Feb 7, 2012

[Books] Transformers Vault: The Complete Transformers Universe

The transformers franchise has come a long way from its humble roots as a meager attempt to import Japanese toys into the US market. The darn thing is practically an empire these days that includes toys, cartoons, comic books, movies and a heck of a lot more. And I don't see it ending anytime soon - something that the kid in me will forever celebrate.

I had been considering getting this rather hefty book for some time but the price always made me a little worried. I had no idea what the contents would be like and how much would be devoted to the core G1 series instead of all the weird spin-offs. and given my general disdain for the post Michael Bay Transformers universe, I had a lot of reasons to be hesitant.

But a rather generous holiday sale at Fully Booked last December finally helped me cross that purchasing threshold and thus I took this little baby home. And I have to admit, it turned out to be a lot better than I expected.

Now the Transformers Vault: The Complete Transformers Universe book is quite the hefty coffee table addition edited by Pablo Hidalgo with a foreword by Peter Cullen himself. It weighs close to 5 pounds given it's a nice hardbound book inside a thick cardboard slipcase. I haven't quite figured out where to put my copy in fact, given it's somewhat cumbersome size Maybe I should buy a coffee table for it. LOL

Optimus Prime and Friends

Now when I pulled the book out of its case, I wasn't immediately excited. I mean come on, the Michael Bay version of Optimus Prince was front and center beside some of the different versions of the character over the years. But I pressed on to see what the whole thing was all about.

The book is divided into five main sections that document the different aspects of the Transformers universe. These include the toys, the comics, the animated TV shows, the movies and the general future of the franchise. And about 160 pages, the book does have a lot of ground to cover.

I love how the book isn't just about straightforward discussions and narratives about the history of the Transformers, but the volume also includes a lot of fun inserts and pull-out sections. It sort of makes you feel like you're reading one of those old pop-up activity books with a lot of fun bits among the pages.

Toy Catalog Sample

Tech Spec Recreation
Some of the more interesting additions include samples of the original toy catalogs, samples of the old tech spec sheets including the little piece of red film you use to "decode" the character's stat ratings and other fun stuff. And they fully document the progression from the original Takara figures all the way to movie toys and cross-franchise tie-ins.

UK Comics

The section about the comic books was pretty well-done and a lot more robust than I expected. Then again, I suppose that makes sense since the Transformers franchise relied on the initial comic books to help promote the eventual toys. Not many people remember that the comics were one of the first properties to come out promoting these figures even before the syndicated cartoons.

Yay for mini-movie posters!

Yes, THAT Devastator
The TV and movie sections covered a lot of ground across the different cartoons (including the Japanese ones) and all the different movies (both animated and live-action). I wish there had been more inserts in this area, but I'm not sure what to have hoped for. Still, the little 1986 movie poster was probably the main gem of this area.

Cybertronian Bumblebee

The last section covers a lot of different aspects of evolving Transformers universe. There was a fair amount of discussion about the console games and even discussion related to more recent projects like the Transformers Prime cartoon. No discussions of future live-action movies just yet, and that has to be considered as a good thing.

Overall, its a rich archive of Transformers lore with a lot of fun exhibits and gimmicks to explore and enjoy. Beyond being a historical record of the development of the Transformers over the years, it's quite simply a lovely way to look back at all aspects of these amazing characters and how far they've come in pop culture history.

Transformers Vault: The Complete Transformers Universe is a must-have for any Transformers fan despite the often hefty price tag and its cumbersome size. It merits a full 5 Transformers trivia tidbits out of a possible 5.

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  1. I hope you're referring to the 1986 movie, hehe

  2. Yup, the 1986 movie. Is there another Transformers movie after that?

  3. Well there are those annoying Michael Bay movies, hahaha!