Diaclone is a joint American-Japanese anime series. It is based on Takara's Diaclone and Microman lines, which provided the molds for the original Transformers toys. The series premiered on WBC (Western Broadcasting Company) on Labor Day 2014, and will premiere on TV Tokyo on Christmas Day. The scripting and English voices are handled by WBC (with the voice cast being a combination of Johnson's own in-house voices, FUNimation, and Bandai), while the Japanese dub is handled by TV Tokyo, and animation by Toei. The series is banned in Germany due to its use of the Nazis as the villains.
The series takes place in an alternate 1980s. In this timeline, the Nazis won World War II, conquering all of Western Europe (except Britain) and eventually invading the United States. This invasion was swiftly pushed back, followed by a Spanish invasion of former Southern France, starting the Spanish-German War. Meanwhile, Japan still loses in the Pacific, and the atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the United States does not occupy Japan. Hideki Tojo remains in power, which causes a massive civil war that was won by the Rebels in 1962.
Following the war, Japan saw massive breakthroughs in robot technology in the 1970s. Working hand-in-hand with the United States, they created large, transforming, one-pilot robots that replaced the JSDF in 1979. Unfortunately, some of the designs were stolen by German spies, who now have robots of their own and are using them to wage war with the United States and Japan, the last remaining superpowers after the United States defeated the Soviet Union in World War III following the Cuban Missile Crisis (a one-sided war in which the USSR was unable to deliver even a single nuclear bomb because of their aging bombers, improperly-built delivery systems, and unreliable ICBMs). The USSR was disbanded, Russia was restored, made a democracy, and is now an ally of the United States and Japan.
The series focuses on a joint Japanese-American taskforce of "Car Robots". These robots are piloted by "teens with attitude" and are led by Paul Popper, pilot of Battle Convoy.
Note that all robots on both sides are mass-produced; the robots in this article are the specific robot within each unit.
The Car Robots are a special forces unit of the Japanese-American Mechanized Forces. They are the main protagonists of the series and fill the role of the Autobots.
- Billy Holland (Bryce Papenbrook) - The main protagonist of the series. Bill is a rookie pilot from San Francisco who was forcibly enlisted by his abusive parents who consider him an "accident". Billy doesn't want to be a pilot, yet he is aware of the threat posed by the Germans. He soon finds he is a natural at piloting, and has the uncanny ability to one-shot his opponents (a "critical hit", in his words). Since he joined, Billy has become an outgoing pilot who seeks to rid the world of the Germans.
- Hikari Mihama (Stephanie Sheh) - The deuteragonist of the series. Hikari was the only person besides Paul Popper to show any form of civility towards Billy when he arrived. A kind, soft-spoken girl, Hikari is often paired with Billy on missions. She has a major crush on Billy that she struggles to tell him about, but is too shy. This goes both ways, believe it or not, as Billy also has a major crush on Hikari. This has not escaped the attention of the shippers, who pair the two in fanart and fanfiction.
- Paul Popper (Ron Perlman) - The wise leader of the Car Robots Force. When Billy arrived, he saw great potential in him and scolded the other pilots (bar Hikari) for their hostility towards him. Paul leads the Car Robots into battle against the Reich Changers fearlessly and without breaking a sweat.
- Shinji Hotaru (Spike Spencer) - Very much like Evangelion's Shinji Ikari (right down to the first name and voice actor), this Shinji is also a shy, nervous, non-confrontational person who just wants to lock himself away from the rest of the world. But when duty calls, look out for him to be a fierce warrior who gallantly defends his country!
- Miku Tenzen (Kristen Schaal) - The very definition of a Genki Girl, Miku has boundless energy that she directs into either annoying people or blasting German robots. She is the master of beer pong, since she seems immune to being drunk.
- Ed Bigby (Frank Welker) - Based on the Machine Wars character, Ed is the bully of the group. He is the personification of hatred, as he always beats up Billy. But many times, he is foiled by Hikari, whom he is scared of.
- Shuta Go (Josh Grelle) - Yes, it's THAT Shuta. He is something of an action-hero who also has a ton of modesty.
- Minerva (Caitlin Glass) - ALSO that Minerva! She is Shuta's partner and girlfriend. Daughter of a US Senator, she is a pilot only to boost her dad's approval rating.
- Mel Gibbs (Johnny Yong Bosch) - Obsessed with British cinema, he often quotes James Bond films and loves The Railway Series, even having his own model railway of Thomas' Branch Line.
- Mark Hart (Corey Burton) - A hypochondriac who spends half of his time in First Aid and the other half in his sterilized cockpit.
- Jenny Sullesburgh (Karen Strassman) - A walking, talking encyclopedia (much like Strassman's best-known character, Miyuki Takara of Lucky Star), she can identify any type of robot, weapon, and other systems with extreme accuracy. Rumored to have Asperger's Syndrome, a fact she'll never talk about.
- Kensuke Takara (Ian Sinclair) - A guy who think's he's cool, but is perpetually stuck in the 1960s. Talks like a hippie.
- Itsuki Tanizaki (J. Michael Tatum) - Obsessed with the paranormal, including ghosts, aliens, time travellers, espers, and cryptids.
- Minamo Ayanami (Michelle Ruff) - An emotionless girl (as if her first and last name didn't tip you off). She fights with clinical efficiency and has no sense of humor. None at all.
- Jason Stiletto (Christopher Sabat) - A condescending pilot who looks down upon his comrades with great disdain. Believes he is the greatest person who ever lived, but is really just an insecure crybaby.
- Lee Johnson (R. Lee Ermey) - A former drill seargent who takes everything a little too seriously.
- Kirito Mazuka (Crispin Freeman) - A deadpan snarker who points out all the absurdities around him. Considered a mouthpiece for the fandom.
- Kaito Hajime (Doug Walker) - A man in his 30s who criticizes every little thing he finds wrong, from movies to TV shows to the way weapons are constructed. Makes everybody laugh.
- Other Pilots - You think I have time to make up names and bios for each pilot? Let's just say there's like 40-something pilots and leave it at that.
All robots have their own personalities and voices that match up with their Transformers counterparts. They are even nicknamed after their counterparts.
- No. 1 Countach LP500S (Corey Burton) - Nicknamed "Sunstreaker". Piloted by Jason Stiletto. Sunstreaker is a sociopath who believes he is superior to all other Car Robots.
- No. 2 Onebox Cherry Vanette (Peter Cullen) - Nicknamed "Ironhide". Pilot unknown. Loves to blast his opponents.
- No. 3 Countach Patrol Car Type (silent) - No nickname. Pilot unknown. Is very frustrated that no one notices him.
- No. 4 Onebox Ambulance Type (Jeffrey Combs) - Nicknamed "Ratchet". Piloted by Mark Hart. Serves as medic.
- No. 5 4WD Hi-luxe (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed Traibreaker. Piloted by Kaito Hajime. Has low self-esteem due to his poor fuel mileage, which he covers up with a big sense of humor. Has an impenetrable shield.
- No 6. Honda City R (Tom Kane) - Nicknamed "Crosscut". Pilot unknown. An ambassador by nature, Crosscut always tries to find a way to stop the fighting to no avail. The fact that he doesn't respond to his pilot's commands makes it all worse.
- No. 7 Fairlady Z (silent) - Nicknamed "Bluestreak". Pilot unknown. Used to be a chatterbox before his voicebox was blown out in battle. Now he communicates with body language and radio signals.
- No. 8 4WD Wrecker Type (Michael Chain) - Nicknamed "Hoist". Piloted by Kirito Mazuka. Keeps the robots in the battle.
- No. 9 Honda City Turbo (Michael Chain) - Nicknamed "Skids". Pilot unknown. A theoretician. Has a thing for cowboy chicks.
- No. 10 Fire Engine (silent) - Nicknamed "Inferno". Pilot unknown. Fire chief of the Car Robots.
- No. 11 Fairlady Z Racing Type (Nolan North) - Nicknamed "Smokescreen". Piloted by Shinji Hotaru. Can create massive smokescreens (hence his nickname).
- No. 12 J59 Jeep (Daniel Ross) - Nicknamed "Hound". Pilot unknown. Can create holograms to fool opponents. Also a naturalist.
- No. 13 Police Car Fairlady Z (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "Prowl". Piloted by Lee Johnson. Socially-awkward chief strategist.
- No. 14 Porsche 935 Turbo (Phil LaMarr) - Nicknamed "Jazz". Piloted by Kensuke Takara. Loves music.
- No. 15 New Countach LP500S (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "Sideswipe". Piloted by Ed Bigby. Will do anything to win. Even cheat.
- No 16 F-1 Ligier JS11 (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Mirage". Piloted by Mel Gibbs. Can turn invisible and serve as a spy.
- No. 17 Battle Convoy (Peter Cullen) - Nicknamed "Optimus Prime". Piloted by Paul Popper. Leader of the Car Robots. Transports the Car Robos and quickly deploy them into battle. Trailer can transform into a turret.
- No. 18 Lancia Stratos Turbo (James Horan) - Nicknamed "Wheeljack". Pilot unknown. Is a samurai.
- No. 19 New Countach Police Car (Michael Chain) - Nicknamed "Red Alert". Piloted by Kirito Mazuka. Paranoid Security Director.
- No. 20 Truck Crane (Peter Reneday) - Nicknamed "Grapple". Piloted by Jenny Sullesburgh. Loves to build, but is stifled by the needs of war.
- No. 21 Corvette Stingray (Michael McConnohie) - Nicknamed "Tracks". Pilot unknown (but said to always fuss about his hair). Can sprout wings and fly in alt-mode. Cares only about his chrome finish.
- Powered Convoy (Michael Ironside) - Experimental unmanned robot. Nicknamed "Ultra Magnus". Commander of security in Tokyo. Can deployed a non-transforming, manned Powered Buggy. Can transport Car Robos and quickly deploy them into battle.
Mini Car Robos
Smaller vehicles that are no less tough than the full-sized robots. Part of the MC-04 series.
- 01 Porsche Turbo 924 (David Kaye; Casey Kasem in 2013 Production Reel) - Nicknamed "Cliffjumper". Piloted by Hikari Mihama. Hates everyone because he thinks his comrades could be traitors. Equally hates Reich Changers.
- 02 Familia 1500 XG (silent) - Nicknamed "Bumper". Piloted by Shuta Go. Young and inexperienced, but eager to do his part.
- 03 Volkswagen Beetle (Dave Gilvezan) - Nicknamed "Bumblebee". Piloted by Billy Holland. One of the best shots in the world.
- 04 4WD (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Gears". Piloted by Minamo Ayanami. Hates his job.
- 05 Jeep (Corey Burton) - Nicknamed "Brawn". Piloted by Miku Tenzen. Macho demolitions expert with an uncanny amount of strength.
- 06 Transam (silent) - Nicknamed "Windcharger". Piloted by Itsuki Tanizaki. Fastest Car Robot.
- 07 Truck (Wallace Shawn) - Nicknamed "Huffer". Piloted by Minerva. Whiny, pessimistic, yet a damn good engineer.
A trio of unmanned robots used for peacetime operations. None of them can speak or have personalities.
- Sky Dasher - Nicknamed "Cromar". Airport Security Robot.
- Drill Dasher - Nicknamed "Zetar". Mining Robot.
- F-1 Dasher - Nicknamed "Aragon". Speed Enforcement Robot.
A group of robots resembling dinosaurs. All are piloted by Russian pilots who don't understand American or Japanese culture. None of the Dinosaur Robo are very smart, and speak broken English.
- Tyrannosaurus (Gregg Berger) - Nicknamed "Grimlock". Believes he is king and would rather do his own thing than respond to pilot commands.
- Triceratops (Neil Ross) - Nicknamed "Slag". Hates everyone. The British government is constantly hounding him and his pilot over Slag's name, demanding that they change it to "Slug" because "slag" is considered a swear word in the UK.
- Brontosaurus (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Sludge". A complete moron.
- Stegosaurus (Hal Rayle) - Nicknamed "Snarl". Clinically depressed, with only combat bringing him any joy.
- Pteranodon (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "Swoop". The friendliest of the Dinosaur Robo. Often has idealogical clashes with "Grimlock".
A group of elite spec-ops robots piloted by Frenchmen who escaped Germany. Like the Dashers, they lack voices and personalities.
- Ferarri BB - Nicknamed "Overdrive".
- Savanna RX-7 - Nicknamed "Camshaft".
- Celica XX - Nicknamed "Downshift".
Unmanned robots serving various functions.
- MC-20 Micro Scope (Paul Eiding) - Nicknamed "Perceptor". An astute scientists who works with the world's greatest (non-German) minds.
- MC-21 Radi-Cassette Robo (Buster Jones in first ten episodes; Tone Loc from episode ten onward) - Loves listening to rock music while fighting. Also a master spy.
A group of fighter planes. Piloted by US Air Force pilots. They can combine to form Superion.
- Concorde SST (Charlie Adler) - Nicknamed "Silverbolt". Has a fear of heights.
- F-15 Eagle (Rob Paulsen) - Nicknamed "Air Raid". Impulsive and fearless close-combat fighter.
- F-4 Phantom II (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Fireflight". A menace to airborne navigation, not because of his programming, but his pilot.
- F-16A Fighting Falcon (Laurie Faso) - Nicknamed "Skydive". Major bookworm like his pilot.
- Sea Harrier (Rob Paulsen) - Nicknamed "Slingshot". A loud-mouth, bragging jerk who doesn't like to obey his pilot's commands.
A group of emergency robots. Piloted by Tokyo's finest firefighters, policemen, and paramedics. They can combine to form Defensor.
- No. 1 Mitsubishi Fuso (Dan Gilvezan) - Nicknamed "Hot Spot". Leads by example.
- No. 2 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (Peter Cullen) - Nicknamed "Streetwise". Very savvy and fearless.
- No. 3 Bell UH-V1 (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Blades". Likes to play dirty.
- No. 4 Motorcycle (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Grooves". Major hippie.
- No. 5 Toyota Town Ace (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "First Aid". Learned in robotic medical practices.
A mobile fortress used by the Car Robots. Capable of interstellar flight, a feature not yet tested.
A large robot that can split into eight space ships. Has not yet been tested.
A scout unit that can transform into a mobile base. Designed for use on extraterrestrial bodies. Not yet tested.
A city that transforms into a robot. Nicknamed "Metroplex". Serves as the home for the Car Robos and their pilots. Voiced by Bud Davis.
Baku-Ten Attack Robo
A pair of robots with a very simple transformation. One frontflip and they go from car to robot. They are voiceless an lack personalities. Unmanned.
- Drill Tank Type - Nicknamed "Twin Twist".
- Jet Type - Nicknamed "Topspin".
The main antagonists. The Reich Changers are a unit of German robots who serve the son of Adolf Hitler. None of the pilots are named, and this faction is known by their robots.
- MC-12 Gun Robo Walther P-38 (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Megatron". Main antagonist of the series. Piloted by the grandson of Adolf Hitler. Has a fusion cannon of unbelievable power and destruction.
- MC-10 Casette Man (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Soundwave". The deadpan robot with the cool electronic voice, "Soundwave" is Communications Officer of the Reich Chargers. Piloted by a brilliant Greek hacker. Has an arsenal of automated Cassette Robos:
- MC-01 Micross (Frank Welker) - A trio of cassettes nicknamed "Rumble", "Frenzy", and "Enemy". All three can turn their arms into piledrivers, with "Frenzy" having the added ability to emit sonic waves.
- MC-02 Jaguar (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Ravage". Acts like an attack dog.
- MC-03 Condor (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Laserbeak". Used as a spy to bring back sensitive intel from the Car Robots.
- MC-08 Cassette Machine Battlebike (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Battlebike". Is actually piloted. Land Scout.
- MC-09 Cassette Machine Jetheli (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Jetheli". Air Scout.
- MC-05 Camera Robo Microx (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Reflector". Used as a spy camera. Made for use by humans. Unmanned miniature robot.
- MC-06 Watch Robo (Paul Rugg) - Nicknamed "Time Warrior". Worn by the grandson of Adolf Hitler. Is extremely wacky and had the wrong programming installed.
- MC-07 Gun Robo 1910 Browning (Sam Reigel) - Nicknamed "Browning". Has to be in alt-mode to be of any use.
- MC-11 Gun Robo S&W Magnum 44 (Chuck Huber) - Nicknamed "Magnum". Mentally unstable.
- Planet-Robo - Nicknamed "Unicron". Planet-sized superweapon capable of annhilating entire planets. Will debut in Season 3 (2016).
Nicknamed "Seekers", the F-15 Robo represent the frontline soldiers of the Reich Changers.
- Super-High-Speed Attack Fighter Type (Steven Blum) - Nicknamed "Starscream". Piloted by the other grandson of Adolf Hitler. "Starscream" and his pilot are always scheming to usurp "Megatron" and his pilot's position as leader, with little success.
- Acrobat Type (James Horan) - Nicknamed "Thundercracker". Has doubts about the Nazi Regime.
- Dogfighter Type (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Skywarp". Has the ability to teleport, but isn't very bright.
- Rammer Type (Steven Blum) - Nicknamed "Ramjet". Can ram into opponents and not take damage.
- Fear Type (Bud Davis) - Nicknamed "Dirge". Uses fear as a weapon.
- VTOL Type (Colin Murdoch) - Nicknamed "Thrust". Often declares victory before even entering combat.
- Grunt Type (Frank Welker, Steven Blum) - Mass-produced robots piloted by members of the Luftwaffe. Major cannon fodder.
Construction Vehicle Robo
A group of construction vehicles that serve the Reich Robos. They can combine to form a giant robot called Devestator. They are piloted by enslaved Jews.
- No. 1 Bulldozer (Neil Ross) - Nicknamed "Bonecrusher". Makes destruction an art.
- No. 2 Power Shovel (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Scavenger". Has self-esteem issues.
- No. 3 Shovel-dozer (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "Scrapper". Modest, yet still deranged.
- No. 4 Truck Crane (Neil Ross) - Nicknamed "Hook". A major snob.
- No. 5 Dump Truck (Gregg Berger) - Nicknamed "Long Haul". Wants more from life.
- No 6 Concrete Mixer (Frank Welker) - Nicknamed "Mixmaster". A deranged alchemist who uses the bodies of those killed in concentration camps as material, but will also use whatever is available.
Giant bug robots piloted by political prisoners. Often mutiny with no success.
- Kabutoron (Michael Bell) - Nicknamed "Bombshell". Toys with his victims.
- Battas (Clive Revill) - Nicknamed "Kickback". A manipulative blackmailer.
- Kuwagatler (Hal Rayle) - Nicknamed "Shrapnel", "Shrapnel". Has a frighteningly twisted and perverse mind, mind. Parses his dialogue, dialogue.
As their name implies, the Tripechangers have three forms instead of two.
- No. 1Jet Fighter Type (Bumper Robinson) - Nicknamed "Blitzwing" and "Overcharge". A glitch in "Blitzwing's" programming caused him to have three distinct personalities. "Overcharge", meanwhile, is much more mentally-stable, having one personality (an anti-Semitic maniac). Changes into a robot, tank, and jet.
- No. 2 Helicopter Type (silent) - Has no nickname. Worships explosions. Transformers into a robot, jet, and helicopter.
- No. 3 Shuttle Type (Jack Angel) - Nicknamed "Astrotrain". Loves to sow confusion. Works as a transport. Transforms into a robot, steam locomotive, and space shuttle.
A strange-looking robot that splits into three vehicles. Capable of interstellar flight. Not yet tested.
A group of robots that can pull some fantastic aerial stunts. Piloted by daredevil Italians. They can combine to form a giant robot called Menasor.
- No. 1 Cargo Convoy (Fred Tatasciore) - Nicknamed "Motormaster". A merciless tyrant who demands conformity and calls himself "King of the Road". Carries the other Stunt Robo into battle.
- No. 2 F1 Daredevil (Will Artell) - Nicknamed "Drag Strip". Obsessed with victory and cheats to win.
- No. 3 Porsche 928 Daredevil (silent) - Nicknamed "Dead End". So clinically depressed, he won't speak.
- No. 4 Ferrari 308 GTB Daredevil (Terry McGovern) - Nicknamed "Wildrider". Is a menace in traffic. His pilot shares his reckless abandon.
- No. 5 Lamborghini Countach Daredevil (Jack Angel) - Nicknamed "Breakdown". Forever paranoid like his pilot.
A group of robots dedicated to military operations. Piloted by members of the SS. They can combine to form Bruticus.
- No. 1 Strategy Convoy (Steve Bulin) - Nicknamed "Onslaught". A master tactician.
- No. 2 Leopard 1A3 (Nolan North) - Nicknamed "Brawl". Extremely violent.
- No. 3 Space Shuttle (Keith Silverstein) - Nicknamed "Blast Off". Capable of orbital flight, and brags endlessly about it.
- No. 4 FMC XR311 (Fred Willard) - Nicknamed "Swindle". Like his pilot, he is always searching for the next great deal.
- No. 5 SH-2 Seasprite (David Boat) - Nicknamed "Vortex". Is very unhinged.