Good news for fans of these recaps. Vincent has said we can do one on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays. So I’ll have more screencaps and more commentary per episode but only one episode when we publish each article.
Episode 12 of Headmasters is called “The Dormant Volcano Mysteriously Erupts” and it does in fact feature a volcano erupting. Mostly, though, it’s a story about a boy and his donkey and their love for each other (I’m serious).
Read on to learn more about Pipiro and his donkey.
The episode begins at a facility I bet you never knew the Autobots had; it’s their Earthquake Research Office!
Ultra Magnus and the other Autobots on Earth see that there is some strange activity down in Peru. Their computer helpfully teaches them (and us) about it:
We then go down to Peru and meet one of the villagers, a small boy who dresses in hip, retro, 1800s fashion, named Pipiro and his donkey, Koro. What kind of fun has he been up to?
Pipiro lives with his sister, Arisa (or possibly Alyssa? I think the subtitler didn’t take into account the Japanese accent) and a bunch of old-timey villagers in a small town called Pan beneath a dormant volcano.
On planet Athenia, the Autobots are looking over information from last episode. They are curious about the energy that was beamed to a planet hidden in a nebula.
Autobot leader Cerebros asks about it and Chromedome pulls new information right out of his ass:
Twincast sends Steeljaw and Ramhorn on a mission to learn more about the mysterious planet.
Meanwhile, on the mysterious planet in question, the narrator explains what’s going on. They’re building a gigantic robot and I guess it’s supposed to be a surprise some day when we learn who/what it is. So who is actually building it? Enslaved Battle Beasts! I didn’t think we’d see them again, but here they are in all their glory. Go buy some today and reenact this scene at home.
On the Decepticon base on planet Chaar, Zarak (still in shadows!) tells Sixshot to keep the Autobots busy on Earth and that the earthquake is part of his plan. Sixshot laughs like a maniac about how awesome he’ll be at that job.
Back on Earth, the volcano begins to erupt. We’re never shown how this was activated, actually. But the result is that the lava is flowing down the mountainside and the villagers are in a panic. One old man has a great plan:
People are running but keep getting cut off by lava flows. No one seems to have any cars or phones for calling for help. The Trainbots and Protectobots arrive to save the day, but Sixshot has the Predacons and Decepticon Headmasters block them. At first the Protectobots want to fight the Predacons but the leader of the Trainbots says they’ll handle the Decepticons. I wish I could tell you this Trainbot’s name but it’s never been used on the show so I refuse to look it up.
The Protectobots agree to help the villagers and the Trainbots and Predacons begin battling in mid-air. Good luck telling anyone apart. Sometimes I can’t even tell whether the insults are coming from the good guys or the bad guys.
The villagers, who were terrified of the approaching lava just moments ago act like they’ve got free tickets to a boxing match and cheer the Autobots on.
The Protectobots are blocked from helping the humans by the Decepticon Headmasters. No big deal. They’ll just merge into Defensor. Wait. What do they call themself in this mode?
Is there more than one? I have no idea. But then it gets even weirder. Mindwipe pulls out his gun and gives it a new name and it seems to have a new power instead of just blasting laser bolts. It freezes Defensor in place!
Again the show doesn’t use “Defensor” as a proper name but more of a title. I don’t get it. Let’s not think too hard about it. The name for the gun is really odd, though. Mindwipe turns into a bat and he has hypnotic powers. So the “wipe” part of “wipesnake” gun makes sense but where’s the “snake” part from? Why not call it the mindwipe gun? Or the paralyzer ray? Or the batwipe pistol? The buttwipe pistol! OK, I’m going down a hole I can’t dig out of.
Ultra Magnus is out of Earth-based Autobots so he phones up planet Athenia and the Headmasters hop in Broadside’s jet mode and fly to Earth. Zarak hears about them coming to Earth from Laserbeak/Soundblaster who were spying on Athenia but he’s not concerned.
On Earth, the Headmasters show up (have you noticed how fast flying between galaxies is?) and the Trainbots show their appretiation:
Now that the Headmasters can occupy the Decepticons, the Trainbots turn into a train (that flies, remember) and Daniel and Wheelie jump in for a fun ride. The Trainbots take a look at the volcano and are pelted with debris. They can’t figure out how to stop the volcano and seem surprised by this. What to do?
Spike’s in the train, too, and lest we forget, he’s now some sort of scientific genius. He tells the train to go up above the volcano’s eruption plume for… some reason. They do. It does nothing.
Meanwhile, Chromedome tells Brainstorm to use a certain technique:
His technique involves him turning into his weird jet/spaceship thing and spinning around and around, dragging plumes of smoke and hot ash in his wake. He divebombs at the Decepticons and while they don’t seem to be physically affected by this, they cower in terror and retreat. If you turn the sound and subtitles off, it basically looks like he’s doing air show tricks and the Decepticons are just so impressed, they leave.
This allows the Autobots to finally rescue those villagers. Pipiro insists on saving his donkey. Chromedome admires this, forgets that he is a massive robot and pats Pipiro on the head in what had to have resulted in multiple concussions.
Finally, he gets his donkey and everyone gets in the Trainbots and flies away as the lava washes over their village, consuming all in its path. Back on planet Chaar, Cyclonus makes the very salient point to Scourge that if this is Zarak’s plan, to erupt volcanoes on Earth, they’ll end up destroying the planet, losing all the potential energy there that they’ve always been interested in harvesting.
Zarak says he doesn’t care about Earth anymore. When Cybertron was destroyed, it released a shit ton of plasma energy and once he figures out how to collect that, the Decepticons will rule the universe.
This show is much more serialized that any of the U.S. seasons. There’s definitely an ongoing narrative, interrupted by crazy stuff and strange characterizations. Anyway, on Earth, the villagers exit the Trainbots, apparently in the middle of the woods so thanks so much for that, Autobots. However, their problems aren’t over. Pipiro looks at some rustling in the bushes, assuming it’s his donkey but it is in fact the Decepticon Headmasters holding a donkey. I can’t tell if they grabbed Koro or Koro’s mother. They have a donkey, either way. A donkey with the strongest tail in the world.
Arisa/Alyssa runs for the donkey and is instantly grabbed by Weirdwolf who threatens to kill her unless the Headmasters do something for him:
He wants them to teach their transforming technique. I assume he means how they switch heads. I don’t know what you’d need to be taught about that. Maybe he just wants to trick them into taking their heads off or something. It’s all rendered moot when Koro the donkey rams him in the leg, causing him to let Arisa/Alyssa go. The Autobots shoot like crazy and the Decepticons retreat.
The Autobots are seriously impressed by the donkey’s bravery, and forget that they actually might have helped, too. With that, Spike makes a confusing announcement:
Apparently forgetting that last week he was busy with the project of rebuilding Solar 1 to solve the world’s energy crisis, he now dedicates himself to studying the earthquakes that the Autobots are magically and correctly assuming are caused by the Decepticons. Spike’s scientific knowledge knows no disciplinary boundaries! He then tells the Autobots they can pull out. It’s a mess. Finally, Arisa/Allysa thanks Chromedome by giving him something of hers.
Eh, it’s a sweet gesture. I don’t know what he’d do with it but I also didn’t know the Headmasters had a gym so maybe he has a bedroom somewhere and he hangs his robot trophies and medals on his bureau, for all I know. Regardless, he is touched, so his friends laugh at him. Yup.
Back on Athenia, the Autobots listen to what Steeljaw and Ramhorn have overheard, with Zarak talking about the Cybertron plasma crap and how it’ll destroy the Autobots. It just makes them resolve to be tougher!