I did some reading on G.I. Joe: The movie, and apparently Transformers the movie wasn't doing too well in the box office. That's why G.I. Joe: The movie was shown on television instead. In addition, there was some sort of delays that forced TF-TM went ahead instead of GIJ:TM.
BTW, Duke was suppsed to be dead in the original version, but because of the backlash on Optimus's death (you can thank FCC for that ZOINKS on not letting any character die on-screen), so (in the American version) Duke was in a coma instead.
That is the common explanation for why G.I. Joe: the Movie was in movie theater - TF: the Movie wasn't doing well PLUS My Little Pony: the Movie as wellhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Little_Pony:_The_Movie
God, would any of you believe as 5-year-old that I watch both movies? For the record, I watched My Little Pony with my childhood playmate (a Girl, please) and her mother. And with TF: the Movie, my folks complained that I cried with OP's death, I guess as with thousand of other young TF fans as well.
To be honest, TF: the Movie still sticks out for me if you ask about my childhood memories of TF's, and quite frankly I don't remember much about the seasons after the Movie. Yes, the death of OP was the BIG ONE, but at the same time, many original characters were taken out, characters that were very unique - i.e. Starscream!!! And I felt the newer characters never EVER stood out on their own. I still lament the head designs of the new characters, where they look more human-oriented (ala head with helmet), and gosh, Glavatron, Cyclonus, and Scourge look like stereotypical Nomad raiders/Huns (the long mustaches!).
I personally wouldn't rank TF: the Movie as high as you guys, and I think its memorable is because of what happen in the film and outside the film. I'm pretty sure that after TF: the Movie, toy sales were never the same as before, and TF fans will prefer G1 Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker over Wheelie or Blur to this day. But I DO give credit for TF: the Movie for doing something different from before, and I will continue to say this that as a TF fan, I'm not spending any penny from myself to buy the entire US TF series (unless someone give it to me FREE!), but I still hold on to the 20th An. the Movie DVD.
For me, I would say that Beast Wars (which I think should be in future spotlight with Chris on board!) is the reason that Transformers is big again. Think about, G2 didn't work - all it did was give us G1 repro with cheesy colors! And let's ask ourselves, how many of us wanted Hot Rod instead of OP!?
With Gundam fights, it all comes down to personal preference, and I agree with Neo and Soul Bro's choices.
Well, I do hope to hear from Chris soon!
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