MRD Review: Transformers: The Headmasters

Holy crap! For once, I actually made a review again after how long exactly? Yeah, I’d like to apologize for this review taking so long. The main reason I took so long is really just because I had a really rough college semester last spring, but there were other reasons which I will actually get into later. Regardless, I apologize for taking so long and I promise no other review will take this long ever again. That being said, time to get into the next show, Transformers: The Headmasters.

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Now, let’s start off with a little bit of background information. A lot of you may not have ever watched this show and the reason is that this show only ever aired in Japan. In the US, the original G1 cartoon ended with a brief fourth season where the concept of Headmasters was introduced and it ended with Cybertron being restored to its former glory while the Decepticons got stranded in deep space. However, in Japan they never got the brief fourth season that viewers in the US got. Instead, Takara decided to continue with the series and made an entire show with the Headmasters concept in it, albeit with a few changes. In the fourth season of G1, Headmasters were organic beings who piloted Transformers in place of the Transformers’ head, which was removed. In this show, they are Transformers who learned how to become a head for a larger body called a “Transtector”. However, even the show was never really aired in the US, it did eventually get an English dub which is rather infamous due to it being dubbed in a country where the native population does not generally speak English, which can provide for unintentional comedy.

This show features the return of many Transformers from the G1 cartoon as well as the humans Spike, Carly, and Daniel. We also get introduced to some new faces, primarily the Headmasters. The Autobot Headmasters include their leader Cerebros (or Fortress in the Japanese version), Chromedome, Hardhead, Brainstorm, and Highbrow while the Decepticon Headmasters include their leader Scorponok, as well as Skullcruncher, Mindwipe, and Weirdwolf. As for the plot, it takes place one year after the end of the third season of G1 and starts with the introduction of the Headmasters who are robots from Cybertron who departed from the planet long ago and ended up stranded on the planet Master, and to survive the harsh environment they learned to transform into heads and combine into larger bodies called transtectors, hence why they are called “Headmasters”. Aside from that, it’s just the typical Autobots vs Decepticons type of story where the Decepticons are trying to destroy the Autobots and rule the universe and the Autobots have to stop them.

With all that out of the way, what is my opinion of the show itself? Remember how I said earlier that there were other reasons in addition to just college that caused me to take so long with this review? Well, another reason is that I really did not enjoy this show at all. I honestly had to really force myself to watch this show and finish it. I really didn’t want to keep watching after just 8 episodes, but I forced myself to watch the entire show. Just like with the G1 cartoon, the main problem with this show is that the writing is a complete mess. Granted, I stated in my G1 review that I did enjoy the show despite the bad writing but at least I liked a lot of the characters and ideas present. I also watched that show years ago and had more tolerance for its writing back then. As also stated in my G1 review, when I went back to watch a few episodes more recently I found that the show didn’t live up to its original expectations. The only part of that show that did was the 1986 animated movie. Maybe if I had watched this show years ago, I would have been able to appreciate it more.

But enough about that. Let’s get into what it is that’s so bad about the show’s writing. Just like with G1, it is very inconsistent and in general not very well thought-out or anything. For example, in the first few episodes, Optimus Prime had to reach Vector Sigma to stabilize it and to reach it he had to go through so many traps and obstacles… then he gets there, and the Decepticons were there waiting for him. It’s not like they were there to begin with either. Rather, they heard he was heading there and went there and were just there and didn’t have to go through anything. And then Autobot reinforcements arrive and they didn’t have to go through anything either. Was there some sort of secret backdoor entrance that Prime was unaware of or something? And that’s not all. Throughout the whole show, things just come out of nowhere for the sake of the plot, be it the Headmasters magical ability to hold hands and recharge their energy through the power of friendship (no, I’m not even kidding about this. If you really want, you can watch the show yourself and you’ll see that it happens in some of the later episodes), or when Fortress Maximus is out of energy and is at the mercy of an exploding planet and then the explosion’s energy somehow recharges him and lets him escape or he’s thrown into lava and survives with no explanation. And then some things just don’t make sense. Like, in one episode when Vector Sigma is creating a new metal that was stronger than the regular Cybertronial metal, Scorponok feared what could happen if it fell into the hands of the Autobots so he decided that the only way to stop them was not just to destroy Vector Sigma, but all of Cybertron…. May I ask why he needed to wipe out the whole planet? I get Vector Sigma, but why all of Cybertron? And if anyone is wondering, I’m not just nitpicking a handful of moments like this from the show. Rather, these kinds of things happen throughout and these are just a few notable examples. Another thing to add is that the battle sequences in this show feel very repetitive. Not much feels different about any of the battle sequences in this show.

Yes. Because these guys were such well-developed characters that I care so much about them when they died because of the Decepticon scum, and you play that sappy music in the background(sarcasm). Also, if you're wondering, the dying guys are members of some alien species that appear throughout the show.
Yes. Because these guys were such well-developed characters that I care so much about them when they died because of the Decepticon scum, and you play that sappy music in the background(sarcasm). Also, if you're wondering, the dying guys are members of some alien species that appear throughout the show.

As for the characters, I don’t care for any of them at all, be it Autobot, Decepticon, human, or anything else. There’s nothing about any of the Headmasters on either side that appeal to me, Cyclonus and Scourge are treated like idiots, Wheelie and Daniel are REALLY annoying, especially Daniel who is always whining, half of the Autobots don’t actually do anything such as Arcee, Scorponok is a bland villain, and I could just go on. Seriously, the characters in this show have such a small appeal that when someone dies I don’t even care, even if it’s someone who I may actually be a big fan of in other Transformers series. And no. The sad music they play when someone dies doesn’t help even a little to make me feel bad at all. Though, speaking of the music, one of the only good things about this show is the background music can be catchy at times. Also, for an 80s show, the animation was pretty good. Those are the only positive things I can think of for this show. Though, if you decide to watch the English dub, you may also get some enjoyment out of the terrible voice acting and dialogue.

Now, if anyone out there enjoys this show, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to take that away and if you like it, more power to you and you go ahead and keep enjoying it. But I personally couldn’t stand this show. I really wanted to just stop watching and a few times I would go for days without watching any episode and had to really force myself to finish it, and I don’t plan on ever revisiting this show ever again. Maybe I’m looking at this show the wrong way, and should realize it’s an 80s show and I may just not have an appreciation for what it may have been trying to do (aside from helping to sell toys of course :P). That being said, I hope you enjoyed this review and I apologize if it was not to your liking. The next Transformers show I plan to review is Super-God Masterforce, or just Masterforce for short. I don’t know when it’ll be up as I have to watch the show first but I’m hoping I’ll be able to get it done by the end of next week. With that, I will see you all later.