Transformers: Super-God Masterforce (トランスフォーマー 超神マスターフォース Toransufōmā Chōjin Masutāfōsu?) is a 1988 anime television series animated by Toei Animation. It ran for 43 broadcast episodes, in support of The Headmasters, Pretenders and Godmaster toylines.
With the conclusion of the first Japanese-exclusive Transformers franchise, The Headmasters, head writer Masumi Kaneda felt that he had brought the story concepts introduced in The Transformers: The Movie to a conclusion, and sought to make a "fresh start" with Super-God Masterforce. Whereas The Headmasters had featured the existing cast of the American animated series, and gradually introduced new characters as it progressed, Super-God Masterforce was, on the surface, almost entirely divorced from what had gone before, featuring only a cast of entirely new characters in a new scenario. Although links between Masterforce and the events and characters of The Headmasters were expanded upon in various other media and articles, the series itself is remarkably self-contained, to the point of frustration, with many important background aspects not fully divulged in the course of the broadcast series.
There is a very human-centric focus in Masterforce, with the basic theme of the series being that "with the Masterforce, you too transform"—that human beings are to be responsible for the defence of their own planet. This resulted in the very different approach the series takes, which sees the figures released that year by Hasbro as Headmasters and Powermasters reimagined as "Headmaster Juniors" and "Godmasters"—humans beings who connect to lifeless Transtector bodies and actually become Transformers themselves. In a similar thematic move, the Autobot Pretenders do not don exterior shells and pass themselves off as "giant humans," as in American fiction, but actually perform an ill-defined holistic transformation that actually alters them at a cellular level, shrinking them down into human forms.
After the events of The Headmasters, the Earth has been free of Transformers for several years, until the emergence of the Decepticon Pretenders. This group of villains were pursued to Earth during the Stone Age by a group of Autobots led by Metalhawk, and when both teams crash-landed on the planet, they used their special "Pretender" powers to adopt new disguises. Metalhawk and his Autobots took on the forms of human beings and began to live among the burgeoning humanity, guiding the evolution of their culture and society, while the Decepticons became monstrous creatures and tormented early man as "demons." Eventually, the Autobot Pretenders defeated the Decepticons and sealed them away, but as the series begins, they have been liberated from their prisons by the evil alien energy-being, Devil Z, to play a role in his schemes.
With the return of the Decepticons, the Autobot Pretenders are forced to drop their disguises and take up arms once again, gaining allies in three young human children (Shūta Gō, Cab and Minerva) who are imbued with the power of the "Masterforce" and bond with three Transtectors sent to Earth from the planet Master. The Decepticons recruit their own Headmasters Juniors as well, and as the battles on Earth progress, the true objective of Devil Z's plan comes to light. The arrival of Mega, Giga, Buster and Hydra heralds the quest for the "Godmasters"—super-powerful lifeforms that are the perfect fusion of human and Transformer, able to manipulate Chōkon Power. With these four warriors on the side of the Decepticons, the Autobots must find Godmasters of their own, and succeed when they are joined by a young trucker named Ginrai, who soon recruits three more Autobot Godmasters.
Incensed by this failure, Devil Z ups his plans by summoning BlackZarak (the newest incarnation of Decepticon leader Scorponok, who is busy leading the Decepticons against the Autobots out in space) to Earth. Discovering his plan, Grand Maximus races to Earth to inform the Autobots of BlackZarak's approach. Our heroes create Godbomber, a drone that serves as an upgrade for Ginrai, enabling him to transform into "God Ginrai" and fight in space, allowing him to beat BlackZarak back.
The Autobot suffer a grave loss when the final Godmaster, Doubleclouder, is discovered and sides with the Decepticons, using his ability to adopt two robot forms to infiltrate the Autobots and destroy their headquarters. Without a base of operations, the Autobots are at a disadvantage when BlackZarak returns and merges with Devil Z to bring about the destruction of Mankind. As characters lose their humanity, change their alliances and engage in final battles, everything comes down to an climactic duel between God Ginrai and BlackZarak atop the Matterhorn, where the Autobot hero must beat his opponent, or all life on Earth will be forfeit.
- Rise Up!! Pretenders
- Terror! The Decepticons' Manhunt
- Kidnapping!? The Targeted Jumbo Jet
- Birth! Headmaster Jrs
- Rage!! Little Devils With No Need for Rules
- Go, Goshooter - Showdown in the Wasteland
- Panic! Protect the Wild Animals!!
- Super Warriors - The Godmaster Brothers
- A Fierce Battle!! The Autobots Are in Trouble
- A Hero Is Chosen - His Name Is Ginrai
- Ginrai: God On of Rage!!
- A Strange Friendship: Cancer and Minerva
- Friend or Foe!? The True Form of the Monster!!
- Eliminate the Godmaster Ginrai
- Heroism!! The Birth of Super Ginrai
- Lightfoot: A Dramatic Encounter
- An Enemy? The Third Godmaster, Ranger
- A Powerful Foe!! Sixknight the Wanderer
- At Full Strength! The Four Godmaster Gunmen
- The Autobot Warrior, Sixknight?!
- Save the Little Girl! The Chojin Warriors, the Godmasters
- Life? Death? Lightfoot Must Choose
- Expose the Decepticons' Dark Deception!
- Super Ginrai Gets Blown Away in the Desert!?
- Will the Bomber Project Be Destroyed!?
- God Ginrai - Into the Sky!!
- God Ginrai - Showdown on the Surface of the Moon
- Overlord - Terror of the Chōkon Tornado
- Escape!! The Underwater Volcano Erupts
- Destroy Godbomber!!
- Appearance!! The Final Godmaster
- Secret Orders! Destroy the Autobot Base!!
- Disaster! The Autobot Base Explodes
- BlackZarak - Destroyer from Space
- Crisis! The Day of the Downfall of Humanity
- God Ginrai - Save Cancer!?
- God Ginrai: Showdown at the Decepticon Base
- The Ultimate Combination!! BlackZarak, the New Lifeform
- Battle to the Death!! God Ginrai VS Darkwings Reborn
- Autobots! Desperate Attack!!
- Malevolent and Inhuman! The True Form of Devil Z
- A Battle... and Then...
The series aired in Italy under the title Transformers Pretenders.
As one of the three series that received the RTM 1 dub treatment, Super-God Masterforce fell under the ownership of TV Loonland, and consequently was made available for potential release by Transformers license-holders. Although as of this writing it has still not been made available in North America, the entire series was released on DVD in the United Kingdom in 2006 by Metrodome in its original Japanese format plus subtitles, and its RTM1 dub was aired on the UK channel Anime Central in late 2007. Metrodome's version was released in Australia by Madman Entertainment in early 2008.