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Transformers Japanese Collection: Headmasters [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Masashi Ebara, Banjô Ginga, Masato Hirano, Michihiro Ikemizu, Hiroya Ishimaru
  • Directors: Akinori Orai, Bob Shirohata, Fumiji Kitazume, Jôhei Matsuura, Katsutoshi Sasaki
  • Format: Animated, Box set, Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: 5 July 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B004UFE2XM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,287 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Transformers: The Japanese collection: Headmasters is a throwback to the good old days of the Transformers animated series, although whilst it is identical in many ways, it does not occur within the continuity of the original G1 animated series. This is the complete series, comprised of 36 half hour episodes presented on four DVD's, and is Region 1 only.

In the Japanese continuity we have Cybertron finally at peace after millions of years of war, that is until the banished Decepticons lead by Galvatron decide you attack once more with the aim of capturing Cybertrons master-computer, Vector Sigma, supported by a new breed of Transformers - the Headmasters!

The Autobots find themselves on the back foot against this powerful new enemy, that is until a team of allied Headmasters ride to their rescue. Their story goes that they were once Cybertronian citizens caught in the middle of the Autobot/Decepticon war, who decided to exodus the planet in order to seek peace elsewhere, eventually adapting their bodies to become Headmasters.

The level of animation and sound effects in the series is of a similar quality to that which was offered by the best of the original G1 animated series, and whilst the series does make a point of highlighting the adventures of Transformers who were generally didnt appear in the G1 series, or only appeared near to the end of it (such as the Headmasters, Technobots, Terrorcons, Sixshot etc), alot of old favourites such as Optimus Prime, Jazz, Sideswipe, Prowl, the Arielbots, Constructacons and Soundwave, also appear, as well as some Transformers never associated with the G1 franchise, such as the Trainbots.

The action is frantic and brutal in a way rarely seen in Western animation, indicative of a Japanese anime series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 46 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Loved It, But Your Mileage May Vary 18 July 2011
By Prowl Da Owl - Published on
Format: DVD
Transformers: Headmasters is the first of a loose "trilogy" of Japanese-exclusive Transformers cartoons produced after the demise of the American "G1" cartoon. I was introduced to this show (and its successors, Transformers: Masterforce and Transformers: Victory) by way of badly-converted (PAL-to-NTSC) VHS bootlegs and an English dub by way of Singapore. I was able to get into Masterforce and Victory, since the characters were mostly "all-new" and had few, if any, connections to the original series, but I could never get more than five or six episodes into Headmasters because of the glaringly horrible way they dealt with the names (Blurr is called "Wally," Blaster is called "Billy," Spike is "Sparkle," the Matrix of Leadership is called "The Power Pack," etc.). It was laughingly bad and still a subject of much derision today (there's a line in Masterforce about "going to headQUARters to have some keBABS" that still makes me chuckle years later).

Shout! Factory's official U.S. release of these cartoons is a blessing by comparison. Not only do the subtitles reflect the "correct" names for the characters, but they opt to use the American names of the characters (Optimus Prime, Kup, Cerebros, Autobots, Decepticons) vs. the Japanese (Convoy, Char, Fortress, Cybertrons, Destrons). It is easier to get into the story when you're not thinking "Did they really just call him 'SPARKLE'?!?" The "Japanese with English Subtitles" may turn off the casual viewer, but it's really the only way to watch the show, as the only "legitimate" English dub track is absolutely abominable in it's badness. The story is much broader and more engaging than the three-episode "Season 4" although the toy collectors among us may grumble about the cool Japanese-exclusive characters that we never got back in the '80s (the Trainbots, Twincast, Soundblaster, and so forth). Also be on the look-out for one episode appearance by Hasbro's Battle Beast characters, who were released in Japan as a Transformers tie-in called "Beastformers".

While some of the storylines are a bit darker than the American version (i.e., major robot character deaths as early as episode 3), it won't traumatize any child who survived watching the wholesale robo-slaughter in the original "Transformers: The Movie" (or the spine-tearing, face-ripping goodness of the live action movies, for that matter). In fact, those hoping for a "hardcore and mature Transformers story" in the vein of "TFTM" or the Michael Bay films may walk away a little disappointed. "Headmasters" is completely and unabashedly a kid's show, and a Japanese kid's show at that. As such, there's much focus on the human POV character, Daniel, and the occasional bits of shtick and slapstick that might turn off the hardcore G1 "purist," but it is overall a good show.

Besides, Blurr's Japanese voice actor is absolutely awesome and certainly evokes the legendary John (FedEx, Micromachines) Moschitta, Jr. in his portrayal. That and Grimlock's subtitles being in "Me-Grimlockspeak" make me a very happy Transfan.

The set is beautifully packaged and affordably priced. While the extras are a little sparse (an art gallery and nothing else), getting 35 episodes of an anime for $20-$25 is worth the price of admission in and of itself.

The only major complaint I have is that occasionally the timing of the subtitle track will get a little "off" and doesn't quite keep up with the dialogue at times. It happens rarely, but often enough to be noticeable.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Japanified 11 Aug. 2011
By BOOTA-san - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have to rate this release as a 5-Star for several reasons:

1. The great price and for the fact that it's not a bootleg.
2. If this is the 'weakest' series of the Japanese "trilogy", then I hope Shout Factory releases the other two sets (Headmasters; Super God Masterforce; Victory), the storytelling and action is excellent.
3. Even for an 80's 'toon, and not remastered from its original film, it has held up brilliantly; much moreso than the U.S. counterparts in my opinion.
4. It doesn't belittle: adult wars - check; actual robot destruction/dismemberment and 'game over' - check; extremely mild language (I wouldn't even consider it profanity) - check.

It's basically what you wanted to see as a kid. I was hesitant to watch the release at first. It sat on my player for over a month. Not because it's a Japanese release and has no English Dubs -- I watch all of my anime with Subs, but because it's from the 80's. Don't get me wrong; I'm crazy about TF G1, mainly the 1st and 2nd seasons. After re-watching the 3rd and 4th seasons; good grief those did not age well -- the U.S. storytelling for the later seasons is mediocre; some plots and animation made my eyes roll. It was actually painful to watch; especially the distant planets and the attention focused moreso on the annoying characters (aliens and humans) rather than the robots.

The later U.S. releases remind me of the new live-action films. Love everything about the robots; highly dislike the annoying human characters (although the 1st movie still remains the most watchable). However, I don't mind a re-telling. I don't mind liberties. I enjoy a little shake-up.

The detail and animation of the Japanese "Rebirth" story, to me, is hands above the 4th season of the U.S. Whereas, in the U.S. cartoon... you might count 10-15 different 'bots; I basically lost count at 40 in the first episode of "Headmasters". I understand cartoons are the main push to sell the latest series of the toyline; but it's nice to see so many older 'bots in the Japanese cartoon. Also, the tape cassette wars and the amount of combiner 'bots in just the first 5 episodes is outstanding; I was shocked; it made me drivel. I could not stop watching the series, and the episodes fly by.

The cartoon action usually takes place in several locations and on several planets; there is a great voice-over/subtitles narrater to keep you up to track on the story and the whereabouts of the 'bots -- much more in depth than the U.S. cartoons (which did not take advantage of such tools and storytelling; and watered down adult themes); you'll know what I mean once viewing a few shows. It is action paced and I'll state it again, the animation and battles are noncomparable. I instantly wanted to watch the release again, which means an instant 'keeper' and 'winner' in my book. And I'm very picky. I wasn't born in the 80's, so I'm not a fan of CG 'toons such as Beast Wars/Machines, Energon, etc. So I heavily rely on these cel-shaded 'toon releases.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It won't hurt to add to your collection.
41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Fanfare has its privileges... 23 April 2011
By DJ Skeletal - Published on
Format: DVD
At long last, after nearly two decades of having to suffer through overpriced bootlegs and imports, the U.S. 'Transformers' fan base finally gets a proper release of the Japanese series!

As any online summary will tell you, the Japanese 'Headmasters' ignores the 'Rebirth' mini-series and follows its own take following the events of 'The Return of Optimus Prime' (or Convoy, as he is called in the Japanese series). Parents of younger 'Transformers' fans may want to be aware that the tone of the series is a tad darker than the U.S. episodes mainly due to character deaths throughout the series (a certain character sacrifices himself AGAIN), and by U.S. standards, there is a substantial amount of profanity. (NOTE: At the time of this review, I was going by the Japanese and Australian releases, which did feature said profanity in the English subtitles. Apparently, Shout Factory/Hasbro made sure that these were not in the U.S. release.)

My major gripe with 'Headmasters' is that in general, the writing is very weak and often seems as if it is trying too hard to mimic the previous U.S. 'Generation One' (G1) series. Even the 'lip syncing' of the characters in early episodes seems as if it is trying to reproduce that of the original English language shows. Keep in mind that anime of the late 80s was not being marketed as heavily to the western world as it is today. In that respect, 'Headmasters' curiously comes off as if it were in some ways a half-serious parody of the U.S. shows (such as 'G.I. JOE' and 'Transformers') for which Japanese animation studios had been contracted. (The subsequent series, 'Super God Masterforce' and 'Victory', are stronger for taking their own direction.)

Some characterizations are extremely inconsistent to the original series. For example, Soundwave is extremely 'chatty', and Galvatron is nowhere near as insane as in Season 3. Also, if you couldn't stand Wheelie and Daniel Witwicky, be warned that they are fairly prominent in this show. The perk, however, is getting to see familiar characters as well as plenty of new (at the time) ones, as the world of the Transformers was ever-satisfying in creating inventive new robots and their alternative forms. Also, look for the appearance of the Beastformers (known in the U.S. as 'Battle Beasts').

'Headmasters' is by far considered the weakest of the Japanese 'G1' series. However, the appeal for U.S. fans is "the continuing adventures" of the original G1 cast of characters. For hardcore fans, this is a must-have.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Headmasters, at long last.................... 2 Oct. 2011
By Gil Lopez - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
On the plus side, at long last, the "real" conclusion of the Transformers G1 saga is out on DVD. I remember being sorely disappointed with the three-part season four of the american series. And then, a few years later, I saw what looked like an episode of a G1 series with G1 characters, but was otherwise unfamiliar to me, on a spanish channel.

Ever since then, I had been dying to see what "the real" fate of the transformers was. Now it's finally out, and I am, again, very disappointed.............

I mean, it was great to see a lot of familiar characters at it again in the tranformers universe, but as the series went on, I was increasingly disappointed. I could overlook the lack of extras (they couldn't include profiles all of the characters?) and generally poor video/animation quality. But there were three things in particular, I didn't like about Transformers: Headmasters.............

1. The series had an overall depressing tone to it, a lot of tragic events occured during the series. What's more, these tragedies failed to make for more compelling story-telling (IMHO). I was more annoyed and let down then moved by said events. Dark, or darker, is one thing, this was something else.

2. The series felt more like a japanese anime series than the old Transformers G1 series. Understandable, considering it was a japanese production company but it didn't really fit with the tranformers vibe (IMHO). I often forgot I was watching Transformers: Headmasters and would think I was watching starblazers or some other such anime feature. The series moved from the episodic format of the american series to a saga-driven format much like the Marcross, Yamato and other series. I didn't feel it really worked. Again, I'm basically saying that it didn't "feel" like the old G1 series in america.

3. My biggest problem with the series was overt manner in which the Headmasters became the center of the entire transformers universe. Most other characters were ultimately marginalized and seldom heard from (especially after the first three episodes). Most of the combiners always showed up in their combiner form almost as if there were no members of the combiner group and only their combined forms (such as Superion, Menasor, Computron, etc) even merited attention (and recognition as warriros) at all.

The Headmasters just show up out of nowhere and in short order end up taking over everything while other characters are written out of the series or outright killed off. It's as if the writers were saying these are you new favorite transformers whether you like it or not. The only other group characters that came close to the same level of exposure were sixshot (another "new" character) and the trainbots (also new, a combiner group, lamest combiner group ever, IMHO). I mean Raiden (a train combiner) replaced Sky Lynx as the natural adversary to Predaking? Sky Lynx could have just as well served the function the trainbots did as a means of mass transit and a suitable foe for predaking..................anyway...............

FYI, be aware, a number of other season three characters (besides Sky Lynx) were omiited as well. Most notably, Wreck-Gar, the Quintessons, the sweeps, the revived Starscream. Others, made but a single appearance (autobot triple changers, dinobots, many original G1 characters). Another curious aspect of this series is the the decepticon triple-changers octane and blitzkrieg seemed to have shifted allianced back to the decpticons. This might bother some american G1 fans.

I, of course, expected the titular characters would be central to a major plot/sub-plot in the series, but not that they would take over center stage and dominate the entire transformers universe. Clearly, the producers were pushing sales of the newest members of the toyline, but to a ridiculous degree (IMHO). I much preferred the episodic nature of the american series (particulary season 1 & 2) and the exposure to a wider range of characters (narrowing down to a central cast didn't work out to well for season 3 either, I never understood that logic).

Obviously, these complaints are based on predujices for the format and style of the original season 1 & 2 of the original G1 series, but I think they are important to point out. Anyone expecting an extension of the american G1 series will be sorely disappointed. However, any die-hard transformers fan (especially G1 fans, like me) will want to see it for themselves still.

I only caution that Transformers: Headmasters is a wide departure form the story-telling style of the original american G1 series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It's Really Bad 9 July 2014
By G. Kirkpatrick - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A lot of people said that the original Transformers cartoons were nothing more than toy commercials. But as a fan of G1 growing up in the 80's, I always thought the writing was decent and characters were developed with actual personalities. In fact, a lot of those original episodes hold up fairly well today - especially the 1986 movie. But Headmasters is completely void of decent storytelling, and really is nothing more than toy commercials. It takes place 6 years after the movie (2011 - movie took place in 2005), yet Daniel looks exactly the same and is voiced by a girl? He should be 16-18 years old by now. None of the characters have any personality whatsover.


Hot Rod keeps running away from fights that lead to other Autobots getting killed (something American Hot Rod would never do). How many battles are fought with Transformers just standing out in the open, shooting at each other without moving? Optimus Prime spends 3 episodes trying to reach Vector Sigma, and then as soon as he does, all of the other Autobots and Decepticons who have been doing other things this entire time, arrive immediately after him? Why didn't it take them 3 episodes to get there too? Prime and Galvatron fight and are blasted by the same energy from Vector Sigma. Galvatron gets up and runs away, but Optimus is dead? Seriously? It's just really awful. Aside from the G1 animation (which I think is still the best of any Tranformers series since), Headmasters has zero redeaming qualities.
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