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The Transformers: Super-God Masterforce DVD Review

The Transformers: Super-God Masterforce

July 31, 2006

Director: Tetsuo Imazawa,
Starring: Hiroshi Takemura, Hiroko Emori, Banjô Ginga, Daisuke Gôri, Shô Hayami, Masato Hirano, Hirohiko Kakegawa, Tsutomu Kashiwakura, ,

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DVD Review

It’s Transformers, but definitely not how you’d remember it. In 1987 the Americans decided they didn’t want to make the cartoon anymore and ditched it after 3 episodes into Season 4. The Japanese were not ready to let this show die. Ignoring those three episodes from Season 4, they started their own season 4 with their own stories called Headmasters. Following on with a second series is Super-God Masterforce collected here for the first time on DVD available in the West. It rejects the style used by the Americans and for the first time Transformers is produced in the anime style that Japan is so famous for. This series also brings us a completely new cast of brand new characters never seen in the American cartoon right from episode one.

The Autobots and Decepticons from the end of ‘Headmasters’ are off battling each other throughout the depths of space and yet Super-God Masterforce leaves us on Earth. That is because a new wave of Transformers have revealed themselves, The Pretenders. Autobot Pretenders are robots whom have the power to disguise themselves as human beings and walk amongst us undetected. However they must break the secrecy when the Deception Pretenders, who have the ability to disguise themselves as grotesque beasts, have risen to attack the planet. Leader of the good guys Hawk sees fit to entrust a small group of children with a special power known as the Masterforce, which allows humans themselves to, merge in mind and body and, become their very own Transformer.

As the series progresses, even more new characters and factions show up including the Godmasters, Headmaster Juniors and regardless of Ginrai’s striking resemblance to the greatest Autobot of the all, Optimus Prime, or his uncanny likeness of the toy ‘Powermaster Prime’, in Japan, he’s a completely different character, but get used to him as he is the most important character in the series. At 21 minutes each and 41 episodes the series is expansive and covers a lot of ground, starting off being about the Pretenders, who quickly seem to become irrelevant and are shadowed by giant God Masters laying some outer space smackdown on each other, but never losing sight of its core tale of humanity. Unfortunately the scripts are lacking in realistic character development, explaining origins and sweeping past key information way to quickly, which makes some things difficult and dull to follow.

The animation errors that riddled the American series are gone, but so are a few other things that fans might be used to, and replaced with something quite abundantly Japanese, brand new pop happy theme tunes, a voice over throughout ever episode, any excuse to have giant combining robots fight (usually a few martial arts or wrestling moves are thrown in). Unsurprisingly the entire series is subtitled, but unlike the Headmasters series the names have remained as the lesser-know Japanese counterparts. Hardcore transformers fans should find something that will entertain them here if they can get over the very high human involvement in a series that is suppose to be about giant transforming robots from outer space. Any fans of the new modern era of transformers or anyone looking for a nostalgia kick should really ignore this and refer back to the previously released American series.

Special Features
Some excellent commentaries from a Transformers fan filling in all those gaps that the series just neglected to cover which takes us through the difference between concepts in American and Japanese culture and toy releases.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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