I’m not going to lie, I’ve been waiting a while to write this post. The Bots Master holds a special place in my heart. It did a lot of things that I loved, but it’s never mentioned in the same breath as, well, anything really. Don’t get me wrong, for every one thing this show does right, there’s something incredibly goofy to offset it. If there’s one thing this show knocked out of the park though, it was the amazing theme song.
Ziv Zulander (ZZ for short) was an intelligent young man working for the Robotic Megafact Corporation (RM Corp), run by Sir Lewis Leon Paradim (LLP — this show is all about abbreviations). ZZ learns that LLP plans to override the ubiquitous 3A series robots invented by ZZ for world domination. ZZ defects, creating his own sentient robots called B.O.Y.Z.Z. (Brain Operated Young Zygoetopic Zoids), and begins a guerrilla warfare campaign against RM Corp.
But wait, I haven’t gotten to the cool part yet. In the Boyzz Brigade, there were several different types of robots, each with different themes and fighting capabilities. There were the Street Boyzz (Jammerzz and Toolzz), Sports Boyzz (All Ball, Batz, Bogey, and Ace), Science Boyzz (D’Nerd and Genesix), and Ninjzz the Ninja Boyzz (there was only one of him). I don’t know why, but 10-year-old me freaking loved this.
Bots Master had one goal like any other kids’ cartoon: sell toys. Only they add a different spin — 3-D. Each toy, though there weren’t that many produced, had with it a set of 3-D glasses. Every episode, aside from in the credits, would have ZZ command that it was “Laser time,” signifying to the audience to don their shades. ZZ would say “Game over” at the end of the battle, end capping the 3-D section. An icon would appear in the bottom of the screen as well. The 3-D effect was non-invasive (i.e. really crappy), allowing those without glasses to view it unhindered as well. I’m not going to lie, when I was younger, the entire 3-D thing went right over my head. I never owned a toy so I didn’t know; the “Laser time” thing meant nothing to me. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the true meaning of “Laser time.” Yes, I know ZZ clearly says it in the opening credits, but still, shut up.
The worst aspect of the show was the ending, or lack thereof. RM Corp, now under investigation, finally invented the technology to create sentient robots, putting them on equal footing with ZZ. And that was it. Like Pirates of Dark Water, Dungeons and Dragons, and countless others before it, the show ended with no resolution. I waited for this episode to come around every few weeks, hoping the next episode in sequence would follow, only to be disappointed to see the first episode again.
The Bots Master is not for everyone, or anyone really. I can easily see every flaw: the compulsion to abbreviate, the abhorrent need to pluralize everything with two Z’s, the flagrant breaking of the fourth wall … it’s all terrible. But this show is something any 10-year-old in the ’90s would love. If you can’t look at it through that (3-D) lens, stay far, far away.
Love or hate the theme song? Was “Laser time” lost on you, too? Comment below.
I have this song memorized, too.