Transformers: The Japanese Collection
Review By: TFG1Mike and Spada The Baltmatrix
On January 10, 2012 for the first time in North America the Japanese Transformers cartoons have come to DVD from the wonderful people at Shout Factory. Just like the other Dual DVD Review here on GCRN, this one will be kinda the same format. Mike will give his thoughts, then Spada will give his. Huge thanks to Tom Chen for sending these sets to us!!!
I’ve only seen individual episodes of The Headmasters series. I’ve never seen Victory or MasterForce, and I have a very good reason why. I do not watch stuff that in it’s entirety is not in English. Also I don’t watch stuff that for the entire show I have to read subtitles. That is a helluva lot of work.
That being said though I’m keeping an open mind, and giving this ago. I will say that Shout Factory has put together the BEST possible official release of these three cartoons. I do very much appreciate the hard work Brian Ward and the Shout Factory Crew put into the set. However after watching all the episodes, I don’t think I’ll ever watch these cartoons ever again. For me G1 ends with Rebirth, while it’s great to finally see a Blaster Vs Soundwave battle, that is the only up side to the Japan versions of G1. However don’t let my opinion sway you from getting this set. And now lets see what Spada has to say about this DVD set.
I have personally had the pleasure of seeing Masterforce subtitled a few years ago thanks to a group of dedicated fans, but this is the first time I have gotten to see both HeadMasters and Victory with english subs. And unlike TFG1Mike I love watching shows with subtitles thanks to years and year of fan-subbed anime.
Right off the bat I knew that I was in for something special and Shout Factory has delivered. It is such a joy to finally understand what some of my favorite characters have been saying after all these years. Also, the presentation is top notch and for the most part reflects the usual high Shout Factory standard.
Of the three series contained in the box set Headmasters is by far the weakest. It’s nice to see that the HeadMasters are Cybertronians who built larger bodies for themselves as opposed to humaniods that bonded with Transformers. And the epic battle between Ultra Magnus and SixShot is something that must be witnessed. But sadly there is a LOT wrong with this series and it is nothing Shout Factory can fix. Terrible animation, weak plot lines, stupid characters, etc. The long and short of it is that the plot consists of “Autobots chasing Decepticons across space. Stuff happens. The END.” Oh, and if you think Daniel and Wheelie are insufferable in the USA cartoons, well, let’s just say they make Scott Traker and T-Bob look like Einstein and Tesla.
Masterforce thankfully was a much better show. Yes, it had human characters but these humans actually had character and their presence made a sort of very strange sense. The animation was vastly improved from Headmasters and the character designs are much better as well. The show also feels like it was made for an older audience. Plus the human body count for this show is somewhere in the thousands. Many pointless extras gave their animated lives here! Of the three shows this is my favorite in terms of story and characters. The only thing it lacks is good action sequences. The action isn’t bad, it just ends quicker than I would like.
Victory. Man, Victory. You know what, I’m not going to talk to much about this series, I’m just going to say you need to see it. It’s good. Real Good. The characters arn’t AS good as Masterforce but the show as a whole is by far one of the best Japan-only Transformers series EVER. Plus, Star Saber. Yeah!
Even with all this praise I have two main issues with the set. The first issues is that there really are not extras to speak of. The second issues is that there are some major issues with the subtitles. There are minor translation issues, for example: Onorei! translates to ‘You Bastard!” and not “Curse you!”. Also, the timing is way off in some episodes. What that means is a character will speak but the subtitle won’t show up for a few seconds thus causing all the other subtitles to fall out of sync. How this happened, I have no idea.
On the whole, this is a great set and if you are a fan of Transformers it should be added to your collection. Yes there are some minor issues, and TF: Zone is not included, but this is the best official release there is.
So there ya have it folks! You can Buy this set from Shout Factory NOW!