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Series: Universe 2.0
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Leader
Year: 2008

For millions of years, the only constant in the lives of the citizens of Cybertron has been change. Millions of years of war have left much of the once beautiful machine world a jumbled chaos of shattered metal and melted slag. Throughout it all, only one robot stands like a bulwark against which the chaos breaks, and washes back. Optimus Prime is the greatest commander of the Autobots and the symbol of the best they have to offer - honor, compassion, justice. He is the ultimate warrior against the evil of Megatron, and the best hope Cybertron has of ever achieving peace.

He emerged like a savior from the darkest time of the war; an unknown, chosen to lead, and granted the power and wisdom of every leader that had come before. Though before the war he had been a simple archivist, the power of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership transfigured him. He became a warrior powerful enough to oppose even the unstoppable Megatron, motivated by the love of peace and honor he had learned in his study of the history of his world. If there is a victory to be won, it is Optimus Prime who will lead the Autobots to it.

Prelude: This figure is, of course, a reissue of the original Optimus Prime figure, of which I’ve already reviewed the Commemorative Edition. It’s been quite some time since then, though, so this Anniversary Prime gets a full review of his own. Because he’s Optimus Prime, that’s why!

Robot Mode: Considering that this figure has nearly three decades under its belt (the original Diaclone figure came out in 1981), it has stood the test of time very well. By today’s standards Optimus Prime would be a Deluxe-class figure (though the inclusion of the trailer would probably upgrade him to Voyager or Ultra), but at the time he was among the tallest Transformers of them all, as befits the Autobot leader.

Most Transformers from 1984 are more or less statues in robot mode, maybe able to swivel their arms at the shoulders, but not much more than that. That’s not the case with Optimus Prime, whose posability has also stood the test of time. In fact there is really just one thing that keeps him from being a superb contortionist, and that’s his hip, where the legs can bend backward, but not forward. Apart from that, though, he can bend with the best of them, having shoulder, elbow, hip and knee joints, as well as posable ‘feet’ and twisting wrists thanks to the plug-in fists.

Some problems do plague this classic figure, though. Chief among them the fact that Optimus can’t really hold his signature rifle all that well. Thanks its design he can either hold it straight, but then it barely fits into his fist hole, or he can hold it at an angle, which looks somewhat stupid. Interesting that this has never been fixed for any of the numerous re-issues of this figure. Another thing worth noting is that Optimus’ back is open, meaning one can look right through him thanks to the transparent windows on his chest.

I needn’t write much about the look, do I? It’s a classic; it’s as simple as that. The blue used here is a tad lighter than that of the original and the Commemorative Series version, but that’s the only real difference. Of course this Optimus Prime also has the shortened smoke stacks on his shoulders, as ordered by toy safety laws. Too bad, but not a deal breaker. So all in all there is very little one can improve here (except the gun thing), so let there be no doubt: This is a first-rate robot mode, even in its third decade.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Optimus Prime transforms into a late 70s red cab-over-engine semi truck. Do I really need to write a lot here? Which Transformers fan has never seen this mode? Speak up so I can look down upon you with disdain and furious disbelief. Optimus is a big red truck. That’s all you need to know. The driver’s cabin even opens up to show room for two of the Diaclone-era driver figures.

The truck pulls a grey box trailer. The rear of it can open up to launch Prime’s drone (see below) or to allow up to two Autobot cars entrance into its inner space. For an attack mode there is that little hole in the roof, right near the front. Optimus’ weapon module (see also below) can emerge here, giving Prime ample firepower even in vehicle mode. So bottom line: The classic Optimus vehicle mode. Accept no substitutes!

Partner / Add-On: Of course Optimus Prime comes with his trusty trailer, which can open up into a repair bay / battle station. Included in the trailer is a module with repair arms and missile launchers, as well as Optimus’ drone Roller, a little six-wheeled open car, where Optimus’ rifle can be mounted as well. There have been better trailer-turned-battle-stations in Transformer history since, but this here was the original one and it’s still cool many years later.

Apart from the trailer and components mentioned above, this anniversary edition of Optimus Prime also comes with a few other goodies. Included in the box is the first issue of the Marvel Comics series, as well as a DVD with the original three-part pilot “More Than Meets the Eye”. And finally there is a voice module (complete with clip for putting it on your belt), which features several memorable lines voiced by none other than Peter Cullen, the original Prime’s voice actor.

Remarks: Possibly the most often reproduced Transformers figure of all time is that of the original Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. He started life as Diaclone’s Battle Convoy, became Optimus Prime in 1984 and since then there have been dozens of different versions of this same figure, different only in paint details and the occasional weapon or add-on part. So it is hardly surprising that yet another version of this classic figure emerges in time for the Transformers’ 25th anniversary in 2009, though some fans were probably a bit disappointed that we got ‘just’ a re-issue and not a new mold as brilliant as the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime.

So the question is: Do we really need another reissue of the classic G1 Optimus Prime figure? Probably not. But for those who haven’t got a version of this figure yet, go get him. And even those like myself who have no less than three G1 Optimus Prime’s now, it’s worth getting for the goodies and the simple knowledge that it’s Optimus Prime’s 25th birthday. So the bottom line is: Fully recommended.

Rating: A
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