Go-Bots: The Poor-Man’s Transformers
Let’s talk iconic competitions of the 80’s. Matchbox Versus HotWheels, Keds Versus Zips, Star Wars Versus Star Trek, and Transformers Versus… Go-Bots? Yeah, seriously! Go-Bots tried really hard to make a run at the Transformers popularity and massive market share, but never really managed to pull a few mediocre years out of their existence. Was it perhaps their ease in morphing? I mean you can only have so many ‘transformable’ robots appear by standing a vehicle on its back bumper and little else. Maybe it was their ridiculous names? Oh I don’t know, a motorcycle named Cy-Kill and a tank named… tank, and a helicopter called Cop-Tur, doesn’t seem too bad. Right. Well, whatever the case -a crappy, childish comic or an equally crappy, childish movie- the Go-Bots’ meager foothold soon fell away into obscurity. And adding insult to injury was the fact that Hasbro (Transformers) bought Tonka (Go-Bots) and absorbed them entirely going so far as to use the ‘Go-Bots’ name for their Playskool line. Ouch. Well, let’s take a trip back to the 80’s once again and take a look at what Randall from Clerks II once called, “The K-Mart Transformers”.
First up we have the titular patriarch of the Guardians, Leader 1. He actually looks pretty cool as an F-15 jet… sort of a jet, anyway. Unfortunately he has roughly three steps to robot mode, which is like a quarter of what it took to get the similar likes of Starscream the Transformer into a similar form. Basically, you stood him up on his ‘rockets’, flipped his nose cone down and popped his arms and legs out. Also he was bald. Not a characteristic you really want in your robots.
Baron Von Joy
With a name that sounds like the protagonist from a really creepy 70’s porno, BVJ is what is known as a ‘Super’ Go-Bot. Basically a ‘Super’ Go-Bot is just a deluxe version of a regular one, much like the bigger, more special Transformers. His rearranged morphing was actually quite a bit more complex than most other Go-Bots, and he ended it as a Porsche. But that wasn’t the problem. Well, except for his head… that was just dumb. No, the real issue was his fucking name! Baron Von Joy? Are you serious?
Boy, you’d think for a primarily Japanese-based toy series they’d maybe, I don’t know, try to avoid the horrendous pairing Japan and Germany once shared as the WWII Axis by not naming their vehicles with names from The Mother Land! Hans-Cuff? What the HELL?! Yes, yes, I get the ridiculous pun -puns on which the core of the Go-Bots names were based- but really… this is just infantile!
Well at least it’s a Japanese-style name… kind of. It’s a shitty Japanese-style name, but whatever. Mr. Moto is a yellow ATC off-roader which lends one the question why not name him Ay-Tee-Cee? I guess that was just far too silly even for Go-Bot standards. Anyway, his transformation was basically tipping him on his ass end and yanking his arms out. Fun for everyone.
Here we have a name that specifically speaks of what is is that this robot does: stays fit! Right? His name is Fitor… oh, I see: FI(gh)TOR. Well that makes more sense. Whatever. Anyway, this character appears to be some kind of space jet. Or rocket… or stupid red cosmic car. Look, I have no idea, all I know is you stood him up, and he was a robot. Now that just completely encompasses the pure failure with these things.
Oh look, a race car! That’s pretty sweet. Race cars are way cool and kids lov… AH! IT’S A FUCKIN’ SNAKE! Or, a lizard-dinosaur-alien thing… with immovable arms and… ya know what, this isn’t working. This is potentially the dumbest idea I have personally ever seen for a Go-Bot. Ever.
I stand corrected. Rocks. As toys. I’m stunned. Oh, and they made a damn move out of them. Sad.