Let me be quite clear from the beginning; I hate Transformers.
I’ve hated the things from the day they came out. Hated every aspect of them, including the ham-fisted original TV series, the recent reboots, and in fact their very existence here on Earth. It is not professional jealousy. It was an idiot concept from the get-go; a glaringly contrived excuse to sell more plastic to gullible kids.
I mean – Interstellar robots from a far distant planet, right? And they look exactly like trucks? Also, why be in disguise? If they’re hiding from the other guys, why not just use their hyper-mega-radar detector thingies that they’ve surely got, considering they’re made of advanced alien technology and can fly through space? I mean: ‘hello?’
Oh, and they were all men. With distinctly human personalities. That speak English. At length (kinda like a TV script loaded with tiresome exposition) despite having hyper-mega-ultra-speed radio channels that work in space. Yeah. Right.
The only thing that impressed me was the design aspect – how the parts pulled out and rotated and clipped together again to make them look like mega-trucks or high-end sports cars. But never Toyota Corollas. I love that clever stuff. Utterly wasted here.
Anyway, it recently occurred to me that Transformers are very much like Pokemon. They both have two forms, Stored Mode (non-combative) and Deployed Mode (combative). They each have stages of development. In Pokemon they ‘evolve’, and in Transformers they get rebuilt all the time, or rebuild themselves. If you’re into collecting you’ll soon realise that the permutations of Transformer are rapidly approaching infinity. We’ll soon be tearing apart entire planets just to keep up with the trillions of ‘repaints’ and mods; the Original Series Re-release Series; the Animated Series; the risible Dino-bots and their inevitable re-boot; the fucking Protector-bots and yadda yadda yadda. Not to mention the new awesome/creepy versions from the reboot-movies. (I hear movie #112 is under way.)
And each series started out with about a dozen basic models, then they started adding more and more as the product gets more and more popular. Remember when there were 52 Pokemon? Wow! 52! So many! Now there are 718/750/722/726, depending on which web-site you consult. Not to mention some 36 different poke-balls.
But seriously – I’ve got to hand it to the Pokemon writers and artists. They just keep coming up with the most awesome looking creatures:
But what about those poor chumps tasked with perpetually re-inventing the Transformers? I imagine it goes a bit like this:
CEO: “So what have you got for us this week, boys?”
DEVELOPER #1: (nervously) “Ahhh, we’ve got some great stuff, chief!”
CEO: “You’d better! Last week’s releases pulled in dismal sales. Only 2 million.”
DEVELOPER #1: “No worries. This set is going to nail it. So this is Roto-Rooter. He …”
CEO: “What the fuck is a roto-rooter?”
DEVELOPER #2: “It, um, it removes blockages in sewers. But we were just going on the name, see? It’s really strong, really macho. And look, he’s go this coiled arm thing that…”
CEO: “Oh for fuck’s sake! You might as well have just called him Enema or something.”
DEVELOPER #3: “Ah, we did that last year, sir. y’know, the Medic Series?”
CEO: <does a facepalm> “Oh yes: Medi-Vac; Transfuse-Ion; Hyper Dermic; Neck Brace, and N-Emma…”
DEVELOPER #2: “You did ask us to introduce another female character…”
CEO: “Yes! And I told you to call her Nukular Emma!”
DEVELOPER #2: “Uh, yes, but a lot of kids couldn’t pronounce that, so we …”
CEO: “Look, we’re not going to ever do another series for girls, okay!? Transformers are boys’ toys! Besides, who the hell wants a combat robot in a maid’s outfit!?”
DEVELOPER #2: “The Japanese market was beginning to …”
CEO: “Screw the Japanaese market! It’s a lost cause.”
DEVELOPER #3: <consulting his phone> “They’re now up to 8,950 Pokemon…”
CEO: <dangerously> “One more strike, Kevin, and you’re sacked. Got that?”
DEVELOPER #3: “Yes, sir. sorry, sir.”
DEVELOPER #1: <clears his throat cautiously> “Kevin sort of has a point though, Sir. If we could widen our sources to include other species, so to speak …”
CEO: <angrily> “When I was a developer we put out Dino-bots; Eagle-Bots, Vampire-Bots, Mutant-Bots, Zombie-Bots, Rhino-Bots, Trilo-Bots, the entire Micro-Bots series, the Burrow-Bots and the Platobots …”
DEVELOPER #2: “Except everyone called them the ‘Plato Bots’.”
CEO: “Idiots! Hadn’t they ever heard of a platypus? Plat-O-Puss!”
DEVELOPER #2: “You’re right, sir. Let’s swing back to old-fashioned Transformer Traditions. The KitchenGirl Bots were just .. wrong. I mean ‘Iron Stand’; that sounded good. A strong woman, standing her ground …”
DEVELOPER #1: “And she complimented ‘Ironing Board’ perfectly.”
DEVELOPER #2: “I thought ‘Coffee-Tron’ looked great!
DEVELOPER #3: “Yeah; ‘Stove Master’… ‘Power Point’ …’Blender Blade”…”
DEVELOPER #1: “I loved Blender Blade!”
DEVELOPER #2: “Yeah, but ya can’t beat those fucking feminists, eh?”
DEVELOPER #1: “Nah, nah, they just … didn’t get it.”
CEO: “Guys, love to talk but we need our factories starting tonight! So what else have you got there? Yeah, yeah, Roto-Rooter, stick with that, he’ll do. Come on, come on!”
DEVELOPER #1: “Alright; aaaand here’s Barrow-Wheel – folds down into a single wheel. He just sort of crushes everyone. This is Vise-Grip – ‘the grip of death’. Sawblade – kinda obvious, really. Ahhh; Pinch-Bar.., oh and this is their leader: Mulch-Master!”
CEO: “Didn’t I ask for a Combiner Set?”
DEVELOPER #2: “Sure did! We’re on it, boss.” <he clips the prototypes together> “And there he is: huge! We thought we’d call the combiner version ‘Toolshed’!”
CEO: “Haven’t we done that already?”
DEVELOPER #2: “No that was Tool-Belt. Three years ago.”
CEO: <almost weeping>”Surely we’ve got something better?”
DEVELOPER #2: “We’re all out of ideas, seriously. For cars we’re down to the Fiat Bambina or the British electric milk cart.”
DEVELOPER #1: “I think the wombat is still begging, if we’re doing animals.”
DEVELOPER #3: <looking back at his phone> “Uh oh, they’ve just passed 9,000.”
CEO: “Right! that’s it! You’re sacked!”