Transformers: Victory

The originals... ok, not exactly, but the original named "The TransFormers" anyway. Take THAT, Diaclone!
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Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:07 pm

I enjoyed Headmasters, and Masterforce turned out to be very enjoyable, much better than I expected. So now I'm watching Victory, and we'll see how this series goes.... first episode does not impress either me or my 12 year old (who also enjoyed the other two).

Episode 1 -
The Brave Hero of the Universe - Star Saber

Star Saber is introduced and defeats some Decepticons in a western pastiche, and then a bunch of goofy Dinosaur Decepticons in space attack the moon, countered by a trio of Autobots. Looks like it's back to basics as the "Cons are after energy. Star Sabre heads to the moon, only to run into Deathasaurus along the way, so I'm assuming these two are the leaders for this series. We learn a bit about an intergalactic alliance against the Decepticons made up of Transformers and other races, and it's clear that this episode is little more than setup for the larger storyline to come.

One thing that hurts this series for me is that every single character except for Ginrai, who only cameos, is a stranger. There are no familiar faces for me to latch on to, making this feel very disconnected from past Transformers series. The Dinosaur Decepticons feel like they're too silly to really take seriously, and even the character designs are a long way from what I'm used to with Transformers. On the other hand, this is a chance to watch some completely unfamiliar Transformers, so it's worth taking a chance on at least. All of these Japanese series seem to start out slow and then get really good in the second and third parts of the series as all the characters and plotlines start to interact and pay off.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:29 am

Episode 2 - Sneak Attack Dinoking!

More characters are introduced as the story picks up from last time. This is pretty much an all action episode as Deathasaurus sends the Dinoforce to destroy the space station, and the Autobots try to escort the surviving humans from the moonbase safely to Earth. The Dinoforce are still dumb as a bunch of rocks, but they do much better this time around, merging into Dinoking to fight the Autobots while sending the Dinosaur components off to destory the station, which they succeed in doing. Only the intervention of Galaxy Shuttle keeps them from pursuing further. Star Saber defeats Dinoking without too much effort, but his weapons and attack methods are observed by Leozack and Deathasaurus.

The opening theme is pretty good, but the closing credits are awful.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:11 pm

Episode 3 - Attack, Leozack!

This episode is an improvement on the first two, with some good backstory as well. Jean's parents were killed by the Dinoforce, and Star Sabre adopted him as a foster son. The idea of a Transformer raising a human is interesting, and worth exploring. We don't get much of that here though, just a little light humor as Jean is sent away to school, possibly in the Alps? The whole deal with Star Sabre signing him up is played absolutely straight. Of course, nothing goes well, and Leozack, who has promised to kill Star Saber, attacks with the Dinoforce, badly damaging the school. The Brainmasters arrive to support Star Saber and combine into Road Caesar to face off against Dinoking.

Good episode, and my interest in the series has picked up. And is it just me, or is Leozack a pretty blantant Starscream expy?
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:38 am

Unite Multiforce!!

The Decepticons plan to attack and steal and entire energy refinery on Earth. I guess they don't have engineers who can actually build anything. They put together a strategy to deal with the Autobot response which involves sending in the Dinoforce first, with Leozack, Jallguar, Killbison and Drillhorn hiding nearby as backup. When they reach the plant, Goryu loses it and orders the Dinoforce to just destroy everything because he's in charge, and he doesn't care about orders. The Multiforce combine into Landcross to fight Dinoking, but it's Jean who calls for backup. The Autobots win the fight and drive off the Decepticons, but not without massive damage to the power plant.

I continue to warm up to this series, and enjoy it more as I get used to these new characters. It still barely feels like Transformers to me, and four episodes in we're still introducing and spotlighting new characters, but I'm beginning to get a feel for the characters and storytelling.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:13 pm

Episode 5 - Move Out, Rescue Team!

Finally, some characters I recognize in the form of the Micromasters Fixit, Red Hot and Seawatch. I hadn't realized who Stakeout was up to this point. The Decepticons attack an Ocean Exhibition that Leozack wants to turn into a base for himself, and the Autobots are hampered by having to evacuate the humans before they can really cut loose and drive the Decepticons off. Star Sabre has a rough time with Leozack until he's able to combine into his larger form, after which he is able to win the fight and drive the Decepticon off. Leozack ends up humiliated in front of the Emperor.

Episode 6 - Infiltration: The Uranium Mine

More energy raiding by Decepticons. This time they go after a uranium mine in Africa. The plots are starting to get a bit repetitive, with only the locations and character interactions changed to add some variety. Again, it's the human hostages that hamper the Autobots, who have to tunnel secretly into the mine to rescue the miners, who are running out of air. It is fun to watch Star Saber tell Dinoking that "With this Saber Blade, I shall beat you into hell!" and then do it.


Episode 7 - Explosion, the Energy Base
South America is the setting for this episode, in which the Autobots are supposed to avoid contact with Decepticons and spy on their energy storage. Deathasaurus reveals to Leozack that he needs the energy to free his star fortress from the dark nebula where Star Saber had sealed it long ago, and that he needs much more. There's a continuation of Wingwaver's annoyance at being called "kid" all the time by Gripper, carried over from the previous episode.

The plots tend to feel the same, but the characters and subplots are strong enough to keep things interesting in all three of these. The series has grown on me as I've stuck with it.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:04 am

Episode 8 - The Underground City of Terror
Deathsaurus sends Leozack and his other minions into the subways of New York to ostensibly scout for energy from the electric railing. They're supposed to be stealthy, something Leozack does not appreciate. It's actually not a badly-thought out plan as these things go, because Deathsaurus intended his troops to be a diversion while he actually stole the energy, and in the tight confined spaces of the subway, the "Chestforce" animals have a maneuverability advantage over the larger Autobots. Star Saber figures out the plan, and defeats Deathsaurus by stabbing him in the chest, forcing him to retreat.

Episode 9 - The Clash of Two Heroes!
I was a bit surprised to see a clip show, especially after only eight episodes. Not much to say about this one, other than it seems early to be reviewing what's already happened.

Episode 10 - The New Warrior Hellbat!
Hellbat and Mindwipe must be related... two bat-related Transformers with hypnotism powers are a bit too similar. In any case, the plan this time is for the Decpticons to target the new energy research laboratory, while the Autobots go to stop them. Jean meets a man who knew his father and discusses him a bit. Gripper stabs himself in the leg to keep Hellbat's hypnosis from putting him to sleep. It's ultimately Braver's brainwave scrambler that lets the Autobots defeat the Decepticons, though it's a one time only advantage as Leozack steals the weapon.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:33 pm

Episode 11 - Attack the Shuttle Base!
The Decepticons plan to steal an energy shipment from a shuttle base that they'd already attacked twice, with no results. Hellbat has been going behind Leozack's back to Deathsaurus. There is actually energy there, and a battle ensues in which the Autobots on guard are badly outnumbered. But when reinforcements arrive, the Autobots are able to outfight the Decepticons and prevent the theft.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:43 pm

So just to summarize my thoughts on Victory so far, I'm enjoying it, with reservations. It doesn't really try to break any new ground like Masterforce did. It's just Autobots defending Earth from Decepticons, who as always would rather steal energy than do something like build a power plant and produce it themselves. Star Saber is the Optimus Prime stand-in, and while he's an indispensible part of the fighting force, the Brainmasters seem very competent and good at their job as well. They routinely fight rings around the Decepticons.

I'm guessing the toyline this series is based on was out around the same time we were getting Micromasters and Action Masters here in the US, and they continue the late G1 trend of generally abandoning realistic Earth vehicles as alt-modes. The Chestforce gimmick looks a lot like a variation on Soundwave's cassettes, while the Brainmasters are just another form of Powermaster, allowing the character to transform. It's easy to see that the figures were built on what had come before, even if the Japanese line had diverged from the American one in a lot of respects.

I enjoy the show, but at the same time the plots are pretty well-worn. The character interactions elevate them somewhat.

It's a good show, but as I think I said elsewhere, barely feels like Transformers at all. But it does expand the G1 universe beyond what I'm used to.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:02 am

Episode 12 - Tanker Hijack Operation
The Decepticons plan to steal a tanker, and for once this is Drillhorn's plan instead of Leozack. The Cons plant a bomb in nearby Marine City and hold it hostage to keep the Autobots at bay while they attempt to capture a tanker loaded with oil. Thanks to some eavesdropping, they learn the location of the bomb and are able to defuse it before Leozack can detonate it remotely. Dinoking is beaten by two Brainmasters, so he's losing his effectiveness as a threat. This was actually a good, workable Decepticon plan, and they nearly pull it off.

Episode 13 - The Chestforce Attacks!
Another clip show, focusing on the Chestforce (or I guess it's Breastforce in the original Japanese. I guess it was easier to avoid accidental innuendo and go with Chest instead of Breast). Seems odd to have two clip shows in only 13 episodes... there's not that much story to catch up on yet.

Episode 14 - Rescue Jean!
Hellbat sneaks into the Autobot shuttle base to try and learn Star Saber's weakness while the other Decepticons are again targeting oil tankers, unsuccessfully searching for energy, which Hellbat is supposed to know about. Hellbat sets off the alarm and escapes with a floppy disk (it's the 80s!) that he hopes contains information. On the way out, he captures Stakeout and Jean, taking them to a secret base with the Dinoforce where he tries to get information from them. They manage to contact Star Saber, who shows up to rescue them.

Every time one of the Decepticons sees Galaxy Shuttle, they freak out. "Big!!" At least the poor guy gets to transform and speak a bit in this episode, instead of just being a transport.
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Re: Transformers: Victory

Postby andersonh1 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:11 am

I need to write more. I'm on episode 25 or so, and have only written about 14! Just wanted to note that it was surprising but nice to see Perceptor, Wheeljack and Minerva show up to try and treat the dying Ginrai. I'm pretty sure those characters had no toys on the shelves when the Victory toyline was in stores, so they were used in the story because the characters' skills made them a good fit. And it ties Victory in with prior series, and helps to make Victory feel a little more like G1 than it has so far.

On the other hand, was it really necessary to kill Ginrai? Though I suppose his transformation is akin to Megatron being reformatted into Galvatron. He's technically still the same guy, sort of. At least Ginrai's appearance in several episodes does the same thing that the appearance of Perceptor, Wheeljack and Minerva does, and connects Victory to the rest of the G1 universe.
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