After the first part of the Transformers: War for Cybertron series, Siege, I was chomping at the bit ready for the next installment. When we left off, Optimus Prime had taken a team of Autobots through the Space Bridge away from their home planet just as the bridge was being destroyed while another team led by Elita One stayed behind to fight Megatron and the Deceptions. While we know they made it through, Elita and her crew thought they were dead. That’s where we pick up here.

This chapter takes place almost entirely in outer space as Optimus’ group is en route to anywhere they can find to get away. Along the way the run across space mercenaries, and one of their creators the Qunintessons. While that’s going on Megatron is trying to get together enough resources to pursue his escaped enemies while the remaining Autobots are carrying out operations against his base. In a moment that shows both his anguish in ruling and his cruelty Megatron has to choose to take down some of his own men to further his quest. And then the chase is on.

From there after meeting and fighting on a space station both factions end up in a kind of space purgatory where the two leaders have some visions of a possible future. It’s here that a lot of things are explained and the table is set for more.. And then for the big finale we get a reprisal of one of the famous scenes in Transformers lore, the crash landing on a planet that looks very familiar to us all.

So how was it?

The Good

As with the first installment, the character depth is well orchestrated. Bumblebee’s joining of the Autobots here feels like something was achieved, and is much more realistic take on how everyone isn’t so quick to sign up for war even if they’re philosophically aligned with one side already. On the other end Megatron’s full personality gets a run here as he goes to visit some of his soldiers, who do their best to convince of their worth, and then coldly orders their deactivation to save energy. Megatron’s rule is shown as taking its toll on him and not just a two dimensional thing.

The action was a plus again. The various conflicts at time made for strange bedfellows and in addition to being good and exciting also helped to flesh out relationships and characterizations. Getting into the history of not only Megatron but Optimus, Elita, and others gives the whole thing some necessary weight.

The Bad

This thing dragged. They took what could have been two or three episodes of material and stretched it across six. The title is misleading on that end; I came in with an expectation that there would be some time spent on Earth by the end but that was not the case. Instead we six episodes of a slow trek through space, a lot of exposition, and some gratuitous add ins of names and faces that come off like they were included to get a pop out of old head fans like me. And while they did do that at first, that eventually dissipated into ‘ok, what?’

And that goes for the callbacks to the 1986 film. At first you’re like ‘ok, cool!’ but then you realize that they’re not going to just run back that movie so what was the point? So much of this installment felt like a melancholy six episode toy commercial and not an actual story that was written for its own sake. And while these kind of things ultimately are toy commercials that doesn’t mean you have to be so transparent.

Other things

I did not know before that they were using non union voice actors for this series; while that has nothing to do with the story being told it has been a source of controversy. I’d been under the impression before that they just wanted to begin to transition away from stalwarts like Peter Cullen and Frank Welker because those guys have been around forever, but no it was a labor dodge. Should that alone make you hate this? Well no, but it’s just worth keeping in mind as they continue on with producing shows.

Final Verdict

Definitely not as good as the first six episodes. While the character depth remained a high spot and the action was good so much else felt like they did this one to get us to the third and final six episodes more than to keep telling a story. It’s watchable and all but I doubt you’ll want to watch it all the way through a second time.

Overall quality: 3/6, Enjoyability: 3/4

Total Score: 6/10

One thought on “Transformers: War for Cybertron- Earthrise

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