TF profiles:Quirks and Flaws VS. Cardboard Role Models?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by SMOG, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Someone recently mentioned in another thread that in the original G1 series, many of the Autobots had very individulized personal behaviour, hobbies, etc... and that such things are all but absent in the more recent series. Part of this I think is simply because the newer shows were intended for an even younger audience, and so the depth of the character development has been reduced. Also, I think the flaws in the Autobots were reduced to provide more positive role models for children to imitate.

    But when I look back at those old G1 profiles (written by Bob Budiansky, right?), I really appreciate how many quirks and flaws found their way into the characters. I think I miss that. As one of those kids who used to compulsively memorize TechSpecs, I LOVED that the TFs had so much breadth to their personalities. Sunstreaker was an arrogant self-styled "professional". Sideswipe was a cheater. Slag was a mean-spirited thug. Snarl was a morbid depressive. Skylynx was a megalomaniac. Red Alert was a paranoiac. Tracks was narcissistic. Tailgate was a delusional libertarian.

    That's great stuff from a character point of view... and makes the characters much more interesting than generic well-adjusted hero-types. Larry Hama was doing a similar thing at the time with the GIJOE profiles... adding those little details that made a figure into a real character, rather than just another toy.

    I found this particularly jumped out at me when I read the new profiles for Classics Mirage and Classics Grimlock. While most of the new profiles paraphrase the originals, there are some differences that I consider important. In the original profile, Mirage was characterized as elitist, aloof, and notably someone that may not be trusted, even by the autobots.

    Grimlock... well, let's face it. Grimlock was sort of a jerk. Grimlock despised weakness... especially weak little humans. He might be counted on to do the right thing when the chips are down, but he's still the bully who would take your lunch money and then laugh in your face.

    Now in the Classics profiles, these details are obscured or re-worded to portray Grimlock and Mirage as model heroes. So then... has something been lost? Have these formerly ambiguous and interesting characters become sterilized by overly-pandering child-marketing?
     
  2. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    Quirks definately make characters more interesting. That's why I liked so many of the secret bios that are unlocked for the Cybertron toys on the website (now that I figured out how to work it). They make the characters more alive like you said. Personally I am more drawn to the rough and ready heroes than the clear cut true blue ones. Although it must be said I paid more attention to who they were on the show back in the day that what it said on their boxes.
     
  3. Dirge121

    Dirge121 Eat the chikums

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    Yeah, especially Shortround, Ebay Junkie, im sure that could be considered to be a flaw.

    Quirks and Flaws do help make the characters more interesting, and it shows, the real 'shining' example is in the Marvel G1 story arc 'Perchance to Dream'

    It shows that some have weaknesses that can be exploited:-
    Ironhide - quick to anger
    Prowl - Reckless (in the comics anyway)
    Sunstreaker - Values hisself above other Autobots/Humans
    Silverbolt - scared of heights (a plane thats scared of heights, WTF?)
    Wheeljack - willing to hand Jetfire over to Ravage, for some technology.

    The Marvel G1 Comics did an amazing part in bringing out the flaws and quirks in the characters, For example, Needlenose/Spinister being a coward, Carnivac + Catilla betraying the Decepticons, Skids as a suicidal bot willing to blow up a nuclear reactor to stop a couple of monsters he created.

    Quirks and Flaws > Cardboard role models
     
  4. LigerPrime

    LigerPrime Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, one of the coolest of G1 was how the different characters have different personalities. I remember reading somewhere that some of the G1 tech specs was mixed up. Example, Sunstreaker's original tech spec was actually Sideswipes and vice versa. The same goes with G1 Starscream and another seeker - either Thundercracker or Skywarp...for the seekers, I believe it was the "specs"? Can someone correct me on this?

    As for the updated specs on Grimlock and Mirage..I guess its due to "politically correct"...we can't have kids buying a toy (Mirage) that has committment issues yes? :D 
     
  5. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Sunstreaker's and Sideswipe's bios and TFU character profiles make clear references to each other's physical attributes. For example Sideswipe has a "rocket back-pack", an "exposed rear-mounted engine" in vehicle mode and "arms that can serve as piledrivers"; and Sunstreaker has a "shoulder-mounted rocket launcher". Each can be seen as a reference to physical attributes of the other toy.

    It's not clear whether the tech specs have been swapped - my own theory is that the TOYS were swapped after the bios had already been written.

    There wasn't a yellow version of the Sunstreaker mold in Diaclone; Hasbro came up with that color scheme, possibly because Takara had already released the red version of the Sunstreaker mold in the USA as part of their short-lived "Diakron" line.

    And since the character descriptions from the cartoon bible identify Sunstreaker as "yellow Countach" and Sideswipe as "Red Countach", I assume the following happened:

    1) Hasbro selects toys from the Diaclone line they wanted to release as part of their Transformers line; they chose the Sunstreaker mold in red, and the Sideswipe mold in yellow.
    2) Hasbro assigns Marvel to come up with bios for the characters.
    3) Marvel (Denny O'Neil?) comes up with the name "Spin-Out" for the red Countach (the Sideswipe mold) and "Sideswipe" for the red Countach (the Sunstreaker mold), and with some basic characterizations.
    4) Takara releases the long-planned Diakron line in the USA; among them a red version of the Sunstreaker mold. Due to the licensing deal with Hasbro, the Diakron line is discontinued.
    5) Hasbro learns of the Diakron line; they decide to release their toys in different colors. Since the Ironhide mold already utilizes some red plastic parts, Hasbro decide to make him all red. For the Sunstreaker mold, they decide to swap his colors with the Sideswipe mold (the Sideswipe mold did exist in red in the Diaclone line).
    6) Bob Budiansky revises some of the character profiles and renames "Spin-Out" into "Sunstreaker". The names are still attached to the colors ("Sunstreaker = yellow", "Sideswipe = red").
    7) Marvel/Budiansky submits the finalized character profiles to Hasbro, unaware of the color changes.
    8) The person(s) in charge of the box layouts read Bob's character descriptions; unaware that Bob wasn't aware of the color changes, they see "Sunstreaker = yellow" and "Sideswipe = red".
    9) The boxes get printed.

    Starscream's and Thundercracker's stats got swapped. A lot of the numbers (speed, intelligence, rank etc.) don't match up with the character descriptions.
     
  6. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    I loved the old G1 character quirks; Budiansky put a lot of work into making these characters into real characters.
    Here are a few of my favourites.
    Broadside: afraid of heights, and he got seasick. Double trouble.
    Bruticus: A perfect soldier, to the extent that if there was no-one there to give him orders... he'd just stand there, waiting for them.
    Trypticon: Devoid of any emotion except hate, which he felt for everything in varying degrees (but most of all, for himself. He found warfare boring and pointless, but that was all he knew what to do).
    Mirage: Never quite sure which side he truly wanted to be on.
    Grimlock: Didn't actually have to speak like that at all; but viewed intellectuality as a sign of weakness, and despised weakness in all forms, so acted far dumber than he actually was.
    Dirge: Master of wielding fear, but an absolute coward when the tables were turned.
    Gunrunner: "A super hero in reverse Daring and defiant when in his pretender shell, but shy and insecure when out on his own." (taken from his toy profile)
    But you know my all-time favourite G1 character quirk?
    Rampage.
    He was pretty much an endless bundle of psychotic rage wrapped up in a very dangerous body. He'd pretty much kill anything that looked at him.
    However, you know what the only thing that could calm him down was?
    Television.
    Fantastic!
     
  7. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    yup. gotta love the g1 bios. the season 2 guys practically needed a shrink, such a neurotic bunch.

    that said, i enjoy reading cyb bios. theyre fun.
     
  8. LigerPrime

    LigerPrime Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Nevermore! Another one of your replies that I will save! :D  And yeah, come to think about it, I agree with your theory about the Sideswipe and Sunstreaker being switched as there wasn't a "yellow" Sunstreaker in the Diaclone line...the line was released in my country I have never seen the "yellow" Sunstreaker in toy form or in the Diaclone catelogue.
     
  9. onesock

    onesock Banned

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    Quirks and Flaws were honestly, IMO, a lot better than role models.

    Now if only Wheelie's tech spec woulda been what he was like on the show.....
     
  10. Primevil

    Primevil *Insert Witty Title Here*

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    I love when characters have quirks and flaws. It makes them more interesting. That's exactly why I hate G1 Optimus Prime and love Rodimus Prime.

    But it doesn't seem like there are many quirky and flawed TFs today. I think the G1 Season 2 Autobots are more neurotic than the Armada Trilogy Autobots together. And there's potential for today's characters to be more unique. One of my favorite moments from Armada was when Carlos asked Red Alert if they (the Autobots) feel pain, and he replies "I'm sorry, but your question is not vital to the success of our mission." He could have been developed as cynical, bitter, or simply the total bastard of the team, despite being the medic, but no.

    Actually, it was Skywarp, not Thundercracker who had Starscream's stats.
     
  11. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Hmmm... I always figured it was something like that (the bios for Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are clearly switched when you look at the physical descriptions), but I didn't know the nuts and bolts of it. I also didn't know that Spin-out was one of the original names before Sunstreaker.

    Always struck me as weird that they had a "Sunstreaker" and a "Bluestreak" in the first wave of characters anyway. Kind of odd to have two names with "streak" in them within the same initial line-up.
     
  12. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Sorry, my mistake.
     
  13. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    good call. the evidence being that skywarp was the dumbest/least intelligent seeker, which matched screamers mismatched tech spec.

    you totally pwned nevermore there.
     
  14. ambushbug74

    ambushbug74 Stroke me, Stroke me! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Wasn't Wheelie a necrophiliac?
     
  15. M-Prime

    M-Prime Banned

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    Probably. A Panda killer too, from what I heard. Jerk.
     
  16. trebleshot

    trebleshot www.Toyark.com Veteran

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    I'll take quirks and flaws over cookie-cutter heroes and villains anyday.

    That was also played up in the G1 cartoon as well. I think he even gets vertigo at one point. Very interesting twist on a character. Especially since the only way he can control his acrophobia was to be more concerned about his teammates and the job at hand than himself.

    Another of my favorite quirks is for G1 Swindle. Boy how he lives up to his name, selling the rest of his teammates parts on the black market (cartoon con.). If he had one, he probably would sell his own grandmother for some Energon cubes.
     
  17. butz

    butz slippery when wet

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    Well, that did kinda play into the show- the episode where they were trying to find Ultra Magnus' Birthday (surprise party?) I'd swear Wheelie was just trying to get Daniel killed, apparently so he could make love to his carcass in the void of space.
     

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