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Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:58 pm
by Sabrblade
Episode 8 -

Okay, the narration at the beginning about this Mini-Con panel's history was kinda helpful this time around, but we could probably guess enough about it from the visuals alone. After all, the backstory details told to us by Rad's narration aren't ever brought up again, so I really doubt they're all that necessary.

Anywho, this is the first wholly filler episode, in and of itself. Absolutely nothing was gained from this episode. The kids get into danger and the Autobots lose an unimportant Mini-Con to the Decepticons.

But, really, the whole thing just felt uninteresting. I mean, we get the kids and Demolishor sinking into the Saharan depths into an underground temple, but like the earliest episodes, the kids simply aren't entertaining enough to hold our attention or really care about them beyond the simple preference of "no unnecessary deaths, please and thank you".

The fights on the surface were superfluous since the real meat of the episode was down below, but sadly the mystery meat was tofu. :P

Carlos makes a pretty dull mention of Harrison Ford that, while usually would be seen as a cheap pop culture reference, the flip side means that Mr. Ford gets his own TFWiki article. :P

And then we come to the most infamous part of the episode. Arguably one of the most B-movie level moments in any TF cartoon:

S-spider robots.

Spider... robots.

The ancient Saharan civilization...


...spider robots.





I got nothing.


I mean, not even the script can be at fault for this one.

Just... spider robots?!


The new Mini-Con is Bonecrusher. Megs can keep it.

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:39 pm
by Sabrblade
Episode 9 -

The one where Bill and Fred find out about the Autobots. Not quite as good as episode 7, but still decent.

Cyclonus mistakes the boys for Rad-tachi and snags them up instead, dropping them off in a ghost town. I kinda like the look of this place as it reminds me of some of the locations from the Armada PS2 game.

Fred's attempt to befriend Leader-1 would have been a lot more endearing had they been genuine, since it looked like they were getting through to him at one point, but then their jumping him likely killed anhy chances they had at turning him from the dark side.

You know, thus far the other three have been a mediocre bunch of human sidekicks, whereas I find myself genuinely concerned for Billy and Fred, despite those two being bigger dipsticks than the main three.

How exactly did Megatron make that energy sphere? It's not a toy gimmick, so there's no "To sell toys" excuse. Magic?

And how did the thing not just incinerate the puny-fleshlings all at once? Did they all just suddenly get radiation-proof skin?

Ouch! Billy's not likely to ever be a daddy after that fall, landing on High Wire like that. :P

And Fred gets his crowning moment of badness (the good kind) by his zapping Megatron with Laserbeak long enough to distract Megatron from Hot Shot kicking Rad free. Too bad Fred's attempts at Leader-1 went nowhere again.

And now, the dynamic dimwits join the good guys. Let's see if they can add anything to the rest of the show. :P

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:39 pm
by Sabrblade
Episode 10 -

Hot Shot starts the episode by his usual habit of whining, though here he's whining about doing physical labor instead of being out on the battlefield. Um, Hot Shot, there's no battle going on, you're asking for a fight where there isn't one. And, how is manual labor a "desk job"? :roll:

The city they head into isn't named, but has that typical anime feeling of New York City. Busy streets, large skyscrapers, winding subways, all that's missing is the looming Lady Liberty. :P

This is actually a nice change of scenery for the show to take since it's mostly been either empty, uninhabited, or abandoned locations that the series has taken out characters (rings a bell with TF: Prime, doesn't it?). So, kudos to the more active, urban setting.

Yet, also like TF: Prime, they shy away from having downtown city activity in this one by shifting the scene to underground in the subway. Meh.

Anyway, we get some nice antics with both the Bots and Cons having extreme difficulty moving around in the tight spaces of the subways and sewers. Optimus almost gets hit by a train, Hot Shot drives by some shoppers and freaks them out (and hey, there's a toy of his car model on sale!), Red Alert drives near a train and confuses a kid onboard (" :? Mommy, there's a truck on the tracks :? "), and the Decepticons keep bumping into each other. Cute. :smile:

The Cons decide to use their Mini-Cons to go on ahead and search for the new Mini-Con panel, which is actually pretty smart in more ways than one. Not only can the little guys maneuver around better in the tight spaces, but having them find their missing comrade shows that, even though these ones work for the Decepticons, they can still care about their missing comrades enough to find them and recruit them to their cause (even if that cause is a villainous one). Props to the Japanese guys for thinking of this idea (and to the dubbers for not butchering it). :D

The kids find an old subway station that's been decommissioned for a while, and here's where we come to a particularly grating scene: Alexis's irate "When I'm President..." speech. Girl, you delusional if you think anyone would elect, much less vote, you to office. I dunno if this speech of hers was in the Japanese version or not, but it's annoying enough that I wouldn't be surprised if it was something Voicebox thought up on their own as an attempt at humor. In actuality, it makes her come off as unflattering and egotistical.

Thankfully, Perceptor spots the new Mini-Con panel and gets the plot (what little there was before) back on track. Carlos tries to reach it, but it's stuck in the stone ceiling. After he falls, he gets a second dose of anime-style humor with Alexis catching him as he thinks he's still falling and thanks her, making her yell at him. Earlier, he had grabbed onto her and claimed she was there to save him, making her yell at him then too. Each one was meant to be funny, yes, but it's such a common gag that's been done so often that, while still a bit funny, has lost som of its luster over time. What doesn't help is that, well, these voices of Carlos and Alexis's just... aren't funny. They don't sound comedic enough to fit the tone of the joke. The joke itself works it theory, but the execution needed to be sillier, if that makes any sense. :oops:

And out of nowhere, BAM! Giant blue hook and orange crane of death! Well, okay, we did get glimpses of a mysterious evil-looking eye stalking them earlier, but now the thing decides to just lunge out and attack them. And he leads them right into the Cons' Mini-Cons. Thanks pal, really needed more trouble there. :roll:

The kids get to safety in a cavern and send Laserbeak for help. But thanks to Blackout;s info, the Cons get to the kids first. and then the crane stalker appears and saves them... even though he was just trying to kill them before. He transforms and the Cons bury him and kids in rubble. Well, so much for them.

The Autobots come too late as Cyclonus activate the panel, revealing Drill Bit, another unimportant Mini-Con (minus his sole use of explotiing Cyclonus's geared toy gimmick). The Cons leave and Autobots are left surprised to see the orange crane bot with the kids. And it turns out to be their old buddy Smokescreen, whom the kids seem all too happy about considering how creepy and murderous Smokescreen was acting towards them before.

I mean, sure, I can understand Smokescreen possibly mistaking them for intruders or enemies, inspiring him to defend his territory or the Mini-Con panel (if he even know about it, that is), but he could still see that they were humans. Even if they had been evil humans instead, the Autobot Code (of EVERY series) states that all life is sacred, that no innocent life should ever be arbitrarily harmed in any manner. I guess he might have just been trying to scare them off, which is perfectly valid since "scaring" doesn't have to involve "harming", but he flat out attacked them in a hostile manner rather than using any basic scare tactics, so... 'the slag is wrong with you, Smokescreen? :-(

And if he was trying to "help", why'd he instead keep himself hidden if he could so easily tell friend from foe? :roll:

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:20 am
by Sabrblade
Okay, now we're down to the final three episodes of the first story arc, which also wrap up the hunt for the Air Defense Team and ultimately the creation of the Star Saber. Let's get going.

Episode 11 -

And right off the bat, we get some wonkiness with the beginning. I mean, the way the peisode starts off, it feels like there was an episode or something that was skipped before this one, as it starts off with them talking about how the girl on the screen is "back" as though we're supposed to be familiar with her presence despite this actually being the first time we see her in this show. I can't tell if it's once again due to the script or due to some awkward execution in general.

Anyway, what's more is how they keep referring to her as a hologram yet later in the episode has the kids being all in shock of her being a holographic image when they meet her at the undersea ruins.

I do, however, gotta give them props for utilizing turbines for undersea travel after going through the warp gate, as that's actually pretty clever. Sure beats the logic of "don't swim, drive underwater" like other cartoons tend to do. Though, in hindsight, this kind of makes Bud's teaching the Autobots how to swim in that one episode of TF :Cybertron pretty silly and redundant. Guess the black hole also made the Autobots (namely Optimus) forget how to attach turbines to their altmodes, as well. :P

As they near the entrance to the ruins, Optimus calls Smokescreen "Hot Shot", and his order of "Cover me," is instead interpreted by Smokescreen as "Open the door while I get shot at." Again, though, it's the dub script's fault. :roll:

As the girl explains the history of her people (or tries to, at least, since the script is so wonky it's like the dubbers barely knew what she was trying to say), she talks about how the Mini-Cons were Orichalcum to her people... except that that's what she's supposed to have said, but the word got run through a filter and mangled in the process. "Orichalcum" is a metal pertaining to Atlantian mythology, fitting with all the references to Atlantis that this episode keeps making. What the slag is an "Olihalicon"? No really. She actually calls them that. :x

Anyway, during the flashback, we're told that this ancient civilization had once harnessed the power of the Mini-Cons who formed a mighty sword that they used to conquer other peoples back then. That... actually sounds pretty cool. There's even hints that, when warring with another nation, their opponents wielded the Skyboom Shield in retaliation, with us getting a partly silhouetted look at (a VERY toy-accurate version of) the shield. And it was the final conflict that ultimately led to the civilization's downfall ,sinking it into the ocean. Brutal.

I do gotta wonder how and what is powering these holograms since they don't seem to have some kind of energy source to keep them activated. It's almost like they're running purely on magic. Yeah yeah, I know I know, kids show, Mini-Con magic, etc. etc., doesn't hurt to wonder, though. :roll:

I'm just not gonna comment on Carlos wanting to preserve the girl's holographic image, since I knew that wouldn't end well from the get-go.

When Megatron busts him, he seems to notice the holographic image of the Star Saber on the other side of the room... except that when he looks at it, it suddenly turns solid instead of still being see-through like it should look. Also, when he looks at it, he doesn't show any signs of knowing specifically what it is other than a powerful-looking sword that may or may not be affiliated with the Mini-Cons. Keep this in mind, as it will be important two episodes from now.

Megatron takes the Mini-Con panel, and the walls came tumbling down. :P

I would feel more empathetic for Carlos in this one if he just didn't sound so annoying. I mean, really, Matt Hill cannot do a believable Hispanic accent to save his life, and it's just so.... stereotypically "dumb surfer dude" sounding. :-(

And of course, they just had to throw in some left-field speculation of the girl having once been royalty. And just how old are you two again, Rad and Carlos?

BTW, the girl's name was Amphitrite, which the dub completely forgot to mention. Oops.

But, overall, not too bad an episode. We get a feeling that something bigger is being built up to with the whole revelation and backstory for the Star Saber (which went unnamed in this episode, remember that as well), and that they now have one sword Mini-Con per team. Only one more to go before it's time to form the sword. ;)

Episode 12 -

And this is the episode that pretty much shows why all those added history narrations and dialogue in past episodes were almost completely unnecessary, but first, let's start at the beginning proper.

The way this one starts with Rad looking at the Mini-Con panel with a keen focus and thinking back to the girl from last episode kinda makes it look like he was the one who was infatuated with her the most, rather than Carlos, especially with him showing much concern while Carlos just seems to feel indifferent on the whole matter, not even caring to give it much thought.

Anyway, after that comes why I feel all the history dialogue from the previous episodes (like episodes 1-3, specifically) didn't need to be added in. This episode is the episode that explains everything, explains the entire history of the war on Cybertron and the Mini-Cons' involvement in the conflict. What past episodes were building up to and hinting at were to have ultimately been made clear by this episode, with more than one-fourth of it consisting entirely of historical flashback material. The problem comes in the fact that previous episodes already covered a bunch of this info when it added in the history dialogue, thus making this episode tell us stuff we pretty much already knew and having it feel redundant and unecessary in its own right, when it was supposed to be the big answer to many questions from before. Yet, by having already explained so much in previous episodes when they shouldn't have, the importance of this episode becomes hollow. :-(

Also, during the flashback, Optimus leaves "Thrust" in charge. Bet that one came back to bite the dubbers when the real Thrust showed up later. ;)

So after the LOOOOOOONG "Flashback of Exposition", we get the other main importance of this episode: The locating of the final sword Mini-Con panel. It's located on a volcanic island, and watching this one not only reminded me of the RiD cartoon's "Volcano" episode, but of how much more fun that one was, since it had so much more going for it: Con rivalry, Gestalt action, Battle Mode Optimus taking on Ruination by himself, Sky-Byte being Sky-Byte, Kelly being Kelly, etc. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anyway, Rad wonders if they can avoid having the Mini-Cons help in the fight, to which Optimus says they need to Mini-Cons to help since it's the only way. Um, okay, what about all those times where they didn't necessarily need the help of the extra Mini-Cons the 'Bots had collected? It's not like the Mini-Cons have never been given a choice before.

And then, the Mini-Cons help anyway by manning the guns on Optimus' trailer's base mode, yet everyone is shocked by this even though Optimus just said that they need the Mini-Cons to help them. First he tells them to help, and then he and everybody else are baffled that they're helping,. Bipolar much, Prime?

Also, earlier, they mentioned how the amusement park built on the island was abandoned likely due to the instable volcanic nature of the island. What I wanna know is... what kind of idiot builds a whole amusement park on an unstable volcanic island?! And what idiot would build it without first checking to see that the location was safe to build on, much less spend a vacation on? What, did they just randomly select a place to build the park at without first making sure the area wasn't a safety hazard? I mean, it's not like customers' lives matter or anything. Who cares if a few folks burn up and die on the roller coaster, amirite? :roll:

You know, the majority of this episode is a big battle scene, but there's very little about it to get invested in since it's mostly just action bit after action bit with little-to-no heart or personality to make us care about what's going on. Sure, they say that important things are happening, but how can we care about them if the episode just keep throwing in more stuff to do instead of letting us take in what's already happening? It's like the writers were thinking "Uh oh, we can't have the audience getting too much into this, quick, add in more stuff to pad out the action!" Oy.

When Optimus mentions how he survived being smothered in lava, he says that he fell into a chasm and the lava just passed right over him. That is not how lava works, Prime. In fact, that is not how gravity works, either. :roll:

The Decepticons almost get the Mini-Con in the end, but Steet Action Team causes Cyclonus to fumble at the last second. Red Alert takes it instead.

Back at his base, Megatron tries one more time to get his Mini-Con panel from last episode to awaken, and this time, it finally does. Enter Sonar of the Air Defense Team.

Unlike last episode, this episode was pretty boring with a good chunk of a it being devoted to an exposition-heavy flashback that was rendered mostly useless thanks to previous episodes already telling us what we weren't supposed to know yet, and the rest of it just being a battle with too much going on in it to make us feel for it.

Well, just one more to go before the first quarterly story arc is complete.

Episode 13 -

I get a strong impression that this episode may have been intended to be titled "Sword", instead of "Swoop". I mean, really? "Swoop"? At least every episode up until now has had a title that made some sort of sense. This one just feels... weird, since there's no "swooping" done in this one. "Sword" just makes a whole world more of sense.

And this is the first episode to no longer feature Rad as the opening narrator, with Jim Conrad taking over as the narrator for the opening sequence. And, speaking of which, have I mentioned just how dull this opening sequence is? I mean, it's just a bunch of recycled clips from the beginning part of episode 1 sped up in fast forward with generic dialogue talking about the show. I know that Toonami liked to take out theme songs, but would it have killed them to at least make a theme song for this show to play on the home video releases? I mean, yes, there is the song that plays during the end credits that also plays during this opening, but there's just no energy to it. It's a redone version of the classic G1 theme song but with no lyrics and the whole thing done in trance and... well, it's just not that exciting. The Japanese version, however, Micron Densetsu had some fantastic theme songs performed by the awesome that is Psychic Lover. Even the ending songs and insert songs were awesome. Yet, once more, the dub gets the short end of the stick. :|

Anyway, Rad/Carlos/Alexis decide to finally show Billy and Fred the Autobots' base, and it's right about here that Billy and Fred stop being interesting and just fall into being bland supporting characters. Any traces of their former, sarcastic selves that were kinda fun are completely replaced with the same goody-goodness that Rad and co. have embodied up to this point. And then the alarm sounds, leaving Rad/Carlos/Alexis to suddenly forget that they brought two inexperienced newcomers into the base and leave them behind without a second's thought, not even looking back to make sure that the two were staying with them.

It seems kind of convenience that the Decepticons can just warp right into the Autobots' base with ease. One would think that the Autobots would have some kind of shielding to protect their base from intruders or something. And, no, what Carlos just said earlier about "The Autobots have shut off the force field!" doesn't count, since that wasn't any force field that we saw. That was clearly the aurora that's constantly been hovering over the two dormant Mini-Con panels. Chalk upanother goof up for the script.

There's something about Megatron in this episode that really doesn't add up. Remember how I mentioned that, two episodes ago, Megatron had no info on the Star Saber (not even the name of the thing) other than the fact that it was a sword related to the Mini-Cons? Well, in this episode, he not only knows the sword's name, but the entire nature of it. That it's a sword created by the fusion of three powerful Mini-Cons, and that it's the most powerful sword ever. Like how episode 11 began, was there an episode we missed or something? Where was any of that ever even mentioned? The first time I saw this episode as a kid, I hadn't seen episodes 11 or 12 before seeing this one, so I assumed back then that the Star saber had been something explained and revealed in an episode prior to this one. Yet, watching the episodes in order reveals that this episode just has Megatron knowing everything there is to know about the sword without any rhyme or reason. If the whole infodump he got on the sword came his way in between episodes offscreen, then that's lazy writing. :roll:

Anyway, the Autobots put up a fight to stop the Decepticons and save Billy and Fred, during which Smokescreen... uses an actual Smokescreen. Heh, go figure.

Not sure if that was intentional, though, since Smokescreen's Japanese name was "Grap" (as in "Grapple", orange G1 Autobot crane, get it? ;) ).

Nice work on tricking Cyclonus into getting pulled through the warp gate, landing him in a big smoke drift. :lol:

And with all of the Cons beaten, Megatron stands alone. But what's this? Sonar awakens Jetstorm and Runway. The Star Saber is formed. Megatron grabs hold of it. The ultimate power of the mightiest sword in existence is finally his! What will he do with it? What evils can he bring about with such a terrible weapon? How can the Autobots possibly stand up against, much less triumph over, a weapon of such nigh-invincible caliber? It the end, I tell you! The ENoh wait, Prime just knocks it out of his hand and gets it to Hot Shot.

No really.

Yes. Really!

All that build up. All that hype. All that talk of Megatron acquiring the most fearsome weapon this side of the galaxy, and for what? So Megs can just drop it at the moment he gets it? Just so it can leave his hand as soon as he makes the darn thing a reality? You fail, Megatron. You fail, so hard.

And now, Hot Shot's got the sword. Megs tries to Emperor Palpatine his way back to getting the sword, but then goes ape when that doesn't work. At first, he seems to be best Hot Shot, but then some Burning Justice from the kids helps Hot Shot overcome Megatron's gunfire and take a little off the top of Megsy. Not wanting to lose his sideburns as well, Megs calls for retreat.

So now the sword has at long last been found and made, being kept in the hands of Hot Shot. Though the whole story arc didn't really focus much on the making of the Star Saber (seriously, Jetstorm's panel is gotten in episode 5, while Sonar's and Runway's aren't found until 11 and 12, a whole six episodes later in a mere 13-episode arc), it did achieve wnat it set out to do by bring the sword together in the end. Still, we could have done without the pointless episode 8, or episodes 1-4 couldn't have been as dragged out as they were since a lot of scene in those were really slow and mundane. Billy and Fred's conversion could have happened in one or two episodes instead of spacing it out across 7, 9, and 13, especially since they pretty much stop being much use or enjoyable once they become friends with the Autobots. But overall, the arc was just... okay. The biggest things against it were the "Gotta Catch'em All" feel of it, the awkward pacing of the Star Saber assembly, and, of course, the poorly done, obviously rushed dub script.

And with all this, am I still going to keep watching? In a word, yup. :P

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:01 am
by Wing Saber
Sabrblade wrote:There's something about Megatron in this episode that really doesn't add up. Remember how I mentioned that, two episodes ago, Megatron had no info on the Star Saber (not even the name of the thing) other than the fact that it was a sword related to the Mini-Cons? Well, in this episode, he not only knows the sword's name, but the entire nature of it. That it's a sword created by the fusion of three powerful Mini-Cons, and that it's the most powerful sword ever. Like how episode 11 began, was there an episode we missed or something? Where was any of that ever even mentioned? The first time I saw this episode as a kid, I hadn't seen episodes 11 or 12 before seeing this one, so I assumed back then that the Star saber had been something explained and revealed in an episode prior to this one. Yet, watching the episodes in order reveals that this episode just has Megatron knowing everything there is to know about the sword without any rhyme or reason. If the whole infodump he got on the sword came his way in between episodes offscreen, then that's lazy writing. :roll:

My guess is Sonar filled him in.

Sabrblade wrote:And with all this, am I still going to keep watching? In a word, yup. :P

In my opinion, the show picks up about halfway through, when more characters start showing up and the whole Sideways mystery begins.

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:50 am
by Unicron fan
Yes, Sideways makes the story not so unbearable and much more interesting. And don't forget about you know who. ;)

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:27 am
by Sabrblade
Wing Saber wrote:My guess is Sonar filled him in.
I considered that. But, the way he was acting, it was as though he had always known about it.

I forgot to mention that it also wasn't just him, but the Autobots who knew about it as well, despite them also having no prior knowledge about it. One episode has everyone mystified and in wonder about the mystery of these Mini-Cons (which is how they've been acting since episode 5), next episode they're all suddenly experts on the matter as though they (and we, the audience) had always known about it. Looks like the script strikes again. :roll:

Wing Saber wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:And with all this, am I still going to keep watching? In a word, yup. :P

In my opinion, the show picks up about halfway through, when more characters start showing up and the whole Sideways mystery begins.
Unicron fan wrote:Yes, Sideways makes the story not so unbearable and much more interesting. And don't forget about you know who. ;)
We'll see. ;)

Re: I'm re-watching Armada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:30 pm
by Sabrblade
And now comes the start of a new story arc. We've got the characters all established, and now a new shiny sword to play with. Let's see how things pan out.

Episode 14 -

It starts off the a rather nice and eerie intro for Scavenger, just standing atop a moonlit mountain all cloaked up mysteriously and watching the battle below. Now, while the show never actually explained how Scavenger got to Earth and that is a mark against it, there would eventually be an explanation given many months later in chapters 3 and 4 of the Japanese Micron Densetsu DVD manga "Linkage", in which we see his ship having landed in India. Thus, these mountains that the battle's taking place in could very possibly be in India.

Speaking of the battle, in what might be a first for this series, the battle for the next Mini-Con is not the driving force behind this episode's main plot. Instead, it simply serves as a setup for the opening scene of the episode, along with showing off more of how awesome the power of the Star Saber is (thereby also making the Cons look a bit more pitiful than they already have, but such is to be expected when getting their butts handed to them by a weapon that is the stuff of gods). Oh, and Smokescreen gets his own Mini-Con, Liftor, as a bonus.

I say "bonus" since, hey, let's face it, getting the Mini-Con this time was not the main focus of this battle, but instead was all about the Star Saber, amirite? ;)

Optimus also notes how Hot Shot's getting a bit overconfident with having the sword. Thus begins Hot Shot's character arc.

Okay, really? Who stuffs a fridge full of tools? Especially knowing that food is on the way, so the tools will just have to come out, anyway. :roll:

And here is another case of the longstanding mistake of getting Sureshock's and Grindor's names switched around, as well as calling Sureshock (the orange moped Mini-Con) a "he".

At the Decepticon base, while the Cons lick their wounds Scavenger arrives and is introduced as a mercenary. He makes a remark towards Megatron, referring to his reputation as the "Lord of Destruction". Obviously an attempt to translate Megatron's Japanese title of "Hakai Taitei" (Emperor of Destruction). He at first seems to flatter the Cons by noting how he's heard of Megatron's troops being the best of the best, but then rings in the sarcasm by remarking how his hearings must have been just exaggerated. Heh, I agree. :P

Yet, uncharacteristically, Megatron is not bothered by such insults and actually seems to like this Scavenger guy. A lot. In hindsight, it's rather ironic how all the troops Megatron plays favorites with and rewards end up betraying him in some form, while all the ones he treats like dirt somehow remain loyal to him when there is nothing gained by their loyalty but more punishment. :|

Also, in a bit of divergence from the Japanese version, Scavenger claims to have intently come to join up with the Decepticons, whereas he originally decided not to in the Japanese version, considering himself out of their league and declaring their warp gate technology a convenient and cowardly method for retreat. This is why he doesn't go in and out of battle with the other Cons later in the episode, since he's neither with them nor using their tech in the original.

Later, Scavenger uncovers a distinctly yellow Mini-Con panel, but then hides it as a setup for things to come. Naturally, a battle for the panel ensues and Hot Shot's all set to show off his awesome new toy. Starscream, however, is all too eager to prove his might against the sword with his own. This is likely from another thing that was changed from the Japanese version. Originally, when Scavenger insulted the Cons back at their base, he specifically knocked on Starscream's sword, calling it a "shiny knockoff" of the Star Saber. This insult was changed to something more generic in the dub, but Starscream still seems eager to test his mettle against the Star Saber in both versions. It just makes a bit less sense in the dub without the initial insult.

And soon, Scavenger steps up to play, giving a rather evilish type aura in his performance. I'm not certain of how this was supposed to be originally, but he feels pretty believably evil in his behavior and mannerisms despite what we know of the character that will be brought into light in later episode. I mean, he's very much insulting everyone left and right; even Optimus seems disappointed in seeing the way Scavenger's acting, even though he's supposed to be in the know of Scavenger's true agenda the whole time. I get the feeling that the dubbers simply didn't know that there was more to this character than there appeared to be, and so had Ward Perry perform him as though he were a genuinely evil character.

Still though, his fight with Hot Shot does contain a few subtle hints that he may not be entirely rotten to the spark, which still makes his truly despicable attitude feel even more off. But he does get the message across to Hot Shot that he only won against Starscream because of the Star Saber, enough to get Hot Shot angry enough to come at him with it only for Scavenger to complete wipe the floor with the brash young bot.

Megs makes a go for the Star Saber, but not before Optimus stops him. In the confusion, however, Cyclonus shows a rare bit of competence not seen from him since the earliest episodes by locating the Mini-Con and getting away with it.With Hot Shot now humbled and and humiliated in spite of his new weapon, he's learned the hard way that power without skill is useless against a more experienced opponent. And when Megatron tries to awaken the new Mini-Con... it won't. Scavenger returns to the Con base and hints at the existence of a shield whose power can match that of the Star Saber, causing Megatron to go into an episodic fit of laughter.

Despite a few bits of weirdness, a pretty decent episode. Scavenger seems compelling and interesting enough, and the Star Saber and all its godly glory got to be both awesome and de-godmodded so as to keep it from being too much of a deus ex machina. Some might consider that to be a bad thing, but I'm glad the thing got taking down a notch before it got too handy a way to an easy victory with each use. And with the revelation of the new shield weapon, the race is on to find it.

Plus, there were hardly any animation errors in this one, too. Nor any glaring script fumbles. Guess this is a sign of the dub's hasty production maybe finally taking a breather.