DVD REVIEW: Transformers: The Japanese Collection - Headmasters
The Autobot versus Decepticon battle rages on...
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The Transformers history is probably among the most unique of toy brands. What began as simple toys in Japan became a mega franchise by Hasbro, a franchise that was celebrated in Japan long after sales dwindled in the states. And for decades, Transfans stateside have never had the luxury of the further adventures of Rodimus Prime and Galvatron except for bits and pieces on youtube. Sure, we still were able to buy some of the new toys but without a cartoon to back it up, it soon lost its appeal. Now, at long last thanks to Shout! Factory and Hasbro, the TRANSFORMERS: THE JAPANESE COLLECTION – HEADMASTERS finally arrives in stores July 5th in a 4-DVD set containing 35 episodes.
The year is 2011 in the Headmasters series, and rather appropriate that these episodes finally get their US debut in 2011! The series is entirely in Japanese but with updated English subtitles. While some of the translations, spellings, and grammar may be off, it’s overally an incredibly well-made series that would have been popular had they aired in the States. Unlike the odd stories told in the latest American episodes, the Headmasters paint a richer tapestry of the Autobot versus Decepticon battle.
The name Headmasters refers to the particular group of Transformers on both sides that have smaller robots that transform into the heads of the larger robot. In alt-vehicle mode, these robots become the drivers, which is very much in line with the Diaclone toys before they became Transformers toys. The heads on these Autobots and Decepticons are swappable, giving them different powers needed for different missions.
While the Headmasters aren’t the leaders of the Transformers, they become the main characters in this series. And in true commercial fashion, Optimus Prime dies again; Rodimus Prime decides to take a mission with Kup and Blur; Galvatron goes missing; all in an effort to make the new characters take center stage... or to sell more toys.
It takes some getting used to before you begin getting acquainted with all the new characters but you’ll get there. And besides the new characters like Fotrtress Maximus, Six Shot, and Scorponok, there’s a slew of old timers to bring you comfort. Spike and Daniel ground the human crew while Wheelie, Arcee, Blaster, and the Aerialbots make appearances throughout. On the Decepticon side, Devastator, Bruticus, and Soundwave are the familiar faces.
The animation quality is just as you remembered from the American series but gone is the great music we grew up with. Present now is a poppy Japanese soundtrack and a narrator that describes what’s going on in the episode. It’s actually a great device as the characters don’t have to waste minutes describing their plans all the time.
Spanning a total of 13 hours, the 4-Disc Transformers: The Japanese Collection Headmasters DVD set ($29.99) is a great addition to your Transformers library and worth getting if you want to see the further adventures of the Autobots and the Decepticons. Find out why Blaster is blue and why Soundwave is black. See Optimus Prime die... yet again! There’s so much to enjoy in these Japanese episodes and it’s a wonderful DVD set to finally be able to experience. Now if Hasbro could start selling these toys again, I would actually buy them since I know who these characters are! Order your copy at ShoutFactoryStore.com.
Don't forget to enter our TRANSFORMERS: THE JAPANESE COLLECTION DVD Set Giveaway !
Review by David Yeh
Review Sample Courtesy of Shout! Factory