DVD Review: Transformers: Headmasters



A new line of toys demanded a new animated series to show off their capabilities in the ’80s. This is what happened when The Transformers introduced the Headmaster series. The new line of robots were noted for having detachable heads when they became other objects. In America, they were done in the three episode arc called The Rebirth that ended the original series. But Japan wanted more. Takara, the manufacturer of the toys, produced their own series based on the new figures. The 35 never aired on American TV. Transformers: Headmasters imports the action in its Japanese glory.

The action starts in 2011. That’s right, it’s a story about today. The Decepticons team up with the Headmasters of Autobots’ headquarters on the remote planet Cybertron. They’re all plotting against each other. They revive Soundwave and Blaster. They make sure we get the cute human kid in Daniel Witwicky. He’s much more believable than Shia LeBeouf. The series should appeal to fans of the original series more than people fixated on the 3-D metal carnage of Michael Bay’s overwhelming epics. There’s a rather polite nature to the robots on Headmasters. Here’s what I don’t get: Why do robots need walkie-talkies? Seeing how they’re mechanical creatures, shouldn’t they have some sort of built in wi-fi communications? What’s the point of a robot having to hold something that should attach to their mechanical bodies? Before such foolish logic gets too tangled, there’s plenty of battle footage to distract viewers.

The big thing about Transformers: Headmasters is that it’s really the Japanese version. The audio track is Japanese with English subtitles. This is properly given to kids with intermediate reading skills. There’s an English dub of the series, but it’s so poorly done that it would make everything way too comical. Although if the subtitles of the theme song is hilarious. You might want to use it for karaoke night. Although if you really want to have fun with Japanglish, the next series produced by the Japanese was called Transformers: Super-God Masterforce. That sounds like the perfect name for a Lemmy & Dave Grohl side project. Transformers: Headmasters should be a rush for any fans of the series that never thought they’d get to see it except through dealing with the creepy guy at the comic book convention.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are from a video source. Images look fine. The audio is Japanese mono. There’s not much dynamics in the sound mix. It’s a rather sloppy job by the Japanese with levels all over the place. The episodes are subtitled in English so you can read along with the action.

The only extra is an Art Gallery with the model sheets for the main characters.

Transformers: Headmasters finally lets Americans enjoy the made for Japan fun. The show brings back memories of the vintage toyline. This much more fun than the Michael Bay movies.

Shout! Factory presents Transformers: Headmasters. Starring: Transformers. Boxset Contents: 35 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: July 5, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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