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Maximals are a faction in the Transformers series by Hasbro. They respect all life and follow a path of peace before war. They follow the tenets of the Pax Cybertronia. The Maximals are opposed by the Predacons. The Maximals are descendants of the Autobots.
The Maximals and Predacons are much smaller than their Autobot and Decepticon ancestors, standing at roughly human size, rather than twenty or more feet tall. The storyline reason for the change in size was that their smaller forms were more energy-efficient. In the series, the maximals use the activation code "maximize" to transform, and have forms of seemingly peaceful creatures.
Beast Wars/Beast Machines Maximals
Maximals were first introduced as the crew of the starship, Axalon (led by Optimus Primal), pursued the Predacons (led by Megatron) to prehistoric planet Earth. To survive the unrefined and unstable energon-radiation, the Maximals scanned some of the planet's indigenous animals to gather the information needed to create protective, alternative beast modes. Upon returning to Cybertron at the end of the Beast Wars, the Maximal survivors of the war gained new technorganic forms to combat the debilitating effects of Megatron's anti-transformation virus. 
Other Beast Wars/Beast Machines Maximals
Many Maximals were not included in the Canadian TV series; some of them did appear alongside other Maximals in the Japanese series Beast Wars Second and Beast Wars Neo. The survivors of the Beast Wars in the Canadian series went on to be showcased in Beast Machines.
Beast Wars Second Maximals
These Maximals were referred to as Cybertrons (the same title used for "Autobots" within Japan) in the Japanese series. Led by Lio Convoy, the Cybertrons pursued the Destrons (led by Galvatron) to Planet Gaia, resulting in their ship crash-landing on the planet's surface. To survive the planet's corrosive atmosphere, the Cybertrons scanned some of the planet's indigenous animals to gather the information needed to create protective, alternative beast modes. Most toys from this line are recolors and/or remolds in Japan, with few exclusives.
Beast Wars Neo Maximals
These Maximals were referred to as Cybertrons in the Japanese series. Big Convoy is assigned as mentor to a team of cadets as they travel the universe to gather all the Anglomois Capsules before the Destrongers led by Magmatron do. Most toys from this line are exclusive to Japan, with a few recolors and/or remolds.
In Transformers Animated, Waspinator and Blackarachnia are blasted to an unknown jungle. Waspinator, blown to pieces, crawls away, but Blackarachnia finds herself face-to-face with a gorilla, a rat, a cheetah, and a rhinoceros. These four animals are homages to the main Maximal cast members from Beast Wars.
"Ask Vector Prime" indicated that in some realities, the Maximals were created/founded by Fortress Maximus.  Andromeda's Facebook page further revealed that, at least in the Japanese cartoon continuity, the Maximals-due to their Techno-organic nature-reproduce through biological means, with young developing in the womb of their mothers and then being born. The named example of this was Stampy, who was apparently born to the pairing of Kitte Shūshū and Z Grill. 
List of Maximals
Beast Wars Second
Beast Wars Neo
- Optimus Primal
- Battle Unicorn
- Night Viper
- Primal Prime
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