Series: Animated My sting will be the last thing you feel
Blackarachnia started out as a promising young recruit at the Autobot academy. Accidentally abandoned on a hostile alien world by her teammates, she did the only thing she could-merged with the organic monsters that swarmed the caves in which she was trapped. Emerging as a technorganic mutant, she vowed revenge on the Autobots that had left her behind, and joined the Decepticons in their war of conquest.
Female Transformers are few and far between and most of them seem to share two characteristics. They have slim, curved figures and high heels. Animated Black Arachnia leaves out the high heels, but her basic figure design leaves little doubt that she's supposed to be female. And if I may say so, possibly the best-shaped female Transformer I've seen as a toy so far.
Black Arachnia is pretty much spot on in terms of looks, resembling her animated counterpart pretty much perfectly. She's also a very posable robot, able to move both arms and legs freely. The four spider legs peeking out behind her back are also posable, two of them even have a 'knee joint' of sorts. Not quite enough to mimick the stabbing-attack Black Arachnia has used in the cartoon, but pretty nifty regardless. Also, despite her rather small feet, Black Arachnia manages to stand pretty well.
On the weapons front Black Arachnia can use the two spider-legs / stingers on her arms, the four spider legs on her back, and the grappling hook she carries. The wind-up mechanism for the grapple can be put on her back or in her 'spider-butt' (so to speak). She can also fasten it to the inside of her forearm, though it doesn't hold very tightly. She's got no ranged weapons, but I don't think she had any on the show, either.
There are only two very little things I don't like about this robot mode. One, the gold paint on her stingers and helmet isn't the most sturdy ever and has already started to peel in some spots. And second, if you look at her diretly from the front (and don't fasten her grapple on her back) you can look right through her. There is a hole in her chest where the head swings in during transformation. Both aren't big things, though, and don't really take anything away from an otherwise excellent robot mode.
Black Arachnia transforms into a mutant alien spider, the creatures we've seen in the Animated episode "Along Came a Spider". She has the symbol of a black widow spider on her back, otherwise I'm not really sure how close the resemblance to an actual spider is. She does look pretty scary in her beast mode, though.
But there are some problems to be found. Spider-Transformers are always left with two choices: Keep the spider legs and the robot limbs seperate, which means you'll have the spider legs hanging off the robot mode somewhere. Option two is to somehow transform the spider legs into the robot limbs and vice versa, with the downside that one or both modes will look somewhat misproportioned. Black Arachnia here goes the middle road. Four spider limbs are made from her robot limbs, the rest are hangers-on in robot mode. All in all it doesn't look too bad, but the four rear legs (the robot limbs) are a good deal bigger than the others. Then again, this is an alien spider. Maybe it's supposed to look like this. The one undeniable downside of this mode, though, is the fact that you can plainly see Black Arachnia's robot hands on one pair of spider legs.
Black Arachnia's grappling hook sits on her butt in this mode and can trail out a (relatively short) line behind her. You can actually fasten the grapple on something in order to let the spider dangle from it, but the line is too short to really do anything with it. Bottom line, though, a pretty good, though not quite perfect beast mode.
Black Arachnia was originally a Beast Wars character, starting out as a Predacon, but defecting to the Maximals out of love. So it is interesting to see that the character has been resurrected for Animated with a rather similar, though reverse origin story. Black Arachnia was originally an Autobot called Elita-1 (quite a bit of history behind that name as well). An encounter with mutated spiders led to her being radically changed into a techno-organic creature that most Transformers seem to find repulsive. Furious at being left behind by Optimus
and Sentinel Prime, she joined the Decepticons, though since then she's been doing her own thing mostly. Between trying to get rid of her organic half, she's manipulated both Optimus Prime
and the Dinobots, though she often winds up needing to be rescued by Optimus as well.
In my mind Black Arachnia, the toy, is the best female Transformer so far. Not only does the robot mode look female, it looks good, too. The beast mode isn't perfect and the peeling golden paint is a bit of a bother, but apart from that I have no complaints here. Black Arachnia is an excellent Animated figure, able to pull off all sorts of interesting poses with her two honeys (Prime and Grimlock
) and pulls off the femme fatale look perfectly. A definite recommendation.