So, I’ve been on kind of a Transformers kind of kick ever since watching the movie Bumblebee in theaters. I’ve gone back and watched 1986’s Transformers the Movie, I’ve gone and watched the newer Michael Bay-produced series of Transformers films (and that was no easy task, I’ll tell you that), and I have even gone back and watched some of the classic episodes of the cartoon series that ran from 1984 through 1987 – and that got me thinking about some of my favorite characters from the initial series. And that’s why I thought it would kind of fun just to share with you which characters are my favorite from the Transformers Generation 1 era of the series. I might go on and do a list for other subsequent Generations of the series, but these are the characters that I really loved the most when I first became a fan of the series.
Honorable Mentions: Galvatron, Ironhide, Scorponok, Springer, Ultra Magnus
Ever since I saw Transformers the Movie in theaters when I was 8-years old back in 1986, I was left in awe when I saw the character Unicron – and that was even before he transformed from a humongous planet to a monstrous sized robot bent on destroying Cybertron. And even though he only featured heavily in one story arc and a few smaller stories during the G1 series of the animated series/movie, what he did to change the mythos and world of the Transformers franchise made huge differences that continue to affect the series even today – from subsequent series that have followed to the Michael Bay films series.
Shockwave is a cold and calculating military adviser for the Decepticons and is often times depicted as Megatron’s second-in-command during the G1 series, performing in this role with a callous and shrewd demeanor. He was also one of my favorite Transformer designs when I was a kid because he never received an Earth variant of his transformation, always remaining as a Cybertronian construct – a ray gun in his weapon form and his robotic form saw him with no facial feature, save one eye in his head, and a laser cannon for one of his hands.
As a kid, like most other kids, I was huge into dinosaurs because they were just so damned captivating because of their mystique and size. So, when they introduced the Dinobots in the G1 series and I saw the character of Grimlock, I was a fan right away. He may not have been the smartest Autobot and was more focused on fighting and proving his strength than strategizing, but there was something about his robotic and T-Rex design than absolutely called to me. That’s why he was one of my favorite characters and toys when I was a kid.
I’m not going to lie: I was a fan of Jazz from the first time I heard him speak in the G1 cartoon series. Mind you, I really didn’t know who Scatman Crothers was at the time, but I thought that his speech pattern was bloody awesome. So much so that when I would play with his toy as a kid I would often times try to imitate his voice when I was playing. And then when you factor in that his Earth vehicle form was that of a Porsche 935 and he was a cool and collected soldier loyal to Optimus Prime, and it’s easy to see why I was a fan of the character.
Bumblebee was one of the more annoying Transformers characters to me when I was younger, but as I got older and started seeing him as kind of the bridge between the Autobots and the human allies, and how important he was to the team as a spy and hardworking soldier, I started to like him more and more. And though I was never a fan of his Earth vehicle mode of a Volkswagen Beetle, his character and attitude were his greatest strengths… even if he was sometimes too overeager to prove his worth to the other Autobots – something that they have greatly corrected in later generations of the series and the Michael Bay films in particular.
No lie, I was a huge fan of Soundwave because of what he could do as a Decepticon and the extra toy that he came with when you had his deluxe model. To have the extra toys of Buzzsaw included with the figure and the ability to purchase Ravage, Laserbeak, Ratbat, Rumble, Frenzy, Slugfest, Overkill, Squawktalk, and Beastbox and actually have them fit into his microcassette chest plate was awesome. As for his animated form, though he was a monotone in nature and had very little personality, the way he went about in his service to Megatron and the Decepticons is what made me a fan of his.
As the leader of the evil Decepticons, I was always drawn to Megatron. What can I say, I love the villainous characters in series – and Megatron was about as big a villain as they came when I was a kid. And that he was shaped as a Walther P38 for his Earth Weapon form made him even more appealing to me. In fact, one of my most prized toys that I had was his original gun form that I had boxed and unopened… until my youngest son got into my collection one day and opened him up to play with him. But that aside, I was a huge fan of him because of his character and how utterly evil he was.
What can I say about Arcee that shouldn’t be obvious already? Just look at my nickname (aRCee) and you can see how much I love this character. Ever since she was introduced in the series during Transformers the Movie, she has easily been one of my favorite Transformers characters throughout the years and subsequent generations and iterations of the series. But I will always have a place in my heart for her original vehicle form, that of a pink Cybertronian convertible hovercar. Heck, when I saw her depicted in that form in the 2018 Bumblebee film, I completely geeked out and went all fanboy in the theater.
For as much as I love Megatron for being the main antagonist in the G1 series of cartoons, Starscream was my favorite villainous Transformers character. Whether it was because of how devious and underhanded he could be, how willing he was to betray Megatron, his Earth vehicle form of an F-15 Eagle, or his iconic and recognizable voice, there was always something about Starscream that I loved. I just wish that his character in the Michael Bay films were a bit more reflective of this.
And my number one favorite Transformers Generation 1 characters is, to no surprise:
1. Optimus Prime
Come on, could there be any doubt as to who my favorite G1 Transformer would be? Optimus Prime was the ultimate leader type character that I knew growing up, even more so than Captain America. His heroic, never-give-up attitude always drew me to him and I have been a fan of the character ever since. Of all the characters in the Transformer universe, he has changed the least since the G1 days – and that’s fine by me because why would you want to mess with perfection. A consummate leader, a stalwart sign of hope, and heroic to the point of willing self-sacrifice, Optimus Prime is my favorite G1 Transformers character.