Have you ever watched a show for the first time and thought it sucked... and then had a change of coração and decided to give that show a segundo chance? I've had that happen with me at least two times. The first was with Hetalia, and in the case of that piece of worthless dog-shit, a segundo viewing only made me pergunta why that series has a fanbase even more.
The segundo show I gave a segundo chance was a show that I "fondly" remember watching as a kid (and I use the term "fondly" loosely in this case). It is a show that belongs to a franchise that I hold very dear.
That show is link
Allow me to explain for those unfamiliar. transformers Energon (known in Japão as link
) is the segundo installment of a trilogy of transformers animê known as the Unicron Trilogy (aptly named for the importance of the character link
in all three shows). The first show was link
in Japan), and the third is link
I remember watching both link
when they ran on Cartoon Network's Toonami block (yes, all three shows in the Unicron Trilogy ran on Toonami, though Energon only aired in marathons and never made it on any lineups). Armada, which holds a special place in my coração as the first transformers show I ever watched, was an awesome experience. Energon, on the other hand, took a steaming dump on almost everything that made that experience awesome (and it was because of that that I never bothered watching link
when it aired on Toonami).
So... it's been almost 8 years since viewing the show. Since then, I've become a die-hard transformers fan, having seen almost every cartoon, anime, and movie the franchise has to offer. Recently, I was searching for and watching Toonami promos and intros for various shows, when I stumbled upon the promo for transformers Energon. Toonami has always been able to produce well-made promos that make any show look incredibly awesome, and though I still had horrible memories of Energon, the promo for that show was no exception. I was actually rather impressed por it, and I considered going back and maybe giving transformers Energon a short segundo viewing (especially since it's been some time since watching the damn show), watching up to nine, possibly ten, episodes just to jog my memory.
So, after almost 8 whole years, what do I think of transformers Energon?
Well, I can certainly say that even after all that time, the animation in transformers Energon (provided por both link
) still hasn't grown on me at all, and it probably never will. This show has plenty of flaws, but I'm focusing on the animation first, since that was the first place where I noticed issues.
transformers Energon utilizes an interesting method of animation: rendering CG modelos over a cel animated background. The Autobots and Decepticons themselves are 3D models, while the background and everything else is 2D. Granted, it isn't the first transformers show to use CGI. link
, made in 1996 and 1999 respectively, were made using total CGI. However, Energon was the first show to use the CG-over-cel animation method... it's just too bad that the execution didn't go too well. The cel-shaded animation looks fine, but the real problems lie with the CG.
First, let's get the positives, or at least what little positives there are, out of the way. The first good thing is that the CGI is used to show off many characters moving around at once, usually with a high frame-rate that gives the characters very fluid appearances. Also, the CG modelos allow for impressive toy accuracy (in other words, the characters look almost exactly like their toys).
The first problem with the CG modelos is... well, the basic no geral, global look. The modelos all look really... how should I say this? Hand-drawn. Seriously, the quality is so unimpressive that they look mais like hand-drawn 2D models, which makes me pergunta why they didn't just use regular cel animation like they did with transformers Armada. It certainly would've helped avoid the rest of the problems. There's also the fact that, when the characters are fully shown standing or walking (flying characters are excused from this), they stand out rather painfully. It probably would've helped if the modelos actually had shadows.
Another issue with the CG is the movement. The way the characters mover is disappointing. None of the characters have any sense of weight, and can really only mover in the most basic way possible. When simply walking, some characters like Ironhide are reduced to simply sliding along the ground while swinging their arms back and forth like pendulums. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the modelos look almost like statues when they're not moving?
Probably the biggest issues are the facial expressions... or lack thereof. Every single character rendered in CGI is only capable of two expressions: 'mouth open' and 'mouth closed', almost as if link
were put in charge of the animation (... okay, to be fair, the characters aren't exactly link
, but still...). In fact, speaking of the mouths, the mouths almost look like they were taken from a 2D model and pasted onto the CG models, contributing to the unimpressive hand-drawn look. And whenever characters were required to emote visually (or do something visually appealing and dynamic), the CG is replaced por cel animation
. To quote the transformers wiki, does that seem right to you
Quite honestly, though the cel animation looks decent, the CGI in this show simply fails, especially in comparison to Beast Wars and Beast Machines, both of which came out years beforehand, were fully animated using only CGI (no cel animation involved whatsoever), and featured characters that boasted a full range of facial expressions. Also, let's not forget the fact that transformers Energon is a japanese anime, which is usually considered superior to american desenhos animados like Beast Wars in terms of animation. The only way that such piss-poor CG could be excused is if the show was made on an incredibly, INCREDIBLY miniscule and limited budget (to be fair in that regard, Beast Wars was, at the time, one of the most expensive shows made).
The sequel to Energon, transformers Cybertron, also used the CG-over-cel trick, only much mais competently. Granted, it still suffers from some of the same problems that Energon had (stiff movement, lack of facial expressions, etc.), but at the very least, Cybertron managed to look presentable
. Whether or not link
(the same studio behind Rosario + Vampire, Linebarrels of Iron, Blue Submarine #6, Samurai 7, and Full Metal Panic!) handling the entire animation department for Cybertron has to do with it, it's certainly an improvement over Energon.
transformers Armada is a fairly decent show, but it unfortunately suffered from a bad start that, to many transformers fanboys and possibly casual animê fans, basically made the entire show look like crap, even though it actually improved as it moved along (news-flash, numbnuts: transformers Armada actually gets good as it moves along, especially during the Unicron Battles arc). transformers Energon is somewhat the opposite. Energon starts out fairly well, but it starts to drag itself in the mud about half-way through, and eventually spirals down into a vortex of disappointment that hasn't died down even after 8 years. Any initial (short-lived) positive reaction to Energon was given simply because it wasn't
Armada (or rather, it didn't start out like Armada).
The problem with the story of Energon is that there just simply isn't enough material to fill the number of episodes that the show lasts for, which is 52 episodes. For 20 episodes, the show manages to stay rather decent plot-wise (the villains restore Unicron, and the good guys go off to fight him) but since there are still 30 episodes to produce, what happens? The good guys "deactivate" Unicron... and the story practically repeats itself
for 30 mais episodes! Oh joy! But wait... there are still 13 episodes to pad out, even though the very driving aspect of the story
has been destroyed. What do we get? Pointless and unnecessary filler about re-decoed characters and combiners that had no reason to be there.
Think of the repeating plot like this: imagine the Android arc from link
. I haven't seen it, and I don't know how the story for that arc goes down, so all I know is that the bad guys for that arc are the Androids. What if the Androids, after being destroyed, come back? What if they were rebuilt
and came back? What if, after being destroyed a segundo time, they kept being rebuilt and kept coming back... and that basically made up the rest of the series: the Androids getting rebuilt and destroyed over and over again
? That's pretty much the gist of transformers Energon.
Also, besides the repeating plot, there are issues with the composição literária in general. Most of the series is set in the vast regions of outer space, and characters are capable of flying in both
robot mode and vehicle mode (which is understandable for characters that turn into air vehicles such as Jetfire, but even characters that turn into trucks and cars like Optimus Prime and Hot Shot are capable of flight). If the characters could only fly in vehicle mode, I could understand. However, the fact that they can also fly in robot mode basically means that the main gimmick of the entire franchise (TRANSFORMATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
) is rendered moot. Of course, the point of the show was to promote the toyline, so the characters still transformed routinely, resulting in countless scenes of cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and what have you driving through space
transformers Energon is quite iffy when it comes to personal sub-plots and conflicts, both of which never seem to be able to come to any conclusion. Either the opportunities to resolve the conflicts would be shoved aside for mais character development, or the characters involved would either die or get their memory screwed with, thus making it so that the conflicts and sub-plots didn't need to be resolved.
The main theme of transformers Energon is link
, a technique where two similarly-sized characters combine with each other (usually, one character forms the topo, início half and one character forms the bottom) to increase their power, similar to the Mini-cons from transformers Armada. It's an interesting concept. It's just too bad that it's often used in fights involving firearms, which means that powerlinxing usually results in less armas to fogo at the enemy
. Not only that, but the increase in power is only barely noticeable.
transformers Armada is known for being rushed to the point where the dubbers were working with unfinished animation and constantly got the names mixed up (no, you dub-hating jackasses, the names weren't changed, only mixed up and confused with different characters). Well, transformers Energon also suffered the curse of the rushed schedule. Despite this, the dub generally used complete animation and got the names right. However, in the case of the latter issue, the character Misha gets three different names, and the characters of Downshift and Cliffjumper are constantly confused with one another.
Also, one minor issue worth mentioning is misspelling titles. There are spelling errors in the titles to four episodes, only two of which had their titles fixed when transformers Energon was released on DVD. They are... link link link link
Voice atuação in transformers Energon isn't terrible, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. This is due to the actors working in an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) environment, where actors perform alone with no one else. link
(the voices of link
, respectively) still turn in strong performances, but the rest of the cast clearly struggle with the material they're given to work with, often sound flat, uninspired, or just plain confused.
As for the soundtrack, that's really the only positive that Energon as a whole has going for it. The música is an awesome combination of orchestral and synthesized sounds. However, there are a few instances where the música doesn't fit the scene of the moment, though that's really the only problem in terms of music.
So, after almost 8 whole years, what do I think of transformers Energon?
Well, in all honesty... it wasn't as bad as I remembered it to be. When I first watched it as a kid, I was absolutely appalled por the shittiness of this show. However, while it's still a mediocre show, it's not terrible. It hasn't aged like fine wine, but it certainly hasn't aged like milk, either.
However, that being said, while it's not the worst animê show I've ever watched (that spot still belongs to Hetalia. A show will have to rape me and give me both aids and prostate cancer before it can even come close to being as bad as Hetalia), I can definitely say that transformers Energon is, without a single shadow of a doubt, the worst transformers show to ever air on television.
If you're new to transformers and you want to get into the franchise por watching any of the shows... well, as I've already pointed out with this review, transformers Energon is the last choice you should go with. You're better off with the link
, Beast Wars, link
, transformers Cybertron, link
, and almost anything else. The only reason to watch Energon at all is if you're genuinely curious as to how bad a transformers show can be.
It looks awesome, but looks can be deceiving.
Optimus Prime stares blankly into space while Kicker Jones hangs in there.
You'd have to smoke some REALLY good shit to see this in real life.
Megatron's back, bitches.
Remember when I said that Transformers Energon GENERALLY used complete animation? Yeah, about that...
Straining and yawning: so spectacular, you cannot simply render them in CG.
For dutch's sake, dude...