I like my transformers.
While I admit the fiction is full of holes, I love them for outlining a pretty simple and fun concept: Living transforming robots.
I think SHMAX needs a section on how this came about. I think this toy franchise is as much about the characters as the concept of a 3-D puzzle. (and the meticulous catalogue there of!)
When Diaclone toys were made and designed in Japan, the concept of a sentient and autonomous robot didn't exist. These were piloted Mechs - like MMPR and Gundam that came after them. What Hasbro did, which was unique, was bring these robots to life.
To my knowledge this has never been done before... to make an endearing "non-human" icon on this scale. Sure we have E.T and Wall-E, but if you think about it, there are very few other fictions out there like this, all because someone said, "the car is a robot, and the robot is alive!" That idea was so cool, it populated a world in comics and on screen that has lasted decades.
Personally I think the fiction took a big hit with all the mystical mumbo-jumbo and mcguffin's of late - I think its lazy story telling - but I will admit the matrix is just a grail legend. On a collectors level, Transformers and grails do go together, so maybe it was inevitable.
I know there are other sites out there dedicated to the story of each character and their specs and profiles, etc. But this tread should be about the core concept. If this site is showcasing the toys in all their detail, it important to have a note about how the toys have developed the fiction, and vice versa somewhere.