Look, I gotta level with you. I have no clue what the title of this episode, “Friend or Foe? The True Form of the Monster!!” is supposed to refer to. It makes no sense. There’s no wondering about a friend or foe or any new monster. It just… let’s just start this up and we’ll leave the puzzle of the title to the philosophers.
The episode kicks off with some ladies playing tennis. I’m not clear on why they’re all white since this is taking place in Japan. Regardless, a tennis ball bumps into the Decepticon Headmaster Jrs. The ladies did not notice these massive machines move onto the court but they are now horrified and run in a panic. Hit the jump to see what happens to them.
Bullhorn pops out of his cockpit and urges them not to flee. He just wanted to hit on the girls. He then hilariously loses his balance and falls on the ground. Oh Bullhorn! You’ll never get laid like that!
Bullhorn wonders if maybe, just maybe, the girls ran away because their Transtectors are ugly. Wilder gives him the ultimate put down by calling Bullhorn’s face ugly. For reasons I won’t understand, the show does not take a one minute pause to allow the audience to calm down from laughter.
Wilder says that it’s time to get serious anyway. Their goal for this episode? Find Ginrai before Hydra and Buster who are flying all over Japan looking for revenge. The Headmasters seem way more concerned about finding them to trump their teammates than to accomplish any real objective or goal.
You can be forgiven if you don’t remember this but supposedly Shuta is really good at computers. His words, from way back. Ginrai walks up and watches video screens of tanks being blown up and crap. Eventually, it’s revealed to be a battle simulation. It’s not clear why watching tanks blow up would help the Autobots. Maybe Shuta created one video and just calls it different things. Battle Simulation. Visual Training. Explosive Timing.
Then, for the first time EVER on this show, Shuta remembers that his father was killed by Decepticons. He uses this to bond with Ginrai who lost some trucker friends. So that’s equivalent.
Ginrai talks about how tempting it is to just cut loose with his new Transformer powers. So first he wanted to make money appearing on TV with them and now he’s tempted to just cause wanton destruction. They better not present him as any sort of prophesied “The One” because Ginrai is pretty shallow.
He even tells Hawk that he sort of understands the Decepticons. Not in any sort of clever psychological insight way. Just that he gets wanting to run around busting shit up whenever they feel like it. For a presumably secret reason, Hawk does not instantly throw Ginrai out of the base and tell him never to return.
But the Decepticon problem can be dealt with some other time. Right now, Ginrai and Shuta have been invited to eat some pit-fire cooking courtesy of Cab. Ginrai is excited to try Cab’s “ethnic” food but Shuta says it isn’t very good. Nevertheless, the two eat heartily. I suspect the Transtector process has destroyed their taste buds.
Ginrai compliments the food and Cab politely says he’s a genius at everything. No one calls him on his bullshit except for his pet parrot which insults him. They have a strange relationship that we’ll never comprehend.
You may be asking yourself where Minerva is during this delightful cookout. Well, she doesn’t feel she would be welcome. She explains to Hawk that Ginrai might not want to see her because she said mean things to him. Did she? She hasn’t said anything to him this episode but we get a helpful flashback to what she said to him last episode…
Yup, that was the extent of it. Ginrai was threatening their prisoner and Minerva stuttered at him. Truly horrible, right? Unforgivable? She thinks so. Sometimes I think the Japanese episodes of this show are a bit more progressive than our cartoons but the way they treat women is so demeaning. It’s pretty insane, really.
Hawk encourages her to confront Ginrai and as she enters the woods, she actually overhears Ginrai saying kind things about her. What a delightful twist! There’s no conflict to resolve after all!
Minerva asks for a plate of food but Cab instantly turns on his friend and blames Shuta for eating everything. Look above for how stunned Shuta is to be accused of that. He didn’t say that one coming!
The three boys get up and run around all silly and Minerva flips. The f***. Out. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s a Japanese cultural type of joke. She just loses her shit when they run around after one another like they’re playing an aggressive game of tag. So that happens.
While all of this is going on, the Decepticon Headmaster Jrs are hanging out on a hill. Cancer begins staring at a mountain, the same mountain that we know houses the Autobot base. When Bullhorn and Wilder ask him what he’s looking at, Cancer says he might recognize the mountain from being kidnapped, but he isn’t sure. And they do not investigate at all.
Ginrai suggests they all go for a drive to work off the food they just ate. Ginrai would make a pretty terrible nutritionist. “OK, you ate a whole pizza and a birthday cake? Let me check my chart. You need to drive for 20 miles.”
They all get on the road and Ginrai’s Transtector begins driving itself. He gives up and lets it take him wherever it’s taking him and the Headmaster Jrs follow along. I’d consider calling Hawk or trying the emergency brake, but that’s me. I’m no Autobot.
Over at a mountain, a bunch of miners have come up against a strange black wall that they can’t penetrate. One man suggests using a powerful explosive, but the foreman points out that could end up caving everything in. They actually act sensibly and don’t blow anything up. Believe it or not, this subplot will soon factor into the main story!
The Decepticons are enjoying some lunch. It’s a pretty relaxed day for these killers. Not too much going on at all.
Cancer is watching the TV and says he thinks he saw Ginrai on the news. In fact, he did! The news is covering the miners who can’t get through the mountain. You know, like the news is always doing. Anytime construction slows down, you can count on CNN and FOX and MSNBC to be there!
Ginrai feels the call of destiny. The truck brought him to this location and he walks in. No one stops him or even offers him a hardhat. Japan should have a version of OSHA. But if I can trust this show to inform me about how foreign governments work, and I believe I can, they do not have such safety measures. Ginrai touches the black wall and it begins to shake and explode. Ginrai and the foreman run out of the collapsing cavern just as…
The Decepticon Headmasters show up. They tear through the workers throwing them everywhere. The fatalities are too much to comprehend!
The Decepticons charge after Ginrai, Cab and Shuta. Shuta and Ginrai transform and begin fighting, but Shuta has to remind Cab that he should transform. Just as he’s about to, one of the Decepticons grabs him. Before he can squish our amnesiac hero, Shuta punches his enemy and Cab smashes his face straight into rock from about 3 stories high. Since he landed on his head he’s fine.
Wilder takes a moment in the battle to let off my favorite catchphrase.
Over at the Autobot base, the news is being broadcast that clearly establishes that the anchors know about the existence of Transformers. This begs the question – why did Shuta or Ginrai need this explained to them if it’s common knowledge? The show plays fast and loose with whether Transformers are a secret or publicly known. Fast and loose or lazy. Your pick.
Hawk sees the news and decides to head out and assist Ginrai and the others. Of course he assigns Minerva to stay behind and watch the base, which is quickly becoming her primary responsibility. She’s luck they let her transform from time to time instead of just bake them cakes all day.
Ginrai notices Hydra and Buster fly in. He decides to comment on this to no one in particular.
Buster releases three things: Chokon power in an energy blast at Ginrai, my favorite catch phrase, and my boner from my pants. Go Buster!
Metalhawk flies in and even the odds a bit but the Decepticons seem to have the upper hand until something bursts from out of the caved-in rubble and smashes the Decepticon Godmasters, Hydra and Buster. What is it? Well, you don’t get a very clear shot, but basically it’s a truck trailer. Yeah, a truck trailer just sort of bursts out and whacks them. That’s it. Hydra and Buster decide to retreat.
The Decepticon Headmasters aren’t too sure of what just hit their comrades. They essentially shrug and leave, too. And that’s the episode. So who was the Friend or Foe? The Trailer? If that’s the case, why would the title call it a Monster? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m open to your suggestion, because this episode wraps with less closure than usual an that’s saying something.