is pretty untouchable for the series. Only Prime can give him a decent fight for the most part, but Megatron is always a step ahead of him. Predaking is a good match against Megatron, but only until he possesses the Dark Star Saber. Megatron is easily the strongest fighter in the series and isn’t the type to lose in a head to head battle. I’d say that he was the coolest character in the series. This was definitely a solid incarnation of the character.
Starsceam is pretty similar to his G1 counterpart in terms of personality, but his design is pretty bland. He’s basically a generic robot with no defining colors to make him unique. I’d say that he was pretty underpowered for most of the series, but he did temporarily get a speed boost which made him a high tier threat. When he possessed the speed, he was basically unstoppable. Nobody could take him down in a fair fight, but unfortunately, Starscream failed to capitalize on this lucky break.
Soundwave is one of Megatron’s most trusted Decepticons and he tends to get the job done. Soundwave seems to be pretty powerful and never really gets to engage in a serious battle. he has brief skirmishes against Airachnid and Wheeljack, but I would have liked to see the scope of his abilities. After his battle against Wheeljack, he tends to just use his Space Bridges to avoid battles. His character design is pretty intense and I’m hoping that we will get to see him fight at some point in the future.
Shockwave is possibly the smartest Decepticon and he’s pretty strong physically. He’s definitely built for power and one energy blast can deal some massive damage. His eye is a glaring weak spot since he only has one and he makes for a big target. He was a good addition to the Decepticon ranks, but he can be easy to deceive. Knockout and Breakdown were pretty awful Decepticons. Not much more to say about that, but they were the weak links of the team. Knockout was decently tough with a weapon he stole from Soundwave, but he’s definitely someone who should be taken lightly.
Airachnid was a decently cool villain who mainly appeared in the first season. Her webs are deadly since they can paralyze whoever is hit by one of them. She’s also pretty quick and is at home in the forest. She doesn’t get that much screen time, but she proves her skills by taking on Arcee in a good battle. She commands the Insecticons who can be pretty skilled. At their strongest, one of them gave Megatron a pretty good fight. At their weakest, they go down in a single hit, so their durability definitely varies.
Dreadwing joined up with the Decepticons to avenge his brother, but he may not know the full story. He’s pretty powerful and nearly took down Optimus Prime himself. He didn’t appear for very long, but he was a strong fighter. I didn’t care for his voice that much, but the voice is definitely not the most important thing for a character. Predaking was also a pretty cool character whose voice I didn’t care for. Predaking was another character who could match up against Prime and Megatron. As a dragon, he’s pretty tough, but as a Predacon, he’s even stronger. His strength easily exceeds that of Ultra Magnus and Bulkhead and his firepower is pretty high.
Silas is the leader of M.E.C.H and he talks a good game. Unfortunately for him, Autobots/Decepticons are far too powerful for mere mortals. He builds his own robot, but in the end he just isn’t a match. Things get pretty tragic for his character and things don’t go the way that he had planned. Unicron acts very high and mighty, but he wasn’t as epic as his G1 counterpart. Maybe it was the voice or the design, but either way, I wasn’t a huge fan. Maybe I will like him more in the upcoming film.
Transformers Prime was definitely a solid show. The CGI held up quite nicely for the fight scenes and there were a good amount of battles. The show cracked 60 episodes which is pretty impressive. While the show may not be as good as the classics, (G1, Victory) it does defeat some of the others. (Beast Wars, Animated) Transformers Prime is definitely a show that I would recommend watching. It has a nice blend of action and set up. It’s a good way to become a Transformers fan and the soundtrack can be pretty good for the action scenes. If I had to name a negative, it would be that some episodes didn’t really have much in the way of stakes. (Scraplets and random Decepticons) Their was some very mild romance, but it was brief enough that it didn’t hurt the series. The show ended on an epic note and didn’t crash and burn like Cliff Jumper. You really need to watch the series if you like robot battles, or just enjoy a good story.