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"Transformers Armada": Carnival
JESUS CHRIST WHY WOULD YOU SUBJECT US TO THIS TORTURE JAPAN
Out of all the bad 80's television shows/toy commercials, I only took to Transformers. Whereas He-Man struck me as gay and Thundercats a bestiality enthusiast's wet dream, I always liked the concept of trucks and jets that became giant robots with guns. Indeed, the show was fairly terrible; but hey, it was robots. But then in the late 1990's something amazing happened - there was a Transformers show. And it was LEGITIMATELY GOOD. This show was Beast Wars, about a crew of Maximals who, in pursuit of a Predacon ship, end up crash landing on prehistoric Earth. They have to keep the Predacons at bay AND keep the future from getting fucked up. 3 seasons of machinations, intrigue and slapstick ensued. The show was surprisingly dark for its target audience, and it never talked down. But that's Beast Wars. This is Armada, the Transformers show that was made about 6 years later. Armada was unabashedly terrible. Whereas Beast Wars enjoyed luxuries such as 'having a budget' and 'having real writers', Transformers Armada was not allowed either. And because of this, one of the most painful experiences I've ever felt came to life. The concept is basically the Autobots and Decepticons are looking for little robots called Minicons. And three kids help the Autobots. That's literally it. The show is a television trainwreck. In this review of one of the episodes, I will examine it, trying to find what proverbial penny on the rail derailed it into this.
Entitled Carnival, this episode is anything but fun.
Rad and Carlos, two of the three
Carlos and Rad decide to check up on the Autobots. It seems that the kids are the bosses of the bots considering they never do much of anything. Hot Shot shows them some impressive huge wrench wielding skills. He got the nifty trick from an 'old spaghetti western on one of those boxes you call a television'. He can easily identify spaghetti westerns, but the concept of a television gives him trouble? Christ. This isn't even Japanglish. This is 1950's alien talk. "Take me to what you Earthlings call a 'leader'" isn't too far off, I'm afraid. After some deliberating, the boys take their Minibots and decide to go to the 'Science Carnival'. What it has to do with science? Nothing.
At the fair, the boys have problems keeping their Minicons under control. They end up becoming a part of the carnival, entertaining children and mental patients alike. But Billy and Fred, two local bullies/homosexual couple, also witness the Minicons and realize they're real sentient robots and try to steal them utilizing rope and a butterfly net. Idiotic things happen, more idiotic things happen, and then Hot Shot steps in to stop all the commotion. After solving the problems of everyone, Hot Shot departs with the line "Remember all bots were not created equal.". You heard it here first, folks: the Autobots are racists. And no, there are no robot battles in the entire episode. When I watch a Transformers show, I expect robots beating the shit out of each other. I didn't get that. Hell, I didn't even get a bad fight. Back at the base, Alexis tells the boys never to disobey her again. Y'know, this would even be better if it WAS Transformers: Bondage.
I'm not sure what I hated most in this episode. Carlos was certainly annoying like nails on a chalkboard. Then there's the fact that nothing actually happened in the episode. But definitively, I'm going to say that the thing that irked me the most was Fred, the fat bully. He has no purpose on the show except for being the butt of many fat jokes. Whenever he's onscreen, he bitches about being hungry or wanting food. He even utters the line "My blood sugar!" in the episode. Hasbro - buy our toys, unless you're a worthless fat kid.
Now, let's examine the components of an animated show, animation, voice acting, and dialogue.
Is this animation? Because it sure doesn't look like it. All too often the show uses the techniques of "characters moving in place" or "still shots that we think will make stupid people believe it's animation". And what little animation there is is awful. It seems the animators aren't even sure what sizes things are, Minicons often shifting in size from shot to shot. I took a few screencaps of what I felt are the best example of the animators' ineptitude:
OH MY GOD CAMEL TOE NO
I'm Hispanic so that means I don't have any eyes, ey, man!
Like Laurel and Hardy...only infuriating.
This should have marked the end of the show. "Okay, we've seen that because of the show's existence this image was made. It's over, people."
In the episode, they run in place for upwards of 30 seconds.
Voice acting is by far the worst I've ever seen on Transformers, even considering Generation 1 where no one even knew what was going on during half the episodes' production. The problem is not specifically the voice actors in many cases; for example, Optimus and Megatron are played by Gary Chalk and David Kaye, who played them on Beast Wars and Beast Machines. So we know these guys can act. But they must've been mailed their lines, not in a script, but hastily cut out of the script and pasted on a sheet of paper so there'd be no context for any of them, and they were sent a tape recorder that they were supposed to use to record their lines while watching paint dry or doing the weekly laundry.
Dialogue - terrible. I don't think the show was so much written by writers as it was improvised by a mentally disturbed child. Some of the lines are so bad they transcend standard garbled English lines one normally sees in dubbed anime. Here are a few more examples of painful, stabbing dialogue that I've not sprinkled into this review already.
"It's probably using a pre-programmed chip. Pretty low tech junk." - a man, commenting on the Minicons who stupidly showed up in public.
"Billy Billy Billy Billy Billy Billy Billy." - fat kid
"They must be the mutant aliens from space I had so many dreams about." - fat kid
"You can't hurt our robot friend!" - small child to bullies
"Everyone knows the red robots are the good guys" - small child apparently revealing his Communistic leanings
"No! Please! I'm allergic to Chromium" - bully to Hot Shot
"Mommy mommy I saw a giant robot and he swirls this canon around his fingers just like on TV honestly" "All right, dear, that's very nice, now let me wipe your nose" - child and his mother
Seriously, this review can't even do justice to how terrible this episode is. In my mind, Transformers Armada is the worst cartoon ever broadcast on American TV. It made me wish I was watching The Batman. It's just that bad, people.