Season 2 has been regarded by many as the best season of the original Transformers G1 series, from an all-round storyline/animation perspective. There's certainly a lot going for it. Boasting a whopping 49 episodes and at the peak of its popularity, the original animated series then took the chance to explore and expand in radical, stunning and creative ways.
The first season had established the premise of the Transformers' war; how they departed from Cybertron and came to Earth, how the Autobots encountered their human friends/allies and how the Decepticons were able to create their Space Bridge etc. The second season proceeded to develop the colourful cast/setting even further, as well introduce a brand new array of fabulous characters, and take that first bold look into the origins of the Transformers and their war.
Volume One of the Season 2 boxsets (containing the first 24 episodes of said-season) showcased more of old fan-favourites the Dinobots, the Insecticons & the Constructicons, introduced the likes of popular newcomers Carly (Spike's girlfriend), Blaster, Perceptor, the Decepticon Triple-Changers (Blitzwing & Astrotrain) and Omega Supreme (among others), and also showed how the war kicked off and how the Cybertronians were first able to Transform. For this second volume (featuring the remaining 25 episodes), even MORE brand new, unforgettable characters are introduced, the wonderful looks into Cybertron's past are expanded upon, and for the first time, we're actually treated to the amazing ORIGIN of Optimus Prime.
Volume 2 continues the overall trend of being deep, exciting and meaningful. Characters you wouldn't normally give a second thought receive the spotlight to show-off their personality in various one-offs (i.e. Beachcomber in `The Golden Lagoon') and there are some outstanding two-parters that change the status-quo and further develops main-characters like Optimus Prime, Megatron & Starscream.
As with any eighties cartoon, Season 2 had its share of really bad episodes (the season finale B.O.T. unfortunately springing to mind. What on EARTH were they thinking ending such an AWESOME season with one of the WORST episodes of all time?!), but when you've got SUCH classics like The Secret of Omega Supreme, The Search for Alpha Trion, War Dawn, Cosmic Rust, Masquerade and Aerial Assault, you can EASILY afford to forgive and forget.
Of course, the REAL reason to check out this box set is for the glorious arrival of the Special Teams - the Aerialbots, Stunticons, Protectobots & Combaticons - who (with the exception of the Protectobots who just `show up') are written into the show with the greatest storytelling fashion that the writers could conjure. The Key to Vector Sigma (parts 1 & 2), War Dawn, Starscream's Brigade and The Revenge of Bruticus are truly the greatest episodes of the entire season because we're treated to the origins of the greatest groups of Transformers of all time, and that they all mark major turning points in the Autobot/Decepticon war. Megatron really changes tact by creating a new generation of warriors (the Stunticons) and Optimus Primes knows that the only way to survive and safeguard the Earth is to create new warriors of his own (the Aerialbots). When Starscream builds the Combaticons to help him oppose Megatron, it marks just how dangerous a threat he is. It's very significant development all-round for the Transformers saga and its characters. One that demands attention.
Quality-wise, Metrodome have done a great job all-in-all of restoring the original episodes. The picture is beautifully colourful, clean & crisp, the sound is pitch-perfect, and the menu-design for this set is much improved (in terms of design/function) from the first Season 2 volume. The extras include the usual character bios, postcards by Andrew Wildman, DVD-ROM scripts, a pretty cool trailer for the 2004 PS2 (based on Armada) game, a very `Ho-Hum' Transformers DVD game, which is pretty pointless considering what you get for winning, and a fan art gallery which is good but nowhere near as impressive as that in the previous boxset.
The highlight extras are the quiz, where the hidden Easter Egg for completion is the first episode of Transformers: Headmasters; The Four Soldiers from the Sky, which is not bad at all, but I would have much preferred the Japanese alternative to the movie, Scramble City. The other extra is the free mini-comic, `The Beast Within', which you have to read for yourselves in order to appreciate how brilliant it is.
On the whole, purchase of this is highly recommended. In fact, it's mandatory if you're a Transformers fan. A few things to nitpick about, such as the episode listing (how can Aerial Assault take place before Starscream's Brigade when the Combaticons hadn't been created yet?) and some of the episodes themselves, but then again, that's just nitpicking. I have no hesitation in saying that this is the best Transformers boxset available.
on 9 July 2004
What can I say about the Transformers. Well they were my favourite cartoon in the 80s and as an 8 year old boy I couldn't think of anything cooler, than a robot that could transform into tanks, cars, planes, etc.
During the summer holidays I used to get up before 8oclock just so I could watch the cartoon series on 'Wackaday' but I still managed to miss lots of them.
This box set and the two previous ones and one to come are my chance as an adult to watch the cartoon series that I so loved and be able to see it all in order, with the story line progressing episode by episode as it was originally intended.
If you remeber the transformers at all from your childhood, then I recommend you go out and buy this now! You won't be dissapointed! The series has a gripping quality that makes you want to see each next episode and has great storylines, which take the characters within throughout earth and the galaxy.
If I could i'd rate this 10 stars but there is only 5 maximum so that will have to suffice!