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The Original Transformers
Season 3 Part 2 and Season 4 Boxed Set

Things are pretty good when we get the final boxed set of Transformers Generation-1 (or "the original"), and bundled in it is the second half of season 3, and the entirety of season 4. It's out now, it's still pretty good, but the set may not be as cool as you think.

Out of the 3 DVDs in this box set, DVD 1 is the best, containing my personal all-time favorite “Only Human." Overall, Disk 1 does have more great episodes. The disappointments begin on Disk 2, which contains the infamous “Return of Optimus Prime pt. 1 & pt. 2“.

If I recall correctly, the team of writers were forced to make Optimus come back due to public outcry from the younger fanbase and their parents after he met his end in Transformers: The Movie. It was indeed heart wrenching and still one of the best written heroic endings of a monumental figure, but that is another article altogether. "Return of Optimus Prime" is not my favorite story and probably not yours, either. It was strictly written to fix a mistake Hasbro made when they decided to axe him in the first place.

"Call of the Primitives" is an interesting episode to watch, as it has insight into the origin of the ever feared Unicron. Not entirely great, but it’s the animated story version of it all, and worth seeing for those who want to know.

Season 3’s second part is not as bad as most people remember it; it's just that expectations ran high when the movie came out, with fans' hope that the quality of animation in the TV show would rise to match the theatrical release. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but most of it was well done.

You may find it also interesting that some episodes do indeed have a very Japanese Anime feel to them. What gives them away is the overposing of some characters, and the detailed shading and lighting that the average show would normally have with darker, and crisper imagery than you regularly saw in seasons 1 and 2 by far.

Some bad animation can be seen when Optimus Prime’s rebirth story arc takes place. (It shouldn't be a surprise, considering the rush job that it was.) Many sequences really have him distorted to a point where he looked like he was drawn by a 70’s team. The slide they use on the inside of the box set itself is extremely unflattering, but it isn’t all like that.

It’s still Optimus, and whether you are watching for story, or pure enjoyment, it is all good.

DVD 3 contains the final fourth season, that consists of a whopping 3 episodes! Hey at least we got the last of the greats. The third disk also contains the last of the special features, which in this box set is embarrassingly little. It’s an interview with Writer David Wise that is insightful and a great watch, especially if you have never had the chance to ever go to a convention and hear him speak. You get a first hand look at what he was thinking when writing the plot in season 4, and why it is a 3 parter, among many other details.

The box set’s additional extra is the ability to watch all 3 episodes of season 4 as one continuous movie. “The Rebirth” story introduces all the Transformers line for that year. Because of it being done in such a short time frame, things happen way too fast. Wise creates interesting reasoning, though, as to why we get our Headmasters and Targetmasters, and Fortress Maximus, etc. And again he explains them in more detail in his interview.

Admittedly, it's a bit of a disappointment to see such sparse extras, where in the previous sets, Rhino Home Video had really raised expectations with some great features.

Overall, for the TF fan who is collecting the series… this is a must have, see how everything comes to an end for Generation-1, and fall in love with them all over again by going to your nearest comic book and picking up Dreamwave’s comic book series.

If you aren’t into Transformers, note that everything in the third season relies on your knowledge of the G-1 mythos, and what transpired in the movie. The episodes do follow a chronological order, so you shouldn't watch them out of sequence. Which I guess is why you have a box

Overall, these DVD releases have been an awesome collection from Rhino, and even if Season 3-Part 2 & Season 4 aren’t all that in terms of features, the stories are worth your time.

Transformers Season 3 Part 2/Season 4 Boxed Set

Mish'al Samman


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