Other Robot Shows

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Mako Crab, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Just saw a new-ish CGI robot cartoon this last weekend called "Bolts and Blip." Turned it on for a few minutes to see what it was. Didn't really capture my interest. But it got me to thinking about why Transformers has so little competition in the sentient robot genre. Aside from Wall-E making a big splash, I can't recall any serious competition since . . . maybe Gobots (could explain why Gobots is still considered the most prominent rival to TFs all these years later). Or maybe I'm overlooking something.

    But surely Transformers doesn't have a monopoly on the concept of sentient robots. So I've been trying to think of why TFs is so successful and why these other shows fizzle out. And what else has tried to challenge the TFs.

    BTW. Bolts and Blip looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    At first glance, I want to say the designs are too simplistic, but we've seen that simple can work (Wall-E again). I think these designs in particular don't really tell us much about the characters. They're not interesting to look at. They look generic, but they're the main characters of the show.
     
  2. NotRamjet97

    NotRamjet97 Well-Known Member

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    No one competes with Transformers 'cuz they know what happened to the Go bots.
     
  3. ginrai

    ginrai lost with no way home.

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    I enjoyed Botsmaster which had sentient robots and a very cool combiner.. but it didn't stay on the air very long.. was sort of a bastard Transformers/Captain planet Hybrid.. with 3D effects..

    Bots Master Intro - YouTube It used to run back to back with TF Generation 2 in the early 90's...

    of course the coolest thing about it in retrospect is that it was directed by a guy named Xavier Picard.
     
  4. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    I was just gonna dismiss this as snarky humor, but you might be onto something. I don't think anyone today is thinking about how Gobots lost to Transformers 30 years ago. But they might be thinking about distancing themselves from TFs as much as possible. Every sentient robot show I've seen lately is more comedy/adventure and revolves around the daily lives of its characters instead of trying to tell an epic saga/ action/ war story.

    Anyone remember that CGI toon from a year or two ago about robots that were all ball shaped and would roll around everywhere? Rollerbots or Sphere-bots or something? I can't remember what it was.

    That was. . . bad, but it had a lot of fun energy about it.
     
  5. parrothead

    parrothead Well-Known Member

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    Symbiotic Titan was really cool, but didn't last and weren't sentient.
     
  6. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    There's an interesting case. Usually Genndy Tartakovski hits them out of the park. And this had a lot of publicity and push from Cartoon Network. Was it just bad ratings?
     
  7. Autoboticon

    Autoboticon In like a Bot, out like a Con

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    Bolts and Blip + Bot Master = Day made


    One show that I really liked that was a different spin on Transformers, it was called D.I.C.E, they had transfoming dinosaurs that turned into vehicles, it was awesome.

    D.I.C.E. Full Opening - YouTube
     
  8. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    Interestingly, the Japanese take on it veers far more strongly toward piloted mecha, with the drama all handled by the pilots. Even in Japanese media, sentient robots are in a minority - there's a few shows such as the Brave series and Webdiver / Daigunder which use sentient robots, no surprises they were Takara-backed though. Machine Robo has survived in Japan but rarely gets an anime (and the last one that did, Machine Robo Rescue, focused more on the humans who worked alongside the robots anyway).

    At its heart I think what made Transformers so unique is a very rare combination of factors including being in the right place and coming at the right time - and being the innovator, the one that established the idea in the public consciousness thanks to the combination of cartoon and comic, doesn't hurt either.

    I think for a sentient robot series to legitimately establish itself you'd need to do something truly innovative and bottle the lightning again as well - very tricky, as few franchises coming along these days manage to last much beyond a run of 2-3 seasons, and TV networks are fickle. The best bet, dare I say, would be a Ben 10 type of series which manages to keep going with new sequels and is 100% backed and owned by its network.
     
  9. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Found it!!

    RollBots (intro)

    Rollbots Opening - YouTube

    Another short-lived show about sentient robots living on an alien world. They're even transforming robots this time (and feature pretty much every voice actor from the Beast era and a few others)

    *edit*

    Well, I guess it did get a full 26 ep season. So that's something. Didn't last more than a year though.
     
  10. Razerwire

    Razerwire 99 Problems... Veteran

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    Very much agreed.

    On top of that, most US produced shows seem to avoid robots altogether. It's more superhero based stuff here whereas in Japan, a majority of it is mecha based.

    I think part of what makes TF the only game in town in terms of sentient robots is that the stories to be told have more of a limited scope. Good guys versus bad guys and that's pretty much it.

    With mecha based series there's a whole range of the human element that can be woven into tales. Granted, a lot of it is just rehashing the teenage pilot with angst issues plotline but there are always different facets that can be incorporated.

    From what I've seen, most people who watch TF shows hate the human element entirely. So in that aspect, it's a very special niche where people only want to see robots and not much else. But with that comes the limited scope of storytelling. It pretty much is the reason many view the shows as just 30 minute long commercials to sell the toys.

    That was the main reason why growing up, I preferred to watch Macross instead of TF. The show was just so much more interesting.
     
  11. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Transformers is easily the best alive sentient robot series, however in the real robot genre you can't beat the the one that started it all the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.
     
  12. Backpack

    Backpack G1 forever.

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    It's easy to see why Transformers is so successful. Yet, I have never been able to figure out why there isn't even one similar compeating series after all these years. Popularity usually begets fallowers... copy-cats. It's practicly a law of media's nature. So how is that Transformers is some how immune?

    It's not like it has to be all that different to be accepted. Look at the piloted mecha anime... all branching from Mazinger (I think that was the first piloted robot right?). I know japan is more drawn to that type of series... but Transformers has also been a pretty big success story (the world over)..... so again, I ask why? There is just enough potential story telling area with living robots as piloted...... it kind of drives me crazy how god like Transformers seems to have grown. It is the begining and the end of a whole genre.

    Lets face it, the board is over run with fans who are continuiously posting ideas of what they want to see in Transformers. DIfferent and new ideas..... possible directions to grow. So, instead of these ideas put into context of Transformers.... how about take them outside of it and have them become something else.
     
  13. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't get it. How there's practically NO competition. And it's not even like Transformers is this untouchable, ironclad juggernaut. It has a huge advantage with a built-in fanbase and a successful toyline to help produce the fiction, but those toys are often the downfall of the fiction too. Every time the writers get orders from on high, that they have to kill off characters or ram a bunch of new ones into the show without any regard for the story up to that point. . . well, it hinders more than it helps.

    I think that would be the way to go. A network-backed show could develop its IP first, and really focus on its setting and characters. It could hammer away at Transformers one big disadvantage by being fiction first, toyline second.

    *has a sudden flashback of CN's ThunderCats*

    . . . And they better not sign a contract with Bandai.
     
  14. Noideaforaname

    Noideaforaname Pico, let's go up to Zuma

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    This phenomenon seems to apply to other franchises, too. TMNT had a lot of imitators back in the day (Battletoads, Street Sharks, Biker Mice from Mars, etc.), and Pokemon was just one of many collect-and-battle monster games/shows (see also Digimon, Monster Rancher, etc.), yet nowadays they really don't have much competition.
     
  15. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm To Infinity - and Your Mom TFW2005 Supporter

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    I remember the Dinozaurs anime/cg series going against Beast Wars back when. I think those characters technically weren't robots though (aliens/spirits/non-corporeal whatzits animating the skeletons). They were sentient transforming - things though.
     
  16. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    It's true. In each case, I think there were some serious issues with just imitating what the leaders were doing instead of trying to be innovative in any meaningful way. Though I gotta say, I did think Monster Rancher was a better show than Pokemon.
     
  17. Spiderbite

    Spiderbite Well-Known Member

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    In America, after the 80's, there seems to be less direct copycats to a cartoon's "gimmick". Where as in Japan, Mecha is a subgenre with subgenres, here, it's thought of as the Transformers gimmick,being robot characters. In the 90's, Rugrats was the one of the most popular cartoons, but you almost never saw any other cartoons about regular babies. The market is just too narow for similar concepts; everything is trying to stand out to the viewer. The big boom in collectable monster animés in the late 90's/2000's is more due to all those being from Japan where such things are a genre. Here,all of those were seen as Pokémon take-offs by casual watchers, despite the concept existing before Pokémon.

    Of course, there's adult animated sitcoms that follow a similar formula (Simpsons, King of The Hill, family Guy), but that's likely more due to network TV in America being based in formulas and recognizable tropes. With kid's tv and marketing, it's all about sticking out to the viewer to attract them.
     
  18. Autobotknight08

    Autobotknight08 Well-Known Member

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    See now I wish I had not read this. It reminded me of a car robot transforming type show. It was dark and grimy. It was CGI and on 49 or 53. I don't remember if they were sentient. But I do not think I will be able to find the name of it.
     
  19. Autobotknight08

    Autobotknight08 Well-Known Member

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    Never mind I had to word my search right. it was called Van Pires. OH NO vanpires 2 - YouTube and no they were not sentient. Maybe the Villians were.
     
  20. LegendAntihero

    LegendAntihero Banned

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    Transformers has go on for 30 years because there's a lot of support for it from writers, animators, artists, fans, and Takara. Franchises like Gundam doesn't get that kind of exposure because Bandai doesn't back it up the way they do in Japan. I have no doubt Bandai is still putting some amount of money in selling Gundam to the US though.