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Transformers Armada is one of the many series that make up the Transformers franchise. It takes place in its own continuity, separate from the earlier series. The storyline of Armada continued in Transformers Energon and Transformers Cybertron. The three series are known as the Unicron Trilogy.

Unlike Transformers Robots in Disguise before it (which was only imported to buy time), it was a 'main line' series, and as such had a large toyline.

Transformers Armada mostly revolves around the Mini-cons: a race of Transformers smaller than usual (about human size or smaller). When linked to one of their larger brethren, they cause a significant boost in power (usually resulting in extra guns appearing). Due to this, the Autobots and Decepticons warred over them until the Mini-cons ended up leaving to stop the conflict, crash-landing on Earth millions of years in the past and laying dormant until the present day. Most of the episodes revolve around the Autobots trying to gain the support of the Mini-cons, with the Decepticons after them with the intent to use them to conquer the Autobots, Cybertron, and presumably the universe (as usual).

It was controversial among fans not only for the focus on Mini-con collecting (leading some to call it 'Pokeformers'), but for the frequent dubbing errors. Due to rushed production, there are several conversations that don't flow properly, or clash with what's happening onscreen. Many characters have their names mixed up with other characters,' such as pretty much everyone being called Leader-1 (Megatron's Mini-con) at least once. One particularly glaring instance was Optimus saying he'd left Thrust in charge on Cybertron - and the image has "Thrust" kept in shadow because he (actually intended to be Jetfire) hasn't been introduced yet. Of course, Thrust is the name of the Decepticon master tactician, with no sign of ever having been an Autobot - a major point of confusion for viewers. Also, unfinished animation led to some low-quality scenes, and one or two truly nonsense ones (like a black spot of nothing where Starscream was supposed to be in one battle.) But like most things, had a few redeeming factors in the overall story and the reintroduction of the meta-villain Unicron. It is generally considered to improve considerably in the second half.

In addition to the series, a mini-manga, called Linkage was released with the Japanese DVDs, written by Hirofumi Ichikawa, which told a separate story about a group of Mini-cons who encounter a woman named Stella Holley, who helps them free the Minicons from Unicron. The story also features several links to the animated series, and even fills a few plot holes. The series was fan-translated in collaboration with Ichikawa, and can be read online here.

A video game adaptation, simply called Transformers (but with the working title of Prelude To Energon, which it is sometimes identified as), was released for the Play Station 2, and is considered one of the better Video Game adaptations, and the best one so far for Transformers until recently.

Tropes used in Transformers Armada include:
  • A Father to His Men: Optimus. Megatron in many of the episodes displays parallel behavior to his men though in a more "Irritable father" way than Optimus' "Doting father".
  • All There in the Manual: Many plot points and holes are explained in Linkage.
  • Animation Bump: The final episode has a very noticable increase in animation quality.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Megatron
  • As Long As There Is Hatred: Unicron bellows this speech through Sideways.
  • Atlantis
  • Ax Crazy: Cyclonus, though he's more of a pain in the ass than a serious threat.
  • Back From the Dead: What did you expect? Optimus Prime, of course!
    • also Smokescreen
  • Battle Butler: Demolishor
  • Benevolent Boss: Optimus
  • Best Served Cold: Wheeljack traps himself, the one he believes responsible for ruining his life, and a mostly innocent bystander in a burning abandoned factory.
  • Blind Idiot Translation:Definitely in some places. However, you ain't seen nothing yet.
  • Blood Knight: Optimus is accused of being one.
    • Megatron is one.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Jetfire seems like one sometimes.
  • Brawler Lock: Done numerous times during battles.
  • The Captain: Optimus
  • Clip Show: Detection
  • Combining Mecha: Powerlinking
  • Dead Ex Machina: In "Miracle", the Autobots are being overpowered by the Decepticons in an Asteroid field, and Hot Shot, as Megatron says, is indeed "a poor substitute for Optimus Prime". But Sparkplug and Perceptor summon a team of glowing space-traveling Mini-Cons, who, with their sparks and the data in the Matrix, bring Optimus Back From the Dead.
  • Defector From Decadence: Starscream, for a while.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The first episode, full stop. It's all about the annoying kids at school. They don't meet the Mini-cons until near the end, and actual Autobots and Decepticons don't show up until the very last moments of the episode. If you watch the recap, you can pretty much start with episode two and miss nothing relevant.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: o hai Sideways
  • Dumb Is Good: Dim-witted Demolishor is probably the closest thing to a 'nice' Decepticon that you're going to find. Not counting Starscream's stint as an Autobot. In fact, in the sequel series he seems to have Autobot sympathies and actually fights on their side for a while before Megatron comes back from the dead. He's an all-right guy.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tidal Wave, most emblematically. Transforming into an entire battleship, he towers above every other Decepticon (or Autobot for that matter), and while his processor doesn't pack much power he's not so much stupid as he is single-minded and easily frustrated. His Pokémon-Speak tendencies don't help the image of him as a complete knucklehead, either. Cyclonus and Demolishor both have some traits of this as well.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Starscream, to the point that it's scary.
  • Evil Laugh: Almost all of the Decepticons, most notably Cyclonus and Megatron. Though Wheeljack had a pretty creepy one in his introduction.
  • Executive Meddling: A large number of animation and dubbing problems could have been avoided if production hadn't been rushed so much.
  • Expy: The character development of Starscream and Hot Shot mirrored that of Dinobot and Cheetor's respectively.
  • Fallen Hero: Wheeljack
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Prime and Smokescreen. Especially Smokescreen. Thrust being crushed to death from the feet up would also count. Though he can't beat Starscream, ole Screamer had two unfriendly deaths! First he gets blasted like Smokescreen (though messing with the timeline saved him), then impaled by Megatron.
  • Fan Nickname: "Squidhead," "Megamoose," "Shotty"...
  • Foe Yay: Pretty much every scene between Megatron and Optimus makes the entire war sound like a lover's quarrel as well as their overwhelming obsession with each other. Hotshot and Sideways have their moments as well, along with Starscream and Jetfire.
  • Gambit Pileup: Just barely makes it with four to five plots going on at once. The dub made it even harder to follow. (Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Sideways, and Unicron, although Sideways was working for Unicron.)
  • Gaslighting: Megatron manages to get the Decepticons (including Starscream himself) to think Starscream is crazy, in order to get the Star Saber from him.
  • Genius Bruiser: Scavenger
  • Go Out with a Smile: Starscream
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Scavenger's introduction fight.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Almost the entire plot of the first thirteen episodes.
  • Green Aesop: Jungle
  • Hand Cannon: Aside from individual Transformer weapons, there's the assembled Requiem Blaster and Hydra Cannon.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Starscream. And Sideways, Hoo boy, Sideways.
  • Heel Face Turn: The Decepticons. All of them, except Thrust. The survivors even maintain this status through the beginning of Transformers Energon.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Smokescreen, Starscream Optimus, even Megatron in the last episode. All of them get better at some point, at least in the sequel series.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Hey, it's Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy! (Carlos, Sideswipe and Fred)
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Thrust.
  • Honor Before Reason: Averted. Probably played straight on a different occasion, but this troper can't think of one.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Although Alexis and Starscream never go that far, but that doesn't stop some fans on both sides of the Pacific.
  • Hulk Speak: Tidal Wave.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Most of the series, particularly the first half, is about the kids' view of the Autobot/Decepticon war.
  • The Hyena: Cyclonus
  • Inconsistent Dub: And how.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The kids and the Transformers, Smokescreen and Hot Shot.
  • Jerkass: Thrust
  • Karmic Death: Thrust
  • Kick Them While They Are Down
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Galvatron does this to Thrust, by leaving him to die. It would be cruel, but Thrust was a power hungry asshole.
  • Kid Appeal Character: Hot Shot
  • Leader Forms the Head: Whichever Transformer is on top of Powerlinx is in control.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The other problem of the series was that there were often looooong periods of nothing.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Hot Shot, on more than one occasion.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sideways, and to a lesser extent, Thrust.
  • The Medic: Red Alert
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • The Mole: Like you wouldn't believe. First, Scavenger is a mole for the Autobots, then Sideways shows up. First he poses as an Autobot, 'reveals' himself to be a Decepticon, and stays there for a while, lowering morale and messing with their heads. Later, he is uncovered as a servant of Unicron, sent to infiltrate and disrupt both factions. Later, he appears to Thrust, and convinces him to become the new mole for Unicron.
  • More Dakka: Powerlinx and super modes tend to bring this into play. Most notably Optimus combined with Overload and Jetfire. Megatron can do this too, combining with Tidal Wave for the most dakka of any Megatron to date.
  • More Than Mind Control
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stella Holley from the DVDs' pack-in comics Linkage, a fairly mild example.
  • Off-Model: One of the worst recent examples. Partially because of Cartoon Network's meddling, and partially because the studio behind the animation was genuinely not that great.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Smokescreen
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Megatron becomes rather depressed when Optimus is killed. (He gets better, and all is well.)
  • Planet Eater and Eldritch Abomination: Unicron
  • Power Crystal: On a few Transformers.
  • Power Trio: First Autobots: Red Alert the superego, Hot Shot the id, Optimus Prime the ego. Also the kids: Alexis the superego, Carlos the id, and Rad the ego.
  • Psycho for Hire: Cyclonus
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Cyclonus and Demolishor, joined by Tidal Wave/Mirage in Energon.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot Shot and Red Alert. Later, Blurr as the Blue Oni.
  • Redshirt Army: Generic background characters in the larger battle scenes come apart like tissue paper and are never mentioned (compare the reaction to Smokescreen's reversible death to the reaction to the permanent deaths of one shipful of soldiers after another near the end).
  • Remember the New Guy?: Overload is never introduced, he just appears out of nowhere in one episode as a trailer for Optimus, and everyone acts like he's been there the whole time.
  • Reverse Mole: Scavenger
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots
  • Scars Are Forever: Wheeljack has a huge scar across his Autobot insignia as a reminder of his reason for Face Heel Turning.
  • Script Wank: On occasion.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Optimus Prime gets these when combined with Overload.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Lots of characters got 'em, but Hot Shot's inspired a meme.
  • Smug Snake: Thrust practically IS this trope.
  • The Spock: Red Alert tends to show aspects of it.
    • Spock Speak: Thankfully, he stops using it after the first time.
  • The Starscream: Weirdly enough, not Starscream.
  • Stealth Mentor: Scavenger, at first.
  • Temporal Paradox: A predestination paradox occurs in "Drift", where the kids travel back in time and meet the Minicons when they are created, and tell them to escape from Cybertron and come to Earth, which in turn is required for all the subsequent events, including the time travel itself, apparently carried out by Highwire. First, however, the kids stop by in the alternate past where Unicron used the Minicons, who never left Cybertron, to make the Transformers fight each other to exhaustion, before imprisoning and digesting them. Did we mention that we get no explanation for this?
  • Take a Third Option: Hot Shot tries, and may have succeeded if not for a mole's interference.
  • Three Amigos: Rad, Carlos and Alexis; literally in the case of Carlos.
  • Three Plus Two: The Token Trio plus Those Two Guys.
  • The Strategist: Thrust
    • There IS a difference between a strategist - whether a plan should go through to achieve the long-term goal - and a tactician - how a plan goes down.
  • Token Trio: Rad is white, Carlos is Hispanic, Alexis seems white but according to the creators, she is of Vietnamese heritage.
  • Third Person Person: Tidal Wave
  • Those Two Guys: Billy and Fred.
  • Underwater Ruins: Ruin
  • The Unintelligible: Minicons, although High Wire starts making full sentences much later.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Hot Shot, Starscream, Thrust, especially, and possibly probably more.
  • Verbal Tic: "...Tidal Wave..." or "...Shock..." in Japan
  • Villain Episode: Rebellion
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Hydra Cannon.
  • Wham! Episode: Sacrifice, Crisis, Cramp, and to a lesser extent Credulous.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: Past
  • Yes-Man: Demolishor, though he does occasionally raise questions.
  • Young Gun: Hot Shot. Possibly Side Swipe too.