Sky-Byte shouldn’t still be a thing. He was a repaint in a line of repaints; the Predacons of Robots in Disguise (with the one exception being the new mold for R.i.D. Megatron). Additionally, he is a repaint of a Beast Wars shark toy — Cybershark — that has no articulation to speak of in alt-mode and a frustratingly difficult transformation, resulting in a robot mode with decent articulation hampered by shark pieces hanging off his back.
But Sky-Byte is still a thing.
The reason for this is simple: his character. I have gone on and on about how much I love Robots in Disguise. How much I adore the wonderfully insane series as a whole is eclipsed by how much I want a sequel with Sky-Byte as the main character. Never has watching a bad-guy fail so miserably and consistently been more fun. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to watch Robots in Disguise, I strongly suggest at least watching Sky-Byte’s episodes. The antics of this haiku writing (did you notice the post title is a haiku in honour of our esteemed poet?), neurotically insecure, flying land-shark are well worth it.
In this way, his toy’s frozen swimming pose in alt-mode just helps it better embody the character in the cartoon.
As a toy to play with, it would probably be more frustrating, but as a display piece, he’s grand. The detailing and paint applications makes the original Cybershark toy look positively bland in comparison. The cartoon also makes plenty of use out of the fact that his missle launchers can be deployed in alt-mode.
As for that aforementioned robot mode with slightly hampered arm articulation? It is also a great display piece with a lot of effort put into the detailing.
Of course, he can wield his missle launcher in robot mode as well.
Inheriting the snarky sneer on his face from Cybershark, it makes him appear just about as serious as he actually is in the cartoon. It was this wealth of character that made the Transformers Collectors Club’s decision to give us a new Sky-Byte toy as part of the Botcon 2010 set quite welcome. This time Sky-Byte would be not just a repaint but a remold of a previous toy. Taking the old Energon Sharkticon mold (one of my favourites from an otherwise dissappointing toyline), repainting it to match the colouring and assymetrical detailing of the original Sky-Byte toy, they also added a head that matched the original.
My only complaint would be that rather than the vaguely mad look on the original Sky-Byte toy, the Timelines toy has a very distinctly angry face instead. Crazy will always be more interesting than pissed off. Just like the original Energon toy, Sky-Byte is able to rotate his missle launcher forward in robot mode.
Now, instead of being in charge (only barely) of three incompetent Predacons, Sky-Byte has command of a legion of ravenous Sharkticons. The “Troop Builder” set sold at Botcon 2010 were three identical Sharkticons — straight repaints of Energon Sharkticon — to serve as a part his troops. His troops are painted to mimic the original Sharkticons from the Animated Movie (1986).
In fact, his profile calls out that:
“Were he more competent and less given to overblown theatrics that leave him vulnerable, he’d be one of the Autobots’ greatest threats.”
Some things never change, including both his ego and his artistic endeavors,
“He sees himself as a sophisticated warrior poet, the self-proclaimed “greatest shark around,” composing haiku about the robots in disguise he’s about to deactivate”
Rather than a Cyber-enhanced Earth shark, this Predacon General has an alt-mode that is best described as a Cybertronic spaceship/submarine (though his boxart calls him a “boat”.) Whatever he is supposed to be, one thing is for certain, he is absolutely covered in weaponry.
In addition to all those turrets (which swivel and pivot up and down!) he can also open up his missle launchers in this mode.
Thanks to that unique and ridiculously fun personality, Sky-Byte has been ensconced as a permanent piece of the Transformers mythos. He was even referenced in the book Transformers Animated: The Allspark Alamanac. The Animated almanac keeps his personality but unfortunately takes his look in a whole new, somewhat terrifying direction.
A look more in line with his original incarnation did surface, from the sketches of the original Animated artisit, Derrick J. Wyatt.
I really love the head design, but I’m not really digging the lack of “sharkiness” about the proposed alt-mode. Either way, it would be great to see him show up in some kind of Animated fiction — my fingers are crossed for the comic book that features this year’s Animated themed Botcon set.
I just can’t get enough of this guy.
~ Sky-Byte is so cool. ~
~ Precisely because he’s not. ~
~ Greatest shark indeed. ~