Some time ago I posted the first two episodes of the webseries based on the Transformers “Combiner Wars” line, the first in the Prime Wars Trilogy series. At the time it was all I could post since, at least in the US, the rest of the series was only available at the free streaming site (if you can tolerate ads…you wussy!) Go90. Well, with the second chapter of the Prime Wars Trilogy finally getting it’s release…as the toyline has already started moving to the third series, Power Of The Primes…Hasbro has posted all eight short videos–roughly 5-6 minutes a piece–to their YouTube channel. So before we shift over to Christmas specials for Saturday Night Showcase, here is the full series. Since the intro last time was way too long this one will be short.
As a reminder: the Prime Wars Trilogy series is a co-production between Hasbro Studios and Machinima, the animation studio that was formerly the home of actual machinima, animation done with video game assets or gameplay. Part of the classic fan-targeted toyline, it follows the theme of combination. In Combiner Wars it’s robots joining into a larger robot. In Titans Return it’s a return of the “Headmasters” under the name Titanmasters. And the current Power Of The Primes seems to be an alteration of the Powermasters concept of G1 days plus elements of the previous two series. So how well does it translate to animation?
They actually kept them in the proper order! You don’t see enough YouTube channels doing that.
I’m just going to copy/paste the review from last time because my thoughts haven’t changed on the series having seen the full Combiner Wars series.
While I’m not a fan of what IDW has been doing I think parts of this works better for me. However, you have to be reading the Combiner Wars comic (or watch this summary by Comicstorian) to understand some of the history involved even though they try to catch you up in the preludes and the episodes themselves. I like the writing and the animation for the budget I’m betting this got. And Windblade here matches her IDW self rather than her Robots In Disguise counterpart. My only complaint also comes from IDW, namely the nature of Combiners. In the past Combiners were the merged forms of smaller Transformers, the Decepticons to boost their destruction and the Autobots to protect against their Combiners, and it all started with the Constructions, the first Combiners. There was no “Enigma Of Combination” stuff, just advancements in Transformer design that allowed them to combine, and even Devastator with all his power was obsolete compared to the “Scramble City” Combiners which only Japan really used the full potential of, but that’s a story for another time. My point is that Combiners now seem to be giving up their individuality to become one new robot forever. The Technobots were their own character but now Computron is all that remains, deciding that they now must run the galaxy, and that’s sad. The same for the Stunticons and Menasor. And I’m serious about the Combiners in this series wanting to control things. Here’s an original character for this line, the first female Combiner team stating such.
That means potentially six new female Transformers characters are lost to just one, and that’s not how Combiners should work. Then again, IDW seems to have a more cynical, possibly darker take on Combiners.
That’s probably my biggest problem with the current take on Combiners. At that point…why have them be Combiners in the first place. What I found cool about Combiners in their previous incarnations (except for the actual Combiner teams of Energon, in which only the core robot had any personality) and the recently completed “Combiner Force” season of Transformers: Robots In Disguise was that they were individual robots, adding their skills and talents to their combined form but still being individuals. That was taken away and I’m thinking Titans Return might do the same with the HeadTitanmasters…if they show up at all. The last trailer I saw focused solely on the “city” Transformers.
The other problem is that we’ve been dropped in the middle of the story. Where did the Enigma Of Combination come from? Why did the Combiners we see come into existence? Victorion appears to be their leader, but how did she get the job? And what were the various components like before they were Combined? We see the Constructicons uncombined but they don’t talk unless you count all those bleeps. I thought they were drones until Devastator popped up. The Hasbro playlist doesn’t include the preludes, like the one above, which doesn’t really flesh out the story enough to follow everything that happened but it would have been nice to include.
For the story we get, however, it was otherwise well told and the animation was quite good. The voice actors came off very well to the point it’s kind of sad that some of them were replaced. (Peter Cullen returns as Optimus Prime, replacing Jon Baliey, but no Frank Welker as Megatron so that seems pointless. Windblade also has a new voice–ironic for the “cityspeaker”…a term you only understand if you followed the IDW comics.) Reading up on a wiki, Megatron seemed to be liked, and I’m not a fan of Starscream’s oddly quiet demeanor (unless that was part of the act) but otherwise I didn’t the acting was bad, even if the dialog occasionally was.
Go90’s Prime Wars Trilogy is already up to episode 3 of Titans Return as of this writing. I will review the full season when it completes.