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Beast Machines featured a distinctive visual style in both toy design and the art design of its television series. The television series was both darker and grittier then the more lighthearted Beast Wars, and introduced controversial new plotlines, such as the "organic Cybertron" theory and both Optimus Primal and Megatron's death at the end of the series. The toyline was oft-known for its disregard for scale and show-accuracy, and the widespread use of Spark Crystals for both factions. Additionally, the franchise reintroduced Transformers which turn into machinery and vehicles instead of animals with the new faction known as Vehicons.
The Beast Machines franchise featured the following primary components:
Though officially they are part of the Universe franchise, 3H's Universe comics also built on the storyline of the Beast Machines cartoon.
Beast Wars ReturnsEdit
Beast Machines was not released in Japan for several years until 2005, when Takara imported a dubbed version of the television series and some of the toyline as Beast Wars Returns.
The Beast Wars Returns release was far more low-key than the Beast Wars or Beast Wars Metals releases. The cartoon series was aired only on a satellite station and the toys were released as exclusives to Toys "R" Us. Additionally, rather than record an all-new theme song, they simply recycled "Phat Planet" from the Canadian version, a first for the Japanese release of a Canadian Transformers cartoon.