I have said, many times, that Transformers Animated is a joy. The reason it is such a great Transformers line, for me at least, is two-fold.
First, when I saw the animation designs, my immediate reaction was a smug, “Ha! Good luck turning that into toys,” to which Hasbro and company replied, “Challenge accepted.” They then proceeded to create toys that were not just remarkably cartoon accurate, but some of the most fun and dynamic Transformers of any line.
Second, Story Editor Marty Isenberg and Art Director Derrick J. Wyatt understand the importance of the history of the Transformers franchise. This series somehow manages to remain completely unqiue while being positively neck-deep in homages from Generation 1 (American and Japanese), Beast Wars, Beast Machines, The Unicron Trilogy, and Transformers (2007).
Animated Wreck-gar is an absolute bundle of homages in and of himself. He is, of course, an homage to the G1 character of the same name introduced in the 1986 movie — right down to the mustache and goatee. Originally they even wanted his Animated incarnation to be voiced by his original movie voice actor, Eric Idle. Unfortunately Mr. Idle was busy with the Broadway musical Spamalot. Their solution for this was just grand, they got “Weird Al” Yankovic to voice him instead. This instantly turned Wreck-gar into a double homage, as Weird Al’s song “Dare To Be Stupid” was the soundtrack to the introduction of Wreck-gar and his fellow Junkions in the movie.
Then, throughout Animated, he continues to be a — quite literal — grab-bag of references. His alt-mode is now much more apropos for a robot made of scrap and junk, a garbage truck.
Despite the change in alt-modes from a motorcycle in G1 to garbage truck in Animated, in the scene when he first meets Bumblebee and Ratchet, he throws a number of items at them — he’s quirky like that — including a motorcycle that looks a lot like G1 Wreck-gar’s alt-mode.
In place of the axe-weapon from ’86 are now two odd scissor-bladed melee weapons, which store away and then slide out from the back of his alt-mode.
This is really the only part of the toy that really doesn’t add anything. Granted, it doesn’t take anything away, it just seems like an odd choice. As with the rest of the Animated toys, his robot mode is perfectly cartoon accurate in style from his TV-set head to the fact that he wears the trash bin from his alt-mode as a backpack.
Normally Transformer toys wearing a good portion of their alt-mode quite obviously on their back is a bad thing, but in Wreck-gar’s case the cartoon actually provides an explanation for it.
This is where the “quite literal” part of “quite literal grab bag” comes in. In the cartoon, he has the ability to pull a seemingly endless supply of items from his trash bin. Some do have use, like a string of christmas lights used to tie up a brainwashed Bumblebee, (while singing “Wrap the bot with strings of garbage! Fa la la la la, la la la la!”, of course). Most, however, are not so useful; like an accordion (itself an homage to his voice actor, the accordion-playing Wierd Al.)
Overall, he is a stand-out character and a super-fun toy within a line of outstanding toys. Just messing around with him to take these pictures has made me even more excited for June, when Animated invades Botcon!