Finished Beast Wars Neo

Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by Pravus Prime, May 21, 2020.

  1. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Posts:
    17,247
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    387
    Likes:
    +4,323
    So, with some free time in quarantine and some high quality subs, I decided to watch/rewatch Beast Wars Neo.

    Some background, how to categorize this is a bit weird. 20-ish years ago (Wow!) in the fledgling days of sharing content online, I was able to watch some of the series. I saw the first three, then a few episodes here and there, and the finale (The second to last episode; the last episode is a clip show). So, this time I watched every episode in order.

    I really enjoyed this series, which is odd, because unlike other series, there wasn't an episode or a subplot that I loved, it was just a steady stream and when viewed as a whole, it's a package that I really enjoyed. I won't kid around, one of my favorite franchise characters has always been Big Convoy and I really like the way he is portrayed; the one man army who gets it done, usually because no one else is capable who is ordered to become skipper to a ship of rookies on a milk run that takes a turn and forces him to grow as a leader and an individual. With his Big Cannon, he's almost like a Megatron pastiche in good guy form.

    There's a bit of a formula to the Japanese shows, the first four are character exposition/plot setup, then the good guys largely have it easy and get to show off their skills while the bad guys can't find much traction until the teens, then with either new arrivals or another game changer, the good guys are on the ropes, then it's a rush to equalize that runs into the low twenties, then it's usually a race to the finale. Some series execute that formula better than others, and BWNeo does a very competent job IMHO.

    To borrow my old form of series reviews:

    Anyway, to rank all the media I've seen.

    • Animated
    • Beast Wars
    • Rescue Bots
    • Victory
    • Beast Wars Neo
    • Cybertron/Galaxy Force
    • Car Robots (Car Robots, not RiD)
    • Superlink (Superlink, not Energon)
    • G1
    • Masterforce
    • RID (2015)
    • Cyberverse
    • Beast Wars II*
    • Headmasters
    • Beast Machines
    • Prime
    • Zone
    • Armada

    *This is my current series, at the same time that I saw some BWNeo, I did see some BWII and didn't care for it, but I have seen the BWII Movie.

    I have seen a few episodes of Go!, but less than half, so I'm leaving it off the list. With what I've seen, it would probably go between Cyberverse and BWII, or BWII and Headmasters.

    So, you can tell I think highly of BWNeo. Normally at this point I single out some members that I'd like to see get an update figure, but it's a tricky issue with these guys, as for one, the cartoon adheres hard to the toys, the toys may have their issues, but they're not the bricks who don't look anything like the characters they're meant to represent, and I found myself looking several times at purchasing the Anime Colors Big Convoy as a Birthday Present to myself this year. Also, unlike some of the series in the past that I've reviewed at this point, I actually have some of the cast and have had them for two decades or more. I'm not saying that none of the toys need an update, some need one just as badly as series like Victory or Masterforce. Magmatron would be an easy pick though, I've never cared for it and it's a mess to Transform (I don't even recall the last time I transformed it, it's been on the top shelf of a display for 15 years at least), along with not being quite show accurate.

    Next, I always highlight my favorite episodes of the series, which for BWNeo is a bit of an odd duck, there isn't so much of a single episode that I loved, it was the gradual process of getting there. I suppose my top picks would be Waa! They Got Eaten!, which takes every opportunity to use a plot device to its fullest, both for serious and comedic effect along with The Stolen Gung Ho!, which is sort of a last fun episode before the series takes it's final darker plot turn and certainly shows how much some of the characters had grown by that point.


    Spoilers for the series follow this point, so consider yourself warned, reading on will spoil the series for you, so if you're intending to eventually get to it and want it to be fresh, you should stop reading now; you can skip to the END SPOILERS to continue










    I'll be using good guy and bad guy, since what they're called depends on either preference or localization, the actual language used is the original Cybertron variation and Destron, as used for the original Autobot/Decepticon, but they do use Maximal/Predacon faction emblems at times.





    Pros:

    I liked that they kind of just jumped into the series without needing to spend time establishing why they've got Beast Modes and so forth, they've got them, they chose them, and that's that.

    The Dinosaur, the bad guy ship, had a teleporter, but the good guy's don't and have to either shuttle or rocket sled to and from the planets. This allowed a higher degree of mobility to the bad guys as well as offering a few avenues for comedy.

    I love the Star Trek style, each episode is a new planet or space event style of storytelling. This opened up plot devices to allow for different crew members to be featured or different plot obstacles to be presented. One week it could be a Hoth like planet that only Break the Penguin and Big Convoy's mammoth mode are suited for, while another episode could have a team that were fighting early being deployed to learn to work together and appreciate the differences between them.

    Heinrad's secret. It really struck me as odd that Heinrad would be lumped in with those rookies. When we find out that he's an agent of Vector Sigma and is older than even Big Convoy, it's a delight. In the Manga, Heinrad was temporally displaced, that is, he didn't live his days in order, so from our linear perspective, one day you have old general Heinrad, the next day recruit Heinrad, then the day after that Heinrad in his prime, etc. I'll admit, I was looking of signs for that, but never saw any, I think that may be too hard for a kids show to properly execute anyway, but I do like the agent of Vector Sigma reveal.

    Unicron's deception. I liked that Unicron subverted expectations, assuming he was going to go for his old body to recorporate when he had a totally different plan.


    Cons:

    This could be a pro or con really, depending on your POV, but 3 clip shows, including the final episode. Though the final episode is couched with new footage and the proper sendoff, so it's a bizarre watch.

    Magmatron is an odd duck. He reveals that he's trying to get Angolmois energy to become the greatest Emperor of Destruction, but seldomly acts at all, instead allowing try-hards and infighting ruin his chances. He fights personally in something like 4 episodes across the 35 episodes! On top of that, when he realizes what the Blentrons are and what they must be doing, he freaks out, but at no point convoys his very disturbing findings to anyone else, even though if he had, the crew wouldn't have almost mutinied and the good guys would've teamed up to see his goals achieved. Then he fights to the bitter end entirely for his own ego, not for something greater or even to stop the scourge of Unicron, destroyer of his homeworld.

    It's almost undoubtedly a trick of the mind over time, but I remember that final battle being a lot better paced then it was. It felt janky at times, though I suppose part of it could be I kept expecting the Matrix Buster sequence and it kept not happening.

    I would've liked D-navi's personality to have gone somewhere. I don't really care what they did, just that it went somewhere with the plotline of her having a different name every episode.









    END SPOILERS


    Well, as always, thank you for reading my thoughts as I finished the series. It really was an odd series in that it didn't have any single highlight episode for me, but was a fun journey all the same. Also I felt like it had just the right number of episodes at 35, so unlike some other series, it never ran out of plot or had too long to meander elsewhere. There's a very good subtitle version online if you look for it, it even has cultural translation notes to further explain a phrase, pun, joke, or reference.

    I'm currently watching Beast Wars II and I'm far from enjoying it; in fact I've slept through 3 episodes so far. I considered skipping a few to get to the point the plot picks up, but I'm toughing through it.

    If I did it right, the series ranking listing should double as links to my prior series reviews when I finished them, but just in case:

    Galaxy Force/Cybertron - Finished Watching Cybertron/Galaxy Force

    Masterforce -Finished Watching Masterforce

    Victory - Finished Watching Victory

    Zone:yuck  - Finished Watching Zone
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Rodimal Rodimus

    Rodimal Rodimus Agent of Unit:E

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Posts:
    699
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Location:
    Classified
    Likes:
    +570
    I'm still surprised Rescue Bots get ranked high
     
  3. JazzbandTFW2005

    JazzbandTFW2005 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Posts:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Maccadam's
    Likes:
    +0
    Interesting ranking! Surprised to see Prime so low, though I had some problems with it as well, but RID 2 being around middling sounds about right from the first some episodes I saw of it. Also, Animated FTW(do people even use that anymore?)

    Just found a youtube channel yesterday that has been recently uploading fansubs of some of the anime(BW sequels, Car robots). Saw a couple of Neo episodes and they were fairly breezy to sit through! Really like the animation, and your review makes me really curious to watch more!

    Though I will say it is really funny just to see how tonally mismatched Stampy's toy beast mode is from his character design on the show, LOL. One of the 2 Neo figures I own along with Rockbuster.
     
  4. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Wields Mjolnir!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Posts:
    17,247
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    387
    Likes:
    +4,323
    Are you saying that because you didn't like it or you've never watched it?

    I'll say this, a frequent problem I've had with the Japanese shows is that they usually stall fairly hard in the mid teens in my experience. Headmasters was so bad for me that I went from 1 episode a day to one a week and it was a brutal watch. Masterforce slowed down pretty hard as well. Victory was getting real close when it made its switch to the next gear and picked right up, Car Robots came close as well. BWII (which I'm currently watching) was so bad I nearly skipped a few episodes since I knew when the series picks ups again. BW Neo though, never slowed down for me at all and I was surprised when I realized I had hit that shift.

    Since I had only a vague familiarity, my BWNeo (And BWII) purchases at the time were based more on other factors then show presence. Big Convoy, Magmatron, Heinrad, Rockbuster, Bump, Bazaooka, and Black Big Convoy. If I have anyone else, I'm totally blanking on it. I even briefly used Heinrad as my actual alarm clock; putting him in alt mode meant that to shut him off in the morning, I'd have to get out of bed and Transform him, forcing me awake!
     
  5. Rodimal Rodimus

    Rodimal Rodimus Agent of Unit:E

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2016
    Posts:
    699
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Location:
    Classified
    Likes:
    +570
    I've seen a few clips so far