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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

Your parents lied to you: slow and steady doesn't win the race. You want to be a winner? Then fast and steady is the way to go.

Blurr never stops moving. It's a habit he's gained over centuries of working as an undercover agent for the Autobot Elite Guard. Constant mobility is the best way to avoid detection by Decepticon agents. He is used to remaining in vehicle mode for months or years at a time as long as it takes to complete his mission, learn what he needs to know, and escape. Unfortunately, because he spends so much time alone, he's not really used to talking so others can understand him.

It's hard to adequately convey speed unless it's happening right in front of you. NASCAR drivers may go 240 miles per hour, but when you're waiting for the damn race to end so The Simpsons can start, it sure as hell looks like those slump-shouldered yokels are just cruising for a parking space at the mall. And that's a situation where there's real velocity - forget trying to get it across in a fictional setting. Flash's speed is mostly about other people's reactions, for instance. And in G1, Transformers tried to sell Blurr as "fast" by creating multiple after-images of him whenever he moved, but it mainly just looked like bad animation (probably because "bad animation" was the series' watchword).

Blurr actually got a fairly classy introduction in Transformers Animated: when he first showed up, no one was even sure it was him! Pretty appropriate for an undercover espionage agent, huh? Technically his first appearance was in Season 2's "Velocity," but he was a car the entire time (as hinted at in the bio). It wasn't until "A Bridge Too Close (Part 1)" that he revealed himself, which makes it hilarious to go back now and look at the fanboys arguing that the blue car was just a blue car.

Blurr's altmode is a futuristic car of no real type: just something sleek and pointy that looks appropriately unusual. Not quite unearthly, but still a little beyond anything you'd see even at a concept car show. The car is 5¾" long and remarkably flat, and the wheels really roll. In order to keep stupid children from hurting themselves, the tips of the car are soft rubber.

No matter which direction you go - robot to car or car to robot - changing Blurr from one form to the next is rather tough. It's not that the process itself is difficult, but figuring out where to start and where to end up. There's a lot of swapping positions around, and that can get confusing. Also, the instructions leave out a step: you have to turn his feet around 180° or else they're facing backwards. He'll still stand, it's just an aesthetic thing. Ignoring the step won't break him.

In robot mode, Blurr is an impressive 7⅜" tall, but a lot of that is thanks to the spikes on his shoulders. Of course, he wouldn't be a shrimp without them, since his head is shaped like a bike helmet (better for aerodynamics, donchaknow?) and there's a fin above that. A lot of his height is in the legs, so even in robot mode, he looks like he'd be fast.

Blurr's feet are actually big hollow wheels, a nod to the cancelled and forgotten Transtech Cheetor, He doesn't stand directly on them, but it's a definite parallel. His forearms are kind of a bad design, with car-body pieces strapped to the outsides and kind of ruining the look. Bleh. The articulation is very nice, particularly in the feet and legs, but wrists would have been welcome, too. Still, the important thing is you can get him in a lot of nice running poses, which is what really counts, isn't it? Sure, why not!

The car's hood doesn't actually convert with the rest of the 'bot: it merely detaches to become a shield that plus onto either arm. Press a button and an "energy saw" pops out from beneath it. It's not a great accessory, but on the plus side, it can store harmlessly on his back.

Blurr isn't a perfect toy, but he is a good improvement over the G1 version. And when introducing Blurr into their continuity, the producers of Animated made one move indisputably right: the character is still voiced by John Moschitta - known to most as "The Micro Machines Guy." Yes, they could have just gotten some random voice actor and sped him up digitally, but this is old-school. Got a fast talker? Then hire the fastest talker around! That's why real G1 fans love Animated.

-- 03/31/09

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