Transformers Armada was released over 5yrs ago and with this recent release the Armada series finally draws to a close. Armada spanned from 2001 to 2003 and had some signifigance to the Transformers universe. Firstly, the Armada animated series marked the last series where Transformers themselves were hand-drawn. With Energon and Cybertron, the Transformers are all CG. Armada also reintroduced some older aspects of the TF universe, including the Matrix and various G1 cameos posing as background characters. However, what it succeeded in doing the most was drawing fans from multiple realms back into the TF universe. While the storyline itself has quarks, overall the Armada series had good to it. This 4 DVD set comprises the 2nd half of the Armada story and covers the time period between the development of Sideway's true nature and the discovery (and supposed defeat) of Unicron:
Rhino's latest boxed set release is ho-hum when compared to content previously released. The box art shows Optimus and Galvatron on the front, with Galvatron wielding the Star Sabre and a shadowy Unicron in the background. The sleeve and actual discholder sport 2 different synopsises and screenshots. The inside of the holder cotains an episode list with a very brief synopsis of the episode. The 4 discs superimpose images of both Galvatron and Optimus. That's pretty much it.
Disc 1 Content
Disc 1 starts off with both sides starting to suspect Sideways' true intentions. Tidal Wave (called Shockwave for the first few episodes) makes his debut. The Space Team minicons are discovered, which form the Requiem Blaster. Wheeljack and Sideways are also introduced in this disc. The disc ends with Smokescreen suffering a fatal blow from the Requiem Blaster at the hands of Megatron and Starscream in disarray. Smokescreen's fall was perhaps the most emotional part of the disc. The story starts to get solid in this disc. No longer does it follow the "find a minicon and grab it" plots as it had in so many others. Multiple plots began to sink in.
Disc 2 Content
Disc 2 begins with Starscream joining with the Autobots, albeit only to get back at Megatron. This doesn't sit well with some and HotShot calls out Starscream to avenge Smokescreen's fall. However, it's brief as Smokescreen has been successfully rebuilt by RedAlert to become Hoist. Starscream provides the Autobots with the means to infiltrate the Decepticons' moon base and liberate the minicons held prisoner there. At this point, they find out that the minicons there have been building a ship. Firebot is discovered on Mars and Starscream provides the minicon with help, showing his good intentions. This all is for naught, as Starscream ends up betraying the Autobots by stealing the SkyBoom from them and delivers it to Thrust, who then delivers it to Megatron. With the blaster, the shield and the sword, Megatron launches his new ship and unleashes his new weapon, the Hydra Cannon, in an attempt to destroy the Autobots (and the Earth along with it). Optimus stops the attempt and forfeits his life in the process. HotShot is given command after some intervention to cure his need for Revenge. Again, the fall of an Autobot proves to be one of the highlights. This time, Optimus' sacrifice and disappearance creates a new mood for the series. Starscream's change in character is also a highlight (albeit IMO not a very good one).
Disc 3 Content
Disc 3 finds the Autobots launching their own ship in an effort to beat Megatron back to Cybertron. With the insistence of the Minicons, the humans are brought along. The Autobots are attacked by the Decepticons on the trailing edge of an asteriod field and hope seems to be slim until a cluster of Minicons appear and somehow revive Optimus Prime. HotShot and RedAlert are sucked into a wormhole and are confronted by not only Decepticons, but by Nemesis Prime who has a brief role in the entire series (half an episode to be exact). The subsequent battle results in RedAlert, HotShot, Meatron, Starscream and Demolisher to inherit their augmented armor coloring. One quick note, it's funny how Starscream proclaims "I look like Thundercracker!" yet supposedly Thundercracker was his own figure. Meh. Megatron renames himself Galvatron out of the blue. Highwire slowly develops english skills and warns the humans of Unicron. This becomes a pivotal part of the series as the Autobots now try to get the Decepticons aligned with them to battle Unicron. Thrust shows his enleaguement to Unicron by stealing the blaster and shield from Galvatron and fleeing. The origins of the Minicons are also explored in a bizzare sequence. The disc ends with Unicron beginning his emergence from Cybertron's moon. The highlight of this disc is the point where Thrust makes his move and throws both camps into confusion. Personally, it starts getting somewhat soppy here. The emotion factor starts going into overdrive.
Disc 4 Contents
Disc 4 brings everything to the climax. Galvatron and Optimus do battle, with Starscream intervening and eventually sacrificing himself in order to get Galvatron to align his troops with Optimus'. This finally results in a 3-way alliance with Autobots, Decepticons and Minicons. Unicron transforms into his robotic form and proceeds in his attempt to lay Cybertron to waste. Optimus and Galvatron infiltrate Unicron to attempt an inside attack. During this infiltration, Thrust meets his ironic demise at the hands of Unicron. They are met by Sideways, who reveals his true identity as an entity of Unicron himself. After immobilizing both Prime and Galvatron, Unicron prepares to continue his assault, but is stopped by the humans and Street Action minicons. Unicron regains control of the minicons, but the humans turn the tables and awaken all 4 minicon teams within Unicron. Unicron is deactivated, but Galvatron coaxes Optimus into a final battle, reviving Unicron again. Optimus sheds the Matrix and has one last battle with Galvatron. In the end, Galvatron sacrifices himself to stop Unicron and Prime floats away to the unknown. This is perhaps the best part of the whole series, where everything converges together. The end of the series was a bit weak, IMO.
On Disc 4, you can access a special feature which has the real life figures transform between modes. That's pretty much it.
Armada was the first series since G1 I have seen in full. It started out extremely slow, and ended with what I thought was a fizzle. The constant stress of friendship and teamwork wore me out. It seemed almost every episode had that message. The comic relief of Fred and Billy also got old, due to Fred's incessant whining. Starscream's revised character didn't go over terribly well with me either. They turned him from the treacherous and self serving machine he once was into a softie that desired to protect the humans at all cost. Weak.
That's not to say that Armada was bad. The story kicked into high gear towards the last 2/3 of the series. The multiple plots tied in together very well and the ambiguity of the Minicons was also done well. In the end, while Armada isn't the best series out there in terms of deep storylines or battle sequences (too much rhetorical blather), it nonetheless is a good addition to the TF universe.
|Date||November 12th 2006 |
|Score|| (7 out of 10) |