Transformers Anime Epic On Netflix Is The Best Of The Franchise

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

The release of the Transformers One trailer has excited some fans, but it has left many old-timers with the sad feeling that we may never again see G1-style stories involving the Autobots and Decepticons. It doesn’t help matters that the success and influence of Michael Bay’s Transformers films created new generations of fans who care nothing about the original show or its stellar 1986 animated film. However, if you’re a fan who wants some old-school cool, you need to look no further than Netflix’s Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy.

Transformers War For Cybertron

One thing that made this trilogy of Transformers shows so great is that it gave older fans exactly what they had been yearning for: stories using G1 characters and designs that took the Transformers mythology very seriously. That may sound simple, but historically, older fans had to settle for the original cartoon (which had iconic art but mediocre animation and storytelling) or Beast Wars (a show whose CGI animation looks like a screensaver but whose story was surprisingly mature for a kids’ show). With the War For Cybertron shows, we finally had a show with iconic designs, great animation, and a compelling narrative.

Transformers Never Looked Better

At this point, you’ll have to forgive me for singing the praises of the art and animation just as passionately as Kup shares old war stories. When you get a close-up of Megatron, for example, you can practically feel the smooth steel of his skin and vividly imagine the texture of the scratches on his armor. You might experience an uncanny valley effect when you see the Decepticon leader’s smooth lips, but I thought it was interesting how the animation emphasized the terrifying awe of this living machine…a living weapon with the convictions of a zealot and the powers of a minor god.

Gen 1 Aesthetics With A Modern Coat Of Paint

Speaking of the animation, your mileage may vary, but I enjoyed the look of Transformers: War For Cybertron more than Transformers Prime, another fan-favorite CGI show with great storytelling. Prime had killer stories and characters, but I personally never enjoyed the design of certain characters (Starscream was particularly bad, looking like the result of an AI prompt to make a bug look like a mime). War For Cybertron delivered the iconic G1 character designs along with better animation, and it did so without making me suffer through the exploits of young human sidekicks.

Filled With Fan Service And Easter Eggs

I long ago stopped trying to keep track of all the different Transformers mythologies and what was and was not related (seriously, if you say “aligned continuity,” my brain goes into shutdown mode). That’s part of why I enjoyed how Transformers: War For Cybertron took some of the best characters and stories and remixed them into something new that you didn’t need to be a lore expert to enjoy. The result is an engaging trilogy filled with Easter eggs and one beautiful fan service moment after another, including the familiar G1 Autobots and Decepticons fighting alongside their Beast Wars competitors.

A Hit With Critics And Fans

Some Transformers fans had their criticisms of the show: for example, the voice actors didn’t always sound like their G1 counterparts, and the line deliveries were a bit slow at times. However, the Netflix series mostly resonated with the fandom. On Rotten Tomatoes, Siege (season one) has a 90 percent critical rating, Earthrise (season two) has an 86 percent critical rating, and Kingdom (season three) has a 90 percent critical rating.

Stream The Epic Saga On Netflix

While nothing may ever top the Transformers animated film, the War For Cybertron comes darn close and is the very best of a franchise filled with way too many boring series, and I’m giving it five stars. To make up your own mind, you can stream Siege, Earthrise, and Kingdom from Netflix with just the click of a button. With the remote in hand, it’s fair to say you’ve got the touch…you’ve got the power.

And if you’re already humming the rest of the song, it’s time to check out this killer trilogy. It’s not bad comedy like Starscream’s coronation…it’s just good drama (like Starscream’s disintegration).