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Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2008

Until now, Optimus Prime never thought he would come face to face with Megatron. The legendary villain was thought to be long deactivated, but on Cybertron his power and his evil are still feared. He knows that to face Megatron is to face his own mortality. Megatron on the other hand does not know who this young Autobot is, and does not care. All he knows is that the Allspark is under this fool's protection. If he will not give it up, Megatron will tear him apart to get it.

Robot Mode: This Deluxe version of the Animated Autobot leader is very similar, both in look and in design, to the other Deluxe Prime, Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime. This is Prime in his Earth Mode, though, so he has the usual divided windshield as a chest and wheels on his legs instead of tank threads. Also, his arms are a lot boxier in this version, as they form the sides of the driver's cab for the alternate mode. The smokestacks are on his forearms here and can be twisted around to function as guns, if you fancy that. Finally, his head's been changed a bit, as he has the Prime-typical mouthguard here. Interestingly enough, while I'm not usually a fan of Primes with mouths, I do prefer Animated Prime without the mouthguard. Go figure.

What hasn't changed from one Deluxe Prime to the other is that both are highly posable robots, who can twist and bend in just about any humanly possible way. This version of Prime here goes one step further, though. There is a spring built into his waist, so if you pull it one way and release, he snaps back around in a kind of power-punch gimmick. Works great for swinging his axe, there's enough force behind it to knock over bigger Megatron figures.

Speaking of his axe, it is Prime's only weapon in this mode. It's a lot bigger and, because it doesn't have a joint in the middle, a lot sturdier than that of Cybertron Mode Prime. The downside is, of course, that it can't be as easily stored away in vehicle mode (see below), but it looks pretty cool in robot mode, no doubt. Of the multiple versions of Optimus Prime I've seen so far, Battle Begins Prime carries the most cartoon-faithful axe.

Finally, this version of Optimus Prime features 'battle damage', meaning black paint applications on his torso and head. I don't know, doesn't really look like battle damage to me, more like Prime added some black lightning bolts to his paint job. But whatever, it doesn't take anything away from this excellent figure. So bottom line, a superb robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Big surprise, Optimus transforms into a truck. Not just any truck, though, a fire truck. Though that is evident solely by the lights on top of his driver's cab, which replace the removable roof/shield that Cybertron Mode Prime sported. Apart from that, though, there is only very little difference in the two truck modes. This is an Earth truck, of course, so it has the divided windshield and tires instead of tank threads.

The one tiny flaw this version of Optimus Prime has is that he can't properly store his big axe in vehicle mode. You can put the axe on the back of the truck, somewhat similar to the Cybertron mode version, but because the blade is much bigger, you can't really hide it away. As a result the axe sticks out on the truck's rear and... well, that looks just terrible. Better to leave the axe out and imagine it goes into a subspace pocket or something. Apart from that, though, a solid, well-made vehicle mode.

Remarks: Naturally there are multiple versions of Optimus Prime in the Animated series (hopefully not quite as many as there were in the Movie line). This version of Prime here came in a two-pack dubbed "Battle Begins" along with Deluxe Megatron and a DVD containing the first episode of the Animated cartoon series. The choice of pairing Earth mode Prime with Cybertron mode Megatron aside, it's a very nice two-pack and worth getting for both figures. While I wouldn't say that Battle Begins Prime is better than Cybertron mode Prime, he is just as good and with just enough differences between the two to justify getting both (if you're so inclined). Besides, I plan on using Battle Begins Prime's axe once I get Voyager Prime, whose axe pretty much sucks (at least judging by the pictures I've seen). So bottom line, the two-pack is well worth getting for all fans of Prime and Megatron.

Rating: A


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