The Japanese Collection: Headmasters - DVD Set - Media

Although new G1 Transformers episodes stopped airing in the US after 1987, most TF fans know that they soldiered on in Japan for another 3yrs. Three series were created in that time, and they were vastly different from how the US saw Transformers. For most fans, there have only been two methods of seeing these Japanese episodes. Either you watched the Malaysian RTM-1 redubs on VCD or you caught fansubs on YouTube. Both methods felt like something was missing. Shout Factory finally introduces the conduit needed to bring a production quality version of these shows to the US. Their first release is Headmasters.

Reviewer's Notes

For anyone who is familiar with the Headmaster series, you can skip this part. For those who are NOT, some brief history is in order. Headmasters attempts to segue events of Season 3 into a Japanese flavored continuum. That being said, you may be confused by some of the events (such as Prowl appearing in the first episode or the events taking place 'one year later' in 2011). Season 3 in the US was known as Transformers 2010 in Japan. Some of the translations there did not follow the dialogue of Season 3, hence some differences.


Headmasters comes in a 4-DVD set contained in a single case. Each DVD has an outline drawing of one of the 4 Autobot Headmasters. The Japanese Headmasters title is also plastered all over the place. The sleeve features an episode list on the left side, with the outline drawing of the case cover on the right. Very nicely done overall.


All 35 Headmaster episodes are represented in this set. This covers the time from the Vector Sigma assaults on Cybertron to the final battle in the North Pole. For anyone wondering about video quality, there is no remastering done here. All the episodes are in analog broadcast quality. This is just as well, since many of us know how Rhino's remastering attempts went with the original G1 boxed sets. One small gripe is that all the bumpers have been removed. It might have made for a nice bonus feature.

Bonus Features

Speaking of bonus features, the only one you get are some line drawings of the main characters. This feature can be found on Disc 4. Line drawings for all the Headmasters, Targetmasters, Horrorcons and Sixshot can be found there. That's all you get.


The RTM-1 and fansubs always made you think you were missing part of the translation. It's evident that Hasbro and Shout Factory took some strides to make characters familiar to US fans while trying to keep integrity to the Japanese versions. On the plus side, the translations by Shout Factory make the most sense out of any I've seen and keep the show on mostly a serious plane. While the humor is still very evident, the dialogue makes much more sense.

There were also liberties taken. A lot of battle dialogue was mellowed down. References to Hell were completely omitted, for instance. Funny thing is, in at least one instance the word DAMN was still used. Also, while the translations are excellent in quality, the subtitling was not. Several grammatical and spelling errors were encountered just on Disc 1. You would think the text would have been more closely proofread. Finally, some of the character names were westernized. Fortress in his robot mode is referred to as Cerebros, even as the characters in voice refer to him as Fortress. This was Hasbro's attempt to not confuse the US audience, but they might end up confused anyhow.

Final Thoughts

Transformers The Japanese Collection: Headmasters won't be sitting on the shelf at your favorite Best Buy, Target or Walmart. Shout Factory offers the 4-DVD collection for $24.98 on their website. That's not bad for 4 DVDs and breaks it down to about 71 cents an episode. If you have the VCD copies that were so proliferate on eBay, it's worth considering. The video quality will be better and you won't be forced to download Real Player to watch them. For those who view it on Youtube, it's also worth considering. The subtitles are well done (even with the typing mistakes) and, again, the video quality is slightly better. You might not get a digital remastering with a ton of special features, but you will get to own a part of G1 that, until now, the US as a whole never got a chance to view.


Contents:4 DVDs

DateJuly 3rd 2011  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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last 10 shown - scroll to view more   TFormers Member Comments
2:01 am

Um...I'm going to keep mine. I have never seen any of these episodes, so this will be nice. I have ALL of the US released DVD sets as well. I still have to watch part of season 2 through 4 as I have never seen any of those either. I must have focused my attention on girls after the original TF m... read more 
Lord Atmo
6:42 pm

phewww that was informative. I agree...That's about all i can say lol 
Goktimus Prime
5:36 am

Well I did say that I can understand the preference for dubbing for children (or people otherwise unable to read at an average adult speed). Btw I've been watching Transformers Animated this week -- Jeff Glen Bennett who voiced Ultra Magnus did a pretty good approximation of Robert Stack. If t... read more 
Lord Atmo
1:00 pm

The nuances make little difference to me really. I care only about the storyline and the characters themselves. To me, the sound of japanese voices on these TFs is even more off-putting and hilarious than the really bad dubbing. Why isnt it necessary? Some adults prefer dubs. I'm a slow reader... read more 
Goktimus Prime
5:47 am

I don't hate dubs for not being Japanese, I hate dubs because: + It just looks/sounds stupid to me. (especially live action dubbing) + It's an inherently less accurate translation because you have to change words to match lip sync. Subtitles don't have to do this. + Sometimes when you... read more 
5:35 am

So I picked this setup at Fry's Electronics. I haven't opened it yet, but what I am reading makes me wonder if I should or return it. I have found that Dubbed voices tend to make it bad. I am okay with japanese voices and subtitles. I guess I'll find out.  
Lord Atmo
2:36 am

I'm sorry, what I meant was any other voice that sounds completely different will come off as wrong to me. If the VA can sound close enough to the original VA, then it's fine by me. In this case, Jack Angel and Robert Stack. So yes I'm ok with the voice as long as it sounds good, not laz... read more 
4:14 pm

Your loss. A lot of great animes are way better with subtitles then their cruddy english dubs. 
Goktimus Prime
10:27 am

Considering that Robert Stack has passed away, I guess there will never be any pleasing you!  
4:16 am

Robert Stack FTW 
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