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Transformers: Energon
by yo go re

Big monstrous Unicron isn't the only Transformer that we toy fans have spent 20 years dreaming of. Sure, the living planet is completely awesome now that we have him, and he would have been a big steaming hunk of ass if he'd been made in the '80s, but there was another bot introduced in the film who would have been pretty cool, even back then.

Arcee A sweet, kind, and loyal Autobot to her friends, Arcee is also a merciless, lethal warrior to her enemies. Arcee's intelligence, quick wit, and coolness under fire make her invaluable to the Autobot cause. She is a dedicated warrior who has proven, time and again, that she can fight alongside the best of her Autobot teammates. The Decepticons constantly underrate her because, since to them she so closely resembles the female humans of Earth which the Decepticons have absolutely no respect for, they believe she is beneath their consideration. It is an attitude that Arcee exploits with deadly efficiency.

Even as a child, I found it ridiculous and a little bit sexist that there were no female Transformers. The movie rectified this at least a bit, with the introduction of Arcee. It seemed to be implied that she was Hot Rod's girlfriend, but at least the beginnings of gender equality were there.

I always found Arcee's name to be quite clever - a phonetic spelling of R/C, as in "radio-controlled," it sounds feminine and robotic at the same time.

Like most of the Transformers introduced in the movie, Arcee was a futuristic vehicle - she'd never been redesigned to look like earth transportation. What we got was a pink and white robot that turned into a car thing. We waited and waited, but no toy ever materialized. Finally, thanks to the Energon line, we actually get her.

Take Arcee for a ride In vehicle form, Arcee looks more like a real vehicle than her cartoon counterpart ever did. Instead of some kind of car, Arcee's a bike. This isn't some futuristic, alien imagination; it's something you might expect to see down at your local Honda dealer. About 3 3/4" long and 2 1/4" tall, the bike is, surprisingly, white and black, with only pink highlights. The wheels roll freely, and you can even fake a kickstand for it.

Arcee's one of the smaller TFs, so the bike is roughly in the 3 3/4" scale, which means that GIJoe figures look good on it. Bonus! Since this is an Energon toy, she includes a few translucent pieces of plastic that plug onto the figure. In the bike form's attack mode, these pieces double as exhaust pipes, which is a nice touch.

One hot bot Transformation is as easy as you'd expect from a toy this size. She's got some kibble, but even that isn't a major problem, since the designers found ways to make it an homage to the G1 version. The wheels on her back suggest the "wings" that the old one had, and the bike's windshield ends up where the body of the car was before.

Girlbot-on-Girlbot action The robot form is a little "chunkier" than the old designs, but not so much that the toy looks completely different than what you're expecting. She's got a decent range of motion, though her elbows don't really bend forward the way they should. The head looks like the old cartoons, and there's a lot more pink in robot form than on the bike.

The trans-red pieces can be plugged together to form an "Energon bow" capable of firing a tiny gray missile. Of course, the weapon is far too large for her, but she can still hold it and aim it, as long as she's aiming it to the side. Arcee's also got some weird little red button that plugs onto her chest. It's hard to get on, hard to take off and throws off the look of the figure, so I'm not too worried about it.

Arcee, sadly, is short-packed. Hasbro hasn't changed all that much in 20 years. While there have been a few versions of Arcee over the years, they were mostly repaints. There was a full-fledged G1-accurate toy, but that was a BotCon Japan exclusive. At long last, as a mass-market version, Arcee does a great job of living up to her ancestor.

Why do robots need genders? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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