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[Click on images for 500px version for easier reading]

I really enjoyed the Ratchet and Megatron interactions in Persuasion, and this scene is the one that really brings it home. Ratchet isn’t afraid of Megatron, and he doesn’t have any false expectations of him. Normally Megatron’s speeches are full of implied threats, every action measured to make himself as threatening as possible. Here, he is being honest. He doesn’t need to imply the terrible things he’s planning to do to Ratchet, Cybertron or Earth, Ratchet is already fully aware of them and calling him out. Megatron does not need to convince Ratchet to finish his formula. No, this scene is about Ratchet confirming all of the horrors that he knows his work will bring. He knows Megatron will cyberform Earth, knows he will go on to use the limitless fuel to wage an even fiercer war against the Autobots, even knows that Megatron will kill him as soon as he becomes useless. But he’s going to do it anyway, because deep down, some little part of him is convinced that if they can get Cybertron back, it’d all be worth it.

Because the truth is that Ratchet wants to go home, oh so badly. Back in the cell, Megatron offered Ratchet a choice; come willingly, or we will force you. But that was just for show. At that moment, both of them KNEW that Rathet would complete his research. Even if they couldn’t capture the children again, there are plenty of other things to threaten him with. Hell, threatening to destroy a human town or city would have been enough to coerce him, whether he felt that trading a limitless supply of energy to the Decepticons was worth the human lives or not -and that’s where the tension stems from. 

Ratchet is incredibly loyal to Optimus. He’s been his friend and ally since before the war even began, and the two have stuck together ever since. Megatron repeatedly draws attention to Ratchet’s ties to Optimus ‘he’s Optimus Prime’s medic’, ‘Optimus’ lapdog’, ‘I see you’ve brought your trusty watchdog’. Ratchet wouldn’t- couldn’t, abandon Optimus, even though he’s unhappy with Optimus’ actions and priorities in the war. All of Ratchet’s problems with Optimus came out explosively in Faster, Stronger, and as the writer and director of the episode confirmed, as harsh as Ratchet’s words were, there was truth in them. Ratchet cares about Optimus more than anyone else, but after so many years following orders he doesn’t agree with, resentment has festered within him. If Optimus was present, Ratchet would never agree to help. But here, trapped within the enemy warship, under duress, well, it didn’t really matter if he went willingly or not did it? No one would ever know that he was willingly damning two planets to Decepticon rule; that for once he was putting the survival of Cybertron above that of humans. 

Certainly the impression that Optimus gives off is that alien lives are more important than Cybertronian ones [an analysis of which could be an entire essay in and of itself]. We never get to see Ratchet finding out about exactly what happened on Cybertron at the site of the Omega Lock, but I doubt he would have agreed that saving the children was the right move. Ratchet is not heartless, but he is pragmatic. If he had to trade three lives for a chance to revive Cybertron, he would have done it. Not without regret, but I think that Ratchet realises what callousness he possesses, and would decide that the end justified the means. The biggest issue would not be the decision itself, it would be having to face the others- especially Optimus. 

Persuasion is not about Megatron convincing Ratchet to finish his work, it’s about Ratchet’s battle between his morals and his desires, and the choice he makes which goes completely against Optimus’ and the Autobots code of ethics.

All that changes when the synth-en formula is completed. Suddenly Ratchet is no longer just wishing that he could go home, but holding the key, and the weight of billions of human lives in his hands. The dark part of himself that had been tempted to complete the formula is now faced with the results of his actions. He may resent humanity (and the children in particular) for costing them their chance to revive their home, but at the moment of truth he could not see another planet destroyed. So he bolts; there is no more time to wait for a rescue party and no more chances to delay the research. When Megatron throws him to Predaking he’s resigned to death, he knew it was coming and feels it’s a suitable price to pay for such betrayal. Certainly if he had a chance to finish his research before being rescued Ratchet would not be able to face Optimus and the others, knowing what he had done. Ratchet is already laden heavy with guilt, but after he nearly costs humanity their home he decides to stay on Earth, as penance. 

I don’t doubt that Ratchet will eventually return to Cybertron permanently, but at the end of the series I don’t think he feels like he deserves it. Returning home was supposed to be a reward after the war, a cause of celebration. For Ratchet, it is now a reminder of his own selfishness. I think that Ratchet’s plan would be to return home once the construction was well underway and a new Cybertron was being forged from the ashes of the war by the younger generation, rather than being rebuilt into the broken framework that had betrayed them the first time. After Predacons Rising however? I’m not sure what he’d do. 

Filed under tfp Transformers Prime megatron ratchet beast hunters cartoon analysis

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So, in preparation for Beast Hunters, I was re-reading Rage of the Dinobots this morning. In the first issue, it’s established that the majority of Autobots have dismissed the Dinobots as freaks and monsters… But Ultra Magnus is one of the rare few who still fights along side them as respected comrades, hence why Grimlock orders the team to bust Maggy out of prison.
Firstly, I wanted to remark on how this is a neat bit of setting up details about a character in just a couple of sentences, and it’s good world-building too.
Secondly, and speaking of characterization… I wonder how our dear doctor Ratchet treated the Dinobots before jumping off world?

So, in preparation for Beast Hunters, I was re-reading Rage of the Dinobots this morning. In the first issue, it’s established that the majority of Autobots have dismissed the Dinobots as freaks and monsters… But Ultra Magnus is one of the rare few who still fights along side them as respected comrades, hence why Grimlock orders the team to bust Maggy out of prison.

Firstly, I wanted to remark on how this is a neat bit of setting up details about a character in just a couple of sentences, and it’s good world-building too.

Secondly, and speaking of characterization… I wonder how our dear doctor Ratchet treated the Dinobots before jumping off world?

Filed under I'll bet he said mean nasty not-nice things to Grimlock! tfp beast hunters grimlock transformers prime maccadam dinobots rage of the dinobots ultra magnus ratchet

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Beast Wars Discussion: Code of a Hero, Cybertronians, and Humanity



Let’s take a minute to talk about “Code of a Hero”…
imageIt’s arguably one of the most popular, cited, and discussed episodes of Beast Wars, often considered the height of the show’s storytelling abilities. It manages to function as both an extremely important character piece on Dinobot, and offers important plot information about the setting/premise of the show itself. That they are on primitive earth, and for every action in the past, there is a reaction in the future, which is the G1-verse.

However, I want to examine an often overlooked framing device/subplot within the episode: that of the proto-humans.

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Always one of the things i most loved about Beast Wars, right there. That aside, I find the commentary on the Aligned continuity interesting in light of Ratchet. He’s the sole Autobot who doesn’t bond with a human to some extent (Optimus doesn’t really connect with any one, but to humanity as a whole); even Wheeljack and Smokescreen have their respective fondness for Miko and Jack. And he suffers for it. More than anyone else, Ratchet mourns the loss of Cybertron, despairing most deeply at Optimus’s decisions in the season finale. It’s evident that the protection of the humans wasn’t as much of a factor to him, that he can’t see Optimus’s rationale. 

One wonders whether he might have behaved differently, had he made a friend among the humans. Perhaps June, who shares an interest in medicine and a relative maturity.

True, that’s a very good point.

I might add that Ratchet did have a sort of grandfatherly bond with Raf towards the end of S1 and up until late in S2. However, when the prospect of returning to Cybertron was raised, Ratchet seems to focus exclusively on that prize and has blinders on regarding nearly everything else.

Furthermore, Raf and Ratchet’s friendship was largely predicated on the fact that Raf could do things that Ratchet found useful. Raf could hack things, code, and provide medical support via his computer skills. It comes off as a little one-sided in that Ratchet only deigned to befriend a human once said human had something of utilitarian value to offer. Compare to Raf/Bumblebee’s friendship, wherein the duo hit it off right away, spend time enjoying purely recreational activities together, and are always emotionally supportive of one another in time of crisis with no strings attached. A lot of bad things have happened to Bumblebee, but he keeps buzzing along, because he’s got a close buddy and a world to protect. What does Ratchet have besides his memories of the good old days and Optimus?

Not to imply that Ratchet doesn’t care about Raf, as the good doctor clearly does. Or that Raf wasn’t getting emotional reciprocation out of their bond, because its very evident Ratchet does respect Raf and goes out of his way to care for him… But I still think there’s an element of self-interest to Ratchet’s character in nearly all of his actions which need to be acknowledged.

(via agelfeygelach)

Filed under tfp transformers prime beast wars ayellowbirds ratchet raf transformers bumblebee

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Okay, can I just take a moment to point out what this says about Bumblebee?

He is tortured by Megatron. Tortured. By Megatron. And Megatron may choose to leave him alive in the end, but surviving that is still no mean feat.

And Bumblebee keeps going up against Megatron afterwards - and doing so without hesitation. In Operation: Bumblebee, he charges into a groundbridge to steal the spark extractor right out of Megatron’s hands - the hands of the same mech who left him broken and bleeding on a dying Cybertron - and even reenacts his daring exploits for the kids later. There’s a lot of resilience there.

And there’s a surprisingly lack of bitterness, too. After what he went through, Bumblebee could well have wound up resentful - of the war, of his cause, of the medic who failed to save his voice. But Ratchet seems far more distressed by his failure than Bumblebee does - Bumblebee simply accepts it. In fact, he doesn’t seem to spend any time dwelling on it at all.

Part of this is probably due to the fact that Bumblebee is still, relatively, quite young. Indeed, a great deal of his behavior remains almost childlike.  When he’s stuck at base without his t-cog, he refuses to stop bothering Ratchet and leave him alone. In the very depths of Megatron’s mind, Bumblebee is still utterly fascinated by the projection of himself. ‘Bee even manages to feel distress at the small things, like stepping on Raf’s remote-controlled car. But his innocence doesn’t stem from a lack of experience with the realities of existence - he’s been through more than enough to destroy any illusions about that. They all have.

So all of this? It says that Bumblebee is remarkably determined, resilient, and fiercely optimistic. Or, at least, that’s what it should say.

Instead, by the show, at least, it’s often just accepted, treated as a given, and that frustrates me a little.

Poor Bumblebee. He hardly ever does anything in the show. It’s kind of unfortunate because he’s sold as a flagship character, but hardly gets any character development. It’s true. We are shown Bumblebee’s optimism and determination through his actions, but that’s about it. We aren’t shown why or how. It’s not expanded on.

The only real test to his resilience comes when Raf is almost killed by Megatron at the end of season 1… and even then we really only see him punch a wall and get calmed down by Arcee.

I remember hearing that originally, Raf was going to actually die in that arc…. DAMN. How great would that have been for Bee’s development??? He could have actually gone through an actual character arc instead of having his character remain stagnant the rest of the time…

I mean, Arcee gets Airachnid and Starscream and her revenge plots, Bulkhead gets to learn empathy, Ratchet comes to be more compassionate of the humans (and he’ll get a nice challenge to that in season 3 apparently), even Optimus Prime (the embodiment of the Transformers brand) actually develops somewhat as a character after the season 1 finale. FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Smokescreen has been around for like FIVE episodes and he’s had more development/focus than Bumblebee has!!

Am I wrong or is this kind of unfair to our poor adorable Bee??

Totally unfair, I agree!  Well said.

It seems like the most Bumblebee really gets is to facilitate other characters’ development.  His voicebox gets damaged - but Ratchet is the one who’s still feeling guilty over that.  “His” human is nearly killed - but Optimus is the one who tries to hunt down and kill Megatron because of it.  Bumblebee is the one who gets Megatron to reconsider letting Optimus die in “Sick Mind”, and shows up just in time to shame Arcee into sparing Starscream in “Partners”.  He’s like an emotional touchstone for everyone else, without actually getting much development himself.

I had real hopes for “Operation Bumblebee”, because it made so much sense to me that Bumblebee might be sublimating all of the effects of the war - the anger, the trauma - into being as useful as possible to The Cause, and that would all come crumbling down when he suddenly couldn’t be useful anymore (something I felt the creators played with decently well with Bulkhead’s protracted injury in Season 2).  But I was disappointed when the end of that episode was so clean-cut:  new t-cog = Bee is completely fixed, nothing to see here, move along.

I’m not sure whether it’s Bee’s voicelessness that’s getting in the way for the writers (I feel like Soundwave is pretty under-used, as well, maybe for the same reason).  But they’ve found creative ways to show what Bee is feeling in a lot of different situations throughout the series, so if that is the issue, it really shouldn’t stop them.

ohhh god YES. I feel like they’re AFRAID that we won’t understand Bumblebee because he’s not speaking words… but they’ve already shown they’re capable of having him understood-

In episode 6 he is working with Raf on his science project and they have what can only be described as the most adorable conversation EVER. Raf asks about his status as a scout and replies to his beeps and whirrs with generic responses that are ALSO informative to what Bumblebee is saying… it’s really not that hard. But the way they’ve used his character since then- it does seem like they’re just afraid to try having him actually talk in any meaningful way.

Operation Bumblebeewouldhave been great to challenge Bumblebee’s contribution to the team without a t-cog… but yeah. That episode was pretty much about Ratchet. OH HEY. Just like how OperationBreakdownwas aboutBulkhead.Haha! There seems to be a pattern with the “operation” episodes, huh?

As for Soundwave… I feel like it’s different for him. His lack of speech is apparently a choice. His silence makes him creepier- more menacing. And when he actually DOES take action he WRECKS, and you know it’s serious business. So while it would be AMAZING to see more of Soundwave, I don’t mind his lack of inclusion as much as I do with Bumblebee (the apparent flagship character)

At least Bumblebee got to have a special episode of Rescue Bots dedicated to how awesome, heroic, and cool he was.  Though, even then, you could argue that this was more about framing and developing Blades as a characters rather than BB…

Poor guy just can’t catch a break

Anyways, I find this whole discussion very interesting.  Characters like Bumblebee, (the hard-working, enthusiastic, playful but helpful, eager to mature, young-man types) are usually archetypes Western cartoons love to focus on.  Instead, Bumblebee is used as a vehicle to develop others in the cast, most notably archetypes Western cartoons don’t dwell on much like Ratchet (an elderly character) and Arcee (a female character). 

(Source: aeonmagnus)

Filed under bumblebee Transformers Prime tfp rescue bots blades arcee ratchet rb transformers

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So after losing Optimus Prime, Ratchet moves to NYC and becomes a crazy evil psychic ninja doctor who uses dangerous chemicals gathered from a mutated colleague to enhance his abilities. Seems about right.

(I just can’t get over how sad Ratchet was in the TFP finale so while I was watching TMNT and he showed up I was sad all over again. What is wrong with me.)

That’s how you get SG Ratchet. With synth energon.

(via mamonna1)

Filed under tmnt ratchet dr. falco tfp jeffery combs transformers prime monkey brains spoilers monkey brain donnie

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While he may have wielded the power of The Ancients for only one day, Optimus does not require it to be the mightiest of warriors…

Let’s break this sequence down a bit, shall we?

Alpha Omega closes out with Ratchet’s speech, ensuring both the Autobots and the viewers at home of Optimus’ capabilities as a heroic character who can and will survive this new upset and ultimately triumph.  The concept of “warrior” is echoed from the earlier duel with Megatron, wherein Optimus affirmed himself as a soldier; rejecting Megatron’s false ascription of godhood.  Likewise, Ratchet’s dialogue is meant to represent Optimus as powerful, in control, and worthy of leadership without any lies or pretenses.

However, the camera then pans over to said Prime, not sharpening his remaining arm-blades, or preparing ammunition shells as one would expect a Man of War to do.  Rather, Optimus is hard at work on his computer, decoding the Iacon Database. 

I think there are intentionally conflicting messages at work here.  The “warrior” Optimus Prime is placed is a more reserved, intellectual space, performing ostensibly clerical duties. While perhaps not the most seemingly grand of tasks, the audience also knows these are things only he knows how to do, and that indeed decoding the database is the most important thing he can do right now. 

Ultimately, the one thing that makes Optimus Prime invaluable is not The Matrix, his size, weapons, or physical might…  it’s the thing he was before the war and becoming a Prime: Orion Pax…

A librarian

Filed under tfp transformers prime alpha omega ratchet optimus optimus prime orion pax orion librarian the mummy evie

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Takara Tomy is now making these videos for their official youtube channel featuring the Takara TFP toys doing little skits dubbed over by their Japanese voice actors.

I…  Don’t know what’s going on in this one…  But its Ratchet and Optimus talking and Ratchet sounds all exciting while Optimus sounds tired and browbeaten, so I’m assuming its something cute.

Filed under tfp takara transformers prime transformers JAPAN ratchet optimus optimus prime op pupu takara tomy