Armada retro review thread

Acronyms and abbreviations are fun. That, or these lines don't deserve quite enough respect for full names.
Robots In Disguise, Armada, Energon, Cybertron - there, that's their names, happy now???
Post Reply
User avatar
andersonh1
Moderator
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:22 pm
Location: South Carolina

Armada retro review thread

Post by andersonh1 »

We're nearing the end of our Animated binge-watch, and I'm interested in re-watching Armada. I have fond memories of most of the series, with the exception of the early episodes. That being the case, I pretty much skipped the first 13 episodes and started where the show started to "get good" with the episode "Overmatch", when the Star Saber had been recovered. After watching Animated, wow does the storytelling and voice acting for Armada scream "dubbed Japanese animation" (which of course it is). It's not that I didn't know that, it's just quite an obvious contrast when they're watched back to back.

Overmatch - I remember that Scavenger is actually an Autobot, so his villain laugh and voice is really overacted here, and I honestly don't get why he's wearing a cloak for most of the episode. Hot Shot and (the oddly named) Smokescreen are two of my favorite characters from this series, though it's clear that Hot Shot is too full of himself here and is cruising for a fall. Starscream in this version is not the usual backstabbing second in command, and rather pathetically always seems to be trying to gain Megatron's approval. The kids remain as annoying as I remember and I really wish they had been kept to a minimum. I like Sari, so it's not just mouthy kids that are the problem. My daughter has been watching with me, and at one point she asked if Starscream had to repair his own arm after Hot Shot sliced it, and noted that the Decepticons rarely have medics, which I can't say I'd ever thought about.

User avatar
Shockwave
Supreme-Class
Posts: 5928
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by Shockwave »

I just got done watching G1 and had heard that Armada got good in it's later episodes. So I'm going to give it a chance as well. Back in 2004 when this first aired, Enterprise was also running and both of them became unwatchable to me in the same week. Enterprise had the Borg on it and I remember being annoyed that they kept having TNG villains attacking Enterprise 200 years before they were even supposed to know about them (the Ferengi had been on there as well). Then there was an episode of Armada where Optimus Prime referred to his Minicon as Leader-1. The very next line to come out of anyone's mouth is Megatron referring to his Minicon as Leader-1. That means that not only did someone fuck up who Optimus was talking to, but that two different characters were referred to by the same name in what had to be less than an inch of page space on the script. How many different levels of editing should have caught that? I figured if they weren't going to care about making it, I wasn't going to watch it. So, I just got done watching Deep Space Nine and have now decided to give Enterprise a fair chance since I've never actually seen it all the way through. So I'm watching that and also going to be giving Armada a fair chance as well, we'll see how this goes.

User avatar
andersonh1
Moderator
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:22 pm
Location: South Carolina

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by andersonh1 »

Armada is rather infamous for dubbing and animation issues. It was apparently rushed into production to satisfy Cartoon Network's schedule, so it is sloppy in places, no doubt. Let me know what you think of the early episodes. My impression (and I did not go back and rewatch them to confirm my memories) is that too much time is spent with the kids, and every episode is a "mini con of the week" plot. However once the Star Saber appears and the show becomes more of an arms race, and new characters start entering the mix, I enjoyed it much more. Starscream in particular is characterized very differently in Armada than he is in any other series.

Enterprise: I agree with your assessment. I thought it started out okay, had a few good episodes over the first two seasons mixed with a lot of mediocre ones, an interesting and much improved third season, and a fourth season that felt like a proper prequel series and is probably the best of the series, until the dire final episode. But I haven't seen it since it originally aired, apart from a random episode here and there. I re-assessed Voyager in 2009 when I bought the fourth season on DVD (I had quit watching before it aired in the late 90s) and went from disliking Voyager to really enjoying that show and its characters, so I might do the same for Enterprise if I gave it a shot. I often get something new out of a show that I re-watch or a book that I re-read years later. Not always, but often.

User avatar
Shockwave
Supreme-Class
Posts: 5928
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by Shockwave »

I think RID/Car Robots had the same problem, but I don't recall anything quite as bad as naming two characters the same name in immediately subsequent dialogue. I mean, it literally went like this:

Optimus Prime (addressing Sparkplug): "blah blah blah, Leader-1!"

Scene change

Megatron (addressing Leader-1): "Leader-1, blah blah blah!"

literally back to back addressing two different characters by the same name. I mean :shock: :? :!: :?: :x :roll: :|

We change over time and our views change as well. It's often fun for me to go back and watch something again through an older lens. Galaxy Quest is perfect example of this. When it first came out I loved it. Thought it was a perfect love letter to Star Trek and the whole Trekkie phenomenon. On my last viewing however, I instead found it to be a giant middle finger. The actors are portrayed as washed up has beens in every cliche of Hollywood imaginable. You've got the egotistical jackass, the one who was a theater actor and thinks this is beneath him, the former child actor, and then the woman and every cliche that goes with women in Hollywood. And yeah, some of that was based on reality, I understand that Shatner is notorious for being every bit the cliche. Then the fans are depicted as the worst that fandoms have to offer, including the perception that Trekkies can't tell the difference between reality and television. I like the premise of it, the idea that Aliens watch tv broadcasts and mistake it for reality, but even that has holes in it. I mean, they know enough about the phenomenon to go the convention, which would mean they would have to A: Know it was a show and not reality and B: know that the people they were going to meet were actors and not really space adventurers. Plus, did they not see the credits naming the actors... and yeah, I could keep nitpicking it (I am a trekkie and according to this movie, I should be tearing this movie a new one based on plotholes alone).

But, back to my original point that yeah, watching things years later after more experience can change one's perception of something. That's why I've decided to go back and watch these series. One, I wanted to actually give Enterprise a fair shot, having not even seen the whole thing and the same for Armada. At least this time if I still don't like them it will be a more informed opinion. I will probably go back and watch Galaxy Quest again and who knows? My opinion might change again.

User avatar
Shockwave
Supreme-Class
Posts: 5928
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by Shockwave »

Started watching Armada yesterday. I think I'm 10 or so episodes into it (maybe more) and so far it's mostly about the kids and the "Minicon of the episode", which means that almost every episode so far is a fight for a McGuffin. I think I left off when they were about to unite the Star Sabre so maybe it'll pick up from there? But yeah, so far, I've barely paid attention to it (I was playing Animal Crossing while I watch it) and haven't missed anything.

User avatar
andersonh1
Moderator
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:22 pm
Location: South Carolina

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by andersonh1 »

We watched the following episodes over the weekend:

- Gale
- Credulous
- Conspiracy
- Thrust
- Vacation
- Reinforcement
- Decisive Battle
- Vow

Rather than break down each episode, a few general thoughts (and there are some spoilers if anyone hasn't seen these episodes, only one of which I've actually marked with a spoiler tag):

- After a mostly static lineup for the first 13 episodes (the introduction of Smokescreen aside), we get a number of new characters in these episodes. I don't really count mini-cons because they so rarely speak and are barely characters, apart from Sureshock, HIgh Wire and Grindor perhaps. Scavenger shows up in Overmatch, and then we get Sideways and Blurr not long after. All of these characters are welcome additions to the show.
- Hot Shot is clearly heading for a fall in the first few episodes on this list. While he has the Star Saber, he's very overconfident and just loves the hero worship from the kids, so when he loses the sword it's probably fair to say he had it coming. Afterwards he's more willing to take instruction and learn to be a better fighter
- Scavenger switches sides (or rather stops pretending to be a Decepticon) between episodes, to the point that I stopped and checked to be sure I hadn't missed something. I knew he was actually an Autobot, but I thought there was more of a reveal than we actually got. At the end of one episode he's on the moon with the Decepticons, and the next he's taking a nap in the Autobot base, training Hot Shot to fight. That wasn't handled all that well, though at least we get some scenes of various characters not trusting him.
- I do like Scavenger's long friendship with Optimus Prime and how well they work together. That's not the type of thing we see very often, with Optimus portrayed strictly as a leader and a bit removed socially from those under his command.
- "Vacation" is filler, but reasonably entertaining filler. The kids are honestly not that bad when they don't dominate the episodes.
- Sideways is
Spoiler
in reality working for Unicron and playing both sides off each other
which is not hard to spot if you know what's going on, but I'm still impressed that they had him openly ally with the Decepticons only an episode after he was introduced. There was no slow burn on his storyline, he just switches sides. After the slow, repetitive pace of the first 13 eps, the revelations start coming much more quickly in the second 13 episodes.
- After watching the storytelling of Animated, the differences in pacing and framing of this series are very apparent. Characters stand around and talk and posture a LOT, and the animation in general is far less dynamic and fluid than Animated. I know it's a dubbed Japanese animated series so there's a different mindset behind the storytelling, but even so I prefer the style used in Animated.
- On the whole, I enjoyed this batch of episodes. The addition of new characters, the switching allegiances, and the feel of an escalating arms race with the sword and shield now in play keep things moving nicely. This series is one that I enjoy, and it could have gone from good to really good with better animation and better pacing. It does a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Flawed but enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to watching future episodes once we get moving done and out of the way.

User avatar
Shockwave
Supreme-Class
Posts: 5928
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Armada retro review thread

Post by Shockwave »

I just watched these last night and I actually did notice that Scavenger switched sides at the end of the episode before the one where the Autobots act like they don't trust him. The kids in this are mostly fine, but Fred irritates me to no end. It's like they took every fat person cliche and put it all into one character to the point where it's almost offensive. He's always wining, always out of breath, always hungry and always talking about his diabetes. Not every fat person eats constantly and has diabetes. Also, it seems like we've entered a new phase of the show where instead of find the minicon of the episode it's introduce the new Autobot jerk every episode. I'm going to finish this series because I heard that Starscream's arc in particular is worth it, but yeah... I'm still waiting for it to get good.

Post Reply