is the title of a Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
ese Transformers line of toys and anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....
series that ran from April 12, 1988 to March 7, 1989 for 42 episodes. On July 3, 2006 the series was released on DVD in the UK
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
, and it was aired on AnimeCentral
Anime Central was a British television channel owned by CSC Media Group. The channel launched on 13 September 2007. It was first announced on 5 August 2007 though its licence first appeared on the Ofcom website in January...
in the UK a few years later.
With the conclusion of the US Transformers
cartoon series in 1987, Japan produced their first exclusive anime series, Transformers: The Headmasters
, to supplement the fourth and final US season and to carry out the story concepts begun in The Transformers: The Movie
The Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 animated feature film based on the animated series of the same name. It was released in North America on August 8, 1986 and in the UK on December 5, 1986....
and carried on through the third season, using the existing cast and adding the eponymous Headmasters
Headmasters are a sub-group of characters from the Transformers meta-series, distinguished by their ability to detach their heads when transforming into their alternate modes, with the heads then transforming themselves into a humanoid form...
into the mix. With the completion of the series, the evil Decepticons had finally been forced off Earth, and the stage was set for the beginning of Super-God Masterforce
Although nominally occurring in the same continuity as the previous Transformers
series, there was a very obvious effort on head writer Masumi Kaneda's part to make Masterforce
a "fresh start", introducing an entirely new cast of characters from scratch, rather than using any of the previous ones. To this end, although the toys are mostly the same in both Japan and the West (barring some different color schemes), the characters which they represent are vastly different - most prominently, the toy known to Western audiences as Powermaster Optimus Prime
Optimus Prime is a fictional character from the Transformers franchise. Prime is the leader of the autobots, a faction of transforming robots from the planet Cybertron. The autobots are constantly waging war against a rival faction of transforming robots called Decepticons...
is known as Ginrai
Ginrai, occasionally spelled Jinrai and also known as both Super Ginrai and God Ginrai, and later rebuilt as Victory Leo, is a fictional character from the animated series Transformers: Super-God Masterforce and its toy line, one of the Transformers series exclusive to Japan...
, a human trucker who combines with a Transtector (a non-sentient Transformer body, a concept lifted from Headmasters
) to become a Transformer himself. The other Powermaster toys (known in Japan as Godmasters) and the Headmaster figures released during that year were the same: human beings who become robots.
The core concept of Masterforce
begins with the human beings themselves rising up to fight and defend their home, rather than the alien Transformers. Going hand-in-hand with this idea, the Japanese incarnations of the Pretenders actually shrink down to pass for normal human beings, whose emotions and strengths they value and wish to safeguard. At least this is the case with the Autobot Pretenders. The Decepticon Pretenders tend to remain being large monsters, unless they battle in their robot forms. Later on children would be recruited to become Junior Headmasters for both the Autobots and Decepticons. But as the story progressed the story focuses more on the Powermasters (Godmasters) and they'll become the more powerful Transformers on the show. The Powermasters themselves would be more human beings with the ability to merge with their mechas. Most of the Powermasters would be adults with the exception of Clouder who is about the same age as the Junior Headmasters. Other characters would later appear including Black Zarak who would later merge with the Decepticons leader; Devil Z for the final battle and for the Autobots comes Grand Maximus who has a Pretender guise and is Fortress Maximus' younger brother. Also the Firecons make a brief appearance in one episode and a robot who transforms into a gun (similar to G1 Megatron) was giving to Cancer of the Junior Headmaster Decepticons as a gift from Lady Mega. His name was Browning (or BM in the dub). The Decepticons also had the Targetmaster Seacons under their command, but like the Pretenders, they were sentient robots and didn't require humans to operate them. The Autobots would also gain the help of another sentient robot called Sixknight (Or as he is known outside of Japan; Quickswitch), who appeared on Earth as a travelling warrior who wanted to challenge Ginrai (Optimus Prime) to a battle, but soon decided for himself to fight for the Autobots cause. The story basically tells the efforts of the heroic Autobot forces as they protect the Earth from the Decepticons. Only this time round, human characters played a more important role then in other Transformers series.
The series was dubbed into English in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...
for broadcast on the Malaysia
n TV channel, RTM1 along with Headmasters
and the following series, Victory
. These dubs, however, are more famous for their time on the Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...
satellite channel, Star TV
Satellite Television Asian Region is an Asian TV service owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.In 2009, News Corporation restructured STAR Asia into four units – STAR India, STAR Greater China, STAR Select and Fox International Channels....
, where they were grouped under the umbrella title of "Transformers Takara", and all given Victory's
opening sequence. Later acquired by the US Transformers
animated series creator Sunbow Productions
Sunbow Entertainment was an animation studio, founded in 1980 and owned up until 1998 by Griffin-Bacal Advertising in New York. The first animation efforts by Griffin-Bacal were producing the animated commercials for Hasbro's G.I...
, they were given English-language closing credits (even including the English Transformers
theme), but no official release of them has ever been carried in the US, simply because they are infamous for their poor quality. Performed by a small group (literally, less than half-a-dozen actors) with little knowledge and less talent, the dubs feature many incorrect names and nonsensical translations - in the case of the Masterforce
, especially, all the English-equivalent names are used for the characters, so throughout the series, the clearly human Ginrai is referred to as "Optimus Prime", and the little blonde girl called Minerva is referred to by the inappropriate name "Nightbeat".
The attempt to start things afresh with Masterforce
does give rise to some continuity errors, however, such as Earth technology being portrayed as contemporary, rather than futuristic as in 2010
, and some characters being totally unaware of what Transformers are, even though they have been public figures for over two decades. Similarly, the show has one primary failing, which is its regular reluctance to supply the viewer with the full backstory - within the main 42 episodes of the series, important aspects such as what the true villain, Devil Z is or who BlackZarak
Scorponok is the name shared by several fictional characters in the various Transformers universes. All are Decepticons that turn into Scorpoins.- Transformers: Generation 1:...
is are never explained. Even the timeframe of the show was never revealed, with the series taking place an indeterminate amount of time after Headmasters
. Most of these facts would all be revealed later in made-for-video clip shows and other media, including a Special Secrets episode where both Goh and Grand Maximus would explain and reveal several pieces of trivia about the show.