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Transformers: The Manga Vol. 1 Review

The Transformers manga, now with English translations for the first time…ever!

We’re currently living in what I like to call the Nostalgia Era. Every TV show, movie, and cartoon from your childhood is either getting the reboot treatment or companies are just flat out bringing back different properties entirely. But, hey, who could blame them? As a great Good Guy doll once said, “a true classic never goes out of style.” With that being said, thanks in part to the good folks at Viz Media, for the first time the Transformers manga of the ’80s will be available and released in the English language. 

Written by Masumi Kaneda, who has written a ton of manga for the Transformers Universe, Transformers: The Manga Vol. 1 will contain previously published stories from Japan’s TV magazine. The manga features incredible art by Ban Magami. The book revolves around the first generation Transformers, so all the characters most of us grew up loving, from Starscream, Megatron, Optimus Prime, and the Stunticons are all accounted for. The book comes in a mid-sized hard cover that has a great touch and feel to it. The interior is predominantly black and white with a few colored pictures in the books art gallery section.  

The Story

In terms of the writing, the pacing is a bit all over the place at times but for the most part you can completely understand what’s going on. Most of the stories involve the Autobots trying to stop the Deceticons from stealing energy sources with the help of a young human named Kenji. Megatron is as diabolical as ever, Optimus Prime is in top notch form as always, and if you find yourself mumbling Optimus’s dialogue in the great Peter Cullen’s voice, don’t feel bad — I did the same thing. Each page makes you eager to flip to the next and the nostalgia of the transitions from the cartoon between the Autobot and Decepticon symbols is captured from chapter to chapter. 

Some great extras included within this manga is an art gallery that displays a chunk of pages from the original TV magazine. I couldn’t describe it better than if you were holding it in your hands yourself, but the retail price is worth it just for these illustrations alone. It’s twenty plus pages of character art that showcases just about every character from the Generation One era. Some of my favorites were the artwork from Transformers, the movie that even includes some kickass drawings of Galvatron, Primes’ death, and Rodimus Prime.

The Art

I love how over-the-top Magami’s pencil work is in terms of action without losing any quality from panel to panel. Some of his illustrations and captions bleed over into one another, causing a cool look as well. His usage of motion lines, sound effects, and shading is truly remarkable even compared to today’s standards. Lots of fitting images that make you reminisce about the movie and cartoon series.

The Verdict

Overall, Transformers: The Manga Vol. 1 is an excellent addition to any Autobots or Decepticon fan’s shelf. There’s something for everyone here and it makes a great gift for all different age groups. It’s kind of like Christmas come early, and it’s only the first of a few other volumes that’ll be coming in the coming months. Make sure to pick up your copy at your local comic shop or book store today.

Transformers: The Manga Vol. 1
Is it good?
A nostalgic trip down memory lane with the Transformers that also features some extra material from the '80s era.
Good amount of materials and extras for the cover price
A nice hardcover to own
Decent stories
Amazing illustrations
Pacing is a tad bit all over the place at times

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