I have to admit it. By today’s standards, most of the intros for Transformers are kind of bland. By today’s standards. In the 80’s, the Transformers theme song was pretty good, but only the Lion version (and possibly the Animated update) can be considered “awesome” without the reality-warping power of nostalgia.
While the Japanese openings don’t fare any better until recent years in my mind, one stands out: Car Robot. (Known in the US as Robots in Disguise). As a bonus, I also found a version with the outro and fan-subtitles.
The theme, “Burning Overdrive”, gets you pumped up for the show and (unlike a lot of anime intros I’ve seen) isn’t just there to be artsy. (See Mythical Detective Loki: Ragnarok or pretty much any Gundam series that doesn’t start with “SD”.) You get a good idea of what the show is about, generally speaking, and unlike the famous original series intro, isn’t just trying to fit as many characters as it can into one huge fight scene.
My only complaint was that the theme started before the opening “prologue” act. I’d rather see, say, Gelshark/Sky-Bite grabbing the fuel pod and as he runs off, with the humans looking on confused, the siren starts up second before the Autobots start zooming past the screen as the opening title comes on. That would have looked so much cooler.
The outro, however, is welcome to be “artsy”, and while I’m not sure this one qualifies, “Marionette” is a nice song, and I do like the visuals of Fire Convoy against the moonlight and AI’s tear.
When Saban brought this series over from Japan to coincide with Hasbro’s “Robots in Disguise” line, they made their own intro and outro.
And while it doesn’t hold a candle to the Japanese theme, I still kind of like it. Short and to the point, and better than some other themes I could mention *cough*Cybertron*cough*). The outro, however? Lame.