Up until several years ago, I was a Transformers G1 cartoon fan. I genuinely struggled to get into anything that was not G1 cartoon, or a toy that came from the G1 cartoon. This may not sound like much of a Transformers fan to many of you. The Transformers universe is so diverse now with a history of many different iterations of it, that there’s much for a big fan to enjoy.
I tried to get into Armada but didn’t think it was that good, and despite Hot Rod being my favourite Transformer and never having owned a Hot Rod toy, I even declined to buy the Battle In Space Rodimus and Cyclonus set because the Rodimus toy only had two exhaust pipes on his arms, and for me this was just too far a step from the original Hot Rod’s look. Now however, I actually do own that Rodimus toy (albeit a repaint – which I do think looks more G1 accurate!) and I’ve expanded my love for Transformers to other areas of the universe.
I know people in the Transformers community who feel as I did, that the original cartoon that started it all is the best version of Transformers, and anything else just isn’t as good. I’m sure there are other people who didn’t grow up watching the G1 cartoon, and became introduced to Transformers by one of the other shows, or perhaps the movies. And perhaps they may have the same view: that the show/movie they grew up with is the only version of Transformers for them.
There’s nothing wrong with this view whatsoever, but relaxing my “G1 and G1 only” outlook has made me a happier Transformers fan, and that’s why I want to share this with you.
The big turning point for me, was when I was watching a review of a Transformers toy on Youtube. There was a lively debate in the comments section, which resonated with me. The debate was about how G1 accurate the toy was, or was not, but in reality it was a modern toy based on a G1 character. It was never meant to be a replica of the character from the original show – it was an updated version. Nevertheless, it was a common discussion, one that I had routinely had with my friends too. One comment in particular really challenged the way I thought about Transformers though. As I can’t remember the comment word for word, I’m going to relay it to you in a melding of what I remember from it, and my own version of it:
“Guys, just chill. If there’s one thing that Transformers embody, it’s change. By their very nature, they change by Transforming, so we should embrace this change and enjoy it”.
After thinking about this, it was very liberating for me, because I realised I no longer had to filter all transformers through a G1 accurate lens. Even if something was based on the original show, I was ok with it being different and was happy to enjoy it for what it was rather than comparing it to anything else, after all, the whole point of Transformation is to change!
Suddenly I found myself keen to watch new Transformers shows and read books and reprinted comics. I was never really into the comics in the past because the comics weren’t the show – I couldn’t handle how different the story lines often were to things we’d see in the show. However, now I love reading the collections of the classic comics and also the newer material such as the work done by IDW. I see it as another way to enjoy continuing stories of my favourite characters. Had I not gone in this direction, I wonder if I would have still watched Transformers Prime. I enjoyed Transformers Prime so much when I watched it, and was hooked from the very first episode. I found myself wondering if I thought it was better than the G1 cartoon – a thought I probably wouldn’t have allowed myself to have a few years earlier!
I won’t go into all of the ways I’ve looked into furthering my knowledge and enjoyment of Transformers in the recent years, but I will tell you this again: Expanding my Transformers world has made me a happier fan. It’s allowed me to continue enjoying Transformers, but in a variety of different ways. It has not diminished my love for the G1 cartoon, or changed where I think it stands amongst other versions of Transformers.
You may be someone who has always embraced all aspects of transformers, but if not, maybe it’s worth giving some of the other toys, cartoons, or comics and books a go. As people, we sometimes find it hard to embrace change, but Transformers were always meant to change. Perhaps, there’s something to learn from those robots in disguise, after all when it comes to Transformers, there’s more, much more than meets the eye!