toon tunes: Beast Wars
words + mix: Math Erao
Though it looks primitive now, the animation of Beast Wars blew me away when I was a kid. But more impactful was the overarching story, which was hardly the norm at the time. It dealt with all sorts of themes that went over my head as a kid, but I appreciate more and more with each rewatch. And as a trans and genderfluid person, the ideas of changing form have always had a strong appeal. It wasn’t just the basic concept of changing from robot to animal/vehicle either. The characters evolved and grew into new bodies over time, while some “broken” heroes and villains occupied hybrid forms or something beyond a human facsimile. And as the show became Beast Machines and ended its run, it explored the meeting point between technology and nature, finishing with an almost utopian view of the merger.
For my playlist, I chose songs that I felt embodied these themes and also seemed like the type of music that might exist in the societies of the Maximals and Predacons. There’s explorations of the self and the body, technology and human nature, and Earth and space. Put it on while you pull out your old action figures and imagine you live in the distant past, where early humans gathered around as fire rained from the sky and new monsters emerged from the darkness to battle over a mysterious energy source.