Animated Review Thread

Some cartoon with big chins and a little girl that got beloved by fans and taken off TV to make way for a different show on another network. Yeah, that's fair.
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Onslaught Six
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Animated Review Thread

Post by Onslaught Six »

Until we get the proper forum up, we'll just...do it here, I guess.

I don't have anything new to talk about, but hey.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.
People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Dominic
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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Dominic »

We can always cull through our old emails for content. 8-)

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-notes we have a new batch of smilies to play with.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by 138 Scourge »

I'll either have Leader Megs or a few more of the Deluxes to talk 'bout here later today, hopefully. Or something, I dunno.

I've had an irritating time trying to track down any of the Deluxes past Wave...2, I think? Anyway, if anyone needs a Blackarachnia or Ratchet... :roll:
Dominic wrote: too many people likely would have enjoyed it as....well a house-elf gang-bang.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Dominic »

I can post my reviews from CA over here.

And, at some point, I plan to fiddle with a friend's "Animated" figures.

Here are some notes from a recent visit to Chateau Brooks, the house where "aworldtransformed.com" is located.

[quote}


Activators: These are the "Animated" line's analogy to the old basics. I get the feeling the price-point is soon to be extinct, or replaced with "Legends" scale toys. Lewis recently noted that Deluxes are getting smaller, likely as a cost-cutting measure. I have noticed that the Deluxes went up in price post-beast era. And, now, post AEC, it is happening again. The price on "Activators" is just shy of Deluxes. The basic theme of the line is a more comlex "auto-transform", similar to the old flip-changeer jets and early "Beast Wars" toys. As much as I hate the aesthetic, I have to admit a few of these tempted me. (I still kind of wish I snagged that Bumblebee yesterday.)

Starscream: This toy is notable for the extra touches. Rather than having no guns, or the guns being fixed in place, the guns on Starscream flip around to be useful in both modes. As I have come to expect from the line, this toy features great engineering, and ugly, ugly aesthetics. The folding nose-cone is impressive enough to make me forget how awful this toy is too look at. There is moving landing gear to use in the jet-form. Grade: A This toy is good enough to warrant to grade.

Bumblebee: This is probably the closest the line will see to a scaled Bumblebee. The biggest problem with the toy is that the siren (also the activating switch for the toy) is prominent on the robot's chest, a deviation from the cartoon. The robot's hands are molded into the car's paneling. These panels are mounted on joints allowing for some wrist articulation. This is one of the few "Animated" toys that is not accurate to its animation model. Grade: B/c For whatever reason, the aesthetic does not bother me at this scale.

Bulkhead: This is the weakest "Activator". Besides non-show-accurate kibble bits, the small scale of this price-point is kind of self-defeating for a character whose whole schtick is that he is huge. The transform is clumsier than the others. Starscream's is graceful, making use of hinges and yielding two cartoon accurate forms. Bumblebee stumbles on the robot form. Bulkhead's robot form is kibble-laden, and the vehicle form does not fit together well. Grade: C/D Skip this one.

I took these notes after briefly fiddling with/looking at some other "Animated" toys.

Ratchet: Garbage. This toy is a step back of over 10 years. There are some nice touches, such as the broken head-crest. But, for the most part, this is just a watered-down variant of the movie's character model. Skipping this one with no regrets.

Lockdown: I hate the aesthetic of this line, and this toy does nothing to change that. But, one thing I have always liked in a TF is the appearance of expanding/compressing. Lockdown goes from being a more or less "standard" sized deluxe car to standing as tall as many Voyager scale toys. Even putting aside obvious anomalies like vopyager scale Bulkhead, Lockdown is tall. (Lockdown is spindly, but stands not quite as tall as "Armada" Redalert.)

Lugnutz: I meant to fiddle with this before the "Shattered Glass" toys were broken out. It looks really top-heavy, but seems pretty stable.


[/quote]


Dom
-more to come.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Dominic »

More reviews, and genereal thoughts on the line:



The shortest way for me to sum up my thoughts on "Animated" is that it is the inverse of the movie. Generally, everything that was good about the movie is bad about "Animated", and vice versa. The movie had a great aesthetic, amazing toys, and a dreadful story. "Animated" is hideous to look at, but features writing that almost makes up for the hideous aesthetic. The toys look as bad as the cartoon, meaning this is probably the only time I will complain about fidelity between animation and toy models. Sadly, the toys are really well engineered, leaving me to ask why they bothered to put so much work into developing these ugly ass toys.

The writing on the cartoon stumbles on occasion, but is generally solid. Thus far, the comics have simply been adaptations of episodes. Based on that, and what I have heard about later episodes, this might be the best written TF series in about 5 years. I will grant you, the bar on this is pretty low. But, aside from a few issues issues of "Spotlight", and the still too-new-to-judge "Reign of Starscream", there has been very little to get excited about since mid-'04 at the latest. One key element of the cartoon is that it borrows ideas and concepts from the movie, and uses them with far more grace and intelligence than Bay did in the film. (For example, rather than having Megatron being the sole source of modern technology, "Animated" has Megatron being the inspiration of one very successful "inventor".) The character dynamics, as outlined in profiles seemingly cribbed from the writers' notes, show a level of effort not seen for some time. (Most of what passes for writing in TF nowadays is either based on the Furman "this guy is a badass" school of thought or the "dumb and self-referential is cutting edge" of many fan-club prose stories. The biggest problem with the comic, besides sharing an aesthetic with the cartoon, is that the "digest size" (another flash in the pan fad) means many of the panels are so small I cannot tell what the hell is happening on the page.

The mechanical effort on the toys is staggering. I do not recall seeing this much effort put into the mechanical aspects of a TF line in over 5 years, since "Armada". But, while "Armada" tripped over its own ambitions in some places, the results were generally solid. (Hotshot and Optimus Prime may have been hobbled by their gimmicks, but somebody put time into both the engineering and the Silver-Age look of the toys.) Much the same can be said of "Animated". I have several of the toys for "Animated", and they are all a pleasure to fiddle with. I hate putting them down. And, that is a damned good thing, because they really do not look good any way I put 'em. The "auto-morphing" of the movie shows up on some of these toys, often in meaningful ways. Pieces generally shift and fit together smoothly. But, as fun as the journey between forms is, begining and end-points only serve to make one want to keep on truckin' .

"Animated" has the currently fashionable and ephemeral "overly simplified" look that many cartoons have. (Thing "Teen Titans", the current "Batman" and "Spiderman" cartoons, and others of that stripe.) For whatever reason, half-assing the art is now considered "kewl". As impressive as it is that the toys capture this childish aesthetic without sacrificing mechanical complexity and articulation, the simple fact is that the toys look like garbage. (If you think this aesthetic is lacking in 2D, it only gets worse in 3D.) Looking at "Animated", or any other franchise getting this treatment, I am reminded of Image Comics in the 90s. Remember them? Everyone said they would be the next big thing. So, where are they now? Jim Lee is just another artist. McFarlane is barely active in the business, despite his name being damned near everywhere as its own brand, and Liefeld is a joke. Meanwhile, the definitive and iconic aesthetics largely remain those estabilished before the 90s.

Starscream: probably the best looking TFA (sick of typing the cumbersome full name) toy. I admit I bought this one purely out of love for the character. Starscream has always been a favorite of mine. The jet is a sort of generalized VTOL craft, with shades of "Armada" and "War Within" Starscream. As planes are generally flat and featureless, the "Animated" aesthetic does not really hurt this form. Most of the transform process is accounted for with an elegantly designed set of springs that shift most of the plane's mass similar to the old flip-changer jets. Sadly, the resulting robot form is terribly. Imagine the under-detailed styling of "Johnny Bravo" applied to a transformer. Why they even bothered to mold detail onto the face is beyond me, as this chinless bastard's features have less definition than the scribblings of many toddlers. Wow, complex engineering to capture a simplified 2D aesthetic in 3D! That is not a waste of resources. Grade: A/F I hope to avoid that kind of split grade in the future.

Cybertron form Prime: This is a deluxe scaled "before he took a form on Earth" variant of Optimus Prime. The transform evokes "War Within", which only makes me pine all the more for the days of good looking TFs. Cleverly integrated hinges create the illusion that the proportions and mass of the toy truly shift. The articulation is amazing, exceeding that of many standard action figures. Sadly, no matter how you pose this thing, it looks awful. It may as well be stuck in a stiff "sketched on the back of a notebook" pose. Grade: A/F Do not stop fiddling, as then you have to display this ugly thing.

Cybertron form Megatron: Same idea as above. Besides the obvious problems with the aesthetic, this is the weakest toy I have seen from the line. As I got mine loose, I did not have official directions. I am not 100% sure what the front and back of the alternate mode are, or even what the alternate mode is supposed to be. It is either a hover tank or a space-jet with really wonky proportions and backwards pointing gun. I tried to use the comic as reference to figure this out, but the alt mode does not seem to appear in the comics. Some of the joints, mostly the knees and gun connection, pop easily. It is not quite the "break when you look at it" fun of other toys, but it is irksome when one is trying to fiddle with the toy. The robot form evokes both the movie and "Generation 1", with a hint of commander from the "Total Annihilation" games . Grade: C/F I cannot even tell what the vehicle is. But, it ain't pretty, I can tell you that.



Dom
-will be posting about the waffles in another thread.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by CrossRook »

I am on the opposite side of this fence from Dom. Personally, I love the line. I have every "Main Line" figure so far and Activators Bumblebee. I will be skipping the bumber battlers and the activators and the other child/role play things but I am looking to become a completetist otherwise. Every figure brings newer, better things to the line and it's, well, glorious.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Dominic »

This is the first time since "Alternators" I have wholly disliked a line, and "Alternators" was a peripheral thing. Even so, I was okay looking at most "Alternators", so long as I did not have to fiddle with them.

"Animated" is just....ugh. But, I like fiddling with them.


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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Onslaught Six »

Don't worry, Dom. There's a whole new movie coming out next year, so you can buy new toys of the toys you already have! Also new random car guys that don't look too interesting but will probably be cool for exactly five months after the movie, until it comes out on DVD and you realize how iffy it really is.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.
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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by Dominic »

Well, given how the last movie went, I will disagree with the "5 months after" comment.

I still enjoy my movie toys. Even before "Reign of Starscream" came out, I liked them. Seeing those toys in a good comic, albeit one that contradicts their character profiles, is icing on the cake.

Dom
-is amazed O6 seems to be agreeing about the movie.

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Re: Animated Review Thread

Post by CrossRook »

I too like the movie toys still. But I hope we'll receive betterer versions of the old toys in the future as opposed to repaints or rereleases.

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