Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TF Animated: a retrospective

With all thats going on with Transformers Prime (culmination of 2 seasons worth of toys and storytelling) i thought this would be a good time to look back at its predecessor and one of my favourite incarnation of the brand: Transformers Animated.

When hasbro previewed graphic teasers for the show i recall most fans were put off by it: the stylized look made people think it was a bandwagon jumping move based on Ben10's popularity (TFA's look was in fact conceptualized by the same guy responsible for Ben10's character designs, Derrick Wyatt) and the human protagonist, Sari, was female, a child even, so most assumed it was going to be kiddie fluff. It was especially confounding when you consider this came out at the height of the Movieverse popularity: it cannot be understated that the departure of style and tone was immense.

Anyways, 3 seasons and 1 botcon set later, TFA deserves to be considered one of the high points in the franchise. We got some revolutionary/groundbreaking toys design-wise (pretty impressive when you consider they came up with the movie toys with its own distinctive aesthethic relatively recent back then), and it successfully brought back TF cartoons production stateside (the AEC trilogy was previously produced in japan, lets just say the storytelling tone is an acquired taste and leave it at that).

The trend of buying up pre release toys (established with the movie toys) continued with TFA - i practically completed the core of the cast before they officially hit stores - and the line marks only the 2nd time where i felt it was worth it to pay the premium for exclusives: botcon's TFA stunticons.

Overall, i rate TFA in top 3 of my favourite TF line with its balance of good toys and even better stories (the other 2 being G1, which i grew up on - and Beast Wars - great overall story and characters, even if i dont dig the toys). In my opinion, when compared to TF Prime, hasbro made a bigger gamble (more radical premise where Optimus was cast as a young and inexperience character - even more so than in Beast Wars) yet rewarded with much better results (better world building and the tone/feel was adept at balancing both fun and serious aspect of the series). I've posted the more recent toys in individual entries previously but heres some older pics i dug up from my collection album.

Prime and Megatron were initially released in their cybertronian modes in smaller size class (deluxe and voyager respectively).

TFA with its exaggerated anatomy really showcased hasbro's ability in translating 2D character designs into 3 dimensional transforming toys, most evident in female characters like Blackarachnia.

Its too bad we never got a leader scale Lugnut so i just stuck with voyager scale Bulkhead.

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