The Test - RiD - TV Show

Devious, double-crossing, duplicitous Decepticons... very cool plot movement in this ep (whatever it was called; I missed the first thirty seconds or so). The only thing I didn't like about Megatron's machinations was his keeping Sky-Byte out of the loop. That seemed a colossally stupid thing to do from the get-go, and I hope we're going to get some kind of explanation in the future.

I laughed out loud a few times: Sky-Byte's "-ound" rhyming frenzy was great. IT JUST KEPT GOING!!

And... "We'll have them eating out of our oil pans".... EWWWW! I'm sorry, but "oil pans" translates a lot more readily in my mind into "bed pans" than into "hands."

Ruination still looks bitchin', though I really don't see the advantage of combining. He doesn't seem any more invulnerable than everyone else (unlike the G1 gestalts). At least he's mentally sharper than those old-time combiners (with the possible exception of Computron); when Scourge started losing it, Ruination kept a cool head and even tried to quickly explain Scourge's behavior to Prime.

Man, those transform sequences. I was shocked when I saw Scourge's disconcertingly toy-accurate head-flip maneuver. Incidentally, I don't care how many times they re-use his truck-to-robot animation; it just looks SO DAMN SWEET.

This is easily one of the "talkiest" eps so far, but in a much better way than "The Decepticons." ("Oh no! Megatron's got a pod!" "Look! Megatron's using his spark energy to turn the protoforms to his side!" "Megatron's got that pod too!" "He's using his spark energy!" "Look!" "They're so powerful!" "Megatron's got a stasis pod!" "He's using his spark energy!" "Why are we just standing here yammering on about all this crap that we should be at least TRYING to stop?" "Megatron's got another pod!") This time, the talk was mostly contemplative strategizing and second-guessing, which I found fairly interesting (for a kids' cartoon). However, I'm getting more and more annoyed with the complete lack of animation for anyone without a visible mouth. At best, we'll get a head movement or a camera pan, but those are few and far between. In particular, there was that oft-reused shot of the Autobot Brothers from Prime's perspective, which made me wonder if a new viewer would have any clue who was talking most of the time.

I know it's pretty common anime practice to take those shortcuts wherever possible, but the clean, consistent, stylin' look coupled with wonderful action scenes help make up for it. Evangelion immediately comes to mind as a series that used still shots well, since they were often beautifully drawn and composed. I didn't mind seeing a single image for minutes on end because those images were little works of art in and of themselves.

RiD... eh, I don't have any need to linger. The drawings are nice - better than a lot of G1 - but still. And the too-smooth enlarging/shrinking trick to indicate motion is annoying. However, if this is a necessary price for the high quality of the animation we _do_get, like the BMach tradeoff of high-detail objects for shadows, then I think I'm willing to accept it.

Still, though, there are times I really wish those faces were given more expression (and I do NOT mean the humorless comedy of Sky-Byte's zany looks). For instance, the emotion involved in the last scene of this ep - Prime's rage at the 'Cons, then shame before the 'Bots, then relief at their acceptance - relied entirely on voice-acting, which I don't think fully succeeded. And the timing seemed strained, too, like they just had too little space in which to carry out the exchange.

But, hey, B+ for effort. This really has been the most satisfying 'Con ep I've seen, even though the Commmandos STILL haven't gotten any characterization among themselves. At least their voices are becoming a little more distinct, even if they remain generically RIDdish. While I don't like Ro-Tard's voice, that Tow-Line-esque quality does fit his moronic name. (Incidentally, when I see him hovering in robot mode, I_REALLY_ think of Cop-Tur. Have to wonder if the hyphenated moniker was a genuine homage...)

- Jackpot (Oh, and I prefer today's "MOE-vore" far more than the previous "MOO-vore." I mean, if you have to work with it at all...)

DateOctober 15th 2001  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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