I swear there was no plan here. When I started the reviews of the Transformers Universe toys over at The Clutter Reports it just inspired me to do a series of articles about the Transformers articles. When I saw that I had a playthrough of Transformers (based on Transformers Armada) in my watch later I thought it would be an interesting connection for last week’s Saturday Night Showcase. And last night’s discussion of Transformers Zone led me to make it tonight’s installment. It’s just a strange coincidence.
For those of you who missed yesterday’s article, here’s what you need to know. Transformers Zone was the last series of toys that had any kind of animated production attached to it until the Beast Wars line. The focus was on the Micromasters, or as they were known in Japan the Micro-Transformers. However, they also introduced two “Powered Masters” (not to be confuses with the Powermasters–or Godmasters in Japan–or the Power Masters): Dai Atlas, who was the new leader of the Autobots (or Cybertron in Japan), and his comrade Sonic Bomber. When Violen Jiger gives Black Zarak (a variant of Scorponok) and a group of Combiners new armor he creates his Nine Great Demon Generals and sends them to collect the new “Energon Z” created by the Powered Masters and Micromasters as well as an element on Earth called Zodiac, which when combined will give them the power to control the universe.
Only one episode of this story was produced, released as an Original Video Animation (OVA, or direct-to-video animated movie if you want) alongside a manga of the same story, and followed not by a TV series but a series of manga stories in TV Magazine. Also for some reason Toei refuses to let anyone officially subtitle this even though Shout Factory in the US and another group in the UK have both released official subtitled versions of the other Japanese original series, except for Scramble City, which is also an OVA. Apparently Toei doesn’t like their OVAs getting outside of Japan. Well, fans thought differently so if they’re not going to have an official release I’m not as reluctant to bring you the fansub…and the fandub, which also connects to the videos I’ve been posting on Tuesdays regarding the sub versus dub debate. Watch whichever version you want, or since they’re only about 24 minutes watch them both. I don’t get anything out of it besides bringing you something neat so enjoy how you will.
Fan dubbed version
At this point even in Japan the Transformers property was losing steam. They would also join Hasbro in revitalizing the franchise with Beast Wars, but we’ll get to that in due course. This was okay but not necessarily all that great. I’m starting to think having Decepticons led by strange energy aliens is a bad sign for a Transformers anime. It leads to less than exciting stories and a theme song more meant to relax than prepare for giant robot battles. Still it wasn’t a bad story even if it didn’t always make sense. An element tied to the creation of the universe and all you get is a battlestation mode and a Z-shaped boomerang. I’m not that impressed.