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Thread: Cartoon Review - Cyberverse

  1. #1
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    Default Cartoon Review - Cyberverse

    Well with Hasbro releasing the first two episodes on their Youtube channel we finally get a proper look at the new cartoon - Cyberverse.

    Contrary to popular belief, this appears not the next installment of the universe that contains Prime, Rescue Bots and Robots in Disguise (15). This appears to be a whole new universe.

    The two episodes released only go for a bit over 10 minutes. One has to wonder if this will mean it will be aired the same on television or whether it will be your average 23 minute cartoon and they are just splitting them now for the net release previews.


    PLOT
    It appears that with the release of the Bumblebee movie at the end of this year, the powers that be are trying to steer Bumblebee back towards his movie persona. In particular he speaks through the radio, is no longer a leader, has a sports car alt-mode (though that was in other cartoons as well) and is on Earth looking for the Allspark.

    Bumblebee has amnesia in this series, one has to wonder if that means he is going to have amnesia in the upcoming movie as well.

    There is lots of G1 shout outs here, in particular the fact the Autobots are leaving for Earth on the Ark, which also looks very G1/FOC in style.

    A synopsis of the first two Ep's is quite easy: Windblade has come to Earth, looking for the crew of The Ark as well as the Allspark. Of course so have the Con's. Windblade finds Bee, Thundercracker finds them, they fight Cracker, Cracker comes back with Slipstream, the Bots get away and find the Cons scout ship. That's pretty much it for what we have seen so far.


    VISUAL STYLE
    The animation is.... OK. Personally i'm not a fan but it may grow on me, it seems a bit too simplistic. Then many said the same about the 'Animated' cartoon and that turned into one of my all-time favorite series.

    Visual wise they are heading back towards G1 with the brief glimpses we have seen of Thundercracker, Megatron and Starscream. Even Bee himself has a G1 head. Other characters who are more 'Generations' than G1 are done in the same style.

    Characters seen in the first two episodes:
    Bumblebee - a cross between G1 and Movieverse
    Windblade - much like the RID and TR cartoons
    Thundercracker - the most G1 we have seen in a cartoon in years!
    Slipstream - looks more G1'ish than she did in Animated
    Megatron (via flashback) - very G1
    Starscream (via flashback) - very G1
    Strika (via flashback) - a new slim look for her
    Perceptor (via flashback) - much like his IDW incarnation based on the Transformers 2010 toyline, rather than G1'ish like in the TR cartoon
    Optimus (via flashback) - in good health, positively glowing!
    Prowl (opening credits) - a G1'esque cop car again
    Hot Rod (opening credits) - a G1'esque sports car (wonder if he will sound French?)


    There is not much else to say at this point until we see more. I don't think the plot here is going to hold any major surprises and the only thing the first two episodes have left me wondering is if we will see a new Perceptor toy. Besides that, my impression is that this cartoon will be like the related toyline: simplistic and aimed at a much younger audience.

  2. #2
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    Ep 3 is online.

    The whole thing is pretty much a flashback sequence, showing how the Allspark came to leave Cybertron. Of note:

    *Neither Welker or Cullen are doing the voices, though the new voice actors do a reasonable job of impersonating them.
    *The Seekers seem to be going to be used like the Vehicons were in Prime, as in there are tons of them to be destroyed. Saw some in completely new colours and there were tons all in Sunstorm'ish colours.
    *More evidence that this is not the same continuity as beforegiven that Soundwave talks and Grimlock looks nothing like the RID version bar that he has a mouth. Also Windblade was friends with Bee on Cybertron and not Earth. The only way it could be the same as the Prime/RB/RID universe is if a LOT has happened between the end of RID and this.
    *The animation seems less impressive than before when you see it try to represent bigger fight scenes.

    So overall, underwhelming.

  3. #3
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    Storywise ... not much to go off. There's potential for it to be good, but so far it's everything shrouded in mystery. But I think the real issue I have with the story is the lack of initial engagement. It's currently the story of an amnesiac and his friend on a quest for a Cosmic MacGuffin, while the amnesiac is struggling to remember what the MacGuffin is. It's clearly 1D20 and he rolled a series of natural 1s a while back. Mystery is cool and all, but I feel that there's too much mystery - especially given that these are like 10 minute mini-eps. There's nothing terribly compelling to make me care about the characters or invest in the story at this stage -- but the pilot episode is where making the audience engage is the most crucial point. The early eps need to persuade the audience to keep watching, or you risk pulling a Voldemort Collectables and turning people off from coming back to you. Cos right now I'm still waiting for this series to give me a reason to care.

    Most other TF series establish this at even the basic level of having humans around and presenting the Decepticons as an imminent threat to humanity. The audience is persuaded to keep watching future episodes to see how the Autobots' struggle to defend Earth and its people against the Decepticons will unfold. The first episode of Transformers Prime dropped a huge bomb by killing off Cliffjumper! TF Prime made damn sure that the audience felt that this was a consequential war. And they avoided the trope of resurrecting Cliffjumper -- if anything, they played right against this by having his corpse being reanimated as a zombie. G1 did the same thing by introducing us to the Witwickies and the recent RID series also did something similar with the Clays and other local humans. Heck, even Bayformers manages to do this. TF1 and AOE were the Autobots trying to prevent the rise of the Decepticons, and ROTF, DOTM and TLK all dealt with Earth-shattering events. Bayformers did present plot complications that had some element of an imminent threat -- okay, the execution of how the story came to resolve these plot points wasn't the greatest, but the plot points were still there. Maybe upcoming eps will make the imminent threat clearer, but we're 3 episodes in and I'm still not persuaded to emotionally invest in this story. :/

    Beast Wars managed to present imminent threats without involving humans until late Season 2. So they don't have to have humans in the story, but there needs to be some sort of clear impetus that the audience can perceive in order to care about what these characters are doing. Although being set on what is presumably modern day Earth, one would assume that modern humans are around. Unless Bumblebee and the others are just traipsing around in their Cybertronian modes and this is Earth in the distant past or future (i.e. pre or post human civilisation). Cos we see Bumblebee transforming into the same type of car in flashbacks on Cybertron. Probably post humanity given that he has radio voice samples - unless they're archived transmissions from Cybertron. It's not like Bayformers where he's using actual dialogue from known movies, shows etc. And clearly it's tuned in to the same station with the same DJ all the time.

    Animation: Actually well executed. Note that I'm purely talking about the animation here, not the art designs or style. But I haven't noticed any glaring technical errors, unlike say early episodes of G1 where characters frequently swapped colour palettes (but this also means that yellow Cliffjumper does appear in MTMTE Part 1 and other eps! ). I don't think that the animation is exceptional - kinda looks like a high budget flash animation. One thing I don't like about the animation is how everyone has only 3 fingers. This is an animation decision rather than an art decision because animators draw or use models with 3 fingers because it's cheaper to animate. It's why Hanna-Barbera so notoriously used it. Mainframe did it for characters like Rhinox, but he was a rarity -- most BW TFs had 5 digits on their hands. The lack of detail on the characters themselves might be an artistic choice, but removing their pinkies is a cost decision. It looks literally cheap.

    Art: Yeah, nah. Don't like it. And I admit that it's totally subjective. There's nothing inherently wrong with them having light in detail designs or very cartoonish looks. But ya know, the standard design aesthetic for Transformers is the Japanese Mecha look. It's what G1 was based on and has become the metric for Transformers designs, and whenever a TF series deviates from this it's going to trigger our confirmation biases and make us initially dislike it. But if the story is any good, and also if the toys are good, we can quickly overlook this. Look at what happened with Beast Wars. A lot of people were initially hesitant because it was such a far departure away from the Japanese Mecha aesthetic of G1 and G2. But the quality of the toys and the show soon won fans over. The toys have failed to win me over and I'm still undecided about the show.

    But ultimately, it is the toys that needs to succeed over the show. Transformers is, at its heart, a toy franchise, not a cartoon franchise. I could list many cases of this, but this post has already well exceeded its "TL;DR" point 3 paragraphs ago so I'll stop now.

  4. #4
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    Just watched episodes 4 to 8. A few observations:

    Oh and of course SPOILERS

    *Seems they have earth-style modes before they went to Earth. You see Bee driving round as a sportscar and Optimus on an asteroid as a truck.

    *The female purple Seeker from the first few episodes isn't Slipstream - she shows up to command that one as well as Thundercracker. Wonder if we will ever find out that Seekers name. Also a green Seeker shows up you assume to be Acid Storm but answers 'yes commander' in a female voice so must not be him. You never see it in robot mode so who knows - looks like most Seekers are just going to be generic palette swaps.

    *Dirge and Ramjet show up in a flashback and are Coneheads and referred to by name - hopefully will see some decent toys of them (well - one can dream anyway).

    *Grimlock doesn't sound like either his G1 or RID counterparts. Instead he speaks like a refined gentleman.

    *Get to see a bit of history through Bumblebee's multiple flashbacks of Megatron as a gladiator and the rift between him and Optimus that causes the war.

    *Shockwave seems to be an amoral scientist again and is seen experimenting on giving a Seeker two heads. Also he commands lots of drones that sport his alt-mode

    *Cybertron is not isolated. Windblade is from Caminus and there is (yet another) flashback of Bee and Hot Rod where they are visiting Veloictron.

    *Don't hold out hopes for a Blurr toy thats better than the 1-step changer recolour we have so far - he dies, along with Veolictron itself from the Rust Plague (much like Cosmic Rust from G1).


    So overall it's still a bit hard to peg this cartoon. There are times when juvenile-amnesiac Bumblebee is truly annoying and the cartoon seems its aimed at 5-year olds. Yet we get so see Blurr die, Megs rip Bee's voicebox out and Shockwave experiment so there are some darker elements being introduced as well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTransformerTrev View Post
    The two episodes released only go for a bit over 10 minutes. One has to wonder if this will mean it will be aired the same on television or whether it will be your average 23 minute cartoon and they are just splitting them now for the net release previews.
    Yup, it aired on Go! this morning and went for the full half hour (which included commercials). So two net episodes must equal one TV episode.

  6. #6
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    Even though I watched the first four episodes on youtube (through an IP router), I recorded and watched the episodes that were on today.
    It's a slow start... I think it could have had more "flashback" as the first scenes, to generate more hype and interest in the larger cast of characters, instead of focusing on just two (of the most annoying) characters for most of the episodes I have seen so far.
    The overall premise is interesting, and probably original for Transformers (like a mystery novel that slowly works towards what answers, that both the characters and audience are in the dark over).... but it really could have used any two other characters to make it less cringe-worthy.


    I also found it ironic that the first Decepticon to be featured (not a millisecond flashback) is a toy that is not expected to be released in the mainline of the toyline (Thundercracker). Even if ToysRUs didn't shut down in several countries (including here), a feature character shouldn't become a limited store exclusive just because that store was probably paying the toy company for the privilege... it just annoys collectors, as it did with Movie Hotrod and Movie Stinger - both of which were Walmart exclusives in America, so didn't end up being released in the regular toylines in other stores... which affects other countries if no retailer has the budget to take on extra exclusives.

    As such, we aren't likely to see Cyberverse Thundercracker here either... making it hard for kids to want to play out the premiere episode... and harder for parents to find the character toy their child has on their christmas wish-list this year.


    Back to the cartoon... I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the season, as some of the titles and descriptions are intriguing... and I hope it doesn't disappoint.
    If they continue playing two episodes every saturday, we will have the entire "chapter 1" of 18 episodes played by the last Saturday of the year.

  7. #7
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    First episode is now on NineGo's app for streaming
    On the lookout for MISB Headmaster Highbrow, Takara or Hasbro. I'm sure I could make you a sweet deal!

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    Was interesting to see Rack'n'Ruin make a very brieft cameo on the episodes on the weekend.

    Oh, and to see Arcee and Chromia side by side. Confirmation that Arcee is not the blue motorbike character weve seen far in the background.

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    The cartoon has had high and low points to it... being fairly inconsistent. The earth scenes, especially with bumblebee & windblade, are getting annoying, and almost worth fast-forwarding just to see the flashback scenes.

    It has been interesting watching the Cybertron and Velocitron scenes... the high points, with the cameos of various classic characters.
    Maccadam was interesting... based on the more recent IDW version of him possibly being an original Prime.
    And yes, the Rack-n-Ruin cameo had me all excited for a minute for the potential of an official toy after 30-something years... but then realised how poorly engineered and over-gimmicked the Cyberverse toys are, ruining any RNR toy they could give us.
    According to tfwiki, there's only another 6 half-episodes left, which is just 3 more Saturdays... and they still haven't found any Autobots, or a clue as to where they might be.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    And yes, the Rack-n-Ruin cameo had me all excited for a minute for the potential of an official toy after 30-something years... but then realised how poorly engineered and over-gimmicked the Cyberverse toys are, ruining any RNR toy they could give us.
    I’d probably still buy it to round out my Wreckers display

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