Armada is a Japanese-American Transformers cartoon series that ran from 2002–2003 (adapting the Super Robot Lifeform Transformers Micron Legend anime), in support of the franchise of the same name. The show initiated a total continuity reboot, setting up a brand new Transformers universe separate from any previous storyline. Together with its two sequels, this continuity family is now known as the Unicron Trilogy.
Armada's universe is most distinguished by the presence and importance of Mini-Cons, a race of human-sized Transformers that, when "powerlinxed" to their larger brethren, would unleash a flood of energy. Because of the great potential for their exploitation, the Mini-Cons attempt to abstain from the Autobot/Decepticon war and flee Cybertron, crashing on Earth and its moon. When some Mini-Cons are accidentally reactivated in 2010 by clumsy teenagers, a beacon alerts both the Autobots and Decepticons on Cybertron, who track them to Earth and continue their battle here.
Unlike Generation One, the Beast Wars and Robots in Disguise, and like Beast Machines, the series is presented as its episodes being of a serialized nature starting from its first episode onward - the reason for this serialization eventually escalates beyond just a search for the Mini-Cons as the episodes progress, with the series eventually using a special sub-title for the remaining stories of the series' 52-episode count starting from episode 41: The Unicron Battles.
- Followed by: Energon
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|Autobot-allied Mini-Cons||Decepticon-allied Mini-Cons||Others|
Narrator: Jim Conrad
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- Cybertron Base (Autobot HQ)
- Cosmoscope Research Center
- Lunar Base (Decepticon HQ)
Armada is the first Transformers cartoon, or anime, to be co-developed in the United States and Japan. It is produced in Japan by WE'VE (Known at the time as Aeon), airs first in the United States, and then airs in Japan later on.
The U.S. version is produced by S.D. (Sabella Dern) Entertainment with ADR studio Voicebox Productions casting for English talent and recording the version's dialogue.
As the series continues, new characters (human, Autobot, Decepticon, Mini-Con, or otherwise) eventually start making their first appearance onscreen as the stories progress - this means that casting for extra English talent as quickly as possible is essential later on.
The U.S. dub of Armada is plagued with errors. Most explicit is the repeated misnaming of characters, particularly the Mini-Cons. More subtle clues point to scripts that were transliterated and never given a proper re-write to adapt them for a Western, or any English, audience.
The show also features wildly varying animation quality, which is due in large part to an extremely rushed production schedule; Voicebox often receives unfinished animation to work with, and rarely has time to get more than a first-draft translation of the script together in time for English recording.
The cause of this rush job is still under speculation, but there appear to be two primary suspects:
- Initial plans call for Dreamwave to supply character models for the series (at least, that was the claim), but that never materialized, possibly throwing off production schedules.
- Cartoon Network, the channel that airs the show, reportedly would not sign off on the series without a certain number of episodes already finished, forcing a rush job to get the cartoon out to coincide with the toy line's release.
Even accounting for the rushed dub, Armada's scripting tends to be of poor, indecent quality. Characters give long, rambling, semi-coherent monologues, react strangely to one another's dialog, have very disjointed "conversations", reiterate obvious plot points to one another, and repeatedly use stock phrases such as "Hey, wait up!" Moments of intended silence are filled with babble, especially the dreaded "Uh?" every time a character reacts to anything.
The show also takes flack for the repetitive nature of its first half, in which the same small groups of Autobots and Decepticons hunt for Mini-Cons in one episode after the previous. The rising threat of Unicron, as well as the gradually expanding cast, eventually leads to more wide-ranging stories.
Some people also gave Armada criticism for resembling Pokémon in that the story revolves around characters capturing other characters to make them stronger.
Although fans had a mixed reaction towards the product as a whole (which is typical of any new series), it was incredibly successful with the target audience — children ages 4–9. The toys sell fast like hotcakes - this prompts Hasbro to pad out the tail end of the toyline with a number of Beast Wars redecos that are partnered up with Mini-Cons - so far, a select few Transmetal figures are redecoed so that some, but not all, of those chosen figures are now entirely new characters.
The success of Armada leads to the more expensive R&D that went into the next two franchises: Energon and Cybertron. It also prompts the launch of the Universe subline, as demand for Transformers product continues to outstrip Hasbro's ability to develop new molds.
- First Encounter
- Decisive Battle
- Link Up
- Past, Part 1
- Past, Part 2
- Mortal Combat