If you grew up with Transformers in your childhood, regardless of whether that was back in the 1980s or something more recent, then there’s a good chance that you’ll remember the cartoon from that time pretty favourably. In turn, whilst older fans seek enjoyment through gazing nostalgically back on days gone by, a new generation of fans are discovering the franchise today with ever more accessible means.
One of these is Rescue Bots, a toyline and cartoon series which is specifically aimed at younger viewers as a way of easing them into the concept of Transformers, and no doubt creating a few lifelong fans along the way. But that doesn’t mean Rescue Bots is only enjoyable for those of us who haven’t started school yet – in fact today we’re counting down 9 reasons why you should be watching the show!
#9: The voice cast
One thing I always loved about the G1 Transformers cartoon was the voices. They had such distinct personalities and tones that it made the characters come to life and seem like real beings. Well, the voice cast in Rescue Bots is also really something, with both human and robot characters alike fleshed out wonderfully. You may not recognise all of the names on the voice cast, but chances are you’ve heard a number of them in other cartoons (particularly the likes of Steve Blum, who plays team leader, Heatwave, and Lacey Chabert, who’s pretty famous on-screen as well as voice acting). Then there are a few names that TF fans will definitely know, such as Peter Cullen (a no prize for who he plays), LeVar Burton as Doc Greene, and no less than Mark Hamill, who pops up occasionally in the recurring role of Woodrow Burns. Still, whether you know who they are or not, all of the cast do great work.
#8: The character dynamics
The best Transformers cartoons have always been ones with fully-realised and well-fleshed-out characters, and I’d make the case for Rescue Bots being worthy of similar praise. The four main robots all have distinct personalities (beyond just a shtick) but also go through significant growth during their time on the show, facing numerous challenges and obstacles along the way. Whether it’s Heatwave learning to respect his new human allies and find his home on Earth, Chase stumbling through learning Earth customs and humour, or Blades overcoming his fears and anxieties to become a respected member of the team there are plenty of character arcs present here. Additionally, the human cast are worth noting firstly for how likeable they are (not always a given with TF cartoons), and secondly for how well they complement their robot teammates. They truly feel like an integral part of the show, and bounce off the Autobots well.
#7: The theme song
I did a write-up of the best Transformers cartoon themes a while back, and sure enough the Rescue Bots tune ranked pretty highly! That’s for good reason, as it’s an undeniable belter that will burrow its way inside your brain in no time. Just listen!
#6: The humour
Given that it’s aimed at younger viewers it’s no surprise to find that Rescue Bots is full of humour and features a very light tone overall. What’s maybe also important to note is that the show is genuinely funny on the whole, and manages to strike a balance that should find kids and parents chuckling along. It doesn’t all land (much of the early episodes fall on the sillier side of things, and honestly I was happy when they started to downsize Doc Greene’s hysterics a bit!), but the hit rate remains pretty good on the whole, leaving you with a few good chortles to be had.
#5: It’s in continuity… kinda.
It’s a bit random and honestly not something the target audience would care about, but yes, officially Rescue Bots is part of the same continuity as other TF cartoons such as Transformers: Prime and the second Robots in Disguise show (as well as lots of other media all under the banner of the “aligned continuity family”). Admittedly it doesn’t exactly go out of its way to make reference to those shows, but if you really care about this kinda thing then at least you might get a thrill from seeing the likes of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee cross-populate the different cartoons. If anything it really makes us want to see Heatwave and the gang pop up elsewhere too!
#4: The transformations
The animation on Rescue Bots may be stylistically pretty simple but it’s still nicely polished, as evidenced by those smooth transformation sequences. It’s a thrill to see the characters chop and change in a manner which feels entirely in keeping with the cartoons of days gone by, and hey, they even use the classic transformation noise to boot! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was the first time I heard my little one imitating that sound whilst we were watching the show together.
#3: It doesn’t rely on the same old characters
One of my favourite aspects of this show is how much it carves its own identity, despite having such clear links to other parts of the franchise. Yes, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee drop in from time to time to lend a bit of familiarity, but it’s refreshing that the show doesn’t rely on those old names to establish itself. The main cast of characters stand on their own and quickly become the main heroes in their own right, which then makes it a genuine surprise when someone like ‘Bee just happens to make a cameo. It makes me wish that more TF media would take a chance on focusing on smaller groups of characters away from the established names.
#2: It’s still fun for older viewers…
There’s no doubt that Rescue Bots’ aim is to appeal to a younger demographic (there are no Decepticons for starters, and it’s only towards the end of season 1 that we start to get what could be described as genuine “bad guys”), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t fun to be had for older viewers with this show. If you have kids then I can personally recommend it as an enjoyable watch alongside them (and I’d certainly take it over some of the other stuff on offer!), but even if you don’t then I’d say give it a go and see what you think. The first season starts a bit goofy in places, but come the second half it’s definitely found its feet and even features some comparatively darker storylines toward the end.
#1: …but it’s perfect for little ones!
Speaking of Boulder, Seveno’s Transformers collection has now increased to three robots! pic.twitter.com/8vXW6YhI7L
— Sixo (@SixoTF) October 18, 2019
Ultimately this is what it’s all about though, eh? Rescue Bots is perfect fodder for little ones and presents a really accessible way for them to get into the franchise. My son was instantly taken with the show, and immediately latched onto the character of Boulder as a favourite (even describing some of my Masterpiece Transformers as “Daddy’s Boulders” to begin with). When Bumblebee first appeared there was something so clearly appealing about him that it was the first time I was asked for a specific toy (which he just received on Christmas Day). Seeing him playing with the toys, creating little adventures and imitating the transforming sound effect is a joy to behold, and really reminds you what this whole hobby is supposed to represent to begin with.
This is what it’s all about, no? pic.twitter.com/J6YVmqQ4PF
— Sixo (@SixoTF) December 25, 2019
So, that’s our list! Did we miss any other points about this show? I hope you’re as much of a fan as we are in our house!