The New Forces Arrive! is the first episode of Beast Wars II. It first aired in Japan on April 1, 1998 on TV Tokyo.
A team of Maximals heads to the planet Gaea in order to save it from Galvatron's Predacons, but can they accomplish this mission with their leader missing in action?
Responding to an SOS from a small planetoid somewhere out in space, Maximal commander Convoy and his deputy commander Apache head through an asteroid field in two small, single-man reconnaissance crafts. Despite being cautioned by Convoy to be wary of the possibility of a Predacon trap, the cocksure Apache zooms ahead, zipping around the asteroids at great speed. What he does not expect, however, is for the planetoid in front of him to start moving, bearing down on him on a collision course. Convoy streaks into action, opening fire on the planetoid, which explodes dramatically. Although Apache is hurled to safety by the blast, Convoy is sent spiraling off into the depths of the cosmos.
Elsewhere, on the far edge of the universe, an asteroid tumbles towards the planet Gaea. As it hits the atmosphere, however, its rocky shell begins to crumble away, exposing the Predacon insignia beneath—in truth, this "asteroid" is the Galvaburg II, a Predacon starship commanded by the Emperor of Destruction, Galvatron. Galvatron picks up a strange energy signature from the planet below, although he has to clobber his brother, Megastorm, to get him to shut up so he can get the message across to his troops. The Predacons trace the energy signal to a flare of light emerging from the planet's surface and set about harnessing its power, shrouding their ship from sight with a field of black fog. High above their heads, within the moon, Gaea's watchers, Moon and Artemis, despair over this wicked use of the planet's "Angolmois" energy, but Artemis expects the Maximals will arrive soon—after all, they usually do in situations like this!
Elsewhere in the universe, at the Maximal Space Station under the command of Convoy, Kid and Diver are attempting to play chess, only to be interrupted by the station computer, Navi-chan, informing them of the abnormal energy flare on Gaea. Kid dismisses the idea of going on the mission, as Convoy is still missing. Bighorn is willing to go regardless, but Scuba agrees that going without their Supreme Commander is pointless. When Kid claims that it doesn't look like Convoy will be back, Apache drunkenly refutes the notion, having drowned his guilty sorrows in oil. Bighorn takes charge and decides to take the mission, and everyone follows him aboard their ship, the Yukikaze. Apache doesn't quite make it, though, and trails along behind the craft on a cable, freezing solid in the void of space. The transwarp trip is a short one, and Gaea is soon in sight, but almost instantly, a heavy barrage of laser fire flies up from the planet's surface and blasts the Yukikaze out of the sky. As their spacecraft falls, the Maximals escape the conflagration in stasis pods.
Kid's stasis pod makes a rough landing, and to make matters worse, his onboard computer quickly tells him that the atmosphere of Gaea will rapidly corrode the Transformers' bodies. To escape a rusty fate, he quickly searches for a local animal to scan, spotting an eagle and triggering his scanners. However, a Tasmanian Devil leaps into the path of the scan beam, and Kid scans its DNA instead, becoming "Tasmania Kid". He is not especially pleased with this fact, but forgets his woes when the animal leads him to the edge of a nearby cliff and shows him the black fog, spreading across the landscape and rotting away nature. Thanking the Tasmanian Devil, Kid heads into the dying forest, but finds his way barred by a large body of water without a bridge or road in sight. A large frog pops out of the water and compliments Kid on his choice of a rare animal to scan—the frog is actually Diver, who carries Kid across the water on his back. As Diver is swimming along, the pair panic when they are apparently attacked by a squid… but it's only Scuba having a bit of fun. He carries the pair the rest of the way across the water at high speed, and they carry on through the forest, meeting up with Apache (who has scanned a mandrill) and Bighorn (in the form of a bison).
Together, the quintet track the black fog to its source within a large crevasse, but as they argue about who's going to go in, the ground begins to shake beneath their feet, and they all tumble in. They land on top of the Galvaburg II as it emerges from the cloud and quickly realize what's going on, but no sooner have they transformed then they are caught in a paralysing energy web. The Predacons surround and open fire on the immobile Maximals as the watching Megastorm cackles, but Galvatron is impassive, sensing the approach of something powerful. That something turns out to be a white lion, which leaps onto the Galvaburg II and hacks the energy projectors to pieces with its claws, freeing the Maximals from the web. The fighting-mad Maximals strike back hard, and the Predacons take cover within their ship once more as the Maximals' blasts kick off a series of explosions across the Galvaburg II's hull. The white lion leads the Maximals off the ship (despite grumbling protests from Bighorn) just as one huge final explosion goes off, and the group stampedes off into the wilderness.
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Animation and/or technical glitches
- The tailfin of Convoy's reconnaissance craft switches from being blue and red (when it first appears) to yellow and red (when he saves Apache).
- Diver's toy-gimmick (a spring-loaded extending frog-mode tongue, which happens to be his robot-mode head) is rather amusingly interpreted here as an extending neck. In frog-mode, it allows him to pop his robot-mode head out of his mouth. Wacky!
- This episode features the first instance of Transformers scanning alternate modes and taking on their forms without needing to use any external equipment, something that is entirely commonplace in the fiction these days.
- Following the episode, Tasmania Kid narrates a short featurette that introduces the Maximals to the audience, describing their personalities, but he runs out of time before he can talk about their missing commander.