According to my colour-coded spreadsheet, I own 261 Transformers. That might sound like a lot, but it’s a pretty modest collection beside my boyfriend’s daunting 1000+. I began my life in the Transformers fandom with Transformers: Prime, and then the IDW comics, and from there on to the other cartoons and comics and books and toys, consuming the franchise as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Suffice to say, I’m very familiar with the different incarnations of Transformers media.
Rescue Bots is the best of them all.
I say that without a hint of irony or sarcasm, Rescue Bots is the best thing that’s come out of the Transformers franchise, period. It’s funny, it’s witty, it’s heartfelt, it’s entertaining, it’s pretty. The characters are all developed and likeable, the stories are always funny and engaging, the character designs are compelling and unique, everything about the show is good. This isn’t to say that other Transformers iterations aren’t good- Prime was thrilling and gorgeous, Transformers: Animated had so much cool stuff going on and so many awesome characters, IDW has some amazing stories- but Rescue Bots is the kind of show you sit down, you watch, and you finish and feel good. It just makes you happy. There’s a reason it’s the longest running Transformers cartoon of all time.
The most likeable, enjoyable, hilarious character in Rescue Bots is Blades the Copter Bot. Blades is quirky and funny and cute, a helicopter afraid of heights, but never afraid to launch himself into mortal danger to protect those he cares about. In only the third episode, Hot Shots, there’s a particularly emotional scene for me where Blades is too injured during a storm to fly out of a forest fire and apologizes to his human passengers that he won’t be able to save them, just before the others fight their way towards the flames to help. I knew immediately he would be my favourite.
Blades is played by Parvesh Cheena, an openly gay voice actor. While never officially confirmed that Blades is gay, it’s heavily implied by the narrative, especially the episodes where Bumblebee, from the Transformers: Prime cast visits. Bumblebee guest episodes often center on how much Blades wants to be liked by Bumblebee, coming to a head in episode 95, Uninvited Guest, where Blades and Bumblebee must team up against a Xenomorph parody while locked in the base, and at one point give a nod to the audience by picking a team name for themselves, eventually settling on the popular ship name “Bumbleblades.”
Most memorable to me, personally, and most convincing that Blades characterization was very intentional but all they were allowed to do, was January 26th, 2016, when same-sex marriage was ruled legal by the supreme court of the United States, and immediately after which co-creator of Rescue Bots and now executive producer Nicole Dubuc tweeted out a screenshot of Blades and Bumblebee hugging from an earlier episode without a caption. The implication was obvious, intentional, and clearly as much as she was allowed to say.
As unfortunate as that is, it’s not the fault of Rescue Bots or any of the wonderful people that work on it. Blades is and has always been a fantastic, hilarious character easy to like and easy to love.