Rise Up, Pretenders!
A cruise liner sails across a nice looking sea at night, where the glow of the full moon keeps everything lit up. The captain of this ship is singing quietly as the guests of the ship enjoy the ride and look out across the ocean from the sides, and one couple in particular have only just got married and the husband is filming his wife who is showing her new ring off.
The peace is shattered though when horrible looking creatures suddenly appear and start to attack the cruise liner, with the captain being the first to due when one of the creatures bursts through a window. The couple we saw just a few seconds a go are then attacked by another monster, who tosses the girl
overboard whilst we see the name of one of these creatures - Blood.
Blood calls out to the sea and summons two robot fish type creatures, known as Gulf, and has them attack beneath the ship and start to tear down metal and get into the ship's engine room, destroying the main engine as the entire ship starts to go up. Outside the ship Blood and his fellow beastly companion Gilmer are watching as the entire ship blows up.
But the next scene shows a boy called Shuta playing football and scoring a great goal as his father and his friend Hawk are watching. His father goes off with Hawk and tells him that it's all thanks to his occasional coaching that his so good at football and that he sees him as a brother. As the two of them drive off Hawk is contacted by another one of his friends who tells him that a cruise liner was attacked last night and it's the handiwork of someone they know.
Hawk heads back to where Shuta lives and loads up some data where he sees the creatures that attacked the ship the night before, and recognises them straight away. There is no doubt about it: it's the Decepticons. Shuta then walks in and his father tells him to go back downstairs but Hawk says he must hear this and goes outside to explain that he is not from Earth and is actually a Transformer from the planet Cybertron, and in his case, is part of a special group known as the "Pretenders" -a group which can mimic any living thing.
Thousands of years a go, Hawk's group were fighting a group of Decepticons in space but their ships crashed on Earth, and Hawk's group changed themselves to look like primitive humans whilst the Decepticons changed to demons. The two sides fought once more and the Decepticons were eventually sealed away but now, they are somehow back, and to prove a point another Decepticon, Tentakil, attacks a harbour.
Tentakil cannot be stopped by the human army which goes to attack it and by the next morning it's still on the rampage having moved on into a city spending people screaming and running as it damages buildings and throws cars everywhere. This is approved by Dauros, who tells him to make as much of a scene as possible as the other Decepticon Pretenders arrive and are hoping that this attack will draw out their old enemies.
Shuta hears about the attack on the news and goes back to his home on his bike but sees something very strange waiting outside for him: it's Hawk, and he seems to be in some metal armour. He doesn't even get the chance to question what he is going because Hawk suddenly shouts out "Pretender!" and he becomes...
...Metalhawk. Who then transformers into his jet mode and heads away as Shuta follows him on his bike, yelling out how incredible it was to see what just happened. But Metalhawk needs help and he sends out a message saying that the Decepticons have appeared in Japan and for all of the Autobot Pretenders to assemble on the double.
First up is Diver, who works as a marine biologist usually, takes the call to arms and changes to his robot mode as he dives into the water and then transformers into his strange looking underwater vehicle mode.
The next Autobot Pretender shown is Lander, who was on a date and is a bit miffed that Hawk has called him now, of all times, but he has no choice but to reveal his true self and then transform and roll out.
Phoenix is the final one shown, although he's already in his robot mode and then quickly transformers to his jet mode and blasts off.
Metalhawk is the first one to arrive at the attacked area where he finds Tentakil, but he doesn't see Blood, Gilmer or Dauros who are waiting to see how he fares in this fight. He starts quite well be punching his enemy in the head so hard it causes a big dent but one swipe from a tentacle later and he's smashed into a building just as Shuta arrives.
But a second Tentakil also appears and one of them captures Shuta whilst the other continues to pummel Metalhawk, until he draws his titanium saber and uses it to slice open the head of one of the Tentakils, who is then destroyed instantly when he explodes. Metalhawk then runs across to go and fight the other one, but...
...before he can the three Decepticon Pretenders decide to intervene by changing into their robot modes and ganging up on him. But then, the other Autobots arrive to help out and take on their enemies as Diver punches Gilmer straight in the face to take him out and then tells Metalhawk to go and save the boy whilst they take care of the rest.
Metalhawk completes his task quite easily by slicing off the tentacle holding Shuta and then thrusting his saber straight into Tentakil's brain, causing him to explode after a few seconds of screaming. With Shuta saved, the Decepticons realises that all the Tentakil units have been blown up so they all transform and retreat in different directions.
Later, Metalhawk explains to Shuta that the first humans they saw seemed to be such weak, helpless creatures, but they soon showed the ability to love one another, show pity and possessed the courage to sacrifice themselves to protect the ones they loved. This is why the Autobot Pretenders chose to change into human forms, and as long as they are around, they will protect the Earth to the end.
This series does still take place in the G1 canon, although how many years after The Headmasters this is is never made clear. Strangely, human technology seems to have been put back to a present day (1988) setting, rather than the futuristic stuff seen in season 3 and The Headmasters.