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Almost Otaku: Does Transformers Count as Anime?

And how convoluted has its continuity gotten?

  Maybe this image ought to erase all doubt.
 Maybe this image ought to erase all doubt.

EganTheVile1 : Optimus Primal is the reincarnation of Optimus Prime and is clearly seen in Beast Wars as merging with the spark of the Big Rig version of Prime, yet in Beast Wars II Optimus is destroyed, his remains crash to Gaea, he is reincarnated as Leo Prim… Transformers Continuity seriously needs to have some discussion in Almost Otaku :) 

I’ve always been a little curious about whether TRANSFORMERS has a place in otakus’ hearts - - and if it does, which specific atrium, specifically? Does it qualify as anime? Since “Generation One” the nationality of the franchise has been a bit complex. The whole thing started with Microman and Dyclone, toylines from a Japanese toy company. But it was Marvel comics personnel who gave those toys identities like Optimus Prime and Megatron; and invented the whole mythos of the Autobots. The cartoon was American, sure, but it always had that anime look. And if you think it’s tricky keeping track of all the latter series and generations, keep in mind that you’re probably disregarding all the spin-offs that aired exclusively in Japan. I never even got to watch those, but I remember the rumors and hearsay from when I was a kid... and the plots still sound four kinds of insane. 

So yeah, for my money, TRANSFORMERS qualifies as anime. Anybody doubting such should seriously take another look at the legions of shinigami in BLEACH and come back trying to tell me that they don’t remind you of the army of Autobots. Transformers is almost like a regent baby that’s been sired by  another country's prince - - it simultaneously fulfills multiple titles and bridges the gaps between old divisions. I'm sure that this was "the gateway to mecha" for many of you lunatics.

I abbreviated EganTheVile1’s question because he gets into some more extensive detail - - more than we have room for here. I, too, find Transformers continuity to potentially be more tangled than the Gordian knot. I suppose it’s a consequence of a franchise that’s both successful enough to run for multiple decades and willing enough to hit the “restart button” every few years (and the two are probably related.) Sooner or later, somebody’s going to want to try reconciling all the different iterations and such an effort will inevitably create some confusion. I’ve seen it in countless superhero comics, I’ve seen it in STAR TREK, I’d probably see it in GUNDAM if the Sunrise every tried to combine all their parallel universes.  It's just a natural outgrowth of long serialization.  

Anyway, I'm sure we've got some fans in the Anime Vice community. Have you found a way to make sense of all these intersecting universes that have so befuddled EganTheVile1? Or did you give up a long time ago?

 Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of   HYBRID BASTARDS!  &   UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here   &  here .

cfatalison Oct. 6, 2010 at 4:23 a.m.
: some of them are anime, undeniably so, while others are very doubting, very very doubting
frsty13on Oct. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.
Honestly, I just ignore everything that's not Generation 1.  Continuity problem solved :)
YotaruVegetaon Oct. 6, 2010 at 6:08 a.m.
Trick question! Everything counts as anime, because anime simply means animation. ;)
 
I have always seen Transformers as something Americans have a place in their heart for. In fact, it's one of the few robot shows that I think Mainstream America goes for.
 
BTW, LOVE Beast Wars and Beast Machines. I'd even give those newfangled versions a shot if I was after school age again.
Oishi_47on Oct. 6, 2010 at 9:46 a.m.
@YotaruVegeta said:
" Trick question! Everything counts as anime, because anime simply means animation."
I'm almost positive that people still get mad when you call anime cartoons, regardless of technical correctness. That's why we use the foreign terms to colloquially mean from the respective countries of origin. Likewise we don't use foreign terms with English when it conveys little meaning...except Spanglish, but f*ck Spanglish.
tigerex78on Oct. 6, 2010 at 10:57 a.m.
I'd say yes it does especially the Robots in Disguise series that aired here about 10 years ago.  All the toys are Japanese inspired and started the whole franchise.  It definitely bridges the gap.  My question is about Thundercats, Silverhawks,  and Tigersharks.  There is an anime influence in those as well.
sotyfan16on Oct. 6, 2010 at 11:58 a.m.

Transformers has always been American to me so I count it as a regular, animated cartoon. I do agree that there is some anime influence here and there but America is an expert at creating continuity problems (even within the same season) with its cartoons.

Kelleth moderator on Oct. 6, 2010 at noon
@frsty13 said:
" Honestly, I just ignore everything that's not Generation 1.  Continuity problem solved :) "
That's the coward's way out :P I don't ignore everything after G1 i just say everything not mainstream G1 is playing out in several different continuity's. Some of which crossed in the 3H comics :P
hitsusatsu11on Oct. 6, 2010 at 12:18 p.m.
Beast Wars is epic
GrandMarshalon Oct. 6, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
Yes...  Optimus died for your sins!
Destinyheroknight is online on Oct. 6, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.

Wow, I didn't know that Shinigami from Bleach are giant robots and fight evil giant robots with giant guns. I need to pay more attention. 
 
P.S. Some of them are anime/manga and some of  them are not. I don't like Beast Wars       
Kelleth moderator on Oct. 6, 2010 at 2:22 p.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk:  Primal didn't completely merge with Prime's spark he got an upgrade because of it. Kinda like what happened to Hot Rod only cooler. BW Megatron is the only one who truly merged with his namesake.
@GrandMarshal said:
" Yes...  Optimus died for your sins! "
Primal died too!! and then he came back again in Transmetal... but then he dies again!
@hitsusatsu11 said:
" Beast Wars is epic "
I agree such fun memories from back in the 90's!! Only thing i hate is when people say Trukk not Monkey. PRIMAL IS NOT OPTIMUS!!! same head different bot!! :P
kashif1on Oct. 6, 2010 at 3:08 p.m.
@frsty13 said:
" Honestly, I just ignore everything that's not Generation 1.  Continuity problem solved :) "
Cybertron was the first one i saw, and i loved it
YotaruVegetaon Oct. 6, 2010 at 3:36 p.m.
Beast Wars was a much more kid-friendly, silly series in comparison to Beast Machines, which was moare "mature" than Wars was.
Lurkeroon Oct. 6, 2010 at 4:58 p.m.
Transformers has had many different iterations. Not all of them would generally be classified as anime
PenguinDuston Oct. 7, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.
I think because of all the other similar shows on TV in America in the 80's (G.I. Joe, He-Man,Thundercats, etc...) I tend to view Transformers as an American cartoon more than an anime.  I have an easier time seeing Voltron as such than I do Transformers even though I accept their Japanese roots.  That doesn't mean I disliked the series any less.  Hell, I freakin' loved Beast Wars and Beast Machines from Mainframe Entertainment, a Canadian CG animation studio but as the franchise continued to evolve it lost its "anime-ness" for me.  Pokemon, even though it still has strong roots in Japan, is in the similar boat.  While I don't see it as an American cartoon, it has gotten so big that it no longer feels like an anime to me either.  Perhaps the bigger and more globally tuned a property becomes the less like an anime it feels for me.
zaldaron Oct. 7, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
@YotaruVegeta said:
"Trick question! Everything counts as anime, because anime simply means animation. ;)  I have always seen Transformers as something Americans have a place in their heart for. In fact, it's one of the few robot shows that I think Mainstream America goes for.  BTW, LOVE Beast Wars and Beast Machines. I'd even give those newfangled versions a shot if I was after school age again. "

Not going to get in this with you again...but I'll just say I disagree cartoons and anime are to different things.  I've always considered transformers american and I didn't enjoy it much as a kid, to silly and not dark enough for me.  But then I was an odd kid, I started reading things like tolkein in Middle school and quickly went on to Asimov and other more adult fantasy before high school. 
 
I came to anime not from superhero comics (which honestly I don't like much at all sorry Tom) but from fantasy and sci-fi literature and it was the fact that the plots were reminiscent of the good adult fantasy and literature I was reading that got me interested.  Vampire hunter D, Eva, Lain these were what attracted me and undoubtedly that effects how I think.
YotaruVegetaon Oct. 7, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.
@zaldar: They are of two different origins, but they are under the exact same classification. The personal preference you have adopted does not make these two types of cartoons of separate categories.
 
See the implication I see here is that American comics offered you superheroes and they are not delivering what anime is. OK, but how many comics companies are you aware of? Also, are the superhero comics and cartoons of your youth the same as the ones that are put out now?  
 
Stuff like Batman: The animated Series was a very sophisticated cartoon for me, even in comparison to all the anime I have watched over the years. Now there is something like Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is not anime in the sense that it was not made by Japanese hands, but I hold it in as high a regard as I do some of the best anime ever made.

 

Darth Paulon Oct. 7, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
I've always seen it as anime, but more of in the lines of something like those Gold Digger comics from Antartic Press, in that it's "American Anime" a blend of both cultures.
Kelleth moderator on Oct. 8, 2010 at 9:43 a.m.
@lemonguy39 said:
" Eh, not really into Transformers =/ "
Eh, then why visit the article and then comment on it? :\
EganTheVile1on Oct. 9, 2010 at 10:35 p.m.
@Kelleth said:
PRIMAL IS NOT OPTIMUS!!! same head different bot!! :P "
Not even quite the same head since Primal had a mouth

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