Transformers Animated, as a big picture, has more going for it and more that stands out as brave, comprehensive, faithful, diverse and original than almost any other part of the Transformers history of toys, series or concepts. New characters, tried and trusted old characters, unique aesthetic and a cohesive thread of storylines and character development that permeate through the whole of the Animated universe - which of course incorporated virtually every previous TF universe into one anyway. That's to say nothing of the plethora of standout Transformers toys that the line gave birth to, toys that still stand up today against any deluxe, voyager or leader that Hasbro and Takara can produce. One of those toys and concepts that Animated gave us, that the fandom was crying out for, was a superb Arcee.
This isn't a non-transforming statue, this isn't an alien motorcycle, it's a proper nod to Generation 1 Arcee with an unquestionable Animated vibe that turns into a futuristic pink vehicle and isn't offensively sexualised as a female robot. She's also not supposed to be the soulless killing machine she is in the IDW universe, but a teacher who became an important operative for the Autobots during the war carrying priceless information. The look of the figure - albeit armed with two swords - supports that nicely. I like the vehicle mode, especially how everything clips together at the back and those wing pieces, but the tiny and simple wheels are a bit of a let down.
When I first experienced the mould in person at a UK TF meetup, I was distinctly unimpressed and was far more interested in experiencing deluxe Rodimus, Blurr and Lockdown or leader Ultra Magnus. Arcee didn't compare favourably to those figures. Drag Strip, the repaint from the BotCon 2011 Stunticon set immediately impressed though, but I digress. Maybe it's because I now have all the Animated moulds in my collection and Arcee is the last, maybe it's because I have bought so many repaints now that a brand new Animated mould is a revelation again, or maybe it's the difference in briefly handling someone else's TF figure in a public place with beer around (which I bathed Lockdown in) compared to enjoying a new Transformer toy in the privacy and comfort of my own home, but Arcee just blew me away this time around.
She's feminine, but not overtly so (but then again she is pink), is actually a tremendously fun Transformer and has a superb head sculpt. The level of general articulation is good for a deluxe and as you can see above you can pose her as a warrior or something far less aggressive. She is very expressive in the poses she can hold and proportions are great - extremely 'Animated' in that regard. I really could do without those swords as they automatically inspire one to pose her as a blade-wielding assassin, and they stressed the hand plastic on first use in my case. Literally straight out of the sealed package. It was very novel in that during transformation Arcee covers her face with her open palms.
|Payback's a bitch!|
|Goodnight, bounty hunter...|
When a show is as memorable and character-driven as TF Animated, and the toys are so enormously screen accurate, posable and generally brilliant, it lends itself so well to the recreation of iconic scenes and passages in the series, or just any sort of diorama. This isn't even something I typically do with my collecting, keep in mind that 50% of my display is packaged Diaclone and I have all my Binaltech stored in their boxes. The Unicron.com add-on kit with the stasis cuffs and Ratchet magnets makes for a superb addition to an already great set of toys with personality. Hey, she has the swords, may as well use them. I have to say though, posing her head is a bit nerve-wracking as that stork of a neck seems pretty brittle an fragile.
|Aw, you tried...|
Oh how I tried to fit that stork neck into Lockdown's bizarre inwardly-wristed hands, I had to settle for jamming his arm between Arcee's head and backpack. As intensely wrong as all that sounds, it's just one more piece of evidence to support the excellence of Transformers Animated beyond so much else. There is no shortage of play value, expression, accuracy and lasting value in Animated Arcee - even though it's not exactly screen accurate in all respects. In the UK she typically goes for £30 loose and I got this US TRU exclusive (there's a Takara version too naturally) for $20 sealed, about £12, an utter bargain. The stressed plastic in her hands bothers me intensely, but not enough to buy a replacement. She'll always be the teacher/spy from the cartoon to me - even though a lot of people can put her with G1 toys or Classics toys - and the swords won't be used again.
All the best