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So two new preview clips were shown at NYCC, showcasing the upcoming Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
...No, not the 2001 anime. Or the subset of the Transformers Prime toyline. Or the IDW comic book series. Or the subset of the Age of Extinction movie toyline.
Hasbro, you need to get more creative with the titles, here.
Anyway, the new show is a sequel to the acclaimed Transformers Prime, with Bumblebee returning to Earth leading a new team of Autobots as they hunt fugitive Decepticons running loose from a crashed prison ship.
The show is taking a brighter, more kid-friendly approach after Prime's darker, action-packed run. That's not a bad thing, but...I'm apprehensive. Every time I see the phrase "appeal to younger children" I cringe, because it makes me think of shows like Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Teen Titans Go!, which aren't necessarily bad but favoring comedy over action doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. Worse still, it makes me think of utter garbage like Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
But Jeff Kline is still running with RiD, which gives me hope given his track record of producing awesome cartoons. And while the new visual style certainly pops with vibrant colors and stylized robots, the animation is jarringly choppy and stiff. It's really sad to see because the animation studio, Polygon, worked on Prime, which had some of the best 3D animation ever produced on television. It's especially jarring when certain effects animation like trees and dust clouds and explosions are animated in 2D and it looks so much better than the jerky movements of the robots.
And then there's the robots themselves. While it's great to have Bumblebee back voiced by Will Friedle again and Peter Cullen as a ghostly Optimus Prime, the other Autobots are lamentably cliched at first glance. We have a rowdy big guy as the muscle! We have a by-the-book, no-nonsense girl who clashes with a smooth-talking rebellious bad boy! (I can see the shipping coming a mile away) And then we have an excitable geeky little guy as the tech-head of the group! These character types have been seen a million times already. You know what I was really hoping for? That the rowdy Dinobot would have been the girl on the team. Can you imagine how refreshing that would be? Picture it: A heavyset fembot like Bulkhead who turns into a freaking T-Rex. That would be awesome! But no. Well, at least Strongarm isn't a motorcycle and doesn't have a supermodel physique, so that's a little better. I can only hope that the characters will be written with more nuance and better characterization than their stereotypes tend to have.
And finally...the Decepticons. Oh boy, the Decepticons. See, the 'Cons have always been my favorite faction going back all the way to the beginning. They have the coolest vehicle modes, the most wildly diverse personalities, the really cool powers and weapons. In theory, a show revolving around hundreds of Decepticon prisoners escaped and running wild on Earth is a great idea! Plenty of potential in the kinds of characters and vehicle modes for them all. And it would be a welcome step up from Transformers Prime and its legions of identical cannon fodder troops. But from the promotional material so far we have... ...this ...and this ...and this (okay, he might be cool) ...and God help us, this. And these are their robot modes. And they turn into cars.
So, some of this is me being a butt-hurt fan because I don't personally like a lot of the choices they're making with this series. I acknowledge that. I really, really hope that this show is going to be a lot of fun to watch. But if every single Decepticon they come across in the first five episodes or so is a goofy monster bot that turns into a car...I'm out.
Current Residence: Van Nuys, CA Favourite genre of music: Rock, Power Metal, Classical Shell of choice: Clam Skin of choice: I like my own skin, thank you very much Favourite cartoon character: Batman Personal Quote: Be confident in what you can do, and use what you can't do as inspiration to help you improve.