In this day and age an animated tie in for a film that may possibly appeal to younger audiences is the norm. In fact it’s often strange if there isn’t some animated tie-in of sorts and that it took Transformers this long to return to the animated venue is the real surprise. With the series a definite success for the brand, Paramount has begun to unleash the show in season sets, with the second season ringing in the new year with an all-new, two-disc set.
After the rise of Megatron and the battle that cost the Autobots the Key in Season One, the Autobots find themselves in a big mess. Not only do they have to clean up the city, they must also restore their good image and the faith of the citizens of Detroit. Meanwhile the Autobot Elite Guard appear for the ALLSPARK only to find out that it’s been blown to pieces and the quest for those pieces begins…In Transformers Animated Season Two the fates of CYBERTRON and Earth lie in the balance as OPTIMUS PRIME and his AUTOBOTS battle MEGATRON and his DECEPTICONS in a fight to the finish.
I wasn’t even born when the original Transformers flooded the market and I only went to see the movie because I wanted to see giant robots beat the crap out of each other, although Megan Fox was a pleasant bonus, so I didn’t take much interest in the new animated series when it debuted shortly after the theatrical film saw a DVD release. Although I reviewed the first few episodes via the original DVD release that Paramount put out, I actually never did get to watch the rest of the first season. Which is a shame, since season two showed up and I was a bit lost in the water. Thankfully it was pretty easy to catch up on the shows progression and to ease my way into this second season.
One thing I immediately noticed back when I reviewed the first three-episode DVD release was that the series looked remarkably like the Teen Titans animated show from a few years back. This is for good reason, as the art direction from Teen Titans and Transformers Animated turned out to be helmed by the exact same man: Derrick Wyatt. I immediately felt at home with the animation, which made the transition into the series easier from a visual standpoint. Once you get accustomed to the animation style, it’s pretty easy to settle into the rest of it; writing, dialogue and characters are important, but if they don’t look right then you aren’t going to be able to enjoy it. On top of that, the animation here is pretty spectacular, with fluid transformations and some really heavy duty brawls to gaze upon.
But that’s all relative to the series itself. What did this second season bring to the table? Well, being a show really made for a younger audience, the plot doesn’t get too complex and the entirety of the season is spent looking for the pieces of the Allspark. If that sounds like the plot to the film adaptation, then it kind of is a bit similar, but aside from that it’s not quite the human infested fluff that Michael Bay presented (though I enjoyed that film too, so I can go either way with this property). Though I have to kind of distance the show from being purely kid based, as there are some questionable story, dialogue and animation choices here that will likely leave the (adult) viewer questioning just what the hell the writers were thinking. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll know the moments when you see them.
Between the thirteen episodes included here, there’s the overall story to enjoy and plenty of action to get into as well. As I said before it’s a pretty basic series, but still one that’s worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the properties. Animation fans will also pick up on an entertaining Speed Racer reference as well, so there’s plenty to see here for fans of all ages. Recommended.
The set itself comes in a standard two disc DVD case with a colorful cover and disc art and menus in the 4×3 aspect ratio. Video for the release is also 4×3, but is a nice progressive transfer that allows the animation to come through beautifully. Why this wasn’t made to be a widescreen release (I no longer accept the “kids prefer fullscreen!” excuse) I don’t know…seems like such a waste. The accompanying audio tracks, available in English and Spanish stereo, are loud and clear.
Surprisingly there are quite a few extras on this set to behold. First up are a Commentaries on the episodes “Mission Accomplished” and” Garbage In, Garbage Out” by by Matt Youngberg (Supervising Director), Eric Siebenaler (Lead Product Designer for Hasbro Toys), Derrick Wyatt (Art Director) and Marty Isenberg (Story Editor/Head Writer).. They’re obviously short with the episodes being only twenty some minutes each, but they’re fun to listen to nonetheless. Plus, the only other extras aside from that, Three Animated Interstitials and a quick Season Two Photo Gallery, aren’t exactly thrilling to watch.
Overall this is solid release for the shows second season and fans of the series will no doubt eat it up. I was quite impressed by the animation and storytelling of the show and am looking forward to its third season. While it’s not a show I would watch religiously, it’s still quite enjoyable, although I’m sure if you had a younger sibling or child to watch it with it would be even moreso. As is, it’s at least worth checking out for the fans. Recommended.
Transformers Animated: Season Two is now available on DVD.