(this review will be for the English version, Transformers Armada. There are some dialogue differences between the English version and the Japanese version, Micron Legend).
Transformers Armada is the first of the Unicron Trilogy, a series plagued by animation errors and dubbing errors, among other things. Although not as badly hit as Energon, Armada still suffers a lot of these and it prevents fans from watching or enjoying the show.
But is this show any good? Let's find out.
Story: At first the story starts slow, I'll admit that. A small team of Autobots and Decepticons land on Earth, in a race to capture Minicons, small transformers that
can enhance the power of a large transformer and turn the tide in a battle. However once new characters are introduced-especially the enigmatic Sideways-it becomes clear that there is more at stake in this war than just control over the Minicons. Midway the story becomes better, and the 3rd part of the series is definitely the best part.
Animation/Dubbing: Oh dear... where do we start. Frankly, animation is bad. Armada is animated by Actas, and you can tell what a rush job this is. Animation errors abound in this series, including a scene where jet-mode Starscream is represented by a flying black dot. Yeah. There are also lots of mistakes in the dubbing. Calling characters by their Japanese names (for example, calling Tidal Wave Shockwave) or giving the wrong name to a character (Sparkplug, Optimus's Minicon, is almost always called Leader-1). Animation and dubbing is clearly the low point of this series.
Characters: First of all, the human characters. Yes, they're annoying, and for the most part, useless. But I hope that you learn to tolerate them, since they're here to stay. The Autobot and Decepticon teams are better; they all have different personalities, from the battle-crazy Cyclonus to the loner, Blurr. However special mention must be given here to Starscream. This version of Starscream breaks away from the traditional mold of Starscream characters and is not a backstabbing second in command. His character arc is very interesting to watch, and this makes him the best character in the show.
Enjoyment: At first I was forcing myself to watch, especially at the first few eps. But once the hunt for the Miinicon weapons begins, the story takes a more interesting turn, and I found myself very excited to watch the next episode.
Overall: Don't let the bad animation and dubbing stop you from enjoying this series. It's actually good, and I'd recommend it.
(This review will be for the Japanese version, "Micron Densetsu." There are some dialogue, story, name, and even animation differences between the English and Japanese versions.)
I don't write reviews on here often, but seeing as how there are only two reviews for "Transformers Micron Densetsu" on this site, I decided to go ahead and give my thoughts on it.
The story and dialogue can be cheesy and corny at times, of course. But, let's be honest, there are some versions of "Transformers" that are cornier than this one.
The story starts out innocent, but as the show goes on, it gets better. For a kid's show,
it's pretty good. I actually got invested in what was going on, I didn't know where it was heading, and I legit wanted to see how it would unfold.
The animation can be lazy and stiff at times. You can tell that they were rushing to get each episode out. Although, to be fair, since they were rushing trying to animate two-story tall robots with complex designs, the animation should look much worse than it does.
The best scenes that are animated the best are the openings and the transformations, obviously because they were stock footage.
The artwork itself is very colorful and pleasant to look at, and the Transformers are well drawn.
The openings 'Dream Again' and 'Koutetsu no Yuuki' are great. 'Koutetsu no Yuuki' is the whole reason I saw this Anime. Before I heard it and saw the show, I knew barely anything about "Transformers."
The endings "Never Ending Road" and "Never Give Up" are also insanely catchy. If you're not interested in the show, at least find these songs.
It was hard to give a rating for this category, because while I think most of the characters are great, some of them are pretty poor.
Everyone will tell you Starscream is the best character, and, well, he is. His story arc and personality are very well written, making him entertaining to watch. It was so interesting watching him go through his arc, and I found his personality to be cute. If you're going to watch this Anime, watch it for him. Please.
The main problem with this Anime falls into this category: The kid characters. I could tolerate them for the first few episodes, but after awhile, I began to get sick of them, and I grew to hate them. They really don't have a purpose that other characters couldn't fill.
And then we have the main character, Convoy. Or, Optimus Prime as he's known in English. They didn't give him stand-out character traits like the other Transformers. In fact, they didn't give him a personality at all. They did give him a bit of a story arc towards the end, but I think it was a bit late in the game for it.
While it wasn't anything extraordinary, I did find myself intrigued by the characters (most of them) and the story. The only scenes I really didn't like were the scenes focused on the kid characters, but thankfully, they're not too long.
For an Anime that was made for the sole purpose of selling toys, it tried way harder than it had to. So, if you're at all interested in "Transformers," this is a good show to start with.
Transformers Armada stands out among the many incarnations of the robots in disguise. A winning cast of voices added to largely developed, and still developing characters, and decent sub-plot, led to an unforgettable series.
The Transformers are back once again, making earth their battleground for control of the mysterious Minicons. While this slowly caused the original plot of the show to turn mostly episodic, with the occasional Aesop, that really wasn't a bad format for the show. Sure, sometimes it could be boring or predictable, and for a show involving giant robots from outer space that's a bit of a stretch, but Armada took the concept
and ran with it. Despite the largely episodic initial plot, many subplots began to tie in, such as how the Minicons came into existence, their purpose, etc, culminating in a rather large climactic finish to the series (sequel not withstanding).
Of course, with such Iconic characters, you need the proper voices. Forgoing using Peter Cullen, Armada instead brought in Garry Chalk to voice Optimus Prime, giving him a somewhat younger sound, whereas Megatron was voiced by David Kaye, who previously voiced the Decepticon leader in Beast Wars, as well as voicing Sesshomaru in Inuyasha. However, the character/voice combo that really gave me chills was Michael Dobson as the voice behind Starscream. It was almost like hearing the original Starscream combined with the original Megatron. Not quite a deep, monstrous voice, but not the high-pitched annoying voice either, and it was strangely menacing.
All in all, the plot, though episodic, was fantastic, the characters received quite a bit of character development, and the acting was very well done across the board. I give the series an overall 8/10.