16 Mar 2015

Transformers RID (2015) Season 1 Episode 6 Review

So with an (un)healthy Final Fantasy XIV addiction, a currently unusable phone and a week's worth of video editing in tow, I'm finally back to continue my reviews of Transformers Robots in Disguise.
I managed to make a supposedly simple how-to video into a living hell, and the one I actually wanted to produce needs footage re-recorded because the PlayStation 4's recording feature has a caveat that some games can exploit. I'll explain in the future.
For now, I'm going to type the rest of this on my computer. I thought using my Vita would be almost as seemless as doing it on a smartphone. It's not. Never use the Vita for blogging. I promise you'll regret it.

Thunderhoof from Transformers Robots in Disguise (2015)
Image by Hasbro Studios via Transformers.com

Yeah, okay, it's over a week late, but I'm going to pump out the next four reviews (including this one) in rapid succession, so hopefully that will make up for it.
Before anyone complains (joke's on me - no one reads this), I decided that putting an image of Thunderhoof before the jump isn't a spoiler, because not only is Hasbro promoting him as one of the recurring Decepticons (I mean seriously, he's getting TWO TOYS neither of which are Warriors), but he's also in the opening of Robots in Disguise (albeit obscured).
So, hit the jump for a spoiler-filled review of As the Kospego Commands!

I've got to say, the episode title had me totally miffed. What's a "Kospego"? Well, it looks a little something like our new Decepticon, Thunderhoof, voiced by Frank Stallone. Yes, that is Sylvester Stallone's brother, and yes, he is all kinds of awesome.
Episode six focuses on Sideswipe's teenage tardiness, which he has to overcome to help Bumblebee save the day from Thunderhoof. Sure, Thunderhoof just wants to get back to Cybertron, but he's at risk of creating a black hole from his makeshift space bridge, and he only wants to get back to Cybertron to cause trouble anyway.
The premise is cliché through and through, but the episode excels in its simplicity. Contrary to what the synopsis might have you believe, Sideswipe never betrays his allies. He just kind of... doesn't listen. At all. Which, to be fair, is pretty hard to do when you're listening to some funky music. Watching Bumblebee get excited about the music is one of the best parts.

What I love most about this episode is some of the quirky moments. Bumblebee is often stern with Sideswipe, but he can take some time to appreciate Sideswipe's taste in music or close out the episode with a fist-bump. That down-to-earth (literally) approach that Bumblebee takes sometimes when communicating with his teammates allows him to be more than a leader, which is refreshing to see. Sideswipe gets to shine as a nice guy that just needs a bit of discipline, and I think he has the potential to grow into a character very much like RID's Bumblebee.

Fixit, Denny and Russell don't get to do a lot this episode, but I still like 'em a lot. I'm not sure why Denny has collections of weird, old junk but hey, I guess SOMEONE has to want those uh... vintage refrigerators.
Fixit's memory seems to be as broken as his voice, but I assume that was more of a comedic effect than a comment on his mental state. Seriously though, what was he cleaning...?
Russell... stands there and smiles, basically. I forgive you, Russell - the Autobots were too busy destroying fridges to give you screen time.

Grimlock continues to be so much fun. Dude gets knocked out (kind of) by - presumably, since we don't find out for sure - Thunderhoof. After that, Grimlock thinks he can fly. He almost had it, too, but Nurse Strongarm has to take care of him. No, that's not sexist - Bumblebee gives a good darned reason as to why she is the one to go back with Grimlock. However, that leaves us with Bumblebee and Sideswipe, as well as...
Thunderhoof. Who I already mentioned, so there are no surprises there, but Frank Stallone nails the supposedly Mafia-esque mob boss that is Thunderhoof, a character that is all brawn and quite a lot of brains. It's a nice change of pace, having a character that is far smarter than you'd initially guess, but having the brute strength to back up his intellect.

Unfortunately, even Fat Tony can't make a perfect space bridge out of a human scrapyard, and the ending result is a black hole.
Okay, I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure most of what follows once the black hole appears is completely against the laws of physics. Do I care? Nope. It may be scientifically stupid but watching Thunderhoof try to pull Sideswipe into the black hole, whilst Bumblebee and Sideswipe attempt the loosest form of teamwork ever to stop him, is quite enjoyable. My only real gripe is that the generator Thunderhoof required was supposedly only obtainable at the local dam... which means there are going to be some problems in the morning. I hope they have insurance on that thing.

I can't go without mentioning the human "extras", so... I'll mention them. They're crazy. Arnold is there leader, I guess. Good for him. At least he has a good voice (and a good voice actor - Troy Baker). If you've never seen cultists, now you have. If I saw this pack of nutjobs, I'd be dragging them kicking and screaming to the closest mental asylum. I seriously hope they don't have violent tendencies, because they seem pretty unstable.

Animation-wise, I swear the show has improved greatly since the beginning. Animation looks more fluent and smooth. Some of the choppiness is still there, but it seems that Polygon Pictures figured out how to frame shots to minimise the noticeability of such animation problems.
Whilst not perfect, the animation appears to be on the up-and-up, but then again, maybe I've just adapted to its crap-factor instead.

Finally, Steeljaw shows up to "aid" a lost Thunderhoof at the very end. Steeljaw is so damn evil, man. That's all there is to it.

Alright, that was a relatively short review, but in all fairness, that's what I've been aiming for - I haven't just made it shorter because I'm writing four at once.

Once you've had time to read this review, check back later for another review, this time for episode seven of Robots in Disguise, Collect 'Em All. I promise it's not an episode of Pokémon. If it is, I'll give you a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars in Monopoly money, of course.

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