Written by DrSpengler
"Is Convoy the same as Convoy?"
All those who have seen the Japanese dub of Beast Wars have at one point wondered if Beast Wars Convoy (Optimus Primal) is the same character as the original Convoy (Optimus Prime). Now we all know that in America they are two distinctly different characters. It is even specifically noted in Beast Machines that Optimus Primal is a descendant of Optimus Primeâ€™s. But what about the Japanese interpretation of the character?
Well, thatâ€™s a tough one. When the cartoon was imported to Japan future key plot elements were not sent with it. Mainframe neglected to mention certain things which would ultimately have a HUGE effect on the storyline. For one thing, they didnâ€™t mention that Airrazor and Tigatron would become romantically intertwined. Thus the Japanese writers didnâ€™t think twice about making Airrazor a dude for toy sale reasons. The result wasâ€¦disturbing. And then they also neglected to mention that the planet the Beast Senshi (Beast Warriors) crashed on was prehistoric Earth. So the planet got named "Enerogia" and the writerâ€™s had to jump through some hoops to work out the plotholes when they discovered the truth. And of course, the biggest problem: the Ark. The original Convoy and Megatron showing up with the Beast Wars Convoy and Megatron caused some noticeable problems. Why?
Because originally they WERE the same character. If youâ€™ve seen Beast Wars II: the Movie youâ€™ve no doubt wondered why the Beast Senshi on Gaea are so awestruck at the presence of Convoy. They refer to him as "The Legendary Warrior". Thatâ€™s because in Japanese continuity, following the events from the Japanese Generation 2 manga, Convoy and Megatron never died. That was the last time either of them were ever seen. So the writers decided to make the Beast Wars Convoy and Megatron the same as the genuine article. However, they were very ambiguous on the subject. They never actually SAID that Beast Wars Convoy is the same character as Generation 1 Convoy, only subtly implied it. That ambiguity, in the end, saved them. By never actually flat out saying they were the same characters they were able to keep things straight when they received season 2 and 3(Beast Wars Metals).
So in the end they were revealed to be only descendants of the original Megatron and Convoy. That made sense, actually, and helped give a good background to their rivalry. It also helped viewers understand why their voices sounded completely different (Beast Wars Megatron screamed like a girl and Beast Wars Convoy did an awful Tessho Genda impretion).
The biggest foe of Beast Wars in Japan was a total lack of communication. Mainframe simply didnâ€™t provide them with adequate information. Knowing this, one can understand why Beast Machines never got imported out of the United States.
Written by DrSpengler
"So Megatron was Galvatron in Japan?"
Yeah, itâ€™s true. From an American perspective the Japanese continuity is all sorts of crazy. And the internet hasnâ€™t done much to help. With all kinds of whacky rumors or just completely fabricated BS, newcomers to the Japanese universe of the Transformers are more confused than anything else. Me? I have seen every episode of the Transformers (US or Japanese) and read every issue of the manga. Thereâ€™s a lot of wild rumors and crap out there that needs to be set straight, so Iâ€™ll start with one of the biggest misconceptions American Transfans have about the Japanese continuity.
So Megatron and Galvatron are two completely different characters, right? Wrong.
Yeah, the Japanese continuity on this subject is REALLY confusing becauseâ€¦well, they WERE two completely different characters at first. Letâ€™s start with Scramble City Toys (called Scramble City 2 by some). This was a stop-motion OVA released by Takara. It was a remake of the original animated Scramble City OVA and featured voice-overs from the original Japanese cast. Basically it was just a half-hour commercial promoting the toys. So what made it different from its animated counterpart? This one featured Galvatron. Actually, it featured Megatron ordering Galvatron around as if he were a subordinate. This is where the misconception begins. When Scramble City Toys was made the backgrounds of the newer characters had yet to be fully developed. Takara wasnâ€™t sure how the Galvatron character was going to turn out but they wanted to market him as early as possible. While the original Scramble City takes place in Japanese continuity Scramble City Toys DOES NOT. It is merely a commercial. A really long commercial, but a commercial none-the-less.
And now you ask "But Iâ€™ve seen scans from the manga that shows Galvatron and Megatron side by side!". Calm down, Francine. Yeah, Comics Bon Bon did a lot of promo art for the toys. One shows Ultra Magnus and Galvatron duking it out on the shoulder of Metroflex (Metroplex in America) while Megatron watches in the back. Well, thereâ€™s an explanation for that too. Comics Bon Bon wasnâ€™t given info on the characters when they did the art. They were just given the toys and told to make them look cool. How were they supposed to know? Even worse, when they began work on the 2010 manga for Terebi Magazine (TV Magazine) they were not told that Megatron and Galvatron were separate. As a result Megatron and Galvatron show up together. The artists and writers were quickly set straight afterward and, for lack of a better term, "pretended" that error never happened.
Yeah, itâ€™s confusing. But if the Japanese can get over it so can we Americans
Now for the Movie. Yes, it takes place in exactly the same time as it does in the American continuity. Then why was it released in 1989 in Japan, you ask? Well, thatâ€™s a tough one. There is no definite answer as to why. Some say it was the fact that it financially BOMBED in the US, others say that the killing off of major characters would have negatively effected Japanese toy sales. But donâ€™t think for a second that Japanese Transfans back in 1986 were left in the dark. Recaps of the movieâ€™s events were in just about every shoujo magazine including Terebi Magazine (the official magazine for Transformers over in Japan). And donâ€™t think that bootlegs never showed up there either. On top of that in the first episode of Transformers 2010 (season 3) there is a narrated recap explaining the events from the movie for the audienceâ€™s benefit.
And now comes the kicker, that stupid rumor that in the Transformers: the Battlestars manga Super Megatron is sent to kill Galvatron. I donâ€™t know who dreamed that up but IT NEVER HAPPENED! Dark Nova resurrected Galvatron from the North Pole (where he got buried in Headmasters) and upgraded him into Super Megatron on the spot.
So there you have it. In Japanese continuity Megatron IS Galvatron. This is about as simplified as it gets. If youâ€™re still confused ... well, Iâ€™m sorry.
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