Transformers: Armada

Alt title: Chou Robot Seimeitai Transformers Micron Densetsu

TV (52 eps)
2002 - 2003
Winter 2003
3.305 out of 5 from 1,046 votes
Rank #10,040
Transformers: Armada

The war between the Cybertrons and Destrons rages on planet Seibetron for the sake of controlling the microns, mini Transformers that can link with the bigger Transformers and give them unbeatable powers. Realising that the war is due to them, the microns were sent out to deep space by the Cybertrons on a Cybertron shuttle. The Destrons go in pursuit the shuttle but the shuttle managed to escape and crash-landed on earth. After 4 million years, 3 young brats accidentally activated the mysterious micron ship thus sending signals to both Cybertrons & Destrons. The war between the Cybertrons & the Destrons once again rages on earth to control the microns, thus revealing many mysteries of the universe including the dark force, Unicron.

Source: ANN

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Transformers Armada   Story: 5/10   Before anything, I would like to state a couple of things: Throughout all of my reviews – either written or to be written – I try to be as objective as possible despite including my personal beliefs and feelings towards the reviewing series or movie. Well… 1984’s Transformers is an American cartoon series I’ve grown up with since my early childhood days. Thus, when coming across such a mischievous discontinuation of that all-times classic masterpiece, I know not if my deductions would be totally unaffected by those arising memories of nostalgia. Please bear with me… Having said that, let us take a good look upon the story that Transformers Armada features. The old-but-never-worn-out civil war between the two races of robots on planet Cybertron is now revolving around a newcomer to the field of action: a micro-faction of robots known as Minicons – power-enhancing Transformers that, when partner up with the big guys, can improve their abilities, unlock new fire guns etc etc… The problem is that they fled the planet a long time ago, obviously crashing on Earth. Ever since, a team of young clock-watchers found their spaceship on a nearby mountain that no one had noticed in millennia and woke them up. Hence, Optimus Prime (not the authentic one, but a modern version of him) and Megatron (again, a G2 kind of looking guy, other than the gun-transforming Decepticon leader) appear on the scene, being followed by their comrades. Up to episode 40 or so, most of the… action (?) takes place around an awoken minicon and the two armies’ struggle in order to obtain its unbelievable power. After a tone of unbearably boring/non-sense/even randomly speaking dialogues, Unicron makes his unexpected appearance leading you to believe that something galactic is about to happen. I may assure you nothing of an importance occurs. As a matter of fact, the plotline – despite having a new idea and a way to develop it – is as empty and flat as the majority of soap operas imported from South America. Needless to say that the lack of any sort of interest is made clear every time you look at those washy, childlike reactions the characters experience at each others presence. Here’s a sample of the basic dialogues used in all of the episodes: “I’m gonna destroy your pathetic world Optimus… once I obtain all of the Minicons” “No, Megatron you can’t! Leave now or I will destroy you first.” “Ha! You think so. Attack!” “Yes I think. Counterattack!” Got it? Right… What could have been a child’s script, turned into a 52-episode killer for anyone fantasizing that this reset of the Transformers’ universe could be interesting by the slightest bit. In conclusion, no subversions or peripeties amuse the medium viewer since the whole series works in a “Minicon of the week” or “newcomer of the week” way.   Animation 6,5/10   A variety of beautifully drawn vast and dull sceneries composes the set of the battles, whilst the majority of the non-battle dialogues takes place in the headquarters of each respective camp – on Earth and moon. The drawing lines most of the characters share are fair but nothing too fancy or extravagant compromises their movements. Generally, I found it quite pleasant for the eye, putting aside some minor childish drawings they used at facial expressions. Yet, the reluctant use of new effects especially for Unicron’s grand arrival was more than obvious…   Sound 3/10   I’m sorry… what sound section? The attempt to renew the lyrics of the classic theme used in 1984’s cartoon with the mix of a jazz/pop/rock/Idontknowwhat music pattern failed completely, while tunes accompanying the episodes are somewhat inexistent. Well, for Takara’s production, this was only the top of the iceberg (which eventually sunk the series!). Do you recall the name of the great actor that lent his voice to the planet-devourer himself? The absolute awe that Peter Cullen’s voice gave to Prime? I could go on with a very long list, in search of redemption from Orson Welles’s performance of ultimate wonder against this unbearable effort of vocalizing transforming vehicles, however I feel that I have already made my point clear.   Characters 3/10   Ok, I think by now you already get my feelings towards this weird alteration of my beloved cartoon, but the worst part has yet to come. The show was not only criticized for having a simplistic plot but also for compromising one-dimensional characters – robots and humans. Most of them are either heavenly good, devilish bad or incredibly idiotic. There are a few exceptions – Transformers who change for the better or the worse but none of them ever makes any sense with his true colours. I won’t expand on this issue any longer since it’s too dreadful to realize that the same looking and named characters as the ones premiered on our screens 20 or so years earlier with the same brand, this time luck the decency of their predecessors. Instead, they are nothing more than a bunch of puppets moving their mouth and repeating the exact same words over and over again.   Generally 4/10   For any hardcore fan – such as myself – this tv series is nothing more than a way to feel nostalgia and desperation. My head was about to explode when I heard the “hilarious” line of Prime around episode 30 and during his transformation: “Optimus transform… Superman mode!” No kidding… I would only suggest this one for 3-year-old children but I’m guessing that they might as well get bored after a few pokemon-like episodes (gotta catch ’em all) but with mini robots filling in for the animals. Just for your information let me juxtapose another fact: This highly debated Transformers series is the first of a trilogy concentrating on Unicron. It was followed by a slightly better sequel called Energon, and a third installment named after Cybertron which was – believe it or not – even worse than Armada. Avoid ‘em all!    


Transformers Armada first aired on Toonami in August 23, 2002 to December 6, 2003. The Japanese version Micron Legends aired on TV Tokyo from Jan 10, 2003 to December 26, 2003. Armada is part one of the Unicron Trilogy, followed by Energon, with the last being Cybertron. Story 6/10 The gimmick of the show/toyline was the Minicons, a mysterious group of small Transformers that could power up larger Transformers by Power linking, it was during the Pokemon craze of the 2000's and it had the formula of collect them all. The plot follows the Minicons escaping Cybertron, millions of years later two humans find and awaken a dormant Minicon bringing a small group of Decepticons and Autobots to continue their war on Earth, as the story progresses more characters are added to the mix. While the story has a slow start, the beginning episodes being formulaic, it later picks up after the character Sideways is introduced. Animation 6/10 The animation in the US release was rushed and as a result there were many animation errors that were fixed in the Japanese version (Micron Legends.) When the animation is solid it gives the Transformers weight to show that they are big during fight scenes, and the teleportation animation gives off that Power Point presentation in an indearing manner. Sound 9/10 The strongest aspect is the sound design, especially with the Transformers, as with the animation, the sound design gives them weight as well. The music for the most part was good, the Japanese version having opening themes done by Tokusatsu veterans. The dub while rushed has many highlights, with Beast Wars voice actors (Gary Chalk, David Kaye, and Scott McNeil) returning, Don Brown voicing the trigger happy Cyclonus, and Michael Dobson does a fantastic job as Starscream. The Japanese voices are also solid, including a Unicron voiced by a Japanese version of Orson Wells. Characters 9/10 While the human characters are annoying and useless, except Alexis who befriends Starscream later on. The one character that stands out in both versions is Starscream who has one of the most nuanced and unique out of most iterations of the cowardly backstabbing underling (that role goes to Thrust). Starscream is portrayed as an honorable warrior (similar to BW Dinobot) who has the best character arc in the show. Most of the Autobots and Decepticons have new characters such as Hot Shot, Sideways, Demolishor, and Tidal Wave, while some use pre existing names for new characters such as Red Alert, Jetfire, Cyclonus, Scavenger, Wheeljack, Blurr, Sideswipe, Thrust, and Smokescreen/Hoist. Overall 7/10 Due to this being my first Transformers show, it's the one that I look back on fondly and it remains close to my heart, while I can admit it's faults, it's not the worst Transformers show. If you want to check it out, I recommend watching the Japanese version to get the definitive experience.

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