I’ve been watching late night reruns of the Transformers on Astro channel 611 for the past few weeks.
Somehow, the cartoons don’t looks so cool any more.
It’s strange how I can still remember name of the characters after 20 years. I have even forgotten some of those characters existed!
I see Ramjet, SeaSpray, PowerGlide, Omega Supreme, Grimlock, the Insecticons…
So it is with a warm feeling of nostalgia that I remember the cartoon.
My mind drifts to memories of my childhood, of playing Transformers and watching cartoons at my grandmother’s house. I remember playing with my cousins.
I even remember my old Transformer toys.
I remember how I used to drag my parents to the toys section in the mall to stare at Transformer toys, wishing, just wishing I could have all the toys I want.
Nowadays I drag baby Rachel to Toys R Us, pretending to get toys for her. But when nobody’s looking, I stare at the Transformer toys, wishing, just wishing I could have all the toys I want.
Cracking the Illusion
Then I start to see the imperfections.
I see how the animators got a bit lazy. If you observe, you won’t see all the transformers transforming. The camera zooms in to one robot transforming. Zoom out, and everyone has transformed.
You also notice “re-used” animations. Why do all the poses look so familiar? Why do they walk the same way? Why are transformations viewed from the same angle?
Once I even saw StarScream change colour from red to blue, back to red between shots.
I understand that these are normal tricks of the trade used by animators in the old days when everything was drawn by hand.
But this wasn’t the Transformers I remembered. My memories looked much better than this. My childhood visual memories seem to be like high definition, and what I see is like a 16 bit GIF animation.
Why? Why? Why?
In the second season, the transformers have moved into a city. There, they get involved in mundane things like foiling car thieves.
And then you watch a scene where they have a battle inside a shopping mall.
In one episode, things get philosophical when the transformers are accidentally transported to an alien world where they become toys for an alien boy. In the end, the Autobots fly back to earth in one of the boy’s toy rockets.
I wonder how many millenia it will take for them to arrive back on earth, on an inter-stellar flight with a chemical rocket.Maybe they modded it with hyperdrive.
Then there is the classic question… why don’t you kill each other if you hate each other so much? Why spend precious seconds gloating rather than make the killing blow?
Where does Prime’s trailer go when he’s in robot form?
How do the transformers grow and shrink?
I Still Like Them
All these minor issues aside, I continue to enjoy watching the Transformers cartoons. At the very least, they bring back some nice memories for me.
The imperfections I mentioned are only cosmetic and surface layer. The core concept of robots that can transform is still very interesting, proven by two blockbuster movies.
After all, nothing can be perfect, and in all fairness to the hard working people who worked on this, they did get better as their success (and budget) increased.
Technology was also a limitation, and we cannot expect old cartoons to look like our modern cartoons. After all, even movies were in black and white in the old days. But we can’t say that those black and white movies were no good.
It may seem like I’m contradicting myself, but I’m just trying to view the topic from both sides.
INT + 1D6, WIS + 1D4, STA -1D24 -6, DEX +1D21, STR = 0
*blink blink* What just happened?
I think I’ve just leveled up as a geek. I can’t believe I wrote a 650 word post on the Transformers.
And threw in a durian joke somewhere, too.
P/S: I’m currently catching up on M.A.S.K. re-runs at YouTube!