Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2001 TV series)

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Transformers: Robots in Disguise
Transformers Robots in Disguise DVD cover art.jpg
United Kingdom ultimate collection DVD cover
トランスフォーマー カーロボット
(Toransufōmā: Kā Robotto)
Genre Mecha, Action
Anime television series
Directed by Osamu Sekita
Produced by Hisashi Kato
Juro Sugimura
Makiko Iwata
Shigerou Sugimura
Studio Studio Gallop
Nihon Ad Systems
Licensed by
Saban Entertainment (2001–2002)
Network TV Tokyo (2000)
English network
Original run April 5, 2000December 27, 2000
Episodes 39
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Transformers: Robots in Disguise, first broadcast in Japan as Transformers: Car Robots (トランスフォーマー カーロボット Toransufōmā Kārobotto?), is a Japanese anime television series created by Japanese companies Nihon Ad Systems and Studio Gallop in cooperation with Korean company Dongwoo Animation. It serves as a self-contained universe separate from any of the other existing Transformers universes.[1] 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.

Plot

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.

Characters

Episodes

The three clip shows of Robots in Disguise differ between the English and Japanese versions. Both are listed at the appropriate numbers.

# Title Japanese title Writer Director US airdate Japanese Airdate Production code
1 ""Battle Protocol!"" 初出動! ファイヤーコンボイ
First Deployment! Fire Convoy
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui,
Akira Katō
September 8, 2001 April 5, 2000
Predacons have come! The Autobots must defeat a gigantic hand!
2 ""An Explosive Situation"" 高速バトル! ゲルシャーク
High Speed Battle! Gelshark
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui,
Akira Katō
September 10, 2001 April 12, 2000
3 ""Bullet Train to the Rescue"" 合体せよ! 新幹線ロボ
Unite! Bullet Train Robo
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Steve Kramer (US)
Akira Katō September 12, 2001 April 19, 2000
4 ""Spychangers to the Rescue"" 忍者ロボ! スパイチェンジャー参上
Ninja Robo! Enter the Spychangers
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 13, 2001 April 26, 2000
5 ""The Hunt for Black Pyramid"" 決死のジャンプ! マッハアラート
Resolute Jump! Mach Alert
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Marc Handler (US)
Akira Katō September 14, 2001 May 3, 2000
6 ""The Secret of the Ruins"" ギガトロンの襲撃!
Gigatron's Raid!
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui October 11, 2001 May 10, 2000
7 ""Sideburn's Obsession"" スピードブレイカーの危機!
Speedbreaker's Crisis!
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Akira Katō September 15, 2001 May 17, 2000
8 ""Secret Weapon: D-5"" 謎の兵器! D5
Mysterious Weapon! D5
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Marc Handler (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 17, 2001 May 24, 2000
9 ""Mirage's Betrayal"" カウンターアローの裏切り!?
Counterarrow's Betrayal!?
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Akira Katō September 18, 2001 May 31, 2000
10 ""Skid Z's Choice"" 爆走! インディーヒート!!
Out of Control! Indy Heat!!
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 19, 2001 June 7, 2000
11 ""Tow-Line Goes Haywire"" 駐車違反だ! レッカーフック
Parking Violation! Wrecker Hook
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Matthew V. Lewis (US)
Akira Katō September 20, 2001 June 14, 2000
12 ""The Ultimate Robot Warrior"" 究極! 大仏トランスフォーマー
The Ultimate Extreme! The Large Buddha Statue Transformer
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 21, 2001 June 21, 2000
13 ""Hope for the Future"" ギガトロンの野望を暴け!
Gigatron's Ambitions Revealed!
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Osamu Sekita October 26, 2001 June 28, 2000
14 ""The Decepticons"" 敵? 味方!? ブラックコンボイ
Friend? Foe!? Black Convoy
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Akira Katō September 22, 2001 July 5, 2000
15 ""Commandos"" 5体合体! バルディガス
Quintuple Merge! Baldigus
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Marc Handler (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 24, 2001 July 12, 2000
16 ""Volcano"" 対決! ふたりのコンボイ!
En Garde! Two Convoys!
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Akira Katō September 25, 2001 July 19, 2000
17 ""Attack from Outer Space"" 宇宙から狙え! シャトラー!!
Aiming from Space! Shuttler!!
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Matthew V. Lewis (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui January 12, 2002 July 26, 2000
18 ""The Test"" 正義に目覚めよ! ブラックコンボイ
Awaken to Righteousness! Black Convoy
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Akira Katō September 26, 2001 August 2, 2000
19 ""The Fish Test"" 秘密作戦! ゲルシャーク
Secret Strategy! Gelshark
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Marc Handler (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 27, 2001 August 9, 2000
20 ""Wedge's Short Fuse"" 熱血戦士! ビルドマスター
Hot-Blooded Warriors! Buildmasters
Junki Takegami (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Akira Katō September 28, 2001 August 16, 2000
21 ""Landfill"" 四体合体! ビルドキング
Quadruple Merge! Build King
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui June 22, 2002 August 23, 2000
22 ""Sky-Byte Saves the Day"" 正義の味方? ゲルシャーク
Friend of Righteousness? Gelshark
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Matthew V. Lewis (US)
Akira Katō June 23, 2002 August 30, 2000
23 ""A Test of Metal"" 狙われたビルドマスター
Targeted Buildmasters
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui September 29, 2001 September 6, 2000
24 ""Ultra Magnus"" 登場! ゴッドマグナス
Enter! God Magnus
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Akira Katō October 6, 2001 September 13, 2000
25 ""Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion!"" 強制合体! ゴッドファイヤーコンボイ
Forced Fusion! God Fire Convoy
Junki Takegami (JP)
Matthew V. Lewis (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui October 13, 2001 September 20, 2000
26 ""Lessons of the Past"" 集結せよ! 新戦士たち
Assemble! New Troops
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Osamu Sekita December 14, 2001 September 27, 2000
27 ""The Two Faces of Ultra Magnus"" 絶体絶命! カーロボ3兄弟
Stalemate! 3 Car Robo Brothers
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Michael McConnohie (US)
Akira Katō October 20, 2001 October 4, 2000
28 ""Power to Burn!"" 発動! ダブルマトリクス
Invoke! Double Matrix
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui October 19, 2001 October 11, 2000
29 ""Fortress Maximus"" 浮上! サイバトロンシティ
Arise! Cybertron City
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Akira Katō October 27, 2001 October 18, 2000
30 ""Koji Gets His Wish"" JRX 対 バルディガス
JRX versus Baldigus
Junki Takegami (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui November 3, 2001 October 25, 2000
31 ""A Friendly Contest"" ゲルシャークの罠
Gelshark's Trap
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Matthew V. Lewis (US)
Akira Katō November 10, 2001 November 1, 2000
32 ""Peril from the Past"" 最後の鍵? さよならアイ
The Final Key? Farewell, Ai
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Michael McConnohie (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui November 17, 2001 November 8, 2000
33 ""Maximus Emerges"" 奪われたプラズマ
Stolen Plasma
Kazuhiko Gōdo (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Akira Katō February 16, 2002 November 15, 2000
34 ""The Human Element"" ブレイブマキシマスの謎
The Mystery of Brave Maximus
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui February 23, 2002 November 22, 2000
35 ""Mystery of the Ultra Magnus"" ゲルシャークの憂鬱
Gelshark's Blues
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Osamu Sekita March 30, 2002 November 29, 2000
36 ""Mistaken Identity"" ブラックコンボイの野望
Black Convoy's Ambition
Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (JP)
Michael McConnohie (US)
Akira Katō March 2, 2002 December 6, 2000
37 ""Surprise Attack!"" ブレイブマキシマスの起動!
Brave Maximus's Rise!
Tadashi Hayakawa (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui March 9, 2002 December 13, 2000
38 ""Galvatron's Revenge"" 逆襲! デビルギガトロン!
Counterattack! Devil Gigatron!
Junki Takegami (JP)
Richard Epcar (US)
Akira Katō March 16, 2002 December 20, 2000
39 ""The Final Battle"" 最後の戦い! ファイヤーコンボイ
Final Battle! Fire Convoy
Junki Takegami (JP)
Tom Wyner (US)
Yoshiaki Tsutsui March 23, 2002 December 27, 2000

Censorship and Episode Airings

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, thus 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" where instead it seems likely the episode is supposed to air in-between "A Test of Metal" and "Ultra Magnus".
  • "The Mystery of Ultra Magnus" (though aired with the incorrect title "Mystery of the Ultra Magnus") was the final episode of the show to air. However, in its official placement as episode 35, it remains out of order. The episode could clearly be placed in-between the episodes "Power To Burn" and "Fortress Maximus".
  • 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/Beast Era

Robots in Disguise is a historically important series to the Transformers franchise, being the first parallel universe. The concept of alternate reailties would continue to span the future of the brand. Despite this, the series makes many references to the original cartoon, as well as Beast Wars. The biggest difference between the original universe and this series is that the evil faction is the Predacons, instead of the Decepticons. Whereas in the original series, the Predacons were a subfaction that went on to become the main faction during the "Beast Era", the Predacons here predate the Decepticons and even create them.

Premise

It is established the Transformers with vehicle modes are(for the most part) good and therefor Autobots, whereas the evil Transformers have assumed beastial modes and thus are Predacons. The Decepticons are created when Megatron corrupts them with his Dark Spark energy, allowing them to be evil and possess vehicle modes. The journey to Earth from Cybertron was not shown in the show, which instead starts with the Autobots already on Earth completely integrated into human society, with the Predacons arrival on the planet restarting the war. Much is unknown about many of the characters origins and whether they are on Earth because of the war on their home planet of Cybertron making them into exiles (like most continuities up until this point and after) or if they are simply there on a mission to protect it.

Megatron

Megatron himself, despite being a Predacon, is more of a homage to the G1 character than the Beast Era one. In addition, Megatron is the only Predacon in the series to possess several modes, including vehicle modes such as a cybertronian car, jet and later a hydrofoil; he continues to gain further modes when he converts to his Galvatron form near the end of the series. Furthermore, 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. Galvatron was also quickly introduced and while he does claim to be a separate person like his G1 counterpart, it's shown to be a personal preference rather than an actual personality issue.

Ultra Magnus

Another major difference is the role of Ultra Magnus. In this universe, he is inroduced as an "Autobot Starscream" type of character, rather than Prime's successor, and reluctant to take on the role of being Autobot leader, he was seen wanting to overthrow Optimus Prime as Autobot leader. He wasn't even part of the main cast for most of the show. Furthermore, he is revealed to be sharing the Matrix with Optimus Prime (though this is not revealed until towards the end of the show). He can also combine with Optimus to form a robot named Omega Prime. This is also the first Ultra Magnus to not have an Optimus based mold, being that G1 Ultra Magnus was robot who resembled a white Optimus Prime and had a super mode he was almost always seen in.

Grimlock

In keeping with the vehicular nature of the Autobots, Grimlock was depicted as having a Backhoe vehicle mode, rather than being a Dinobot, a group of robots from the original comics and animated series who turned into dinosaurs.

Build Team

The above mentioned Grimlock was a member of the Build Team, a group of construction vehicles who could combine into a robot named Landfill, not unlike the Constructicons/Devastator from G1. Like their G1 counterparts, they are technicians and the inventors of Space Bridge. The only virtual differences were that they were Autobots, rather than Decepticons, and they were portrayed as being inexperienced in battle. The Transformers: Universe line would introduce a group of "Constructicons" who resembled the Build Team, but redecoed in their classic G1 green and purple colors, and combined into "Devastator".

Not much is revealed about them other than being Decepticons, however several possible origins have been established in Japanese fiction, including: that they could be the Build Team converted into Decepticons by Megatron (similar to how the Commandos and Scourge were created/ reformatted from Autobots), evil versions of the Build Team who hail from an alternate reailty where they were already Decepticons, upgraded versions of the G1 Constructicons, or even be new characters altogether. Considering the "Universe War" takes place after Robots in Disguise, the first could be possible.

Theme songs

Latin American

Opening

Ending

Japan

Opening

  • "Honō no Overdrive [Burning Overdrive]" by Kouji Wada

Ending

  • "Marionette" by Mami Nishikaku

North America

Opening

  1. "Transformers: Robots in Disguise Theme" by Paul Gordon
  2. "Transformers: Robots in Disguise (Alternate Theme)" by Hasbro

Ending

  • "Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ending Credits Theme" by Glenn Scott Lacey

References

  1. ^ 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

External links