Reviewby Michelle Yu, Jun 1st 2008
Transformers: The Headmasters Collection
Replacing the events of the US 4th Season, classic G1 characters return for all-new titanic clashes. A year after the energy of the Matrix was released, Optimus Prime leads the Autobots on Cybertron, but peace is soon shattered as Galvatron and the Decepticons launch a deadly offensive. Both sides gain new allies and the startling arrival of the Headmasters!
Transformers Headmasters. To the unknowing onlooker, the title could very well have been mistaken for a series about robots running schools. But alas, this is not the case. It is however, about robots. Big, BIG robots.
Transformers Headmasters is in fact, the Japanese continuation of the original series which replaces the events of the US fourth season. Note the word "original." This is your retro, 80s Transformers complete with old-school Japanese "big robot music." There will be none of that swanky Dreamworks computer graphic animation here, thank you very much, or any Linkin Park on the soundtrack. Whether you watched Transformers as part of your before-school routine as a child, or after school when you threw your book bag from your shoulder and dived for a spot in front of the television, this series will bring back nostalgic feelings almost as potent as your first kiss.
Following an attack by Galvatron and the Decepticons, both Autobots and Decepticons alike gain new allies in the form of the "Headmasters." Their name actually refers to an ability these Transformers have developed where they can detach and switch heads amongst allies in order to boost power, use different abilities and gain other useful stats. Being developed as a children's series, the pacing is slow and the narration spells every detail out for viewers. There are little to no twists in the story either, just some obstacles which lend themselves to a very technically structured plot. Luckily, some steady action saves the series from disintegrating into a shiny, smooth, circular plot in every single episode.
It is noted in the series that it is set in the year 2011, but I found the retro aspects quite humorous. Sure the Cassettebots are excellent for reconnaissance, but it's mid 2008 and I haven't seen a cassette since my early years on this Earth. Nor have I seen the distinct lack of tone in art, or obvious changes in scenes since watching pre-90s cartoons on a Saturday morning long, long ago. The sound effects and animation are also distinctly retro in execution.
Despite the laughable 80s qualities, I found the character development decent, especially since the cast is enormous. Robots living alongside humans and exhibiting human-like relationships with one another surely gave inspiration to such films as A.I. and the like. The fact that they also mentioned that the Trainbots (who can join together to form a Japanese bullet train) were built in Japan with the help of humans also reminded me of Pinocchio and Astro Boy. The incorporation of humans in the series (especially a child- Daniel Witwicky) brought out the emotion in the robots, but the character of Daniel himself, being still immature and a stand-in for the intended audience, makes his presence known in a way that is a bit annoying sometimes.
It must be said that it is somewhat difficult to critique an entire series when a lot of it is quite repetitive. Transformers Headmasters is a series that is quite difficult to sit through should you have a short attention span, or are not a hardcore Transformers fan. If that is the case, do not even attempt to watch the series in the English dub option. Some of the voices are a terrible combination of mechanical and whiny.
Overall : C
Overall (dub) : D-
Overall (sub) : C
Story : B
Animation : C+
Art : C
Music : B
+ Good character development and involvement
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