May 22, 2003
Monday 26th sees the first ever release of Transformers Headmasters in the UK. This DVD features six episodes from the Takara series: Four Soldiers From The Sky, The Tale Of The Master Star, The Birth Of A New Leader, The Resurrected Billy Against The Decepticons, The Revolt On Planet Pistoll and The Evil Meteor.
For those that aren’t sure where Headmasters fits in with the continuity, it’s not easy. It kind of fits in just after the end of series five where ‘The Rebirth’ left off, but ignores many of the occurrences in Rebirth. The Transformers aren’t yet introduced to the Headmasters, but peace has been restored on Cybertron. Naturally this doesn’t last as Galvatron returns with his motley crew (the Decepticons, not a band) and attacks everyone he can see.
Now as I said this has never been previously available in the UK, nor has it been broadcast over here as when it was originally produced Transformers were as good as dead in the western world. Thus the episodes weren’t originally transferred into English language, and this becomes the greatest stumbling block. Never has the value of a great voice actor been more appreciated than when he’s absent from the project. Frank Welker and Peter Cullen injected life into Transformers with a rare talent. This Headmasters series has been dubbed by, according to rumour, a bunch of Japanese students. The trouble is it doesn’t seem as though they had the original script. It looks as though they’ve guessed-imated the dialogue by looking at the animation. Characters are coming out with lines that are non sensical, such as Soundwave in the middle of a fire fight saying:
“One of these days I’ll come for you”
When it’s almost certain what he really said was something like:
*Adopts my best Soundwave voice*
This isn’t an isolated incident either; throughout the series you have characters basically talking garbage. It reminds me of a children’s TV show where kids would watch an old film and comically dub there own dialogue over the top as they saw fit, and naturally they’d have long passages of silence because they couldn’t think of something to say. It’s that amateurish. It would have better watching this in Japanese and trying to work out what was going on from the animation, which incidentally is first class.
It’s also full of errors, such as referring to Hot-Rod as Rodimus Prime, Wheelie is oft referred to as Willy and Blaster is now known as Billy. These kind of cock-ups must have come from the ‘voice talents’ involved watching some of the English versions to help with their pronunciation of the names and not quite getting it right.
Unlike the first few series of Transformers that we had the pleasure of watching in the UK, this series feature very high quality animation with a strong Manga influence. It’s almost up to the standard of the movie (note: I said almost). It’s a real shame that this wasn’t picked up with the original series’ and dubbed by Welker, Cullen and co as it would surely have been superb.
If you’re new to Transformers you should give this one a miss, it’s purely for the hardcore collector only. Animation buffs will enjoy it, but try it with the sound off, it’s better that way – you get a better idea of the story without the awfully inaccurate dubbing throwing you off the scent.