Season 2 Changes

.....Much like the first season of G.I. Joe, the second season of The Transformers had the benefit of an extended production timetable, as well as a reduced budget for re-takes (though they are still more frequent here than on Joe). As a consequence, the opportunity for alterations on the DVD sets are minimized, especially since there was never any content that could draw the ire of Hasbro's censors.

"Autobot Spike"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Immobilizer"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Dinobot Island" Part 1-no changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "Dinobots" tape)
"Dinobot Island" Part 2-no changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "Dinobots" tape)
"Traitor"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Enter the Nightbird"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Changing Gears"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-:36

Description: Rather than leave a slow fade-in intact, Rhino decided to play with things and make the fade-in behave more like the ones in other episodes.

"A Prime Problem"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 1, "Prime Threat")
"Atlantis, Arise!"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Attack of the Autobots"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Microbots"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 12, "Size Matters")
"The Master Builders"-three changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-:36

Description: One of Rhino's dumbest mistakes, and one that Shout! Factory was informed of by many, including myself.

Change #2-14:28

Description: The shining of the sunlight was likely eliminated with a re-take because it moves with the camera instead of staying in place. That, or it was junked for being too whimsical (much like the eliminated rainbow in "S.O.S. Dinobots" that Shout! Factory removed from their DVDs.)

Change #3-18:44

Description: Here's a bit of Sunbow trivia for you: this is the first aired example of video editing in a Sunbow show. Smokescreen was lost in the overscan area in the original transfer, so a downward shift was used to make him visible. No one noticed this because Smokescreen is already visible in the new transfer.

"The Insecticon Syndrome"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 6, "Evolution Revolution")
"Day of the Machines"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)"
"Megatron's Master Plan" Part 1-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 10, "Megatron's Master Plan")
"Megatron's Master Plan" Part 2-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 10, "Megatron's Master Plan")"
"Auto Berserk"
-one change (verified using Rhino's Volume 3, "Programmed For Evil")
Change #1-20:52

Description: The sloppiest sequence of the episode has been oddly altered, as the flames in this shot animate ever so slightly in the broadcast version, but just freeze in the Rhino version.

Change #2-21:57

Description: For whatever reason, this episode's animators (the same group who animated "A Prime Problem") simply looped the badly lip-synched footage of Red Alert as the episode faded to black. Sunbow simply freeze-framed the episode to avoid the problem, much as they likely tinkered with the episode's opening shot (as the opening shot in the Rhino version looks like it was toyed with, even though it's consistent with its broadcast cousin).

"City of Steel"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 1, "Prime Threat")
"Desertion of the Dinobots" Part 1-no changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "Dinobots" tape)
"Desertion of the Dinobots" Part 2-no changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "Dinobots" tape)
"Blaster Blues"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"A Deceptacon Raider in King Arthur's Court"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-:34


Description: One of the most infamous errors that made it to air in a Sunbow cartoon, which was in turn "fixed" by Rhino for no real reason (though karma had its way, what with the botched title card to "The Master Builders").

"The God Gambit"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-:34

Description: Another fine example of Rhino's sloppy restoration work. A couple of seconds of this episode (which deals with surprisingly deep subject matters for The Transformers, as well as literally merging the roles that Megatron and Astrotrain had in the script into one role for Astrotrain) are omitted because of a pair of large and extremely noticeable examples of film jitter. Given the camera and framing anomalies that Rhino did justifiably fix throughout G.I. Joe and The Transformers, I find it a bit difficult to believe that simply removing the offending part of the shot was the best option (outside of simply leaving it alone, that is).

"The Core"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-:34

Description: Part of the beginning is hacked off just like in the prior episode (which sounds off due to the difference of starting points for the background music), but there's really no discernible reason for the change based on the bootleg that's been running the rounds for over a decade now.

"Make Tracks"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Autobot Run"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Golden Lagoon"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Quest For Survival"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Secret of Omega Supreme"-three changes (verified using FHE's Volume 12)
Change #1-4:36

Description: The pan downwards onto Omega Supreme walking was repeated to cover up an extended shot of Crystal City. Why Rhino missed this example of video editing but not the others in this episode (including what I'm convinced is a FCC-unfriendly bit involving the two billboards in San Francisco) is beyond me.

Change #2-7:26

Description: Rhino's frame-averaging methods (used to eliminate specks of dirt and the like) left in Omega Supreme's wing in the frame where it disappears. Whether this alteration was intentional or not remains a mystery.

Change #3-9:07




Description: Much like in the first season G.I. Joe episode "Primordial Plot", there's a sequence where the animation freezes up. However, since Rhino was actively toying with this episode, they obviously figured that they could "fix" this messy sequence. Since the inserted shots don't perfectly match up with the two freeze frames in the broadcast master, I'm just counting it all as one big change.

Change #4-20:10

Description: A truck-in was added in post production before airing here, likely because it masks the repetitive nature of the shot. The camera, however, stays in the zoomed-in position until the 21:11 mark because of framing issues with the explosions in the extremely sloppy (and video edited) concluding salvo by Prime that drives off Megatron and the Constructicons.

"Child's Play"-two changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 12, "Size Matters")
Change #1-17:20

Description: More frame-averaging fun. With this one, I'm going to put out the theory that the frame-averaging, like the telecine process, was automated by Rhino to save money. And since this episode has some infamously bad animation errors, I doubt anyone even bothered to make more than a cursory check.

Change #2-19:24

Description: I find it rather astonishing that this is the only bit of video editing in the finished episode.

"The Gambler"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Search For Alpha Trion"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 2, "Revenge of the Decepticons")
"Auto-Bop"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-14:27

Description: It's no secret that Japanese animation has long had problems with seizure-inducing effects, which until Pokémon sparked a major controversy when an episode's strobing effects (called "paka paka" in Japan) caused rules to be defined. The strobing effect here was removed for broadcast, likely because Sunbow was on alert for the effect following its use in G.I. Joe's first episode, "The Cobra Strikes" (an effect which was, oddly, shown in the recap for the next episode). Again, Rhino and Shout! Factory display wanton disregard by keeping the effect intact on their DVDs.

"Prime Target"-two changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-12:46

Description: In keeping with tradition, Rhino proves unable to completely fix an episode with re-takes. This one came about because the second hole in Prime's shoulders was not accurately addressed in the original take.

Change #2-18:21

Description: Chumley (a neat little reference to the then-widely syndicated Tennessee Tuxedo cartoon from the early '60s) walks out of the frame in the broadcast version, but not on Rhino's version.

"The Girl Who Loved Powerglide"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Triple Takeover"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Sea Change"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Hoist Goes to Hollywood"-no changes (verified using bootlegs of Sci-Fi Channel re-broadcast and Season 2 broadcast)
"The Key to Vector Sigma" Part 1-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 4, "The Key to Vector Sigma")
"The Key to Vector Sigma" Part 2-two changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 4, "The Key to Vector Sigma")
Change #1-:35

Description: Again, Rhino botches a recap. This time, though, it's by leaving out the dissolve from the actual episode, when their actions with other recaps would suggest the opposite would happen.

Change #2-15:19

Description: You can file this one under, "Things Garrett told Shout! Factory about." Silverbolt's arm movements are a bit wild in the original take, to say the least. This re-take is noted on the aired episode by the prominent bounce in the picture, a product of the editing system which signaled the end of the notorious guillotine tape splices in Sunbow shows.

"Masquerade"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Trans-Europe Express"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"War Dawn"-one change (verified using Rhino's Volume 5, "Return to Cybertron")
Change #1-8:59

Description: The infamously slow Act 2, while played at a different pitch than on the Rhino release, is still not at the "correct" speed. The reason for the slow-down originally seems to be tied to the rather brutal fate of Orion Pax, as well as dialogue tied to Optimus Prime's response to Megatron's question, "Who are you?" later in the episode, "Your worst nightmare!" David Wise notoriously refused to re-write the scene, which accounts for how Orion Pax "flies" in his attack on Megatron.

"Cosmic Rust"-one change (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "More Than Meets the Eye" cassette and bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-2:07

Description: Just when I think Rhino couldn't have sunk lower, I find something new. This sequence, culled from the broadcast master due to a retake, has been altered because the volts of electricity freeze in place at the end of the shot shown above. However, in the DVD version, they still animate. This alteration also causes the video in the two versions to go out of synch until the close-up of Astrotrain (the second shot after the retake footage ends).

"Kremzeek!"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Starscream's Brigade"-two changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 3, "Programmed For Evil")
Change #1-1:29



Change #2-1:38

Description: The titles here have been altered (and, in the case of the "Guadalcanal" overlay, the altering is quite heavy). Given that even Generation 2 saw nothing wrong with the text (and that show replaced the really nice "Four Million Years Later" text in the first episode of the series), I find these changes to be particularly noxious.

"The Revenge of Bruticus"-two changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-8:33

Description: While Act 1 in the broadcast version ends with the sun visible behind Prime's shoulder, the Rhino version ends with a close-up on the sun (which itself looks like a lamer version of a similar shot from "Changing Gears").

Change #2-21:56

Description: The broadcast version ends with a freeze frame, and given the soundtrack, I think that was the plan all along.

"Aerial Assault"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Blockbuster-exclusive "More Than Meets the Eye" cassette)
"B.O.T."-two changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-5:39


Description: The first shot of two of the episode's guest characters, Martin and Roland, was shortened by Sunbow because of a blatant example of poor, reused, and misplaced designs. Among the students are re-colored versions of Jerrica and Kimber Benton, a pair of businessmen way in back, a thug character beside the Jerrica re-color, and a cameo by Lynn Minmei of Robotech and Macross fame-a character animated by Tastunoko, one of Toei's greater rivals in Japan. It was wisely replaced by a freeze fame of the next shot of Mr. Robbins (the name being a reference to one of the show's story editors, Dick Robbins).

Change #2-19:30

Description: A misused background element from the school scenes was edited out with a re-use of the shot of Gears and Wheeljack from moments earlier.

Notes: While not quite as messy as G.I. Joe's first season, the second year of The Transformers has a hefty number of changes. None of the discs at this point are free of altered episodes, with a great number being changed due to camera oddities with the fade in. The most annoying goof-up relates to the second act of "War Dawn", seeing as how it meant re-altering the audio since the broadcast audio was stereo-ized for Shout! Factory's DVDs.

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