- Episodes : 47
- Genre : Adventure, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Airing Date : April 12, 1988 – March 7, 1989
- Studios : Toei
Transformers: Choujin Masterforce Introduction
Though the original G1 Transformers had an episode of our heroes disguising themselves as humans, that concept is expanded through the Pretenders, a sub-group of Transformers dedicated to that feature with the Cybertrons (or Autobots in the US). As for the Pretenders that fight for the Destrons (or Decepticons), they assume the forms of ancient beasts. In addition to the Pretenders, both sides of the conflict introduce the Headmasters Juniors and Godmasters, humans who can fuse with transectors, or Transformer bodies to help join the fight.
What We Liked About Transformers: Choujin Masterforce
Choujin Masterforce is pretty much Transformers if it was an old school mecha anime akin to Mazinger Z. With Headmasters, the prior season, the character designs—especially for the humans—retain more of a Western influence while Choujin Masterforce is a series that is 100% authentically Japanese. Though Headmasters could easily pass as an American production, everything about Choujin Masterforce is truly an anime. The concepts introduced in this series will seem very strange to non-Japanese audiences who are not familiar with anime, but for anime fans that love Transformers, it’s pretty easy to settle into.
1. Convoy/Optimus is Back!
Though Convoy once again dies in Headmasters, his design is back as a transtector for one of the Godmasters, Ginrai, a truck driver from Japan. Though Convoy was a natural leader, Ginrai has a different personality by presenting himself as a guy who wants to live free on the open road. After assuming his role as a Godmaster, he chooses to fight for justice without hesitation after witnessing the evil of the Destrons. While it is only Convoy in body, we can only guess the design came back only to sell him as a new toy.
2. New Characters and concepts
Not only do we have Transformers that can disguise themselves as humans, we have the reverse with the Godmasters and Headmasters Juniors. So in essence, it makes Transformers feel more like a traditional mecha anime though still strongly distinct from the likes of Gundam or Evangelion. The Godmasters tend to do all of the fighting while the Headmasters Juniors, who are regular kids who can turn into Transformers, serve as support by taking care of damage control and civilian evacuation. So this edition is a very human driven series.
1. Has Trouble Balancing Its Cast
While Transformers always had a large cast of characters, Choujin Masterforce is a pure example of how it badly handles it. Just about every other episode, it can’t decide who the main character(s) is. Initially, the Pretenders are portrayed as the main characters and as the series finally transitions to the Godmasters, the Pretenders are progressively put to the back burner. As for the original Headmasters and other subgroups of both sides of the conflict, the series easily justifies their absence by having them off Earth working on other stuff.
2. Its Concept is Out of the Norm
The concept of the Godmasters (and the Headmasters Junior) is going to be difficult for all hardcore Transformers fans to accept. While it is something entirely fresh, can new equal good? People, especially Western fans, loved Transformers for having sentient robots and the notion of people being able to become Transformers is understandably a ridiculous pill to swallow. It’s natural to react that what this series does go against the tradition and appeal of Transformers.
For fans of Transformers that are not familiar with anime as a whole, the fact that Choujin Masterforce is so different is going to be a make or break deal. The fact that it’s not what long-time Western fans are used may turn them off if they have no knowledge or exposure to old school mecha anime. But the fact that it uses new elements and gimmicks simply keeps the concept of Transformers fresh. While the humor may be difficult to relate to, the characters are likable and the designs and presentation still get the job done. The action is exciting and in the end, hardcore fans probably want to buy the toys. Whether it’s too different or not, if there’s one thing we can say for certain, we still recommend this over Michael Bay’s lousy movie series.