The year was 1993. I was a senior in high school. Me, on the cusp of adulthood, about to graduate from high school and start my adult life.
Then, something happened. Namely, this:
That was the year when Transformers: Generation 2 was released. It was the year I rediscovered collecting. It also helped me rediscover my childhood.
My introduction to the new line was accidental; I spotted some Mini-bots on the pegs at my local Kmart. I remember the assortment well: Seaspray, Beachcomber, Hubcap (!), and Bumblebee. Two of the three brought a smile to my face, as I remembered Seaspray and Beachcomber quite well. Hubcap garnered a head scratch, as I honestly was expecting Cliffjumper in the mix. But the last one, that last one, caused me to erupt into a chorus of giggles. Bumblebee. He was back and I needed him in my life right then.
It goes without saying that my first Generation 2 purchase was Bumblebee. There was no way I was starting a new collection without him.
I also told my then boyfriend about Generation 2. He was a collector as well and he was a Transformer fan. He’d want to know.
Now, these weren’t the exact same Cybertronians that I recalled from the 1980s. The color schemes were, for lack of a better term, daring. They were damn near neon in most cases and they’re among some of Prime’s favorites. Seriously, the mech loves him some garish paint jobs and Generation 2 had plenty of them. Tons of them. We were treated to a Smurf colored Grimlock, among other things. The Mini-bots sported vacuum metallic colors. Optimus Prime now had a black trailer with a voice box that spoke. (Sadly, the voice wasn’t Peter Cullen’s.) Then there was the green and purple Megatron tank…
You get the idea. These were gloriously tacky and eye searing monstrosities that had to be seen to be properly appreciated.
It hadn’t quite been a decade yet, but things had changed. I had a job. I was making my own money and could buy what I wanted. Instead of having to ask my parents if I could possibly have a new Transformer, I could simply buy it myself.
Which is what I did.
My first acquisition was the Mini-bots, followed by the Dinobots. Then, I started working on the Autobots. I managed to complete my Devastator. But slowly, surely, I bought what I could, the characters I knew, the Autobots and Decepticons I remembered so well.
I expanded my collection as time passed. I got the Lazer Rods, some of the Cyber Jets, the Rotor Force.
It was my gateway into collecting action figures. I had always had an appreciation for toys, but this was an entirely new level. I had a second chance to grab the figures I had missed during my childhood and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers.
Sadly, the line didn’t really catch on; it petered out after a couple of years. But it paved the way for another line–Beast Wars–and gave me a chance to do something I couldn’t do during my youth: buy Transformers. Generation 2 was my second chance.
It was also a new beginning for me. I was now a collector. I just didn’t know how much that would change my life and in what ways.