Transformer personality archetypes...

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by SMOG, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    17,586
    Trophy Points:
    297
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +88
    I was just thinking about the characterization of essential G1 characters in the various media, and how that compares with some of the original long bios. It seems to me that some G1 characters had a very strong influence from other archetypes or pop icons, but these aspects didn't always come through in the way they appeared on the TV shows or elsewhere.

    Here are some of the ones I was thinking about...

    Jazz = James Bond

    Or bearing in mind his cultural addiction, maybe even Flynt from the Our Man Flynt movies. Based on his original bio description, Jazz is clearly a super cool 007-style secret agent man. His original Function was even Covert Operations and Sabotage.

    Of course, the cartoon cast Scatman Crothers, and Jazz forever became the iconic jive-talking hipster of the Autobots, and to many, a black man trapped in a white car's body.

    Ratchet = Dr. "Bones" McCoy

    This one really struck me... his profile emphasizes his gruff, uncouth manner, and his tendency to give Optimus backtalk, rank be damned. Sounds a bit like Bones to me... add to that his penchant for partying, and we get another trait shared with McCoy, who was always the first one to raise a drink to celebrate.

    In the comics though, Ratchet always came off as bit younger, and more naive. Despite similarities to Ironhide, Animated Ratchet is actually much closer to his G1 roots!

    Soundwave = master of secrets
    Not a particular character, but certainly an archetype. The indispensable spymaster, who has dirt on everybody, and no matter who leads, ends up handling business the same way he always does. Soundwave is the shadow behind the throne, the evil vizier whispering in the ruler's ear.

    Sideswipe & Sunstreaker = anime guys!

    This one I think might be less deliberate, but it's remarkable how well it sums up their characters. Sideswipe is the short-tempered unruly firebrand hero who's always up for a fight with a crooked grin on his face as he wipes the trickle of blood from his nose, as seen in just about any anime by Go Nagai. He should be piloting a giant robot and shouting things like "PILEDRIVERRRR PUNNNCH!!!" but instead he IS the giant robot, and he gets to use his own fists. :) 

    Sunstreaker on the other hand is the ideal bishonen bad boy... aloof, narcissistic, effete, prone to striking poses... but with a cold cruel streak and very dangerous.

    Ironhide = late career John Wayne
    Old, ornery, and a bit lumbering, but always quick with a crusty quip. Honestly, the cartoon wasn't far off the mark with this one. :) 

    These are just some of the ones that jumped out at me... anybody else got some?

    zmog
     
  2. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Posts:
    66,384
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    407
    Location:
    agile house
    Likes:
    +888
    I could not help but laugh at this. Just the way you worded it. :lol 

    I don't see many of the other connections you make, though. Probably because I don't know some of the people listed buty mainly because I can't make the connection.
     
  3. Takara_destron

    Takara_destron Mainly lurking these days

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Posts:
    7,518
    Trophy Points:
    221
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Same here :lol 
    But some interesting comparisons there.
     
  4. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    17,586
    Trophy Points:
    297
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +88
    ...

    You don't know James Bond, John Wayne, and Dr. McCoy from Star Trek???

    Wow, way to make me feel old, dude. :) 

    But seriously, my point isn't to tie these identities to the characters as they've appeared in the cartoons and comics since G1... rather, I'm thinking if you read the original bios for each character (that were written before there even was a G1 cartoon), you can sort of see how they might have been inspired by these archetypes.

    zmog
     
  5. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Posts:
    17,112
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    327
    Likes:
    +61
    I tend to think of the generation-spanning archetypes.

    The "Cocky young robot who often gets himself into trouble to prove himself, usually painted yellow", such as Bumblebee (G1, lesser example), Cheetor, Hot Shot, and Bumblebee (Animated)

    The "Optimus", for the most part the strongest, smartest nice guy in charge. Comes in two flavors, the "total authority" (G1, most Anime Optimii), and the "building my authority" (BW, Animated.

    The "Megatron", though there's a lot of variation on the theme, from "The Universe is MINE!" to "Go do my bidding while I sit here and watch TV" to "All wrapped up in how clever I am."

    The "Starscream", basically the guy who wants to be baddie-in-charge, but is not so good at keeping it to himself or waiting for the ideal opportunity (a lot of Starscreams, Terrorsaur)

    The "Un-Starscream", the schemer with their own agenda for power and control, who prefers to work behind the scenes, playing guys from both sides against each other. (Tarantulus, 'smart' Tankor, Sideways, sometimes Unicron)

    I got others, but that's it for now.
     
  6. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Posts:
    4,131
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    I totally agree with every one of Smog's archetype choices. Actually, I was just talking to my girlfriend about half an hour ago, having drawn a face shot of Ratchet, and likening him to Bones.

    And I always refer to Jazz as "the guy James Bond wishes he could be" - he's got all the top-notch infiltration, information-gathering and sabotage skills of Bond, as well as all the charm - but with none of the arrogance.

    I've always referred to Soundwave as kind of like the mirror universe Spock, as well; watching everyone, gathering information to use to advance his own position and to counter threats to his 'captain'; making excellent use of the power he's earned, but making sure to stay just short of the top spot, since it's always the guy at the top that everyone's gunning to usurp.

    Prowl could probably be likened to the usual version of Spock; right-hand man to the captain; dedicated to finding logic in all things, and completely baffled by the relative irrationality of those around him.

    Wheeljack's archetype, of course, is flat-out stated on his bio - he's the mad scientist, coming up with all the whack-job ideas that nobody else can think of, and remaining completely undeterred when they blow up in his face.

    There's Buzzsaw, the temperamental artist, of course, and I think Laserbeak could quite easily be likened in some ways to the little loudmouth who hides behind the bully; sounding big, but only as long as he's got the big guns to back him up. And not forgetting the class prankster, Skywarp.
     
  7. Movebuster

    Movebuster Hiding True Intelligence

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Posts:
    533
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Likes:
    +0
    I am laughing at these. They are so true!:popcorn 
     
  8. Optimus Sledge

    Optimus Sledge Yar har fiddle di dee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Posts:
    7,925
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +0
    The only problem I have is with your view of Sideswipe, but mainly because the only one of Go Nagai's works I'm familiar with is X Bomber/Star Fleet. Siders just doesn't fit as Shiro Hagen.
     
  9. Greyryder

    Greyryder Kitbashed

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Posts:
    4,585
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    I'd say Jazz is probably more Flynt, than Bond.

    I don't see Sunstreaker as a bishi. He's far too outwardly vain, for that. I've seen him likened to a well dressed thug, before. I think that description fits him well.
     
  10. Optimus Sledge

    Optimus Sledge Yar har fiddle di dee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Posts:
    7,925
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +0
    Sunstreaker is Sean Connery's Bond.
     
  11. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    17,586
    Trophy Points:
    297
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +88
    Heh, yeah... perhaps I was a bit facetious with my Go Nagai comment. Basically I was referring to that particular kind of anime anti-hero who despite being a happy guy most of the time, is also stupidly stubborn and almost psychotically battle-hungry. You know, that dude who puts on a big stupid grin full of sharp teeth when he takes a punch from a really tough opponent. Go Nagai loves those types. :) 

    Hmm... maybe I'm using "bishy" too broadly. I don't mean the boyish Bishonen. I mean the androgynous guy who is very obviously vain, usually taunts his enemies with a bored smile and half-closed eyes (perhaps while sniffing a rose), and then proceeds to tear them to pieces. It's more often an archetype used for villains, but it matches Sunstreaker's description quite well.

    Though admittedly, with Bond, the arrogance is half the fun. :) 

    Prowl is a good Spock-like figure, though it seems to be his manner might be more Data-like. Of course Prowl was conceived long before Data hit television. And if Soundwave is Mirror Spock, then what about Shockwave?

    I agree with your take on Wheeljack, though I'd add that he's also a complete motorhead. It's often overlooked that 'Jack is supposed to be the best driver out of the Autobots, with a daredevil mentality to match. I see him as the kind of guy who's constantly tuning his car, and adding nitro-injection and all sorts of dangerous stuff, probably while playing 70's hard rock, with a girlie calendar on the wall and a bench piled with tools. Except in his case, he IS the car!

    zmog
     
  12. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Posts:
    4,131
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    I think another good, particularly well-known, example of that kind of character (again, obviously conceived of some time after 'Streaker, but the archetype is there) is Vega from the Street Fighter series.

    Yes. But how long would you be able to spend with Bond before you wanted to smack him one (obviously you wouldn't, because he's kick your arse, but still...)? Jazz, I feel you could genuinely spend ages with him and like him more all the time.

    Possibly also Mirror Spock, in some respects. You're right, in that he's an obvious Spock-alike because of the logic thing. But I don't think the reasons I applied to Soundwave for it apply to Shockwave. I genuinely don't think Soundwave particularly wants to lead the Decepticons (as I'm pretty sure I recall was the case with Spock); Shockwave does (or at least he thinks it's logical that he should) - he's just willing to play the long game.

    Blimey, I've just realised. He's Doc Brown! :lol 
     
  13. Johnator

    Johnator 'Til All Are Gone!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Posts:
    4,338
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +0
    Thought I would add a few...

    Powerglide-The Evil Kneeval of the skies. Daredevil type.

    Beachcomber-Hippie. Can't really think of an individual that stands out but
    he definitely embodies the whole vibe.

    Shockwave-Mr. Spock. Since we already have McCoy what about Spock too? :)  He is governed by logic and I can almost hear "That is illogical Megatron"

    EDIT: GRRR just saw the Shockwave post!
     
  14. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Posts:
    17,586
    Trophy Points:
    297
    Location:
    Robot Narnia, Quebec
    Likes:
    +88
    Yep! He even has the ears! :) 

    zmog
     
  15. Johnator

    Johnator 'Til All Are Gone!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Posts:
    4,338
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +0
    OMG You are right! :lol 
     
  16. sunnyswipe

    sunnyswipe autobot

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Posts:
    179
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Likes:
    +2
    the description of g1 megatron as Colonel Klink from hogan's heroes
    in the unnofficial guide to transformers always me laugh, other than that my minds blank at the min.....
     
  17. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Posts:
    32,062
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +11
    Powerglide reminds me more of Maverick from Top Gun:
    • he's cocky
    • he's a pilot
    • he's short. AS HELL :lol 
    • he's constantly getting over his head
    • chicks dig him

    Prowl is the police chief in all the 80s movies that yells at our hero about procedure. See Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Police Academy and many others. :lol 

    Great thread!
     

Share This Page