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Yeah, I had the same reaction you all did when I first saw that print ad for the upcoming Transformers: Animated cartoon series.  Basically I think it was something like “OMFG!! Eff Michael Bay!11!one1!  Look at those chins!11!11”

Something like that, anyway.

But my fear quickly melted away the more I thought about it.  We know that in recent years, Hasbro has made great strides making their toys resemble the animated appearences of the characters.  Granted, the CGI monstrosities of Cybertron, Energon, and Armada (not necessarily in that order) probably made that relatively simple.  But how in the hell were they going to emulate that animated look?  They couldn’t, could they?  What if they could?

Turns out, they could.  We got our first images during a San Diego ComicCon I think (unless it was a Botcon somewhere, they all mesh together sometimes) and I was instantly floored.  These toys were AMAZING.  Between the designs, the characters, and how much the figures and vehicles resembled their animated counterparts, I was simply blown away.  These toys were just works of art and marvels of engineering…it was impressive to say the least.

But of course, toys have a tendancy to look all nice and pretty, but not really “play” that well, and I was a bit afraid that might be the case with these…but man, I was wrong in that respect, too.

I do have a slight regret that the cartoon (which gets all sorts of raves from the Transformers fandom) doesn’t really knock my socks off.  It’s not bad, and it’s certainly worlds better than the trilogy of CGI shlock we’ve been fed for the last few years, but it’s not even in the same stratosphere as Beast Wars.  I’m not sure anything will be.

I’m one of those weird fring Transformers collectors, I suppose.  I have no interest in G1 as far as toys go…I love the characters, but I’m not necessarily married to any of their appearences or iterations in the first  Generation.  Beast Wars, however, is one of my favorite animated series and toylines, and I actually own a nearly complete US collection of the figures.  I totally lost interest once Beast Wars morphed into Beast Machines, and by the time Transformers regressed back to their vehicular forms, I was fully immersed in the G.I. Joe resurgence.  Now I will admit I was fascinated with the Transformers Classics and collected them religiously, but for whatever reason the new Universe stuff doesn’t do it for me.  Animated is where my love is now, and I see myself being captivated by it for a long time to come.

I mean, come on, with amazing figures like Shockwave on the horizon, how can you not be?

Written review is on here.

In many ways Transformers: Animated brings to mind the Transformers equivilent of Sigma 6.  A smaller “core” team, very exaggerated proportions and a very animated style, a somewhat kid-oriented cartoon (granted Animated is WORLDS better than Sigma 6 ever was) and a serious “re-imagining” of the universe from which it’s based.  Maybe that’s why I like it.  It’s got plenty of new ideas, new concepts, and some terrific new designs.  Of course the toyline isn’t perfect…there are plenty of issues throughout, and I really wish we could get the scale problems ironed out (heck just give me a Leader scale Lugnut and I’ll be happy). But more or less, it’s pretty great, and the most important thing (something many adult collectors seem to overlook these days) is that it’s FUN.  In fact, it’s easily my favorite and most fun Transformer toyline since the infamous Beast Wars days, and trust me, that’s saying a lot.