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Shadow Blade Megatron

Transformers Animated
by yo go re

There are a few things that reliably happen every time there's a reboot of the Transformers franchise: Optimus Prime is the supreme commander of the Autobots, with Ultra Magnus as his temporary back-up; Starscream wants to rule the Decepticons, but takes forever to make his first move; Megatron gets kind of destroyed and comes back as Galvatron, etc. Yep, happens every single time. Hey, waaaaait a minute...

In preparation for returning to space, Megatron repaints his armor. He prefers these colors, because they allow him to disappear against the dark background of outer space. There, his actions are made silent by the vacuum, and blackness hides his movements. Hidden in the dark, he seems to attack from nowhere. He is a ghost in the cosmos, striking down his enemies without hesitation, and without mercy.

Yes, surprisingly, Animated bucked all the longstanding TF trends, and managed to keep fans on their toes. In any other continuity, the black repaint of Megatron really would have been dubbed Galvatron - and when Megs was lost in space at the end of Season 2, many fans theorized that he'd be back in new colors with a new name in Season 3. Nope! This is just a redeco of the toy, with no deeper meaning.

Megatron's Cybertronian form was based vaguely on the movie design, particularly around the head. When he reformatted into an Earth body, his head now more closely resembled the G1 design, and if you kind of squint, the rest of his body follows suit: the blocky chest, the lines on his "ribs", the large lower legs, stuff like that. There are a lot of elements from The Battlestars' Super Megatron, too: the circles on the shoulders, the vents on his helmet, even the way wings hang off his back. Still, the design makes it clear that this is an Animated character, not an import from a different line.

In robot mode, Megatron reaches a healthy 9¼" tall, so obviously he doesn't suffer from Bulkhead's robo-dwarfism. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. There's definitely a waist joint, but it's rendered immobile by the shape of the figure. His unique ankles allow the feet to stay flat on the ground even in extreme poses. Press the Decepticon symbol on his chest and Megatron says one of three phrases:

  • Crush the Autobots!
  • (maniacal laughter)
  • Where is the AllSpark?

At the same time, red lights flash in his eyes and chest, and his jaw lowers to simulate his mouth opening. Fancy! Megatron is armed with his fusion cannon, as always. It's a separate piece that can be snapped onto either arm, or left off entirely - the figure's design doesn't look incomplete with the gun removed. He has two swords that fit in either hand, or can be stored on his back.

Changing Megatron between modes is an easy enough process, one you'll be able to handle without the instructions in no time. His Earth altmode is based loosely on the Osprey helicopter, as evinced by the dual rotors. Granted, it's not "real-world accurate" as we know helicopters today, but Animated takes place in the future: who's to say that's not where the designs will go?

This is easily one of the biggest Animated toys around. It's 13¼" from front to back, a minimum of 7" wide and nearly 4½" high. Spinning one rotor blade swirls them both, and pushing the button in this mode gives us the sound of the engines warming up, the blades spinning, and then the engine winding down. The lights still flash, though this time it's the cockpit that illuminates.

The swords unfold to become the helicopter's blades, though that's not a feature without its problems. On each sword, there seems to be one blade that stays tight when you flip it over, and one that hangs loosely. Switch the wrong one, and your propeller will look wonky. Ah, but upon further inspection, it's not actually that one of the blades holds its position and the other doesn't; there's a small ledge for one of the blades to rest on, while the other side lacks that benefit. So pay attention when you convert the blades, and you'll never have to worry.

So far everything we've said has referred to both versions of the Leader class Megatron mold - but this is Shadow Blade Megatron! He's different! Okay, okay, so technically it's only his paint that's different, but that's still something. He's mostly black with purple highlights and a maroon cockpit. His cannon and the edge of the rotor blades are silver. The reason I chose this repaint is simple: I already had a gray Megatron, so black just set the two toys even further apart.

Whichever color you choose, Leader Animated Megatron is a great figure. As with most of the Animated characters, the cartoon and the toy were developed in tandem, so he's pretty much dead-on in terms of being show-accurate. The robot looks cool and is very playable, and the whirlybird is massive! The electronics are rather superfluous, but at least they don't get in the way of anything. If you don't have any other version of Animated Megatron, feel free to get the normal release, but if you like black, Shadow Blade Megatron won't steer you wrong.

-- 01/19/09

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