Season 1, Disc 1 Changes
.....With an accelerated production schedule (the script to "Transport to Oblivion" has a date of May 1984 on the copy that is posted online, a mere 4 months before it aired), it comes as no surprise that the episodes are lousy with the tell-tale tape splices that indicate that a re-take has been inserted. And, when the episodes are re-mastered by a less-than-knowledgable home video distributor, it should come as no surprise that things have been changed on home video releases. Below, in story order, are all of the changes on the first disc of Shout! Factory's Season 1 set. On the left is the original image; on the right is the Rhino/Shout! Factory version.
"More Than Meets the Eye" Part I-No changes
(verified using Rhino's Blockbuster exclusive "More Than Meets the Eye"
"More Than Meets the Eye" Part II-two changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster exclusive "More Than Meets the Eye" cassette)
Description: In remastering "More Than Meets the Eye" and "Transport to Oblivion", Rhino had to reinsert all transitions, as they weren't ready when Toei shot those episodes. Here, instead of a Decepticon-to-Decepticon transition, we have and Autobot-to-Decepticon one.
Description: Another botched transition. Instead of Autobot-to-Decepticon, we get an Autobot-to-Autobot transition.
"More Than Meets the Eye" Part III-three
changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster exclusive "More Than Meets the Eye"
Change #1-:49, :52, and :53
Description: Instead of using footage from the recap, Rhino culled footage from the "More Than Meets the Eye" Part II itself, creating an inconsistency (and it's not the only time, either).
Description: Autobot-to-Decepticon instead of Autobot-to-Autobot. Was Rhino even watching the episodes when they reinserted these transitions?
Description: The last transition of the miniseries shifts from the original Autobot-to-Autobot to an Autobot-to-Decepticon transition. And in this case, there's a garbage frame from another episode! That's right, the entrance to Decepticon Headquarters on screen before it even existed!
"Transport to Oblivion"-four changes
(verified with FHE Volume 7: "Transport to Oblivion")
Description: This one's pretty obvious: the Decepticon Kiddy Car was shown, inspiring a re-take. The re-take appears to have come from later in this episode.
Description: Same as the last one, though the trees in the background imply that the footage was shot during the production of "Divide and Conquer".
Description: Sunbow obviously wanted Megatron's lips to move when he talks. Who knew?
Description: Behold, Rhino's George Lucas-like habit for digitally fixing errors that actually made it to air.
"Roll For It"-no changes (verified using
Malofilm's "The Autobots vs. The Decepticons" tape)
"Divide and Conquer"-twenty-one(!) changes (verified using Malofilm's "The Autobots vs. The Decepticons" tape)
Description: An ever-so-subtle layering/placement issue in the original take, as well as the colors of the laser blasts being reversed from what they should be (yellow for the humans, and purple for the Decepticons). Ironically, the first frame of the re-take features one of the workers/guards with a leg cut off due to an alignment error with the camera and/or the cels.
Description: Besides the timing error with the flyby of the Decepticon jets in the original take, they are aligned much lower, so much so that Skywarp isn't visible on the DVD version.
Description: What I originally thought was a re-take was in fact an example of Rhino re-framing the shot to remore the black area on the bottom of the screen that made it to air.
Description: I'm ashamed I missed this one the first time through. Wheeljack's mask moves instead of his blinky business in the original take.
Description: Another fairly subtle change. In the original take, Spike's eyes shift to the left as he blinks.
Description: Wheeljack's left blinky doesn't blink as it should in the original take, to say nothing of the highly noticeable hair that appears towards the end of the shot. Oddly, there's a separate set of tape splices for this shot and the one for Change #5.
Description: A re-take because the glow of the Energon Cubes isn't visible for most of the shot in the original take. Would now be a good time to note that a great deal of the staff at Marvel had been at Filmation prior to the retirement of Friz Freleng?
Description: There's a double whammy here: the Autobots driving into the shot is glitched, as well as the much more obvious error with the placement of the tree in the foreground.
Description: This one is obvious, but what's embarrassing is that it was specifically pointed out to Shout! Factory in the reference material they used to correct this episode.
Description: The difference is extremely difficult to tell due to the effects animation with Reflector's blinding light and the low contrast nature of the effect used, but the aired version featured rain in this shot while the DVDs do not.
Description: The shot of Bumblebee avoiding the tree begins a ten-second sequence that was re-shot due to the lack of rain that ends when he lands from jumping the Rumble-created gap.
Description: More missing rain fun, this time for four consecutive shots. Oddly, though, Sunbow didn't fix all of the shots (or the re-takes came back worse than the original takes), and Reflector getting blasted is still botched in both takes.
Description: Yes, the re-take was ordered because of the shading. Never mind the numerous issues with it earlier in the episode.
Description: The opacity of the double exposure effect is wrong in the DVD version.
Description: A re-take to make this shot consistent with the rest of the "acid rain" scene footage.
Description: Spike's eyes shake in the original take, as if there were supposed to be tears or something. Irregardless, it was ordered changed by Sunbow.
Description: Nothing like some cel placement errors to get by everyone.
Description: Another shading snafu. Also, note how the clouds in the background are different across the two versions.
"Fire in the Sky"-thrity-nine(!!) changes
(verified using Malofilm's "The Autobots vs. The Decepticons" tape)
Description: In the rush to whine about the snow falling up and the color of Skyfire's Decepticon logo, everyone, yours truly included, forgot to notice that the first scene is lousy with re-takes. The photographer obviously forgot to put the snowing effect into all of the necessary shots. Please note that Change #2 marks the first of three consecutive snow-less shots and Change #4 is the first of two consecutive shots.
Description: The display on Prime's screen in the original take shows the readout from moments later in the scene.
Description: Here's an odd one. Someone at Sunbow didn't like the original effect, and ordered a re-take. No wonder no one's ever caught this one before.
Description: There's a major cel alignment error with Prime in the original take, which is partly obscured by the dark background.
Description: This simply would not have resulted in a re-take had this episode been produced a year later. By then, Sunbow had the video editing equipment, making such alterations easy to achieve.
Description: A rather nit-picky change, no?
Description: Now, this is just silliness on Sunbow's part. Can you tell that Sunbow was annoyed with the results of the first pass by Toei?
Description: Again, we see an insistence to use a blue beam for the electricity than the normal purple for the Decepticons' weapons.
Description: Besides the obvious framing issue, the gusts of wind were not present in the original take.
Description: Another framing alteration that would end up being done in post production by the middle of the second season.
Description: The re-take is done to provide better lip-synching and prevent Skyfire's head from popping up. The former is debatable, but the latter fails, as his head still pops up, though at a different moment.
Description: Botched truck-in. 'Nuff said.
Description: That's right, a re-take with Skyfire not involving his Decepticon symbol. Instead, his lips stop moving in mid-sentence. Oddly, though, the same thing happens with Skyfire a few moments earlier, and has an incorrect Decepticon symbol, but did not receive a re-take for some reason.
Description: This is probably the only time I can recall Toei giving Autobot weapons a purple-colored blast in any take.
Description: This is one of Rhino's most successful digital alterations, but a glitch in how Sparkplug moves in the broadcast version while he speaks negates the effort.
Description: Missed one.
Description: Things are a bit murky here, but Skyfire's face is noticeably thinner at the start of this voice in the aired version, as well as having a slightly different motion for shaking his head.
Description: The colors used for Starscream's head and intake valves is wrong in the original take (the former especially so as he begins to turn and fire).
Description: There's a highly visible seam, likely from a stray cel, in the original take of this shot.
Description: In addition to the obvious tunnel foreground element error, there appears to be a weird seam in the cels visible in the "remastered" version.
Description: This one adds new meaning to the age-old question, "Where does Optimus Prime's trailer go?"
Description: Cliffjumper's defrost beam turns off in the Rhino version. Yes, someone at Sunbow was pissed when the first take for this one came in.
Description: Starscream's mouth fails to move at the end of this shot in the original take.
Description: In the unaired footage, the gap between Skyfire's legs flashes white, and one of then repeated cels has that area painted white. It's actually fairly annoying.
Description: Besides the red Decepticon logo for Skyfire, the truck-in is totally different in the original, as the foreground obscures everything in the Rhino version.
Description: The background was shifted to the left in the aired version, but the real issue, the shoddy and poorly colored animation of Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp, was unchanged.
Description: The point of using lasers in a cartoon is so you can see who's being shot at.
Description: There's a big cel placement snafu once Skywarp collides with Thundercracker in the original take, as well, as issues with the placement of the background.
Description: Optimus Prime's mouth moves during Megatron's off screen dialogue in this shot in the original take.
Description: The white strip to the left of Skyfire's head blinks red in the original take of this shot.
Description: You'll actually believe that Skyfire gets buried in ice in the aired version.
"SOS Dinobots"-three changes (verified using
Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "Dinobots" tape)
Description: Another pair of overscan-related re-takes.
Description: Reminds you of those "Guess the differences" pictures in Highlights for Children, doesn't it?
Disc Notes: Only two episodes are clear on this disc, though two more never should have had issues in the first place. "Fire in the Sky" is a mess, though. Also of note are that a few tape splices didn't lead to re-takes, for some reason.
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