Monday, December 5, 2016

Villain Retrospect - Nemesis

When I was going through all the cartoons I'd watched as a kid, I was surprised one of them wasn't a full cartoon at all. I remembered Robotix being a full series, but almost every sighting of it online says it was just a movie. So what gives?
From the Metal Misfit
The Robotix was a series of short 6-minute episodes based around a building set. You had the good guys, the Protectons, that fought the bad guys, the Terrakors. All of them were robots of varying shapes and sizes that were brought to life when their planet was threatened and the leaders of their two races had their brains uploaded into their machines.

When a space exploration ship crashes and strands the human crew on the planet with the warring Robotix factions, the good ones join up with Argus and his Protectons, while the mean, selfish, and stereotypically evil humans make a deal with Nemesis, the leader of the Terrakors. What an amazingly creative name!

Sounds like a cross between Transformers and Go-Bots to me. But instead of changing into earth vehicles, the Robotix were able to change their bodies into all sorts of weird shapes and forms, especially when being piloted by a human. Argus changes into battering ram at some point, and multiple smaller limbs fold out of their bodies to perform different tasks. That's the good guys though - besides a snake-themed Terrakor that turned into a hovercraft, none of them do anything at all.

Which leads us to Nemesis. That red crane-claw?  That's the only thing he changes, turning it into a spinning blade or shooting it out as a grabbling hook. Why doesn't he turn into a tank, or another vehicle of some sort?  The other Terrakors either fly or drive away, but he's left running like a sucker.  No wonder he gets betrayed by his second-in-command.  Still, he has a cool look and a surprising voice actor - it's the Transformers's own Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen!  He does a great job doing a villainous roll, and I'd love to hear him take it on again. And yes, let's make a Nemesis Prime joke.

In fact, there's a lot of stuff taken from Hasbro's other properties. The voice cast, the sound effects, the music, the setting, even the MacGuffin (the master computer called Compucore). The whole series feels like it's been recycled from the Transformers and GI Joe cartoons. The Robotix has actually been assimilated into Transformers comics lore.  I really wish it had a chance to differentiate itself more from Hasbro's other cartoon fare.

Let's look at some ratings:
Coolness - 5. Peter Cullen providing a villainous voice goes a long way to make this guy sound less generic. He's got a decent look, but I really wish his shape-shifting powers extended beyond just his left hand.
Effectiveness - 2. It's not uncommon for a bad guy to get betrayed by his first lieutenant, but Nemesis takes the cake for being knocked out of commission for a good portion of the show. And since this is only a hour a half movie, there's not much of a chance for him to make it up. So he doesn't.

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