The Transformers (1984–1987)
FAQAdd to FAQ (Coming Soon)
Some laypeople tend to believe the misconception that Transformers was originally a Japanese animated series (or anime) that got exported to the US and subsequently dubbed into English. In reality, only the animation was outsourced to Japanese (and later Korean and Filipino) companies, the conceptualization of the brand and its story and characters, as well as the cartoon's writing and voice recording were all done in the US. Many later Transformers series were indeed of Japanese origin, and the action figures on which the brand was based had also hailed from Japan, but the original show was primarily an American product. Edit (Coming Soon)
A few people seem to be confused over whether Transformers started as a toy or a cartoon (or comic) franchise, and even people officially affiliated with the franchise, such as the infamous comic artist Pat Lee, have gotten the answer wrong.
What we regard as the Transformers brand today actually originated from multiple, often unrelated Japanese robot toy-lines -- Hasbro, the distributors of Transformers merchandise in the Western world, imported various transformable action figures from the Japanese toy manufacturers Takara, Takatoku Toys, Toy Box and ToyCo. Most of these "Pre-Transformers" came from Takara's Diaclone (which were in fact released under the titles Diakron and Kronoform in the US, albeit with little success) and Micro Change lines. Some received new colors for the Western market, and various action features were also removed for safety reasons, but the most vital change was giving each figure a unique name, a personality, special abilities, and tying all the unrelated toy universes together into a single large mythology. These were detailed on the character bios that the toys came with, and later on in the cartoon and comic series which were created to act as advertising platforms to the toy-line.
This also accounts for all the discrepancies between some characters' toy and animated appearances and why so many of the Transformers would grow or shrink when changing shape -- the toys of Ironhide and Ratchet had no heads because the original figures represented human-piloted robots with no distinct personality, likewise, Megatron, Soundwave and many other mass-shifters turned into small objects because they were originally envisioned as mini-sized robots. Edit (Coming Soon)
Even though the title of the cartoon series is only Transformers, both fans and people officially affiliated with the brand have taken up calling it, as well as the entire first series of Transformers merchandise, Generation 1, or G1 for short. This is a retronym, meaning the name was introduced to differentiate the first iteration of the Transformers brand from the later series. It came about when the second Transformers franchise, titled Generation 2 was introduced to the US in 1993, by which time the original series of toys, comics and animated series, and all the related merchandise had already stopped being produced in the US.
Taking a cue from the name Generation 2, fans started calling the original Transformers franchise "G1", and after a while, the term was officially picked up by the people at Hasbro and Takara -- it is now recognized as the official name of the Transformers franchise that ran from 1984 to the early '90s. Some fans tend to assume that G1 only refers to the first two seasons of the American Transformers animated series, and that G2 is the name of its third and fourth seasons. This is a misconception -- G1 refers to the entire Transformers animated series, and more.
Likewise, with regards to Transformers fiction, G1 has also became the name of an entire so called "continuity family", which encompasses multiple different but related story sources, all of which take place in the original Transformers universe. This means that the various American and Japanese spin-offs, such as Toransufômâ: Scramble City Hatsudôhen (1986), Transformers: The Headmasters (1987), Toransufômâ: Chôjin masutâ fôsu (1988), Transformers: Victory (1989), Transformers: Zone (1990), Beast Wars: Transformers (1996), Beast Wars Second: Chô seimeitai Transformer (1998), Bîsuto uôzu chô seimeitai Toransufômâ supesharu (1998), Beast Machines: Transformers (1999), and Chô semeitai Transformer: Beast Wars Neo (1999), as well as a multitude of comics, storybooks, radio plays, posters and even video games are all technically G1 stories, despite often belonging to different franchises (in a commercial sense), and despite most of them being contradictory.
In a nutshell, Generation 1 is both the name of the original franchise in the Transformer brand, and of an entire fictional universe that has multiple different but related continuities.
Part of the confusion between the terms Generation 1 and Generation 2 probably comes from the Generation 2 animated series, which in reality wasn't a different show, just various episodes from the original 1984 Transformers cartoon with a new intro and with added CGI animation. Edit (Coming Soon)
The series' animation was primarily produced by the Japanese-situated Toei and the South-Korean AKOM, although at least two other studios are also suspected to have animated a number of episodes.
Season 1 has been done entirely by Toei.
Of the 49 episodes of the second season, 39 have been animated by Toei, with the rest being either productions of AKOM and a rumored studio from the Philippines. Since AKOM was practically notorious for their low animation quality, three of the season's episodes (City of Steel (1985), The Core (1985) and The Autobot Run (1985)) are generally believed to be their work due to their bizarre, simplified drawing style and error-prone animation. However beyond an instance of production coordinator Paul Davids mentioning it, nothing is known about the Filipino animation studio, not even its name, which has lead some to suspect that Davids might have been misremembering.
Season 3 was divided between Toei (13 episodes) and AKOM (16 episodes), while Call of the Primitives (1986), widely regarded as the best-animated episode of the series, and recognizable for its more "anime-like" art style, was probably handled by Tokyo Movie Shinsha.
The 3-episode fourth season was animated by AKOM. Edit (Coming Soon)
Both the stories and characters of the Marvel The Transformers comic series and the Sunbow Transformers animated TV show are based on the same general outlines, but the two approached the source material from different perspectives, and as the two series progressed, they just got more and more different. Thus, while both are technically part of the Generation 1 universe, they represent diverging continuities.
Even some of the characters are portrayed vastly differently in each variation of the fiction -- for instance, Sunbow's Shockwave is Megatron's blindly loyal but often pathetic and blundering underling, who's also tasked with guarding the planet Cybertron; whereas Marvel's Shockwave is an unrelenting and highly capable, intelligent warrior who fights against Megatron's rule on Earth, only accepting his leadership when he deems Megatron's plans more logical than his own. The characterization of the Dinobots is also famously different.
Due to this, and to the comics' penchant for featuring (generally) more serious and mature storylines with a stronger emphasis on the robots' conflict and on character-driven drama, many fans tend to prefer them over the often more juvenile and "campy" approach adopted by the animated cartoon. On the other hand, the cartoon is more famous by far. Modern iterations of the Transformers therefor tend to take inspiration from both. Edit (Coming Soon)
The series only received 3 "real" seasons and a 3-episode 4th season. Season 5 was made up of various episodes from the previous seasons and The Transformers: The Movie (1986) reedited into episode-long segments. These added up to a total of 20 episodes.
The novelty of "season 5" came from the new beginning and closing scenes that they've added to the episodes. These served as a framing story, in which of Powermaster Optimus Prime (who did not appear in his Powermaster body in the series proper) told tales of the Transformers to a young child named Tommy Kennedy. Recap narration by Prime (sill done by Peter Cullen) and occasionally Tommy would kick-off and conclude the episodes, presenting many of the the highlights from the Transformers cartoon. The new bits were live-acted -- Tommy was played by Jason Janson, while Optimus Prime during his closeups was realized as an enormous animatronic model with a movable head, mouthplate, eyelids and pupils, and a giant hand in which Tommy sat. Both were replaced with stop-motion puppets in full-body shots. Edit (Coming Soon)
Many Transformer characters in the series seem to "lose" or "gain" parts during transformation. The most famous example is Optimus Prime's trailer, officially called his Combat Deck -- whenever Optimus' main component (called Brain Center in early media) transforms from truck mode to robot mode, the trailer simply "retracts", pulling out of the screen or simply disappearing between shots. When he turns himself back into a truck, the trailer loyally "drives up" to him out of nowhere and reattaches itself to him. This is never given an explanation, which is why it has caused so much theorizing in the fan-base. The disappearing trailer is indeed one of the biggest mysteries of Transformers lore.
The real reason for this phenomenon is of course that this is a cartoon show meant for children, and the creators simply didn't consider explaining such technicalities important. However some media did offer a number of possible explanations. In an early Japanese toy-catalog from 1985, it is said that the trailer can teleport back to the Autobot base. Contradicting this is a hypothesis forwarded by story-editor Flint Dille, who claimed that the trailer is made out of "Disappearium", a substance capable of turning invisible. While these may seem like satisfactory explanations, they can not, however, be applied to the disappearing parts of other robots -- which include for example Megatron's pistol-mode silencer and stock, Omega Supreme's entire rocket launch-base (he travels only as a rocket, which in robot mode forms one of his arms), and the combiner kibble (head, feet, hands, chest-plate) of the various combiner teams.
The most likely (and most popular) explanation is that these components are warped into subspace, an extra-dimensional realm where the Transformers can store their weapons and their "excess" pieces. The concept of the subspace is never brought up in the cartoon, however in some scenes, the robots' weapons do appear in a flash of bright light, seemingly out of nowhere, and in one shot, even Optimus' trailer can be seen glowing. While this effect wasn't used consistently, it does lend some credibility to the subspace idea, as these flashes could represent the (dis)appearing objects warping through the dimensions. This explanation remained fanon (fan-canon) for a while, before finally being picked up by official story writers in 2005. Edit (Coming Soon)
One of the most iconic features of Optimus Prime is his mouthplate that covers the lower half of his face, and which moves up and down when he speaks. This was of course based on his toy, as were the mouthplates of many other Transformer characters -- for example Soundwave and Wheeljack also have this sort of covering on their face --, however during the toy-to-animation model redesigns, a number of originally masked characters were given human faces (Bumblebee), while some originally mouthed figures received masks (Superion).
Many later incarnations of Optimus Prime gave him an entire face complete with mouth in order for him to be able to emote better, as well as to appear more "human". But in most media, the original G1 version of Optimus has consistently been depicted wearing a mouthplate, a famous exception being the 1984 storybook, The Great Car Rally, which had him appearing with a human-like face. In the Generation 2 comics, it is revealed that Prime has a mouth-shaped speaker hidden under his mask, and this is referenced by his original Masterpiece figure, MP-1 Convoy, which was otherwise based on his cartoon-design.
But as far as his cartoon appearance is concerned, it is left a mystery whether he has anything under the mask. One particularly infamous animation error from the episode The Search for Alpha Trion (1985) showed him without a faceplate for a moment, and there was nothing underneath. Edit (Coming Soon)
While the Decepticons were quite consistently shown to be be able to fly in their robot modes, the series could never make up its mind about the Autobots.
In the three-episode pilot mini-series, which was developed earlier than the remainder of the cartoon, and was originally supposed to be a standalone feature, all of the Transformers can fly, even the Autobots. Optimus Prime even commands his men to "Take to the air!", and many scenes feature the Autobots flying after their Decepticon adversaries.
After the actual series got picked up, the Autobots gradually lost their flight capability, although some continued to display this ability in various episodes. These include the Autobot inventor Wheeljack and his creations, the Dinobots. During the course of the series, a number of previously flight-incapable Autobots were also shown to be able to fly in space, although these instances weren't always given explanation -- in some scenes, the Autobots had to wear jetpacks to fly, but they could also be seen flying without them.
Curiously, during the season 3 finale, Galvatron matter-of-factly states that "Autobots cannot fly."
In truth, the series as a whole had very shaky continuity, partly due to the often incredibly rushed development but also to the creators' decision to focus more on the action rather than on the story. The Autobots' flying ability or inability is just one of the many infamous inconsistencies of the cartoon's storyline. Edit (Coming Soon)
One of the show's most infamous and blatant continuity errors is that the Decepticon sub-group known as the Constructicons have three separate and contradictory origin stories:
* in their debut episode Heavy Metal War (1984), Megatron claims that the six Constructicons have been built on modern-day (1984) Earth, as evil Decepticons
* in The Secret of Omega Supreme (1985), the Constructicons appear in a flashback on ancient Cybertron, as good guys (despite wearing the Decepticon emblem) who have befriended the Autobot Omega Supreme, until Megatron uses a machine called the Robo-Smasher to turn them evil
* in Five Faces of Darkness: Part 4 (1986), we are treated to yet another flashback, which reveals that eight Constructicons were in fact responsible for the creation of the evil Decepticon leader Megatron
So who built whom? Were they good or evil? What happened to those other two Constructicons? A convoluted but somewhat satisfactory explanation can be given if we assume the following:
There were indeed originally eight (or perhaps more) Constructicons, but only six of them survived the various conflicts on Cybertron and eventually traveled to Earth. When they built Megatron, it can be theorized that they either had no idea that they were creating an evil tyrant, or that building Megatron was just an assignment for them, or that they simply left the Decepticons afterward and became friends with Omega Supreme. Megatron's line ("They were worth the time we spent building them in these caverns") can be interpreted as meaning that the Constructicons have been rebuilt into Earth-forms rather than outright built from scratch.
However, even if this is true, a number of factors do still contradict each other, for instance the fact that the Constructicons have been shown bearing Decepticon emblems from the start (even during the time they were supposedly good), and the faulty animation even showed the Constructicons turning into Earth vehicles on Cybertron. No official explanation was ever given for these inconsistencies, and truth be told, things like storyline consistency and continuity have always carried little significance in this action-oriented cartoon series. For what it's worth, the official production bible (http://tfarchive.com/cartoons/bible/) simply says that the Constructicons "have no explained origin" -- evidently, various writers took it upon themselves to create a backstory for them, unaware that others may have already done so. Edit (Coming Soon)
The name usually refers to the Decepticon jets, most commonly Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker and all the various others that use the same animation model, such as Sunstorm or Acid Storm (yellow/white and lime-green colored Seeker respectively, who both appear in the cartoon but only got named decades later), or variations of the model, like the "cone-heads" Dirge, Thrust and Ramjet. Most of the unnamed generic Decepticon soldiers we see throughout the series, especially during the 3 part pilot, also use the Seeker model with a varied color-palette.
The term "Seekers" originates from a very obscure toy description, and was largely used by Transformers fans before being picked up by Hasbro. Despite never being used in the original show or the comics, it is now seen as one of the most well-known and commonly used terms in Transformers media.
They are also known as "Deceptijets" (a term actually used in the show), "Deceptiplanes" or "Decepticon superjets" (from audio books), "warrior jets" (from an adventure book), "Skyraiders" (European Generation 2), "strike planes" (British catalog), "Decepticon Aeroplanes" (European catalog), and "Jetrons" (in Japan). Edit (Coming Soon)
Shiny orbs of energy, the Sparks are essentially the souls of the Transformers -- they grant them life, and when a Spark fades, a Transformer dies. Despite being one of the core terms of the brand, the concept of the Spark didn't originate from the original Transformers TV series, nor the comics -- it was introduced in Beast Wars: Transformers (1996), whose sequel Beast Machines: Transformers (1999) then defined its meaning and explored its nature further. All subsequent iterations of the Transformers have followed this depiction. Sparks are often seen as the components of god Primus, which separated from his being in order to explore the world, and then, if a Transformer dies, its Spark returns to Primus, making him grow richer from the robot's life experience.
Similar ideas are however brought up in this show. Some episodes mention the so-called Laser cores. It's not made clear what these are, which has led fans to speculate that they may have been some sort of "prototype idea" for the Spark. The confusion was later cleared when official story sources defined Laser cores as being the housing units of Sparks.
There are also ghosts. After Starscream is killed in The Transformers: The Movie (1986), he returns as a ghost in the cartoon's 3rd season, haunting and even possessing many of the Transformers. In Beast Wars, where he guest-stars in this form for an episode, his ghost is made synonymous with his Spark, and it is explained that he survived death due to the mutant properties of said Spark.
Interestingly, one of the early drafts of The Transformers: The Movie featured a scene in which Optimus Prime's soul emerges from his body, looking like a ghostly white version of his robot form, and transfers over into the body of Ultra Magnus. This idea was later scrapped of course, and the "white Optimus Prime" was explained as simply being Magnus' bare, unarmored form. Edit (Coming Soon)
In most media, Primus is the benevolent God of the Transformers, responsible for the creation of the original Primes, the first Cybertronians. He was first introduced in the Marvel comic series that ran alongside the Transformers TV show, where he is revealed to be the planet Cybertron itself. Most subsequent sources of Transformers fiction stick close to this interpretation. However, having been developed independently from the comics, the cartoon series doesn't consider Primus an existing character -- here, Cybertron is a natural planet created by an ancient intelligence called Vector Sigma, and the creators of the Transformers are weird alien creatures called Quintessons, who only had one notable Marvel comics appearance (the UK exclusive Space Pirates storyline).
Interestingly, the idea of transforming Cybertron into a gigantic robot did cross the minds of the writers, well before the comics' creators'. Flint Dille originally wanted to put this concept into The Transformers: The Movie (1986), but his proposal was rejected by the executive producers. Edit (Coming Soon)
The title "Prime" isn't given any special meaning in the first two seasons of the cartoon show -- in fact, it isn't really seen as a title or a rank either, just part of Optimus Prime's name. To modern fans, the rank "Prime" is one of the single most important concepts in all of the Transformers brand, being the designation given to the leaders of the Autobots and the bearers of the highly powerful artifact, Autobot Matrix of Leadership. However in this series, only two Primes are ever named (Optimus Prime and his successor Rodimus Prime), and the term isn't given an actual definition. Alpha Trion and Ultra Magnus are both Autobots who have possessed the Matrix, yet neither of them are ever called Primes.
Nevertheless, a succession of previous Autobot leaders do appear in the season 3 episode Five Faces of Darkness: Part 4 (1986), during Rodimus Prime's spiritual trip inside the Matrix. None of these are given names, and it was only in 2010 that the Transformers: Animated (2007) tie-in book The AllSpark Almanac II retroactively assigned individual names to each, merging them together with various different characters in an effort to "clean up" the messy early history of Transformers fiction. In a chronological order, they are:
* Primon, AKA the Alpha Prime -- the first documented bearer of the Matrix, he is the first ancient leader Rodimus meets during his journey. Actually the merging of two, originally distinct but similar characters: the unnamed Matrix-bearer from the cartoon (called "Ancient Robot" in the episode script) and Alpha Prime from one of the later comics. In a curious development, later Prime "lists" disregard this character, for as-of-yet unexplained reasons.
* Prima, the "first Transformer". In subsequent media, he is the leader of the original Thirteen (the first Transformers created by the god Primus), but in this show, he is an ancient gladiator who unsuccessfully rebels against his Quintesson creators. In the script, his name is simply "Powerful Robot", and before the release of The AllSpark Almanac II, he was regarded as a separate character from the Prima introduced in the comics.
* Prime Nova, who led a successful rebellion against the Quintessons, driving them off the planet. Called "Brooding Robot" in the episode script.
* Guardian Prime, the first actual Autobot. He was killed by evil warrior robots belonging to the then-formed Decepticon faction. In a somewhat questionable stylistic choice, his visual appearance is almost identical to Rodimus Prime's, and due to an animation error, he initially appears as Prime Nova. The episode script gave him the name "Pre-Transformer".
* Zeta Prime. Simply called "New Narrator" in the script, this character only leads the Autobots for a very short time.
* Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime's direct predecessor, whose history reaches way back to the era of Prima, during which time he was called Sentinel Major. After the death of Zeta Prime, he took over as the Autobot leader, earning the name Sentinel Prime. Under his rule, the Autobots developed and mastered the art of transforming, and successfully defeated the Decepticons. After the so-called Golden Age of Cybertron, the Decepticons returned, being able to transform themselves, and their leader Megatron killed Sentinel. Alpha Trion kept the Matrix of Leadership safe, waiting for the arise of a new Autobot leader. Optimus Prime was then constructed by Alpha Trion himself from the dead body of Orion Pax. In the episode script, Sentinel Prime is given the name "U-Haul Robot". Edit (Coming Soon)
Dion is a friend of Orion Pax who appears only in a flashback in the episode War Dawn (1985) and is killed by the Decepticons, along with Orion Pax himself and their female friend Ariel. Orion and Ariel are then rebuilt by an Autobot called Alpha Trion into Optimus Prime and Elita-1 respectively, but it is never made clear if he had also rebuilt Dion. No further mention is made of him.
Many fans have speculated that, due to the close friendship between Optimus Prime and the Autobots Ironhide and Ultra Magnus, they might possibly be the rebuilt forms of Dion, although exactly which one of them, they could never agree on.
Official word on Dion's fate came to light in 2010 during an on-line Q&A with Hasbro: "Dion was never rebuilt into any other character."
Meaning he's probably dead.
It's worth noting that killing off Dion and Ariel was in fact the original intent of episode writer David Wise, and Ariel only survived when his co-writers realized that there had been a close similarity between her and Elita-1, Optimus Prime's previously introduced love interest whom Wise wasn't familiar with. A decision was made to merge the two characters into one, thereby "saving" Ariel from her intended demise -- however Dion wasn't as lucky. Edit (Coming Soon)
Techically, there are seven named Insecticons, though only three are featured on the series. This is because the other four ("Deluxe" Insecticons Barrage, Chopshop, Ransack, and Venom) were actually part of a rival toyline in Japan (see entry below on Jetfire). Consequently, the Deluxe Insecticons never appeared in the cartoon, and the Marvel comic only used them in UK exclusive storylines (even then relegating them to small cameos). Edit (Coming Soon)
The name of the gigantic white and red Autobot jet in the toyline was Jetfire, yet in the show, he is called Skyfire and sports a radically different character design. Unlike most of the initial line of Transformers toys, which were repackages of figures originally created by the Japanese toy company Takara (now TakaraTomy), Jetfire's figure was actually a recolor of the Macross VF-1S Super Valkyrie figure released by Takatoku Toys. As such, when the Transformers line got released by Takara in Japan, Jetfire was left out.
There is no definite answer for why the character had to be promoted under a different name and design. One theory proposes that Takara wanted Jetfire's character model to be altered, because Takatoku Toys was a rival toy company whose products they didn't want the animated series to advertise. Since the character received an altered look which didn't resemble the figure, maybe they changed his name in order to prevent confusing the children. However, many of the other Transformers depicted in the show looked nearly nothing like their toys either (for example, Ratchet's and Ironhide's figures had no head), so this theory stands on loose ground.
The cartoon's production bible claims that "JETFIRE has been "transformed" into SKYFIRE with a different model due to legal reasons. Do not use this character unless necessary", with a later page noting that "JETFIRE will be redesigned and reintroduced in the near future". The name Skyfire was also replaced with Jetfire on the episodes' production sheets. Whatever this "redesign" and "reintroduction" may have referred to, it obviously never happened in the cartoon. The character remained Skyfire throughout. The circumstances of these legal issues are still unclear, and the mystery continues...
Interestingly, the character model of the "real" Jetfire did appear in some Transformers media -- it had cameos in the Marvel comics as a separate character from Skyfire, and in a toy commercial (which famously contradicted both the cartoon's and the comic's stories), Jetfire was advertised with his original "Macross" design and was called Jetfire. Edit (Coming Soon)
Once again, this is a subject on which the cartoon contradicted itself on a number of fronts. The Vector Sigma supercomputer is introduced as the source for all Transformer life, and sure enough, the Autobot sub-faction known as the Aerialbots are given life through Vector Sigma.
Yet other characters, most famously the Dinobots, possibly the Constructicons, the Technobots and Trypticon are all created through other means, by simple being built, with the Vector Sigma computer taking no part in the process. Note that the Technobots and Trypticon are made after the concept of the Vector Sigma has already been introduced into the lore. One possible explanation is that while the supercomputer does indeed grant new Transformers life and sentience, they can also be created without its help, only this way, the newly made robots would end up being dumb. The Dinobots and Trypticon at least seemingly confirm this notion, though yet again, the Technobots contradict it.
Many later concepts, such as the AllSpark, protoforms, cloning and yes, even Transformer reproduction, would put new and unique spins on how Cybertronians are made. Edit (Coming Soon)
Though prominently featured in the comics, Buzzsaw (the gold trimmed "brother" of Laserbeak) only made minor background appearances in the cartoon. Since Buzzsaw was packaged with Soundwave, Sunbow felt that it was not neccesary to promote him as heavily as Laserbeak, who was a standalone toy. Laserbeak's tech-specs (toy bio) described him as an interrogator and assassin. However, the child-safe nature of the cartoon precluded him from being depicted in this capacity, so he became a spy (making Buzzsaw redundant in the eyes of the show's producers). Edit (Coming Soon)
Hauler is a yellow Autobot crane who appears in the pilot episode, never transforms into a robot, and promptly disappears from the rest of the show. Fans everywhere have wondered who this mysterious character might be, with most thinking that he was a "prototype" of sorts to Grapple, a yellow-colored crane Autobot who was introduced in the second season.
When the toy-line was originally released, it was to contain 12 different Autobot Car figures, and supposedly, Hauler would have been the twelfth -- however only 11 different Autobot Cars came out.
Many years later, in 2003, a green-colored exclusive repaint of Autobot Grapple was released under the name "RoadHauler". It was explained that this character was indeed Hauler from the show, and he was green colored because he had originally been one of the Constructicons, but he defected to the Autobots after a while. This would also explain why one flashback scene of the cartoon shows more Constructicons than there actually were.
But what became of Hauler with regards to the cartoon is still unknown. Had the decision to cancel his figure came sooner, he wouldn't have appeared in the show, and wouldn't have caused all this confusion. Edit (Coming Soon)
He is supposed to, although his eye-panel is always colored black in the show. Presumably, whoever was responsible for creating his animation model forgot to put the eye-stickers on the Trypticon toy, and thought that he had no eyes. He does get his eyes back in other media, like in comics and in Toransufômâ: Scramble City Hatsudôhen (1986). Edit (Coming Soon)