The roster of the Transformer Animated series is causing quite a stir among the fans. Blurr, for example. Was there really a huge fanbase clamoring for the return of the Autobot voiced by the fast-talking Micro Machines guy? One of the most intriguing additions though, was this little lady:
Ladies and gentlemen, this would be Blackarachnia. She is, so far, the only tie to the Beast Wars/Beast Machines Transformers franchise that aired during the 90’s. The shows didn’t do too well in the ratings. Beast Wars, though, was retroactively declared by Transformers fans as having the best written and most thought-provoking stories in the whole Transformers franchise. Here’s how Blackarachnia appeared in the series.
Beast Wars Blackarachnia:
Beast Machines Blackarachnia:
Me, I had a hard time watching the show. The characters were so bland that I had a hard time caring about the outcome of the stories. And the show was done in early 3-D animation. It may have been pretty decent given the budget constraints and the technology of the time. However, I seriously had problems watching the first attempts at 3-D. To me, even Toy Story had a hard time captivating me. Everything then just seemed so … soulless.
I have to admit, though, the toys were pretty neat, especially the Transmetals and the Beast Machines figures. Transmetals returned to robot look to both humanoid and animal forms, thus restoring an old school Transformers appearance. I picked up Jawbreaker, Rhinox, and Dinobot. The Beast Machines brought back vehicular transformations, of which Jetstorm was the best. Beast Machines also had an interesting Megatron that turned into a dragon, a form that I felt would have been suitable for the Transformers movie. (Face it: that Cybertronian jet did sorta look like a dragon.)
Then, of course, there is the subject of this toy review: Blackarachnia, Beast Machines variety.
As a humanoid, Blackarachnia is pretty darn alluring. OK, so she’s got weird flat feet, an incredibly long middle finger that makes it look like she’s flippin’ everyone off, and a serious case of junk in the trunk. Fine. But there are plenty of positive aspects.
The most obvious one is that Blackarachnia is one of the few toys that represent a female Transformer. And she’s a shapely one to boot. The spindly spider legs combine to form a pretty fine pair of long female gams. Her head is full of nice touches. Her black hair carries a red black-widow-like mark. Her forehead has a layered visor, which can expand to reveal extra sets of eyes. This gal’s a spider even in robot form!
Robot Blackarachnia has articulated joints everywhere and is incredibly posable. I’d also have to say that — even setting aside the female form — she is also one of the best-proportioned Transformers. Other insect-based Transformers from the Beast era can get pretty damn weird-looking.
Initially, I was hugely disappointed over the spider transformation. It lacked complexity. Slide a piece of cowling over Blackarachnia’s face, and most of the transformation is finished. And the cowl doesn’t even completely cover the upper body, either. Turn the spider open, and there’s Blackarachnia’s torso and head, barely fitting under the spider’s abdomen.
The spider legs also looks unfinished. They expose the concavities in the plastic form and look like … well, they look like a human’s hollowed out legs split down the middle.
However, there are a lot of things to like about the spider form. For one, she does actually look creepy and organic — like a spider should be. Second, I’ve actually grown fond of simple transformations. My 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime is so complex and difficult that the big guy’s permanently in robot form. Blackarachnia gets from spider to robot in less than 30 seconds. Third, she has a natural-looking logo on the thorax, not a weird chest-mounted jewel like some of her contemporaries have. THis also shows the Maximal logo, which means she’s playing with the good guys now!
And finally, she became tons more fun when Remy of tfkenkon.com figured you could split the legs in robot form and turn Blackarachnia into a weird half-human/half-spider hybrid. (Scary anime head not necessary.)
So, I suppose to wrap up this review, Blackarachnia looks great as a robot, not-so-great as a spider, yet has so many points of articulation that this is one of the most versatile and posable Transformers I’ve yet encountered. And I can’t wait to see what they do with her in the Transformers Animated series.