Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy is another original anime series added to Netflix’s arsenal of original content. Produced by Rooster Teeth, the series is divided into three parts, with the second, Chapter 2: “Earthrise,” recently becoming available on the streaming platform, and the next part, Chapter 3: “Kingdom,” planning to be released in March of 2021.
If you watched the first part of the series, Chapter 1: “Siege,” you’ll be familiar with the length of this one. With only six episodes, each about 25 minutes apiece, this is another short part of this trilogy. And like the last part, it’s disappointing how short it is. However, this discontent mostly stems from how wonderful the plot is this time around.
“Earthrise” begins not long after where “Siege” left off. After Optimus Prime and a handful of Autobots left Cybertron following the Allspark’s disappearance, the Decepticons are now in control of Cybertron. However, the world is dying, and there’s not enough Energon to go around. A drastic situation calls for drastic measures, and Megatron does the unthinkable. All the while, the Autobots on the Ark are captured by a band of mercenaries because someone put a bounty on their head and that someone is surprisingly not Megatron.
Although the timeline for Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy is based on the video game and other media of a similar title, the plot’s placement before the arrival of Cybertronians on Earth is a smart move. Most cartoons tell the story of the Decepticons and Autobots’ war on Earth. So, although “Earthrise” retells how the Decepticons and Autobots arrived on Earth, it’s nice to see a cartoon series help fill this gap in the Transformers cartoon media.
While this story isn’t a completely new one, many novel elements make this part much more entertaining than the last. “Earthrise” touches on some Transformers origin lore, which personally was a fun revelation to see the characters deal with. Despite some new elements, plenty of familiar ones will pander to long-time fans and hit those nostalgia feels. On top of this, there is much more at stake in this part. While the Autobots have consistently been the underdogs in this trilogy, they truly are down and out in “Earthrise,” which makes the events so much more emotionally moving.
While the first part focused on elaborating on the state of Cybertron and introducing the Allspark as a plot element, “Earthrise” takes a step away from these elements and instead focuses even more on the characters and their backgrounds. Rooster Teeth has some great shows under their belt, but the main through-line in their repertoire of series is that they excel at characterization.
Most of the characters in “Earthrise” are well known, and many fans will likely recognize them due to their G1 designs. Beyond these excellent aesthetics, Rooster Teeth stays true to these characters and brings their personalities to the forefront. From Soundwave’s peculiar way of speaking to Megatron’s callous but righteous nature to Bumblebee’s brashness, the interactions and relationships between each and every character feel natural and authentic. Characters’ background information is weaved in well to the plot, such as Megatron’s history working in the mines and the gladiator arena. In this way, we get an even better feel for these characters’ motives and can judge how much they’ve changed in just these few short episodes.
And where would any Transformers series be without some snark? While many of the events in “Earthrise” are grave, the sprinkle of some witty and funny dialogue here and there adds to the characterization and effectively lightens the tone to break up part two’s doom and gloom.
Rooster Teeth has produced some great animated series, and this one is no different. The characters, despite being boxy and made of metal, move smoothly and effortlessly. Like in part one, some of the hand-to-hand fighting feels a little lethargic, but most of the fighting sequences are fun. This is largely due to the many different angles used and the rare inclusion of slow motion. The grainy and metallic textures make sure you know these characters are made out of metal. And although the characters’ faces aren’t the most emotive, the voice acting by far makes up for the lackluster expressions.
All in all, Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 2: “Earthrise” is a step in the right direction. The animation, voice acting, and dialogue wonderfully represent the characters, while the plot is much more emotionally moving and interesting than in Chapter 1: “Siege.”
Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 2: “Earthrise” is streaming now on Netflix.
Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 2: "Earthrise"
Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 2: “Earthrise” is a step in the right direction. The animation, voice acting, and dialogue wonderfully represent the characters, while the plot is much more emotionally moving and interesting than in Chapter 1: “Siege.”