Finished Watching Masterforce

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Pravus Prime, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    As I continue to make my way to my goal to watch every TF series, I have finished watching Masterforce. Overall I found it to be a pretty good series. It did get me to fish out the Re-issue God Ginrai from storage and put him on display in the home office (Boy is he a tall one!). My current ranking for TF Media I've seen at least 75% of:

    • Animated
    • Beast Wars
    • Beast Wars Neo
    • Cybertron
    • Superlink (Superlink, not Energon)
    • Car Robots (Car Robots, not RiD)
    • G1
    • Masterforce
    • Headmasters
    • Beast Wars II
    • Beast Machines
    • Armada

    So you can tell I'm not the biggest fan of Masterforce. However it was far from a bad series, the plot never fell apart like Headmasters did, there were no real hated characters, and there were even some plot developments and animation sequences that were very well done. There was only one bad episode.

    If I could pick an Autobot and Decepticon from this series to be representatives of the Masterforce era in a Generations/Universe/CHUG line, excluding Overlord (due to his other appearances I suspect he will get his own figure as it is) and Black Zarak (since he'd only be properly redone as a Re-issue from Takara or a Leader class, both which is unlikely), I'd go with Metalhawk and Cancer.

    Spoilers for the series follow this point, so consider yourself warned, reading on will spoil the series for you, so if you're intending to eventually get to it and want it to be fresh, you should stop reading now. Though I'd suggest skipping episode 23 when you do get around to watching it! You won't miss anything, I promise!



    Pros:
    Honestly, I liked the Pretender approach. It's silly, but it works for explaining the premise and why it exists. Plus it even solves some Scale issues.

    Overlord. Seriously, Overlord was a great character. He bucks the ruthless Overlord type as he genuinely cares for his troops and for the Earth. Lady Mega gives Browning to Cancer because she's concerned that he may be feeling lonely, they make a point in having everyone have dinner together. Plus they have hobbies, Lord Giga plays golf.

    It's almost 4 shows in one. The show goes through some distinct phases, it's a Pretender based show which transitions to a Headmasters Jr show, which transitions to a Godmasters show, which enters the final phase as a Devil Z/Black Zarak show. It also has several long storyarcs and they're not shy about referencing events from 10+ episodes ago.

    For a series which has a central theme of Burning Justice!, they actually don't use it very much at all. It comes up here and there and is key at the end, but really it's barely a plot element. I was fully expecting every episode after about 11 to feature some Chokon Power as the plot resolution, but it really is barely a plot device for the series. The Autobot Godmasters outside of Ginrai really only use the power once, and the Decepticons use it almost as sparingly.

    This is the first (only?) series that had any emphasis on Rescue Operations. Having the Headmaster Jrs put out fires, rescue people, and so forth while the other Autobots fight the Decepticons is actually a neat idea.

    It had an ending that drastically changed the status quo.


    Cons:

    Ginrai is the Supreme Commander. It's not that he does a poor job or anything, and I know it's a cultural and price point/to sell toys issue, but Ginrai becoming Supreme Commander is silly. Mostly because you go from Metalhawk, who has been leader since before man had the wheel, who successfully beat and captured the Decepticons once already just hand over control to a 20-something Japanese-American truck driver. Literally, Ginrai is just a new member of the team then suddenly he's the leader a few days later.

    The woefull underuse of the cast. It's a small cast show, but many characters who were focus characters at one point just vanish. For example the show criminally underdevelops Pheonix, who is really barely in the series. To make matters worse, Pheonix was one of four Autobots in the cast for the first part! The Pretenders on both side simply vanish for most of the second half of the series. The Decepticon Headmasters are another group who just disapear from time to time in the second half of the series. Even the other 4 Autobot Godmasters are notedly absent in several episodes in the final part of the series.

    The complete disconnect from the prior series. Up until now, every series built on the series (or even seasons) that came before it. Headmasters continued right off where S3 ended. While there are a few references to Headmasters, this series really is more standalone then you'd think, to the point where you wonder if they knew anything about Transformers. It's supposed to be the year 2020-ish, yet outside of a single two-parter, we see nothing that wouldn't be mundane in 1985 in terms of technology and architecture. No EDC/EDF, no spaceships or colonies. No robot technology or satalite communications. You also wonder what Metalhawk and the others were doing during G1 and Headmasters, granted 4 Autobots wouldn't have tipped the balance of the war, but still. However most frustratingly is that it's like everyone has complete amnesia about Transformers. They've never seen or heard of Transformers, Autobots, or Decepticons in a series that is set 20 some years after Spike is made an Ambassador to Cybertron, that has had years of battles on Earth before this point. Which leads me to my next point.

    Episode 23: Expose the Decepticons Dark Trap. This episode is stupid. Completely, utterly, stupid. Even if you ignore all the ties to previous series and take this as a stand alone parallel universe series, this episode still doesn't work. People act like they've never seen any Transformer before, despite earlier in the series there being massive Decepticon attacks and an International TV Special that had Ginrai on television transforming which got thousands of responses and in prior episodes people called the Autobots by name! Yet now no one knows what an Autobot or Decepticon is. In addition it does a real half assed introduction of Megajet and Gigatank, which gets a real introduction in the next episode (seriously, in the next episode it gets feature animation of the reveal, along with the labeled name and everything).

    The series never attempts to explain some of the odd doings. I know some of the other media does, but the cartoon itself just avoids a lot of issues. Why Ginrai looks exactly like Optimus Prime. Why Grand Maximus is a smaller version of Maximus. Why does Black Zarak look like Mega Zarak with a new head. Why Lady Mega and Lord Giga just die at the end. Who/what Devil Z is. How the loss of the bracelets caused the Transtectors to come to life. And so forth. I don't need entire episodes, but just a line or two would be nice.

    This series is I think the best example of Villain Decay I have ever seen. Not just because of the individual decay, but just how many cases of it there is. Blood goes from this savy and cool leader who watches and analyzes his foes and works in secret to this bumbling buffoon who is only comedic relief. Darkwings first appearance leaves the Pretenders barely alive, he is able to regenerate near instantly from any damage and able to dish out punishing attacks. Later in the series the Headmaster Jrs can take them on without worry. Overlord leaves Super Ginrai for dead after essentially one weapons volley which leaves Ginrai somewhat traumatized; someone who Ginrai needs to go God Ginrai to be an equal against and even then it could go either way. Then towards the end of the series Lightfoot takes him on solo and it's not a big deal because Overlord isn't the big bad at that point anymore.

    Minerva. She is useless. She is annoying. In one episode they only have her Transtector and they're attacked by a Seacon. She doesn't transform to fend it off. She doesn't use her Time Stop pistol to freeze the Seacon. Instead she does nothing and the ship they're on sinks. Other Autobots had to show up with a ship of their own to rescue them.

    There are a few other, minor issues, such as that the Seacon limbs appear to be made of paper mache, but for the most part, not that annoying really. Also, right after Headmasters finale at the Decepticon weapon at the North Pole, this series has the ultimate plan be to wipe out Earth via a weapon at the South Pole. How imaginative.

    All that said, I didn't suffer through the series (unlike Armada, *blech!*) and while not the best series, it was at times fun to watch and kept the plot moving so it was always going somewhere new. Episode 36: Save Cancer had some nice animation, a great fight, and a solid story; probably my favorite of the series.
     
  2. D-Unit

    D-Unit #1 Heel

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    I definitely agree with you about Pretenders in this one. In fact, IMO Masterforce was the only continuity to use Pretenders properly. The old Marvel comics used to make me roll my eyes at the thought of TF's disguised as giant humans (even at 9 years old)
     
  3. vm-01

    vm-01 Well-Known Member

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    This and Victory are actually my 2nd/3rd favorite after BW. I loved this show. I caught it on TV one day and didn't even know it was a TF show before someone mentioned the word decepticon and metalhawk suddenly yelled "PODERES A MI!" and then "TRANSFORMACION". I was ecstatic to see TF on TV again after years of seeing nothing. And found the whole human interaction very interesting. Watching Piranacon for the first time was also epic as I had only seen him in toy catalogs before then.
     
  4. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    Glad you enjoyed yourself watching Masterforce, man. :thumb 

    The villain decay was by far my biggest beef with the series (others being Minerva's uselessness, the Seacons not transforming, et cetera). Although you could argue that had there been no villain decay, the Autobots would've been terminated.
     
  5. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

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    I'm going to take some time off, then I'll be starting Victory. Zone will be after that.
     

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