Transformers – The Legacy

So, here we are again – at the brink of the biggest event of year – the Premiere of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (DOTM). This is the moment that all of the TransFans have been waiting for. After the previous two movies, TransFans all over the world are eagerly anticipating the premier of this movie. Forget about the incredibly predictable and straight forward storylines, we are in it for the robots!!! That’s the point that some movie goers or critics are missing – Transformers are all about the robots!!! We TransFans love the franchise because of the millennia-old war between the heroic Autobots, led by the valiant Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by the tyrannical Megatron. Our love for the franchise was never about Spike and his relationships; it was never about college life – it was only about the robots!!!

Every single TransFans out there would be able to narrate to you the general origins of the Transformers franchise. Back in 70’s, it was Takara (now Takara-Tomy) that first released a line of transformable robots called Diaclone and Microman. They were unique in terms of designs and execution, but were only available in Japan. Also, these figures lacked one thing that made other toy lines such as G.I. Joe and Star Wars so successful – characterization. Hasbro saw the enormous potential that this toy line had and decided to strike a deal with Takara to market them outside of Japan. Hasbro, with the help of writers such as Bob Budiansky began to create a whole new back story and give these figures characters. They decided that all the cars and rolling vehicles would be the good guys, nicknamed the Autobots, while all the aircrafts, electronics devices, weapons, war vehicles and construction vehicles would be the bad guys, nicknamed the Decepticons. However, the most important aspect of the fictions would be the introduction of the two leaders of the factions – Optimus Prime and Megatron. Armed with catchy names and awesome characterizations, Optimus and Megatron were instant successes. Few would argue that these two are literally the faces of the entire Transformers franchise, and have since remained as the benchmark for all of their subsequent reincarnations. 

The line was so successful that it eventually culminated in the 1986 Transformers animated movie – initially a box office flop, but have since garnered a cult following. The movie featured a wholesale change of guards that saw the demise of numerous fan favorites such as Ironhide, Brawn, Ratchet, Prowl, Silverstreak, Thundercracker, Starscream, Skywarp and many more, and saw the introduction of many Season 3 characters, namely Rodimus Prime, Daniel Witwicky, Ultra Magnus, Kup, Springer, Arcee, Wheelie, Galvatron, Cyclonus, Quintessons, Scourge and the Sweeps. It was also the first time that Optimus Prime would meet his maker – to the wailing cries of fans all over the world. The unsuspecting impact of Optimus Prime’s death would eventually influenced the subsequent G.I. Joe movie, in which the character Duke was written off as going into a coma instead of apparent death at the hands of Serpentor.

After the end of the wholly successful G1 Transformers, Japan began to produce their own G1-themed shows such as Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory and the single-episode Zone. In the US, the strong G1 following would eventually culminated into the wholly successful Beast Wars series, and subsequently, Beast Machines. The Japanese would eventually add Beast Wars 2 and Beast Wars Neo series in that list. Thus it’s really not surprising why Generation-1 tend to have a profound place and nostalgia value amongst all Transformers fans. It is with this huge and long story-arc that Transformers came to be known with and loved. 

With the end of the G1-related series in the early 2000s, came Robot-in-Disguise or Car Robots, which by the way, exist in its own universe by itself. The series acted as a filler line prior to the start of Transformers: Armada. In the west, Transformers: Armada (or Micron Legend in Japan) was the first series in the whole new Unicron Trilogy, which also consist of Energon (Superlink) and Cybertron (Galaxy Force). The Cybertron/ Galaxy Force series is unique in the sense that the Japanese series are not related in any way with Micron Legend and Superlink, but Hasbro decided to do otherwise. 

After the end of the Cybertron/ Galaxy Force, the franchise was rebooted again with the introduction of the much anticipated Transformers Movie franchise, which has since spawned two sequels: Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. The new series – Transformers: Animated also debuted near the tail-end of 2007 and were totally unrelated to the movies, although the Japanese version does contain slight modifications to tie-in with the movies. The latest animated series to emerge is the Transformers: Prime series, a sort of amalgamation of Transformers: Animated and the Bayverse movie franchise. 

Transformers may have evolved a lot over the years, in terms of animations, comic arts, and most significantly the technology used in order to design and produce the action figures, as well as the resulting aesthetics, but one thing that do remain the same – Transformers have one of the most passionate fan base, if not the most passionate of all since Day 1. Further proof would have that it is one of the few franchises to have its own annual event and convention, i.e. BotCon, TF Con, Transformers Con etc. 

Transformers fans are a diverse lot – bridging across different nationalities, races, professions and even genders. The kids love ‘em due to their uniqueness. Adults love ‘em cuz it reminds them of their childhood – and some, the part of childhood that they missed out on.

It has been 27 years since the introduction of Transformers. When a brand can last so long, and still have such passionate following, while managing to attract a whole new set of fan base, you know that it’s special. Transformers have transcended as a part of pop culture, and emerged as one of the signatures of the 1980’s. Optimus Prime and Megatron have undoubtedly gone down in history as icons of the 1980’s. Transformers may not be the first line to introduce the idea of transformable toys – Diaclone, Microman or even Gobots have beaten them to that, but the Transformers have become so well known that any transformable toys will always be synonymous with the Transformers brand – kinda like how McDonalds are synonymous with burgers, Kentucky Fried Chicken with fried chickens, Tupperware with cases. Transformers will always be synonymous with transformable toys.

So, here we are tonight, on the eve of the premiere of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon. It has been a long 2-years wait, and finally it’s here. Although that there are rumors pointing to a possible 4th installations to the film franchise, which are to be seen, everything else seems to be pointing to this film being the last, and even both director Michael Bay and actor Shia LaBeouf have both ruled out of any possibilities of returning for any possible future installations. So TransFans, enjoy it while it last… Until the next installment… TRANSFORM, and ROLL OUT!!!
The Writer and His Humble Collections

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