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KP001

He doesn't have any lips, Marissa.

Despite being the "main" Japanese Transformers franchise for 2006, the storyline of Kiss Players was not rendered in animation. Instead, it was related through two separate media - story drama segments on a Japanese radio show, and a monthly manga in Dengeki Daioh magazine. Additionally, several chapters of the Teletraan Go! Go! mini-comics published in Dengeki Hobby magazine featured tie-ins to the Kiss Players story. The series is set in the Generation 1 cartoon continuity, specifically during the five-year period between The Transformers: The Movie and Transformers 2010.

In December of 2006, Kiss Players transitioned into its second (and apparently final) phase, Kiss Players Position.


Media

Radio drama

The Kiss Players segment began airing on the Japanese radio show "Lyrian Moe-tchao" on April 3, 2006 in Japan and ended on the final week of September. Each week would feature a 1 to 3-minute story narrated by one of the voice actresses who played the three main characters in the series.

In the first week of October, the format was revised, and the entire half-hour show became "Transformers Kiss Play: Transformers News Center," broadcasting at an earlier time and starring the same trio of voice actresses. Highlights included a brief introduction explaining Transformers to new listeners, a "Tell Me Please! Transformers News Center" section during which Takaratomy employees or related professionals discussed Transformers news with the voice actresses, and a section in which the actresses ad-libbed dialogue based on reader-submitted scenarios. The first-year story drama ended with a cliffhanger (and the first episode ever to feature all three voice actresses) in the third week of December, 2006 and was concluded in the drama CD included with the Autorooper X Atari toy set released to stores the following week.

A self-contained adventure taking place during the second-year story was performed live by the voice actresses at Tokyo Toy Festival on March 18, 2007. Yuki Ohshima created over 30 new pieces of color artwork that were displayed to illustrate the story over the course of the performance.

Manga

The Kiss Players manga by Yuki Ohshima - who also designed the characters and provided the packaging artwork for the toyline - began publication in August 2006 in the monthly Dengeki Daioh[1] magazine and ran in three 16-page installments. Several story installments also appeared in the monthly 1-page Teletraan Go! Go! comic published in the Dengeki Hobby magazine. These primarily served to introduce readers to the Kiss Players story and characters at the line's beginning, and to summarize the final few radio dramas at the end.

Teletraan Go! Go! also notably incorporated the further adventures of Glit, Sundor and Rosanna, the Kiss Play Position cassette trio who were rather confusingly dropped from the Year 2 radio storyline in its second week and never mentioned again.

Major characters

Storyline

(Note: The general brevity - not to mention the frequent lack of any substance of worth - of many of the various installments of the Kiss Players storyline means that individual articles for each radio play chapter would be a bit on the pointless side, so the whole shebang is covered here. For an itemized list of the contents of each radio play and manga chapter, check out this list at TF:KissKiss, translated from the official Takaratomy timeline. Note that the chronological order of the radio stories is very different from the broadcast order.)

Kiss Players

Following the events of Unicron's attack in 2005, in which Galvatron was hurled into space by Rodimus Prime, the Decepticon leader crash-landed on Earth, his impact utterly devastating Tokyo. This horrific event shattered Transformer-human relations, and the government agency known as the Earth Defense Command was formed (its headquarters constructed at the heart of Galvatron's impact crater) to purge the Earth of Transformers. To accomplish this, the EDC constructed a fleet of its own man-made Transformers known as Autroopers, reverse-engineered from the remains of Galvatron himself. With the Autroopers' added power and the establishment of an anti-electron field around the Earth, they succeeded in forcing all remaining Transformers to flee the planet. Horrified at what his defeat of Galvatron had wrought, new Autobot leader Rodimus returned the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, and became Hot Rod once again.

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I...guess that's better?

As 2006 settled in, Earth had been rendered completely devoid of Transformers, and the rebuilding of Tokyo was underway. However, Galvatron's impact was revealed to have had a much greater effect than anyone could have predicted - the blast caused by his impact had scattered his Unicron-empowered cells throughout the planet's atmosphere. When they came into contact with other animals and objects, from marine life to cars, they fused with them, becoming one of many monstrous creatures referred to as Legion. This catastrophe also created the means to defend the world against the Legion, however - when Galvatron's cells came into contact with human beings, they also become able to fuse with other entities containing his cells by kissing them. With their Autroopers being the perfect candidates for this "ParasiTech" fusion process, the EDC began recruiting and training these "Kiss Players" as combat squads to battle the Legion.

Some time after the death of her parents in a Legion attack, Atari Hitotonari found herself pursued by one of the monstrous creatures. EDC operative Shaoshao Li came to her rescue, but the time-limit of her fusion with her Autrooper, Ne-04, expired and she was ejected from her partner, unconscious. Atari discovered that she was a Kiss Player when she kissed Shaoshao's Autrooper (to the delight of squad commander Hitoshizuku Amaō, who had long known of the girl's potential) and fused with it, defeating the Legion.

Atari subsequently joined the EDC Tokyo Autrooper squad, and proceeded to have several inane, fluffy adventures, including getting carsick, being embarrassed by the Kiss Fusion, and accidentally swallowing a Legion and having to have her Autrooper shrink down and venture inside her body to remove it. Her most significant escapade during this time was when she was possessed by Starscream's ghost, who had her seek out Doctor Arkeville in order to have the scientist create him a new body, only for it to be almost immediately destroyed by the EDC's Autroopers.

Following his death in 2005, the legacy of Optimus Prime became something of a rallying point for those disgruntled with the government's anti-Transformer movement. An anti-EDC commando force established itself; among its members was Marissa Faireborn, the daughter of soldier Dashiell Faireborn, who was once rescued by and often played with Prime when she was a child. When the EDC decided to move Prime's body from America to Tokyo, Marissa and her commando squad staged a violent ambush on the transport vehicles in an attempt to liberate the Autobot commander's remains. The whole affair, however, turned out to be a trap when Prime's body was revealed to be a decoy concealing an Autrooper unit piloted by Ringo, who gunned down the whole team, save Marissa herself. Realizing that she had been duped, Marissa turned her attention to a familiar container trailer in the convoy, which concealed the real Prime's body. As an out-of-control Autrooper attempted a ParasiTech fusion with Prime's body, Marissa discovered that she too was a Kiss Player when, in giving her childhood friend a farewell kiss, she found herself merging with an unexpectedly resurrected Prime, complete with a new body formed from the Autrooper and his own remains.

Shortly thereafter, Hot Rod arrived on Earth as part of his mission of redemption. He crashed into the EDC Headquarters, arriving just in time to save Shaoshao from some bizarre form of human experimentation that the EDC had secretly been conducting using its Kiss Player operatives and remnants of Legion creatures. The imprisoned Legions began to attack Hot Rod and attempted to fuse with him, but before the anti-electron field could fully disable the Autobot, Shaoshao kissed him and, like Prime, he was reformatted into a new body complete with the Legions' Galvatron cells. Like Marissa and Optimus Prime, the pair soon found themselves on the run from the EDC's forces. A childhood friend of Marissa's, Shaoshao had deep feelings for the American girl and had always resented Prime for, in her mind, stealing Marissa away from her. She swore to use Hot Rod's power to defeat Prime and win her friend back.

Numerous adventures ensued, including tales of stolen underwear, seaside dates, and reflections on the summer. Along the way, Marissa rescued Atari from danger, Shaoshao pursued Marissa, and Hot Rod accused Optimus of being an imposter as both of them fought the destructive impulses and Megatron-filled nightmares caused by their new Galvatron-cell-infused bodies.

Ultimately, Marissa and Prime attacked the EDC at the head of a swarm of Legion units. They settled their differences with Shaoshao and Hot Rod after a battle, then teamed up with Atari to investigate the sinister goings-on beneath the public facade of the EDC. Venturing through the "Spiral Vagina" into the "Genital System" facility hidden deep in the basement of the EDC headquarters, they discovered that Commander Amaō had been experimenting with Kiss Players and Legions in an attempt to find some way of resurrecting her daughter, who had died when Galvatron's impact destroyed Tokyo (and who was sometimes glimpsed, in a ghostly state, in the company of Legions). Galvatron's headless body was also hidden in the basement, and Amaō's plan was foiled when all of the Legions and Autroopers fused with Galvatron, bringing all his cells together and reconstituting his body. His cells were also extracted from the Kiss Players' partners; consequently, Hot Rod and Optimus Prime reverted to their original forms, with Prime returning to his state of death. The anti-electron field was shut down, and Galvatron's body was blasted back into space, where it would eventually crash-land on the planet Thrull.

Kiss Players Position

With the deactivation of the anti-electron field, Ultra Magnus and the three Cassettrons Sundor, Rosanna and Glit came to Earth around the year 2007 to reestablish peace with humanity. Marissa, Shaoshao and Atari joined together with the Cassettrons as the "Kiss Players," a group of singing idols who performed to promote human-Transformer relations and good will. As they sang at the Fortress Maximus (the Robots in Disguise character, that is) stop of their world tour, the human trio were approached by Angela, Star Dust and Zangetsu, the mysterious Sparkbots, who instructed the girls to kiss them. When Marissa, Atari and Shaoshao complied, the Sparkbots whisked them off through time and space aboard Fortress Maximus, leaving the Cassettrons behind (to go on to have unrelated adventures with Teletraan 15).

KPP001

We're the "Kiss Players" who used to be Kiss Players in Kiss Players!

Marissa, Atari and Shaoshao reappeared in America over twenty years earlier to witness Optimus Prime's famous battle with Megatron atop Sherman Dam. Invisible to that time period's natives, Marissa was directed by Angela to kiss Prime; when she did so, a portion of what the Sparkbots told her was the Allspark emerged from within Prime. This, the Sparkbots explained, was the Kiss Players' new mission: to gather all the fragments of the Allspark from Autobot leaders throughout time and space. The Kiss Players went about their appointed task, travelling to both the past and the future, at one point paying a harrowing visit to Quintessa, but soon, a mysterious, giant golden hand began to appear at the moment of Allspark emergence and steal the fragments away. The Kiss Players pursued the hand through time aboard Fortress Maximus, only to have their spaceship strike the "Wall of Time," scattering the trio across dimensions.

Fortress Maximus emerged from a portal above the planet Master and plunged toward its surface (the implication being that he would go on to become the battleship piloted by Fortress in The Headmasters), while the three girls were blasted into the Unicron Trilogy universe. The giant golden hand reappeared and rescued them, bringing them back to their native universe. It was revealed that the hand belonged to the Transformer diety Primus, and that the Sparkbots were, in fact, servants of Unicron that had been manipulating the Kiss Players since the beginning - in fact, they were the ones responsible for causing Galvatron to crash on Earth, and the so-called "Allspark" fragments they had instructed the Kiss Players to gather were in truth the scattered pieces of Unicron's lifeforce. Fleeing to prehistoric Earth, the Sparkbots succeed in resurrecting their master, but Unicron was defeated by Primus, and his lifeforce was sealed away within the planet along with the Sparkbots. Completing the circle, Primus created Fortress Maximus to serve as the guardian of Unicron's lifeforce, and the Kiss Players were returned to their own time.

Notes

  • Kiss Players is notable - if headache-inducing - for consolidating several previously discrete Transformers continuities into one. Timelines officially published with its products incorporated not only Generation 1 events, but also those of other time-and-space-bending Japanese G1 spin-offs, Robot Masters, Binaltech and Binaltech Asterisk.
  • Most notably of all, Kiss Players appears to have been the first affirmation of the recent retcon that Takara has been propogating in several official timelines - that Robots in Disguise (or Car Robots, to be precise) is part of the Japanese Generation 1 continuity. The storyline links the Robots in Disguise Fortress Maximus to the Japanese incarnation of G1 Fortress Maximus, offers an actual origin for RiD Fort Max that links him to the story of Beast Wars II, and explains why Unicron's lifeforce was sealed within Earth in that series, while at the same time remaining inline with the BotCon story "Reaching the Omega Point," which had Unicron's essence on prehistoric Earth.
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