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THE TRANSFORMERS (More Than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 17, 2009 by  



“SHOUT! Factory continues their wonderful DVD release of the classic Transformers G1 animated series “THE TRANSFORMERS (More Than Meets the Eye) with the first volume of Season 2.  More Autobots, more Decepticons and more mecha mayhem!  28 episodes for a low price and for fans of the series, this latest release is definitely recommended!”

 

Images courtesy of © Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE:THE TRANSFORMERS  (More than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One

DURATION: 11 Hrs. (28 episodes, 4 Discs)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English/Stereo

COMPANY: Hasbro/SHOUT FACTORY

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE:  September 15, 2009

Written by George Arthur Bloom, Bryce Malek and Dick Robbins, Doublas Booth, Donald F. Glut, Alfred A. Pegal, Earl Kress, Larry Strauss, Leo D. Paur, Reed Robbins and Peter Salas.

Starring:

Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime/Ironhide

Frank Welker as Megatron/Soundwave/Laserbeak

Dan Gilvezan as Bumble Bee

Christ Latta as Starscream

Scatman Crothers as Jazz

Corey Burton as Spike/Brawn/Shockwave

Michael Bell as Prowl

Gregg Berger as Grimlock

The adventures of Optimus Prime and his valiant Autobots continue as they protect heir new home – the planet Earth – and its people against the power-hungry Megatron and his Decepticons.  With the help of their human friends Spike, Sparkplug, Chip and Carlee, the Autobots search for the fuel necessary to send them home and re-energize their home world of Cybertron.  But if the Decepticons seize their power source first, the entire university may suffer the consequences under the reign of the malevolent Megatron.

This 4-DVD set contains the first 28 episodes from the second season of The Transformers, including fan favorites such as the two-part “Dinobot Island”, “Enter the Nightbird,” “The Master builders” and “The God Gambit”.

1984, “THE TRANSFORMERS” was a merchandise success as every child wanted to own the latest Transformers toys from Hasbro and act out their own personal battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons and own their favorite robots that came from the popular television and comic book series (despite the TV show and comics having different storylines).

Needless to say, that first season was quite popular and I can easily remember watching the series with friends and hoping my parents would get me this figure or that figure, and hoping my grandparents would buy me the even cooler (and more expensive) Transformers toys.  Season One was definitely fun but Season Two was even more impressive in some ways.

The second season which was written and recorded in the US featured animation by Japan’s Toei Animation, aired on television in the US in 1985.  The series is based on the popular Japanese toys from Takara and various other toy companies (ie. Shockwave came from ToyCo., the Insecticons and Skyfire came from Takatoku Toys, etc.) and developed into a line called “Transformers” by Hasbro in the United States.   And the first five seasons would be known to fans as Transformers G1 (Generation 1).

With the success of the three-part mini-series and the first 13 episodes of Season One, the second season of “THE TRANSFORMERS (More Than Meets the Eye) featured on television back in 1985 featured more characters and more episodes (49 total) which then led to “The Transformers: The Movie” in 1986.  And now the second season, volume one will be released with 28 episodes (covering episodes 17-44).

With the release of the first season from SHOUT FACTORY, Transformers fans were happy that the company has corrected problems that were evident with the original DVD set release (from RHINO), have no fear, the second season also features the corrected problems and any problems that were in the old 2002 releases, can expect corrected episodes in the SHOUT! FACTORY releases.

Needless to say that the second season brought excitement as fans were treated with more Dinobot and Insecticon episodes, the introduction to combining teams such as the Aerialbots, the Stunticons, the Protectobots and the Combaticons.The second season also featured introductions to Autobots: Beachcomber, Cosmos, Powerglide, Seaspray, Warpath, Grapple, Hoist, Red Alert, Skids, Smokescreen, Inferno, Tracks, Perceptor, Blaster, Devcon and Omega Supreme.  Meanwhile, the Decepticons had Dirge, Ramjet, Thrust, Blitzwing and Astrotrain and many more.    Also, the second season would feature more humans that would befriend the Autoobts such as Chip and Carlee.

With 49 episodes for season 2, SHOUT FACTORY decided to break up the season season in half.  Season Two, Volume 1 consists of the following 28 episodes (includes spoiler-less summaries):

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 17 – Autobot Spike – Spike is wounded during a Decepticon attack and so his father Sparkplug and Wheeljack transfer his consciousness into an experimental robot.
  • EPISODE 18 – The Immobilizer – Wheeljack creates a new invention known as “The Immobilizer” which can freeze any object that is in motion.  But what happens when the Decepticons steal it.
  • EPISODE 19 – Dinobot Island, Part 1 – Optimus Prime sends the Dinobots to their own island for training.
  • EPISODE 20 – Dinobot Island, Part 2 – With the Autobots trying to fight against the Decepticons and things starting to look dire, the Dinobots come to the rescue.
  • EPISODE 21 – Traitor – Is Mirage a traitor to the Autobots?
  • EPISODE 22 – Enter the Nightbird – An experimental ninja robot known as Nightbird is created but the Decepticons want to get their hands on it.
  • EPISODE 23 – Changing Gears – The Decepticons obtain the final component for their solar needle device.  The Autobots must stop the Decepticons immediately.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 24 – A Prime Problem – The Decepticons create a clone of Optimus Prime and use it to destroy the Autobots.
  • EPISODE 25 – Atlantis, Arise! – Decepticons uncover the sunken civilization of Atlantis which leads King Nergill and his kingdom to infiltrate the humans.  Now, the Autobots  must take on both forces.
  • EPISODE 26 – Attack of the Autobots – The Decepticons take control of the Autobots.
  • EPISODE 27 – Microbots – The Autobots must shrink Bumblebee, Brawn and Perceptor in order to defeat Megatron.
  • EPISODE 28 – The Master Builders – Autobots Grapple and Hoist want to build a solar energy tower and ended up working with the Constructicons.
  • EPISODE 29 – The Insecticon Syndrome – The Insecticons are hit by an energy shield and grow in size and become very powerful.   Can the Autobots stop them?
  • EPISODE 30 – Day of the Machines – The Autobots must stop Megatron who has control of the supercomputer known as Torque III.

DISC 3

  • EPISODE 31 – Megatron’s Master Plan, Part 1 – The Autobots are banished from Earth and  now the Decepticons are free.
  • EPISODE 32 – Megatron’s Master Plan, Part 2 – With the humans thinking they banished the evil Autobots, they soon realized they banished the wrong group.  Now the Decepticons try to conquer Earth without Autobot interference.
  • EPISODE 33 – Auto Berserk – Red Alert has a malfunction and ends up teaming with Starscream.
  • EPISODE 34 – City of Steel – Optimus Prime is injured and captured by the Decepticons.  The Autobots go to rescue him.
  • EPISODE 35 – Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 1 – Without Cybertronium, both the Autobots and Decepticons start to lose their powers and malfunction.
  • EPISODE 36 – Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 2 – Spike and Carlee must help the Autobots but to do that, they must get help from the Dinobots.
  • EPISODE 37 – Blaster Blues – Megatron causes problems on Earth when he blocks out the radio waves on Earth.

DISC 4

  • EPISODE 38 – A Decepticon Raider in Arthur’s Court – Starscream activates a time machine which send him and the Decepticons back in time and they team up with the evil Sir Wagond of Blackthorne.
  • EPISODE 39 – The God Gambit – The Decepticons trick a civilization in thinking they are “Sky Gods”.
  • EPISODE 40 – The Core – The Decepticons are drilling into Earth’s Core and the Autobots must stop them.   The Autobots try to reprogram Devastator which leads to negative results.
  • EPISODE 41 – Make Tracks – The Decepticons are using stolen cars to create a Decepticon army.
  • EPISODE 42 – The Autobot Run – Optimus Prime and the Autobots take part in a race for charity and Megatron takes opportunity of the moment to test out the Transfixation Ray.
  • EPISODE 43 – The Golden Lagoon – Electrum is discovered in a lagoon and it gives Autobots and Decepticons the capability to withstand  blaster and laser fire.
  • EPISODE 44 – Quest for Survival – The Insecticons find a way to duplicate themselves and now they want to create an army.  Meanwhile, the Autobots try to find an insecticide to stop them.

It’s important to note that in July 2009,  “THE TRANSFORMERS: 25th Anniversary “Matrix of Leadership” Edition Collector’s set was released and has 38 hours of content, the entire original animated “G1” series, many extras and a 16-DVD box set.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

The first season was originally released on DVD back in 2002 from Rhino but was criticized for its high price but most importantly for its problems.  Rhino used the original 35mm film masters which gave the series a much more vibrant look but the problem was that the masters did not include the corrections that were shown on the final cut that aired on television and thus the episodes had incomplete animation.  Picture quality also had problems with “jaggies” and featured new sound effects that fans of the original series were not entirely very happy with.

This time around, for the 25th Anniversary release of the second season (Volume 1) on DVD, SHOUT FACTORY was not determined to make the same mistake.   In the special note segment of “THE TRANSFORMERS (More Than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One” booklet, the following was mentioned:

Transformers DVDs released prior to our 25th Anniversary Edition were missing animation seen in the original broadcast.  We did extensive research, found the discrepancies between the original broadcast masters and the restored masters used for the last DVD release, reinserted the correct animation and color corrected it as best as we could to match the shots before and after.  But because a one-inch mater tape simply can’t hold up to the quality of the restored masters, you may notice occasional shots – or even scenes – in some episodes that seem slightly softer than others.  Just take comfort in knowing that laser blasts have been reinserted, backgrounds have been corrected and Starscream is Starscream once again.

“THE TRANSFORMERS (More than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One” looks very good on DVD.  I’ve seen a lot of 90’s animation make it on DVD and many suffer from a softness that really brings out its age.  Granted, you can tell the picture quality is of an 80’s animation but it doesn’t look soft.    The animation does have a good number of dust particles throughout the video but it’s not very distracting (although, I hope if the series does get a High-Definition transfer, if it is possible, I do hope they do clean the video up of the dust particles).  But otherwise, for an 80’s animation to look this good and better than many 90’s animation on DVD, is a major plus.

As for audio, audio is presented in Stereo.  Dialogue is clean and easy to understand.  For those with a home theater setup, I found it more pleasing to have my receiver set to output at stereo on all channels.

Overall, each episode is restored to the original broadcast versions with a new stereo soundtrack created from the original audio.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

THE TRANSFORMERS (More than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One” surprisingly comes with no special features.  I was hoping with season two, volume one that we would see the toy commercials and other related “Transformers” special features but there are none.  This release does come with a synopsis booklet but that is about it.

Growing up with “The Transformers”, my brother and I were like most kids in the 80’s who were literally in love with the toys, the cartoon and comic books.

But moreso, being impressed with the technology that went into having a robot transforming into a car, an airplane, a gun, a dinosaur and an insect.  It may seem commonplace now but back then, it was an amazing time to have these die-cast metal/plastic robots that transform, using the television series as a basis of what robots we wanted to get (and hoped our parents would buy) and have these all out battles.

The second season of “Transformers (More than Meets the Eye)” was a season that I enjoyed for its introduction of many more Autobots and Decepticons (which translated into more toys being released at the time) and of course, more episodes with the Dinobots, Insecticons and Devastator.  For the most part, the episodes are quite entertaining and had a lot of interaction between the Autobots and Decepticons with humans but with that being said, some episodes were good and some seem like filler episodes (the time travel episodes, I could have done without).

But I do feel that “Transformers” fans will love this latest release from SHOUT! FACTORY for the fact that there are so many characters that I wouldn’t be surprised if fans got all nostalgic and remembered the toys they once owned or get inspired to hunt down those old school “Transformers” on eBay.

Again, there’s nothing bad I can say about this release due to the mere content and low price.  If I had to really nitpick, sure I can wish for cleaned up video in the hope that thousands of instances of dirt, debris and scratches were removed (which I do hope they do if they intend to release the series again via High Definition) and I wish there were special features included on this release, it would have been great to see more of the old school Transformers toys.

But seriously, for 28 episodes and for a great price, “THE TRANSFORMERS (More Than Meets the Eye) – Season Two, Volume One” is highly recommended!

 






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