Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Tets watches Transformers War for Cybertron Siege the cartoon or maybe anime that has a long name.

TWar for Cybertron:Transformers: Siege

An anime with many names made by Netflix and watched by me.  I’ve found myself enjoying Netflix shows.  Well the few I’ve watched anyway and think good things when I hear about them making something (Loved Voltron Legendary Defender).  Netflix recently debuted Transformers Siege the cartoon and I watched it.  Below is a summary of my feelings.

It was a thing that I watched.

Really the show wasn’t terrible by any means, but it wasn’t good either. Coming off the corpse that was the Power of the Primes cartoon (THAT was a bad show), it’s kind of hard to go downhill, so you could say I was looking forward to this one.

6 episodes of about 20 minutes each.  Essentially a movie, challenging, but by no means impossible.   Brief summary of the story is it is Autobots vs. Decepticons before the Autobots try and escape Cybertron.  Er, so like the WFC/FOC games then? Why yes! But different.

It uses the actual computer models of the toys in it which was pretty cool, but then also allowed me to have a decent look at the tetra-jet seeker shape and yeesh, it really is a folded up robot underneath the angled wings.  I also realise that their character roster is therefore limited because of that, but that’s cool.  Beast Wars had a limited character roster and that was a cool show.  Also some really awesome movies have a very limited character roster and have been good too.

Essentially though this show feels like fan fiction.  There are too many Macguffins, characters are (on the whole) annoying and some incredible leaps of faith are required from the viewer.  While I do understand that I am watching a show about living robots in space, I also believe that plot points need to flow from one thing to another with a reasonably logical sequence.

WFC Transformers Siege, an anime manages to make one too many “Happy coincidences” and one too many “suspensions of disbelief” for me to take.

Now for the spoiler section.


I’ll  start by saying there were some things that I liked and wouldn’t mind seeing continued on, but I’m going to save them until the end so I don’t come across as a negative nelly at the end of the article (assuming you make it that far).

I would like to start by going over the plot issues.

There are too many Macguffins.

At the start after meeting the key players, the Autobots discover a space bridge that could be handy.  Nice.  They think about fixing it up so that it will work.  Why?  They haven’t decided to leave Cybertron yet.  They have no need for fixing something that would take many resources, nor did they investigate it aside from Wheeljack who saw it.

While they are talking about fixing the space bridge, Ultra Magnus (Optimus’ war advisor guy) heads off to have a chat with Megatron.  Through his actions we discover that Shockwave has been searching for the Allspark and tells Megatron. Not, Megatron didn’t ask Shockwave to find the Allspark, as Megatron thinks it’s a myth.  Also, Shockwave says that if they have the Allspark, they can programme all the Autobots with it.  I do like that at first, Megatron doesn’t really like the plan and it’s not until a bit more convincing that he decides it should go ahead.

Ok, this one I can let them have and it makes sense.  Shockwave is a smart guy and could have well been searching for the Allspark long before the show started.  If he were searching for the Allspark, I could also see that he would be working out some plan to use it so him being able to make it a weapon is plausible.

The Autobots get wind of Megatron’s agreement with Shockwave’s plan.

Now as we go along with thought, we begin to approach one of the inconsistencies with the show.  The Allspark programme will affect Autobots and here we start to see the introduction of race in the show.  The Decepticons being one and the Autobots being another.

This could be slightly plausible, but then we see lots of Transformers who have chosen to be Decepticons or Autobots. Jetfire and  Impactor both talked abut why they chose to follow Megatron.  Does that mean that Transformers born as Decepticons didn’t have that choice? What about other neutral characters?  We meet Bumblebee who is factionless and Soundblaster who is a mercenary.  Are they separate races as well?  Let’s assume that the race thing is another word for programming.  Then how do Impactor and Jetfire have the ability to decide to change factions?  If their programming is set as Decepticon, they would be loyal Decepticons.

I go over this as while it starts as a throw away kind of mention, the Autobot race gets pushed more to the front and becomes a bigger thing.  Personally I think they would’ve been better off just not sating the race of Autobots/Decepticons/Neutrals(?)/Mercenaries as it just complicates things where there doesn’t need to be complication.

Ultra Magnus sends a message to the Autobots informing them of Shockwave’s evil plan.  The Autobots discuss the plan it goes a bit like this:

Megatron is searching for the Allspark.

The Allspark? That doesn’t exist, it’s a mythological item.

Megatron wants it for bad stuff.  With the Allspark he could do lots of bad stuff quite easily.

Well, we better find it before he does then.  How can we find it this just 5 minutes ago thought of a mythological item of fairy-tale?

I can wire up the computer to track it’s energy signal. (How do you know it’s energy signal, no-one thought it was real until a few minutes ago)

Ok, do it.

But it will use energon.  Which we currently need to keep our only safe place hidden.

If we don’t get this mythological Macguffin, then we won’t be around to keep our base covered.

And so forth.  Essentially my point is this, they hear a credible bit of information about a thing that was from fairy tales and want to find it, as well as immediately knowing a way to find it.  Within minutes.

There’s more.

Megatron sets a trap.  The autobots miraculously find the Allspark, wow, good job Wheeljack and go for it.  But it’s a setup.

In this section we see Cog pick up some energon.  And a Decepticon shoots at cog who gets half blown up  But later we find the Decepticons didn’t se the energon as a part of the trap.  It certainly looked as if it were there as an explosive.... but this is not the case

Regardless of obviously being set up, Optimus is still determined to find the Allspark.  Without any proof it exists.. What the hell is this writing?

Last bit plot wise that bothered me

ANOTHER MACGUffin

This time, it’s the Alpha Trion protocols.  Apparently a resource of vast information, (vector sigma/the underbase?) that Magnus was carrying.  He gets popped by Megatron (perhaps deliberately?) and then the AT Protocols finds its way to Bumblebee.

Ultra Magnus WALKING to his fate and SPACE MAJIK!

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The Deceps knew nothing about it, yet Soundwave an Shockwave the wave bros are able to whip up a virus that will affect only things with ATP.  Soundwave pipes in that the ATP are integrated into many of Cybertron’s systems.  But they knew nothing about it a few minutes ago.  Sounds familiar right?

This leads me on to the writing again.  Cog states the “Ultra Magnus has chose you…”

Has Chose

Has Chose

HAS CHOSE??????

How did that get by the script writer, proof reader AND voice actor???

Ultra Magnus has chose you Bumblebee.  - Actually the Alpha Trion protocol did the choosing. Magnus did the dying.

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Blah blah blah, The ATP tells Bumblebee where that Allspark is and off they go to get it. Lovely.  Didn’t need to look for it using the Ark and Wheeljack then did we?  Ultra Magnus could’ve told you himself (he must’ve known it was a thing with all the information in him) but he got himself a bad case of DEAD.

Essentially the plot was a mix of too many macguffins jammed into an”epic” storyline without a character count to make it epic.  Prowl and Arcee randomly show up from nowhere to help out too.  What?  Prowl is super high ranking Autobot and he just suddenly shows up?

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Essentially I would’ve preferred a less epic, more personal story based on the characters instead of shoehorning people in like crazy.

It might seem like I hate the show to its very core, not so the case. I do actually like a couple fo things.

At the Start Jetfire leads the Seekers and not Starscream.  A nice look at their dislike for each other.

Megatron actually seems like a reasonable guy at and is slowly driven to more extreme measures as the show goes on.  Driven by Decepticons pushing him, Optimus’ unwillingness to negotiate.

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Soundblaster is a Mercenary and a clone/failed Shockwave experiment of Soundwave.

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Impactor seeing the difference between Autobots and Decepticons and his relationship with Mirage growing both characters.

Bumblebee being a scavenger and neutral character at the start.

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Ratchet who is also neutral now, apparently he was unhappy during the main war.  It makes me think that Wheeljack would’ve been a better choice as Wheeljack was crazy experiments guy and should have the skills to fix the space bridge over Ratchet who is a medic.

Omega Supreme looked cool, but where did he come from??  And why was he so hard to understand?  Voice Warble as well as other robotty space FX that's why.

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This I didn’t like:

Optimus is a whiney child in this one.  Doubting his thoughts, being unsure.  And yet all lines are delivered as super serious lecture-man Optimus.  The Voice actor was so concerned about sounding like Optimus he couldn’t act.

I don’t think I like Elita-1’s actor.  Her accent was, erm, interesting.  It felt like sometimes she didn’t want to open her mouth to talk.

Walking after a sigh and a sigh by itself.

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Also, much sighing.  Drink a shot every time Elita-1 sighs and you’ll be in hospital needing a liver replacement ASAP.

Too many characters with gravel voices. Megatron, Magnus and Jetfire all sound almost the same...

Reuse of models.  There were so many Cogs, Sideswipes, Tetra jets, Impactors in the show, I don’t care id Cog got half his chest blown off.  There’s another 8 just like him in the same room.  If you need to reuse models that much, you need to either have generic ones to use, or scale down the character list.  Not every movie needs an epic world-destroying event with thousands of people to be engaging.

Transformers Walking.

So

Much

Walking

Walking for plot. Walking into a room, walking over there, walking over here.

Running.

More running. Even more running.

One scene has Optimus, Wheeljack and Bumblebee running away from Megatron, who is running after them.  Why don’t they Transform?

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Megatron calls in the seekers, Jetfire and a tetrajet(maybe someone?) come in, drop next to Megatron and run with him.

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They’re jets, they can fly. Flying is faster than running. Driving is faster than running.  Why is there such an aversion to Transforming in this show called Transformers which is about Transformers who can TRANSFORM?  Optimus was motivated enough to get to Wheeljack and Bumblebee.

More walking

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We finally get to see why mirage is a Decepticon in this, thereby justifying his new toy paint and it’s fairly pointless, but still, it’s nice that it was included.  It was also nice seeing Mirage creating mirages in a cool section, that kind of made sense.

The animation was ok and obviously done on a budget and the Transformers looked good.  So really after all my ranting, I didn’t hate the show, I don’t love the show either.  I was fairly dis-interested in what it had to tell me.

It wasn’t bad enough to be awful, it wasn’t good enough to be good, it was just, there. And I watched it.

I now await the next series.  Are you surprised?  You shouldn’t be, I watched all the Transformers Bay movies, hoping that they would improve, that’s how I feel about this one.  I will assume that the next series, which I assume will be Earthrise will be better than this one.

In a way, Siege was better than the Machinima Power Of The Primes show, so they are getting better.  But they an still be better than this.

Come on, whoever is doing the writing for this, pull up your socks and organise yourself a bit better.

As a disclaimer, I naturally have no idea about budgetary/time/resource information, but I still firmly believe that the story should have been adapted to fit within whatever constraints they had.

So, in the end, I would not recommend it.  Watch it if you want to.  Rant over.

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