Sunday, December 31st 2006 2:04pm CST
Categories: Cartoon News
, Site Articles
, Digital Media News
Posted by: Hotrod
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:
Dir: Yoshikata Arata
Starring: Hideyuki Tanaka, Takeshi Aono, Miyako Endo, Kyoko Tongu, Keiichi Nanba
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Friday, September 8th 2006 1:08pm CDT
Categories: Site News
, Site Articles
Posted by: Calenatarion
The SEIBERTRON.com Judge Team
The SEIBERTRON.com Photocontest has come to an end. This contest had even more great entries. The other judges and myself had a hard time judging all the entries.
But, we finished and posted the results as following:
In 3rd Place - Lapse Of Reason: 8.33
Although there was some debate to the legitimacy of this picture, Lapse proved it was all done honestly. And a good thing too, as this is one fine picture. Funny, keeps to the theme, and very clear. Good job!
In 2nd Place - Onyx Prime: 8.40
Proving you don't need to enter early to score high, Onyx Prime gives us a crossover that nearly everyone has thought of, buts pulls it off well all the same. The real winner is all the props and how they are interacted with.
In 1st Place - magus: 8.67
Lighting can be a real pain, but magus uses it to great effect here. The poses are also some top notch stuff. Great work magus, you are this contest's winner!
Lapse of Reason, Onyx Prime and magus: congratulations. You can see your prizes in the Results thread.
Sunday, May 28th 2006 2:49pm CDT
Categories: Event News
, Site Articles
, People News
Posted by: Raymond T.
After last year's succes with One Prime Night in Amsterdam with Neil Kaplan
, Seibertron Energon Pub member Hans, and myself Raymond T., have pulled our resources together once again, and have arranged arranged for a follow-up to take place.
Where to go after meeting with Optimus Prime? David Kaye, Voice-actor for the Megatrons in Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Armada, Energon and Cybertron, has agreed to take some time and meet a select group of Dutch fans on June 4th.
Want to join this exclusive meet and greet with one of the more popular voice actors within the Transformers universe, who is also know for his services in GI Joe Extreme, X-Men: Evolution and the Ratchet & Clank video games, please contact me at
The get-together is to be held Sunday June 4th at 19.00 in Amsterdam. E-mail the address above if you want to be part of the meet and to get your details.
David Kaye will also be a special guest at the Auto Assembly
in Birmingham, UK, the day before on June 3rd.
Wednesday, April 12th 2006 10:10pm CDT
Category: Site Articles
Posted by: Hotrod
The Transformers franchise has been involved with cross-promotions in the last year with more to come. The cross-over most fans are familiar with are the Transformers and G.I. Joe cross-overs since there have been so many. In the West (the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and Europe) G.I. Joe is not the only franchise to have a tie in with the Transformers. A few other properties have joined forces in with our favorite robots in disguise in the past. Meanwhile, there are still some joint ventures in the present that appear will be being carried on into the future.
Marvel Comics - Part One
The first ever cross-over or team up with the Transformers occurred early when the Transformers franchise was just beginning when Marvel Comics began publishing the Transformer in 1984. In the third issue of the Transformers, "Prisoner of War", one of Marvel’s most popular characters web slung his way into the Transformers comic book. Spiderman only appeared in the one issue. The appearance of Spiderman would later seem odd since the Transformer Universe would get separated from the rest of the Marvel Universe. However, the introduction of everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spiderman in the third issue would start a trend that is continuing today, Transformers and cross-overs. Spiderman and the Transformer though have never crossed paths since.
The next franchise to team up with the Transformers would be the most famous cross-over to date, and one that has been done many times since. The G.I. Joe franchise was the next brand that joined with the Transformers franchise. This move made a lot of sense at the time of its conception. Hasbro owned the rights to both Transformers and G.I. Joe. Another factor that helped bring both Transformers and G.I. Joe together was the fact that Marvel was publishing comics for both franchises. Also at the time both were wildly popular.
The first comic book team up of the Transformers and G.I. Joe occurred in 1987 when Marvel comics released a four part mini-series. This series was important for many reasons. It placed both Transformers and G.I. Joe squarely in the same Universe. What took place in the mini-series had an effect on what happened in later issues of both G.I. Joe and the Transformers.
Later in 1987 Marvel UK launched their own five part series entitled "Ancient Relics" witch had the Transformers join forces with the United Kingdom’s G.I. Joe counterpart at the time, Action Force. Action Force, led by Flint, would team up with Centurion, and the Autobots Blades and Grimlock to take on a crazed Megatron who had suddenly returned. (It is later revealed that it was not the real Megatron but a clone Megatron inhabited by Straxus.)
The next time Transformers and G.I. Joe would combine forces would be in 1993. In 1993 Marvel began to publish a new Transformers comic titled Transformers: Generation 2, G2 that would pick up where the previous run left off. Before the new comic started the reintroduction of the Transformers would take place in the G.I. Joe comics 138 through 142. During this run Megatron made a deal with Cobra Commander. Cobra would rebuild and upgrade Megatron, in return Megatron would provide Cobra with Cybertronian technology. The result ended with Megatron having a new body, his G2 form. A small group of Autobots would team up with G.I. Joe to try and stop Megatron. These events would lead directly into the Transformers: Generation 2 comic with some members of G.I. Joe appearing.
Transformers Meets A Real American Hero. Again.
The next cross-over would not occur for another ten years. In 2003 both the Transformers and G.I. Joe comics were no longer published by Marvel comics. G.I. Joe was and is currently published by Devil’s Due. In 2002 the Transformers started to be published by Dreamwave Comics. In 2003 both companies would take their own shot at doing a cross-over involving the two brands.
The first to publish the cross-over was Devil’s Due. Devil’s Due put together a six issue series that started in June of 2003 and ended in December of 2003. The series was titled simply "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers". The series rewrote the entire history for both G.I. Joe and the Transformers. Both of the continuities were merged from the beginning with this mini-series.
Not to be out done Dreamwave released their own mini-series. In September of 2003 Dreamwave launched a six issue run call "Transformers/G.I. Joe". The saga would end in March of 2004. Dreamwave took a different approach then Devil’s Due. "Transformers/G.I. Joe" took place during World War II. The story took place in its own continuity and did not have any impact on the existing continuities.
In 2004 both Devil’s Due and Dreamwave would publish follow ups to their earlier Transformers and G.I. Joe team ups. Devil’s Due started to publish "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II". This was a direct follow up to "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers". The series lasted for four issues.
In September of 2004 Dreamwave was planning to publish their last Transformers and G.I. Joe cross-over. The mini-series was titled "Transformers/G.I. Joe Volume 2: Divided Front". The "Transformers/G.I. Joe Volume 2: Divided Front" story was set to be told in a total of five issues. Like "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II" was a follow up to "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers", "Transformers/G.I. Joe Volume 2: Divided Front" was a follow up to "Transformers/G.I. Joe". Dreamwave’s take on the Transformers and G.I. Joe was scheduled to end in February 2005 but, only one issue was ever published before Dreamwave went out of business.
In March 2006, Devil’s Due started to publish their third and latest installment of their G.I. Joe and Transformers saga. It is titled "G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers III: The Art of War" and is a direct follow up to G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers II". The series is set to span five issues.
G.I.Bots The Cartoon
G.I. Joe has had an influence on Transformers outside of the realm of comic books. In season three of the original Transformers cartoon a couple of G.I. Joe related characters made appearances. The first to do so was Marissa Fairborn. Marissa Fairborn is the daughter of Dashiell Fairborn. Dashiell is a member of G.I. Joe and has the code name Flint. Marissa appeared in seven episodes in Transformers season three. She first appeared in "Five Faces of Darkness" parts 3, 4, and 5, episodes 68-70. Marissa Fairborn then showed up in episodes 71, "The Killing Jar", 76, "Forever is a Long Time Coming", and 90, "Money is Everything". Her last appearance was in episode 92, "The Burden Hardest to Bear".
The other G.I. Joe character to appear in the Transformers cartoon in season three was none other then Cobra Commander. He appeared in episode 88, "Only Human". In this episode Cobra Commander helped capture Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Springer, and Arcee and removed their minds from their bodies and placing them in human bodies. He would then try to use the Autobots' robot bodies to attack Autobot City and destroy the other Autobots. Ultimately the plot was foiled.
Transformers and G.I. Joe have never had any official toy cross-overs with the exception of one prototype from the early 1990s
. In 2004, however, G.I. Joe would have an impact on the Transformers toy line at the time, Transformers Energon. The first figure inspired by G.I. Joe was the Decepticon Snowcat. The G.I. Joe Snowcat was the inspiration for both his alternate mode and name. Energon Snowcat was released in different colors in 2005 as Transformers Universe Snowcat. Energon Kicker is another figure inspired by G.I. Joe. He was made in the same fashion as the 3 ¾ inches G.I. Joe figures of the time.
Marvel Comics - Part Two: Other Characters
Another popular character who had a cross-over with the Transformers was Death’s Head. He appeared in over thirty-one issues of Marvel UK Transformers. His first appearance was Marvel UK’s Transformers 113- "Wanted Galvatron Dead or Alive (part 1). Death’s Head would play a role in helping defeat Galvatron when he went back in time and later Unicron in the story arch "Legacy of Unicron".
There has even been a case when a character from the Transformers has made an appearance in another comic. A lesser known Transformer character Circuit Breaker, Josie Beller, is one such character. Even though she was not an Autobot or Decepticon, Circuit Breaker was an important character in Marvel’s Transformers. Her origins began in the Transformers issue 5-"The New Order". She would end up playing an important role in the Marvel Universe which was odd because by this time Marvel’s Transformer Universe was supposed to be separate from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Circuit Breaker would convince the Beyonder, who was taking control of all the multiple Earths down to their molecular level, to relinquish control in Secret Wars II issue 3. She was able to do so when she met the Beyonder and praised him for his rule. While doing so, she told him she did not like robots because they had no free will. This caused the Beyonder to rethink his actions and release control of the Earths.
Star Wars Transformers - A New Hope
The newest franchise to intermingle with the Transformers is the very popular Star Wars brand. This was unexpected by many fans. Hasbro has combined the two franchises in a sense in a toy line called Star Wars Transformers. The line is base on Star Wars vehicles that transform into characters from the Star Wars Universe. Thus far the line has been popular and there are more releases planned.
Both brands will soon be doing battle with one another in Hasbro’s Attacktix series. Starting in August 2006 Transformers Attacktix figures will be available to go along with the currently available Star Wars Attacktix figures. Hasbro will also be releasing special Attacktix Star Wars vs. Transformers Intergalactic Showdown Pack that will include six figures including both Darth Vader and Optimus Prime.
The Future Of Transformers Crossovers
What the future holds as far as cross-overs and Transformers goes no one knows for sure. One thing is for sure, there are bound to be some more down the line and as long as they are successful. Hasbro will continue to pair the Transformers with other brands as long as there is an audience to be reached. So keep your eyes open, you never know who the Transformers will cross paths with next.
I would like to thank the following sources:
SEIBERTRON.com Vector Sigma Database, Hasbro, and www.Marvunapp.com