Transformers: Siege, one of Netflix’s original Anime series arrives and offers one of the most brutal and intense looks at the battle between the classic adversaries: the Autobots and the Deceptions. Though the characters will be immediately recognizable even to a casual fan, the savage war of survival between the characters has never been animated with such a high level of brutality and while addressing such mature tones. This is a treat long time fans of the franchise have been eagerly awaiting for quite some time.
As the Autobots and Decepticons ravage their planet in a brutal civil war, two iconic leaders emerge in the Transformers Universe’s origin story.
The writing finds a way to remain complex but easy to disgust at the same time. Characters get familiar twists on their backstories such as Jetfire leading the Seekers as a Decepticon (the character was previously a Decepticon but not a member of the Seekers) or Bumblebee being an individual who’s trying not to get dragged into the war. These varying outlooks on the civil war and the state of the dying world of Cybertron have pushed the cast to their limits through battle and the limiting resources available to the Autobots.
The tone of the series showcases much more adult themes. Instead of just a war over resources (introduced in the original animated series in the 80s), themes such as Racism and Politics are brought up. The caste system of the planet (introduced in the comic series from IDW Publishing) is brought up and characters reflect on a time when the Autobots were running the planet and exploiting those whose forms dictated service and labor positions. Meanwhile, Megatron is able to turn the efforts of the Autobots to his own political means by demonizing them in political speeches. Aspects like this is what makes the series not only engrossing but very easy to binge.
The animation work through the combined efforts of Rooster Teeth, Allspark Animation, and Polygon Pictures looks gritty but sharp with its detailed work. The contribution of Polygon Pictures is ideal here to showcase the decaying and ruined look of the planet Cybertron damaged by the war. The action scenes flow effortlessly and result in noticeable damage to the character hurt in the conflict. One of the best examples of the superior quality comes as Mirage uses his holograms and between them forming and dissolving are very impactful scenes.
Unfortunately, one of the ways costs were cut was through the reuse of some of the character models. Some of the more recognizable character models are reused for background characters or victims from the conflict. A few times some of these models were not changed enough from the character they are based on. Often the viewer will find themselves asking questions like “Is Sideswipe dead?” because the red of his model wasn’t changed properly for the scene. It’s a minor error but it comes up a few times in the series.
The voice cast for this entire first season is phenomenal and has a lot of great bits of dialogue. Three characters stand out the most in these six episodes. The first is Elita-1 by Linsay Rousseau who brings a powerful performance as a soldier trying to not only fight for a cause but also concerned for the actions and wellbeing of Optimus Prime.
The next is Jason Marnocha and his presentation of Megatron. These six episodes allow for the character to have stirring speeches and dramatic moments. Marnocha’s performance offers a Megatron who is ruthless yet dedicated to his mission of unifying Cybertron.
The final performance of note is Bumblebee by Joe Zieja. His performance as a Bumblebee who is hesitant to become part of the civil war is very unique. As this is a presentation of the character never used before, the solid voice performance as an abrasive individual who doesn’t want to listen to anyone is perfect and very memorable.
Transformers: Siege is an amazing first season offering more mature tones and gripping drama in a short amount of time. One of the only downsides of the entire season is it’s only six seasons. One can only hope the second season: Earthrise has a few more episodes and a chance for fans to enjoy the characters they love so much.