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UK Victory DVD Boxset Review

Transformers News: UK Victory DVD Boxset Review
Date: Sunday, December 31st 2006 2:04pm CST
Categories: Cartoon News, Site Articles, Media
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Chris McFeely

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Views: 98,896

As some of you are aware Metrodome has just released their Victory DVD Boxset. Chris McFeely has dropped by and given us a review of the set. Here is Chris McFeely's review:



TRANSFORMERS: VICTORY
Cert: U
Dir: Yoshikata Arata
Starring: Hideyuki Tanaka, Takeshi Aono, Miyako Endo, Kyoko Tongu, Keiichi Nanba

FEATURE


Transformers: Victory was the third Japanese-exclusive Transformers animated series, originally broadcast in 1989 after ‘88’s Super-God Masterforce and ‘87’s , both previously released in similar box sets by Metrodome. As with Masterforce before it, Victory begins a new story that occupies the Generation 1 animated series universe, with an all-new cast of characters at an unidentified point in the near future. But where Masterforce used repainted, recast American toys to forge its characters, Victory’s new faces are almost entirely originally Japanese. The series introduces a new wave of Autobots under the command of Star Saber (Tanaka), protecting the Earth against the advances of the new Decepticon Emperor of Destruction, Deszaras (Aono), who schemes to steal Earth’s energy to reactive his planet-destroying space fortress.

In contrast to Masterforce, Victory eschews any kind of real continuing plot, returning to the episodic approach of the American series, with the Autobots thwarting the Decepticons’ daily plots before the series culminates in the much threatened attack of Deszaras’s fortress. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing – it was, like I said, the approach taken by the American series, and I love the American series. Energy imps, mind-control, evil clones, super powers, and all manner of evil intentions and alien devices from electro-cells to flying fortresses always kept the series lively, but the outlandish nature of many of the ideas constantly had the show dancing wildly up and down the quality spectrum. Victory is almost the antithesis of this for its entire first half – there are none of these wacky schemes and plot devices, and the plot is basically the same thing every episode, with the Decepticons attacking a location, and the Autobots turning up to stop them, possibly with the introduction of a new combiner. This keeps the series on a very even keel, not rising or failing in quality, but it’s all terribly flat, and feels very much like a lack of imagination.

Thankfully, this doesn’t go on forever. Just before the series reaches the halfway point, the cast is shot off into space for a trip to Planet Micro, providing a change of scenery and a different style of plot (centred on the Decepticon Brestforce’s rescue of one of their number, Gaihawk) that is very refreshing. It’s uphill from there, with the introduction of Liokaiser, the return of God Ginrai from Masterforce, and steadily more and more imaginative single-episode stories in the style of the US series, with concepts as fun and unusual as deadly metal-eating insects and Leozack pretending to be Star Saber. The final trilogy of episodes, in particular, are especially exciting, energetic and eventful, ending the series with one of the top three Transformers one-on-one fights of all time.

The characters of Victory are, much like the storytelling of the series itself, a mixed bag. The Japanese production team persist in writing the Autobots into an embarrassingly rigid military structure, with everyone referring to each other with titles (“Yes, Supreme Commander!” “Right away, Lieutenant Commander!”), rather than names, which does nothing but grate. All three members of the Autobot Brainmasters are completely interchangeable in personality, and the Multiforce aren’t much better – pretty much all you can say about them is “Uh, Wingwaver and Blacker didn’t get on that well in one episode.” And Star Saber is the stereotypical J-TF Autobot leader, with all the personality of a Jacob’s Cream Cracker and an unending penchant for “OH BURNING HEART I MUST SUCCEED” speeches about the beauty of peace and nature. I said it before, and I’ll say it again – say what you will about Optimus Prime, but at least he had a gentle sense of humour that kept him accessible and entertaining. Star Saber is about as interesting as watching paint dry – except when he’s totally contradicting his own speeches about how great peace is by kicking epic amounts of ass in battle.

Because really, when we get down to it, Victory IS just about kicking ass, in the most thorough and straightforward way possible.

It is those characters whose asses are being kicked that inject the show with life and comedy and make it worth watching. You know what you’re in for with the Decepticons when they make their first appearance in the series in the form of the inept Dinosaur Force. This team’s obvious physical comedy may come as a rude shock to some viewers off the bat, because it is so vastly UNLIKE anything that they will have seen in Transformers before now - I know I certainly felt that way, but I personally found them to become genuinely endearing and amusing as the series went on. The other Decepticon team in the series, meanwhile, is the Brestforce, featuring memorable characters like Leozack (Nanba) and Hellbat (Shioya Yoku), Starscream-style schemers who are constantly trying to one-up each other in the eyes of Deszaras, who they are actually both trying to overthrow as well.

The show also gets points for its token human character, Jan Minakaze (Endo), who is one of the more intelligently-integrated human characters from the many Transformers series. After the death of his parents when he was just a baby, he was actually raised by the Autobots, and rather than just being the human friend that tags along on mission whether they’re needed or not, is treated as a member of the Autobot army, and is given tasks and missions of his own. Ultimately, he IS only usually involved in crowd control alongside his Micromaster chum Holi (Tongu), but it’s great seeing a human character with a defined reason for being there, who is important in his own, consistent, believable way – this stuff is a far cry from Spike suddenly being able to rally the Autobots to action by grabbing Jazz’s gun and planning to fight the Decepticons himself, or the Armada kids being brought into war zones for absolutely no reason.

And of course, a review of Victory would be remiss if it did not mention that it is the most JAPANESE of all the Eastern G1 shows – not just because of the unique characters and toys, but because of the anime facefaults constantly used by the Dinosaur Force, the crazy, super-deformed “chibi” versions of the characters that populate the commercial bumpers and closing sequence, and the closing theme music itself, a bizarre, cheeky tune that constantly chirrups “Chichichichichin pui!” and features an infant Star Saber wetting the bed and using the soiled sheet as a superhero cape.

Mm-hmn.

In summation, Victory is a show that tests you. By which I mean, it tests your patience. Very little of the first half of the show is worth watching on the strength of the story, but if you give up on it then, you’ll be missing out on the much better stuff that comes along in the second half. Similarly, the protagonists are completely uninteresting, with the Decepticons easily being the most enjoyable characters to watch – except they’re not fully assembled, and their characters not fully realised, until that same latter portion of the series. The first half is a slog, but it pays off – if nothing else, you can switch your brain off and just enjoy the fun noises and pretty pictures, since Victory sports a strong soundtrack, and some of the most consistently strong animation of the G1 era. Despite all the hoo-hah the series is smothered in online, however, in no way, shape or form do I consider it to be the best Japanese series – still wears that crown.


DISC SPECS

Thirty-two episodes across four discs, in groups of eight. The video is unremastered, but perfectly watchable, and is complete, with all commercial bumpers and previews. The only audio stream available is the original Japanese audio, with English subtitles translated by Jordan L. Derber, that have previously seen use on TV Nihon’s online fansubs of the series. The subs have undergone a bit of work by me for purposes of Anglicization, changing American spellings and slang to Commonwealth and switching out a few Japanese terms for English ones.

As some may be aware, Victory originally consisted of thirty-EIGHT broadcast episodes, a preposterous SIX of which (including the final ep of the series) were clip shows. Given their lack of any new footage and general utter pointlessness (which is evidenced, I think, by the fact that TV Nihon did not even bother to sub them all), they have been excised from this DVD set, leaving only the main 32 episodes of story. Their removal affects nothing, and the previews for them on the relevant episodes have been jigged around and replaced with the previews for the next main episode to allow the series to seamlessly move forward. If you didn’t know they existed, you’d have no idea they were missing.


PACKAGING

The set is contained within a cardboard sleeve, bearing a lovely bit of work by Nick Roche (by now well know as one of IDW’s artists) that depicts Star Saber, Deszaras, Road Caesar, Liokaiser, Landcross, Dinoking and Jan. It continues the “space background” theme of the previous two sets, rendered this time in magenta, which looks very nice on a shelf with the purple Headmasters and blue Masterforce.

Within the sleeve is a cardboard fold-out tray, holding the four discs and the accompanying booklet. The tray is decorated with Autobot and Decepticon symbols, Roche’s art and images of Star Saber, Dezsaras and the Brestforce (redrawn from screenshots of the show); the discs also bear these images to keep the pictures complete when they are in place in the tray.

The booklet (penned by me) runs to sixteen pages in length, containing a brief introduction to the series; an episode guide (divided by disc and spotlighting those episodes with audio commentary); details on the clip episodes, their content and their original placement with the series; and a short guide to the three series which came after Zone, Battlestars and

EXTRAS

The only extra features on Victory are three audio commentaries for the first episode, “Brave Hero of the Universe, Star Saber,” episode 16 (the mid-point of the series), “Get Back Gaihawk!” and the final episode, “Showdown! The Fortress VS the Victory Unification.” Victory is no Masterforce when it comes to plot, so the commentaries are perhaps not as enlightening or in-depth as that show’s, but I cover all the basic stuff about the show and its characters, the toys, their relation to American fiction, the stories of the Victory manga, and, in the final episode, lengthy discussion of Zone, Battlestars and Operation: Combination. I do trip over my words in a few places (I think I say “Breastmasters” at some point, and I get Sixtrain and Sixliner’s names the wrong way around and had to correct myself in the booklet), but hopefully I’ve learned enough from what I’ve done before to make these easy enough to listen to.

Beast Wars to Return to TV In Japan

Transformers News: Beast Wars to Return to TV In Japan
Date: Tuesday, December 26th 2006 7:21pm CST
Category: Cartoon News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Snakas of Transformers @ The Moon

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Views: 23,562

In the latest Figure King magazine there is a report that Beast Wars will return to Japanese television starting on January 7, 2007. There will only be a limited number of episodes show. Also the title of the show has been changed from Beast Wars, Super-Life Transformers to Beast Wars.

Transformers: Headmasters to Re-Air in Japan

Transformers News: Transformers: Headmasters to Re-Air in Japan
Date: Tuesday, December 26th 2006 7:14pm CST
Category: Cartoon News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Snakas of Transformers @ The Moon

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Views: 24,112

Well if you are a Transformers fan living in Japan we have some good news for you. The Transformers: Headmasters will be re-aired in Japan. The show should begin re-airing on January 23, 2007 on the Cartoon Network.

Transformers Cybertron to Air in Germany

Transformers News: Transformers Cybertron to Air in Germany
Date: Sunday, December 24th 2006 6:54pm CST
Category: Cartoon News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Premier.de and Transformers @ The Moon

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Views: 22,376

We have some good news for Transformers fans living in Germany. It appears that Transformers Cybertron will begin airing in Germany begining in February. The show will air on Jetix, which is exclusively available to subscribers of Premiere.

Tom Kenny To Voice Act on a New Transformers Series?

Transformers News: Tom Kenny To Voice Act on a New Transformers Series?
Date: Saturday, December 23rd 2006 7:32pm CST
Categories: Cartoon News, Rumors, People News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): TFW2005

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Views: 34,702

Recently Tom Kenny did a radio interview on a radio station in Dubuque, IA. In the interview Kenny revealed some interesting information. According to the voice actor that one of his upcoming shows will be the new Transformers series. Many know Kenny as the voice of Sponge Bob Square Pants. For more information about Tom Kenny click here.

Open Letter from Anne Bryant, composer of original TF theme song

Transformers News: Open Letter from Anne Bryant, composer of original TF theme song
Date: Monday, December 18th 2006 10:34am CST
Categories: Cartoon News, Media
Posted by: Seibertron | Credit(s): Anne Bryant

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Views: 36,190

I received an email from Anne Bryant this morning, who is the original composer of the popular Transformers theme song from the 1980s animated series. She wanted to express her thanks toward the show of support the Transformers community has shown her. Here is the letter that she wrote to all of you.

An Open Letter from Anne Bryant

Dear Transformers Fans,

Thank you for your support of the Transformers over the years, and thank you for your support of my original Theme Music, which has become associated with the Transformers products and properties. Because of your support, "The Transformers" has truly reached a pop culture status.

I also write to thank you for your many kind and supportive remarks regarding my exhausting, six-year litigation process. The blogs have been favorable, in the main, and I can tell you that your support means much to me in my David versus Goliath struggle to claim the royalties long due to me.

To clear up any confusion here as to my motives and timing, I can say that my investigation into my pathetically negligible royalties for the TF theme began in 1994, six years prior to filing a formal lawsuit in 2000; including that in 1998, I contacted BMI, and then, as instructed, I repeatedly followed their formal inquiry procedures to the letter [for two years], without a single response from them. These big organizations have all of the records, so it is difficult for a composer to unravel problems, or perhaps even to identify honest mistakes, without their help; without their cooperation. As such, frustrated with the lack of response from BMI, I packed up all of my correspondence, proofs, contract numbers, original registrations and payment forms and went to see my attorney. He also tried to get satisfactory information from BMI for several months, but lacking any serious help, we moved to file a formal claim so that we could demand records from them. Concurrent with this, it became evident that my themes and songs [Transformers and others] were being used on a multiplicity of recording products licensed by Sunbow without any accounting statements or royalty payments to me, hence, the scope of this legal action.

As indicated above, in no way was this lawsuit motivated by the new DreamWorks live action movie; the movie was not even a glimmer on the horizon when all of this began. I don’t know whether they plan to use my theme in the new movie, and of course, I would love it if they do, but this litigation is first and foremost about the past and present royalties due; the future for Transformers, Jem, ML Pony and GI Joe and the other themes, if there is one, can be handled when the case is decided or settled.

Additionally, I can tell you that I have no rights to claim royalties for music composed by Ford Kinder, my former partner in our production company, except in any instances that our interests may overlap. We were separate writers -- not collaborators -- who jointly owned a production company we formed to take responsibility for all aspects of the full and final production of music that either he or I composed. As such, we credited any music that we produced through our company to both of us. This we did in order to build our company name. Ford and I wrote and produced several hundred pieces of music each year; this was our profession. Basic fees were paid to our companies for our services as producers, arrangers, *musicians and singers. And always, we were to be compensated, personally, as composers solely through our royalty payments. This is standard in the Commercial Music Business: writers write for royalties; professional writers always retain their royalties. So, this is what I am demanding in my court action: account for and pay the past and present royalties as agreed, and correct the records for the future.

I sincerely hope this will clear up any misunderstandings any of you may have; and I hope you will continue to support my efforts to be fully compensated as I face this well-financed, brutal opponent that would rather pay millions in legal fees, than pay to settle this matter.

See you at the movies: 7-4-7.

With all good wishes,
Anne

* Additionally, you may be interested to know that no "Secondary Market Payments" have been made to union musicians and singers for the use of their performances on TF, JEM and other television themes originally produced for Sunbow and GBI. Sunbow simply lifted these performances onto recording products and licensed them to distributors without making those payments required in their Union Contracts. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Musicians are working to recover payment to the performers in actions separate from my lawsuit.


-----------------------------------

On the Web:
  • Anne Bryant on IMDB.com

  • Master Click Tempo Timing Software

  • TV Loonland Companies

  • The Ark: another new TF book from IDW featuring animation models

    Transformers News: The Ark: another new TF book from IDW featuring animation models
    Date: Wednesday, December 13th 2006 1:16pm CST
    Categories: Cartoon News, Media
    Posted by: Seibertron | Credit(s): Jim Sorenson

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    Views: 22,391

    We just received a message from Jim Sorenson about an upcoming book that he's working on for IDW called "The Ark".

    From: Jim Sorenson
    Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 1:14 PM
    To: SEIBERTRON.com News Staff
    Cc: Seibertron
    Subject: News & Rumors: New TF book coming out

    Thought you'd be interested - I've signed a deal with IDW to produce a book of Transformers animation models. It's called The Ark and will be shipping in late May 07. ISBN: 1600100805. The scope is the US cartoon, 1984 - 1987 with a possible 2nd volume covering Japanese material and US commercials from 1988 - 1990. Don Figueroa has done the cover.


    The SEIBERTRON.com News Staff will be sure sure to provide you with more details as information becomes available.

    UPDATE: More Transformers Heroes Rumours

    Transformers News: UPDATE: More Transformers Heroes Rumours
    Date: Monday, December 11th 2006 5:23am CST
    Categories: Cartoon News, Rumors
    Posted by: Alex Kingdom | Credit(s): TFW2005.com, Down_Shift, QuietStorm

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    Views: 34,720

    Following the rumours posted earlier this week. TFW2005 have received some information that contradicts what we were told. Here's what they had to say:

    - The Animation studio will not be Gonzo, but Answer and Mook and the cartoon will not be 'Anime' in style.

    -The look of the series will be 'brand new' to Transformers.

    - The only writer previously connected to Transformers that has submitted ideas for the series is one of the story editors on Beast Machines.

    - Character design is being done by talent from the Teen Titans, Legion of Superheroes, Fosters series.

    - The Director worked on Teen Titans and X-Men Evolution

    - Cartoon Network will be partner in the production of the show.


    Please note as yet we have no reason to believe this is any less a rumour than the contradictory information posted earlier this week. Read the full article a here at TFW2005.

    Update: It seems that an image of what the characters from the new Transformers: Heroes cartoon MIGHT look like can be seen here at deviantart.com

    This image was created by aritist Sean "cheeks" Galloway, who is said to be working on the new TV show and has previously worked on DC Comics 'Teen Titans Go!' title.

    Thanks to our own QuietStorm for bringing us this to our attention

    Victory UK DVD Release Update

    Transformers News: Victory UK DVD Release Update
    Date: Monday, December 11th 2006 5:22am CST
    Categories: Cartoon News, Media
    Posted by: Raymond T. | Credit(s): www.transformersdvd.com, Metrodome

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    Views: 21,179

    Metrodome has posted the following update on their message board regarding their upcoming UK DVD release later this month of the thirds Japanese G1 cartoon arc Transformers: Victory.

    "Welcome to the Transformers AV podcast of the opening episode to Transformers Takara Collection Vol 3 – Victory, presented in its original Japanese language with all new subtitles from Jordan Derber.

    To download the episode you’ll need a pc or mac and itunes (free to download from www.apple.com/itunes/download).

    We’ll be posting the episodes in five segments over five days – with the first going live on Monday 11th December, and the next four parts going live day by day.

    A broadband connection is highly recommended, unless you’ve got the patience to let 20mb files download through a dial-up connection.

    It’s very simple to get the podcast – once you’ve downloaded itunes you can just click on this link:

    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcas t?id=208000532

    Alternately you can click on the iTunes Store section of the itunes and search for Transformers. Our podcast is listed as being available from Metrodome.

    The podcast is of course just a taster to the full 4 disc Victory boxset released in full on December 26th!

    Happy downloading!

    Metrodome"


    Earlier, Metrodome also posted pictures of the packaging of the Victory box on their message board, which you can find here

    Transformers Heroes to be Animated by Gonzo and Written by Beast Wars Team?

    Transformers News: Transformers Heroes to be Animated by Gonzo and Written by Beast Wars Team?
    Date: Wednesday, December 6th 2006 1:38pm CST
    Categories: Cartoon News, Rumors
    Posted by: Alex Kingdom | Credit(s): GroundPounder1967

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    Views: 36,707

    GroundPounder1967 has sent us the following information concerning the 'Transformers Heroes' cartoon series currently in development by Hasbro.

    Hasbro has signed off on Gonzo to animate the new TF cartoon. Hasbro has been happy with their work on Transformers Cybertron and GI Joe Sigma Six and wants to keep that partnership going. And like GI Joe, this will be written in the States but animated overseas. (Much like how TFG1 was produced back in the day.)

    A story bible was written and has meet with a lot of approval from everyone involved, but no story editor has been chosen yet.

    Right now everyone there is excited about the movie, and Brian may well sign off on the idea of hiring one (or both) of the Beast Wars guys to showrun TFH since he knows how good they are at telling a great story, which is his main agenda right now. His primary goal as CEO is to turn Hasbro from a toy company that owns intellectual properties into an IP company that also makes toys, and he knows that quality stories will bring that about. Now that Hasbro is making Marvel toys, look for a renewed relationship with Marvel Comics on that front as well. *ahem*ROM*cough*


    We're not sure where this information has come from so we are not able to confirm the story, but it certainly sounds promising.

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