Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by Liege Nemesis, Feb 12, 2021.
Make that 2
Good to hear from you, Wave! As others have said, you haven't missed much if anything.
Didn't know this was happening. Looks like I've got some rewatching to do. Be back soon.
I have the last two episodes for the previous week (37 and 38) watched but I'll need some time to finish writing the reviews. So expect them tomorrow and then we move onto the final week of Beast Wars II.
If Brave Maximus wasn't Reactivated in Car Robot Lio Convoy and his Crew would have use him to obliterate that Eyesore Planet Nemesis Without any Problem.
EPISODE 37: THE CRISIS OF PLANET GAIA (惑星ガイアの危機)
The fact that Navi saves the day almost makes up for all the other nonsense that goes on.
Overall I liked this episode, but felt a little put off by the fact that it manages to be very important and does a lot of interesting stuff while also feeling like it's a little bit of a stretched-out plot that was made to fill an episode on its own rather than comboing with another story to form a more complete 22 minutes.
It also doesn't help that Convoy once again looks like a bit of a rube, made a rather obvious fool of by Galvatron in the same sort of way that Optimus Prime was made to look dumb in Heavy Metal War. Writers seem to have trouble recognizing that you can have a compassionate, peace-minded, noble good guy leader who wants to solve issues non-violently or honorably without having to also make them naive, overly trusting, and easily manipulated.
There's also some standard issue Artemis problems, but those are so frequent that sometimes they almost don't even feel like they're worth mentioning.
On the up side while Convoy looks dumb, it's an opportunity to do some interesting, deeper stuff with Galvatron that makes him out to be more than simply cartoonishly evil, and that's always a welcome development in any series. Lio Junior is also less of a focal point in this episode than he is otherwise. Yeah, he still has some focus since he's the one who can see Moon (for whatever stupid reason) but I'm mostly happy that he's not the one that handles some of the important duties (that falls to everyone's favorite Maximal, Scuba), nor is he the one to save the day.
Because the one who saves the day is the one you least expect: Navi! My favorite little computer done gets to be the hero and continues the recent trend of showing some interesting uses of her newfound mobility and independent drone body. It makes me wish they had figured out a way to better integrate her across more of the series, but I am at least happy they're doing something interesting now.
After the dust settles the episode sets us up for the final story arc and makes good use of interesting characters, and mostly avoids the biggest and most frustrating things that have tripped the series up so far. Hopefully this is a solid sign of where the show is going as it closes things out.
-Since this was essentially a two-parter we get a full recap of what was happened last episode to lead us to the point we've reached. Martian space temple, chubby baby Cosmos, tear the moon out of orbit, destroy everything, blah blah blah. You know what happened. But gotta eat up those 50 seconds that might otherwise need *gasp* original animation!
RKStriker is right, the way that the last stretch of episodes is cheaping out and pinching yen, the finale had better be epic.
-Now that they know the computer is just going to obliterate the planet, Lio Convoy springs into action, shouting "Apache, cover me!"
cover you from what exactly? We've seen no indications of any defences for the computer. You're not being actively attacked right now. Sure there probably will be some kind of defence once you do open fire, but usually one doesn't ask for cover unless they need breaks or interrupts in the attack.
-And hten right on cue Convoy is assaulted by a bunch of mechanical tentacles. WA-HAY! This took a really quick inappropriate turn!
No, Japan. No. Not this time.
-Which causes Apache to respond with a new set of chest cannons that deploy out from his missile banks and also could be considered inappropriate imagery! All we need now is Thrustor to show up with his weird groin sword and we're set.
Machine-gun jubblies? How did I miss those?
-It turns out the mechanical arm/tentacle things can regenerate when attacked and then the two Maximals get overwhelmed and grabbed and I keep waiting for a ratings graphic to pop up in the corner and tell me this is now TV-AO
-But don't worry, MagnaJuniorBossLio is here to save the day.
-And for once he makes a decent choice, asking Navi to call the rest of the Maximals in for backup. Sorry RKStriker, no "this is something he's gotta do himself" moment here.
-Meanwhile on the moon, Artemis whines that she needs Moon to do something to save her from being crushed. Of secondary importance: everyone else and the rest of the planet Gaia, including all the innocent biological life on it.
-And now we finally get to see the other Maximals and what they're doing while the moon is approaching to kill them all.
The answer is nothing. They're staring at the moon wondering if it's growing. With some dull, uninterested expressions on their face. I've made a ton of dull surprise jokes before, but man Pat Lee would love this show.
-Scuba knows what's going on. Because he's the smart one. And the strong one. and the cool one. And basically everything that the writers keep trying to tell us Lio Junior is. they had their awesome viewpoint character right here for the taking and they blew it.
-And it's only now that Kid clues in that they've been dismantling the Yukikaze and no longer have nany means of escape. Not that they could've escaped before since the ship was irreparably damaged in the crash. But still.
Also damn, that face Kid makes sure is... something.
I have no idea what this is.
-Kid breaks into tears and says that at the very least he wanted to "die on a tatami mat on our Maximal homeworld..."
1) We're not calling it Cybertron?
2) Since when are there tatami mats on Cybertron? Do the cultivate space bamboo to weave them? Is this going to be one of those "I just made a random earth/Japan reference that makes no sense and now I'm going to point out that it makes no sense by questioning what the thing I just said means." jokes?
-LioMagnaBossJunior asked Navi to contact the rest of the Maximals and I naturally assumed she would use comm channels because those are a well established thing that serves the purpose easily. but nerp! She actually flies all the way back to base to get them personally. At least Scuba is the one to take charge and get the report from her.
-The Maximals arrive at the entrance to the Mother Computer's location but since this is a Transformers show and we need some exciting fights full of toyetic action, the Predacons are there waiting for them in the form of Hellscream, Max-B, Thrustor, and Dirgegun. Oh, also Gigastorm is there too.
-Turns out I lied. Yes there is a fight, but it's not really that exciting. It's everyone standing in one place (or floating in the air if you're the Predacons) and exchanging gunfire while nobody moves or gets hit.
-Back inside BossLioJuniorMagna desperately tries to hack at the robot tentacles with his sword even though it accomplishes nothing before deciding that the optimal solution is just to hit them harder. So he uses his Angolmois Ball attack and of course while nothing else worked this does because he has the be the one who saves Convoy and Apache from whatever inappropriate things the tentacles were about to do to them.
-Outside again it seems like the Predacons are on the verge of winning when Galvatron tells them to retreat. He's figured out that the Maximals are trying to stop the moon's approach and decides that he likes the idea of not being obliterated in their rush to beat the Maximals. So we get some time-stalling stock footage and the Preds all bail except Galvatron, who simply watches the Maximals proceed to try to stop the destruction of the planet so that he can then beat them himself and take all the Angolmois energy like he wants.
-And with that domino tipped we also apparently (ugh) have to check in with Artemis, who is continuing to be whiny and annoying. A computer voice tells her that there's 5 minutes before the moon will be pulled down by Gaia's gravity and would no longer be able to be returned to its normal orbit. So Artemis whines that Moon isn't doing anything and that she was mistaken to depend on him. It would've been easy to make her sympathetic here but nope, screeching jerkishness!
-The other Maximals meet up with Convoy and Apache and... ugh... the "hero" but all admit that they have no idea how to stop the computer from controlling the moon. What's worse is that in a very sensible move, the mechanical arms are now cocooning the computer and protecting it from any kind of direct assault.
-Moon theorizes that even if they can't destroy the computer they just need to corrupt its program and break its controls. But he can't do anything in his weird sorta-intangible state and none of the other Maximals are really capable of that sort of thing. None except the one who can save them all...
No. Not this time. But really it's almost as good...
That's right, everyone's favorite put-upon, snarky computer AI gets to be the hero here! Let's all celebrate it until Lio Junior figures out a way to take the credit for himself!
-also maybe Navi can hear Moon? It's kind of unclear.
-All the Maximals pool their firepower together to try and crack the tentacle cocoon around the computer but it's not enough. So if they can't get Navi inside, how are they going to stop the moon? We'll find out right after these messages!
-The bumpers used here are weird. Not because they're wrong in any way, but because of the choice of characters in them. It's a pair of Autorollers. Autojetter and Autolauncher. In an episode where the Autorollers don't appear. And at a point in the series where they haven't been relevant for like 20 episodes. And even featuring the one Autoroller who got the rawest deal of all in terms of exposure and appearances.
I even want to say that I don't remember the Autorollers getting any bumpers prior to this, but I can't remember for sure at this point.
-The Maxiamls' continued efforts to break the computer's guard sure are a nice way to keep the budget down, re-using the same footage over and over and overa again.
-And while they're doing this and are distracted, Galvatron has snuck down into the computer room and watches them fruitlessly try to achieve a different result by doing the same thing over and over again. for a brief moment it looks like he's going to take aim at the distracted Lio Convoy, but instead he does the sensible and right thing and shoots a big energy beam out of the crystal thing on his chest which combines with the Maximal attacks and finally gets through the arms. So not only is Navi going to be the hero, but Galvatron plays an integral role.
-Also for whatever reason Galvatron's intervention triggers something in Convoy's energon Matrix for unexplained reasons.
-The defence is broken and Navi gets through and gets some really kick-ass guitar music for her big hero moment.
Shame on you, Cosmos Jr. What would your father say?
-Time for the narrator to pop in again and explain a bunch of stuff that's happening rather than just show it. He has to tell us that Navi can't rewrite the programming as easily as she thought and that they don't have much time left, which cuts to Artemis freaking out on the moon as the computer tells her there's only a minute before the point of no return. They could've achieved this without the narrator intervention and without Artemis' ungodly screeching.
-In fact, Navi's whole reprogramming is nothing but the narrator explaining what's happening, Artemis freaking out, and beeping.
-And of course she finally succeeds and averts the crisis with just 1 second left before it would've been too late.
-And that's how Navi saves the day. Everyone celebrates. Even me because finally a character who deserves a win gets one.
Kid doesn't deserve the win though. Especially not when his whole contribution to this episode is making dumb faces.
-Well, Convoy doesn't celebrate. instead he goes outside and finds Galvatron watching the moon from atop a cliff. The pair of an intense staredown before Convoy finally says that he knows Galvatron helped save the planet.
-too bad Convoy kind of ruins it by suggesting that if Galvatron had done nothing the Maximals would've been destroyed. He should be smart enough to figure out that it would mean the Predacons could also be killed (though perhaps not since their ship isn't damaged and is presumably still space-worthy) and that they would lose out on their whole reason for being on the planet in the first place. I'd suggest Convoy should be smarter than this but we all know that's not a given.
-And just to hammer home how dumb Convoy is being, when Galvatron explains this to his counterpart, Convoy says "the Predacons' purpose?" as if he's completely in the dark about the very obvious goal that Galvatron has had since the very early stages of the series.
-The advantage is that this also gives Galvatron an opportunity to re-state that the motivation for his plans is to use the power obtained to create peace under Predacon rule. So all the stuff he said to Lio Junior when he brainwashed him a couple of episodes ago is kinda true and ends up making for a more interesting villain. Too bad it took until we're like 5 episodes from the end of the series to get any real exploration of that or the compare/contrast of Galvatron and Convoy's goals.
-Convoy tries to use the brief truce for a common goal to convince Galvatron to stop the fight, but just as it looks like he might get through the other Maximals emerge from teh computer base and see Galvatron open fire on the extremely naive and trusting Lio Convoy. And for the Galvaburg to arrive and really put the Maximals at a disadvantage as the Predacons beam their commander back up to the ship to continue the fight another day.
-Apparently we also find out that this valley with the weird lion's den angolmois cave and mother computer base is called the "Valley of the Lions." What an interesting name that would've been useful at any point before the entire story set there was less than 2 minutes from ending.
-Gigastorm doesn't want to take any chances with the Maximals and drops a bunch of cartoony spikey mines on everyone, destroying the valley and presumably the computer while Convoy stands there and mopes about how his idealism didn't work.
As a cost cutting move, Galvatron figured sea mines would work just as well as aerial bombs.
-And finally with everyone escaped from the valley, Lio Junior bids farewell to Moon, who has to return back to his base on the moon and continue doing nothing of importance for unexplained reasons.
-But also the narrator pops in to remind us that THEARTIFICALPLANETNEMESIS™ is still coming and still corrupting hte Angolmois Energy on the planet and this whole 2-episode arc was largely for nothing.
-So we end on the Second Transmission which just also reminds us of the same thing the narrator just did and tells us that their previous attempts to stop the Predacons failed. Gotta fill time!
+Navi saves the day
+Scuba gets to be kinda important
+Lio Junior is somewhat marginalized
+The Galvatron stuff is really interesting
-This ends up feeling like just a bit of a time-waster
-Convoy comes off like a rube
-Artemis is infuriating.
EPISODE 38: TAKE OFF! PLANET GAIA (飛び出せ! 惑星ガイア )
Last episode I said I hoped that it was a sign that things were trending up for the final arc. Unfortunately that momentum didn't carry through cleanly to this episode. Sure, it's a big climax-feeling episode that really acts as a send-off for Gaia and a lot of the things we've had up to this point in the series. It also involves basically every character in the series to date. That's all great.
But then it goes a bit off the rails. The plans put in play don't always make total sense. The writers have seemingly lost a sense for time and scope that makes it distracting when you have to stop and think about timelines that are set up or how things are geographically/physically laid out. Yeah, that's a bit picky, and yeah I think there's a certain amount that you have to be willing to tolerate in any show. But in this case I just felt like it took advantage of that allowance and tried to exploit it to the extent that it went too far.
Also like last episode, this one feels a bit like its pacing is kind of wonky. Oddly it feels both too short and too long at the same time, as if it could've either inhabited a multi-episode arc with more going on to fill it out and pad things or as a condensed single act of an episode with other story threads to help carry things when this plot couldn't sustain the full 22 minutes on its own. Either direction would've been beneficial but in lieu of that we just get a whole episode that drags and drags and drags and then has a bunch of stuff happen in rapid fire succession once time becomes an issue. And the weird stop/start feeling of it only serves to further pull me out of the story.
And with that we move on to the last 4 episodes, the final stretch of the last arc to close out this series. Will it find its groove again like the previous episode did? Or keep slowing down like this one. There's only one way to find out, and that will happen over the next week.
-If anyone's looking at the screen with a serious case of side-eye for the opening YT video, I might as well break every comedy rule there is and explain the joke (or rather the reference).
The thing I was referencing is "The Great White North" segments from classic 80s sketch show SCTV. Or more specifically the song created for the spin-off movie based on those segments, "Strange Brew". In the sketches/movie the main character duo of Bob & Doug McKenzie use "take off" (or, to make it more Canadian, usually it was "take off, eh..." as an all-purpose insult like "shut up" or "<insert profanity of choice here> off" or whatever.
If we want to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole for those that don't know what SCTV or The Great White North was...
Spoiler: I imagine most of you can skip this part unless you want to learn about 80s Canadian sketch comedy
SCTV was a Canadian sketch comedy series in the 70s and 80s created by the members of the Toronto arm of the Second City improv comedy group. Created conceptually as a show that presented the broadcast contents of a tiny TV station in the fictional town of Melonville, it was all just an excuse for any number of extremely wacky sketches and characters from a cast that included John Candy, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Harold Ramis, Catherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, and Martin Short. Pretty much a big chunk of the heaviest hitters in comedy in the 80s.
Now where Great White North comes in is actually a fun story in and of itself. I think I talked about this during the Beast Wars rewatch but Canadian TV networks have a specific requirement to air a percentage of their programming as "Canadian Content", meaning made in, produced by, starring, and/or geared to Canada and Canadians. Ostensibly this is just to prevent Canadian networks from buying a whole whack of US-made programming for cheaper than they could make their own and being little more than US simulcast networks (even though that largely happens anyway since most networks bleed off their Canadian Content requriement thresholds through morning/evening news programs and overnight stuff such as infomercials or the like). Given that SCTV had a decent number of Americans working on it and was being aired in the US as well, when Canadian national network CBC (which is in part government-funded) picked the show up, they demanded "identifiably Canadian content" be put into the show to satisfy the idea that this was a product for Canada even though the show was filmed in, written by, and mostly starring Canadians. Severely pissed off at this requirement, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis created the most offensively stereotypically Canadian nonsense they could think of, a pair of brothers sitting around in heavy coats and toques, drinking Canadian beer and talking about Canadian things in the thickest "hoser"/rural Ontario accents possible. Unexpectedly it became one of the most popular sketches in the series and ended up leading to a movie spin-off, the aforementioned "Strange Brew" which largely functions around the brothers attempting to extort free beer from the local brewery by faking finding a dead rat in a bottle, but they end up stumbling onto a bizarre plot by a brewery employee to take over the company and unleash a tainted beer that can be used to mind control its drinkers and turn them docile or hostile at will (yes, it's exactly as weird as it sounds in the best way possible)
The best part is that the evil mastermind is played by Max von Sydow and also featured a voice cameo by Mel Blanc (seriously) as Bob & Doug's dad.
and now I've spent like 15 minutes writing about an 80s comedy show just to explain a one-off joke at the start of a review for a late 90s transforming robot anime. We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion of how much Lio Junior sucks.
-Guess what, THEARTIFICIALPLANETNEMESIS™ is actually approaching Gaia now! It's taken I don't now how many episodes (at least 10? More than 12?) but it's finally here! With only 5 episodes to go! Good thing they didn't cut it any closer or the show would've been over first.
-Inside the Yukikaze, Navi calculates that they have 168 hours until planetfall for the Predacon ultimate weapon. It's a weird thing to enjoy but I really like that it's a totally random and seemingly arbitrary number. None of this "they'll be here in exactly 3 days" or "we've only got 45 minutes until the bomb goes off" nonsense. It's a number that has no bearing on anything because it was calculated at a random time with far too many factors to line up neatly into a round final figure.
-Santon even gets a line in response. These last two episodes just might be the most he's ever spoken outside of the times he just says "youngster!" when Lio Junior does something stupid.
-Skywarp gets a bunch of lines too, but in a completely bizarre staging decision, Skywarp's face is mostly obscured by the broad kibble wings that hang off Lio Junior's back. I know why it looks like this (because we have to keep Lio Junior in the middle of the shot since he's the most important character in the franchise) but why didn't they just scoot Skywarp like 4 feet to camera left so we could actually see more of him than just his eagle head and one optic?
If you ever doubted that the show just sees Skywarp as a prop to give Lio Junior a super mode
-Convoy dramatically says "the time has come to use our last resort." in a knowing tone. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Not Apache nor anyone else seem to know what the "last resort" actually is.
-Cut to after the title card and Convoy explains the plan: They're going to modify Santon and Skywarp's ship, everyone's going to board it, and then they're going to fly out into space and destroy THEARTIFICIALPLANETNEMESIS™ there before it makes planetfall (if it's actually going to end up entering the Gaia atmosphere. Things have been a little bit unclear about what's going to happen when it makes it to its destination. Sometimes it sounds like it'll just suck up the energy from orbit. But sometimes the Maximals talk like its course will lead it to crash on the planet.)
-Everyone is surprised by this plan. So... if they only have about 170 hours before their time runs out, how was Convoy thinking they were going to make the modifications and launch it within a week without any prep or planning?
-Lio Convoy proudly announces this will be "Codename Z" with a dramatic music sting. So he couldn't let anyone in on the plan to ensure it's success, but he took the time to come up with a needlessly pretentious name (which Kid claims is named so because "there's nothing after it.")
-Bighorn then dramatically responds "it's the Z of XYZ!!!" Ummm, yeah? Ok?
-The rest of the troops begin to question if the plan is too risky or carries too low a chance of success, to which Navi helpfully pipes up and says that she crunched the numbers and the success rate is 0.1%
This means you know it's going to work.
-Convoy's response is basically "If you have a better idea let's hear it"
-And you wanna make this even more ridiculous? after finding out that htey have 168 hours until their target arrives, Navi now tells them they have to depart Gaia in the ship in the next 48 hours or "you won't be able to be on its trajectory."
So what are they going to do for the other 120 hours?
-Elsewhere Galvatron is giddy that their victory is at hand. While Gigastorm whinges that he dislikes not being able to trash the Maximals himself. Yeah, like you really had a chance, bud.
-His complaining is cut short as Hellscream reports in that his "Peeping Head" has found something.
He might want to consider changing that name...
-Also he looks weird without that head peace on his beast mode.
Yeah, he kinda looks like the type of weirdo that has a tool called a "peeping head"
-What he's found is the Insectrons working in a cave. Gigastorm wants to leave them but he's an idiot. Because it turns out they're making parts for Lio Convoy's plan. Which somehow involves a catapult which is "the most difficult part" of the build.
Now I'm intrigued about how ridiculous this plan could end up being.
-Navi gives her seal of approval to Drillnuts' work though. I'm really enjoying how much importance they're giving Navi as an operations controller in these last few episodes.
-Hellscream wants to attack the cave, but gets a radio call from Galvatron saying that Dirgegun and Thrustor have found the Maximals' base and they should regroup for an attack.
-It actually seems like they really did find the base. They found the Niagara Base outpost. That's pretty close to a win for the idiot duo.
-We interrupt this important development to check in on Artemis and Moon freaking out because if their base is discovered it means the Maximals will be homeless and Artemis is concerned about where they would sleep and eat and drink oil and it would mean they'll become homeless.
because clearly that is the most pressing concern facing this planet that has a giant death engine just a week away and ready to kill everything.
-The Maximals begin defending the base from Predacon attack and in the counter they have a really shouty conversation where Diver says he's not happy about using his base as a decoy and acts really mopey and depressed about it while everyone else fights for their lives. Someone might want to get Diver some counsel ling. He seems like he could use it.
-Gigastorm shows up and sometimes I forget that he's actually Trypticon-sized when not using the weird shrink ray on the Pred ship
-Hellscream's suspicion about this fight isn't based on anything more than "Dirgegun and Trhustor shouldn't have found the base so easily"
-So they retreat and head back to their old location and arrive just in time to find the Maximals' secret missile/ship plan because the Insectrons accidentally blow a giant hole in the roof. Ok, fine. We're clearly just trying to get through this and set up the final showdown. No time to let this play out more sensibly.
-This leads us to Convoy, Junior, Skywarp, and Apache vs Hellscream, Max-B and the late-arriving Autorollers.
-Though it's not really a fight as much as it is endless scenes of everyone calling their attacks. I get that it's a shonen anime staple, but after a while it really starts to grate on me that every attack has to have a name.
-Well, we couldn't make it through a whole episode without some dumb Lio Junior stuff as he says he'll take on the entire autoroller lineup.
You do that kid. I believe in you. (not)
-and now that Junior's broken the seal on dumb stuff, it's time to pour some gas on that fire with the (ugh) Jointrons!
-The Jointrons loudly declare that they "are the heroes" *barf*
-and we skip right to Tripledacus.
-Oooh, more Autoroller commercial bumpers. Neat.
-Tripledacus has a weapon called the "Triple Blaster" which only fires two beams. Somehow that's perfectly appropriate.
-Seriously, everyone in this fight calls their attacks, and everyone has at least 4 or 5 different attacks. It's overkill.
-continuing the whole "writers have no sense of time" issue, last time we saw Convoy talking about the timeframe with Navi and Drillnuts, they had 48 hours. That was when they were being spied on by Hellscream. Now, with no visibly passing day-night cycle or indication that this fight isn't happening in real time, Drillnuts announces that they have to leave within the next 30 minutes to make their target.
-They also keep making remarks about "being on target with the trajectory" but THEARTIFICIALPLANETNEMESIS™ is headed straight for Gaia. It's trajectory is apparently supposed to end with it maybe crashing into the planet. So that means that meeting its trajectory is a simple matter of backtracing its path and heading along it. It's not like they have to launch to reach a point far away as it would pass by.
-With the ship launching imminently, the Maximals defending Niagara base abandon it and it's quickly overrun and destroyed, leaving Diver despondent.
-the others tell him to buck up because he can rebuild another base afterwards if they survive this, and suggests naming it after a pair of other waterfalls in Japan. It's a weird turn to go from naming the initial base after a North American waterfall to suddenly naming it after a couple of Japanese ones.
-I think Bighorn cries over the destruction of Niagara base? Weird.
-Predictably as the Maximals go through all this silliness, the only one immune to it is Scuba. But there's no time for this to lead anywhere as Galvatron shows up to stop the quartet from making it to hte base.
-Right as we switch over Drillnuts telling convoy that they have to leave right now or risk missing their window. Lio Junior volunteers to go find the others. Yes! You do that, kid! Then you can get left behind, the planet can be destroyed with you on it and we can all be happy.
-I'm kind of frustrated by this weird quick face turn for Junior. Just like Chromedome any presumption of him having some kind of journey where he learns humility and maturity are tossed aside in favor of him being a massive jerk right up to the point where he isn't and is suddenly noble and honorable.
-It turns out Skywarp and Santon go with him in his search so that they can turn right to Magnaboss to face Galvatron and use the most powerful weapon they have against the Predacons: stock footage!
-Meanwhile as Tripledacus fights the Autorollers and Magnaboss fights Galvatron, Apache and Convoy have no choice but to leave by themselves right now because they have only 30 seconds remaining in their launch window. So now it's up to just them. how dramatic.
-And with that the rocket/ship/whatever launches. Dramatic music swells and this would seem like a great point for the episode to end and set us up for the next one.
...what's that? We've still got like 5 minutes left?
-Somehow even though they weren't there for the launch and are apparently a fair distance away and pinned down by Galvatron, the Maximals manage to reach the base as the rocket is taking off on its luanch ramp and jump onto the ship before it gets away. What? This doesn't make any sense.
- Suddenly Max B fires a shot at the end of the launch ramp and it just falls apart. Why weren't they trying that earlier? Also why is it so weak? At least they foreshadowed this possibility...
-Then out of nowhere comes Tripledacus to press the ramp back into shape and get teh ship off apparently with no deviations from their course. Oh god, the jointrons saved the day.
-The ship heads skyward, separates a back portion and seems primed to get away from Gaia and the rest of the Predacons. Pretty gutsy move to seemingly dispose of your primary villains with 4 episodes left (I know it's really 5, but the next episode is a clip show)
-And even with the battle over we still have to kill time by giving stock footage of Hellscream and Max -B transforming to their beast modes.
-Convoy uses his "Codename Z" mission name for only the second time (the first being when he invented it) and the episode ends with some silent looks out the viewports and very 80s saxaphone music.
-Or it doesn't end. Because we're now on the Predacon ship with Galvatron saying he took measures to deal with this eventuality. And his grin now features creepily detailed teeth.
While his primary mission has always been universal domination, secondary was his desire to get a toothpaste sponsorship.
-One more shot of the giant space eyeball and some ominous music and not even the narrator popping into explain what's going on and now that's it.
-Cue the Second Transmission segment where now that we're on episode 38 and THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ has been a thing for quite a while Artemis is going to ask "what is this Nemesis thing?" as if it hasn't been explained before.
Also get the name right, Artemis. You have to say the whole thing.
-I don't understand why it had to be classified as an "artificial planet" rather than some kind of ship. Even if it's rock-like it's clearly more evocative of a ship than a planet.
-Things go off the rails in a way that's not really that funny and we wrap up. On to the final week!
+It's time for the last ditch effort
+Everyone gets involved
+The destruction of the Niagara base is a big deal
-The writers' sense of time and scale is so wonky that it distracts from what's going on.
-Elements of the plan make little sense
-This episode feels like it should've either been a multi-episode arc unto itself or compressed into one act of a single episode with more meat. It just doesn't balance well
-Lots of bots are made to look stupid or incompetent
This show took an inappropriate tone a while ago.
Really, it would be a mercy killing at this point.
Kid's having a stroke, get help!
This show in its entirety isn't that exciting.
Pragmatic Galvatron is pragmatic.
Comedic relief amirite?
It's not like he had much choice.
"HELP! I'M GONNA CRASH!!!"
But this anime was made for children. And by children, I mean stupid children. Even the G1 cartoon was batter written than this trash-boat!
That's just how (bad) anime rolls, you only find out why anyone is doing anything in like the final act and we're just expected to think it's a profound revelation.
Useless filler like everything between the first couple of episodes and the last four.
Not yet, it's still approaching.
Because the animation studio stopped caring a long time ago.
Modern Major General Lio Convoy didn't want to ruin the surprise.
NO MORE SLEEP!
Now that's just bad writing. If you wanted them to have only 48 hours, you should've just started with that.
Ew, that sounds so illicit.
Comedic relief amirite?
I can't wait for this show to be over so we never have to deal with them again.
RIP Niagara Base.
It's a badly-written show that was literally created to be filler, what did you expect?
Because it's FUCKING HUGE!
Checked episodes 37 and 38.
37 I found to be rather meh and uneventful.
However, 38... Jointrons save the day?
Again, I just feel these guys just get way too much flak, and honestly, I just enjoy them a lot. They are such wackos, and I just enjoy seeing more of them.
However, we also gotta have Magnaboss around.
But then, Hellscream with his extra flamboyance saves the day:
Honestly, 38 is something, and I hope it gets better from there. And yes, couldn't think of a better way to describe my thoughts on these two episodes other than Luthor gifs and pics.
Like Optimus Primal most times? God, I miss him. I'm glad i got his ER figure.
Thank goodness for competence. This is not something the idiot has to do himself!
I fear @Rojixus reaction will be the correct one...
He's trying oh so hard to be decisive and a good leader! It's almost endearing!
And they're not even the sexy tentacles! Show, come on!
Wait. Did I say that out loud?
Holy crap! KISS Players had a prototype!
Hey, I'm glad!
God, what an asshole.
I mean it was made on the cheap, so yeah.
Happens more than once. That's why 'Ensemble Darkhorse' is a thing.
Ooh, that's a skeevy mug! Kid, stop that!
ONE MORE TOY-SELLING CHANCE!
Okay, I like that. Pretty pragmatic of him. Reminds me of what the Kingpin did in the 1990's Spider-Man animated series. "It is very bad for business!"
She'll save every one of us!
Kinda sad the second-best Maximal is the computer.
Hey, that means he didn't actively screw anything up. For him that's almost positive!
Good fucking lord. You are DENSER THAN LEAD!
Oh, I loved SCTV. Nick at Nite used to air reruns of it.
Did it stop off at the 7/11 for a drink and snack?!
As @Rojixus said, the animators don't care/have given up. Or Skywarp is ashamed to be in the show.
he wasn't thinking.
I think it's their only win.
This is something he has to do himself and hopefully get killed over!
He was also hoping to improve his TMNT impression.
EPISODE 40: REVENGE OF THE SPACE PIRATES (宇宙海賊の復讐)
A farewell to both beloved and disliked characters in the same episode? It's almost like a win!
Hey the Seacons are back! For one last time we get to see 5 of the most fun characters from this series as the show continues to wrap up character and plot threads on the way to its finale.
And while the return of beloved characters does help carry this episode to a solid grade, it's also one that benefits from some fun work by Scuba and Navi, who have enjoyable moments during proceedings that help to break things up a bit. The only disappointment in all of this is that the Seacons almost feel a bit wasted by this plot. They sort of have their moment while being brainwashed and then at the end they're free and that's it and we all move on never to see them again. It would've been more fun to see them briefly align themselves more closely with the Maximals to turn against Galvatron for his betrayal of them.
It's also nice that the show doesn't take the easy route of just letting the Maximals coast across the finish line. They encounter hardship and unexpected troubles and it makes things more interesting knowing they have to deal with those problems rather than simply launching from Gaia and reaching their ultimate destination with no issue.
And then as an added benefit we even appear to get the end of Artemis and Moon as characters of any significance to the series, ensuring that we shouldn't see them co-opt the plot at all over the final 3 episodes. I doubt it means they don't return at all but I'll take a scaled back presence as a win. Unfortunately, getting them out of the way comes with a price of letting Artemis, Moon, and Lio Junior pick up significant credit for the "win" that the Maximals score this episode during the climax. As if we needed one last chance for the show to shill them so shamelessly before relegating at least the moon duo to the back seat.
-Huh, we don't begin with a huge recap. Just a super short one (20 seconds).
-Convoy opens up by asking Navi how long until they reach THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ and we get our new ticking clock: 72 hours and 35 minutes.
That kind of sucks all the tension out of their "WE HAVE TO LAUNCH RIGHT NOW!" scramble last episode. I know they were already in a position where this was going to happen because the arrival deadline was like 170 hours to begin with, but they should've accelerated the timeline a bit so that the launch window left them with just a few hours to meet their target by the time they were en route. Because now it's either going to feel like this is going to drag (which it won't because *spoilers* the next episode is named "Breaking Into the Nemesis") or it's going to feel like all the time they've left themselves with is irrelevant as it's bled away in a flash.
-Suddenly a huge shadow appears in front of them, revealed to be the Seacons' pirate ship! This episode just got a whole lot better.
Ahoy, me hearties.
-Well that didn't take long. The whole timeline is already shot to hell and we're not even a full minute into the episode. The Seacon ship has appeared and THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ is right behind it. So they're going to be closing in on the Seacons in mere minutes (to accommodate the plot of this episode) but somehow it'd take another 3 days to reach the massive rocky death machine that's just trailing right behind?
-Immediately the Seacon ship opens fire on the Maximals. After the title card it cuts to Artemis and Moon, with the former confused about why this is happening. Moon doesn't offer an explanation, just notes that "if they miss their trajectory they can't get to the Nemesis anymore (moon)"
Between the time issue and this incessant "trajectory" harping they're doing a pretty bad job of creating tension with conceptual roadblocks that either feel out of scale or really awkwardly placed into the forefront.
-The Maximals are also surprised that the Seacons are attacking them. But this leads to them attempting to evade the attack and revealing that the ship has freedom of movement and controllable agility. The fact that it's not just an "aim and shoot" rocket like was kind of alluded to previously takes away the one out I would've given the writers on all their "trajectory" talk.
-Meanwhile the Predacons are now also in space, having just broken free of the atmosphere, and are watching the Seacons attack. Galvatron does nothing to explain why the Seacons are attacking when Gigastorm asks about it. That'd be fine if they ever answered the question at any point that wasn't as part of a clip show that offered no other new information. I was frustrated by that choice at the time, but now that I see how much extra space and filler type sections the show has had over its last 10-15 episodes, they certainly could've found some small part of one of the episodes to include this story thread instead of just burying it in an episode that otherwise shouts its unimportance from the rooftops.
-Anyway, back on track the Maximals end up crashing on one of the asteroids. That was quick. I honestly expected they'd at least a little bit longer.
-Having crashed, Convoy heads off to speak to the Seacons about why they attacked while everyone else works on repairing the ship. This is, obviously, a terrible idea since it means that Convoy is outnumbered 5-to-1. But we long ago established that Convoy is not exactly the smartest commander in the Maximal troop.
-The Seacons immediately attack Convoy with not a word in a series of budget-saving still-images (this episode also has had some pretty blatant re-used shots as well. Really scrimping on the animation budget. I just hope it pays off in the finale) and Junior (of course) wants to head out immediately and intervene. But Apache says "we'll be even further off our trajectory"
I'm starting to wonder if the writers actually know what "trajectory" means or if they're just taking it as "important thing we can use to create drama"
-Out of nowhere as Convoy is about to get shot a giant ball of energy slams into Halfshell and knocks him down. Of course Lio Junior just took out the Seacon leader with one shot. Because he's so cool and awesome and you love him as the greatest hero.
-But then he gets run down by Terrormander and all is forgiven. It requires Convoy stepping in to save him and the kid doesn't even flip out and scream at him about not needing help like I expected him to.
-Ok, the budget-conscious work continues as we flip through 3 combat scenes (Scylla blowing her "kiss of death" attack, Coelagon smashing his tail against the ground, and then Coelagon and Santon running together into a sort of sumo-pushing-fight type animation.) we get a brief reaction shot, and then repeat those exact sequences over again.
-I forget that Junior wasn't around for the Seacons. He has to ask Convoy who they are.
-Gotta eat up some more screen time with the combination sequences for both Magnaboss and God Neptune.
-Suddenly as the combiners begin their fight we see Apache, Kid, and Bighorn rush to Convoy's side.
That means that Scuba and Navi are the only ones left to fix the ship. It's good of them to leave the most capable bots for the job, but it's not going to matter that they defeat the Seacons if the ship is too damaged to fly.
-Wow, God Neptune is actually kind of handing it to Magnaboss. Good. It's nice to see Junior's super suit meat its match (and it looks bad on him that Convoy was able to go toe-to-toe with the combiner on his own.
-Oh, not all of the old jackass Junior is gone. Convoy steps in to help Magnaboss and Junior angrily responds "leave this guy to me!"
Yep, kid. Let's satisfy your honor at the cost of an entire planet.
-Oh yeah, Diver was still at the ship too. And he and Scuba and Navi have just finished repairing the ship because they're that awesome.
-Yay, watch God Neptune beat the crap out of Magnaboss! It's so satisfying.
-At least until Convoy and the other Maximals jump in to help by restraining God Neptune. Boo! This is something he's got to do himself!
-Also just in case you weren't clear about how little Skywarp and Santon matter, Convoy doesn't even do the combiner form the courtesy of addressing it by its actual name of Magnaboss. Nope. He shouts "Lio Junior!" as he leaps in to take God Neptune's sword out of commission.
-That's when Scuba and the Tako Tank literally explode onto the scene, bursting over the crest of a mountainous/spiny part of the topography, causing it to shatter into a giant cloud of dust and debris for some reason, so he can leap onto God Neptune's back and clutch his tentacles around the combiner.
After some of the events of previous episodes, I'm not convinced that this was an entirely innocent bit of staging, free of any innuendo or salacious symbolism.
The scale feels wrong for this but it might very well be reasonably accurate given how bit the Tank has to be to fit a passenger inside.
-The distraction gives JuniorBoss enough time to fire an Angolmois Ball and seemingly defeat God Neptune. And you know, earlier today while I was out for a walk I was thinking about why I think over-reliance on called/named super attacks makes anime fights less interesting: because it takes away the desire or need to present a fight as a real battle of wits/tactics/strength and instead reduces it to just shooting named moves back and forth until one wins. Shows that don't rely on excessively shonen attack name conventions tend to feel like they have more exciting battles because you don't know how they'll play out. But something like this ends up a bit paint-by-numbers because you know that no matter what else happens the fight is going to go on until MagnaLio gets to use the Magna Blade or Angolmois Ball to finish the baddie off.
-The force of the attack separates God Neptune into his component bots, needing us to go see the moon idiots celebrate for no reason.
-The Predacons are disappointed that God Neptune failed, but Hellscream is the one who's observant enough to recognize that at least it succeeded in stalling the Maximals long enough to likely prevent them from catching up with the approaching ARTIFICAL PLANET NEMESIS™
-And after those two diversions it's back to the Seacons, who awaken now free of the mind control that you wouldn't know they were under unless you watched the clip show that briefly mentioned it.
-but don't worry! If you're one of those people who skipped clip shows, you'll get the explanation of how the Seacons ended up here as Halfshell recounts it, regardless of whether or not it's even relevant anymore!
-Except that he doesn't entirely know what happened and posits that it's only "probably" the result of THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ that they turned evil (implying that it's an innate corrupting effect of the vessel and not something that was purposely caused by Galvatron.
-Scylla revives too and immediately goes into Scuba-stalking mode. It makes Bighorn all depressed and sad because he's too much of a dope to figure out she doesn't like him at all, but it does gives us the wonderful background event of Scuba quietly slipping in behind the Tako Tank to get away before Scylla sees him.
-But enough of that, we have to go back to everyone depressingly realizing that they have no way to catch up to their target anymore and the mission is a failure.
-But wait! Artemis is suddenly praying (deciding to be serious for once and not a dope) and it makes her glow for some reason! She prays oto find a way to save Gaia and it miraculously activates the Mother Computer on the planet, which seemingly tells her how they can get the Maximals back on track: use the moon as a gravity slingshot like in all those Star Trek time travel episodes.
We're all praying for a swift end to this conflict as well. Because then we don't need to visit with you again.
-So Moon travels out to the asteroid where the Maximals are and explains all of this to Lio Junior, that way he's indirectly responsible for getting them back on track and can soak up all the glory!
-And yep, Junior doesn't say to anyone that he got this plan from a magic space rabbit. He's gonna take all the credit.
-Meanwhile the Seacons stay on the asteroid because "it's our ship now" and Scylla waves a tearful goodbye to Scuba. And so ends the story of the Seacons in Beast Wars II. Farewell guys (and gal). You were the best. Besides Scuba.
Come on, Takara. The setup for the Scuba & The Seacons Piratey Adventures series was right there for the taking.
-The Seacons also gave the Maximals all the energy they had left to be able to enact this plan. How oddly noble of them
-Credit to the writers for apparently having watched enough Star Trek to actually care about getting the slingshot maneuver correct in terms of risks and execution. I know that it has its basis in reality (sorta) but let's be honest. We only know it because of Star Trek and sci-fi shows.
-And so the gang is now on course for the final showdown and everyone looks serious as some jazzy saxophone music plays in the background like this is the opening title for Saturday Night Live. The end.
-And then in the Second Transmission sequence Artemis no longer remembers doing any of the stuff she just did. Womp womp.
-But on the up side, Moon informs us that this is the last Second Transmission sequence! Contain your excitement, everyone!
+The Seacons are back
+Scuba and Navi are awesome!
+It's nice that things aren't just going super smoothly for the Maximals
+It's the end of Artemis and Moon!
-Lio Junior, Moon, and Artemis kind of pick up the biggest win
-This is a bit of a letdown in terms of being the sendoff for the Seacons.
I've been a bit slow on the reviews this week (like the last few weeks) as things pile up and I end up invariably pushing watching these back to deal with other stuff. I have 41 watched as well, just not written up. I'm hopeful that I can get 42 in tomorrow afternoon and worst case I'll be able to watch 43 on Monday or maybe Tuesday.
thankfully hockey seasons are quickly wrapping up over the next couple of weeks and that will give me some of my evenings back to do stuff like watch Neo. I still may take a 1-week "recharge" break after this though, just to set up for the next series.
When Neo starts I'll also probably have to address how everyone else will watch RID01/Car Robots when we get there after Neo since it's pretty much the black sheep of TF in the western world and Hasbro seemingly has no interest in carrying it in any capacity or acknowledging that it exists (though apparently part of that is because the rights are somehow tied up with ABC/Disney? That's weird. Of course I say that knowing that for years and years and years the rights to one of the best Godzilla movies, Godzilla vs Biollante, was essentially held up by the Weinstein company and they apparently didn't even know it)
Really, by this point Hasbro should've figured out how to launch a cheap (or free w/ad support?) streaming service for all their properties. You can't tell me people wouldn't be interested in a service that can offer all of the various brands they created/licensed and acquired in their purchase of Saban. Transformers, My Little Pony, GI Joe, Jem, Visionaries, Power Rangers, all those Power Rangers knockoffs they made (basically all of the notable ones besides Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad). Hell, if you add in all the smaller more mainstream production houses they apparently have bought up like Entertainment One and the Mark Gordon Company they've got a ton of watchable TV potentially at their disposal.
Episode 40 as I Type
The Artificial Planet Nemesis took so long to get to Earth, the Maximals had to come to it!
Seacons going in guns-ablazing, I see.
Starscream, quit sucking Galvatron's piston, you little bootlicker!
Oh no! The Seacons have become Dark Energon zombies!
Get rekt Lio Junior!
Yep, the Seacons are the better combiner team.
Well, looks like the only sensible solution is to leave Magnaboss to fight the Seacons while the Yukikaze goes on to deal with the Artificial Planet Nemesis. It's a sacrifice I'd be willing to make.
The Seacons are back to normal!
Why the fuck didn't Artemis try to connect to the Mother Computer when the moon was about to crash into Earth?
For space pirates, the Seacons are pretty based.
The show can't actually expect me to take Artemis as a serious character after an entire series of her bullshit, can it?
Artemis and Moon will never not be complete wastes of time.
Thank goodness for some positivity!
No, show. It's too late to try and get into our good graces.
I swear, giving out hard estimates for countdowns like this can really backfire. It's either too much time, so you wonder why all the rush, or too little, and you wonder how the hell the good guys are gonna be able to save the day in time.
Ahoy, me hearties!
See what I mean?
Honestly, one line would've been able to take care of it.
He's not the smartest commander among his own squad!
I'm guessing the latter. the days of Headmasters' legit cool astronomy stuff is over.
Boo! If it was one of the others, I could accept it. But Halfshell? Nope!
Legit nice bit of continuity, there.
oh, definitely not innocent. This was deliberate.
Brain scale and brain scale what is brain scale?
I would so watch it.
Dude, it's Beast Wars II. I can't blame you for going slow.
100% agreed. I'd subscribe.
Do you need a cyber-hug, I sincerely ask?
nah, I'll be fine. It's almost over.
EPISODE 41: BREAKING INTO NEMESIS (ネメシスへの突入)
No, show. You have to say the whole thing. It's "Breaking into THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™" And yes, that includes the trademark symbol.
This very much seems like the first part of what I imagine will be a 3-part final arc to close out the show. And it's.... OK, I guess?
Don't get me wrong, there are some good parts. A couple of really good parts, actually. Scuba gets a starring role which is always welcome because it means we see the task handled with professionalism and capability and no wild takes, crazy histrionics, selfish comedy mugging for the camera, or other nonsense. Normally that would make a character kinda boring, but Scuba ends up looking like a total badass for it because it makes him stand out from the rest of this show's cast and because he usually gets the job done with some fun flare.
But the big, interesting, if somewhat underutilized part of the episode is the beginning of the big showdown between Lio Convoy and Galvatron.
It's not exactly a big, brash robot smackdown like you might want for a final clash between two warring faction leaders, but it does actually take a fun turn as Galvatron turns it into less of a physical contest and more of a moral one. The reason it's interesting is that Galvatron makes some reasonable points. Sure, his actual plan for the Angolmois is pretty dastardly and stock evil. But when he asks Lio Convoy to define what he believes "justice" is as a means of pointing out his hypocrisy, it actually does something a little unexpected and unique with Convoy being unable to provide a proper answer to Galvatron's challenge. Unfortunately I question if this was meant to give Galvatron a "win" or portray Convoy as unsure or unprepared for the full breadth of responsibilities of leadership, and I can't help but think that when Convoy eventually gives a rather wishy-washy answer of "Justice is what's in one's heart!" that doesn't really answer anything we as the audience are supposed to go "yeah! That's right! What a noble and honorable hero this Lio Convoy is, having such a poetic feeling for what true justice entails!" and side with him.
Also while the end of Second Transmission segments hasn't meant the end of Artemis and Moon entirely, their presence and impact in the episode is minimal and consists only of a couple of reaction spots and nothing else. It may have taken us until the closing act of the series, but it's nice to see the benefit of not constantly having to flip over to the peanut gallery for unnecessary commentary and pointless whinging that distracts far too much from the episode.
Unfortunately for every step forward the episode takes, it also takes a step or two back.
The Galvatron/Convoy stuff is interesting, but it's pretty much all that's interesting. There's a secondary fight with the rest of the Maximals and Predacons but it doesn't amount to much besides a couple of comedy spots and feels like a bit of an after thought, as if they needed to pad out the rest of the episode so it wasn't just 20 minutes of the two leaders (and Scuba on his mission), but couldn't bring themselves to do more than just the bare minimum to get us there.
This is worsened by the fact that even though the leader fight is great and the other fight, well, isn't, we still flitter back and forth so rapidly between battles that you start getting whiplash. Neither one is allowed to progress in any meaningful way in one scene before it yanks you over to the other just long enough to get interested in it. And then right as you settle in, whoosh it's back to the previous scene to pick up where we left off. You can run multiple simultaneous plot threads in an episode without imposing a 1-3 minute time limit on how long you spend focusing on one specific thread. In fact it would've almost been better if they had broken up the battles by act, giving us one long middle sequence with the majority of the forces sandwiched around the Lio Convoy/Galvatron battle as the opening and closing segments of the show. Still, it's better than the Autorollers get, popping up in one scene for just a few seconds to remind you that they've left a genuinely interesting sub-unit of the Predacon forces on the table, sitting there and doing nothing of consequence since episodes in the teens.
Of course if they did that they would've probably robbed us of the biggest frustrating thing that we're supposed to love about this show and its best character: Jerkass Lio Junior is back! Several episodes after his sudden "growth" spurt where he begins to seem like he's taking things seriously and not being a total nob to everyone around him over his immature need to be recognized for his greatness and his thin-skinned sensitivity to ever being denied anything that he wants on the grounds that the only way people turn him down is if they have it out for him, we dive headlong back into that pool of suck as Junior is passed up for the important mission and he immediately launches into a petulant tirade about how it's because Convoy doesn't trust him and doesn't think he's good enough and how everyone are jerks for not letting him do what he wants. And then, after Convoy explains that the real reason is that he has to be held back because he has an important duty to perform that only Magnaboss can do, Junior ends up ignoring that and potentially leaving everyone else to die just because he has to storm off and play at being the most important and bestest hero while violating every single rule and command that Convoy gave him over the course of not just the episode but the entire series.
And once again, I think we're supposed to side with him about this. Which is nuts. Because he is, without question, a horrible, horrible character.
Thankfully for the most part the good outweighs the bad and we finish just a touch into the "good episode" tier. But it was touch and go for a bit and this one ends up feeling like a potentially great episode sabotaged by some predictable shortcomings for the whole series, which is a shame since we're on the closing stretch.
-Well, this is it. It's finally time. After like 2 weeks of episodes of the narrator telling us how far off from Gaia THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ is we finally can dispense with that and just show the Maximal ship approaching it while it is imminently going to be involved in the action. Hooray!
-Meanwhile the Predacons are watching the Maximal approach from their ship, which is I guess nearby if we presume that they never had to deal with course corrections or risky slingshot maneuvers the way the Maximals did.
-Galvatron also demonstrates his control over THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ and its defences by deploying a whole bunch of cannons that it has hidden all over its surface.
Overkill is underrated.
-The Maximals appear to be flying directly at the eye of the vessel. Obviously they want to come in directly, but that doesn't seem like a sensible attack point given that it's almost certainly not an entrance.
-And so they immediately get shot down and crash on the surface (hull?) of the vessel. Leaving the Galvaburg to hover ominously overhead as it deploys its troops.
-Said deployment gets Gigastorm stuck in a crater because the other 4 bots drop him hastily and he's big and heavy. Yay slapstick in our dire, high-tension climax!
Letting you know early that none of the other Predacons will be credible threats from here on out.
-The Preds storm the Maximal ship and find it empty. Thrustor and Dirgegun celebrate, figuring the Maximals turned and fled in the face of a fearsome foe, but Hellscream isn't so sure and discovers the real reason they bailed:
The ship is set to self destruct.
-So with the counter ticking down instead of immediately running everyone stands around and discusses the situation for several seconds before they have to panic to get clear of the blast. Of course nobody said these Predacons were smart.
-Especially Gigastorm, who watches everyone run and stands there while the ship explodes, consuming him in the blast (but not really harming him)
-Meanwhile the Maximals are shown to have bailed ahead of the ship crashing, all clinging to the tentacles of the Tako Tank (because of course Scuba saved everyone.)
the only gripe I have is that Navi is shown to be flying behind the gang on her own. Surely Scuba could've saved some space in the Tako Tank cockpit for the only other bot in this group worthy of such an honor?
-And so now the Maximals all have their moment of "we can't turn back so we have to succeed!" before we move on.
-Navi detects an "exhaust" port which is strangely sucking something IN to itself. Come on, Navi, you can't be that oblivious.
-Convoy figures that such a port must connect to the core of THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ and that this is pretty much the Death Star (Return of the Jedi version) play: use the port to reach the central core, blow it, and escape before the whole thing goes up. Knowing that the risk to whoever takes on the interior mission is far greater, he hesitates, leaving most of the Maximals to volunteer their services. Literally all the main cast, even Kid and Diver, state their cases. Though really the only one who provides a compelling reason is, of course, Scuba ("I'm the most qualified one." Yes. Yes you are.)
-Lio Junior also volunteers, though unlike the rest he doesn't give a reason. Just "Leave this to me."
-But Convoy has already decided: He's going to do it and take Scuba and the Tako Tank as backup. That's actually a smart decision! It's taken 41 episodes for him to make a smart decision in a pinch, but he's finally done it!
-Convoy also recognizes that the Tako Tank does specifically belong to scuba. Because yeah it does.
-Oh my god. It's happening again. Like when Galvatron revealed his profoundly stupid plan in Headmasters, I think I've hit the rage-breaking point here with Lio Junior.
You know how Lio Junior "developed" into a better character over the last couple episodes? By which I mean he suddenly went from "whiny, entitled, self-absorbed jerk" to "self-absorbed wannabe hero who at least says the right things even if he's still clearly doing them for the wrong reasons" in the span of one episode with no transition or explanation or meaningful demonstrated growth?
Well, that's all tossed out the window. The moment Convoy says that the team is him and Scuba, Junior throws a massive hissy fit where he refuses to accept the decision, saying that he has to go. Because he's "a Maximal warrior who has also been given Lio Convoy's Matrix!" Then he petulantly accuses Convoy of still considering him to be a child (gee, I wonder why? The only thing missing here is him laying in the ground and thrashing his limbs while he cries).
1) Junior wasn't given the Matrix. He was created from it through a weird freak accident. He has no real right or claim to it, nor does he have any sort of stated or intended divine provenance on account of his possession of it because it was all a giant goddamn accident!
2) Why is he saying he was "given Lio Convoy's Matrix" to Lio Convoy? Don't refer to the person you're talking to in the 3rd person like they're not even there. That just makes you look like a loon. Or an idiot. Or both.
3) He's doing an excellent job of demonstrating why he shouldn't be considered for an important mission such as this. I know it won't actually be the reason, as Convoy is likely about to placate the whiny little bugger with some puffed up confidence-booster explanation about how he's vitally needed elsewhere, but good god, not for one minute should you think you deserve this important and dangerous mission simply by way of believing yourself to be more important than everyone else.
4) On that subject, why are we pulling this card now? Yes, the show has done an absolute garbage job of showing his growth mostly by virtue of not showing any of it and simply having him flip a switch a few episodes ago while pretending that he's somehow learned a valuable lesson or now lives up to the lofty status that was heaped on him by everyone else in the show who would not stop singing his praises even when he was a self-absorbed twit. But regardless of the how, the change had finally happened. He was mildly more palatable when he wasn't actively undermining his intent by being an irredeemable tool. And now, not even half way through this episode, we're throwing it all away for some cheap, lazy drama that serves no purpose except to make him look like a goober and give Convoy one more chance to pump the kid's tires and tell the audience how cool he is in defiance of everything we are seeing him actually do.
What the hell? Why did anyone think this was a good idea? Honestly, I'm not even sure why I ask that question. Because clearly someone thought that everything about Lio Junior was a good idea. And given that this is very much a carbon copy of how Chromedome, the "much beloved" hero of Headmasters was shoved in our faces and "developed" through his show, perhaps this is something that Japanese kids' fiction writers think is a good idea in a general sense. Even if it makes me shake my head in sorrow and disgust.
-At least Santon sort of mildly tells him to chill he hell out. Barely. That's more spine than either he or Skywarp have shown when it comes to Junior's grandstanding ego trips.
-Aaaand there it is. Convoy isn't taking him because he has an "important role" for the kid. Granted it could be one of those white lies that people tell, giving some idiot a "special task" that's mostly just there to keep them from fouling up the real important parts of the plan. But knowing this show and knowing Convoy it's going to be something else that's actually important and we're not supposed to take Junior's tantrum as a bad thing, but as a good thing because it shows his drive and sees him get rewarded with this other duty to perform which will show us what a true hero he is.
-His job? To guard against the Predacons following Convoy and to get everyone else off the planet when it goes up (because only him, as Magnaboss, and Convoy are apparently capable of this)
-And just to make sure we know that Junior is in the right, Scuba walks up to the kid and says "I want you to entrust this duty to me"
No, bloody hell Scuba NO! Don't legitimize the jackass' outburst. You deserve the task because you're the most capable and anyone else who has a problem with it should shut the hell up because they're wrong.
-Navi interrupts this tense moment to tell everyone the Predacons are coming, so everything has to kick into action.
So we get the Magnaboss stock footage to eat some time.
-And now Junior is all noble and resolute. Barf
-And Convoy is appreciative and praises the kid, saying "you've followed me well up to this point" (no, he really hasn't.) and that it's been an honor leading him (it really shouldn't be)
THE SHOW IS ALMOST OVER. YOU CAN STOP SHILLING THE BAD TOY FEATURING THE DUMB CHARACTER THAT NOBODY SHOULD LIKE.
-At least we still have Scuba. He's the shelter among this storm of awfulness.
-Meanwhile the Predacons being their attack and we repeat the same "everyone drops Gigastorm" gag from earlier. It's actually kinda funny.
-As Convoy and Scuba venture further into the superstructure of THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ the gates shut behind them. Ooooh, symbolism!
-And then they reach a massive chamber where they're confronted by Galvatron
-Only for things to very suddenly and very jarringly cut back to the surface so we can get stock transformation sequences for all 4 Predacon troops that aren't Gigastorm (but not for the Maximals because they've been in robot mode the whole time. That's not how you do it, guys. You've got to be in beast mode so you can kill more time.
-Oh well, at least everyone kills time with stock footage of their attacks (the Magna Blade, Gigastorm's fire-breath "Angolmois burn", Apache's boob missiles, Kid's retractable arm cannon, etc)
-It makes for a very lazy fight that doesn't even show any real fallout or consequences as nobody takes a hit.
-And then before that fight gets anywhere we cut back into the interior where Galvatron launches a sneak attack that Convoy fails to see coming for reasons, requiring Scuba to warn him right before we go to commercial.
-I guess because they have no stakes in this episode, here we get the Moon commercial bumpers and their weird calypso music accompaniment. You know, in case you forgot that a good chunk of this series has been used on a weird little talking rabbit bot voiced by Naruto.
-So Scuba warned Convoy about a sneak attack right before the break. After the break Galvatron makes the attack extremely obvious by speechifying before he attacks and Convoy fends it off with ease and not looking in any way like he was surprised by the assault. So that was necessary!
-But it gives us time to rehash the ethical debate between the factions, where Galvatron talks about wanting ultimate power through Angolmois Energy because only with such power can he enforce peace and justice on an unruly galaxy. Convoy calls him crazy for believing that totalitarian setup counts as justice, so Galvatron asks what Convoy believes the definition of the term is. A fair rebuttal.
-Convoy's response is... nothing! He stumbles over the question before Scuba intercedes and shoots Galvatron with ink to cover their escape. What a hero (Convoy, I mean. not Scuba. Scuba is a hero because he's here to do a job and doesn't have time for any of this psychological nonsense)
If Scuba was in charge the war would've been over 30 episodes ago.
-ok, in an actual heroic choice, Convoy stays behind to stall Galvatron while Scuba goes ahead to finish their mission. And then is a total idiot when he uses his Lion Typhoon to blow the ink off of Galvatron without damaging him.
-Plus he finally has an answer. "Justice is in one's heart."
So... how does that invalidate Galvatron's view? What's in his heart is the idea that he has to hold the galaxy in his grip to prevent unjust conflict.
It's bad when your moral debate ends up creating a situation where the good guys are shown as less able to give a strong, definite response than your villain. Not that I believe Galvatorn is morally correct, just that he at least has a moral stance on the issue while Convoy doesn't.
-After we briefly check in on Scuba not knowing how to destroy the Angolmois reserve he's found, Convoy unleashes a random new power: the Fire Typhoon, which is basically just the Lion Typhoon except it's on fire for some reason. Because what we needed now was an unnecessary new ability that adds nothing of value to the fight!
-And then Galvatron fires a pretty strong shot across Convoy's metaphorical bow: For all his talk about justice not being achieved through force Convoy is only able to articulate his view while using force against the Predacon leader. Take that Convoy.
-And so Galvatron transforms to dragon mode, blatantly telegraphs his attack, and Convoy stands there and takes it like an idiot while Galvatron lectures him.
-And we cross-dissolve to THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ and its giant eyeball, overlaid with Galvatron's dragon mode in a very cool shot.
Sadly one of the last times that Galvatron gets to look like a strong, legitimate threat.
-What is this doing? Who knows? Everything shakes, Convoy tells Galvatron to stop, and we cut outside to the continuing fight between the rest of the Maximals and Predacons which is mostly doing nothing. And even features Magnaboss being easily dealt with by Gigastorm as the shaking continues and a bunch of spire things start falling apart.
-And then the eye changes color and Gigastorm says that it's Galvatron "activating" Nemesis to begin siphoning the Angolmois from Gaia.
-Ugh, it took until the 17 minute mark but Artemis and Moon make an appearance. I thought we might be done with them. I guess not. And according to the Wiki they will continue to appear over the next couple episodes as well. The only reprieve we've gotten is the end of the Second Transmission bits.
-Meanwhile on Gaia things shake and fountains of Angolmois shoot up from oil drill type constructs that the Autorollers (remember them? Remember when they were fun and important? Remember the last time I complained about the fact that they used to be fun and important when they made a fruitless cameo?) created.
-And as they watch this Artemis loudly whines "What are those Maximal guys doing?"
Bloody hell, Artemis. They're trying their best. I don't see you doing anything after you weirdly prayed to figure out the slingshot plan (that you don't remember doing).
I don't understand why they're making a point of making her seem so ungrateful. Is it just a comedy trope? Because it's annoying. And is another nail in her mostly terrible character because she has done pretty much nothing positive or of real value other than being a near-literal deus ex machina with the slingshot concept.
-Do the Autorollers even get dialogue as they watch fountains of energy erupt everywhere on the planet?
-Strangely the Angolmois goes from very liquid-looking as it erupts from the ground to crackling up into space like energy beams. Because it's pretty much magic.
I knew it. Gaia was actually filled with strawberry kool-aid this whole time.
-The narrator cops to the weird change by saying the energy "became weird streams of light". So that's something.
I've seen enough movies made in the last 15 years to know that nothing good comes from sky beams. Though usually they're blue.
-And as the giant Angolmois streams hit THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ Navi realizes that the exhaust port she sent Convoy and Scuba down was actually an intake port. Which is a shocking development not at all foreshadowed by the way it was sucking in something when we first saw it!
I expected better of you, Navi. You're clearly the second smartest Maximal behind Scuba.
-Everyone watches the Angolmois pour into the structure and Bighorn says "finally the Angolmois energy is..."
This is a sort of recurring thing in these Japanese series, where someone makes the beginning of a statement and then trails off never to complete it. I know this is a Japanese thing when it's meant to avoid conflict (such as the polite way to turn peoples' requests down is to stutter through the beginnings of a response like "that might be difficult..." or "I want to help you..." but trail off before you actually deny them and expect that the rules of polite conversation mean the other party should pick up on the fact that you're turning them down and gracefully rescind the request rather than make them look bad by having to be the bad guy in the conversation) but it seems weird to break it out in situations like this where there's no real downside to Bighorn actually completing his thought.
-Galvatron laughs and Convoy shouts that Scuba has to evacuate. But instead he ends up falling down the shaft he was supposed to be blowing up. I'd wonder if this was the end of Scuba, but it won't be. Because he's Scuba.
-Convoy is overrun by the Angolmois and suddenly his Energy Matrix pulses, which you just know is setting up for Lio Junior to fantastically save the day because he needs to be the hero.
-Huh. I was expecting that to pay off only in the next episode, but almost immediately Magnaboss detects the pulses and Lio Junior forces the separation of Magnaboss into his component bots so he can rush off and do something stupid while Skywarp and Santon futilely try and stop him.
-Also after promising early in his run that he would no longer refer to Lio Convoy as his father, Junior is now calling him "Father" constantly. Even before this tense moment.
-Skywarp points out to the fleeing Lio Junior that he's deserting the job Lio Convoy gave him, which was to ensure the safety of the rest of the Maximals, something only Magnaboss could do. Junior says that skywarp has the power to do that for everyone. No he doesn't. That's the whole reason Junior was left behind. Because only Magnaboss combined had that power. Congrats, kid. You're sentencing the entire rest of the team to death. Except maybe Skywarp and Navi because they can fly.
-And Junior is right back to the way he used to be. He "MUST" go because... he must.
-Pastel freeze frame cliffhanger! Dun dun dun.
"And then Lio Junior burned up on re-entry"
-And true to their word before, there is no Second Transmission at the end of this episode.
+Galvatron makes some salient points about Convoy's hypocrisy and lack of moral certitude
+Scuba is tasked with saving the day
-Lio Junior relapses into his old jerk personality
-whiplash-level scene changes and flitting back and forth
-Not much seems to matter aside from Convoy/Galvatron. The outside duel is almost an afterthought
-The Autorollers get a cameo just to remind you that they've been wasted for the last half of the series (at least)
EPISODE 42: LEGEND! THE GREEN WARRIOR (伝説! 緑の戦士)
What is this I can't even...
Oh my god, this was unbearable. Every terrible trope this show has indulged in returns with a vengeance just in time for the finale. Lio Junior is elevated to his most pivotal and important role in the series through the application of his selfish, egotistical, indignant, aggravating personality that he had allegedly "grown" out of a few episodes ago. As frustrating as it was that it happened with no real visible story provocation, and as irritating as his new "I'm all about teamwork and doing things the right way because I'm responsible and mature now!" attitude was while everyone heaped praise on him for it, at least it wasn't this. And that gets washed away to bring back the worse version of an already bad character for little reason, with the standard accompanying logic that the writers seem to think we're supposed to like Junior for his awful behavior.
And it only goes downhill from there. Convoy is reduced to only mattering as a plot device to push Junior's righteous journey forward. Galvatron is stripped of his threatening menace to spend time gushing about how great Lio Junior is. Scuba's uber-important "this is the thing that will save the galaxy" mission is completely ignored so that it doesn't upstage the Lio Junior show. And then to top it all off it leads to the reveal of a total bullshit 11th hour superpower that debuts with no foreshadowing, no build, no explanation, and nothing to frame it as anything but the most random, hastily written flaming garbage nonsense that the writers pulled out of their asses to paper over the fact that they can't be bothered to write a better finale (or, more horrifyingly, that they don't want to write a better finale because this sort of "my first creative writing assignment" powers-from-nowhere insanity is actually a good twist in their minds.)
This might actually be the worst episode in the series not for being the hardest to watch (since it has no Jointrons) but for being the biggest squandering of potential in the series coupled with the fact that this is the lead-in to your finale. I just don't see how you go from this... abomination to a path that salvages everything inside of 20 minutes to end the series on a satisfying note. Honestly the only way this could've been more infuriating would've been if it actually was the finale. But even without that this was the roughest ride I've had with BWII so far.
At least now, no matter what, I know that there's only one more episode to go...
-The opening narration says that "at last" the Angolmois energy of Gaia is being taken by THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™. This is probably the most truthful statement that the narrator has ever given us. The first episode that made reference to Galvatron's master plan was episode 26 (also the debut of, ugh, Lio Junior. So you know it was a dark day.) And while it's only been a month for us in terms of covering the span of episodes, even if it feels like waaay longer, it was actually closer to FIVE months in real time. Enter Lio Junior aired at the end of September 1998, and this episode debuted near the end of January 1999. "At last" indeed.
-As the Angolmois surges into the core of the planet, Gigastorm laughs and believes that Galvatron has gotten himself killed in his lust for power. How very Starscream of him.
-Meanwhile Lio Junior searches for Convoy and thinks about how even he would be killed by a direct surge of raw Angolmois.
I like to imagine this happening to Lio Junior instead
But his morbid thoughts are interrupted by an approaching shadowy figure. It's Scorponok! I mean... It's Galvatron!
-Galvatron gloats that Convoy is dead and Junior doesn't believe him because "Lio Convoy never dies!"
remember, not 15 seconds ago he was worried that Convoy would be obliterated by the Angolmois surge...
-So Junior throws a hissy fit and runs off.
-One thing that I just noticed in his side view is how ungainly his robot mode design is. Most of his body is small and slim and in keeping with the idea that he is a "young" Maximal, but he has weirdly and disproportionately large legs and feet in this shot. It's a bit hard to see because of the angolmois wash coloring, but it is noticeable.
At least he wouldn't fall over in a stiff breeze.
-Galvatron restates his offer to Junior to join the Predacons and become his protoge. Galvatron knows not what he invites upon himself. Junior as a Predacon would ruin the faction inside of a month.
-Junior, of course, refuses and Galvatron muses "a pity that I lost such a great young man."
Ugh, stop. It's so transparent that it's almost infuriating.
-Outside the other Maximals try to figure out if there's a way to close the intakes and prevent the Angolmois from getting inside in order to save Convoy and Junior. and by "the other Maximals" I mean Kid, Diver, Apache, and Bighorn. Because Skywarp and Santon are worthless without Junior around.
-Their only contribution is to say "youngster?" when something emerges from an Angolmois vent, only for it to be Galvatron.
-The Predacon leader once again tells everyone that Convoy is dead and Junior will surely die with him. If only he were right.
-And then when Gigastorm celebrates that the two are supposedly dead, Galvatron stops him and then insults him to his face, saying he wished his little brother had half of Junior's courage. followed by "when I think of it (Junior dying), my soul is trembled with sorrow."
Seriously, enough. It's almost sickening how much it hurts Galvatron to have him stop everything he's doing just to shill Junior as the greatest thing ever.
-Suddenly Skywarp and Santon abandon the rest of the Maximals to go and save Lio Junior, only to be beaten back by Galvatron, who refuses to allow them to interrupt his plans.
-Meanwhile on the moon, Moon and Artemis decide they have to do something. This after an entire series of complaining that they can't do anything. So Artemis prays to God to ask for guidance. This isn't like when she prayed to make the mother computer activate before. Here she's literally looking for divine assistance. And so Moon prays as well. And that's it. NECESSARY!
-Back inside the superstructure, Junior searches for his "father" and says that if he is Convoy's child born from the Matrix "I'm sure I can connect to your mind."
I mean, that's a bit of a leap to presume, but it's not any crazier than any of the other ridiculous stuff you've pulled out of your ass Matrix before.
-And then as he seems about to pass out the symbol on his chest (which is not the shape of the Matrix that we've seen before) glows and he hears Convoy's voice repeat "Lio Junior" over and over again. And over and over and over and over again.
-Back on the Moon as the two idiots keep praying, suddenly Artemis claims she can hear "Gaia's voice" and ends up showing them a bunch of random nature scenes. From this she starts glowing again and magically gains the power to move the moon itself to block the flow of Angolmois off of Gaia. She says it'll put her and Moon's life in danger, but of course both agree they have to do it. And so it happens.
This reminds me of something else, I just can't remember what it is.
Because after an entire series of the pair being nothing but silly comedy relief characters who barely do anything with real impact, at the last minute she pulls planetary-scale super powers out of absolutely freaking nowhere to solve this issue because why not...
-At the same time the Predacons taunt the Maximals for continuing a hopeless fight. To which Apache says of course they'll fight until the bitter end. Not because it's right or to protect Gaia or to defeat evil. No. the reason they'll fight is "because it was Lio Convoy's order."
That kinda makes Apache seem like a sycophantic idiot. I won't die for a great cause, but I will because someone told me to!
-Also "If a Goddess does exist, she'll definitely be cheering on our side of justice!"
what? Where did the "Goddess" talk come from? Artemis just finished invoking God, non-gender-specific, but never before has there been any semblance of Transformer or Gaian religion here for Apache to just yank this declaration of a separate goddess out of nowhere.
I think "and then they pulled this concept out of thin air!" is going to be a running theme for the conclusion of the series.
-Gigastorm gloats and laughs until Galvatron tells him to shut up. Then he actually uses the old cliche "it's quiet. Too quiet." as they notice that all the Angolmois has stopped flowing into THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™
Turns out Artemis' silly plan to pray the moon into position to block Gaia has worked.
Behold, the one useful thing Artemis and Moon collectively did all series long!
-To which Diver responds "the goddess of Gaia hasn't forsaken us yet!" Yes. Because this was a conceptual thing that absolutely existed before 3 minutes ago.
-Meanwhile inside the moon Artemis and Moon are stuck in the sweltering heat of all the Angolmois energy until Moon passes out and Artemis thanks him for putting up with it and hugs him and we gut away. It'd be a sweet, emotional moment if I didn't detest the characters.
-And so we head back inside the maze of corridors within THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ so that Junior can continue his search to "save" Convoy.
-He ends up stumbling into a room with a weird sphere thing suspended in a beam of light. It certainly looks important.
I would've said this was some kind of computer core or something, but I guess I'm not a d-list anime design artist.
-It turns out that the sphere thing is a shield put up by Convoy to save him from the beam of Angolmois he's trapped in. A shield created by his Energon Matrix, because magic macguffin.
If he lets the shield down to escape the energy will kill him. So he entreats Junior to leave since there's nothing he can do and go back to the others and save them (like he was ordered to do).
He even remarks that "it's time to become an adult" meaning it's time for him to make a difficult choice in a scenario where he can't "win" because it's for the best.
But Junior isn't having any of that. Nope, the bot who has spent his entire existence in this series crying about how nobody treats him like a grownup throws away the idea of making a tough decision so that he can say "no! I'm going to save you!" like a naive little kid.
Yeah, I know he will end up finding a way to save Convoy, because we have to make sure that Junior is a big hero and all that. But still...
-Suddenly Junior's energon matrix lights up and surrounds him with a shield so he can jump into Convoy's shield and join him there.
And now they're both going to die.
And honestly I'm OK with that.
-outside again Galvatron declares ultimate victory until there's a tremor and a glowing light emerges from one of the crater/interior passages on the surface. Then the shield sphere that Convoy was in appears out of it, fades away and reveals... a unique looking green-maned lion.
The exact moment I was done with this nonsense.
What the hell is going on?
Everyone stares on this bright, glowing lion with awed reverence. Hellscream calls it "beautiful", the Maximals ask if it's Convoy, and then out of nowhere Skywarp says "as I recall, it's said that when Lio Convoy acquires the most powerful force, that he will have a shining emerald green mane."
Santon adds "Now that Youngster and Lio Convoy's Energon Matrixes are as one, that legendary Lio Convoy has been born!"
Ok, that's it. Enough. What in the fresh hell is this ridiculously random, ass-pull nonsense? You don't get to just make up some random 11th hour superpower and then have characters say "yes, as it was known all along, this could happen!" the moment it first happens. This is the sort of thing that needs foreshadowing and build and expectation ahead of time to prepare us for the potential for it to occur. Especially not to the extent of calling it "the legendary" anything when that legend was a totally ignored non-factor before right now.
I do get that a big deal was made about how Lio Junior was born from Convoy's Energon Matrix, essentially inheriting half of it. It was never said that this made Convoy weaker than he should've been, but I could see how that becomes a path to saying that if they were to reunite he would be granted additional power beyond what we see him with. But, like I said, this was never stated. All that we were told was that half of Convoy's energon matrix went to Lio Junior. And it was never shown or implied that this impacted Convoy's power level in any way. But we don't get any of that until Santon said it just now.
And you know what? You don't even need that much foreshadowing to make it work. Optimus Prime introduces the Matrix of Leadership prophecy in The Movie while on his deathbed and then it pays off like an hour and 5 minutes later when Hot Rod opens the Matrix, becomes Rodimus Prime, defeats Galvatorn, destroys Unicron, and wins the war (for about a couple months until Season 3 started). And that was enough. Yes the Matrix and Unicron were out-of-nowhere additions to the mythos, but we at least got enough preparation that when Hot Rod suddenly possessed ultimate power at the climax of the movie it didn't feel weird. It felt earned.
What this show has done is the equivalent of Hot Rod possessing the Matrix for the entire film (never having given it to Ultra Magnus when he caught it from the dying Optimus' hands) doing absolutely nothing with it, never hearing the "light our darkest hour" prophecy, and then out of nowhere he takes the Matrix handles, opens it, becomes Rodimus Prime, and as the gang is escaping the exploding Unicron someone (I dunno. Let's say Daniel just to make it as insulting as possible) goes "of course! The Matrix of Leadership is the key to defeating Unicron and unlocking the power of the next prime! It's like Optimus Prime always said, that it would 'light our darkest hour' and it has!" and the writers saying "you're all OK with that, right audience?"
It's just... SPECTACULARLY lazy and incompetent writing. I get that 11th hour superpowers are nothing new in shonen anime (the super saiyan transformations in Dragon Ball, Naruto's ridiculous array of tailed-beast powers, every single time Ichigo finds out that he has another specialty group's power subset in Bleach, etc) but in most of those cases they at least go to the trouble of setting them up at least a little bit before springing them on us. Not here though!
-Gigastorm says he thinks they're in trouble now that GreenSuperConvoy has appeared. Knowing how anime works, he's not wrong.
-But Galvatron? He responds "Gigastorm, if you say that you have more compassion than Lio Junior does... Then, my younger brother, destroy that strange lion!"
More "compassion?" When was that a thing? Galvatron went on and on before about bravery and honor, not compassion. and what would compassion even have to do with being willing to fight the super mega lion in Galvatron's name? Did the writers just forget that it would make more sense to use another term (like bravery) here and not care? Because that's what it seems like. This stream of baffling, utter nonsense feels like they gave up on the story a few episodes ago and are just throwing whatever they want at the proverbial wall to get them out of here as easily as possible.
-Also where the hell is Scuba? We saw him dive down another channel to escape the incoming Angolmois, but that's it. And he has the most important job left because it's him that has to destroy THE ARTIFICIAL PLANET NEMESIS™ from the inside.
-Anyway, Gigastorm agrees to take on the lion and "prove my real love for you, brother". So he shoots every named attack he can think of (several of which we've never seen before, because sure why not) at the green lion who stands there unmoving and unchanging and just takes them all without a scratch. I think it might be meant to look cool, but instead it looks like they ran out of budget to animate the fancy green lion and we're just laying old effects cells over top of the unmoving lion one.
This is really, really, really dumb. This should be the beginning of the climactic fight and it feels like the laziest effort they've put forth in the entire series.
-Suddenly the green lion moves for the first time, talks (in the dual voices of Convoy and Lio Junior. Though Junior's voice is much more clearly heard because of course it is) and shouts "MATRIX TYPHOON!" as his mane rotates, firing a big green geyser of energy (that looks like water) at Gigastorm. It knocks the big Trypticon knockoff down as he shouts "I love you big brother!" and that's it for the episode.
-Becuase the narrator cuts in and says "who is this green lion who has appeared suddenly? Is it Lio Convoy? Is it Lio Junior? The great battle on the artificial planet Nemesis, has finally come at last!"
Our long, international nightmare is almost over.
-and we're done. One more episode to go.
-Lio Junior reverts to the way he used to be and everyone's cool with it
-Galvatron becomes a ridiculous Junior shill to the exclusion of doing anything else that's cool
-Convoy only exists as a plot device to drive Junior forward
-Absolutely everything involved with the total nonsense bullshit around the green lion
-the fact that this is the penultimate episode of the series and should be setting up for an exciting climax in the finale. And instead we get ass-pull nonsense powers and "oh yeah, this thing that we've never talked about before but is super important!" wallpapering over the bad writing.
-No Scuba. Because his SUPER IMPORTANT plot thread isn't important enough to take away screentime from Lio Junior.
-This is seriously pretty much as insultingly bad as the Headmasters Galvatron death episode, which has become my gold standard for "unspeakably stupid bullshit writing nonsense"
-Somebody got paid to write this garbage.
-the fact that whatever hope I might've had for the final episode has been washed away because there's very little chance they'll have enough time to sort out this tripe and still deliver a satisfying conclusion that doesn't paint Lio Junior as the biggest hero of the Maximal cause.
Separate names with a comma.