Transformers Rescue Bots

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"Rescue Bots! Roll to the Rescue!"

Transformers Rescue Bots is a series in the Transformers franchise, targeted towards preschool children[1]. Two episodes first aired as a sneak preview in December of 2011, with the series premiering properly in 2012.

The series focuses on Heatwave, Chase, Blades, and Boulder, the last surviving group of "Rescue Bots", who come to Earth in response to Optimus Prime's message to Autobots scattered across the universe. However, rather than roll out for battle, Optimus has a different task in mind for them: acting as ambassadors to humanity and working as "Rescue Bots" once again. They are instructed to masquerade as advanced machinery and work with the Burns, a family of first-responders who live and work in the town of Griffin Rock, a technologically advanced town that's on the cutting edge of scientific advancement.

With Chase partnered with police chief Charlie Burns, Heatwave with fireman Kade, Blades with helicopter pilot Dani, and Boulder with engineer Graham, the humans, save for Charlie, are initially unaware of their new vehicles' true identity as alien robots. That is, until the youngest member of the family, Cody, deduces the truth and befriends the alien machines. Soon enough, the secret becomes known to the whole family, and together, they work to save the people of Griffin Rock from all manner of natural disasters and science gone awry.

As it's targeted towards a (slightly) younger demographic, Rescue Bots is considerably Lighter and Softer than other Transformers media, focusing on telling more lighthearted stories about rescue operations and teamwork rather than focusing on the war with the Decepticons, as most Transformers series do. However, the series does take some Broad Strokes from current Transformers media, particularly that of its sister series, Transformers Prime. Rescue Bots also uses a animation style similar to that of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, and has a fairly impressive voice cast consisting of Steve Blum, Maurice LaMarche, and LeVar Burton, among others.

This being a Transformers series, Rescue Bots, has an accompanying toy-line (which predates the show). Just as the animated series is targeted towards (slightly) younger viewers than previous Transformers series, so too are the toys, featuring simplistic transformations and playsets as well as tie in stories packaged in with the toys themselves.

Tropes used in Transformers Rescue Bots include:
  • Ace Pilot: Dani, naturally. Her being partnered with Blades, who is both afraid of heights and until coming to Earth had wheels, causes about as much frustration as you might expect.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Blades develops a bit of it after getting his absurdly useful scoop claw.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Blades isn't a fan of heights. So of course he gets the helicopter alt mode.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Boulder falls in love with Earth and its culture from the moment he sets foot on it.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kade sees Cody's attempts at trying to join the family on their assignments to be this, while Cody sees him as a milder Big Brother Bully that's trying to keep him out. Nevertheless, they do care about each other, as shown in "Under Pressure."
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Trex, the rampaging dinosaur robot from the first episode is immediately drawn to bright or flashing lights.
  • Badass Family: The entire Burns family, as befitting of a team of emergency rescue workers. Even the youngest, Cody, who isn't even an adult, is willing to put his life on the line.
  • Badass Mustache: Chief Burns is rocking one, as befitting a policeman.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: When the Rescue Bots finally get to fight the Morbot.
  • Beauty Contest: Miss Griffin Rock. The swimsuit round was unseen, and the speed calculus portion was cut short by a robo-shark sighting.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In "Under Pressure", the threat of Cody being in danger is what finally gets Kade to be serious and willing to be trusting of Heatwave.
  • Big Good: Optimus Prime, who (at least at this point) will only appear in the series occasionally as a guiding force for the Rescue Bots team.
  • Black Best Friend: Cody's friend, Francine Green.
    • Black and Nerdy: Francine shows herself to be this trope when she's more interested in a dinosaur exhibit than the flashier giant robots. Her father, being a scientist, also fits into this trope.
  • Broad Strokes: The series opens with the Rescue Bots' ship picking up a message sent to the stars by Optimus Prime, beckoning them to planet Earth. This is essentially similar to one sent by Optimus at the end of the Five Episode Pilot of Transformers Prime (itself inspired by yet another instance in the first movie). Furthermore, references to a "fallen Cybertron" and Heatwave expecting to "roll out" with other Autobots hint that other aspects of the "Aligned continuity" are present in this universe as well.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: The Rescue Bots are all colored in a lighter shade before scanning their eventual alternate modes, presumably so kids can tell them apart.
  • Convection Shmonvection: "Under Pressure" is rife with this, what with being an episode dealing with molten lava everywhere. The most egregious case being when Heatwave and Kade are trapped in a tunnel filling with the stuff, but suffer neither heat injury nor are they scalded when a full trough of water cools the lava and subsequently creates a bunch of steam.
  • Cool Airship: Dr. Morocco travels around in one.
  • Cool Shades: Heatwave, Blades, and Chase can all flip down a visor, presumably in order to protect their optics while doing rescue work.
  • Crossover: Some of the later episodes will be this to Prime, even featuring the 'Bots and 'Cons from that show.
  • Da Chief: Charlie Burns, natch.
  • Egg Sitting: Cody cares for Dr. Greene's Robo-baby, which ends up having to be saved by the Bots.
  • Expy: The Rescue Bots team has a similar purpose and theme to the Protectobots from Generation 1, with all of them save Boulder turning into the same kind of emergency vehicles. In practice, they also resemble archetypal characters from the broader Transformers mythos:
    • Heatwave shares an alternate mode with Hot Spot, the Protectobots' leader. He's also cut from the same cloth as Optimus Prime himself, with similar design elements. Prime also turned into a fire truck in several Transformers series, for the record.
      • He's also similar to "Rescue Roy", a character from an earlier Transformers toy-line that was also targeted towards preschool children.
    • Chase is evocative of Prowl, and shares his Robots in Disguise incarnation's fondness for adhering to and enforcing the rules.
    • Blades shares a name and alternate mode with Generation 1 Blades, but his fear of heights while also being a flier is more similar to that of Silverbolt, leader of the Aerialbots.
    • Finally, Boulder is clearly based on Bulkhead, right down to his colors, similar design, and being a Gentle Giant who loves Earth and is all around smarter than he looks.
      • His robot mode design (treads for arms, front for legs) is also similar to Scavenger's.
  • Famous Ancestor: The Burns family is descended from the founder of Griffin Rock.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: This is more or less Optimus Prime's response when the team contacts him about the difficulties they're having bonding with their human partners.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Genius Ditz: Doctor Greene, who is generally absent-minded and does things like trying to speed up computation time by hanging upside down... in the middle of a city-wide disaster.
  • Gentle Giant: Boulder, as shown by his immediate preference for saving the "natural beauty" around a burning building during the events of the first episode.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In the people of Griffin Rock's defense, who knew that putting a fake-but-functioning volcano in the middle of a populated island would lead to a natural disaster? No one could have predicted it. No one at all.
  • Grumpy Bear: Heatwave
  • Inferred Holocaust: This show being aimed at preschoolers, the only allusions to the wars typical to Transformers series are references to Cybertron being "fallen", and the series' heroes being the last group of rescue Autobots left.
  • Internal Homage/Mythology Gag: This being a Transformers series, this series is already accumulating quite a few of these.
    • Heatwave's alternate mode is very similar to that of Optimus Prime's in Transformers Cybertron.
    • The first episode features malfunctioning, rampaging robot dinosaurs, in a story that is similar to the plot of the Transformers Animated episode that introduced the Dinobots.
    • And, as noted above, the first episode features the Rescue Bots picking up a message from Optimus Prime calling them to Earth, much like the ones spoken in Transformers Prime and in the first movie.
    • The Rescue Bots are first shown in "blank", featureless forms prior to scanning alternate modes, similar to the "Protoforms" from the movie series.
    • Prime has offhandedly mentioned that he's found human children to be valuable allies, referencing the trend of 'Obligatory Child Friends' in the franchise. In fact, given Jeff Kline's confirmation that this show takes place in the same continuity as Prime, he may actually be directly referring to Jack, Miko, and Raf.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Kade initially refuses to to call Heatwave "he", treating him as just a simple machine.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Boulder's eyes turn from orange to blue when he's doing rescue work or pretending to be a man-made machine (the same sorts of situations the other bots use their Cool Shades for).
  • Last of Their Kind: The titular heroes are the sole surviving squad of "Rescue Bots" left active, a fact which surprises even Optimus Prime.
  • Late to the Punchline: In "Flobsters on Parade", Blades doesn't get the joke behind Cody calling the flying lobsters "flobsters" until the very end of the episode.
  • Lighter and Softer
  • Masquerade: The Rescue Bots have to hide their true selves and pass as advanced machinery. This being Transformers, it lasts all of one episode in regards to the Burns family. Heatwave isn't happy about this fact at first, especially in regards to being bossed around by Kade. That's right, they're Robots in Disguise... as robots.
    • Somewhat justified as fully-sentient robots able to think for themselves without human prodding might cause a panic. If one of the Rescue Bots had gone evil (not malfunctioning), it could tarnish the reputations of the Rescue Bots, the Burnses and possibly the Autobots by extension.
    • "The Alien Invasion of Griffin Rock" might have a handwave that in case the humans can't be with the Rescue Bots, the Bots have a programmed AI first directive of saving lives even without their drivers." If their cover gets blown to pieces in the process isn't as important as those lives saved.
  • Missing Mom: The Burns' family's mother does not appear to be around, and the first episode shows Charlie doing the cooking for the family.
  • No Antagonist: Because this is a younger series with its focus on emergency rescues, the Decepticons won't be showing up in this series, at least for now. Justified, since the four Rescue Bots are all too young to fight the 'Cons.
  • Not So Different: Heatwave and Kade, though you'd never get either of them to admit this fact.
  • Robo Speak: Cody tries to help the Rescue Bots adjust to their role of pretending to be "ordinary" robots by instructing them in how to do this (along with robot "walking"), using an old 1950's sci-flick.
  • Secret Keeper: Charlie at first, Cody later, and then eventually the entire Burns family by the end of episode one.
  • Shout-Out: Griffin Rock is rather similar to Eureka, Oregon don't you think?
    • And Doc's car in episode 3 looks a lot like a certain modified Delorean.
    • In "The Alien Invasion of Griffin Rock," one of the panicking citizens phone calls causes a character to retort that her husband Edgar is not a giant cockroach from Mars. Edgar was the name of the villain in the first Men in Black film, who was a giant cockroach alien.
      • In the same episode, a character runs down a street claiming "They're everywhere, they're everywhere" from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
      • Blades references ET.
      • And on top of that, it also references Alien and Predator.
      • And if you want to get even more obscure, the whole town packing over a "alleged broadcast" of an alien invasion is a reference to a real incidence in which people panicked over an alleged alien invasion in the 40s. The invasion turned out to be a radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds.
    • The episode title "Four Bots and a Baby" seems like a pretty clear reference to the film Three Men And A Baby.
    • The cross-eyed lion in one episode is a reference to Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion.
  • Spiritual Successor: The show is one to the earlier Transformers Go Bots series, as well as the Mattel "Rescue Heroes" toy-line. The notable difference in this case, however, is that Rescue Bots is (more or less) firmly set in the Transformers mythos.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Dani is the only girl in the Burns family, and thus, the only female member of the main heroes.
  • The So-Called Coward: Blades may not be the bravest Autobot, but when Cody is in danger in "Under Pressure", he's ready to fly through a cloud of volcanic ash in order to get the water to save him.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Graham initially believes that Boulder wouldn't want have anything to do with his "primitive" culture and knowledge, but was very, very wrong.
  • Supporting Leader: Optimus Prime. See Big Good above.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Cody is seen greeting a neighbor who uses a helicopter back-pack to get to work in the first episode.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: In an odd first-run example, the first episode of the series had just a Title Card and a snippet of theme music. Subsequent episodes have the full Theme Tune and opening animation.
  • Tsundere: In the second episode, neither Kade or Heatwave are willing to admit they're friends now, even after standing together when their lives were on the line; "It's not like we're friends" is even said verbatim.
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex: The first episode features a malfunctioning, robotic T-Rex.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This is Kade's initial reaction to the Autobots, considering them mere machines and being frustrated about how he has to do things like ask his ride to "roll down the window" for him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Blades is deathly afraid of heights. Considering he turns into a helicopter, this poses problems for him and his human partner, Dani.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Optimus Prime has his own play-set in the toy-line, while he isn't (currently) a main character in the show. What's even worse is Bumblebee, who has multiple toys, his own play-set themed after him, a healthy role in the marketing, all before making any kind of appearance in the series.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The reason why the Rescue Bots have to be "robots in disguise." However, the usual Transformers trappings are played with in that they get to pose as advanced machinery and not hide their robot modes. This is all part of an gradual plan to get humanity used to their presence.
  1. 7 and up, apparently