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Shout Factory Headmasters Review; A Seibertron.com Exclusive

Transformers News: Shout Factory Headmasters Review; A Seibertron.com Exclusive
Date: Monday, June 27th 2011 10:11pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, Reviews
Posted by: Diem | Credit(s): Diem

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Views: 60,978

Here at Seibertron.com we were lucky enough to get a review copy of Shout Factory's forthcoming The Headmasters DVD box-set. The set has been reviewed by staff member Diem:

Street Date: July 5, 2011
Not Rated: For All Audiences
Suggested Retail Price: $29.93
4-DVD
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Japanese, English, stereo

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This review will be in two parts. The first part will be reviewing the show itself so that those who've never seen the series before can see if this a wise purchase. The second part will concern the presentation of this DVD set so those who already own the UK release, some elderly VHS tapes or some utterly-legal downloads of the show may want to skip straight there.

Part One: The Show.

Exhausting the power of the Matrix to dispel the Hate Plague had worse consequences than anyone could anticipate. The supercomputer Vector Sigma was destabilised, leaving Cybertron defenceless. Even with the help of the mysterious “Four Warriors from the Sky”, and their battleship the Autobots won't make it out of this alone without making some serious sacrifices. And in the background Galvatron's new ally Zarak has some sinister plans...

In the west the Transformers cartoon ended a little differently to how many fans expected or were hoping for. Season 4 wound up being a 5-parter rather than a full season, and then that 5-parter ended up being reduced to a 3-parter, The Rebirth. Due to its short length and large numbers of characters and gimmicks being introduced the grand finale worked out to be little more than an extended commercial. And then that was the end of the G1 cartoon.

At least that was it for the west. In Japan they weren't going to give up so easily. The Rebirth was scrapped, and Japan produced their own series, The Headmasters, following directly on from The Return Of Optimus Prime. The Headmasters was free to give more screentime to those new characters introduced in 1987 without having to rush.

The Japanese producers were very keen to make Headmasters their own product rather than stick what came before, which may stick in the craw of some fans. Many of the characters and concepts from the US cartoon were drastically changed. Scourge and Cyclonus became a bumbling comedy duo more like Bebop and Rocksteady. Alpha Trion is a ghost who can charge up other Autobots by spinning with his arms outstretched like Superman. Wheelie is...well, Wheelie's still annoying but he's a bratty, arrogant flavour of annoying now.

Similarly the humour and themes of the show don't always translate so well. There's a lot of slapstick such as Hardhead getting “drunk” and dancing, Cerebros pulling funny faces to stop Daniel from crying or Tantrum getting unceremoniously knocked over by a train (that one was actually pretty funny). Similarly several of the episodes and story arcs end in ways that may seem unsatisfying or even silly to American eyes.

However, despite sophomoric moments Headmasters carries a level of dramatic and emotional weight that American viewers wouldn't experience until Beast Wars. Characters die in both heroic and pointless ways and nothing is glossed over. The heroes are often forced to face failure on personal levels and bad choices are shown as having consequences more serious than a simple reprimand. Sometimes the good guys lose. Headmasters starts slow but after a while those who have avoided spoilers will run into twists, turns and excitement.

The characterization in the show is mostly excellent. The role of main character is taken from the avancular, strong Optimus and the self-conscious, zealous Rodimus and is given to Chromedome. The Headmasters version of Chromedome is hot-blooded and confident, but learns and develops as the series goes on. Sixshot is another prominent character who breaks out of the typical villain mold and becomes a compelling and memorable antagonist. Other characters who got glossed over in the west such as Pointblank and Punch get more personality and screen time here too. Even some figures that never showed up in the US cartoon like the Duocons and the Monsterbots put in appearances.

Perhaps the most vital part of this series for those who have never seen it before is the important place it holds in Transformers history. This was the first time that Japanese continuity really set out on its own rather than adapting from the western storyline, and this path would lead into Masterforce and Victory, and would introduce luminary Transformers such as Minerva, Star Saber and Deathsaurus.

Watching a 35-episode series, especially with subtitles is a serious investment of time and if you've never been curious about the Japanese continuity this set isn't about to change your mind. At times it is ponderous and heavy-handed, and the animation and music are not about to wow anyone. And many of the big twists will have been defused by anyone with even the most casual knowledge of the 1987 toyline. On the other hand if you want to see a powerful, involved storyline that features otherwise-ignored characters that have been fleshed-out and many memorable moments it's a worthwhile investment.

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Part Two: The Presentation.

The DVD set comes inside a plastic case which comes in a cardboard sleeve, a situation which would be less pointless if they didn't both have the exact same artwork and blurb. The inside of the plastic case features the same artwork inside in monochrome form (it is very pretty artwork, but they couldn't have commissioned two pictures?) along with an unnumbered list of episodes showing which disc each episode is on.

The DVDs themselves are unusually attractive and not too gaudy compared to those in the Metrodome set released in Europe. Unfortunately that is where the positive comparison ends. While the Metrodome version came with a helpful booklet explaining some of the translation choices and a brief summary of each episode the Shout Factory version doesn't come with any such extras.

The quality is what you might expect from a lowish-budget release of a cartoon from the eighties with colours and sound not as crisp as one might hope for and small scratches and jumps on the video. It's not enough to be annoying to anyone but the most hardcore A/V purists but it is a point against the set's favour. The subtitles are new and lack the errors of the Metrodome set but they do feature some odd quirks (Daniel uses “Scrap” as a curse? He's been hanging around robots too much.) Bafflingly while the back of the case uses the Japanese names the subtitles use the English names throughout.

The set comes with one bonus feature: a gallery of uncoloured line-art character models of the series' major players that will look very familiar to those who look at the Ark Addendum news posts on Seibertron.com. As bonus features go it's better than nothing but it would have been nice to see some interviews or commentaries or something.

As you may have guessed from my tone I'm not totally impressed by this set. It feels like Shout Factory produced the bare minimum for a box set and nothing else. One piece of artwork. One list of episodes. One audio track (yes, it lacks even the so-bad-it's good infamous English language dub). One subtitle track. One bonus feature. Given that the Transformers franchise has enjoyed some incredible popularity of late this release seems lazy when there was a chance to do something really special. My biggest worry for this set is that everything is being held for the super-collection. It just seems weak that this set is a step down from a set released over 5 years ago.

That all said, this is a competent set of a compelling and interesting series that will be retailing for around the same price as a large Human Alliance figure. That's a price that won't exactly be breaking anyone's banks. If you've wanted to see this series but have never gotten around to it this is a great opportunity. For those who have seen these episodes before I would recommend the Metrodome release or holding out for the super-collection instead.

Transformers DOTM Cyberverse Ark Playset Video Review & Retail Sighting

Transformers News: Transformers DOTM Cyberverse Ark Playset Video Review  & Retail Sighting
Date: Sunday, June 26th 2011 12:26pm CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews, Sightings, Toy News
Posted by: El Duque | Credit(s): Sean Long

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Views: 52,666

Good news for those of you who are enjoying Transformers DOTM new world of Cyberverse. We have a couple of bits of news regarding one of the more anticipated sets, the Autobot Ark Playset. The set has been spotted at retail at a Toys'R'Us in Boise, Idaho, and it's been reviewed by YouTube's Sean Long. His review of the set is embedded below. The set is also available for purchase at Walmart.com with free site-to-store shipping.


Ultimate Optimus Prime Video Review

Transformers News: Ultimate Optimus Prime Video Review
Date: Sunday, June 19th 2011 10:18pm CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews, Toy News
Posted by: El Duque | Credit(s): YouTube user blacktrx409

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Views: 49,889

With DOTM Ultimate Optimus Prime being found at retail it's only natural that the reviews would soon follow. The figure carries a high price tag, hopefully these videos will help you decide if you want to lay down your hard earned cash on this guy. The first video showcases his robot mode, the second focuses on transformation.




First Transformers DOTM Game Review

Transformers News: First Transformers DOTM Game Review
Date: Thursday, June 16th 2011 1:40am CDT
Categories: Game News, Movie News, Reviews
Posted by: Dead Metal | Credit(s): Pottermus_Prime, Game Chronicles

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Views: 43,544

Yup, it looks like Game Chronicles has managed to post the very first review of the video game adaptation of Transformers Dark of the Moon.
Just click one of the images or right here to get to the review!
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Stay tuned to seibertron.com for all your transformers related news!

Dark Of The Moon Soundtrack Review

Transformers News: Dark Of The Moon Soundtrack Review
Date: Monday, June 13th 2011 11:31pm CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews
Posted by: LOST Cybertronian | Credit(s): Artist Direct

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Views: 31,966

Artist Direct has reviewed the soundtrack to Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. The soundtrack hits stores tomorrow 6-14-11. You can read their take on the individual songs before rushing out to purchase your own copy.

Traditionally, the soundtrack to a Transformers film proves just as explosive and entrancing as the movie itself.

The soundtrack for Transformers: Dark of the Moon proudly upholds that tradition—like any robust Autobot—but it's also the best in the series so far. Each and every song displays an evolutionary heaviness that would be right at home on Optimus Prime's personal playlist


If you are interested in this album you can read the rest of the review here.

Kre-O Bumblebee Video Review

Transformers News: Kre-O Bumblebee Video Review
Date: Thursday, June 9th 2011 4:51pm CDT
Categories: Reviews, Toy News
Posted by: El Duque | Credit(s): R0b0leadr, baltmatrix

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Views: 39,696

YouTuber user baltmatrix has uploaded a video review of the Transformers Kre-O Bumblebee building block set. Don't worry he edits through the building process. Take a look at the review embedded below.


Human Alliance Roadbuster and Sergeant Recon Video Review

Transformers News: Human Alliance Roadbuster and Sergeant Recon Video Review
Date: Tuesday, May 31st 2011 12:49am CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews, Toy News
Posted by: El Duque | Credit(s): freaky777, YouTube member venom711

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Views: 45,432

YouTube member venom711 has posted a video review of the recently released Human Alliance Roadbuster with Sergeant Recon. Not sure if you want to invest your hard earned cash on this guy? Check out the video review embedded below.


TRU Exclusive Cyberverse Scan Series Four Pack Video Review

Transformers News: TRU Exclusive Cyberverse Scan Series Four Pack  Video Review
Date: Wednesday, May 25th 2011 10:04pm CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews, Toy News
Posted by: El Duque | Credit(s): Quantum Reflex

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Views: 61,803

Our own Quantum Reflex has posted a video review of the TRU exclusive Cyberverse Scan Series four pack featuring repaints of four Legends class figures: Universe Bumblebee, ROTF Bumblebee, ROTF Starscream, and Cybertron Starscream. The set also features two new weapons that can be held by the movie-verse repaints. Take a look at his embedded video below.

On a side note, if you are planning on picking this set up it has been spotted at retail.


Review of Foundation #4

Transformers News: Review of Foundation #4
Date: Wednesday, May 18th 2011 9:14am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Movie News, Reviews
Posted by: Dead Metal | Credit(s): idw

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Views: 68,144

So I’m back with another Movie related comic review, this time round it’s Transformers Foundation #4, which I believe is the final issue of this series.
This time it’s a different format, without a super detailed plot synopsis, so there aren’t too many spoilers, but then again there isn’t that much going on here.
This is a revised and, lets say improved version of the original review, I did this because of a few things:
This is the final issue, I haven't read the previous, but hey we where asked to do this so we did.
The line-work is better than what the final product shows, maybe it's something to do with the pdf, or I just don't like the coloured art in this. But then again, it's a review, it's my opinion and not the be all end all word on things.
The following is basically the same as before, just with a new rating and a few extra words and sentences thrown in, so it's kinda like the Star Wars Episode IV-VI Special Editions, if you click here you can read the original review and compare.

Foundation is another prequel comic, but not to “Dark of The Moon”, but to Transformers (2007), and it’s basically the same story we get to read every time a new movie comes out. Decepticons and Autobots fight, every time round with the new characters that will be in the new movie, and the AllSpark is removed.
So now, we have Shockwave, the magic threesome, Wheeljack, Sentinel Prime, and Megatron’s Hatchlings running around in the big fight just before the AllSpark gets sent to Earth.
Generics get killed left and right, characters, we know will survive because they’re in the movie that takes place later, have dramatic showdowns that look like they could die, and Optimus Prime gets to bore us with his stale run-of the mill narration.

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"I am Megatron, the greatest babysitter in all of the Universe!"


Well, this is the only issue I’ve read of Foundation, however, I did not feel like I missed any previous story, I managed to just jump in. The only thing that lost me is that after a few pages of the comic’s presence it jumps into a flashback, that took place just a few hours ago, so why not start the comic there? This reminds me of a different comic I’ve read: the God of War miniseries by Wildstorm. That comic was so terrible, that I’m kind of glad Wildstorm no-longer exists, that comic was a crime to comics, storytelling, art, and the God of war franchise, and Foundation reminds me it, not a good sign.
The reason it reminds me of GOD, is just how pointless it all is. We learn nothing new in this, except that Sentinel Prime was Optimus Prime’s and Megatron’s mentor, and that he existed during the Great War, and the same counts for Hatchlings, Wheeljack, Shockwave and the bike sisters/thing. And the drama is impotent due to us already knowing which characters are going to live. Rising Storm, was better, it actually felt like it had a point, this however, is the same stuff we’ve already known since 2007 just with a few extras, it’s like the Star Wars Episodes IV - VI Special Editions – just with less bad CGI, but just as pointless.

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"We've always been here!"


The only exciting and cool thing about this comic is that we get to see baby Bludgeon, seriously there’s a Hatchling that keeps popping up, that has Bludgeon’s head – awesome.

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"Master of Metalo-Nappies"


There's also a part in which Sentinel Prime's ship gets blown up by Starscream, with Optimus Prime acting like he doesn't care while Megatron Yells loud "NO!"

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Shattered Glass Movie-verse


Also, there are, like I touched upon earlier, scenes that look like they are supposed to create drama and make us feel dread for the characters involved. It’s just that the characters they choose for these scenes are, you know the main characters in the movies that take place after this comic “Oh, I wonder who’ll survive Ironhide, Starscream or Shockwave?!”.

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Gee, I totally fear for the survival of the characters that are in the movie that takes place millions of years after this.


The art, well, it’s OK. That's at least what you get from the comic with colours and all, however, you might remember what I said in my previous reviews:
The colours can make or break an image.

You know, back in Rising Storm I stated that I believe the line-art to be pretty good, but that the colouring's dragging it down. Well what do you know, I stumbled across the DeviantArt account of the artist and you know what you can see there? The pure uncoloured line-work for this series - and man is it gorgeous! I love it, in fact I wish idw would release this series in pure black and white, just so I could get to see more of the artwork. I mean check out the gallery.
Sadly the line-work is still kind of ruined by the colours, as I said in the original review, I stated that the colours weren't bad, but kind of boring. They do kind of hurt the line-work, but then again, this is the Movieverse where there is a lot of gray, and it takes place on Cybertron, which is basically completely gray. So it's accurate.
We shouldn't forget that these are movie designs, that are very hard to bring onto paper.

So how do I rate it in this revised and rethought-out review?

I give it 6 out of 10 Stars for writing, it's well written, but the story structure reminds me too much of the God of War comic, with the whole thing taking place in the past, with flashbacks to the past of the past and trying to create drama with characters we know will be OK anyway. It's kind of pointless in it's existence, but it's well written pointlessness.

I will also give it 7 out of 10 Stars for the art, instead of the 6. I believe I was just too harsh, plus the line-work is awesome. This could have been 8 Stars, had it been in black and white.

A total of 6.5 Stars out of 10 on average.

While I think it's pointless, and yes I'll stick to that, I believe the full story might be better, but I won't be picking up the trade to find out. Only if it where, you know in black and white- and I'm not even a fan of black and white comics.

'The Road to Chaos' - Transformers Ongoing #19 Reviewed

Transformers News: 'The Road to Chaos' -  Transformers Ongoing #19 Reviewed
Date: Tuesday, May 17th 2011 8:46pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Tigertrack | Credit(s): tigertracks 24, IDW Publishing

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Views: 77,726

Lots happening in the Transformers universe.

Galvatron and company are around the ‘live’ universe becoming more powerful and with purpose. The Autobots are in the most disarray that you can imagine them ever being in--- and making choices that lead to serious, SERIOUS ramifications.

Megatron is simply toying with Optimus Prime, and Optimus Prime is showing an extremely frustrated side that one would rarely remember seeing before from the freedom focused noble-bot in even the most dire of circumstances.

But we’re leaving this scene for another corner of the TF-universe. A corner not seen in more than a few issues (at least six!). A section that can only make fans scratch their heads, and imagine what could possibly happen next. Enter Rodimus.

After being ‘ka-boomed’ by Megatron’s super-charged rail gun in the climax of Ongoing issue #13, we catch up with Rodimus floating dead in space with the matrix. He achieves planetfall, and crashlands on a planet that this reader has to say, he didn’t think he would see again with the way events had been going, previous events getting lost in favor of, and sometimes seemingly replaced by newer directions recently.

But in an effort to perhaps reach out to loyal readers, or maybe it was the plan all along, IDW has been returning (finally!) to previously set plot points, and events once again. Plot points that may have been going somewhere in the previous creative crews‘ minds‘ eyes, but were seemingly lost when they left. The newest example of revived plot points, Rodimus landing on the very same planet that holds FAN FAVORITE, should have been First Ballot hall-of-famer, rhyming, wildbot of Cybertron....Wheelie!!!!

*Pauses for cheers to die down*

Last seen stuck on this far away planet thanks to Spyglass, and his Reflector crew, with a 99.999999% chance of never being rescued (fudged that number a little bit), and ominously living near some ruins containing hieroglyphs of a familiar alien race, WHEELIE is once again reunited with a fellow Autobot after quite a long time. The Autobot is fortunately for him, no longer dead ("I feel happy!"), as the matrix is now imbedded into Rodimus’ chest plate like it was always meant to be there, and sparks life back into him.

Rodimus remembers Wheelie immediately upon meeting up with him stating, “You’ve been MIA for almost as long as I can remember. From since just after I got recruited to the Autobots.”

That seems like a long time ago indeed. It’s so long in fact, Wheelie does not even remember being an Autobot.

This issue is otherwise fairly boring. Setting up for the next, much more grand event, where these two young Autobots are going to make their return to Cybertron, and confront a very familiar foe, this issue mainly provides, well, not much. There’s some small piece concerning three other aliens on the planet, but it is quickly put to bed in favor of getting us to the next issue’s ‘will-be-awesomeness’. Yes, Wheelie and Rodimus are going to, thanks to the unlimited power of the matrix and the three disposable aliens, be able to escape the un-escapable planet, and arrive on Cybertron just in time to be a part of this summer’s CHAOS event.

Wheelie rhymes. Rodimus expounds on his injuries, and his new life, and his previous life, vowing to never leave a fellow Autobot behind...again. And Wheelie plays music now. ‘Nuff said?

The Story:

...Is forgettable. This inconsequential issue will quickly be lost in the excitement of this summer’s huge CHAOS events. The two weary Autobots seem to be a bit less than benevolent in their dealings with the three aliens...a streak that seems to be on par with recent Autobot events.

Some might say this could be one of the most annoying issues ever containing both whiny Rodimus, and rhymey Wheelie, but overall the creative crew handled the two well, making sure to focus more on the positive aspects of each, rather than the more negative pieces of them that the fans have come to on some cases...loathe.

The dialogue is smooth and clean. I really wish if IDW changed something from G1 ‘as we know it’ that they would have kept Wheelie from rhyming. The Wheelie-logue drives me bonkers. Thankfully, it is not overwhelmingly done here. I’m just worried now that Wheelie’s back on cast, that his dialect will quickly make its way to the ‘drives me up the wall when I read it‘ category. But Wheelie calls Rodimus dumb to his faceplate, so it can’t be too bad right?

The Art:

---Is Phenomenal. But I’m a Guido slappy. He renders and lines like the pro we know here creating some very beautiful portraits of Wheelie and Rodimus. His alien grunts are excellent as well, reminding me of Skeletor’s hench-lackeys from Masters of the Universe. And the alien ‘general’ seems to have a bit of a cthulhu in his family tree at some point. I have to say, I think Guido stepped it up. His lines on the robots seem more angular and straight, his figures more detailed and less cartoonish. HIs backgrounds detailed, and immense.

The inks, and colors are superbly done, as well.

Honestly, I thought the whole creative team did a really nice job with this issue. ‘It is what it is’ as the oft overused phrase goes. A simple re-introduction tale, setting up a lot bigger event. We get some characterization, and exposition, but not a lot of action. It’s cool though, because the excellent art will keep your eyes and mind quite busy.

Transformers Ongoing #19 is in stores Wednesday, May 18th, be sure to check it out yourself. If you still need more convincing, just check out the 7-page preview, and that should be the deal breaker. See you next time gentle-bots.

Credits to Mike Costa, Guido Guidi, Joana Lafuente, Chris Mowry, Carlos Guzman, and Andy Schmidt.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #123 - Vroom Vroom Vroom
Twincast / Podcast #123:
"Vroom Vroom Vroom"
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Posted: Tuesday, August 18th, 2015