Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harry Potter

Harry Potter
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter, together with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his friends from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The central story arc concerns Harry's struggle against the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical (Muggle) people to his rule. Several successful derivative films, video games and other themed merchandise have been based upon the series.

Since the 1997 release of the first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.[1] As of June 2008, the book series has sold more than 400 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages,[2][3] and the last four books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.

English-language versions of the books are published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom, Scholastic Press in the United States, Allen & Unwin in Australia, and Raincoast Books in Canada. Thus far, the first six books have been made into a series of motion pictures by Warner Bros., with the sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on 15 July 2009.[4] The series also originated much tie-in merchandise, making the Harry Potter brand worth £15 billion. [5]

The novels revolve around Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers that he is a wizard.[6] Wizard ability is inborn, but children are sent to wizarding school to learn the magical skills necessary to succeed in the wizarding world.[7] Harry is invited to attend the boarding school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each book chronicles one year in Harry's life, and most of the events take place at Hogwarts.[8] As he struggles through adolescence, Harry learns to overcome many magical, social and emotional hurdles.[9]

Wizarding world

Flashbacks throughout the series reveal that when Harry was a baby he witnessed his parents' murder by Lord Voldemort who was a dark wizard obsessed with racial purity.[10] For reasons not immediately revealed, Voldemort's attempt to kill Harry rebounds.[10] Voldemort is seemingly killed and Harry survives with only a lightning-shaped mark on his forehead as a memento of the attack.[10] As its inadvertent saviour from Voldemort's reign of terror, Harry becomes a living legend in the wizard world. However, at the orders of his patron, the wizard Albus Dumbledore, the orphaned Harry is placed in the home of his unpleasant Muggle (non-wizard) relatives, who keep him safe but completely ignorant of his true heritage.[10]

The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, begins near Harry's 11th birthday. Half-giant Rubeus Hagrid reveals Harry's history and introduces him to the wizarding world.[10] The world J. K. Rowling created is both completely separate from and yet intimately connected to the real world. While the fantasy world of Narnia is an alternative universe and the Lord of the Rings’ Middle-earth a mythic past, the Wizarding world of Harry Potter exists alongside that of the real world and contains magical elements similar to things in the non-magical world. Many of its institutions and locations are in places that are recognisable in the real world, such as London.[11] It comprises a fragmented collection of hidden streets, overlooked and ancient pubs, lonely country manors and secluded castles that remain invisible to the non-magical population of Muggles.[7]

With Hagrid's help, Harry prepares for and undertakes his first year of study at Hogwarts. As Harry begins to explore the magical world, the reader is introduced to many of the primary locations used throughout the series. Harry meets most of the main characters and gains his two closest friends: Ron Weasley, a fun-loving member of an ancient, large, happy, but hard-up wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, an obsessively bookish witch of non-magical parentage.[10][12] Harry also encounters the school's potions master, Severus Snape, who displays a deep and abiding dislike for him. The plot concludes with Harry's second confrontation with Lord Voldemort, who in his quest for immortality, yearns to gain the power of the Philosopher's Stone.[10]

The series continues with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets describing Harry's second year at Hogwarts. He and his friends investigate a 50-year-old mystery that appears tied to recent sinister events at the school. The novel delves into the history of Hogwarts and a legend revolving around the "Chamber of Secrets", the underground lair of an ancient evil. For the first time, Harry realises that racial prejudice exists in the wizarding world, and he learns that Voldemort's reign of terror was often directed at wizards who were descended from Muggles. Harry is also shocked to learn that he can speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes; this rare ability is often equated with the dark arts. The novel ends after Harry saves the life of Ron's younger sister, Ginny Weasley, by defeating an attempt by Voldemort to reincarnate himself through the memories he stored within a diary.[10]

The third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, follows Harry in his third year of magical education. It is the only book in the series which does not feature Voldemort. Instead, Harry must deal with the knowledge that he has been targeted by Sirius Black, an escaped murderer believed to have assisted in the deaths of Harry's parents. As Harry struggles with his reaction to the dementors—dark creatures with the power to devour a human soul—which are ostensibly protecting the school, he reaches out to Remus Lupin, a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher with a dark secret. Lupin teaches Harry defensive measures which are well above the level of magic generally shown by people his age. Harry learns that both Lupin and Black were close friends of his father and that Black was framed by their fourth friend, Peter Pettigrew.[13]

Voldemort returns

During Harry's fourth year of school, detailed in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry unwillingly participates in the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous magical contest with the young foreign witches and wizards of visiting schools.[14] Harry attempts to discover who has forced him to compete in the tournament, and why.[15] An anxious Harry is guided through the tournament by Professor Alastor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. The point at which the mystery is unravelled marks the series' shift from foreboding and uncertainty into open conflict as the children are growing up. The novel ends with the resurgence of Voldemort and the death of a student.[15]

In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry must confront the newly resurfaced Voldemort. In response to Voldemort's reappearance, Dumbledore re-activates the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society which works from Sirius Black's dark family home to defeat Voldemort's minions and protect Voldemort's targets, including Harry. The Order includes many of the adults Harry trusts, including Lupin, Black, and members of the Weasley family, but also some surprising members. Good and the dark characters are not so obvious. Despite Harry's description of Voldemort's recent activities, the Ministry of Magic and many others in the magical world refuse to believe that Voldemort has returned.[16]

In an attempt to enforce a politically correct curriculum, the Ministry appoints Dolores Umbridge as the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She transforms the school by a dictatorial regime and refuses to allow the students to learn ways to defend themselves against dark magic.[16] Harry forms a secret study group to teach his classmates the higher-level skills he has learned. The novel introduces Harry to Luna Lovegood, an airy young witch with a tendency to believe in oddball conspiracy theories. An important prophecy concerning Harry and Voldemort is revealed,[17] and Harry discovers that he and Voldemort have a painful connection, allowing Harry to view some of Voldemort's actions telepathically. In the novel's climax, Harry and his school friends face off against Voldemort's Death Eaters, who include the rich and arrogant Malfoy family. The timely arrival of members of the Order of the Phoenix saves the children's lives and allows many of the Death Eaters to be captured.[16]

In their sixth year, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, our heroes have passed their OWL-levels and start on their specialist NEWT courses. Voldemort is leading another wizarding war, which has become so violent that even Muggles have noticed some of its effects. Although Harry and friends are relatively protected from that danger at Hogwarts, they are subject to all the difficulties of adolescence. At the beginning of the novel, he stumbles upon an old potions textbook filled with annotations and recommendations signed by a mysterious writer, the Half-Blood Prince.[18] While the shortcuts written in the book help Harry to excel at potions, he eventually learns to mistrust the anonymous writer's spells. Harry also takes private tutoring with Albus Dumbledore, who shows him various memories concerning the early life of Voldemort. These reveal that Voldemort's soul is splintered into a series of horcruxes, evil enchanted items hidden in various locations.[18] Harry's snobbish adversary, Draco Malfoy, attempts to attack Dumbledore, and the book culminates in a killing by Professor Snape.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series, begins directly after the events of the sixth book. Voldemort has completed his ascension to power and gains control of the Ministry of Magic. Harry, Ron, and Hermione drop out of school so that they can find and destroy Voldemort's remaining horcruxes. To ensure their own safety as well as that of their family and friends, they are forced to isolate themselves. As they search for the horcruxes, the trio learn details about Dumbledore's past, as well as Snape's true motives.

The book culminates in the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, in conjunction with members of the Order of the Phoenix and many of the teachers and students, defend Hogwarts from Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and various magical creatures. Several major characters are killed in the first wave of the battle and Voldemort resumes his intention to kill Harry. In an effort to save the survivors, Harry surrenders himself but the battle resumes as the parents of many Hogwarts students and residents of the nearby village Hogsmeade arrive to reinforce the Order of the Phoenix. With the last horcrux destroyed, Harry finally faces Voldemort. An epilogue describes the lives of the surviving characters and the effects on the wizarding world.

Supplementary works

Rowling has expanded the Harry Potter universe with several short books produced for various charities.[19][20] In 2001, she released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a purported Hogwarts textbook) and Quidditch Through the Ages (a book Harry read for fun). Proceeds from the sale of these two books benefitted the charity Comic Relief.[21] In 2007, Rowling composed seven handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairy tales that is featured in the final novel, one of which was auctioned to raise money for the Children's High Level Group, a fund for mentally disabled children in poor countries. The book was published internationally on 4 December 2008.[22][23][24] Rowling also wrote an 800-word prequel in 2008 as part of a fundraiser organised by the bookseller Waterstones.[25]

Structure and genre

The Harry Potter novels fall within the genre of fantasy literature; however, in many respects they are also bildungsromans, or coming of age novels.[26] They can be considered part of the British children's boarding school genre, which includes Enid Blyton's Malory Towers, St. Clare's and the Naughtiest Girl series, and Frank Richards's Billy Bunter novels.[27] The Harry Potter books are predominantly set in Hogwarts, a fictional British boarding school for wizards, where the curriculum includes the use of magic.[27] In this sense they are "in a direct line of descent from Thomas Hughes's Tom Brown's School Days and other Victorian and Edwardian novels of British public school life".[28][29] They are also, in the words of Stephen King, "shrewd mystery tales",[30] and each book is constructed in the manner of a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery adventure. The stories are told from a third person limited point of view with very few exceptions (such as the opening chapters of Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hallows and the first two chapters of Half-Blood Prince).

In the middle of each book, Harry struggles with the problems he encounters, and dealing with them often involves the need to violate some school rules—the penalties, in case of being caught out, being disciplinary punishments set out in the Hogwarts regulations (in which the Harry Potter books follow many precedents in the boarding school sub-genre).[27] However, the stories reach their climax in the summer term, near or just after final exams, when events escalate far beyond in-school squabbles and struggles, and Harry must confront either Voldemort or one of his followers, the Death Eaters, with the stakes a matter of life and death–a point underlined, as the series progresses, by one or more characters being killed in each of the final four books.[31][32] In the aftermath, he learns important lessons through exposition and discussions with head teacher and mentor Albus Dumbledore.

In the final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends spend most of their time away from Hogwarts, and only return there to face Voldemort at the dénouement.[31] Completing the bildungsroman format, in this part Harry must grow up prematurely, losing the chance of a last year as a pupil in a school and needing to act as an adult, on whose decisions everybody else depends—the grown-ups included.[33]

Themes

According to Rowling, a major theme in the series is death: "My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it."[34]

Academics and journalists have many other interpretations of themes in the books, some more complex than others, and some including political subtexts. Themes such as normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds have all been considered as prevalent throughout the series.[35] Similarly, the theme of making one's way through adolescence and "going over one's most harrowing ordeals—and thus coming to terms with them" has also been considered.[36] Rowling has stated that the books comprise "a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry" and that also pass on a message to "question authority and... not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth".[37][38]

While the books could be said to comprise many other themes, such as power/abuse of power, love, prejudice, and free choice, they are, as J.K. Rowling states, "deeply entrenched in the whole plot"; the writer prefers to let themes "grow organically", rather than sitting down and consciously attempting to impart such ideas to her readers.[39] Along the same lines is the ever-present theme of adolescence, in whose depiction Rowling has been purposeful in acknowledging her characters' sexualities and not leaving Harry, as she put it, "stuck in a state of permanent pre-pubescence".[40] Rowling said that, to her, the moral significance of the tales seems "blindingly obvious." The key for her was the choice between what is right and what is easy, "because that ... is how tyranny is started, with people being apathetic and taking the easy route and suddenly finding themselves in deep trouble."[41]

Origins and publishing history

In 1990, J. K. Rowling was on a crowded train from Manchester to London when the idea for Harry suddenly "fell into her head". Rowling gives an account of the experience on her website saying:[42]

"I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to me."

Rowling completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995 and the manuscript was sent off to several prospective agents.[43] The second agent she tried, Christopher Little, offered to represent her and sent the manuscript to Bloomsbury. After eight other publishers had rejected Philosopher's Stone, Bloomsbury offered Rowling a £2,500 advance for its publication.[44][45] Despite Rowling's statement that she did not have any particular age group in mind when beginning to write the Harry Potter books, the publishers initially targeted children aged nine to eleven.[46] On the eve of publishing, Rowling was asked by her publishers to adopt a more gender-neutral pen name in order to appeal to the male members of this age group, fearing that they would not be interested in reading a novel they knew to be written by a woman. She elected to use J. K. Rowling (Joanne Kathleen Rowling), using her grandmother's name as her second name because she has no middle name.[47][45]

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published by Bloomsbury, the publisher of all Harry Potter books in the United Kingdom, on 30 June 1997.[48] It was released in the United States on 1 September, 1998 by Scholastic—the American publisher of the books—as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,[49] after Rowling had received US$105,000 for the American rights—an unprecedented amount for a children's book by a then-unknown author.[50] Fearing that American readers would not associate the word "philosopher" with a magical theme (although the Philosopher's Stone is alchemy-related), Scholastic insisted that the book be given the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the American market.

The second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was originally published in the UK on 2 July 1998 and in the US on 2 June, 1999.[51][52] Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was then published a year later in the UK on 8 July 1999 and in the US on 8 September 1999.[51][52] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on 8 July 2000 at the same time by Bloomsbury and Scholastic.[53] Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest book in the series at 766 pages in the UK version and 870 pages in the US version.[54] It was published worldwide in English on 21 June 2003.[55] Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published on 16 July 2005, and it sold 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of its worldwide release.[56][57] The seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published 21 July 2007.[58] The book sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours of release, breaking down to 2.7 million copies in the UK and 8.3 million in the US.[59]

Translations

The series has been translated into 67 languages,[2][60] placing Rowling among the most translated authors in history.[61] The first translation was into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have been misleading to a young American audience.[62] Subsequently, the books have seen translations to diverse languages such as Ukrainian, Hindi, Bengali, Welsh, Afrikaans, Latvian and Vietnamese. The first volume has been translated into Latin and even Ancient Greek,[63] making it the longest published work in Ancient Greek since the novels of Heliodorus of Emesa in the 3rd century AD.[64]

Some of the translators hired to work on the books were quite well-known before their work on Harry Potter, such as Viktor Golyshev, who oversaw the Russian translation of the series' fifth book. The Turkish translation of books two to seven was undertaken by Sevin Okyay, a popular literary critic and cultural commentator.[65] For reasons of secrecy, translation can only start when the books are released in English; thus there is a lag of several months before the translations are available. This has led to more and more copies of the English editions being sold to impatient fans in non-English speaking countries. Such was the clamour to read the fifth book that its English language edition became the first English-language book ever to top the bestseller list in France.[66]

Completion of the series

In December 2005, Rowling stated on her web site, "2006 will be the year when I write the final book in the Harry Potter series."[67] Updates then followed in her online diary chronicling the progress of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with the release date of 21 July 2007. The book itself was finished on 11 January 2007 in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, where she scrawled a message on the back of a bust of Hermes. It read: "J. K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11 January 2007."[68]

Rowling herself has stated that the last chapter of the final book (in fact, the epilogue) was completed "in something like 1990".[69][70] In June 2006, Rowling, on an appearance on the British talk show Richard & Judy, announced that the chapter had been modified as one character "got a reprieve" and two others who previously survived the story had in fact been killed. On 28 March 2007, the cover art for the Bloomsbury Adult and Child versions and the Scholastic version were released.[71][72]

Achievements

Cultural impact

Fans of the series were so eager for the latest series release that bookstores around the world began holding events to coincide with the midnight release of the books, beginning with the 2000 publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The events, commonly featuring mock sorting, games, face painting, and other live entertainment have achieved popularity with Potter fans and have been highly successful in attracting fans and selling books with nearly nine million of the 10.8 million initial print copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold in the first 24 hours.[73][74] The series has also gathered adult fans, leading to the release of two editions of each Harry Potter book, identical in text but with one edition's cover artwork aimed at children and the other aimed at adults.[75] Besides meeting online through blogs, podcasts, and fansites, Harry Potter super-fans can also meet at Harry Potter symposia. The word Muggle has spread beyond its Harry Potter origins, used by many groups to indicate those who are not aware or are lacking in some skill. In 2003, Muggle, entered the Oxford English Dictionary with that definition.[76] The Harry Potter fandom has embraced podcasts as a regular, often weekly, insight to the latest discussion in the fandom. Both MuggleCast and PotterCast[77] have reached the top spot of iTunes podcast rankings and have been polled one of the top 50 favourite podcasts.[78]

Awards and honours

The Harry Potter series have been the recipients of a host of awards since the initial publication of Philosopher's Stone including four Whitaker Platinum Book Awards (all of which were awarded in 2001),[79] three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes (1997–1999),[80] two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1999 and 2001),[81] the inaugural Whitbread children's book of the year award (1999),[82] the WHSmith book of the year (2006),[83] among others. In 2000, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for Best Novel in the Hugo Awards while in 2001, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won said award.[84] Honours include a commendation for the Carnegie Medal (1997),[85] a short listing for the Guardian Children's Award (1998), and numerous listings on the notable books, editors' Choices, and best books lists of the American Library Association, The New York Times, Chicago Public Library, and Publishers Weekly.[86]

Commercial success

The popularity of the Harry Potter series has translated into substantial financial success for Rowling, her publishers, and other Harry Potter related license holders. This success has made Rowling the first and thus far only billionaire author.[87] The books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have also given rise to the popular film adaptations produced by Warner Bros., all of which have been successful in their own right with the first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, ranking number five on the inflation-unadjusted list of all-time highest grossing films and the other four Harry Potter films each ranking in the top 20.[88][3] The films have in turn spawned eight video games and have led to the licensing of more than 400 additional Harry Potter products (including an iPod) that have, as of 2005, made the Harry Potter brand worth an estimated US$4 billion and J. K. Rowling a US dollar billionaire,[89] making her, by some reports, richer than Queen Elizabeth II.[90][91] However, Rowling has stated that this is false.[92]

The great demand for Harry Potter books motivated the New York Times to create a separate bestseller list for children's literature in 2000, just before the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. By 24 June 2000, Rowling's novels had been on the list for 79 straight weeks; the first three novels were each on the hardcover bestseller list.[93] On 12 April 2007, Barnes & Noble declared that Deathly Hallows had broken its pre-order record, with more than 500,000 copies pre-ordered through its site.[94] For the release of Goblet of Fire, 9,000 FedEx trucks were used with no other purpose than to deliver the book.[95] Together, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble pre-sold more than 700,000 copies of the book.[95] In the United States, the book's initial printing run was 3.8 million copies.[95] This record statistic was broken by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with 8.5 million, which was then shattered by Half-Blood Prince with 10.8 million copies.[96] 6.9 million copies of Prince were sold in the U.S. within the first 24 hours of its release; in the United Kingdom more than two million copies were sold on the first day.[97] The initial U.S. print run for Deathly Hallows was 12 million copies, and more than a million were pre-ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.[98]

Criticism, praise, and controversy

Literary criticism

Early in its history, Harry Potter received positive reviews, which helped the series to grow a large readership. On publication, the first volume, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, attracted attention from the Scottish newspapers, such as The Scotsman, which said it had "all the makings of a classic",[99] and The Glasgow Herald, which called it "Magic stuff".[99] Soon the English newspapers joined in, with more than one comparing it to Roald Dahl's work: The Mail on Sunday rated it as "the most imaginative debut since Roald Dahl",[99] a view echoed by The Sunday Times ("comparisons to Dahl are, this time, justified"),[99] while The Guardian called it "a richly textured novel given lift-off by an inventive wit".[99] A less positive impression of the first book came from female fantasy writer Ursula Le Guin, who said: "I have no great opinion of it. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the "incredible originality" of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid's fantasy crossed with a "school novel", good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited." [100]

By the time of the release of the fifth volume, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the books began to receive strong criticism from a number of literary scholars. Yale professor, literary scholar and critic Harold Bloom raised criticisms of the books' literary merits, saying, "Rowling's mind is so governed by clichés and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing."[101] A. S. Byatt authored a New York Times op-ed article calling Rowling's universe a "secondary world, made up of patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature ... written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip".[102]

The critic Anthony Holden wrote in The Observer on his experience of judging Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the 1999 Whitbread Awards. His overall view of the series was negative—"the Potter saga was essentially patronising, conservative, highly derivative, dispiritingly nostalgic for a bygone Britain", and he speaks of "pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style".[103]

By contrast, author Fay Weldon, while admitting that the series is "not what the poets hoped for", nevertheless goes on to say, "but this is not poetry, it is readable, saleable, everyday, useful prose".[104] The literary critic A. N. Wilson praised the Harry Potter series in The Times, stating: "There are not many writers who have JK’s Dickensian ability to make us turn the pages, to weep—openly, with tears splashing—and a few pages later to laugh, at invariably good jokes ... We have lived through a decade in which we have followed the publication of the liveliest, funniest, scariest and most moving children’s stories ever written".[105] Charles Taylor of Salon.com, who is primarily a movie critic,[106] took issue with Byatt's criticisms in particular. While he conceded that she may have "a valid cultural point—a teeny one—about the impulses that drive us to reassuring pop trash and away from the troubling complexities of art",[107] he rejected her claims that the series is lacking in serious literary merit and that it owes its success merely to the childhood reassurances it offers. Taylor stressed the progressively darker tone of the books, shown by the murder of a classmate and close friend and the psychological wounds and social isolation each causes. Taylor also argued that Philosopher's Stone, said to be the most lighthearted of the seven published books, disrupts the childhood reassurances that Byatt claims spur the series' success: the book opens with news of a double murder, for example.[107]

Stephen King called the series "a feat of which only a superior imagination is capable", and declared "Rowling's punning, one-eyebrow-cocked sense of humour" to be "remarkable". However, he wrote that despite the story being "a good one", he is "a little tired of discovering Harry at home with his horrible aunt and uncle", the formulaic beginning of all seven books.[30] King has also joked that "Rowling's never met an adverb she did not like!" He does however predict that Harry Potter "will indeed stand time's test and wind up on a shelf where only the best are kept; I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo, and Dorothy and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages."[108]

Social impacts

Although Time magazine named Rowling as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year award, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom,[109] cultural comments on the series have been mixed. Washington Post book critic Ron Charles opined in July 2007 that the large numbers of adults reading the Potter series but few other books may represent a "bad case of cultural infantilism", and that the straightforward "good vs. evil" theme of the series is "childish". He also argued "through no fault of Rowling's", the cultural and marketing "hysteria" marked by the publication of the later books "trains children and adults to expect the roar of the coliseum, a mass-media experience that no other novel can possibly provide".[110]

Librarian Nancy Knapp pointed out the books' potential to improve literacy by motivating children to read much more than they would otherwise do [111] Agreeing about the motivating effects, Diane Penrod also praised the books' blending of simple entertainment with "the qualities of highbrow literary fiction", but expressed concern about the distracting effect of the prolific merchandising that accompanies the book launches.[112]

Jennifer Conn used Snape's and Quidditch coach Madam Hooch's teaching methods as examples of what to avoid and what to emulate in clinical teaching, [113] and Joyce Fields wrote that the books illustrate four of the five main topics in a typical first-year sociology class: "sociological concepts including culture, society, and socialisation; stratification and social inequality; social institutions; and social theory".[114]

Jenny Sawyer wrote in the 25 July 2007 Christian Science Monitor that the books represent a "disturbing trend in commercial storytelling and Western society" in that stories "moral center have all but vanished from much of today's pop culture ... after 10 years, 4,195 pages, and over 375 million copies, J. K. Rowling's towering achievement lacks the cornerstone of almost all great children's literature: the hero's moral journey". Harry Potter, Sawyer argues, neither faces a "moral struggle" nor undergoes any ethical growth, and is thus "no guide in circumstances in which right and wrong are anything less than black and white".[115] On the other hand Emily Griesinger described Harry's first passage through to Platform 9¾ as an application of faith and hope, and his encounter with the Sorting Hat as the first of many in which Harry is shaped by the choices he makes. She also noted the "deeper magic" by which the self-sacrifice of Harry's mother protects the boy throughout the series, and which the power-hungry Voldemort fails to understand.[116]

In a 8 November 2002 Slate Magazine article, Chris Suellentrop likened Potter to a "a trust-fund kid whose success at school is largely attributable to the gifts his friends and relatives lavish upon him". Noting that in Rowling's fiction, magical ability potential is "something you are born to, not something you can achieve", Suellentrop wrote that Dumbledore's maxim that "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" is hypocritical, as "the school that Dumbledore runs values native gifts above all else".[117] In an 12 August 2007 The New York Times review of The Deathly Hallows, however, Christopher Hitchens praised Rowling for "unmooring" her "English school story" from literary precedents "bound up with dreams of wealth and class and snobbery", arguing that she had instead created "a world of youthful democracy and diversity".[118]

Controversies

he books have been the subject of a number of legal proceedings, stemming either from claims by American Christian groups that the magic in the books promotes witchcraft among children, or from various conflicts over copyright and trademark infringements. The popularity and high market value of the series has led Rowling, her publishers, and film distributor Warner Bros. to take legal measures to protect their copyright, which have included banning the sale of Harry Potter imitations, targeting the owners of websites over the "Harry Potter" domain name, and suing author Nancy Stouffer to counter her accusations that Rowling had plagiarised her work.[119][120][121] Various religious conservatives have claimed that the books promote witchcraft and are therefore unsuitable for children,[122] while a number of critics have criticised the books for promoting various political agendas.[123][124]

The books also aroused controversies in the literary and publishing worlds. In 1997 to 1998 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won almost all the UK awards judged by children, but none of the children's book awards judged by adults,[125] and Sandra Beckett suggested the reason was intellectual snobbery towards books that were popular among children.[126] In 1999 the winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award children's division was entered for the first time on the shortlist for the main award, and one judge threatened to resign if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was declared the overall winner; it finished second, very close behind the winner of the poetry prize, Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.[126]

In 2000, shortly before publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the previous three Harry Potter books topped the New York Times fiction best-seller list and a third of the entries were children's books. The newspaper created a new children's section cover splits children's sections, including both fiction and non-fiction, and initially counting only hardback sales. The move was supported by publishers and booksellers.[127] In 2004 New York Times further split the children's list, which was still dominated by Harry Potter books into sections for series and individual books, and removed the Harry Potter books from the section for individual books.[128] The split in 2000 attracted condemnation, praise and some comments that presented both benefits and disadvantages of the move.[129] Time suggested that, on the same principle, Billboard should have created a separate "mop-tops" list in 1964 when the Beatles held the top five places in its list, and Nielsen should have created a separate game-show list when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? dominated the ratings.[130]

Films

In 1998[131], Rowling sold the film rights of the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million ($1,982,900).[132] Rowling demanded the principal cast be kept strictly British, nonetheless allowing for the inclusion of many Irish actors such as the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and for casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as such.[133] After many directors including Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, and Alan Parker were considered, Chris Columbus was appointed on 28 March, 2000 as director for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States), with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire as influences for their decision.[134] After extensive casting,[135] filming began in October 2000 at Leavesden Film Studios and in London itself, with production ending in July 2001.[136] Philosopher's Stone was released on 14 November, 2001. Just three days after Philosopher's Stone's release, production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also directed by Columbus began, finishing in summer 2002. The film was released on 15 November 2002.[137]

Chris Columbus declined to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, only acting as producer. Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón took over the job, and after shooting in 2003, the film was released on 4 June 2004. Due to the fourth film beginning its production before the third's release, Mike Newell was chosen as the director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,[138] released on 18 November 2005. Newell declined to direct the next movie, and British television director David Yates was chosen for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which began production on January 2006,[139] and was released on 11 July 2007. Yates also directed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,[140] for release on 15 July 2009.[4][141] In March 2008, Warner Bros. announced that the final instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be filmed in two segments, with part one released in November 2010 and part two released in July 2011. Yates is expected to return to direct both films.[142] The Harry Potter films were huge box office hits, with four of the five on the 20 highest-grossing films worldwide.[143]

Opinions of the films are generally divided among fans, with one group preferring the more faithful approach of the first two films, and another group preferring the more stylised character-driven approach of the later films.[144] Rowling has been constantly supportive of the films,[145][146][147] and evaluated Order of the Phoenix as "the best one yet" in the series. She wrote on her web site of the changes in the book-to-film transition, "It is simply impossible to incorporate every one of my storylines into a film that has to be kept under four hours long. Obviously films have restrictions novels do not have, constraints of time and budget; I can create dazzling effects relying on nothing but the interaction of my own and my readers’ imaginations".[148]

Audiobooks

The Harry Potter books have all been released on unabridged audiobook. The UK versions are read by Stephen Fry and the US versions are read by Jim Dale. Dale is also the narrator for the special features disc on the DVDs.

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source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_potter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Transformers: Cybertron

Transformers: Cybertron
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transformers: Cybertron, known in Japan originally as Transformers: Galaxy Force (トランスフォーマー ギャラクシーフォース, Toransufōmā: Garakushī Fōsu?), is the 2005-2006 Transformers toy line and animated series, another co-production between Hasbro and Takara. It was aired in Japan as a separate rebooted transformers series, though in America, Hasbro marketed it as a sequel to the previous series, Transformers: Armada and Transformers: Energon by adding additional dialogue and reusing a number of screens to link elements of the Armada and Energon series to the show, giving the impression that it is a sequel.

When the destruction of Unicron results in the formation of a massive black hole, the planet Cybertron, home world of the Transformers, is threatened, and its population is evacuated to Earth, taking the forms of local vehicles and machinery to hide from humanity. As this occurs, Optimus Prime's elite team of Autobot warriors are approached by the ancient Transformer Vector Prime, who has emerged from his resting place in the void outside of time to inform them of the legendary Cyber Planet Keys, ancient artifacts of power which can stop the black hole and save the universe. Lost due to an accident during an attempt to create a cross-universal space bridge network, the Cyber Planet Keys now reside on four worlds somewhere in the universe - unfortunately, Vector Prime's map showing their location is stolen by Decepticon leader Megatron, and both forces relocate to Earth as the race to find them begins.
Megatron races Override

On Earth, the Autobots befriend three human children named Coby, Bud and Lori, played by Sarah Edmondson, who aid them in locating the Omega Lock, the focusing device for the Cyber Planet Key's power. With new "Cyber Key Powers" awakened in them, the Transformers battle on many fronts, searching for the Lock on Earth while Hot Shot and Red Alert head for Velocitron, the Speed Planet, which is the resting place of the first key. As Hot Shot competes in the planet's grand racing championship to win the key from planet leader Override, the Lock is located on Earth in the bulk of the crashed Transformer spaceship the Atlantis, and Autobot Overhaul heads for the next world, Jungle Planet, where the power of its Cyber Planet Key reformats him into Leobreaker. Megatron ingratiates himself with Jungle Planet ruler Scourge, while at the same time, his scheming lieutenant Starscream teams up with the mysterious Sideways, working towards his own goals.

Ultimately, the Autobots succeed in acquiring the Keys of both Velocitron and Jungle Planet, at which point the existence of Earth's own Cyber Planet Key is revealed. Starscream makes his power play and overthrows Megatron, stealing the Omega Lock and all three keys from the Autobots and using them to grow in size and power. Their forces bolstered by the ancient Autobots from Earth and the arrival of Wing Saber, who combines with Optimus Prime, the Autobots fight their way through a vengeful Megatron and defeat Starscream - but the battle is not without casualties, as Hot Shot, Red Alert and Scattershot are gravely wounded and rebuilt into the even more powerful "Cybertron Defense Team."

Returning to Cybertron, the Autobots use the Omega Lock and Cyber Planet Keys, which awakens the spirit of Primus, the deity who is creator of the Transformers, and Cybertron itself actually transforms into the god's body. After a battle in which Starscream taps the power of Primus and grows to planetary size - only to be defeated by Primus himself - the location of the fourth and final key is determined as Gigantion, the Giant Planet. Gigantion, however, exists in another dimension, having fallen through a rift in space/time, and while the Autobots are able to reach the planet, the Decepticons are led there by the enigmatic Soundwave. Bested by the planet's leader Metroplex, Megatron taps the key's power to become Galvatron, and Sideways and Soundwave reveal themselves to be inhabitants of Planet X, a world destroyed by the Gigantions, upon whom they seek revenge. Galvatron blasts them and Starscream into another dimension and acquires the Lock and Keys for himself, intending to use their power to accelerate the universal degeneration caused by the black hole and remake the cosmos in his own image. Vector Prime sacrifices his life to allow the Autobots to return to their home universe, and the five planet leaders confront Galvatron within the black hole and defeat him. With all the Cyber Planet Keys now in his possession, Primus uses their power to finally seal the black hole, ending its threat.

As the planet's various civilizations attempt to return to life as normal, Galvatron attacks the Autobots for one final time. Without any troops to call his own, Galvatron engages Optimus Prime in a one-on-one duel, and is finally destroyed for good. Optimus says "We're like the two sides of the same coin, forever connected, it has to be me who does this." With this final victory, Optimus Prime begins a new space bridge initiative, and the Transformers set sail for the four corners of the universe, and new adventures.

List of characters in Transformers: Cybertron


Cybertron Autobots

* Optimus Prime (Galaxy Convoy): As the Supreme Commander (Soshireikan) of the Autobot military, Prime organizes the evacuation of Cybertron and the relocation of the planet's inhabitants to Earth. Although a stern and methodical leader, he is a compassionate robot who deeply cares for each of his subordinates. At first, Prime is firmly opposed to interacting with the natives of the worlds the Autobots visit, but soon comes to realise the benefits of the allies the Autobots gain.

Prime transforms into a fire engine, and can convert into a secondary flight mode, or merge with his trailer into Super Mode. Later using the Matrix of Leadership replacing the role of the Spark of Combination, he combines with his fellow Autobot Leobreaker to form Savage Claw Mode (Liger Convoy) , and with Wing Saber to from Sonic Wing Mode (High-speed Mobile Supreme Commander (Kosoku Kido Soshireikan) Sonic Convoy) though the Autobots claim when Prime and Leobraker combine for the first time, "I didn't know Autobots could do that".. Whether he or Galvatron are the stronger, or if both are in perfect balance is unknown, as although Prime did ultimately destroy Galvatron in one final blow, it was with Vector Prime's sword, given to him in the last few seconds before they clashed for the last time. His Cyber Key Power makes his cannons more powerful ("Galaxy Cannon: Full Burst!). As Liger Convoy, his Force Chip special attack was Liger Grand Break; as Sonic Convoy, it was Sonic Double Impact or Galaxy Caliber.

* Jetfire (Dreadrock): As Optimus Prime's second-in-command, Jetfire always follows orders, but he is willing to take matters into his own hands to get things done. Now having picked up the native accent of the planet Nebulos, Jetfire transforms into a cargo plane based on an An-225 Cossack and can unleash a pair of twin cannons through the use of his Cyber Key Power (Dread Cannon - Full Burst). He also has a turbine wind attack (Jetstream, Turbine Wave in the English dub). He became leader of Cybertron after Optimus Prime leaves for the Space Bridge Project.

* Wing Saber (Sonic Bomber): Between the events of Cybertron and the Transformers: Energon animated series, Wing Saber developed a problem with authority, and departed from his duty with the Autobots after a dispute with Optimus Prime over the life of a human astronaut. Rejoining the Autobots on Earth in the midst of a battle with a super-powered Starscream, he renewed his ability to combine with Optimus Prime and become a valued member of his team. At the end he fought Starscream.

Wing Saber transforms into a jet resembling an A-10 Warthog. He is armed with a pair of saber swords (Flap Swords), and can activate the energy cannon mounted on his back with his Cyber Key Power (Galaxy Caliber). He combines with Optimus Prime into Sonic Wing Mode (Sonic Convoy, with the Force Chip special attack Sonic Double Impact).

* Landmine (Guardshell): Back in the day, the elderly Landmine trained many young Autobots, including his old friend Mudflap and Optimus Prime himself. During the opening stages of the crisis that sprung up around the black hole, Landmine was transported to Earth by Vector Prime to save him from the black hole's power, where he met and befriended the three human children who became the Autobots' allies. He transforms into a payloader, and can generate whirlwinds with the bladed wheels unleashed by his Cyber Key Power (Tornado Cutter, Cyber Tempest in the English dub). He also seems to be an homage to the Armada Character Scavenger, in transformation and role (as Optimus' mentor.)

Cybertron Defense Team

* Hot Shot (Exillion/Exigeyser): The brash youth of the Autobot team, Hot Shot's got a need for speed. An avid racer, he takes pride in the fact that he considers himself the fastest in the universe. Once on Velocitron, the Speed Planet, however, Hot Shot finds his title challenged by the planet leader Override, leading to many races, and a personal conflict between duty and ego. Later in the series, after being damaged by Megatron, he is upgraded into a new armored vehicle form as part of the Cybertron Defense Team (Vanguard Team). Hot Shot becomes the leader of Velocitron when Override is gone.

Hot Shot initially transformed into a swift sportscar that could be boosted to even greater speeds through his Cyber Key Power (Accel Wing). After being upgraded, he now transforms into a military APC armed with multiple missile launchers, and his Force Chip power becomes Double X Shot or Battle Dagger. The Cybertron Defense Team can combine their Cyber Key special attacks against a single foe (Triangle Attack), such as Galvatron.

* Scattorshot (Backpack/Backgild): The Autobots' main technical expert, Scattorshot spends most of his time in the base analyzing monitors. Though he can handle his duties with precision, he is known for being quite nervous and unsure of himself. After being damaged by Megatron, he was upgraded by the Omega Lock and made a member of the Cybertron Defense Team, becoming more sure of himself. He speaks with a Southern accent ( which possibly a homage to ironhide).

Prior to his reformatting, Scattershot transformed into a half-track missile launcher vehicle with Cyber Key Power grenades ("Ground Shot Up" or "Land Shot" in Galaxy Force). In his recreated form as a missile launcher tank, his Cyber Key Power transforms his launchers into a powerful rifle and rocket launcher ("Twin Search Missile" in Galaxy Force). The Cybertron Defense Team can combine their Cyber Key special attacks against a single foe (Triangle Attack), such as Galvatron.

* Red Alert (First-Aid/First Gunner): Red Alert is the Autobot Medical Expert and Chief Science Officer, as well as a long-time veteran of the Cybertronian wars. When the British 'bot and Hot Shot were sent to Velocitron, his matter-of-factness lead him to clash with the younger Autobot. Later, like Hot Shot and Scattorshot, he gained a new form after being damaged by Megatron and became part of the elite Cybertron Defense Team.

First Aid initially transforms into an ambulance armed with an electron wrench, a repair hammer, and two Photon Beam cannons activated by his Cyber Key (Photon Beam). After reformatting, he became an armored missile launching vehicle, equipped with a massive missile that generates powerful energy blasts (Giga Vanisher). The Cybertron Defense Team can combine their Cyber Key special attacks against a single foe (Triangle Attack), such as Galvatron.

Velocitron Autobots

The Cybertronian starship called the Ogygia came to rest on a barren world, which its inhabitants soon dubbed Velocitron, the Speed Planet. The world was decorated with vast race tracks, and the starship's occupants spent their days competing in races until, by the present day, their descendants filled their time with nothing but. The entire culture of Velocitron is built around racing and speed, and it's Cyber Planet Key is, naturally, a racing trophy that can only be acquired by defeating the planet's leader

* Override (Nitro Convoy): Long-time ruler of Velocitron, Override's life is dominated by racing, to the extent that she would not impart information, or even hold a conversation with anyone if they did not face her in a race. When Hot Shot arrived on Velocitron, the noble goals of the young Autobot swayed her to their side, and she joined the heroes in the greatest race of all - the race to save the galaxy. Override transforms into a race car(most likely a lotus), and her Cyber Key power allows her to boost her engine speed (Nitro Boost). She is armed with a double-barrelled blaster activated by her Cyber Key (Mach Shot). Known as the Sonic Commander (Onsoku Shireikan).

Override was originally conceived as a male character, and appears as such as in Transformers: Galaxy Force, the Japanese counterpart of Cybertron. Cartoon Network's desire that the show have a greater female presence saw Hasbro recast Override as a female - a change that, though seeming sheer coincidence, functions very well, given the character's friendship with Lori and rivalry with Thunderblast.

* Clocker (Skids): A young and spunky denizen of Velocitron, Clocker is a student of the racing master Brakedown, who met and befriended Hot Shot when the Autobot came to Speed Planet. He transforms into a convertible race car, and his Cyber Key activated a double-barrelled blaster (Smash Burner). He was in the race for the cyber key, but was dropped after the first race.

* Brakedown (Autolander): One of the oldest residents of Speed Planet and a friend and teacher to Clocker, Brakedown's wisdom as an experienced racer gives him a different perspective on situation than others, making him invaluable to young racers in training. Allying with the Autobots after meeting Hot Shot, he transforms into a dragster, and his Cyber Key activates a bladed weapon (Motor Blade). His relationship with Hot Shot is comparable to Hot Rod and Kup from the original G1 cartoon. He was in the cyber key race, but was dropped after the desert race.

Jungle Planet Autobots

When the Autobot starship the Hyperborea landed on the lush, green world of Jungle Planet, the ship's occupants adopted animal alternate modes, but as time wore on, they and their descendants took on the characteristics of the beasts they mimicked, becoming segregated and bestial. With parties of violent raiders attacking the weaker inhabitants, a feudal law of "Might makes right" came into effect, making the already untamed wilds of the planet even more dangerous.

* Overhaul (Jackshot) / Leobreaker (Ligerjack): Overhaul was once a famous Autobot soldier with a reputation for winning seemingly impossible battles. However, he was considered a loose cannon, and thus, felt alone. As a member of Optimus Prime's team, however, he realized he wasn't completely without friends or allies. Stranded on the Jungle Planet, he engaged planet leader Scourge in battle and called out to the power of the world's Cyber Planet Key when badly damaged, which reformatted him into the bestial Leobreaker. His doubts cause Nemesis Breaker to be born and Megatron gains Dark Claw Mode ability. Ever since he became Leobreaker he tried to take down Scourge.

As Overhaul, he transformed into a military offroad SUV, and his Cyber Key Power allowed him to launch a piledriving missile from his chest ("Anchor Shot" in Galaxy Force). Reformatted into Leobreaker, he gained a lion alternate mode and deadly Cyber Key Power claws (Platinum Claw, as well as Ultra Liger Drop), and could now combine with Optimus Prime into Savage Claw Mode (Liger Convoy, with the Force Chip special attack Liger Grand Break).

* Backstop (Saidos): A zen master of combat, Backstop trained the weaker fighters of Jungle Planet, but at the same time, advocated the values of fighting only when necessary, and striving for peace, rather than fighting for fighting's sake. These were values that his student Scourge could not accept, and he left Backstop's tutelage; when the Autobot Overhaul arrived on the planet, Backstop and his last remaining student Snarl trained him, and sided with Optimus Prime's forces in the battle to save the galaxy. He transforms into a rhinoceros, and his Cyber Key extends his horn into a bladed battering-ram (Bloody Horn).

* Snarl (Fang Wolf): As Backstop's student, Snarl was formerly friends with the planet leader, Scourge. He stayed at Scourge's side to keep an eye on his old friend, until Overhaul arrived on the planet and Snarl was branded a traitor for helping him. He formed a connection with the Autobot, and eventually left his planet to help Optimus Prime save the universe. He transforms into a wolf, with two armor-piercing fangs activated by his Cyber Key (Power Fang).

Gigantion Autobots

The fourth and final Autobot ship, the Lemuria, landed safely on this world. Some time into the colonisation of the planet, it fell victim to a tear in reality, and slipped through a wormhole into another dimension, where it was attacked by the warmongering inhabitants of the vile Planet X. Through the power of their Cyber Planet Key, the planet's inhabitants became gigantic in size and fought back, leaving Planet X with no option but to use their mightiest weapon, only to wind up destroying themselves in the process. Saddened by their planetary level of destruction, the Gigantions dedicated themselves to construction, covering their planet with gargantuan cities which they completed and then abandoned, moving on to the next project. To continue this ongoing task, they built new layers on top of the cities, repeating the process over and over, until the planet itself was colossal. In addition to the giant Transformers, Gigantion is also populated by Mini-Cons, who perform the small, intricate, detailed tasks of construction that the larger robots cannot.

For whatever reason, all the inhabitants of Gigantion speak with Scottish German and Irish accents.

* Metroplex (Megalo Convoy): The leader of the Transformers on Giant Planet, Metroplex is the largest of the large, the bravest of the brave and the kindest of the kind. He is physically powerful enough to best Megatron in mere seconds (an unequaled feat amongst the Transformers of this era), and joined up with the Autobots almost as quickly. He transforms into a bucket wheel excavator, and wields a gigantic axe, called Sparkdrinker. He can also assume a smaller "work mode" for more precise tasks. He is partnered with the Mini-Con Drill Bit (Horribull), who become a drilling vehicle. He can mount on Metroplex's right arm or the back of his axe. He functions as a coordinator, and plans all of the Mini-Con work in Gigantion. Many of those Mini-Cons consider him the leader of their planet. Metroplex lends Optimus Prime Sparkdrinker for Optimus to use as a bludgeoning weapon (Galaxy Giga Crush). His Cyber Key powers up Sparkdrinker (Megalo Crush/Axe Crusher), or he can throw it like a boomerang (albeit a very big one) (Megalo Boomerang). Known as the Gigantic Commander (Kyoshin Shireikan).

* Quickmix (Blender): Metroplex's right hand man and knows "a lot about a lot." His skill is as an advisor and a technical worker, but he can fight just as well as anyone, with a Cyber Key Power that transforms the drum of his concrete mixer alternate mode into a blaster (Mixing Cannon). His Mini-Con partner is named Stripmine (Killbull), who transforms into a mining vehicle. He helps to operate Quickmix while the latter is in vehicle mode. Stripmine's function is Heavy Machine Operations.

Ancient Transformers

* Vector Prime: As one of the first thirteen Transformers created by the race's deity, Primus. Vector Prime hails from the very beginning of Cybertron. Having removed himself from the linear universe eons ago, he existed outside of time, watching over the multiverse until the threat of the black hole emerged, forcing him to return to Cybertron and alert Optimus Prime's Autobots to the power of the Cyber Planet Keys.

Vector Prime transforms into an ancient Cybertronian spaceship. His sword, Rhisling, is sharp enough to rend the fabric of space and time and open portals to anywhere in the galaxy, while his Cyber Key Power generates a protective forcefield but rarely uses it (Repulsion Field, other powers are Time Relief and Action Field). He is partnered with the Mini-Con Safeguard (Roots), and is the guardian of the Mini-Con Recon Team, who he encountered on his journey. Also stranded along with the Recon Team, Safeguard bonded with Vector Prime when he rescued them and became his personal partner. Often functioning as a scout, he transforms into a small jet-like vehicle that can mount to Vector Prime's arm as a blaster.

Recon Mini-Con Team

This trio of Mini-Cons hail from Gigantion, but were stranded in space and time when a game of hide and seek went awry. Discovered by Vector Prime, they were brought to Earth by him, where they quickly befriended the Autobots' human allies Bud, Coby and Lori, due to having minds that function like human children's.

* Jolt (Hop): Transforms into a helicopter and is obsessed with Earth culture, from television to movies to the internet. Jolt is the only Mini-Con who can speak English.
* Six-Speed (Blit): Transforms from a race car.
* Reverb (Bumper): Transforms from a pick-up truck.

Cybertron Decepticons

* Megatron (Master Megatron) / Galvatron (Master Galvatron): Trapped within an energon sun at the conclusion of Transformers: Energon, Megatron was freed from his imprisonment when the sun collapsed into the massive black hole that threatened Cybertron. Having absorbed the remnants of Unicron's armor and power into his own body, Megatron is now arguably the most powerful Decepticon, and seeks to use the power of the Cyber Planet Keys to remold the universe in his own image. Despite recruiting natives from all the different worlds that the Transformers visited, Megatron was continuously met with failure, but upon his defeat by Metroplex on Gigantion, his Armor of Unicron tapped into the world's Cyber Planet Key and upgraded him into the insanely powerful Galvatron. He won more battles as Galvatron and stole the completed Omega Lock for many episodes.

Megatron is a Triple Changer, transforming from a Batmobile-like dragster into a Cybertronian jet. He can project devastating electrical blasts from his hands, and his Cyber Key activates many powers, including vehicle-mode thrusters, a claw shield (Death Claw) and his deadly "Death Machine Gun," (Death Machine Gun) with which he fatally injured Hot Shot, Red Alert and Scattorshot. He could also combine with Nemesis Breaker to form Dark Claw Mode (Liger Megatron) for a short period of time, with a similar Cyber Key power to Optimus Prime's Savage Claw Mode Cyber Key attack (Liger Death Strike).
As Galvatron, he retained all his previous attacks, could project dark energy, and shape it into a sword. In his final battle with Optimus Prime, he gained a new transformation in which his back wings/cape formed a cannon on his chest, which fired dark electrical energy (Death Cannon). His armor can also restore him.

* Starscream: Also freed from the sun upon its collapse, Starscream assumed the position of Megatron's second-in-command. But his experiences throughout the Transformers: Armada and Energon conflict had shaped Starscream into a bitter mech with his own ambitions, and he sought to acquire the power of the Cyber Planet Keys himself. Scheming with the mysterious Sideways, Starscream liberated the ancient Decepticons trapped on Earth and acquired the Omega Lock and three Cyber Planet Keys, allowing him to tap the power of Primus and grow to a gigantic height. Operating as a third factor in the remainder of the conflict, Starscream battled with Megatron, Optimus Prime and even Primus himself by growing skyscraper size and planet size. Note he became the same power crazy manipulator as Thrust from Armada.

* Thundercracker: The only Decepticon to take on an Earth mode, Thundercracker is an enthusiastic fighter, but somewhat lacking in intelligence and combat skills. He has a tendency to come up with grand but largely ineffective special attacks (The Japanese version has him parodizing lines said in Mecha anime characters), and would rather be a winner than be evil. He transforms into a Su-27 Flanker, and his Cyber Key activates the blaster in place of his left arm and in jet mode the Cyber Key power gives him a gun on his back (Thunder Hell, English: Thunder Cannon /Super Hell Special Deluxe/Big Spinning Thunder Hell Scattering Fireworks, English: Rain of Ultimate Destruction/Sure Kill Ultra Hurricane Slash And Crush Shoot, English: Triple Spinnin' Laser Willmaker/Drill Spinning Thunder Hell Electric Drop/Hissatu! Super Electric Lightning Shock Electric Thunder Cracker Punch!, English: Super Electric Lighting Thundercrackin' Punch/Hyper Ultra Big Missile Full Burst Maximum Alpha!/Hyper Ultra Big Missile Full Burst Maximum Beta Two). The Decepticons often ride on him a lot. In episode Ambush he did an electric punch. IN every Cybertron episode he has been featured he often turns into jet mode.

* Mudflap (Demolishor): Mudflap was an Autobot mentored by Landmine who was among those who evacuated from Cybertron and went into hiding on Earth. Growing dissatisfied with the Autobots' mission and human customs, he was persuaded by Starscream to join up with the Decepticons in a misguided attempt to try and save the galaxy without worrying about the affairs of humans. However, he found he could not stomach the Decepticon way of doing things, and ultimately left them; consumed with guilt over what he had done, he was given a second chance and welcomed back into the Autobot fold by Landmine. He speaks with a French accent.

Mudflap transforms into a truck crane. His Cyber Key extends his crane arm and deploys a massive saw blade (Mega Crane Blade), and also activates an arm-mounted missile-launcher.

Velocitron Decepticons

* Dirt Boss (Inch-Up): The most specialized Transformer on Speed Planet when it comes to traveling on multiple terrains, from bumpy, uneven paths to muddy quagmires. He hates Override and seeks to defeat her in a race, which proved to be all the reason he needed to join up with Megatron's Decepticons. Defeated in the race for Velocitron's Cyber Planet Key, he broke of his ties with Megatron. He transforms into a monster truck, but can convert to a "high speed mode" with a widened wheelbase through the power of his Cyber Key. In robot mode, his key deploys twin shoulder blasters (Shoulder Vulcan).

* Crumplezone/Dark Crumplezone (Landbullet/Armbullet): This big green brawler is the muscular half of the "Gruesome Twosome" and is hardly ever seen without his partner, Ransack. He is not especially bright, but his bulky frame possesses incredible speed when in his three-wheeled dragster mode, and great strength in robot mode. During a later battle on Cybertron, he was badly injured by a horde of Scrapmetal, but Megatron used the power of his Unicron Armor to reformat him into "Dark Crumplezone." His Cyber Key Power activates a pair of massive missile launchers (Land Bazooka, Arm Bazooka after his upgrade). In the final Planet Cup race, he modified himself to give himself extra speed (Ultra Tune Level 2 Ignition), but still lost.

* Ransack (Gasket): The smaller and most intelligent member of the "Partners in Crime" (although that's not saying much), Ransack makes up for his small size in nimbleness, agility, fairly quick wits, and the fact that he has a bigger partner that can beat up people for him. He transforms into a motorcycle with Cyber-Key-activated boosters that act as a double-barrelled cannon in robot mode (Exhaust Shot/Exhaust Boost). In the final Planet Cup race, he modified himself to give himself extra speed (Reverse Tune Ignition), but still lost.

Jungle Planet Decepticons

* Scourge (Flame Convoy): As a former student of the combat master Backstop, Scourge sought to bring peace to the Jungle Planet, but in using his vast strength to crush all opposition and accomplish his goal, he lost sight of his teacher's ideals and ruled the world through intimidation and shows of power. Hardened and cruel, Scourge espouses the mantra of "Might makes right," but he found his ideals challenged by Leobreaker and the Autobots. When he was ultimately defeated in combat by Optimus Prime, his pride and jealousy motivated him to join the Decepticons, but the hard lessons from Lori he would learn would eventually turn him to the side of light. In fact, Lori is the only one whom Scourge really fears. Known as the Dark Commander (Ankoku Shireikan).

Scourge transforms into a robotic dragon. His tail becomes a massive axe, while his Cyber Key deploys twin hydra-like heads over his shoulers in both modes, unleashing a deadly stream of fire breath (Death Flame/Flame Strike).

* Undermine (Dinoshout): One of Scourge's troops, who is somewhat shifty and underhanded. He transforms into a robotic Spinosaurus with a flail weapon for a tail, and a Cyber Key Power that deploys a blade from his fin (Crest Sword).

* Brimstone (Tera Shaver): One of Scourge's troops. He isn't very bright, and relies on Undermine and his leader to do the thinking for him. He transforms into a robotic Pteranodon, and his Cyber Key deploys twin blades from his wings (Slash Knife).

Earth Decepticons

The Earth Decepticons are the descendants of Transformers who came to Earth on the starship Atlantis. They were sealed away by Crosswise, but were freed by Starscream.

* Thunderblast (Chromia): Thunderblast is a female Transformer who initially served Starscream, but turned to Megatron's side based on how hunky he was. She has a flighty, fun-loving, girlish personality, but ultimately, her only loyalty is to herself, and she will join whomever is most powerful. She transforms into a speedboat, and her Cyber Key transforms her missile launcher weapon into an even larger rocket launcher (Phantom Wave). She is also lava impervious as she once swam on it, and she is a master of water travel.

* Lugnutz (Roadstorm): Although he was one of the Decepticons freed by Starscream, Lugnutz had very little interest in actually fighting for him. He's a very easy-going 'bot with a relaxed, beatnik-like attitude that means he would rather he cruising Earth's highways than fighting Autobots. If any of them were to get in his way, though, he wouldn't be averse to blowing them away with his rifle, Dutch. He transforms into a motorcycle, armed with a grenade launcher activated by his Cyber Key (Side Machine Gun).

Gigantion Decepticons

* Menasor (Moledive): A young Transformer from Gigantion who wanted to change his world's seemingly "out-dated" philosophy by force, Menasor fell prey to Megatron's influence, and joined the Decepticons. Ultimately, his Mini-Con partner Heavy Load (Bull Bull) showed him the error of his ways by leaping in front of Menasor's own drill. Unable to harm his own partner, he saw that he would only hurt Gigantion, and joined Metroplex and the Autobots. He transforms into a large-scale drilling machine, while Heavy Load becomes a dump truck. His Cyber Key power increase the power of his drills. His Force Chip special attack is Giant Drill.

Other

* Scrapmetal (Rumble): A army of drone-like, mutant mechanical lifeforms. While they bear the Decepticon symbol, they serve neither Megatron or Starscream, and act not unlike swarms of vicious insects. They come from worlds neighboring Cybertron, and swarmed to the planet when it was abandoned during the black hole crisis. They were faced down by the Cybertron Defense Team, who wiped out a large number of them. However, the Scrapmetal population clearly survived, as shown by the swarm that attacked and nearly killed Crumplezone. Later, a destroyed Scrapmetal was used by Coby to create his own pilotable Transformer, the "Cobybot" (Coby Rumble). They all transform into "spider-tank" vehicles, and come in varieties of red, blue, and yellow.

* Nemesis Breaker (Dark Ligerjack): An evil doppelganger of Leobreaker who was born from Leobreaker's doubts and the dark power contained in Megatron's Unicron Armor. Nemesis Breaker can combine with Megatron into Dark Claw Mode (Liger Megatron, with the Liger Death Strike Force Chip attack), in opposition to Optimus's Savage Claw Mode. His Cyber Key power is the same as Leobreaker. He is more beast than Transformer, and only speaks through growls and roars. Ultimately, he was destroyed by Metroplex, returning him to the darkness from whence he came.

Factionless Transformers

* Primus: The benevolent creator of the Transformers, Primus is the true form of the planet Cybertron. Each of the Cyber Planet Keys contains a portion of his power; upon the collection of all but the Gigantion key, Cybertron transformed into Primus's robot mode and defeated Starscream in battle using his own moons as weapons. Subsequently, the acquisition of the Giant Planet key reunited Primus's spark with his body, and he used his power to seal the black hole and recreate Cybertron as a new, idyllic world. His Cyber Key power unleashes energy from his hands which he used on Starscream but he deflects it.

* Unicron: As Primus's brother and ancient foe, Unicron sought to destroy life where Primus sought to protect it. Having been battled by the Transformers in previously in Armada and Energon, Unicron was ultimately defeated when his spark was imprisoned by Primus within an energon sun. The destruction of Unicron - the embodiment of evil - in this manner, however, caused a fundamental imbalance in the universe, which caused the sun to collapse in upon itself, creating the massive black hole that threatened not just Cybertron, but the entire multiverse. Although Unicron does not bear a Decepticon insignia on his body, he is assumed to be on the Decepticon side due to his extreme level of evil and his rivalry with Primus.

Planet X

Planet X was home to thieves, murderers and villains of all walks of life, who took their planet on a voyage of galactic conquest and destruction. That voyage came to an end, however, when Planet X encountered Gigantion, and destroyed itself in the ensuing war. The scattered survivors of Planet X allied themselves with Unicron in hopes of attaining revenge on the Giant Planet in the future, and served his will by acting as enigmatic operatives of misdirection and distrust amongst the Transformers.

* Sideways (Noisemaze): This master of deception had previously served Unicron by acting as an avatar for his spark during the war for the Mini-Cons in Transformers: Armada, and was preserved by his dark power following his seeming death at the end of that conflict. Returning during the search for the Cyber Planet Keys, he aligned himself with Starscream, considering him the best chance he had at revenge against Gigantion.

Sideways transforms into a spacecraft. His Cyber Key activates an arm-mounted bladed weapon, and switches his faction signal back and forth from Autobot to Decepticon.

* Soundwave: Soundwave made his entrance later on in the search for the Cyber Planet Keys, offering to guide Megatron and the Decepticons to the wormhole that would lead them to Gigantion. Once on the planet, he joined up with Sideways, and they both attempted to acquired the Omega Lock and Keys for themselves, only to be blasted into another dimension.

Soundwave transforms into a stealth jet fighter, and is partnered with the Mini-Con-like robot, Laserbeak. Laserbeak transforms from a condor into a battery bomb that stores in Soundwave's chest compartment, which deploys through use of his Cyber Key (Blaster Gun). (The animated version of Soundwave is not shown using his Cyber Key to "eject" Laserbeak, or to use it at all.)

Humans

* Coby Hansen: A mechanically-inclined boy who is often called on by the Transformers to do repairs. He develops a friendship with Landmine, and aids Hot Shot on Velocitron. Later in the show, he actually refits a destroyed Scrapmetal as his own personal vehicle called the Cobybot (Coby Rumble), with the special attack Hissatu Coby Shot, earning himself an Autobot Commission and an active role in the battles. The ending credits of the final episode show that he and Lori eventually married.

* Bud Hansen: Coby's younger brother, Bud is a kid through and through. He likes things that kids like, and he daydreams like kids do, although in Bud's case, his daydreams often become reality thanks to his friendship with the Autobots. Very little can phase Bud - his unrelentingly positive attitude keeps him from worrying too much about anything, even the possibility of his own demise. As the ending credits of the final episode show, he won an Academy Award for the documentary he produced about his adventures.

* Lori: The most level-headed of the group, she keeps Coby and Bud under some degree of control. As a city girl, she was not best pleased when her parents moved from a city to a small town in Colorado, but the adventures she had with the Transformers soon took her mind off that. Along the way, she gains a friendship with Override, and forms a connection with Scourge - both refer to her as "little sister." She even developed a rivalry with the female Decepticon Thunderblast. The ending credits show that she and Coby eventually get married.

* Colonel Mick Franklin: When the young Franklin was saved from a raging river as a child by Evac, he dedicated himself to acquiring information on the Transformers, eventually becoming a government agent and, to the surprise of the Autobots' child friends, an ally of the Autobots themselves. At the end of the series, he developed a romance with Dr. Suzuki, who - to his surprise - revealed they were engaged. The ending credits show that they do get married and have a child.

* Professor Lucy Suzuki: Professor Suzuki is not exactly held in high standing amongst her scientific colleagues due to her ideas about alien beings and the Hollow Earth theory, but that doesn't bother her. She quickly and easily befriends Coby, Bud and Lori due to their own open-mindedness about her theories, and becomes involved in investigating the Transformers for the government. When Colonel Franklin revealed that that his motives were peaceful, she became friendly with him, and eventually decided that they were going to get engaged. The ending credits show that they married and have a child.

* Tim Hansen: Coby and Bud's older brother. Has an unnamed girlfriend or fiance.

* Stanton: A mechanic who Coby spends a lot of time working with.

* Coby and Bud's father is a brown-haired man; he and Coby have been seen racing dirtbikes together. His mother is blonde.

* Lori's father, Ernie, is a real-estate developer who enjoys amateur astronomy. Her mother is a somewhat portly woman, and her career is unknown. In the English version, Lori has an older brother that is conspicuously absent.

Civilian Autobots

Autobots living on Earth while Cybertron is threatened by the black hole. Several of them have proven to be recurring characters.

* 4 ancient ancestor Transformers that are seen in "Balance."
* Longrack - An Autobot who transforms into an excavator.
* 3 cars resembling Blurr from the toy-line; they come in blue, red, & gold varieties.
* 2 Transformers that transform into submarines; 1 ended up discovering the remains of Atlantis.
* An excavator
* A truck
* A couple Transformers that turn into passenger planes.
* An Autobot that was seen transforming into a truck. Seen in the episode "Hidden".
* An Autobot that transforms into a taxi. Seen in episode "Search".
* An Autobot that transforms into a phone booth.
* An Autobot who turns into either a satellite or a space shuttle. Seen in the episode "Ship".
* An Autobot that transforms into a stoplight. In the last episode of the series, he transforms (his transformation scheme being similar to that of Mudflap), and his name is revealed to be Signal Lancer in the Japanese version. His unusual alternate mode has made him a favorite among fans of the series.
* Two Autobots who, apparently, turn into mailboxes.

Speed Planet Transformers

The denizens of Speed Planet. Most appear in the form of cars (most resembling the "Blurr" model), or in robot modes that resemble the usual generic models used in the series. There are, however, some notable exceptions.

* Buzzsaw - He transforms into a yellow and purple helicopter and could be seen flying overhead during several races on Velocitron. He resembles Cyclonus
* A blue, camera-like 'bot that served as announcer and "eye-in-the-sky" commentator for the big race.

Jungle Planet Transformers

The denizens of Jungle Planet. They all appear in animal form, and have transformations ranging from modern, mythlogical & prehistoric creatures, which means they must have visited Earth at some point. They include several that resemble an Apatosaurus, an owl, a deer, a giraffe, and a tropical bird

Ancient Earth Decepticons

Descendants of the original Transformers who came to the planet on the starship Atlantis. They inspired legends of monsters & supernatural creatures among the people of Earth. They were all captured and sealed in stasis pods by Crosswise for a number of years, until they were freed by Starscream. They have the ability to project an image around themselves that resemble fearsome creatures (examples being Count Dracula, a werewolf, Bigfoot, and some dragons). They can also transform into large "seeker ships" by merging with one another. They were all defeated and re-sealed, with the exception of Thunderblast and Lugnutz. However, Evac and Crosswise made a deal with Lugnutz, and released them to help in the final battle against Galvatron. Ultimately, a large number of them joined the space bridge project at the end of the series.

Giant Planet Transformers

The people of this planet all transform into construction equipment.

* A Transformer who takes the form of a crane. Seen in the episode "Giant".
* A Transformer who takes the form of a large dump truck.

Planet X Transformers

In the past, Planet X was populated by "mass production" types similar to Sideways and Soundwave, as well as numerous Mini-Cons fashioned in the same model as Laserbeak. There is a Japanese exclusive toy called Soundblaster, and his minion is a Laserbeak-type named Hell Buzzsaw.

Fun Publications Comic Book

Available exclusively to members of the Official Transformers Collectors Club, the short bi-monthly comic strip published in the club's newsletter - in addition to explaining away the plot holes that exist between the Armada, Energon and Cybertron animated series - expands the story of Cybertron to include many other characters. Primarily, these characters are from the parallel-universe-spanning Transformers: Universe toyline, but the comic has also featured several of the Cybertron characters not featured in the animated series. These include:

* Dark Scorponok - An inhabitant of the Energon comic book universe by Dreamwave Productions, where he was killed by Megatron, but revived as a zombie-like creature hungering for sparks. The reality-warping effects of the black hole transported him from his home universe into the animated Cybertron continuity, where he found himself on Cybertron and attacked Skyfall. He transforms into a construction vehicle themed to look like a scorpion, and his Cyber Key activates twin blasters in his tail.

* Skyfall - A Velocitronian native with no memories of his past who feels he has always been past of something greater than he knows, Skyfall came to Cybertron in hopes of finding out what they something was. He transforms into an A-10 Warthog, can manifest energon weapons and projects a protective forcefield. His toy was available exclusively through the Official Transformers Collectors Club.

* Downshift - Having previously appeared during the Transformers: Energon animated series, Downshift was shown being badly damaged in battle and being rebuilt into a new form. He now transforms into a green and black muscle car, and his Cyber Key activates a grabber claw in his front grill. (The real-world origin of his sports car mode is highly debated by fans. It appears to be an amalgamation of various features found on Plymouth, Dodge, Chevrolet, and Ford sports cars from 1969 and 1970.)

* Landquake - A Decepticon with powers like Skyfall, it seems this Transformer may be connected to him in mysterious ways. He transforms into a tank, and was also only available through the Collector's Club.

* Unicron - The Cybertron toyline included a new incarnation of Unicron in the form of a futuristic alien tank, the existence of which was intended to prove that despite the destruction of his body and the creation of the black hole, Unicron - and evil - would always exist in some form. The club's exclusive comic proceeded to explain the origin of this body by revealing that, before joining the events of the Cybertron animated series, Soundwave was able to free Unicron's essence from its imprisonment within the black hole, allowing it to possess a small planet. Unicron's essence corrupted the planet quickly, and its inhabitants went to war; the planet was eventually destroyed, and Unicron emerged in his new body from within the remains.

Toy-Only Characters

There are a number of Transformers in the toyline that do not appear in the show, most of which are American-exclusives.

* Armorhide - An Autobot. Transforms into a tractor truck. Possesses an Earth-Type Cyber Key. His extra bio on Transformers.com states that he's a new recruit who enjoys lightening the mood with comedy.

* Blurr - An Autobot who transforms into a futuristic race car. He is a remold of the Armada toy of the same name, and his appearance is based on the G1 season three character. His package bio mentions him as a racing veteran (such was true of his Micron Legend counterpart) and there are alternate bios for him which add that he is a veteran of the Armada and Energon battles. The new redesign of Transformers.com has modified Blurr's bio to depict the Armada/Energon version.

* Brushguard - A Decepticon who transforms into an offroad vehicle. His bio describes him as a botanist who seeks to use Earth plants to develop biological weapons against the Autobots. Said to be the cousin of Overhaul, whom he is remolded and repainted from.

* Cannonball - US exclusive repaint of Deluxe Red Alert, done as a Decepticon pirate.

* Demolishor - A repaint of the toy from Armada. Supposedly, the same character from Armada and Energon.

* Excellion - A repaint of Hot Shot in the spirit of G1 Hot Rod. He's an irreverent and somewhat violent soldier.

* Hardtop - A Decepticon who turns into a jeep. Possesses an Earth-type Cyber Key. His function is identified as a sniper. He has an extra bio that says he enjoys reading comic books.

* Repugnus - A repaint of Undermine. He is said to be against Scourge, and leads a separatist tribe in the Steelshard Mountains. He is the brother of Undermine.

* Runamuck - A Decepticon who ransforms into a car similar to a sedan. His toy is a remold of Armada Sideswipe. Based on the G1 characters Runabout and Runamuck.

* Shortround - A Decepticon who transforms into a hovercraft. He's somewhat of a nerd, an intense toy collector, and is infatuated with Thunderblast, as shown on the In space comics.

* Sky Shadow - A repainted toy whose backstory states him to be Jetfire, undercover as a Decepticon.

* Skywarp - A repaint of Thundercracker, upgrade of Armada Skywarp, who has never been given a show or character description in official fiction.

* Smokescreen - A repaint of Cybertron Crosswise, a homage to G1 Smokescreen and Action Master Rad. Racing upgrade to the Armada character.

* Swerve - An Autobot, and repaint of Clocker in red, black, and white. Swerve is a racer from Speed Planet who participates in underground "oil sport" races.

* Swindle - A Decepticon, and repaint of Hardtop based on the G1 character Swindle. He's Hardtop's brother, and is somewhat brutish and unrefined.

* Wreckloose - A denizen of Jungle Planet who transforms into a komodo dragon. Is one of Scourge's unseen lieutenants that specializes in ambushes.

* Deluxe Optimus Prime - A repaint of Armada Supercon Optimus Prime, representing a smaller body taken on by Prime to explore the Giant Planet.

* Cryo Scourge - A repaint of Cybertron Scourge.

* Sunstorm - A Repaint of "Legends of Cybertron" Starscream.

Mini-Cons

The Cybertron series features a strong presence from Mini-Cons, in the form of numerous repaints.

* Street Speed Mini-Con Team - Oval, Spiral, and Backtrack. They are meant to be new versions of the Mini-Con team of the same name from Armada, who they are remoulds of.

* Giant Planet Mini-Con Team - Deepdive, Overcast, and Longarm. They transform into a submarine, seaplane, and construction vehicle in that order. All three are said to be rebellious Mini-Cons from Giant Planet.

* Shockwave vs. Tankor - Repaint of Armada Terradive and Wreckage
* Razorclaw vs. Steamhammer - Repaint of Armada Terradive and Knockout
* Sky Lynx vs. Thunderblast (not to be confused with the Decepticon Thunderblast) - Repaint of Armada Gunbarrel and Bonecrusher
* Scattorbrain vs. Monocle - Repaint of Armada Iceberg and Drillbit
* Payload vs. Ascentor - Repaint of Armada Ransack and Dualor
* Kobushi vs. Landslide - Repaint of Armada Dune Runner and Buzzsaw
* Anti-Blaze vs. Thrust - Repaint of Armada Firebot and Energon Scattor
* Scythe vs. Ramjet - Repaint of Armada Makeshift and Energon Skyboom
* Checkpoint vs. Sunstorm - Repaint of Armada Prowl and Energon Wreckage
* Scrap Iron vs. Grindor - Repaint of Amada Astroscope and Energon Grindor
* Blastcharge vs. High Wire - Repaint of Armada Payload and Enegon High Wire
* Backblast vs. Sureshock - Repaint of Armada Sky Blast and Energon Sureshock

* Wal-Mart Tiny-Tin Exclusives - The Mini-Con Race Team members from Armada, Mirage, Downshift, and Dirt Boss, were all available individually with Tiny Tins, packaged with Hot Shot, Thundercracker, Landmine, Dirt Boss, Red Alert, or Override.

Japanese Exclusives

* Black Fang Wolf - A black recolor of Snarl available through Toys Dream Project.
* Soundblaster and Hell Buzzsaw - A recolor of Soundwave and Laserbeak, also available through Toys Dream Project.
* Black Nitro Convoy - A black recolor of Override available only through a Japanese magazine promotion. Said to be a clone of Nitro Convoy, created in a manner similar to Nemesis Breaker.
* Flame Convoy Sky Lynx Type - a redeco of Scourge in the colors of the G1 character Sky Lynx.
* Gasket Police Type - a redeco of Ransack in a police paintjob.
* As with many Japanese lines, a special gold-colored repaint of Galaxy Convoy was released in Japan.
* A slightly repainted Galaxy Convoy and Sonic Bomber were released in a gift set in Japan; this gift set remains the only way to get the "Cobybot" Scrapmetal toy.
* Bit - Repaint of Jolt
* Bug General and Bug Drone - Re-paint of Dead End, Armada Unicron's Mini-Con. The re-paint is a very minor change to the side of the toy in planet mode.
* Clamp - Repaint of Armada Hoist's Mini-Con, Refute
* Dice - Repaint of Backtrack
* Gauge - Repaint of Armada Sideswipe's Mini-Con, Nightbeat
* Jack - Repaint of Spiral
* Plier - Repaint of Reverb
* Plug - Repaint of Oval
* Socket - Repaint of Six-Speed
* Trigger - Repaint of Armada Cyclonus's Mini-Con, Crumplezone
* Wrench - Repaint of Armada Blurr's Mini-con, Incinerator
* Hellflame Mini-Cons - Graviton, Pulsar, Bulge - Remolds/repaints of Armada Emergency Team
* Caliber Mini-Cons - Hyakurai, Ichibi, Mugen - Remolds/repaints of Armada Air Military Team
* Megalo Mini-Cons - Zapmap, Gritbit, Zigzag - Repaints of Armada Destruction Team
* Platinum Factor, Platinum Element, Platinum Material - Repaints of Jolt, Six-Speed, and Reverb

source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_characters_in_Transformers:_Cybertron
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