Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Transformers Marathon II; Robots in Disguise 2001: That was a drastic jump

EDIT: It should be brought up that, during the time this was being aired (encase 2001 wasn't a give away) aspects of the show was censored upon western release due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, leading to confusing plot threads later on in the series. I did not bring it up in the main review because... I never got up to that point as I couldn't bring myself to get up to that point.

Behold, the series right before when I started, Robots in Disguise (for the purposes of this I'll be referring to it as RiD 2001 as they reuse the name for another show which is getting a revisit this marathon along with several toylines and I already used my "no not that one" joke and I'd rather not reuse it yet), and this was a pretty big jump from Beast Machines and then the jump to Armada was just as big. But to give you the heads up now, the only reason the jump was big was because the pit that RiD 2001 is in. I've seen talk of this being a filler show between Beast Machines and Armada, and if that's true, it shows.

Our story takes us to Not Tokyo... oh wait this isn't 4-Kids, my mistake. Our story takes us to Tokyo (before I get cries of cultural appropriation, this was meant for kids back in the early 2000's, and I'm looking at the dub so many people back then would think the city is what Tokyo is like, this is called an attempt at a joke), where the Autobots are trying to stop the... Predacons? How does that work? If this is meant to be a Japanese styled city, emphasis on city, then how do you cover up designs like a robot that can turn into a dragon, a bat, a hand (no seriously, one of Megatron's designs this time is a hand), another one who can turn into a shark, and a couple of Transmetal 2 repaints (yeah, that whole "filler plot" does go with the toys as well, lots of repaints), that are attacking the city? Ok yes this is a problem the entire franchise is known for, but think about it in universe. What makes more sense? "A highway battle between 3 cars took out large numbers of commuters today" or "a car was chased today by a shark and a giant floating hand that's ripping off Master Hand on the freeway today". Their in universe explanation just seems to be "humans know of the Autobots", so then what's the point of the whole "robots in disguise" thing? Moving on, the Predacons are after energy (not Energon, energy) to rebuild their ship and are seeking out cybertronian relics. I think, that part I'm looking at TF Wiki for because of reasons I'll get into later. It works? I think? It's a pretty generic plot all things considered, and yeah its meant for young kids, and comparing it to tv shows of today, it could be worse. But it's a very "been there, done that" approach to it. I don't know if its RiD 2001's fault, or the fact that its a tired story trope used for a lot of things, probably the second one.

I'm not one for comparing Japanese dubs to English dubs, because more often then not when I hear "OMG the english dub sucks, only watch the japanese dubs", my thoughts has always been "It's ok. It might not be as good as something made for english audiences first and then dubbed to Japanese, but its ok". In the case of RiD 2001 though, I hope the Japanese dub is better because the English dub is awful. While I get that this is a show meant for younger kids, it feels like there was no effort put into the voice acting, the VA's just sound bored and with a lack of direction. So much so that I can barely find hints to what their personalities should be, and the only reason I tried was because I forced myself to try. I don't care enough about anyone here because their voices put me to sleep (or is that E3 recovery talking...). Same thing applies to the animation to, and I don't say this in a racist way, but this is a boring style of anime that I feel like I've seen before, and seen way better before. Action that mostly consists of over the top (and I say that loosely here) actions that involve them saying the names of their attacks? Been there. Stock action looking scenes with actions meant to easily add into any story and location? Done that. A weird need for human kid looking characters even when it makes no real sense for them to be involved? Done that to death in this franchise alone. Even the music is forgettable at best, ear grading at worse. Seriously the show's intro sucks, still tossing up on which one is worse for this franchise, current picks are RiD 2001, RiD 2015 short version, and Energon.

The most I can say about RiD 2001 is that if it wasn't meant to be filler, it definitely feels like filler. There's just nothing here that I can say hooked me into it like Beast Wars and Beast Machines did. Every other Transformers show I've reviewed has had some form of a hook to get me invested in it, but not here. I'm actually willing to go so far as to say its on the list of worst shows I've seen for this site, though once again, Jem has Transformers beaten because 80's kids music. Jumping a couple of years for the next review, Transformers Animated. I hope you like chins.

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