Episode 104: Japanese Transformers


Headmasters

More than a three-episode fourth season; Japan got a whole new show!

We’re joined by Chuck of What’s On Joe Mind this week as we talk about Japanese Transformers! You’ve been waiting all week for this, but keep your HEAD ON, because we’re in the ZONE this week. We’re a MASTER FORCE of Transformers nostalgia buffs, here to entertain our ARMADA of fans. This is a podcast about ROBOTS IN DISGUISE that come from Japan.
Jinrai

Look again. This ain’t no Optimus Prime!


Sixshot

Now that you know who he is…
Oh never mind. You know the joke by now.


Headmaster Kids

Seriously! What is it with Transformers hanging out with damn kids?!

10 thoughts on “Episode 104: Japanese Transformers

  1. I really like this podcast, and you guys are pretty funny, but this episode was the worst piece of drek I have ever heard!

    It sounded like 3 guys sitting around talking about a subject that only 1 of them has only seen in passing.

    I was looking forward to an enjoyable podcast reviewing the Various Japanese series, but it seems the entire theme of this episode was “Huh Huh, Japanese Transformers are stupid!”. Did you guys even do ANY research?! You had the one guy; who only seems to have MAYBE seen a handful of episodes about a decade ago, doing a very liberal glossing over of each series, while the two who know absolutely nothing about the shows sit there and basically take the roles of Beavis and Butthead by just poking fun at everything.

    Maybe you guys should actually sit down and watch these shows, and look at the manga before doing a podcast about them.

    • “but it seems the entire theme of this episode was ‘Huh Huh, Japanese Transformers are stupid!’.”

      What the hell are you talking about? That’s not even close to anything we did on this show. I don’t recall saying that Japanese Transformers are stupid. Only that we felt that America did the series better. Maybe you should actually listen to the show before commenting.

      For those keeping score at home, here’s what my impressions were from the actual show:

      Headmasters: Was alright
      Master Force: Better than Headmasters
      Victory: Didn’t see very much of it; no opinion.
      Zone: Saw it. Was okay. Liked the toys.
      RiD: Saw it. Didn’t have an opinion other than the toys
      Armada: Was okay, but too much influence from Pokemon
      Energon: Sucks; worst animation of the entire run
      Cybertron: Sucks, but we didn’t stay on the topic long enough for me to say it.

      I mean, jeez, I even commented on a story arc in Energon that I thought was the most wasted potential of the show.

      The show I was least familiar with on this show was Victory. Big whoop. If that’s the only series I have little-to-no recollection of, then I then so be it. This wasn’t going to be an overview of the plots of each show. This was a very general assessment of the overall themes of east and west storytelling, as you apparently failed to notice.

      In fact, the biggest running theme of the show was that Japanese tastes differ astonishingly from western tastes. We talked about why Transformers was not as popular in Japan as it was in America. We talked about thematic differences that the Japanese had to employ to generate local interest. These are details that YOU glossed over, because apparently you didn’t understand or didn’t like the approach of our show.

      Look, given that we were covering like seven different shows in one episode, you must have known that this was NOT going to be in-depth. Of course, we actually did cover Headmasters more on our prior Transformers episode. You know, one of those episodes where we apparently knew what we’re talking about.

      There’s always going to be some stuff we’re going to gloss over a bit, because quite frankly, when we’re dealing with subjects that span more than 100 episodes, it’s ridiculous to expect us to sit down and watch it all. Much less read the friggin’ manga. What the hell would we do that for?

      In fact, the only part of the show where Ben and I were out of our element was when Chuck brought up the manga, because we really didn’t feel that it was necessary. I make it a point to cover animation from a very western perspective. That means NO MANGA. I didn’t even read the manga for Slayers. I’m sure as hell not going to sit down and study Japanese Transformers mangas for plot details I’m not even going to talk about.

      Maybe you got the impression that we were unfamiliar because we stumbled over some of the names of character. That happens. Like I said, I’m so familiar with the American names that I have trouble with their alternate names, such that of Piranhacon. (And as a side note, I would like to point out that I was correct in that he WAS called King Poseidon on the Japanese show.)

      Look, I don’t like making snide responses to criticism, but I’m getting sick and tired of people accusing me of shit that I didn’t do or say, or telling me that we didn’t cover the shows in the way someone else wanted us to cover them. I didn’t approach this topic with the intent of cock-waving my Transformers knowledge. It just wasn’t the point.

      • The areas where you talked about the differing tastes of the East vs West were interesting, but so much of what I heard when talking about the shows was what you guys didn’t like. And there weren’t just a few details gotten wrong, there were quite a few. Like how Zone, Operation Combination, and Battlestars came out during G2, and that there were no Decepticon toys for any of those series. Zone had Metrotitan and some Micromasters, and Operation Combination had Battle Gaia, the first Bruticus repaint.

        Then when talking about the modern shows, you talked about RID, not Car Robots, which due to editing and re-writing are actually pretty different from each other. Then the Unicron Trilogy came up, which didn’t exist in Japan. As Chuck later pointed out that Cybertron was Galaxy Force in Japan and absolutely nothing to do with Micron Legend (Armada) or Super Link (Energon), or Unicron in general!

        I’m sorry if it seems like I’m nit-picking here, because I don’t mean to. But whenever you guys were actually talking about the various series it invariably had a very negative slant.

        • “The areas where you talked about the differing tastes of the East vs West were interesting, but so much of what I heard when talking about the shows was what you guys didn’t like.”

          It’s amazing how many baseless things you can assert simply by saying “much of what I heard.” We had criticisms of the shows, yes, but we didn’t hate on them. You’re using weasel words to accuse us of shit that we didn’t do. We didn’t hate on the shows like you said. Now come off that.

          “And there weren’t just a few details gotten wrong, there were quite a few. Like how Zone, Operation Combination, and Battlestars came out during G2…”

          Actually, I corrected that myself. You wanna try again?

          “…and that there were no Decepticon toys for any of those series. Zone had Metrotitan and some Micromasters, and Operation Combination had Battle Gaia, the first Bruticus repaint.”

          Right, and Battle Gaia and Metrotitan were both repaints. So, technically, what Chuck said was factually incorrect, but the point he was making, which still stands, is that the Decepticon toys were not popular between 1990 and 1992 in Japan.

          As for your Micromaster assertion, the only Decepticon Micromasters from Japan that I know of was a recolor of Sixbuilder, in which they changed his color scheme to look like Devestator. BUT! That one is from 2003; not 1992. So I’ll repeat myself. ALL of the Micromasters from the late 80s and early 90s, Autobots and Decepticons alike, WERE ALL AUTOBOTS IN JAPAN.

          Besides, there actually was a year, 1991, in which no Decepticon toys were made at all. Instead of taking this into account and accepting that this probably the root of what Chuck was talking about, you had to go and be a prick about it.

          People misspeak. Live with it.

          “Then when talking about the modern shows, you talked about RID, not Car Robots, which due to editing and re-writing are actually pretty different from each other. “

          Okay…But we didn’t actually say anything in the show that negates this. Besides which, the differences between the shows were not important enough to point out in the context of the show.

          “Then the Unicron Trilogy came up, which didn’t exist in Japan. As Chuck later pointed out that Cybertron was Galaxy Force in Japan and absolutely nothing to do with Micron Legend (Armada) or Super Link (Energon), or Unicron in general!”

          Yeah, we know that. The fact that we used the term “Unicron trilogy” doesn’t negate this. Again, you’re nitpicking and extrapolating misinformation which wasn’t actually stated. Chuck did mention that Cybertron was based on an unrelated program, but we KNEW that already, and if Chuck didn’t say it, I would have. I can’t help that he beat me to the draw. That doesn’t mean I was fucking ignorant of this fact.

          “I’m sorry if it seems like I’m nit-picking here, because I don’t mean to. But whenever you guys were actually talking about the various series it invariably had a very negative slant.”

          That last sentence makes absolutely no fucking sense. First you say that we have negative opinions of various series (i.e. an indefinite and unspecified group of programming) and then you say that we do it “invariably.”

          *HEADDESK*

          Not only do “various” and “invariably” have the same root word, but they antonymous to one another. We can’t be various and invarious at the same time.

          What, are we tall and short, too?

          And don’t think that you’re going to get away with saying that we only say negative things about shows that we don’t like, because that’s not true, either.

          Yes, we do have negative opinions of various shows. So does everyone else. We also have a lot of positive views. But you can’t just count the negatives and say that we do it all the time, because that’s showing that YOU’RE the one who has the negative slant. Not us.

          Next time, don’t be a prick.

    • I’m not sure what you were expecting to hear from this show but I am sorry to see your reaction. I hope it was not your expectation that the broadcast would present listeners with a deeply researched and unbiased look at the mythology of the franchise because that is not what AA is.

      If you listen and enjoy AA then you have to expect that these review shows are going to be full of Ben’s bias and he is well and up front about it, that the hosts will gloss over things quickly and skip over facts because they are not taking fine notes of every episode.

      If AA is doing an episode on a series of feature you enjoy then you need to consider it a primer on the material and not a search paper.

      If you have complaints about the way they handle episodes then you should become involved take the hosts up as a counter argument on a future show.

  2. It seems to me that all the japanese giant robot or Mecha anime post Transformers have decided to throw away all the forward thinking innovations that Transformers have brought to the mecha genre. The following forward thinking innovations are.
    Sentient Robots: Sentient robots are a huge step up technologiclly from the old fashioned polited robots of Brave Raideen, Dancougar, Gaogaigar, Go-Lion, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Laggan. Sentient robots have a 100% faster reaction time then piloted robots.
    Guns: When transformers came out of the scene they brought the Mecha genre out of the 1500’s and into the 21st century. When the autobots and depcepticons used guns instead of swords. There is a reason why modern militaries use guns instead of swords. Swords require a ridiculous amount of training compared to guns. It’s scientificly more beliveable for cartoon robots to fight with guns then swords. The gun is a weapon of democracy and equality. The sword is a weapon of elitest snobs.
    Thank you for reading.

    • I was kind of thinking that myself. I think what Chuck was saying was that it’s easier to believe that mankind could construct a battle mech before we’d ever get artificial sentience off the ground. On the other hand, the way technology is going these days, maybe that assumption is wrong. Who knows?

      I’m totally with you on the sword thing. I never understood Japan’s fascination with robots that wield swords. Even some of the old G1 toys had swords, which the cartoon series largely ignored. Thank goodness.

      • Actually, it´s a bit of a step back…Astroboy/Tetsuwan Atom, the first japanese animation tv series already had sentient robots in it, and it predated Transformers by decades. The first piloted Robot if memory doesn´t fail me was Mazinger Z in the 70s. The technological advancement and step up would be practically erasing the “reaction delay” piloting would imply (as in with evangelion, the neurolinking would reduce it almost to zero). Besides, we´ve seen the worst case scenario with sentient robots played multiple times, I bet that´s one of the factors we´re not going extra fast on the sentient killing machine department.
        As for guns, again, Transformers wouldn´t be a first there, killing more efficiently, easier, and out of harms way is the logic choice. Super robots from japanese series have done this in different ways, the swords come in usually once they´re out of ammo/energy and things have to go down and dirty (even megatron and prime resorted to sabers and stones when the guns were destroyed). As for the democracy and equality part of the gun vs sword debate, I´m not sure I follow it much…guns are cheaper than swords? Everyone gets a gun for free? At least in local history, people had made up spears out of scissors and sticks because it was the cheapest most long range effective weapon they could produce. Guns just make it easy to kill someone. Just ask any 10 year old delinquent who´s had its streak of killings. Swordsmen are more worth admiring for their skills (no matter where they got their swords) and being bold enough to go all out with such a handicap, which I guess is the reason why they´d give swords to sentient weapons. Just to say, “yeah, in a world where this guy turns into a giant cannon, this one just takes him down with a knife, so he´s more badass, brave and skilled than the giant cannon dude”.
        Besides, it´s easier to pull some drama out of physical fights than a gunfight (though I admit it can be done both excellent or horrible in both areas), just ask Bruce Lee. He said the reason why most martial arts films of old were set in past times was because one set in the present would be cut drastically short by someone pulling a trigger.

        • Thank you Optimus Praino for your history lesson on japanese mecha genre. And for cutting through my emotional rant on why transformers is better then other mecha anime. I’ve noticed Optimus and Megatron fighting with swords and fists more in the newer “Transformers Prime”. But I had the feeling that their increased fist fighting is the results of two factors. The increased anti-gun climate in 2012 america. (we were still scarred by the teenage school shooters of the 1990s and are afraid seeing cartoon gunfighting will encourage irresponsible gunplay.)
          And bringing in the japanese mecha demographic which likens the giant robot as a modern day samurai warrior.
          Thanks for posting and listening.

  3. Really, the intent of this episode is to talk about the japanese doing the Transformers product and how it mainly affected transformers over here(directly in dubs).

    It was not meant to be a step by step examination of every series, but more of a “How did this series fit into the grand scheme of Transformers?” To me, the most fascinating of the series, the ‘meat’ of the discussion is when we started dubbing properties proper, starting at RID, because that is when the writing directly affected Transformers as a whole, proper.

    Oh, and nitpicks remind me of this :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *