Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Challenge of the GoBots (1984)

Robots were big in animation in the mid-80's. The trend started with the American introduction of Voltron, but then exploded in short order. Everyone knows that The Transformers, borne out of a Japanese toy line, became the 2nd Hasbro property to be adapted to television by Marvel & Sunbow, and, of course, has become a cottage industry all by itself. However, there existed another toy line that today could be construed as virtual kissin' cousins to the Autobots & Decepticons!

Like the Transformers, Tonka's GoBots were supposedly from another planet, bringing a long-standing grudge to Earth. The Guardians & Renegades, however, had one big advantage. Both groups were originally humanoid in nature, and were transmuted into cyborg robots when their homeworld experienced a cataclysmic event. Shortly after The Transformers debuted, Hanna-Barbera & Tonka introduced viewers to Challenge of the GoBots, starting with a miniseries that aired in syndication. The ongoing series followed a year later, but lasted just 2 seasons, with a feature film, "Battle of the Rock Lords", released in 1986.

Here's the intro:

In recent years, Hasbro has bought out a number of former rivals, including Tonka, becoming the biggest toy manufacturer on the planet. In addition, I believe Hasbro holds the rights to the GoBots cartoons, as opposed to Cartoon Network, which would explain in a nutshell why the series doesn't air on Boomerang, which could certainly use some freshening of their schedule.

The theme music kicks major butt, as opposed to Transformers, but the close of the open is a copy of Challenge of the Super Friends from just 6 years earlier. Today, it's more likely that the GoBots & Transformers would share the same universe, but so far, Hasbro hasn't given this any consideration.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I do remember this series - if anything because I started merging both this show and Transformers in my brain.

The premises were similar and both shows had bots that became vehicles.

One thing that used to bug me as a kid was watching HB shows during this era was the closing credits would always list what seemed to be dozens of VAs! I knew all of them couldn't have worked on the show; in fact, there were times in which a VA would do at least 2 parts in a cartoon despite all these names in the voice credits!

You'd think HB would have used those actors since they gave them credit recognition.

hobbyfan said...

They merged the voice credits together back then because it encompassed the entire series, not each individual episode. The method changed, I think, in the early 90's. The old format created a lot of confusion.

Funny thing is, guys like Frank Welker & Peter Cullen worked on both Transformers & GoBots!

And you weren't alone in merging the two shows together. As I noted, Hasbro ultimately bought out Tonka, so it's just a matter of if/when they will bring the GoBots into the Transformers' universe.