I'll be honest, I was watching Beast Wars II. Except I was having a really hard time. Like falling asleep, losing interest hard, just not getting into the show. I knew the show would pick up and when, and I debated hard about just skipping the episodes between where I was and then. But due to another conversation, I realized I hadn't seen more of Go! then I had seen. So I took a few days off BWII and watched the entirety of Go!, not that it was that big of a time sink. What a different series it is. Honestly, it's exceptionally hard to rank for a variety of reasons, but to put it on the list: Animated Beast Wars Rescue Bots Victory Beast Wars Neo Cybertron/Galaxy Force Car Robots (Car Robots, not RiD) Go! Superlink (Superlink, not Energon) G1 Masterforce RID (2015) Cyberverse Beast Wars II* Headmasters Beast Machines Prime Zone Armada Go! is an outlier series and just a simple rating does it very little justice just because there's so many factors involved with the show, it's reason for existing, and how it was handled, any one of which makes fairly ranking it difficult, but all of them makes it debatable anywhere on the list. For what it is, I found it to be enjoyable, more than I was expecting to be honest. Go!, for those who don't know, was Takara's emergency plan after Prime tanked exceptionally hard in Japan. The Cartoon was second lowest in it's time slot, losing against shows it had no business to be losing against and the toyline was losing ground hard in the battle to stay on shelves. So Takara took the rare step of not even bothering to localize the already complete Prime episodes and tossed them, heavily edited several episodes into a series finale and were just done with it. They then commissioned Go! from Tatsunoko Productions (Tekkaman and Robotech Shadow Chronicles) to create 10 (ish) 15 minute episodes of original content on an extreme budget to act as a gap filler while Hasbro finished Prime. The show took a renamed and much more powerful Predaking named Dragotron, buried for an untold amount of time, being awoken from his prison/slumber by a kid tossing a rock, who revives four of his demon generals (4 retooled Predacons), who then seek Legend Discs, with whomever collected them all having the assortment of uber-powers you'd expect, while Dragotron slowly recovered. Two children, descendants of families who have protected 2 said discs are forced to flee from the generals and each awaken three protectors, who then defend the young teen and work with them to get the other discs scattered in time, while Beast Hunters Optimus Prime watches from space until the end of the series. The gimmick of the toyline (and thus the show) is that the 7 new toys had 5 modes; in addition to robot and alt modes, they were also each legs to a larger gestalt, or a torso and backpack to a gestalt, or the head and arms to a gestalt. One team was the Samurai team, with a police car, a jet, and a "fire truck", the other team was a Shinobi team with a lion, a shark, and an eagle. Then for the climax, the final toy, Optimus Exprime showed up, with his bullet train, dragon, and then gestalt parts gets in the mix. Each team then had correlating abilities depending on the combiner configuration. The Eagle and the Jet as the head would be speed, the Police Car and the Lion would be skill, and the Shark and the "Fire Truck" would be strength. That established, what made the show so different? Well, for starters, it was two shows really. The Samurai team has 6 episodes, the Shinobi 4 episodes and after the opening Dragotron awakening sequence until the last episode, they were their own stores entirely. Where it gets really interesting is that the final episode for both series is a variation on the same episode. In both, after getting the disc they were after in the past, Dragotron fully revived shows up, hands the team their ass, Optimus Exprime shows up, gets his ass handed to him, both work together and get their asses handed to them, Dragotron leaves with the boy and the discs, Optimus establishes the way to where Dragotron took off to by creating a rail made of light, the team reconfigures to speed combination and give pursuit. The battle at the mountain takes place the same from that point until the freed kids activate their hearts of justice and they do a mixed merge, The Samurai episode has the Samurai member form the head, the Shinobi the torso, and Optimus the legs. The Shinobi episode has the Shinobi member form the head, the Samurai the torso, and Optimus the legs. The resulting battle and the aftermath are the same except the configuration at the end. The way the episodes were released, for best viewership, would be to alternate the episodes, though personally I'd say to watch the Shinobi episode first, not the Samurai as it was aired. In addition, for whatever reason, Optimus' new modes only get screentime in the Samurai version, with him getting the bullet train alt mode. The next thing to talk about is that this is frankly a great show for what must have been chump change. This was a series that Takara had to make last minute, out of their own pocket, and as a stop gap until their next collaboration with Hasbro and wanting to keep the brand alive. The series was also largely released on other formats, not on TV, so it couldn't be very expensive at all. So to get 18 CGI Transformers (Samurai Team, Shinobi Team, Optimus Exprime, Dragotron, the four Demon Generals, then the Jaki, AKA Prime Abominus redecos) who looked as good as they do, that move as well as they did, for next to nothing is to me very impressive. Yes, the series took two very big cost saving actions; First, no one has moving mouths, some times to make it clear, their eyes will flash before they start talking to make sure the audience know who's talking, but no ones mouth moves. Secondly, there is a ton of recycled footage in the episodes. Which leads in part to the negative of the series, in that for 10 episodes, there's only a few stories. Both sides get their own introduction episode after the shared opening. Both sides get their version of the climax, Then both sides get one special boss battle episode, and then the rest of the episodes are the same battle footage recycled with cel animation and time travel making the stories different. That said, the cel animation then picks up the rest of the work, with the kids having their discs activate, sending the team into the past to encounter either a family ancestor or a famous character from Japanese history who has happened upon the disc, attempting to get it, learning a valuable life lesson, then the Predacons show up, a fight by the numbers happens, then they get transported back to the present when the combiner and a Predacon hit each others fists and repeat until the end. But given that the cel shaded part is always 100% new, how hard do I criticize it? You see the dilemma? Add in that the entire series is less then 2 and half hours, it's not like there's enough time to get tired of it anyway, and with 2 separate casts (and if you watch it in order, you're switching casts every episode), how bad do you ding them for being formulaic when the show actually does look good and they're doing their best for no money? A show made for no money, last minute, and features two casts running parallel to each other with animation that looks pretty good shouldn't be razzed on too hard IMHO, even if the plots did get repetitive, if only to allow recycled battle footage to be used in "new" ways, it also did something brand new in the first episodes for each series, and the final episode was far from a overwhelming justice, Dragotron alone beat the crap out of both teams and Optimus at every turn up until the end, which is somewhat refreshing from some series where you wonder how the good guys could possibly lose. All of that combines, at least for me, into a series that's really hard to fairly rate. Do I judge it on what it did with what it had? How do I fairly judge a show that with some editing the entire series is shorter then 2 hours (or 2 and a half hours unedited) against other shows which are 36 hours long? Anyway, some spoiler thoughts. Spoiler: Various Spoilerish Thoughts Sensuimaru if anyone ever used him again and thought about it, would have a ridiculously OP character on their hands. They made the decision not to make him a Land or Sky Shark ala Sky-Byte, Sensuimaru instead rises and sinks out of water, which phases into reality as needed. Which means he pops out as needed from no where, can do his actions, then sink back out of virtually existence. On top of that, he appears to be hydrokinetic, not just blasting water, but shaping it as well, to put out specific fires while leaving people and animals undrenched, to create a protective bubble and then moving it around at will to save his assigned human. That combines into a very powerful character in the hands of the right, or wrong writer. I have no idea why, but I thought that Go Prime would show up, so I was a little let down that he didn't. Dragotron is ridiculously powerful and I dig it. My favorite episode is the Final Battle. I think the Samurai version is a little bit better, but I do like the combination result of the Shinobi version a little bit more. I do slightly regret never getting around to getting Bakudora, who now goes for a small ransom it would seem. Though it's a bit amusing that for as many Go! figures as I got, none of them were in the show. If you're interested, there are some quality subs on YouTube to be found and it's a fun little diversion, though you'll have to alternate episodes on your own (and unlike the airing order, I do suggest starting with the Shinobi team). I'll see you guys after BWII finishes!