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Transformers: Armada

Transformers: Armada, known in Japan as , is the Transformers animated series and toy line which ran from 2002-2004. As the first series co-produced between the American toy company, Hasbro, and their Japanese counterpart, Takara, Armada begins a new continuity/universe for Transformers, with no ties to any of the previous series.

The show was criticized by some for having a simplistic plot and one-dimensional characters, but also has a devoted cult following, particularly for its later storylines incorporating Unicron and for its anti-canon depiction of the longtime fan favorite character Starscream. Ultimately, it is one of the most highly debated Transformers series in terms of quality. It would go on to birth a sequel in the form of Transformers: Energon.

Television show storyline

On the planet of Cybertron, war raged between the two factions known as the Autobots and the Decepticons over the race of smaller, power-enhancing Transformers called Mini-Cons. Seeking to flee the conflict that surrounded them, the Mini-Cons escaped Cybertron with the aid of the Autobots, but an attack by the Decepticons crippled the ship as it fled through a spacebridge. The ship materialized in the Solar system and impacted with the moon of Earth, breaking in two. One portion of the ship stayed embedded on the Moon, while the other plummeted to the planet below. The Mini-Cons, all locked in stasis panels, were scattered across the globe. The ship crashed to Earth and millions of years passed.

Summaries

Transformers: Armada can be comfortably broken up into smaller, 13-episode "arcs."

  • Season 1/Episodes 1-13

When Bradley "Rad" White and Carlos Lopez investigate the caves outside their city, they accidentally uncover the wreckage of the Mini-Con ship and activate it, causing it to send a signal that alerts both the Autobots and Decepticons as to the Mini-Cons' presence on Earth. Megatron and Optimus Prime's forces teleport to Earth from Cybertron as a result. Rad, Carlos and their friend Alexis befriend the Autobots, along with the Mini-Cons High Wire, Grindor and Sureshock. The Transformers assume earthen alternate modes, and the hunt begins in earnest to locate the scattered Mini-Cons.

After a series of battles, each of the Transformers successfully acquires a partner Mini-Con. Smokescreen arrives to join the Autobots' team. Hologram-recordings in a sunken city reveal the existence of the mighty Mini-Con weapon, the Star Saber. The Decepticons possess one component of the weapon, and invade the Autobot base to steal the remaining two pieces, only for the Autobots to seize possession of the sword.

  • Season 2/Episodes 14-26

A mysterious mercenary named Scavenger arrives on Earth and sides with the Decepticons, urging them to locate the components of the Skyboom Shield, another Mini-Con weapon that can counter the power of the Star Saber. At the same time, a drifter named Sideways enter the fray, siding with the Autobots, but soon reveals his allegiance to the Decepticons. Sideways manipulates Hot Shot, allowing the Star Saber to fall into the Decepticons' hands.

Concurrently Scavenger reveals himself to be an undercover Autobot, and rejoins his fellows, soon followed by Blurr, the latest arrival from Cybertron. When the Decepticons complete the Skyboom Shield, a mighty battle ensues that ends with the Autobots gaining possession of the shield. The two weapons unleash a powerful energy flare, drawing the Decepticons, Thrust and Tidal Wave, to Earth.

Meanwhile, Sideways surreptitiously stirs up trouble in the Decepticon camp and sabotages missions, luring the Autobots' human allies into cyberspace in an attempt to capture their Mini-Cons. In the process Sideways reveals that he serves a mysterious higher power. Thrust arrives and puts his tactical prowess into play, only for his schemes to be foiled by the arrival of the Autobot, Jetfire, whose power to combine with Optimus Prime defeats Thrust's schemes.

  • Season 3/Episodes 27-39

With Sideways's deceptions revealed, Megatron destroys him with the Star Saber, but Sideways reforms his body and escapes. Tidal Wave arrives on Earth, and the Autobots prove vastly outmatched. Rad, Carlos and Alexis are alerted to the existence of the Requiem Blaster (the third Mini-Con weapon) by Sideways, and locate Skyblast, one of its components. Skyblast sings an eerie harmony that summons the other two Mini-Cons from their stasis, and they form the Blaster, allowing Optimus Prime to defeat Tidal Wave.

Both sides soon gain new members in Sideswipe and Wheeljack, the former an eager new Autobot, and the latter a former Autobot who has joined the Decepticons, believing that Hot Shot betrayed him on Cybertron. Thrust formulates a new scheme that allows the Decepticons to steal the Requiem Blaster (mortally wounding Smokescreen in the process, causing Red Alert to re-format him into the more powerful form of Hoist). Starscream is his patsy, leading the already-alienated Decepticon to turn on Megatron and side with the Autobots. Starscream forms a friendship with the kids, particularly Alexis, and allowing the Autobots access to the Decepticons' base.

A raid allows the Autobots to free the Mini-Cons, but Starscream is then manipulated by Thrust (himself being manipulated by Sideways) into stealing the Skyboom Shield and rejoining the Decepticons. With all three Mini-Con weapons now in their possession, the Decepticons create the Hydra Cannon, a weapon that combines all their power, and plan to destroy Earth from orbit. Optimus Prime uses his Matrix to absorb the blast, but sacrifices himself in the process.

  • Season 4/Episodes 40-52 (subtitled "The Unicron Battles")

The Decepticons head for Cybertron in their craft, and the Autobots (now with Hot Shot in command) hastily construct a craft (named the Axalon, a small tribute to the similarly-named ship from Beast Wars) to pursue them. The Mini-Cons, now unleashing their true powers, accompany them into space, immediately leading into a battle that sees them use their full power to resurrect Optimus Prime.

A black hole transports a small number of Autobots and Decepticons to a barren world where they are ravaged by Nemesis Prime, a twisted clone of Optimus, and have their power and armor enhanced by the Mini-Cons (with Megatron renaming himself Galvatron in the US-version). Subsequently, the Decepticons return to Cybertron and quickly overthrow most of the planet through the powers of the Mini-Con weapons. Hot Shot assaults the Decepticon base solo, resulting in the revelation of Thrust's treachery. Thrust escapes with the Skyboom Shield and Requiem Blaster, delivering them to Sideways, who uses them to awaken the great and terrible Unicron, an enemy whose coming the Mini-Cons had foretold.

Rad and his friends are sent drifting through time, where it is revealed that via this, they played a part in the development of the Mini-Cons and the Mini-Cons are also revealed to be soldiers of Unicron. Megatron refuses to believe in the threat of Unicron, and Starscream forces him into a duel - a duel Starscream purposefully loses, sacrificing himself to prove to Megatron the threat of Unicron exists. Sideways steals the Star Saber, fully awakening Unicron, as the Autobots and Decepticons unite into one Armada that attacks the colossal Transformer, who had been disguised as Cybertron's moon.

Megatron and Optimus Prime enter Unicron's body, where Sideways reveals himself to be created by Unicron as an emissary to bring the Mini-Cons back under his master's control, only to have Rad re-awaken their minds, allowing the Mini-Con weapons to free themselves, de-powering Unicron. With Sideways killed and the threat of Unicron apparently gone, Megatron challenges Prime to a final battle, only for the energy released by their conflict to reactivate Unicron, forcing Megatron to sacrifice himself to end the cycle of hate that allows Unicron to exist. With Megatron's death, Unicron mysteriously disappears, and peace returns to Cybertron and dishonored Optimus Prime says he did not deserve the matrix. In addition, the kids are home and Unicron reappears at the end of episode 52.

Dubbing

Transformers: Armada was written and produced in Japan, with creative input from America (the Japanese originally envisioned the series as set in the G1 continuity, but this idea was discarded by Hasbro, who also mandated the inclusion of Unicron, who had not been in the original story treatment for the series). However, the show premiered on Cartoon Network Toonami in America before its original Japanese counterpart had aired - the result of an unreasonable production schedule set by the network, which caused the series to be rushed out of production. Consequently, Armada features a lot of unfinished animation (which would go on to be perfected for the completed Japanese episodes), and a hastily-produced dub which features many errors in naming, transliteration, and nonsensical dialogue which does not match the action onscreen.

Linkage

When Armada was released on DVD in Japan, each of the thirteen volumes came with a four-page mini-manga and an exclusive repainted Mini-Con figure. The manga, titled Tales of the Microns: Linkage, feature these repaints in an original story which served to fill in many of the blank spots and plot holes in the animated series.

While the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons rages, some of the Mini-Cons have awakened on their own. This includes the Super Stunt Team - Redline, Flat-Out and Servo - who soon befriend a human woman named Stella, and find themselves pursued by the Speed Chaser Team - Top Gear, Midship and Tailslide - Mini-Cons who have surrendered their will to Unicron and have had their powers enhanced in his service. The encounter with these empowered Mini-Cons sets Redline to work on unlocking the Master Key program, which will allow all Mini-Cons to access their full powers, but his work, is disrupted by the intervention of Falcia of the Sonic Assault Team, who steals one of the Mini-Con panels in Redline's possession, containing her teammate, Twirl. When Falcia and the third team member, Combusta, are attacked by the Speed Chasers, destroying Falcia's panel, Redline and Falcia have to work together, entering the Linkage, the communal mind of all Mini-Cons, to save her life. Meanwhile, the Speed Chasers have acquired new allies in the Aqua Raider Team - Bilge, Freeboot and Sunburn - who attack the Super Stunt Team's base just as Redline successfully unlocks the Master Key. With their new powers, he and Combusta battle the Aqua Raider Team and upload the Master Key into the Linkage, allowing all Mini-Cons to use their full powers, but then, the villains unleash the monstrous Ravenus, an Autobot (nearly identical in appearance to Swoop) warped by his Mini-Con addiction who has been equipped with the deadly "Doomstone," a crystal possessing enough power to destroy the Linkage. Ravenus powerlinks with Twirl in order to access the Linkage, but when a new Mini-Con - Kingbolt of the Hazard Team - is unlocked, he saves her, and Redline seals the Doomstone away within him. The teams then unite with the other Mini-Cons and Autobots, and join in the battle against Unicron. At the end of the story, Redline establishes a city on Earth for the Minicons to live peacefully.

Scavenger, Sideways, and the Street Action Team make cameo appearances.

PS2 video game

Developed by Melbourne House and released for PS2 by Atari on May 11 2004 in North America and May 7th 2004 in Europe, the Transformers video game (originally called "Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon", but simply titled again as "Transformers.") is loosely based on the Armada series. In the game you play as three Autobots: Optimus Prime, Hot Shot and Red Alert. The general story is the same as the TV show, you must find and collect the Mini-Cons and fight off Megatron and his Decepticons. In the game, you travel through various large environments on Earth (such as the Amazon Jungle and Antarctica) while fighting off Megatron's "Decepticlone" army and finding Mini-Cons that give the player's character different abilities in order to get further into the game. The player will also fight a number of familiar Decepticons from the Armada show, such as Starscream, Cyclonus and Tidal Wave. The plot is similar to Armada, right down to the final battle with Unicron at the end. A few of the voice actors from the show (notably Gary Chalk as Prime and David Kaye as Megatron) voiced for the game. There are also subtle references to Transformers: The Movie. The game is rated T on the ESRB ratings scale.

Comic books

Transformers: Armada spawned at least three different comic book titles, the first being a mini-comic supplied with the toys, coming in various languages, that told small side stories relating to the premise, and eventually began leading into the Unicron Battles. The second comic was a monthly publication produced by then-comics media giant Dreamwave, after five issues by Chris Sarracini setting up the Autobots' arrival on Earth and first battles with The Decepticons, the title began being written by Simon Furman, the most prolific writer on the Transformers franchise

Furman's stories handled Armada with a maturity and direction that the animated series had yet to display and the comics were praised more so for the effort. The kids featured little and very few moments of real characterization, their highest profile story being the "Mini-Con Moon base" in which Rad was seized by a rogue Mini-Con faction, the "Destruction Team" as a bargaining chip to halt the Autobots from taking back the Mini-Cons they had lured to their stronghold on the moon. The image of Rad strapped to a bomb, its timer counting down to detonation, was greatly appreciated by those who resented the children. For the final few storylines, Furman introduced the world devouring Unicron as a dimension-crossing indestructible force who enlists familiar Decepticon characters from Generation One (versions of Thunderwing, Galvatron, Scourge, Dirge and Bludgeon), as "sentinels" to pave his way on Armada Earth.

Fan reaction was divided over this story, some believing it to be mere fanwank and an excuse for Furman to write for some of his favorite TF characters (Bludgeon and Galvatron), but many also appreciated the opportunity to see epic collisions the animated series would not provide. The conclusion of this arc wrapped up the Armada plotlines as the Autobots and Decepticons returned to Cybertron with the mini-cons assembled to destroy Unicron. The Armada comic series would continue beyond Issue 17, but under the title of Transformers: Energon.

The third comic was exclusive to the United Kingdom, and was published by Panini Comics (a company which had long since absorbed Marvel UK, which had launched Furman's career and success in the franchise). This title was also written by Furman, but was tailored towards much younger readers, with bright, block art and simplified stories - although traces of Furman's usual bold storytelling could still be found in it. Furman also included a side story strip called "Tales of the Mini-Cons" which followed the 'Cons on their own personal adventures, sometimes dipping into their past on Earth and spinning off plots that would even be resolved in the main strip. The Mini-Con Destruction Team that Furman had made the chief antagonists of his Moon base DW arc also showed signs of their ambitious hunger for power in one of the last issues, forging an alliance with Starscream.

Unfortunately, and much like the UK Generation 2 comic in the early 1990s', the title did not provide or generate the same success enjoyed by the G1 strips of the 1980s, and folded after nine issues. When Energon arrived in the UK, a comic was not distributed to tie in with the series or the toyline.

Characters

Autobots

Leader of the Autobots and protector of life throughout he is a gentle robot kind and brave and wise he treats his men with respect, Prime transforms into a semi-trailer and is partnered with the Mini-Con, Sparkplug (Prime). Prime's trailer can transform into a battle station operable by Prime and several Mini-Cons. Prime can also combine with his base to form a "Super Mode" robot. Additionally, Prime can combine with Jetfire and/or Overload for additional power. His Matrix can restore him even when his spark is vaporized.

Hot Shot transforms into a sports car, and is partnered with the Mini-Con, Jolt. This impetuous 'bot is the youngest member of the Autobots, whose hot-headedness often gets him into situations he can't handle, but Optimus Prime sees potential in him and sculpts him to be a leader. Prime granted Hot Shot the responsibility of wielding the Star Saber, but he was deceived by Sideways and lost the weapon to the Decepticons. Trained in combat by Scavenger, Hot Shot's next test came when he had to confront Wheeljack, his former partner on Cybertron who blamed him for leaving him for dead on the battlefield, when in reality, Hot Shot had sought to save him but had been prevented from doing so by his commander. Hot Shot acquitted himself against his former friend, saving the life of rookie Autobot Sideswipe, who immediately took a shine to the senior 'bot. When Optimus Prime sacrificed himself to save Earth, Hot Shot took command of the Autobots, but was glad to relinquish it when the Mini-Cons restored Prime to life. Hot Shot was subsequently powered up by the Mini-Cons (becoming Powerlinx Hot Shot with Powerlinx Jolt in America), and took his life in his hands invading the Decepticon base, seeking an audience with Galvatron to convince him of the threat of Unicron. Wheeljack allowed him to address Galvatron, in a meeting that revealed the treachery of Thrust. He again took command of the Autobots and Decepticons. His personality and physical appearance in robot mode resemble that of a young racing driver. His head is styled as a racing helmet with goggles which can be lowered and some false seatbelts that stretch over his torso. Jolt's "gun" can also become a false engine when he's in vehicle mode and becomes a pistol for Hotshot to wield.

The Autobots' medical expert, who transforms into an ambulance and is partnered with the Mini-Con, Longarm (Hook). Red Alert enters combat less frequently than the other Autobots, usually staying to guard the base, but his talents are no less appreciated, particularly by individuals like Smokescreen, whose life he saved. Red Alert was among the Transformers powered up by the Mini-Cons (becoming Powerlinx Red Alert with Powerlinx Longarm).

Smokescreen is the joker of the team, but sometimes he takes things very seriously. Originally intended to be one of the team members who accompanied Optimus Prime to Earth first, the tough, reliable Smokescreen entered the spacebridge portal late, and the resultant distortion caused him to materialize some time later, beneath the city, where he encountered the kids and other Transformers searching for the latest Mini-Con. After a brief case of mistaken identity which saw the kids flee from him, he joined up with the Autobots and became guardian of the Skyboom Shield. Later, while he was protecting the Requiem Blaster Mini-Cons, the Decepticons invaded the Autobots' base and claimed the weapon, using it to fatally wound Smokescreen, who attempted to fight back even as his body melted away. Red Alert was able to preserve his Spark, and build a new body for him, recreating him as Hoist (Grap Super Mode). Smokescreen transforms into a crane, and as Hoist, becomes a steam shovel. He is partnered with the Mini-Con, Liftor (the Hoist toy is partnered with another Mini-Con, Refute, who did not appear in the animated series).

Scavenger is an old war veteran who holds the distinction of being the Autobot who taught Optimus Prime the ways of battle. Arriving on Earth at Prime's request, Scavenger posed as a mercenary who join the Decepticons' side in order to learn information on their plans and put them on the trail of the Skyboom Shield. His mission done, Scavenger then returned to the Autobot fold, taking Hot Shot under his wing and giving him his unique brand of training. Scavenger transforms into a bulldozer, and is teamed with the Mini-Con, Rollbar. As his names, color (Green and Purple), and vehicle mode imply, he is a homage to the Constructicons of Generation 1.

Cool and aloof, Blurr is one of the suave later additions to the Autobot team, partnered with the Mini-Con Incinerator, who can convert his sports car alternate mode into a flying form. He initially thought of the mini-cons as mere tools, a thought which Hotshot slowly shot down, forcing him to realize the mini-cons were transformers as well. Blurr possesses immense speed, even when Incinerator is not connected to him. Blurr once saved Sideswipe from capture on Cybertron, a fact that he's trying to live down. As a result, Sideswipe sought him out on Earth and begged the Autobots to let him join the team, a decision in which Blurr immediately protested against. He and Optimus put Sideswipe under Hotshots command and let the young racers bond and become close friends.

The second-in-command of the Autobots on Cybertron, Jetfire departed Cybertron around the same time as the Decepticon, Thrust, and arrived on Earth in time to throw a monkey-wrench in the evil tactician's plan. In his subsequent battle, he was once again able to foil Thrust's machinations by using his special ability to combine (Power-link) with Optimus Prime, which the Decepticons had failed to account for. Jetfire transforms into a space shuttle, and is partnered with the Mini-Con, Comettor. As a fighter, Jetfire is very powerful and capable. However, he is a very boastful individual, constantly reminding the other Autobots of his greatness and his rank. He has been shown to fear Optimus' wrath at one point or another, however. Later on in the series he gained 3 more mini-cons called Firebot (Fire engine), Makeshift (Osprey) and Prowl (police car). These mini-cons were known as the Emergency Team.

An eager young Autobot who arrived from Cybertron to join Optimus Prime's forces, and immediately recognized Blurr, who had saved him on Cybertron. Optimus Prime appointed Hot Shot Sideswipe's partner, charging him with keeping a watchful eye over the enthusiastic youngster. It didn't go so well, as Sideswipe was almost immediately captured by Hot Shot's friend-turned-foe, Wheeljack, forcing Hot Shot into a confrontation with his old ally to save Sideswipe's life. He succeeded, but it taught Sideswipe a harsh lesson about warfare, and he soon sobered up, proving himself a valuable member of the Autobot force during the Unicron Battle. Sideswipe transforms into a sports car, and is partnered with the Mini-Con, Nightbeat, who can convert his vehicle form into a high-speed pursuit mode by attaching to his hood and extending his front.

Apparently a non-sentient weapons platform crafted by the Mini-Cons at the same time as they recreated Optimus Prime's body, Overload can convert from vehicle mode into a set of cannons and combine with Optimus Prime for added firepower. He is also shown to possess a robot mode, seen only once in a crowd scene, but shows no signs of any intelligence or life. Overload's toy is packaged with the Mini-Con, Rollout, who appears in the show in his role of Overload's cab and head, but in a capacity even more minimal that his larger partner's.

Decepticons

Megatron is the most malicious, powerful leader of the Decepticons: a refined, focused general who treats his troops with little care, yet still infuses them with genuine respect for him. Although usually stern and unflappable on the outside, there are many conflicting emotions with Megatron - he has dedicated his life to war, to the extent that he knows nothing else, and the suggestion that his days of fighting could be over causes him much dismay. The death of Optimus Prime plunged Megatron into a deep depression, relieved only after Prime's resurrection.

Subsequently, Megatron was among the Transformers who had their powers boosted by their Mini-Con, becoming Galvatron (Megatron Super Mode in Japan) and returning to Cybertron with a renewed vigor for conquest. However, the emergence of the threat of Unicron was ignored by Galvatron, forcing Starscream to sacrifice himself to make his leader see the truth, and Galvatron again came to fear the end of his war in the face of Unicron's power. Galvatron entered Unicron's body along with Optimus Prime, and was absorbed into the demi-god's body and mind, but when the Autobots' human allies freed the Mini-Cons from Unicron's thrall, Galvatron too was freed, and, believing the threat of Unicron to be over, challenged Prime to a final duel. Unfortunately the energies released in the battle reawakened Unicron, and Galvatron saw that the only way to end the circle was to destroy himself - sacrificing his life rather than live in an era of peace, Galvatron plunged himself into Unicron's maw, and in a flash, the two seemingly ceased to exist. Megatron/Galvatron transformed into a tank and was partnered with the Mini-Con, Leader-1 (when upgraded to Galvatron, the American toy renamed the repainted Leader-1 Clench, treating him as a new character).

In almost every Transformers universe, the character Starscream is usually full of treachery and a desire to rule the Decepticons, but the Starscream of this universe only loathed his commander, Megatron, simply because of the sheer mistreatment and contempt Megatron heaped upon him. Forcibly made the last of the Decepticons to gain his partner Mini-Con, Swindle, Starscream was then manipulated by Sideways into a duel with Megatron, which Starscream promptly lost. A short time later, Starscream (given ownership of the Star Saber) was made the patsy in Thrust's plan to steal the Requiem Blaster from the Autobots, which led to him being abandoned on the battlefield. Surviving to return to the Decepticon base, Starscream went on a rampage with the sword and disowned the Decepticons, siding up with the wary Autobots, not out of any desire to do well, but out of sheer hatred for Megatron.

After a clash with Hot Shot and a trip to Mars with Jetfire, Starscream befriended the Autobots' human allies, particularly Alexis, and then gave the Autobots access to the Decepticon base, resulting in a raid that freed all the captive Mini-Cons. Starscream's defection was not without difficulty however; he constantly clashed with the Autobots over morals and battle strategies. Nonetheless, he proved to be a capable Autobot. However, Thrust (himself being manipulated by Sideways) then toyed with Starscream, planting seeds of doubt in his mind that eventually caused him to steal the Skyboom Shield from the Autobots and return to the Decepticon fold, giving the evil robots possession of all three Mini-Con weapons. Subsequently, Starscream was among the Transformers powered up by their Mini-Cons (the American toy renamed Starscream and Swindle Thundercracker (referred to as Starscream Super Mode in Japan) and Zapmaster and treated them as different characters, while the American animated series continued to use their original names, with a line inserted into the English dub that sees Starscream comment on his similarity to Thundercracker).

Returning to Cybertron, Starscream engaged Thrust in battle when he revealed his treachery by stealing the Requiem Blaster and Skyboom Shield. Starscream failed in the battle, and Thrust delivered the weapons to Sideways and his master, Unicron, presently disguised as Cybertron's moon. Entering the warp gate Thrust had used, Starscream entered the belly of the beast along with Hot Shot and Wheeljack, but failed to stop Sideways from using the weapons to begin Unicron's reactivation. Galvatron was unwilling to acknowledge Unicron's threat, however, dismissing it as an Autobot trick, but Starscream knew the threat was real and that only united under a true leader like Optimus Prime could the Transformers hope to stop him. To show Galvatron the error of his ways, he challenged him to a duel in which he allowed Galvatron to run him through with the Star Saber, and then turned his firepower on Unicron, prompting the chaos-bringer to destroy him, proving to Galvatron that the danger was real. Starscream's shocking death prompted Megatron and Optimus to form an alliance to defeat Unicron. Alexis, whom Starscream had formed a close bond with, was deeply affected by his death. (Starscream is a play off the G1 character, also known as Starscream; the two are in no way related).

Unquestionably following orders at every turn, Demolishor is partnered with the Mini-Con, Blackout. He was among the Transformers powered up by their Mini-Cons (becoming Powerlinx Demolishor with Powerlinx Blackout).

Cyclonus has a very "trigger happy" personality, cackling as he fires his weaponry. He is partnered with the Mini-Con, Crumplezone, who can also convert to a cockpit extension for his alternate helicopter mode that gives him extra firepower or activate guns that flip out of his knees. For most of the first half of the series he was partnered with a drill-tank Mini-con by the name of Drillbit, but later he was fighting with Crumplzone by his side. (Cyclonus is a play off the G1 character, also known as Cyclonus; the two are in no way related).

Thrust is an Intelligent Tatician, Thrust is only loyal to the most deadly, that is why he allied himself with Megatron in the beginning. Stealthily stalking the skies in his jet mode, aided by his optical camouflage invisibility powers, Thrust personally selected the Mini-Con Inferno to his partner when he arrived on Earth from Cybertron. Heralded as a master tactician and general, Thrust's new schemes certainly seemed to confirm that fact, except he had failed to factor in the arrival of Jetfire and his combination with Optimus Prime.

Following being disrespected for these setback and an intriguing encounter with Sideways with the promise of great power and respect, Thrust began to work against Megatron, while at the same time arranging a scheme that saw him manipulate Starscream and eventually allowed the Decepticons to gain possession of all three Mini-Con weapons, which Thrust then assembled into the mighty Hydra Cannon. Back on Cybertron, however, Thrust's treachery was revealed when he absconded with the Skyboom Shield and Requiem Blaster, delivering them to Sideways, who used them to activate his master, Unicron. Following Sideways's theft of the Star Saber, Unicron was fully activated and transformed to his robot mode, with Thrust perched on his shoulder, believing that he was directing Unicrons attacks. When confronted by Galvatron, Thrust took a wrong step and found himself caught in Unicron's shoulder joint, and found that his cries for help elicited no response from the planet-eater, and was crushed to death.

Wheeljack was formerly an Autobot serving in the same company as Hot Shot on Cybertron. When they were both caught in a conflagration on the battle field, and Wheeljack was pinned beneath debris, Hot Shot was forced to leave him to get him, but was prevented from returning to his friend's side by his commander. Wheeljack believed that Hot Shot had abandoned him, and when Megatron found and rescued him, he swore loyalty to the Decepticon commander. In the present day, Wheeljack arrived on Earth around the same time as the Autobot, Sideswipe, and baited Hot Shot into a fiery face-off, forcing them to relive the past and put their issues to rest so they could go on to battle as enemies. Hot Shot won the day, and something inside Wheeljack seemed to soften, as, when both factions returns to Cybertron, he granted Hot Shot an audience with Megatron (now Galvatron), and worked closely and faithfully with him during the Unicron Battles. Wheeljack transforms into a sports car, and possesses the power of teleportation. Additionally, he can create illusionary duplicates of himself. His toy is partnered with the Mini-Con Wind Sheer, who does not appear in this capacity in the animated series. What sets him apart from the other Decepticons is that he doesn't wear the Decepticon symbol. Instead, he sports his old Autobot symbol, damaged and scarred from the old Cybertron battle. However, this is incorrect because on the actual toy, the Decepticon symbol is seen, but is very small.

The colossal, lumbering Tidal Wave is the largest of the Decepticons, arriving on Earth shortly after Thrust, and proved himself very powerful. Tidal Wave transforms into a huge warship, which can in turn separate into three smaller vehicles, collectively called the "Dark Fleet", which can combine with Megatron to endow him with flight capabilities and extra firepower. Tidal Wave has something of a reputation as being unintelligent, but this is not truly an accurate way of describing him, as it is simply that he is very childish. He is very much aware of what is going on around him and is capable enough to have led successful campaigns of several planets. However, he has a tendency to constantly repeat "Tidal Wave" while in battle. His toy is partnered with the Mini-Con, Ramjet, who does not appear in the animated series. The animation model is mainly a light gray, dark gray, and purple, which is what the toy's colors were in Japan. However, the US toy had many green parts in place of many of the purple

Mini-Cons

While there are many Mini-Cons, only four trios serve in the series' plotline.

  • Street Action Team

Serving as representatives of their kind, the Street Action Team consists of High Wire (Wheelie), Grindor (Bank) and Sureshock (Arcee). Together, they can combine into Perceptor (Bumble). High Wire was the first of the Mini-Cons on Earth to awaken, and immediately imprinted on Rad, assuming the alternate form of a bike based on Rad's own vehicle. Grindor and Sureshock soon did the same with Carlos's skateboard and Alexis's scooter, respectively. As simple as all this seemed, however, it was no coincidence that these three Mini-Cons became partnered to these three humans, as the confrontation with Unicron would make apparent. During this period, High Wire used his full powers to send the three children drifting through time, until they arrived back at the point of the Mini-Cons birth, and interacted with them, bestowing upon the Street Action Team the spark of sentience and souls, telling them they would be waiting for them on Earth. And so it was that the entire Mini-Con race would leave Cybertron for this planet, to fulfill the circle.

  • Air Military Team

Gunbarrel,Thunder Wing and Terra Dive,the trio were used by Galvatron a lot because of the sheer power.Each have three modes robot,jet and weapon mode.They are perfect Decepticon Mini-cons.Ruthless and vicious they served their evil master(Galvatron)well.

  • Air Defense Team

Jetstorm, Runway and Sonar, the three Mini-Cons who combine to form the Star Saber sword whose energized blade can cut through almost anything. Runway and Jetstorm's Mini-Con panels were recovered by the Autobots, but they would not open until Sonar's was found, and when the Decepticons succeeded in this endeavor, they proceeded to invade the Autobot base to unite the sword. Although the Saber was formed, the Autobots were able to retain possession of it, until the manipulative Sideways caused Hot Shot to lose it to the Decepticons. Megatron frequently wielded the blade, until Starscream was given it as part of a plan by Thrust. The Mini-Cons and Starscream seems to genuinely get along, but when Thrust's plan reached fruition and the Decepticons gained possession of all three Mini-Con weapons, they were locked in their weapon forms and used as both the power-source of the Hydra Cannon and as keys to awaken Unicron.

  • Race Team

Downshift, Dirt Boss and Mirage, the three Mini-Cons who merge into the Skyboom Shield. The Decepticons were able to acquire two of the Mini-Cons required to form the shield, and a race ensued to find the final one, Downshift, who awakened on his own and led the two factions on a chase until the Decepticons seized him and formed the weapon. During the ensuing battle, however, the shield was separated from Megatron, and taken control of by Sparkplug, who summoned it to Optimus Prime's hand. Following this, the shield was entrusted to Smokescreen due to his ability to launch it to required users in battle, but some time later, in the culmination of a complex plan by Thrust, Starscream stole the Skyboom Mini-Cons, giving the Decepticons possession of all three weapons, which were then locked in their weapon forms and used as both the power-source of the Hydra Cannon and as keys to awaken Unicron.

  • Space Team

Skyblast, Astroscope and Payload, the three Mini-Cons that join to create the Requiem Blaster. While the Autobots were battling Tidal Wave, the turncoat Sideways alerted the Autobots' human allies to the existence of the Blaster, and they proceeded to locate Skyblast's Mini-Con panel in the caves beneath their base itself. Skyblast was terrified of the prospect of fighting, but eventually worked up the courage to sing the Mini-Con harmony and summon Astroscope and Payload from stasis, forming the Requiem Blaster to save Optimus Prime. Smokescreen was subsequently charged with guarding the three Mini-Cons, but when the Decepticons invaded the base, he was seriously injured as Megatron seized control of the Blaster's power and turned it on him. The Requiem Blaster remained in Decepticon hands, and was soon joined by the remaining two weapons, which were then locked in their weapon forms and used as both the power-source of the Hydra Cannon and as keys to awaken Unicron.

  • Emergency Team

Prowl, Makeshift, Fire bot. Three Mini-cons designed for search and rescue. Several other Mini-Cons played a fairly prominent role in the series, but not to the extent the aforementioned teams did.

  • Sparkplug

Optimus Prime's Mini-Con partner. Was introduced in episode 4, and was the first Mini-Con to display his race's amazing powers by personally summoning the Skyboom Shield to protect Optimus. After Prime's death, Sparkplug was found clutching the Matrix, and later, would lead the charge when the Mini-Cons used it to resurrect the Autobot leader.

  • Incinerater

A Mini-con who can transform into a blue racing car.Partnered with the Autobot known as Blurr he activates two missile launchers/guns and is very powerful,he also activates a flight mode for Blurr(Blurr will be in vehicle mode to enable this).Icinerater is fast and combined with Blurr they are very powerful.Incinerater and Blurr are perfect together.

  • Jolt

A small Mini-con who can transform into a red helicopter. he is partnered with Hotshot and is strong enough in vehicle mode to lift and fly with Hotshot. He can fold down his rear half as a helicopter to become a propeller for Hotshot which enables him to travel short distances in air, achieve high speeds on land and even travel underwater. He and Hotshot share a gun which Jolt can carry in robot mode or Hotshot can use as a gun in vehicle mode.

  • Leader-1

Megatron's personal Mini-Con, who served him even back on Cybertron. For the most part, Leader-1 is Megatron's devoted servant, but he suffered a brief period of doubt when shown friendship by Billy and Fred. He would later up-grade Megatron into Galvatron after he was savaged by Nemesis Prime.

  • Swindle

Starscream's partner, who he personally fought to claim in the episode "Jungle." Swindle would later feature more prominently at the scene of Starscream's death, where he lamented Starscream's demise and was comforted by Optimus.

Other

  • Kids

Bradley "Rad" White and Carlos Lopez were the two best friends who reactivated the Mini-Con ship while exploring the caves outside their city. Soon joined by their friend Alexis (Alexa), they befriended the Street Action Team Mini-Cons as Megatron and Optimus Prime's forces arrived on Earth. This led to their alliance with Optimus and the Autobots, as they frequently helped them on missions, teaching them the ways of Earth. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep their friendship with the Autobots a secret from the local bullies, Billy and Fred (Jim), but the two boys quickly softened and became friends with the trio, as they too became Autobot allies. An encounter with Sideways in cyberspace gave the kids their first glimpse of Unicron, and when Starscream joined the Autobots, they all became friends with him, even though Starscream himself could scarcely believe it. Alexis in particular became enamored of the former Decepticon, even crafting a portion of a rock he brought them back from Mars into a pendant. After some protests that were quelled by Perceptor, all five kids accompanied the Autobots to Cybertron when the Decepticons fled Earth with the Mini-Con weapons, and once on the planet, they were sent drifting through time and discovered that they had always played a role in the development of the Mini-Cons, and that their coming to Earth had been predestined. Starscream's subsequent death upset Alexis, and when the children were absorbed by Unicron, Rad was able to use his connection to High Wire through Unicron's communal mind to free the Mini-Cons from his thrall.

They also had cameos in a few episodes of the sequel series Transformers: Energon. And at the end of Transformers: Cybertron, the sequel to Energon, they were seen watching the Autobots leave to establish a new Space Bridge. This scene in Cybertron was not seen in Japan, as Cybertron was not part of the same Continuity as Energon and Armada at the time of Galaxy Force 's (Cybertron's Japanese counterpart) original airing, but it has been recently retconned into the same universe in the Japanese time line as well.

A small transforming drone gifted to Rad, Carlos and Alexis by Red Alert, Laserbeak transforms into a robotic bird, a video camera and a stun gun, and is usually used by the kids to beam images from battles back to headquarters.

Sideways transforms into a motorcycle. His consciousness is apparently housed within the smaller robot who rides his alternate mode (unnamed in US, Mirror in Japan), which can split into two components, Rook and Crosswise, who can in turn transform into two different head modules, one Autobot, one Decepticon. (Sideways's toy considers Rook and Crosswise to be Mini-Cons, but as the animated series would proceed to take the character in an unanticipated direction, it is hard to know whether or not this classification applies to their cartoon counterparts).

Arriving on Earth claiming to be a drifter, the enigmatic Sideways sided with the Autobots, but soon - apparently - showed his true colors by siding with Megatron and the Decepticons, in the process allowing the villains to claim the Star Saber. However, as time went on, it became apparent that Sideways served a higher power, as he surreptitiously manipulated and sabotaged battles, creating dissent in the Decepticon ranks, always ensuring that the balance of power between the two factions was perpetually shifting. In an attempt to infiltrate the Autobots' base via their computer system, he inadvertently sucked himself and the minds of the Autobots' human allies into cyberspace, where they caught their first glimpse of his mysterious master. When Megatron learned of his treachery, he sliced Sideways to ribbons with the Star Saber, but all were stunned when Sideways's body dissolved into energy and reformed, cackling that he could never be destroyed. Sideways proceeded to form a deal with Thrust, and alerted the kids to the existence of the Requiem Blaster, setting in motion a chain of events which eventually culminated with the Decepticons in possession of all three Mini-con weapons, heading back to Cybertron. Once there, Thrust absconded with the Star Saber and Skyboom, delivering them to Sideways within Cybertron's moon, which was in actuality the disguised form of Sideways's master, the monstrous Unicron. Sideways proceeded to steal the Star Saber, the third key needed to reactivate Unicron, and the behemoth was brought to life, turning on Cybertron cutting a swathe through the combined Autobot/Decepticon armada as Megatron (now Galvatron) and Optimus Prime confronted Sideways within his body and learned the truth - that Sideways was another of Unicron's creations. Allowing his master to take over his body to speak through, Sideways attempted to make Prime the new vessel for his master's consciousness after disposing of the others to be absorbed by Unicron's body. When Rad was able to reawaken the Mini-Cons, they managed to break free and deactivated Unicron in the process. Enraged, Sideways attempted to kill his 'siblings' for doing this, only to be fatally wounded by Optimus Prime using the Requiem Blaster on him. He said a few desperate words, and died.

A primal force of evil from the beginning of time, his origins lost to the mists of history, the embodiment of all darkness and hate that lurks in the hearts of all beings, Unicron, having been defeated by the Autobot warrior, Omega Supreme, at some time in the ancient past, hid himself in plain sight of the Transformers, disguised as the moon of their home planet, Cybertron. In order to re-energize himself, Unicron implanted some of his own cells within Cybertron, where they grew and "hatched," giving birth to the Mini-Cons. It was Unicron's intent that these small robots would increase the ferocity of the Autobot/Decepticon war, allowing Unicron to feed off the hatred that the war fomented - but as a result of interference by human children, displaced in time from the 21st century, the Mini-Cons developed sentience, and fled Cybertron, crashing on Earth, where they lay dormant for a million years. And Unicron waited.

The subsequently awakening of the Mini-Cons once again increased the pace of the war, and to hasten the proceeding, Unicron created another being from his own body, Sideways, to serve as his agent for the purpose of constantly manipulating the events on Earth to keep the balance of power forever shifting, the ferocity of both sides constantly increasing. At the culmination of his plan, the Decepticons came into possession of all three Mini-Con weapons - the Star Saber, the Skyboom shield and the Requiem Blaster - which Sideways and Thrust then stole and used to reactivate Unicron. Shedding his lunar skin, Unicron transformed to robot mode and turned on Cybertron as the combined Autobot/Decepticon armada attempted in vain to stop him. Optimus Prime and Megatron (now Galvatron) entered his body with the human children, and Unicron addressed them through Sideways's form, absorbing all but Optimus into his collective consciousness and bringing the Mini-Cons back under his control. However, from within Unicron's mind, Rad was able to use his connection to High Wire to restore the Mini-Cons' individual minds, freeing the weapons and deactivating Unicron. With the danger apparently over, Galvatron challenged Prime to a final battle, but the hatred between the foes stirred Unicron to life again, and Galvatron realized that to break the circle, he had to sacrifice himself. Plunging himself into Unicron's maw, Galvatron ended the hatred, and in a mighty flash, Unicron vanished without a trace.

Rhinox, a full-fledged Autobot, became a Transmetal after being exposed to a quantum surge cause by an Energon accident on Cybertron, with advanced metallic transforming capabilities and the power to resist the effects of raw Energon. He transforms into an upgraded form of his rhinoceros transformation he obtained after a time warp into past Earth. It can now become a ski-mobile if he needs to obtain traction in a tight situation. Even though he is rarely seen in the series, in the final episode we see him getting ready in an attack jet after hearing Hot Shot's order to wage the final assault against Unicron. He is partnered with the Mini-Con, Armorhide, who can increase his strength tenfold.
(Rhinox is a play off the Beast Wars character, also known as Rhinox; the two are in no way related)

Nemesis Prime only ever appeared in one episode called "Puppet." He was found when Hot Shot and Red Alert were sucked into a worm hole and appeared on a strange planet (Parallel Cybertron or Unicron) with metal trees. Not far away, Megatron, Tidal Wave, Demolisher and Starscream had arrived looking for the lost Autobots. When they finally found the Autobots, they were already feeling the heat of Nemesis Prime and the Decepticons quickly became involved. Megatron destroyed him with one hit of the Requiem Blaster. But Nemesis Prime was reborn. After a period of deadly fighting, the Autobots and Decepticons on the planet were badly damaged by Nemesis Prime and close to death when five Mini-cons shot down and crashed on top of Nemesis Prime, which finally destroyed him. The Mini-cons used their powers to re-build the damaged transformers (except Tidal Wave, who was combined with Megatron) with new colors and armor. Megatron, however, became Galvatron. The new Autobots had a new enemy but the Autobot ship was shot down and the other Autobots joined the fight.

Cast

U.S. Cast (Armada)

Arranged alphabetically by last name.

Japanese Cast (Micron Legend)

Theme songs

U.S. (Armada)

Opening/Ending

  • "Transformers: Armada Theme" by SD Entertainment

Japan (Micron Legend)

Openings

  1. "Transformer - Dream Again" by Psychic Lover
  2. "Transformers - Koutetsu no Yuuki" by Hideaki Takatori

Endings

  1. "Never Ending Road" by Psychic Lover
  2. "Don't Give Up" by Psychic Lover

External links

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