These aren't in any particular order. I decided to only write about Autobots for now because I'm more of an Autobot fan than a Decepticon fan. Also, one thing I'd like to point out is that my opinions of these characters are based entirely and only on their appearances in Seasons 1 and 2 of the original Generation 1 animated TV series. While I do believe that fictional characters are often open to interpretation, my interpretations are based on what happens in those episodes. Therefore, if something I've written here is contradicted by something in the Transformers movie, Season 3 or 4, the comics, any other Transformers show, or the Tech Specs that come with the toys, PLEASE do not send me angry emails complaining about it. Although there are a few episodes in Seasons 1 and 2 I might personally disregard, as far as I'm concerned, anything in there is fair game.
Voice Actor: Michael Chain
Red Alert is the Autobot's Security Director, and he's one of the greatest characters of Season 2 just for one particular episode: "Auto-Berserk". Red Alert always was a bit paranoid, edgy, impatient, and seemingly just about to go off the deep end at any moment, but in that episode he went the whole distance just from getting konked on the head. For some reason, he thinks he can't do anything without Inferno (the red fire truck guy also pictured) and goes hysterical when Inferno runs out on him at one point. (I swear I'm not making this up.) Red then starts thinking everyone is out to get him, so Optimus Prime tries to calm him down, which leads to Red's most infamous and hilarious line, "INFERNO WANTS MY JOB!!" Red eventually runs away and the other Autobots try to find him, which leads to hilarious scene #2: Ironhide picks up a real fire chief car thinking it's Red Alert, shakes it and talks to in a gentle tone, "What's the matter, Red? Can't you transform?" (No, I'm not making this up.) Then the fire chief who owns the car tells him to put it down and Ironhide responds, "Oh, sorry! It looked like a friend o'mine!" I think part of what makes Red Alert so great is that Michael Chain voiced him so well. By the end of the episode when he laughs maniacally and says, "I've set the Negavader...to self-DEStruCT!!", he really sounds pretty damn crazy! Some people might argue that you can't really judge Red Alert by that episode because part of his spiral into insanity was caused by his head injury, but...I dunno. When I look at how he is in every other episode he appears in, it was just bound to happen sooner or later. And, hey, it's the reason I like him!
Voice Actor: Mike McConnohie
Tracks appeared in quite a few episodes of Season 2 and even had two almost entirely devoted to him ("Make Tracks" and "Auto-Bop"). He's one of the more strongly-written Autobots of Season 2, and that I think is why he was worked into almost every episode. He talks like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island and that, along with his buddy-pal relationship with a human named Raoul, has led many to believe Tracks is gay. I don't really give a flip if he is. Tracks got smashed up really badly while he was working undercover to stop a car theft ring. Trapped in his vehicle form, Raoul found him and repaired him, and some of their conversations were the most hilarious in the series. One thing I like about Tracks is that, although he managed to get himself crucified on a giant stereo, he's really intelligent and solves a lot of problems on his own. He doesn't go running to Optimus Prime and/or Teletraan-1 for everything. He's also vain, but not in the annoying way that Sunstreaker is. Sunstreaker complains about every little nick to his paint job after every fight. Tracks only complains when it's something like, you know, his entire front end getting smashed in. (And he looks friggin' awesome, so I can cut him some slack for that.) I also thought Tracks and Bluestreak made an awesome team in the "Trans-Europe Express" episode, and he's shown good leadership skills a few times (once he was leading a team near the end of "Make Tracks" and again at the beginning of "Quest For Survival", though he got his ass kicked by the Insecticons in that second one). And, as a flying Corvette, the guy won a dogfight with Starscream through an incomplete skyscraper!! What's cooler than that?
Voice Actor: Michael Bell
Prowl is supposed to be this really serious, straight-arrow, authority figure of the Autobots, but sometimes I can't help but think of him as this big cuddly thing with headlights. It must be Michael Bell's voice acting or something. He sounds more inquisitive than serious sometimes, unless he's in the middle of a fight. Or maybe it was the way he picked up Bumblebee out of the rubble of the collapsed mine in "More Than Meets the Eye" and those people that were trapped in the snow in "Blaster Blues". Sometimes, Prowl even seems a bit more "childlike" than he should. Example #1: In "Quest For Survival" when he's asking Perceptor all those questions about the Morphobots (little plant-like robots) and even pokes his finger into them. He's like a big kid in that scene. And then again in "Roll For It" when he blows up a military jet hangar and acts like it was the coolest thing ever. Okay, so maybe he was aiming for the Decepticons that were stealing the airplane parts, but all things considered, Prowl did wayyyy more damage than they did. Prowl and Bluestreak make an excellent team, but I just wish Prowl had been used more and maybe given a little more depth of personality. I like him, but he doesn't seem as strong a character to me as Red Alert or Tracks...or even Bluestreak. But, dammit, he just LOOKS so darn wicked!
Voice Actor: Casey Kasem
Bluestreak looks a lot like Prowl, and sometimes they work together as a team (as in the episode "Roll For It"), but they aren't really related (in the toyline, Prowl was a Bluestreak "clone"). Whenever Bluestreak would appear in Season 1, it was usually to make some lame joke like, "You look like somebody just mugged your manifolds", and then he'd laugh hysterically at it for 30 seconds. (No points for guessing he's the only one who laughed at it.) Other times, he'd show up to perform some visual gag, like one hilarious scene where he freaks out on a surfboard, and another where he rams Soundwave in the heel. All of this goofiness gave me the impression that, if Transformers were like humans, Bluestreak would be the crazy wiseass teenager of the group. Since his voice is nearly identical to Shaggy's on Scooby-Doo, that helped seal that illusion all the more. But in Season 2, where Bluestreak is mostly absent, he goes through an odd transformation (no pun intended) towards the end. In the "Trans-Europe Express" episode, he suddenly shows a lot more maturity, both in dealing with a Decepticon crisis and a jackass racecar driver named Aughie Cahnay who runs people off the road and cheats to win. I have a fetish for characters that are like that (see my article on Maru in Arc the Lad 4). I like characters that aren't the typical hero, can make me laugh, and yet show that they can get the job done when it really counts. And even though he does act more mature in that episode, it's not like it comes out of completely nowhere, as Bluestreak has been known to show a lot of concern for others, such as when he goes after and rescues Ironhide alone in the third part of the original pilot episode.
Voice Actors: Peter Reneday (Grapple) & Michael Chain (Hoist)
I thought I'd just include these two guys together because, although Hoist is seen in some episodes without Grapple, Grapple is almost never seen without Hoist. These two guys like to work on crazy inventions all day and argue with each other in British accents. I loved their voices so much that if there was ever an episode of nothing but Grapple and Hoist arguing, I would be floored. Grapple is like me. He's a frustrated artist who gets depressed about it all the time. He gets especially pissed if anyone bombs his buildings. Hoist, on the other hand, is fat and jovial as can be. And it looks like he's wearing yellow bloomers. I'm guessing that was done so he'd look different from his "clone" character, Trailbreaker, but yeah, it had me fooled. I didn't realize they were clones until I saw pictures of the toys. When Hoist isn't around Grapple, a lot of times he ends up becoming "comic relief", like in the episode "A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court" where he falls over and gets used as a bridge and a stepladder by a human army. And then, after the humans run over him, another Autobot named Warpath runs over him, too. I also get this weird feeling from Hoist that he doesn't quite realize he's a giant robot. I mean, why on earth is he driving Huffer in the "Make Tracks" episode?? First of all...Huffer is...really, really small. Hoist is...really, really big...Huffer is drawn so ridiculously huge in that picture to accomodate Hoist's size, he dwarf's Optimus Prime. Secondly, shouldn't Hoist just be transformed into his tow truck mode and driving himself?? And if that wasn't crazy enough, Hoist even goes to Hollywood to make a movie in "Hoist Goes Hollywood" (which is one of the damn funniest episodes of a cartoon series I've ever seen.)
Voice Actor: Chris Latta
Wheeljack is the "mad scientist" of the Autobots. Like Grapple, he's always making weird inventions, but unlike Grapple, he doesn't get depressed. In fact, he's just the opposite. No matter how many times things blow up or what goes wrong, or how much he gets taunted by the other Autobots (Huffer especially seems to like laughing at him and telling him his stuff will never work), Wheeljack just keeps on keeping on. I'd say he keeps on smiling, but I'm not sure if he even has a mouth. It's like asking if Bebedora has eyes. It's something the world was just never meant to know, I guess. Anyway, one thing I like about Wheeljack is that he has the guts to defy Optimus Prime. I like Prime, but sometimes he can be a real jerk, like when Wheeljack first created the Dinobots and they got a bit out-of-control. Wheeljack said he could work to improve their brains, but Prime ordered them to be locked up and never used again. That didn't stop Wheeljack from secretly continuing with his work on their brain enhancements, and as fate would have it, yes, the enhancements worked and the Dinobots ended up saving Prime's ass. Really, Wheeljack just refuses to let anything make him angry, like in one episode where he gets flattened by Motormaster and his meager response is, "Oh, my aching cylinders!" I also like the way Wheeljack's "ears" light up when he talks. I wish mine did that. That'd be awesome! One thing Wheeljack has taught me that if you ever go visit another planet, feel free to experiment with several different accents until you find one you like and go with it. Wheeljack also has some great lines of dialogue, my favorite of which is, "I think you're going to eat those words on a silicon wafer."
Voice Actor: Scatman Crothers
Jazz is just plain cool in every sense. He's calm, upbeat, friendly, outgoing, and he absolutely loves music. In fact, he loves playing his music really loudly, which annoys the shiznits outta everyone else except Blaster. I think my single favorite "Jazz moment" in the entire series is one where he drives up a mountain to test his new speakers, and it causes a landslide. Jazz's reaction is, "Wow! Rock 'n' Roll with REAL rocks!!" No points for guessing Jazz will use those same speakers later on in the episode to blow something up. I just really love Jazz's positive attitude and how much he seems to really enjoy life. He's a good fighter, sometimes even acting as Prime's second-in-command as in the first few episodes of the series, but I always get the feeling from him that he's more than just that. For example, he likes to get into snowball fights and he says he read a book about ninjas, so you know he has other interests besides just fighting Decepticons. He's the type of guy who just likes to have a lot of fun. And his voice actor was Scatman Crothers from The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! How cool is that?
Voice Actor: John Stephenson
Okay, I admit it, Huffer isn't really one of my top favorite characters on this show. He's never really been the "star" of any episode. And, by all means, he's a character that probably should annoy me. If I had to take a guess based on all the evidence in the show, I'd wager that Huffer is the "youngest" Autobot of the Season 1-2 characters, mentally if not physically. He's like an annoying little kid that complains about stuff constantly. So, why is he even on here? Because, I can't help it...some of the things he says are just too damn hilarious to not be mentioned! Take, for example, when Wheeljack creates the Dinobots and Huffer says, "Dinobots? I thought you were going to make...DINOSAURS!!", and then he laughs maniacally. I mean, did Huffer actually think Wheeljack was going to make living breathing dinosaurs?? Or when he's told to do something and he says, "That'll never work, I just know it!", but he does it anyway. Despite that he complains a lot, he's another character that CAN get the job done, such as in the episode where he battles a woolly mammoth, even lifting it over his head at one point. And even as a "little kid" character, Huffer is still at least 5,000 times better than Wheelie and Daniel in Season 3. x_x
Voice Actor: Mike McConnohie
Poor Cosmos. Poor, poor Cosmos. He's a UFO that looks an awful lot like a parakeet I once had (I'm not kidding) and he talks like Peter Lurie. But he's always getting the short end of the stick in every episode he appears in. Let's see. In "The Secret of Omega Supreme", Optmus Prime sends him back and forth to an asteroid THREE times. After the third time he's given the order, poor Cosmos says in exasperation, "AGAIN!?!!", and then, "*sigh* If you say so, Prime..." I felt so bad for him. And then in "The God Gambit", he's blasted out of the sky by Astrotrain and spends the entire episode unconscious and getting hauled around. He's blasted out of the sky AGAIN in at least one other episode (I think it's "Sea Change", but I'm not 100% sure.) In "Quest For Survival", he gets trapped under a pile of metallic plants called "Morphobots" and nearly eaten alive. He's captured by Decepticons and used as a battery in "Blaster Blues". And if all that wasn't enough, he has to tow the entire Autobot army back to Earth after Megatron sent their ship sailing into the sun in "Megatron's Master Plan". Yet, for all of this, Cosmos remains rather quiet and unfazed. I'm guessing one of these days he's going to go postal and kill everybody. Either that, or maybe he'll just pal around with Blaster some more since he seems to be one of the few Autobots who doesn't mind Blaster's annoying music. I have to admit that I'm also a little bit biased for Cosmos because his toy was one of the few I owned as a kid, and because I find the fact that he never got an "earth" form interesting...Plus, he's just so darn round and adorable!
Voice Actor: Peter Cullen
After re-watching my Season 2 episodes, I feel a little guily for not including Ironhide on this list to begin with. I wanted to include him, but I couldn't think of what to say. Now, I could practically write a book. Ironhide is (supposedly) the oldest Autobot of Seasons 1 and 2, and he's a close friend of Optimus Prime's. He talks like a rootin'-tootin' cowboy, and he's always ready to jump right into the action. He's a take-charge kind of guy who can double as leader when Prime's not around. Sometimes he even takes command when Prime is around, such as at the end of "Megatron's Master Plan" where he appears to be barking all the orders to the entire Autobot Army. Ironhide is in almost every episode, but there's one that's dedicated specifically to him where he goes through a mid-life crisis and doubts his usefulness to the team because of his age. Of course, he ends up proving his worth (not that anyone else ever doubted him), and that scene in that episode where he saves Carly from drowning is just *heartwarming*. But the main reason I like Ironhide is simply the sheer number of times he's made me laugh hysterically. There was the aforementioned incident where he mistook a real fire chief car for Red Alert. There's another episode where Jazz is stuck in car form and can't transform. Without saying a word, Ironhide gives Jazz a good hard kick and Jazz pops right up into robot form. And in another episode, Blaster and Ravage have a fight right inside the ass end of his vehicle form and it takes him forever to notice it.
Voice Actor: Casey Kasem
Cliffjumper has a real complex. He's the tiniest little Autobot, yet he talks bigger than most. He's a hot-tempered, slightly paranoid little psycho who just loves blowing things up. He's known to pull giant guns out of completely nowhere and yell nonsensical insults like, "You couldn't hit an Autobot with a moonbeam!" He also likes diving headfirst into dangerous situations without any regard to his own safety. He does this once in "Changing Gears" when he drives right into a force field to short it out, knocking himself unconscious for awhile. And then also in the pilot episode where he fires a bazooka on Megatron for no real reason (which eventually results in getting poor Hound wrecked). Eventually, Cliffy's paranoia goes way overboard in one episode where accuses Mirage of being a traitor. However, Cliffjumper learns his lesson and admits he was wrong by the end of that show, unlike, oh, that jerk Brawn who was mean to Perceptor for an entire episode and never apologized. Casey Kasem overacted a bit as Cliffjumper, but that made him even funnier and more memorable. And despite that it's obvious that both Bluestreak and Cliffjumper were voiced by Kasem, he still managed to portray two very distinct personalities for each of them. I've also gotta love how Cliffy's red color scheme and horned helmet make him look like a little devil or imp. Favorite Cliffjumper moment #1: When he apologizes to Mirage and the two of them roll around together. Favorite Cliffjumper moment #2: When a bunch of Autobots leap up a cliff and, despite that his name is Cliffjumper, he's the only one who doesn't make the jump.
Voice Actor: Ken Samson
Hound is like Jazz in that he's really friendly and outgoing, and just an all-around good-natured guy. He's a bit more serious than Jazz, but he has a chipper personality that just makes everyone happy to be around him. Hound is also a very competent soldier who's always ready to volunteer himself for even the most dangerous of missions. Hound's voice acting (which reminds me somewhat of Jimmy Stewart) is so convincing that I was surprised to find out Ken Samson has done so little other acting work. I'm glad that they didn't give him some tough-nosed drill sergeant personality just because he has a military form. While I find the idea that Transformers are somewhat influenced by their alt forms interesting, after awhile it gets to be a little annoying when the guy who's a tank says, "Bang! Pow! Zam!" all the time or the guy who's a hovercraft talks like he's always underwater. Hound's also quite multi-talented. In one episode, he plays football, and in another he wrestles an alligator, and in another he runs backwards on water. (I don't know about that scene where he's giving Spike a backrub, though...) Unfortunately, Hound's role diminished when the writers decided they didn't want to keep falling back on the use of his holograms to win the day. Too bad they didn't just limit his special power in favor of expanding his personality somewhat.
Voice Actor: Frank Welker
Okay, I confess right up front that Trailbreaker is not really one of my favorites. But I once got into an argument with someone about the Transformers movie who said that it was okay to kill off the Season 1 and 2 characters because nobody really remembers anything about characters like Trailbreaker anyway. Well, I wanted to challenge that notion, and seriously, it wasn't hard. Even though Trailbreaker is one of the most underused Transformers of Season 1 and 2, when he does appear, he often says or does things that are quite memorable. For one thing, his special power is a force field that he can generate to protect things. He's the only Autobot who has this power, and he's pretty damn proud of it. So proud, that he can never make the force field without showing off, such as making a ridiculous pose (above picture), creating it in rainbow colors, or even spinning like a top for no apparent reason! His ability to use this power was stretched to the limit when he protected the entire Autobot army after Megatron sent their ship soaring into the sun and it exploded. That must've put quite a strain on him, and there's no getting around the fact that if TB hadn't been there, I don't see any other way they could've gotten out of that one. That's pretty darn memorable! Aside from his special powers, he sometimes makes funny swears like "Aww, hexagonal nuts!", and "Why that son of an 8-track!" with a voice that has a southern drawl. He gives me the impression that he's a big tough guy who's kinda shy because he doesn't talk much. But I sometimes think the ceiling of the Ark is a bit too low for him.
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