Ever since the official Hasbro YouTube channel dedicated to fans (Hasbro Pulse) first launched in 2019, fans of The Transformers have been requesting for the Generation 1 (aka G1) episodes to be added.
Now it appears the company has fulfilled its fans' requests. The first season of The Transformers have begun adding full episodes of the series after the Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest 2021.
Check out the details below of The Transformers Cartoon on the Hasbro Pulse YouTube channel below.
The Transformers G1
The Transformers started its life in Japan as the Diaclone and MicroChange toys by toy company Takara. But these toys did not have any underlying story behind them. They were simply robots that could transform into everyday items, from cassette players to cars and military vehicles.
It would later be discovered and adopted by American toy company Hasbro. As part of the marketing for the new line of robot toys, Hasbro worked with Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions to develop a comic book and animated series to create a mythology.
Unlike Japanese toy-buying children, the kids in the United States required some sort of story to be enticed by toy products. This was evident in earlier toy lines such as Micronauts, Super Powers (based on the DC Comics properties), and, of course, Star Wars.
A similar strategy was being carried out at the time with another Hasbro toy line, G.I. Joe with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics and animated series. The 1970s through the 1990s was the era when cartoons were essentially 30-minute advertisements for toy lines.
Then Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics Jim Shooter created the outline for The Transformers story, establishing the conflict between the two sides of these alien robots: the noble Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons. Although writer Denny O’Neil did the initial concepts, it would be Bob Budiansky who would ultimately create the iconic names like Optimus Prime and Megatron, as well as the basic characterizations.
For the artwork, Shōhei Kohara did the initial modifications based on the toys, while Floro Dery further simplified the complex robot designs. Dery would later be hired as the lead designer for the animated series as well.
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— Hasbro Pulse (@HasbroPulse) August 23, 2021
It should be noted that The Transformers comic book does not completely follow the cartoon’s continuity. This is also similar to how G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic and animated series have separate timelines and characterizations. But regardless of this, both are considered part of the umbrella that fans refer to as Generation 1, as the comic and the cartoon came out at roughly the same period of time, which helped establish the popularity of The Transformers.
The Transformers Cartoon
The Transformers G1 cartoon started airing in September 1984 as a three-part mini-series. The mini-series established the main characters of the series as well as the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons that began on Cybertron.
With both sides depleting their energy resources, the Autobots build the Ark, an interstellar ship that will be used to explore other worlds where Energon can be harvested. Headed by the Autobots’ heroic leader Optimus Prime himself, the Ark is ambushed by the Decepticons led by the despot Megatron. The ensuing battle causes the ship to veer off-course and crash land on prehistoric Earth.
Millions of years later, an earthquake causes the self-repair systems of the Ark to revive both the Autobots and Decepticons. And so, amidst the young human civilization, the eons-long war between the two robotic factions begins anew. Aside from the Autobots and Decepticons, the mini-series would also introduce the two human allies of the Autobots, Sparkplug and his son Spike Witwicky.
Furthermore, apart from the three-part mini-series, another 13 episodes were ordered by Hasbro and developed by Marvel Productions and Sunbow Entertainment, in association with Toei Animation. The mini-series and these 13 episodes would comprise Season 1 of the Transformers G1 cartoon.
Many of the tropes familiar with The Transformers franchise would begin in this first season, notably the rivalry of Optimus Prime and Megatron, as well as their now-famous voice actors, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, respectively. Season 1 of The Transformers would also introduce the familiar "More than Meets the Eye" tagline of the franchise, the Dinobots, the Constructicons, and the Insecticons.
This first season of Transformers G1 ran on syndication to an extremely successful viewership. The cartoon series (along with the comic books) successfully marketed the transforming toys gimmick to kids of the era. A second season would be quickly ordered by Hasbro midway through the first season’s run in 1984 and the rest would be history. The popularity of The Transformers continues to this day, with the most recent entry being the Netflix's War for Cybertron.
Hasbro Pulse YouTube
The Hasbro Pulse YouTube channel launched on August 8, 2019, with the intention of being a hub for fans of the different brands under the Hasbro line. As the channel itself states:
Hasbro Pulse is a place where fans come first.
As fans ourselves, we have an idea of what you – our fans – want. Hasbro Pulse is where you’ll find some of the best product offerings and experiences from the brands you love, a glimpse at more behind-the-scenes material and insider details that you can’t get anywhere else.
We made Hasbro Pulse with you, the fans, in mind. We hope you’ll make it your first stop when you’re looking for insider info about your favorite Hasbro brands.
The channel mainly focused on announcements and news about toys and the conventions.
However, beginning August 28, 2021, the channel uploaded the entire first season’s 16 episodes of The Transformers G1. The quality of the videos are also notably enhanced for internet viewing, without the interlacing that would be present from TV episodes (a technique often used in broadcast television to improve video quality on analog devices). Thus, these episodes of The Transformers on YouTube are arguably the best quality one can find online.
It is interesting to note that these episodes are on Hasbro Pulse, but not on the official Transformers YouTube channel, which instead has episodes of the newer Robots in Disguise and Cyberverse series, aside from short clips and snippets from the other Transformers series. This is in contrast to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero on the official Hasbro YouTube channel, which has full episodes of the entire original cartoons, and even has a 24/7 live viewing.
More seasons than meets the eye?
Currently, only the first season of The Transformers G1 is uploaded. However, the series actually ran for four seasons. Will Hasbro upload the rest and follow the precedent of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero? Perhaps its own 24/7 live viewing?
There is a high probability of that, as Hasbro has also been updating its Power Rangers content with full season episodes of the original series (i.e. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers).
We will have to wait and see. But for now, longtime and newer fans of The Transformers franchise are happy to watch the first season for free on the YouTube platform.