I love Transformers but there were a few episodes of the cartoon that were especially bad. Today we’re looking at one of the absolute worst. Possibly the worst. Certainly it has the most animation errors. It was from season 3 (post Transformers: The Movie, set in the then-future of 2006) and the animation was done by AKOM, notorious for having cheap animation and going off-model with character designs. But in “Carnage in C-Minor” they went far beyond just being off-model.
In fact, the very first shot of the episode features several Autobots flying through outer space. The cartoon had a rule where Autobots were not able to fly in their robot modes while the Decepticons could – it basically allowed the bad guys to be more mobile and escape at the end of episodes without the Autobots being able to easily chase them down. But that rule gets tossed right out the window as the Autobots fly in to see some Decepticons, led by Galvatron, making a rocket engine on an asteroid that they intend to aim at Autobot City (Metroplex) on Earth.
So the Autobots fly in shooting, led by Ultra Magnus, the second-in command normally but he’s the boss in this one. Note that the background is currently outer space. The backgrounds change on a whim from space to evening sky to day. It’s very confusing.
Shooting back are Soundwave and Devastator. Devastator is comprised of six Constructicons and is normally portrayed as being an absolute giant and a nearly unstoppable force. Here, he’s the same size as Soundwave for some reason. The people animating this episode just Did. Not. Care.
In fact, the very next shot all of a sudden shows the Constructicons assembling into Devastator even though we just saw him assembled and returning fire to the Autobots. Look how bloopy everything looks. Instead of transforming, in this episode the characters just sort of melt into their other forms. Oh, and sometimes the transforming sound effect literally just cuts off in a noticeable way.
And the second Devastator stops forming? A battleship just falls on top of him. It’s very, very weird. After a while, I realized that the Transformer that falls on him is an Autobot named Broadside. He could change into both a battleship and a jet but only appears as the battleship here and you don’t see him transform. I kind of love how forced the battleship mode is. There’s no water so he just falls out of nowhere on top of someone. Also? Broadside has a Decepticon symbol in this shot. So it’s SUPER confusing. But there’s more confusion with him:
The battleship and Devastator just sort of fall into the ground and then a robot pops up out of the rubble. This is Broadside but even a Transformers fan may not recognize him because he’s completely off-model. Usually Broadside looks like this:
Broadside is that tall grey guy with the blue cockpit and grey head with blue goggle eyes in the upper right. That’s what the toy looked like, too. He doesn’t look ANYTHING like the Broadside in this episode.
Oh, but Broadside’s victory isn’t over. In the very next shot, he’s now standing on blue, snowy ground instead of green rubble and he raises his arm up and Ultra Magnus raises his. No dialog at all. I guess they’re just taking a break from the battle to wave at each other. I wish the characters taking a time-out to wave at one another was the epitome of weirdness and it got down to business but this isn’t even close to the strangest thing.
Now we get a shot of three Transformers shooting into the sky. Might not seem that odd except for this fact. The first two guys, Huffer and Brawn, died in Transformers: The Movie and are Autobots. The third guy is a Decepticon and one of the Constructicons that we JUST saw get buried. They’re not shooting at each other, they’re somehow all on the same side. Trust me, as a kid, I couldn’t make ANY sense of this one because I didn’t understand the concept of animation mistakes. I thought all of this was done on purpose for a reason that I couldn’t fathom.
The Autobots destroy the engine and the asteroid begins to fall towards a nearby planet that Perceptor says is inhabited. Then some sound waves emanate from the planet and destroy the asteroid. For reasons, it does not destroy any of the Transformers who fall into the planet’s atmosphere but they’re fine. Again, for reasons.
The fight goes on and we get a sense of how lazy AKOM was as an animator. This is Perceptor, a nerdy scientist guy for the Autobots. He appears to be leaning just over some rocks and is about to transform into his microscope mode…
Which he does. But his whole lower half doesn’t appear. He just sort of becomes the microscope on top of the ridge. It’s hard to describe. It’s like we never see part of his body and he doesn’t change position. It’s a mess.
So here’s what Perceptor is looking at (even though he’s a microscope, he usually just seems to work more like a telescope). He sees Devastator form again! I guess being crushed by a battleship wasn’t much of a problem. Also, the background has gone from outer space to dusk. No more stars.
Perceptor shoots him. Keep in mind that Perceptor is normally portrayed as a talkative scientist, but not much of a warrior.
Perceptor blasts Devastator into tiny pieces. What? Devastator has NEVER been this much of a wimp.
Galvatron and Soundwave just abandon the rest of their troops to investigate the source of the sound waves that destroyed the asteroid. Meanwhile, Ultra Magnus notices them fleeing while he picks up a pair of Constructicons and bonks them together. Again, Ultra Magnus is a little tall but he’s never been so big that he could pick up other Transformers in one hand. The scale is not even close to accurate. The guys he’s holding should be just a little bit shorter than him. They all transform into trucks, after all.
I just like this shot of Galvatron smiling.
So even though the Autobots could fly earlier, they now decide to hang onto Broadside as he flies through the sky. It looks like a terrible way to fly.
Now Galvatron and Soundwave HOLD HANDS while flying. Behind them, Broadside flies at a weird angle and no one is hanging onto his wings. Again, Galvatron and Soundwave fly through the sky then just start holding hands. I am so curious what the animators were thinking there.
Anyway, the Autobots find the source of the sound first. The planet is led by a guy named Basso Profundo and he refuses the help of the Autobots against the Decepticons, arguing that their sound power is all they need to remain safe. The Decepticons are spying on this conversation and overhear that a woman named Allegra may be more receptive to helping. The Decepticons dump a bridge on the Autobots and blow it up, then go to Allegra. Don’t worry, the Autobots are totally fine.
Eventually the Decepticons lose the Autobots and meet the source of the sound. It’s a lady named Allegra. She talks like someone in autotune. It’s very, very, very annoying. She says she can’t make the sound power herself. There’s two others and they have to work in harmony.
Galvatron still has Sounwave record her sonic powers. Suddenly, instead of being the same size, Soundwave is noticeably shorter than Galvatron. Also, he now has an Autobot symbol on his chest. Whatever.
Soundwave says that he only has one third of the recordings and would need two more sounds to create the harmony of the sound power. Galvatron shakes him angrily. Meanwhile, the background has gone from normal sky to some sort of outer space setting with red gas. No reason.
The Decepticons and Autobots both meet at the second guy who can make sounds, a dude that looks like a weird elf named Zebop. Allegra gets knocked out and Zebop grabs her to keep her from getting killed on the battlefield. Soundwave and Blaster wrassle.
And then, hilariously, Blaster starts to fall on top of Zebop. That’s Blaster’s butt that’s about to crush the little elf man.
But when they actually fall on top of Zebop, the animation has changed and it’s Soundwave that lands on him. So… I guess it’s Blaster’s fault that they squished the little guy. Blaster’s like “Whoops!” and picks up Soundwave and throws him.
Ha ha. Blaster’s basically just holding a corpse here.
Galvatron confirms that Soundwave recorded another part of the sound and they fly off.
Allegra wakes up and cradles Zebop. Guess they’re a couple. Blaster is ostensibly supposed to care about them but he’s drawn holding his gun right to Zebop’s head. Wow.
Allegra sings and even though it’s only one third of this supposed harmony power thing, Zebop gets healed. By music. He’s fine.
So the Autobots are really amazed at their power and stand their gaping while Galvatron and Soundwave head to the capital to use their 2/3 harmony to try to destroy it. Oh, and even though Ultra Magnus’ mouth moves, it’s Blaster’s voice coming out of it. Just confusing.
Basso Profundo’s city is under attack and his aides convince him he should team up with Allegra and Zebop to use their super harmony to defend themselves. But first he defends the city with his singing. It doesn’t help much.
Because the Autobots and Decepticons are still fighting. Here we get to see the Protectobots merged into Defensor. One problem. Their middle, main component, Hot Spot, is also standing right next to them. No one working on this episode cared at all.
Basso Profundo’s music causes the Protectobots to fall apart into their components. Weird.
Now Galvatron has Soundwave record the final part of the music and then fly through outer space to Earth with the full harmony. Except the sound waves emanate from Galvatron, not Soundwave. I guess Earth must be REALLY close to the alien planet because everyone flies back and forth within what seem like minutes.
The Autobots along with the three singer aliens fly in to save the day. I just got a kick out of this shot because nothing moves in it except the background, meant to imply they are flying. Ultra Magnus and Perceptor have a conversation but their mouths just hang open, totally static.
There’s all three of these annoying elves in Broadside’s cockpit which now has three chairs in a row. Is Ultra Magnus hanging onto his wing again? He seems really, really close.
The little alien guys start singing which creates some white circles in the air. Not sound waves anymore. Why stay consistent?
The sound waves make Soundwave shake. He says he’s being attacked with anti-sound. I don’t even know.
Superion flies in to help with the fight. He seems to be in space. Maybe he’s not even in the same scene with everyone else. Who can tell anymore?
Blaster grabs Soundwave and pushes his crotch. Soundwave sounds distraught and says that his tapes were erased. So he doesn’t have the sound power anymore.
So now the Autobots fly the aliens back home. So a tiny Blaster flies across Soundwave. I guess maybe he’s supposed to be behind Soundwave and the animators just didn’t care about layer order. Instead it looks like Soundwave has a tiny fairy flying around his shoulders.
And I guess that’s it. I don’t know why the Decepticons wouldn’t simply return to the planet and record the sounds again. It’s not like the Autobots leave guys behind to protect it. The episode just sort of… stops.