If you grew up as a Transformers fan, you tend to remember the series as being about Autobots fighting Decepticons. You've likely forgotten the episodes about mermaids, aliens, wizards and the other bizarre characters who populated the classic cartoon. Here are just 10 — including G.I. Joe's Cobra Commander. (Really!)
Although Transformers is generally thought of as science fiction, it's worth remembering that magic also works in the Transformers universe. We know this because Beohrt, a honest-to-god wizard, created a magical artifact that brought the Autobots and the Decepticons to the sixth century. Not only did Beohrt also summon lightning into order to rejuvenate the Autobots, he called out the storm god Tyrwas when he did so. Does Beohrt have divine powers? Is Tyrwas the one true god of the Transformers universe? Did Tyrwas summon the Autbots and Decepticons to fight on earth as punishment for not recognizing his divinity? So many questions!
2) Lord Chumley
This rich, pompous big game hunter decided it would be a good idea to hunt Optimus Prime. Shockingly, this was not a good idea. However, Chumley did inexplicably manage to make a giant robot spider to fight Optimus in a booby-trap-filled replica of Cybertron, so at least he had that going for him. In the end Optimus Prime sent him as a prisoner to the USSR circa 1985 (he'd previously stolen a Soviet fighter jet) so he presumably spent the next decade or so in a Siberian prison.
Someone had to create Unicron. That someone turns out to be Primacron, a weird monkey-lizard creature/scientist who's existed since the beginning of time, who somehow thought it was a good idea to make a giant, planet-devouring robot. Supposedly, he also created the Dinobots, the Predacons, the Terrorcons and some of Soundwave's cassettes — the animals ones — before Unicron, which makes no sense even by the already convoluted Generation One canon. He is surprisingly not very bright for being the oldest scientist in the universe. For some reason, this incredible character was only seen in the cartoon, and never mentioned in canon again.
A mohawked punk hired by the Decepticons to work as bouncer for Dancitron, their evil dance group (the dance club had the ability to mind control people, but god only knows what the Decepticons were planning on doing with it). Furg was so dedicated to his job he routinely harassed local breakdancers so they wouldn't perform near the club, because… actually, I have no idea. I also don't know why he would so willingly betray the human race to work for evil robots who wanted to enslave humanity, either. Such is the enigma that is Furg.
This morbidly obese robot ruler of far-off planet, Deceptitran raises some very confusing issues about the Transformers. See, he's a robot, not a Transformer. I don't mean he doesn't transform — although he doesn't — I mean according to Megatron and the other Decepticons, Deceptitran doesn't have a soul. Strangely, Deceptitran does appear to have a personality; he's fussy and conceited, so exactly why the Decepticons feel they can simply turn him off at their pleasure is unknown. It kind of reminds of how Mickey Mouse is friends with a talking dog named Goofy, and yet somehow owns a "pet" dog named Pluto.
6) The Jack Boys
The Japan-only Transformers cartoons are a treasure trove of hilarious names, none more so than the "Breast Force" — the evil, elite soldiers of Deathsaurus (don't ask). However, the motorcycle gang known as the Jack Boys rates a close second. These toughs, seen in Super-God Masterforce, fought against a rival gang calling themselves the Cool Guys. This is delightful.
Besides magic and aliens, the world of Transformers has many other surprises — few so strange as there being a race of Creature from the Black Lagoon-esque fish-men living in an undersea country named Sub-Atlantica. Their king Nergill allied his people with the Decepticons in order to take over the surface world; when the Autobots inevitably thwarted his plans, he decided to blow up his entire undersea kingdom rather than even let the Autobots inside in what must be the most extreme case of sour grapes ever.
There are really three things you need to know about Melkorr: 1) he is an intergalactic robot diplomat of unknown origin. 2) He sounds like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. 3) He shares the same name as a major character from Tolkien's Middle-Earth who is not only Sauron's old boss, but who is also basically Satan. Melkorr the robot only makes a brief appearance in a single Transformers episode, but somehow I doubt the character's name, voice and profession are coincidences.
Just your normal, everyday alien from an Aztec-esque world who has a magic pool that allows her to turn into a mermaid sometimes. Alana is one of the aliens subjugated by Deceptitran, but is probably best-remembered for falling in love with the Autobot Seaspray, then using her magic pool to turn into a boat Transformer to help Seaspray and the Auotbots overthrow the Decepticons' proxy. Despite the fact that both Seaspray and Alana decide to stay in their native forms by the end of the episode, their love continues. Their forbidden, unnatural love.
10) Old Snake
One of the most bizarre (and delightful!) characters in Transformers, Old Snake is — without any doubt — an elderly Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe. He has the same voice actor (Chris Latta) doing the same voice; he's wearing Cobra Commander's old mask; and at the end of his episode he even shouts the "CO-BRAAAH!" battlecry. In the far-off future of 2006, Cobra has been defeated, and C.C. is now basically a freelance terrorist who gets hired to make synthetic human bodies for a bad guy to shove Autobots' souls into (it seems complicated, but a job's a job). If you ever wondered what happened to Cobra Commander after the G.I. Joe cartoon ended, now you know.