For millions of years a race of military like robots have been locked in a brutal war. The two opposing factions are the heroic Autobots lead by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons lead by Megatron. After years of fighting, both sides are facing extinction due to low energy reserves. Seeking a new power source, the Autobots plan a recon mission, but their ship is invaded by the Decepticon force, which causes their ship to crash into a volcano on earth. 4 million years later, they awaken from their dormant state to continue the war, with earth's resources being the ultimate prize and deciding factor of the war. -summary
Kid Rhino's episode selection for these Transformers releases always followed some type of consistent flow; either it was a character spotlight such as volumes 1 & 3, or a complete story arc such as volume 4 and Ultimate Doom. This is one of the weird ones though I think. It focuses on the sub groups of the factions, in particular the Decepticons, as the first episode Heavy Metal War debuts the very first combiner of the series being the Constructicons whom are loyal to Megatron, and the second episode, The Insecticon Syndrome, which follows the always treacherous Insecticons whom holds no loyalty towards Megatron or the Decepticons. While the first is a debut episode; I'm puzzled as to why Rhino would select an episode where the Insecticons were already established as opposed to their first appearance. In any case, these are two action packed episodes that deliver the goods.
Heavy Metal War sees Megatron challenging Prime to a one on one duel, in accordance to Cybertron law. The winner of the battle can remain wherever he chooses, while the loser and his army will be exiled into deep space. Megatron strikes at Primes over-developed sense of honor; while he has no intention on fair play, and has tasked his Constructicons into building a device that will grant him all of the special powers of the Decepticons.
This is a very action packed episode with a good one on one fight. However, this episode is remembered for the fierce battle between the Constructicons and Dinobots, which results in the first merging of the Constructicons into Devastator, as well as the creation of the biggest continuity error in the entire series, which happens to be the true origin of the Constructicons, and that is a whole different can of worms.The second episode sees Megatron striking a deal with the Insecticons, he needs them to devour a power core and then perform a task for him. He plans on betraying and killing them as soon as the mission is complete. Little does he realize, the Insecticons have already betrayed him and put their plan in motion. This is by far the best of the two episodes for me, as you will see one of the several Autobot and Decepticon alliances as they try to take down a larger threat, this case being the Insecticons, who have gotten too powerful for either faction to handle.
These two episodes are good in their own right, and I can imagine fans being divided on what they feel is better. The first episode does have a bit more characterization, as you will learn more about Megatron and Prime, but I always had a hard time buying into the story. It just doesn't make any sense that Prime could have been so easily tricked by Megatron, by not realizing he was cheating from the start. After all, they been fighting each for over 4 million years. You think he would know how Megatron fights by this time, and if he had those powers already, he would've used them a long time ago. The second episode has less characterization, but the simple story makes it more fun to watch for me.
These episodes take place in two different seasons, so you will see the difference in visuals. The second episode has more of a finer look, with better animation during action scenes. The first appears more on the dated side. However, the action-filled moments deliver and the Constructicons merged form of Devastator still looks awesome. And of course, the episodes are riddled with massive animation errors that even non-fans of the series will easily notice. The voice acting is still among the high points, with Michael Bell showing his range voicing different characters, along with the always awesome Frank Welker.
It may be considered nitpicking by some, but the lack of competent storytelling in the first episode drags it down for me. Most Transformers fans won't even care about that though. In any case, this is a decent volume that will entertain most, yet I still recommend skipping this for the complete season.
Pros: -Some good action, interesting sub groups
Cons: -Questionable storytelling
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