Transformers: Robots in Disguise
|Transformers: Robots in Disguise|
North American DVD cover
(Transformers: Car Robots)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Osamu Sekita|
Dong Woo Animation
|Licensed by||Saban Entertainment|
|English network|| Fox Kids, Fox Box
|Original run||April 5, 2000 – December 27, 2001|
Transformers: Robots in Disguise, known in Japan as Transformers: Car Robot (トランスフォーマー カーロボット Toransufōmā Kārobotto?), is a Japanese anime television series and serves as a self-contained universe separate from any of the other existing Transformers universes. The series was imported to the West as a "filler" line while production on the next series, Transformers: Armada began in 2002, to begin the Unicron Trilogy. The series episodes last 27 minutes each. The series was licensed in the United States by Saban Entertainment & it was one of Saban's last English dubbed anime projects, before the company had been sold to Disney in 2002.
Megatron captures Dr. Onishi, and the Autobots ally themselves with his son, Koji, vowing to safely recover him from Megatron's clutches. An assortment of plans by Megatron to steal the Earth's energy ensue, led by his subordinate, Sky-Byte, but are stopped by the Autobots, including the newly introduced teams, Team Bullet Train and the Spy Changers. Probing Doctor Onishi's mind, Megatron discovers the significance of an ancient cave system, in which the Autobots discover a coded microchip belonging to the Doctor. After scuffles involving the new Autobot troops Skid-Z and Tow-Line, the microchip leads the Autobots to the Cave of the Dragon, where they discover a mysterious artifact of Cybertronian origin.
Further information decoded from Dr. Onishi's microchip leads the Autobots to the site of a crashed Cybertronian spaceship containing six protoform Autobots. But Megatron has also learned of the ship through his mind-probes and attacks, capturing the Autobots and taking them to a nearby military base, where he scans vehicle modes for each of them and infuses them with his own Spark energy, creating the evil Decepticons. The final Autobot scans Optimus Prime in addition to the tanker truck that will be his alternate mode, creating Scourge, a twisted "evil twin" of Optimus. Several battles with the Decepticons ensue, as Sky-Byte grows steadily jealous of the attention Megatron heaps on his new warriors. Amidst battles between the Decepticons and the newly promoted Autobot subgroup, the Build Team, Sky-Byte attempts to prove his worth by holding a tower of humans hostage in exchange for the Autobots' O-Parts, one of which is the artifact from the Cave of the Dragon. The plan meets with failure, but when Sky-Byte saves his hostages' lives, Koji begins to think he might not be all bad. Subsequently, Ultra Magnus, the bitter brother of Optimus Prime, arrives on Earth to claim the Matrix in Prime's possession, leading to an injured Optimus Prime facing certain doom against the Decepticons on a desert island. Magnus offers him the hand of friendship, but it is a ruse to allow Magnus to take the power of the Matrix, with an unexpected side-effect - the two brothers merge into Omega Prime and defeat their foes.
The Predacons and Decepticons attempt to turn Ultra Magnus to their side, but he refuses and channeling the power of the Matrix he and Prime now share, he supercharges the Autobot Brothers, giving them new powered-up forms. The discovery of a mysterious energy field radiating from beneath the Earth's surface leads both sides to the discovery of Fortress Maximus, a colossal Transformer city hidden on the planet to protect it. In the ensuing battles to claim its power, Dr. Onishi is accidentally set free by Sky-Byte. Now with Dr. Onishi advising them, the Autobots begin to put all the pieces together and, under his guidance, quickly locate all the O-Parts, which are combined to form a map that leads to the Orb of Sigma. In a failed attempt to acquire the orb, Megatron is buried in the ruins of a mysterious pyramid, but is resurrected by its energy as Galvatron. The Orb of Sigma soon leads the Autobots to Cerebros, the power key of Fortress Maximus, but he is stolen by the Decepticons and used by Scourge to activate Fortress Maximus, who rampages through the city until Koji calls out to him, and he stops. Experimentation soon makes it obvious that Maximus responds to human bio-signatures, leading the Decepticons to attempt to capture Koji (but accidentally snatching his friend Carl instead). With Maximus active, Scourge makes his power play, attempting to use him to destroy Galvatron, but when the scheme fails, all the Decepticons have their brains wiped. Galvatron proceeds to drain Fortruss Maximus's energy, boosting his already-formidable strength and then releases a swarm of cyber-bats across the Earth, using them to hold the children of the world to ransom to stay Optimus Prime's hand. Believing he has destroyed the Autobots in a lava flow, Galvatron then recalls his bats, but finds that his foes are still alive, leading to a final confrontation with Omega Prime at the Earth's core. The children of the world re-energize Fortress Maximus, who transmits his energy to Optimus Prime, forming the gigantic Matrix Blade, with which Prime finally defeats Galvatron. At the end, the Predacons and Decepticons—all but Sky-Byte—are imprisoned aboard Fortress Maximus and escorted by Ultra Magnus to Cybertronian space, and the remaining Autobots prepare to leave Earth for good after some rest and relaxation.
The three clip shows of Robots in Disguise differ between the English and Japanese versions. Both are listed at the appropriate numbers.
- Battle Protocol!
- An Explosive Situation
- Bullet Train to the Rescue
- Spychangers to the Rescue
- The Hunt for Black Pyramid
- The Secret of the Ruins
- Sideburn's Obsession
- Secret Weapon: D-5
- Mirage's Betrayal
- Skid Z's Choice
- Tow-Line Goes Haywire
- The Ultimate Robot Warrior
- Hope for the Future
Gigatron's Ambitions Revealed!
- The Decepticons
- Attack from Outer Space
- The Test
- The Fish Test
- Wedge's Short Fuse
- Sky-Byte Saves the Day
- A Test of Metal
- Ultra Magnus
- Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion!
- Lessons of the Past
Assemble! New Troops
- The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus
- Power to Burn!
- Fortress Maximus
- Koji Gets His Wish
- A Friendly Contest
- Peril from the Past
- Maximus Emerges
- The Human Element
- Mystery of the Ultra Magnus
- Mistaken Identity
- Surprise Attack!
- Galvatron's Revenge
- The Final Battle
RiD's airing was heavily affected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and many of its episodes were held back, re-edited, removed from re-run schedules, aired late or didn't air at all in the USA. The entire run of episodes did air on Fox Kids in the UK.
- "Battle Protocol" was never re-aired in the U.S. after its premiere due to a scene of Megatron smashing through a skyscraper in claw mode.
- "Secret of the Ruins" opening scene featured buildings being destroyed and a reference to terrorism, and the episode was held back to be redubbed. The scene in question was recreated using footage from "Battle Protocol!" Eventually, the episode aired between "Ultra Magnus" and "Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion". It is the episode in which Doctor Onishi's microchip is introduced, so its removal left something of a hole in the series. The original version of the episode has never been broadcast, and for international syndication, only the altered redubbed version was used.
- "Hope for the Future" was held back, eventually airing between "The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus" and "Fortress Maximus".
- "Attack From Outer Space", "Landfill", and "Sky-Byte Saves the Day" did not air in the US. "Attack" would go on to air in Canada, and all three would subsequently air in the UK. All three episodes feature buildings being destroyed, and the plot of "Sky-Byte Rampage" revolves around stopping a tower from falling over. However, this is the first episode to put focus on the O-Parts, and its removal from the line up disrupted the continuity of the show.
- "Power to Burn!" aired before "The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus", instead of after.
- Heavily altered from its original Car Robots content (see "Changes" below), "Lessons of the Past" aired between "Peril From the Past" and "Maximus Emerges".
- "The Mystery of Ultra Magnus" was the final episode of the show to air. However, in its official placement as episode 35, it remains out of order (again, see below).
- There were two versions of "Spy Changers To The Rescue" aired before and after 9/11. The pre-9/11 episode contained references to the generator possibly exploding and a scene with Prowl's jet-claw. The post 9/11 episode had the jet-claw edited out and the possibilities of "explosions" were changed to possibilities of "circuit corrosion" along with other minor dialogue changes.
Differences from Car Robots
As is commonplace for a televised English dub of a Japanese animated series, some alterations, omissions and even additions were applied to Car Robots for its broadcast as Robots in Disguise. Although the series is, in the words of producer Eric S. Rollman, "its own storyline independent of the other series", featuring "somewhat similar characters in a parallel dimension", the series' dialog was adapted to include sidelong references to past Transformers series. Scene transitions consisting of rotating CGI faction symbols were inserted into the series in homage to the similar scene transitions from the G1 series and several computer-animated POV shots were inserted into early episodes (sometimes in addition to existing footage, sometimes in place of it), but by less than halfway through the series, this practice was abandoned. All three of the series clip shows were completely reworked for RiD, and were altered to focus on new material.
In Car Robots, God Magnus is already in possession of a Matrix of his own - as in previous Japanese series such as Beast Wars Neo, all high-ranking Autobots possess a Matrix, which is nothing more than a source of energy, unlike the mystical object of G1 lore. In the series penultimate episode, Devil Gigatron releases a swarm of cyberbats which attach themselves to children across the world. In Car Robots, Devil Gigatron uses these bats to absorb the mental energy of the children, and then, after believing he has defeated the Cybertron, recalls the bats and absorbs them back into his body, boosting his strength with the energy. In RiD, Galvatron instead uses the bats to hold the children to ransom, forcing the Autobots to stay their hands. In the final episode of Car Robots, with the Cybertrons in his clutches, Devil Gigatron forces Fire Convoy to use the Global Spacebridge to take him to the Earth's core, where he will drain the very planet's energy directly. In RiD, this is altered to Prime challenging Galvatron to a final battle there and instructing T-Ai to seal all the Spacebridge portals, so that even if he loses, Galvatron will be trapped (RiD makes very little of the fact that Galvatron is an energy vampire). At the battle's conclusion in Car Robots, T-Ai believes Fire Convoy is dead, but in RiD, she considers him only "trapped".
Differences from Generation 1
|This section requires expansion. (July 2013)|
The biggest difference between the original series and Robots in Disguise is that the evil faction is the Predacons instead of the Decepticons. The roles of the two factions have been reversed. Ultra Magnus wants to overthrow Optimus Prime as Autobot leader, whereas in G1 Magnus was Prime's successor, and Magnus was reluctant to take on the role. Furthermore the Matrix can only be opened by Primes in most continuities, in this continuity, Magnus was able to open the Matrix with ease. In keeping with the vehicular nature of the Autobots, Grimlock was depicted as having a Backhoe vehicle mode rather than a Dinobot. There are only 5 Predacons just like in G1, but unlike G1, they can't combine. Like in G1, Scourge was a reformatted Decepticon, but unlike G1, he started out as an Autobot and was an evil clone of Optimus Prime as a Decepticon. Fortress Maximus's story was completely changed in this incarnation. Cerebros is the head of the Emissary instead of Maximus himself. Galvatron was introduced much differently than his G1 counterpart, instead of being a somewhat new character created by Unicron, he was Megatron's new form when he was reborn as an energy vampire. Galvatron was merely a redeco of Megatron with new forms that could also be configurated on the Megatron toy. The Space Bridge was invented by the Build Team (an Autobot sub-group similar to the Constructicons) rather than the Decepticons, and was used by the Autobots to get to anyplace on the planet faster.
Japan (Car Robots)
- "Honō no Overdrive [Burning Overdrive]" by Kouji Wada
- "Marionette" by Mami Nishikaku
North American (Robots in Disguise)
- "Transformers: Robots in Disguise Theme" by Paul Gordon
- "Transformers: Robots in Disguise (Alternate Theme)" by Hasbro
- "Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ending Credits Theme" by Glenn Scott Lacey
- TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE Returns! Hasbro Launches Product Line Based on Original '80s Theme; Fox Kids Series to Debut September 8th. Business Wire September 5, 2001
- RiD Forever : For in-depth information on the Robots in Disguise/Car Robots series.
- TheTransformers.net Europe's largest Transformers Fan Site and helpers of the Transformers Robots In Disguise DVDs in the UK
- Transformers: Car Robots (Japanese TV Tokyo Homepage)
- Transformers: Car-Bot Homepage)