War for Cybertron: Kingdom animated series

The IDW Comics universe has had such a different take on G1, one that's now significantly represented by the Generations toys, so they share a forum. A modern take on a Real Cybertronian Hero. Currently starring Generations toys, IDW "The Transformers" comics, MTMTE, TF vs GI Joe, and Windblade.
Post Reply
User avatar
andersonh1
Moderator
Posts: 6159
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:22 pm
Location: South Carolina

War for Cybertron: Kingdom animated series

Post by andersonh1 »

In a lot of ways this third and final part of the War for Cybertron series was my favorite of the three, mainly because I genuinely enjoyed seeing the G1 characters interact with the Beast Wars characters. They're not quite the same characters of course, just as the OG Transformers characters are not the same, but it was still good to see the two generations meet. Some thoughts (and spoilers abound, so if you haven't seen this yet, you've been warned):



- The character models for the Beast Wars cast are all recognizable, but as someone who is very familiar with the old show, the small visual differences always distracted me as I was watching. That's not a criticism, there is no reason for the characters to be visually identical to the old models and I didn't expect it, it's just a detail that stood out to me.

- The same is true of the voices, Beast Wars Megatron in particular. Again, I don't expect them to be identical, and most fit the characters well enough, but it takes a little getting used to. The only one that seemed way off to me was the aforementioned Beast Wars Megatron, who sounds somewhat like Saw Garrera from Star Wars Rebels, or the original Beast Wars Scorponok rather than using David Kaye's deep-voiced interpretation. In a series full of personality differences, he stood out the most as a complete fanboy of the original Megatron, loyal and fawning, and never once backstabbing him. It was an interesting choice for the character, I'll admit. I don't know that it quite worked for me, but there's no reason not to write the character that way, so it was fine.

- Part of the fun was watching the Generations mix it up, so we get Laserbeak vs. Airrazor, or Ravage vs. Cheetor and Tigatron, or Optimus Prime vs. Optimus Primal. Blackarachnia and Starscream team up to overthrow Megatron. Cheetor races some Autobots. These are fun moments sprinkled throughout the six episodes.

- There are lines and references back to the original Beast Wars series. Megatron calling the original "my namesake", Dinobot talking about "having no choice at all", Blackarachnia and Starscream teaming up, Dinobot's death. Again, these are things that a new viewer would not necessarily recognize, but are nods to the fan.

- One of the problems I had with Siege was that not enough of the status quo and backstory was explained as a foundation for what was going on. These episodes have always felt like they were written with an assumption that the viewer was a fan who did not need a lot of exposition. That was less of a problem in Kingdom, I thought, the time-displaced Maximals and Predacons were clearly explained, and the need to recover the Allspark and return it to Cybertron was also clearly explained. Part of that was exposition, part of it was that so much of what happened here was based on what we had seen in Siege and Earthrise, so we got to see the cause and effect rather than relying on dialogue that didn't always give all the answers as was the case with Siege.

- I'm going to single out a few characters with arcs or uses that I especially enjoyed. Dinobot was well-handled here, even compressing his story arc down to just a few episodes. He went from reluctant Predacon who was still loyal to his side, to making the same choices the original did in embracing his own chosen path in life and dying as a result, surrounded by Maximals and Autobots. It didn't have the same emotional weight as the original, but there's no way it could in such a short span of episodes with so many characters introduced all at once. But I thought the character worked well.

- Starscream gets something different to do here and a far different motivation for his attempts to overthrow Megatron. He watches the entire account on the golden disk and realizes that everyone is being manipulated by Unicron, and is trying his best to stop the fighting, realizing where it will all lead. He's another character in this trilogy who has a nice arc. He's a familiar character: ambitious, treacherous and thinks too highly of himself and his abilities, but here he's shown to be intelligent enough to know when to set that aside for the greater good (and his own survival of course), something we don't always see with Starscream.

- I enjoyed seeing the Ark as a sentient Transformer of massive size. Even Megatron has nothing to say in the face of an Autobot of that size!

- The final episodes make it clear that these 18 episodes are mainly one long story broken up into somewhat arbitrary chapters. This hasn't been an episodic series, it's a movie broken up into 24 minute segments, grouped under three umbrella titles. It's not quite the "novel for television" that Beast Machines was, where each episode had its own story and its own beginning, middle and end. But it's closer to that they the usual episodic format of G1, Beast Wars or Prime.

- It was good to see Galvatron brought back, and Nemesis Prime explained, with both of them being corrupted forms of Megatron and Optimus Prime. And the implication at the end is that many of these continuities are just different attempts by Unicron (another character who needed more explanation within this series) to destroy Cybertron and the Transformers. Having failed this time, he will have to try again....

Overall, this is a series with a toyline that offered some nicely done remakes of various G1 and Beast Wars figures, accompanied by a show that struggled sometimes to include them all with a good reason for all of them to be there. I don't know what a new viewer would make of everything, but it's seemed evident to me from the start that the show was made for long-time fans like me, fans who know all the characters and material and who can hit the ground running and fill in the gaps. I think new viewers might have a lot of questions about what's going on, who the factions are and what they're fighting about. But a show made for long-time fans should do more to give those fans voices and characterizations that better match expectations (which we do get with a few characters like Prime or Starscream), so it's a sometimes uncomfortable mix of "looks right, sounds and acts wrong" that I had to get used to. Visually the series is excellent, the music is forgettable (I seriously remember none of it other than the opening theme), and the voice acting needed to make many of the characters more distinctive and different from each other. If I had to give a score from 1 to 10, I'll go a little higher with an 8 for Kingdom, and probably a 6 or 7 for the trilogy overall. There's a lot that is good, some poor elements, some good ideas and some pacing problems. It's a mix of quality, but overall a decent effort with plenty of room for improvement in several areas.

User avatar
Sparky Prime
Supreme-Class
Posts: 5130
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:12 am

Re: War for Cybertron: Kingdom animated series

Post by Sparky Prime »

I couldn't make it through the whole series... I watched a couple episodes of Earthrise, and a couple episodes of Kingdom. It was just too dull for my taste.

andersonh1 wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:03 pm
- The same is true of the voices, Beast Wars Megatron in particular. Again, I don't expect them to be identical, and most fit the characters well enough, but it takes a little getting used to. The only one that seemed way off to me was the aforementioned Beast Wars Megatron, who sounds somewhat like Saw Garrera from Star Wars Rebels, or the original Beast Wars Scorponok rather than using David Kaye's deep-voiced interpretation. In a series full of personality differences, he stood out the most as a complete fanboy of the original Megatron, loyal and fawning, and never once backstabbing him. It was an interesting choice for the character, I'll admit. I don't know that it quite worked for me, but there's no reason not to write the character that way, so it was fine.
The voices were very off-putting to me. BW Megatron, I had the exact same thought about. It's too bad BW Scorponok wasn't in this show, because that would have been a good voice for him, but it was all wrong for Megatron. He sounded like a goon, and acting like a G1 Megatron fanboy did not help his characterization at all. Tigatron was also way off to me. I felt his voice would have been more fitting for a character with a reptilian beast mode. The rest were... fine from what little I saw, but not great. Disappointed we didn't actually get to see Dinobot join the Maximals before he died. Just that he'd thought about defecting several times. Also seemed odd to me there were only three Predacons in the show. I get, with limited episodes, and the toys were probably still in development when they were making the series (some of the character model's I noticed were based more on Ken Christiansen's concept art rather than the toys themselves), that's probably why they ended up with these three, but it would have been nice if their crew was a little larger.

Edit: Decided to watch more and had a few more observations I wanted to touch on...

BW Scorponok is in the show after all! Although he basically just a background character that shows up out of nowhere. Strange that he doesn't show up when the other Predacons did or interact with them. Other than a few grunts, he doesn't say anything at all. And for some unexplained reason, there's a bunch of clones of him.

Airazor is Iron Man? She's got thrusters in her feet as well as her hands to fly in robot mode. The hand thrusters also double as blasters, just like Iron Man's repulsors.

Save for his swords, I haven't seen Primal any of his own weapons. While flying, he uses his shoulder cannons as thrusters, and he's got a hand held gun for some reason that he uses instead of his arm cannons.

The explanation for the Ark/Teletraan suddenly gaining a robot mode is very contrived. I could see it being able to modify itself, but how/why did it find schematics for it in the dead universe exactly? Why not just explain it as the Allspark reformatting it since it needed the power boost from it anyway?

User avatar
Shockwave
Supreme-Class
Posts: 6166
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: War for Cybertron: Kingdom animated series

Post by Shockwave »

I was fine with most of it. Megatron's voice was all wrong though, I just couldn't get used to it. I wasn't expecting David Kaye, but at least a deep voice. Actually, come to think of it, Ron Pearlman would have made a better Megatron. The story was fine, I fell asleep 3 episodes in the first time I watched it, but it wasn't bad. The worst problem I had was the same problem I have with all three: Optimus and Megatron line readings. They... always... talk... one... word... per... two... seconds. I don't get it. Why did they have him sound like that? I doubt it was a choice on the voice actors' parts. Megatron isn't quite as bad, but not great either. It's especially jarring when everyone around them is talking normally. I dunno, it has it's problems, but for the most part I liked it.

Post Reply