Transformers Animated Season 2
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-01-17 DVD Movie E10 (Everyone 10+) Paramount Home Entertainment / Hasbro

Helping to carry on the excitement from 2007's feature film Transformers is Transformers Animated, the newest animated series in the Transformers universe, which premiered on Cartoon Network in January of 2008. Season 3 is set to air this spring, but in the meantime, fans can look back on the fun and excitement of Season 2 with Paramount's release of the entire second season on DVD.

Season 2 effortlessly picks up where Season 1 left off, with the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, working to rebuild the vast majority of Detroit, which was destroyed in Season 1's ending battle with Megatron and the Decepticons. Due to the battle and subsequent damage to the city, humans have begun to fear the Autobots, with the exception of the very young Sari Sumdac, holder of the Key.

In Transformers lore, the Key is one of the two great powers in the galaxy, second only to the AllSpark, which many fans would remember from the Transformers theatrical release. The Key can be used to heal damaged Transformers, give life to machines and subsequently control them. With the AllSpark's explosion at the end of Season 1, the Key is now the most powerful entity in the galaxy, as far as Transformers are concerned, putting Sari's life in constant danger from the seemingly undefeatable Megatron and his Decepticon army.

However, before Season 2 can really even get off the ground, it is revealed that even though the AllSpark may have exploded during Optimus's battle with Megatron, it wasn't actually vaporized, but rather broke into multiple fragments that were then scattered around Earth during the blast.

This predictably sets the tone for the main storyline of the season - both the Decepticons and the Autobots desperately desire to find the missing fragments of the AllSpark, with very different potential outcomes depending on who finds them first.

While this never-ending battle between Autobots and Decepticons does form the over-arching plotline for the series, Transformers Animated also takes our heroes in a direction not entirely unlike other "superheroes", in the vein of say Superman, who must defeat various human villains along with larger, more ominous entities.

This fact helps each of the series' 13 episodes to be virtually self-contained, with a challenge that is faced and overcome by the end of its 20 minute run, while the threat of Megatron's return helps the series flow along nicely from one episode to the next.

For younger fans who may have only become familiar with the franchise via the movie released in theaters, the overall storyline is very easy to follow, and contains enough explanation throughout to allow most people to jump right in midway. That being said, I feel it would be almost impossible for me to describe Transformers Animated without making at least one comparison back to said movie, with that comparison actually being a fairly large negative.

Whereas in the live action film, and in basically every other animated cartoon, the Transformers themselves have been monstrous machines, with an awe-inspiring amount of complexity and detail, in Transformers Animated, our heroes have been incredibly streamlined, even to the point where characters like Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are downright skinny and look more than a bit like humans.

And speaking of Bumblebee, while his dedication to the protection of humans does remain, the badass character many of us will remember from previous entries in the series has been completely transformed (no pun intended) into Sari's emasculated, and even a bit effeminate whipping boy.

Aside from the rather weak appearance of the vast majority of robotic characters, the rest of the graphics are also quite disappointing. Human characters are downright bizarre in appearance, with Sari being comprised of a tiny frame atop which is perched a massive football shaped head (think Hey Arnold, but not as exaggerated), and most other characters having some sort of oversized component, whether it be their nose, hair, etc.

These graphical annoyances aside, the overall storyline of good vs. evil is there, with the quest to retrieve the missing AllSpark fragments providing more than a small dose of entertainment throughout the season. And while the DVD is lacking almost entirely in the way of special features (with the exception of two single-episode commentaries and two animated shorts), the price point of under $20 is probably worth it for diehard fans of the franchise, or for even casual fans who want to see how the Transformers universe has changed in modern times.

Special thanks to Brigid Darcy for providing a copy of this title.