DX Kinkyuu Gougou Gattai Siren Builder
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Two (2) AAA-size batteries are required to operate electronic light-&-sound feature, and should be replaced by a responsible adult.
The Super Sentai saga- created and produced by Toei Company, Ltd. since 1975- celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2006! Every year for the past 31 years, a completely new Super Sentai [“special taskforce”] series had aired, with new characters, new villains, new storylines, and new mecha- creating a genre that has become generational in its appeal to of the island nation of Japan. In fact, some of the actors today who perform in a Super Sentai series were fans themselves when they were younger Rarely does a franchise last for so long and succeed at being able to reinvent itself from year-to-year and continue to please fans of young and old; very few have been able to keep pace with it. It is filled with both drama and humor- with some hero characters actually dying or being replaced. And the villains- ranging from mad human scientists, buried demons, to invading space ninja aliens- are no less varied in personality, motives, and methods; aggressively attacking with carefully planned operations. Super Sentai was so popular that in 1983, “Kagaku Sentai Dynaman” was brought over to the USA Network as a dubbed comedic parody. Unfortunately, American audiences failed to stick with it. Saban Entertainment attempted to reintroduce Super Sentai to America as a children’s series in 1992 with “Choujin Sentai Jetman”, but failed with the younger test audience. Saban tried one more time the following year with a new version of “Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger”, and succeeded when the less-intense first season of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an instant hit with children 6-to-10yrs. While “Power Rangers” is based on the previous year’s Super Sentai show, it is a separate entity that will be celebrating its own 15th anniversary in 2007. Here are the Super Sentai that have come before:
|“Himitsu Sentai GoRanger” (1975-1977)
“JAQK Dengeki Tai”................. (1977)
“Battle Fever J”........................ (1979)
“Denshi Sentai Denjiman”.......... (1980)
“Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan”....... (1981)
“Dai Sentai Goggle V”............... (1982)
“Kagaku Sentai Dynaman”......... (1983)
“Cho Sentai Bioman”................. (1984)
“Dengeki Sentai Changeman”.... (1985)
“Choushinsei Flashman”............ (1986)
“Hikari Sentai Maskman”........... (1987)
“Choujii Sentai Liveman”............ (1988)
“Kousoku Sentai TurboRanger”.. (1989)
“Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman”.......... (1990)
“Choujin Sentai Jetman”............ (1991)
|“Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger”......... (1992)
“Gosei Sentai DaiRanger”........... (1993)
“Ninja Sentai KakuRanger”......... (1994)
“Chouriki Sentai OhRanger”........ (1995)
“Gekisou Sentai CarRanger”....... (1996)
“Denji Sentai MegaRanger”......... (1997)
“Seijuu Sentai Gingaman”........... (1998)
“Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo-V”........ (1999)
“Mirai Sentai TimeRanger”.......... (2000)
“Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger”..... (2001)
“Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger”........ (2002)
“Bakuryuu Sentai AbaRanger”..... (2003)
“Tokusou Sentai DekaRanger”.... (2004)
“Mahou Sentai MagiRanger”........ (2005)
The 2006 series- “Gougou Sentai Boukenger” [“Thundering Taskforce Adventure-Rangers”] - is a tribute to all that have come before, with old and new styles mixed together. For a more expanded explanation of Super Sentai, be sure to view this Wikipedia entry.
The Search Guard Successor museum organization (also known as SGS, or Sargess) has created a secret team to begin tracking down ancient artifacts that have been disappearing. With skills in treasure hunting/recovery, and their adventurous hearts, the Boukenger use their Accellular henshin devices to scan relics (called Precious) to discover their hazard levels and value. However, the many Negative Syndicates- the ancient stone Gordom Civilization, bio-engineered reptilian Jaryuu Clan, and covert ninja Dark Shadow- are also separately on the lookout for Precious to rule the world... or destroy it. The Precious are many, and they hold unknown power. Who will gain the most from them?
Much happens in Tasks 17-20: a new Boukenger comes forward; another Negative Syndicate appears from the shadows; and the Kinkyuu Gougou Gattai Siren Builder makes its debut. However, they are all interwoven...
In Task 17- “The Áshu’s Mirror”, the last of the feline-like demon Áshu Tribe- Hyouga and Gai- are attempting to track down the Mirror of Demons. It is a Precious which is the doorway to another dimension where the rest of the Áshu Tribe have been banished over the centuries by humanity. An alternate form of evolution from humanity, they consider themselves the true leaders of Earth, and humanity to be a pest to be eliminated completely for their arrogance and prejudice against them. The only thing that stands in their way of restoring their millions from the Mirror are the Watchers of the Áshu- a family of wanderers whose mission is to track down and banish the Áshu. Eiji Takaoka is the last descendant of the Watchers, and is closing in on Gai and Hyouga. But when the Boukenger misunderstand the situation and get in the way, Bouken Yellow is kidnapped, and the two Áshu take the Mirror. Using Bouken Yellow’s sacrifice of human blood to activate the Mirror, they begin to free their own kind from the alternate dimension. Unfortunately, the first to appear is the most evil of the Áshu Tribe- Rei. But Bouken Yellow is freed, and Eiji shatters the Mirror of Demons before any more Áshu appear. In a rage, Hyouga grows himself to protect his fellows, but is defeated by Ultimate DaiBouken. Gai and Rei retreat with Eiji hot on their trail.
Next, in Task 18- “The Man That Lived”, Gai and Rei locate the Soldier’s Bow- an ancient crossbow used by humans to destroy the Áshu Tribe. They use it to lure out the Boukenger to destroy them and focus on their goal. When Akashi (Bouken Red) finds the origins of the Soldier’s Bow’s attacks, he sees that one of his long-lost treasure hunting partners is still alive. But Eiji Takaoka explains that Gai and Rei have been tricking Akashi into thinking his friend was still alive. The other Boukenger appear and they take the Bow and- with Eiji’s help- fire on the Áshu. With their last strength, the last two Áshu grow to giant size. They put up a fight, but they are finally destroyed by Ultimate DaiBouken. Meanwhile, Sakura (Bouken Pink) had earlier overheard a discussion between Akashi and Mister Voice (their anonymous, faceless Sargess boss) about Akashi retiring from the Boukenger. However, Akashi makes it clear that he is not leaving them; he’s having too much fun as an adventurer!
In Task 19- “The Dazzling Adventurer”, we learn that Akashi had actually turned down the opportunity to become part of the new SGS Rescue department, which is specifically created to defend the population against dangerous Precious and those who would use them against humanity. Meanwhile, High Priest Gajah of the Gordom Civilization has been working on developing his own Parallel Engine based on the glimpse he got earlier at the ancient hidden manuscript of Leon Giordana- the source of the Gougou Vehicles’ power. Though he can’t get his new Gordom Engines to work on his own Karth stone foot soldiers, Gajah finds that the two souls of the defeated Áshu are strong enough to house Gordom Engines within their bodies. He confronts the Boukenger with his invention. With the two devices pulsating within the shells of the two Áshu, Gajah has transformed them into Questors- the ultimate hunting force for finding Precious. In addition to upgrading their bodies with advanced speed, strength and new weapons, the power in them also acts as an anti-Parallel Engine, interfering with the connection between the Gougou Vehicles’ own Parallel Engines and the Accel Suits the Boukenger wear. This not only slows the Boukenger significantly, but also allows the two Questors to easily resist Eiji Takaoka’s anti-demon techniques since they are no longer Áshu. Convinced that they need help in dealing with the Questors, Akashi goes to Eiji, and asks him to become a Boukenger. But suddenly, Eiji begins to transform into an Áshu himself, putting the team in danger! However, Akashi is somehow able to reach through to the human half of Eiji and tell him to fight the Áshu tendencies. Eiji successfully fights back, and then uses the new Gougou Changer to become the dazzling adventurer. Driven by Sargess’ new Neo-Parallel Engine inside SGS Rescue’s Gougou Vehicle #11- Gougou Fire- which counters the interference from the Gordom Engines, Bouken Silver quickly comes back at the two Questors, forcing them to retreat. But after the two Questors leave, Eiji runs away, saying he can’t be near anyone. Why?
Finally, in Task 20- “The New Giant”, we learn that Eiji’s mother- a full-blooded Áshu- and his father- also a Takaoka descendant, a Watcher of the Áshu- had shared a forbidden-but-genuine love for each other. When a younger Eiji learned of this, his father tried to protect him from Gai and he was killed. Eiji blamed his half-Áshu blood for his weakness and his father’s death. Now, it has forced him to remain apart from those who would care about him for fear that he would become a monster again. Meanwhile, Questor Gai and Questor Rei have recovered a powerful cannon-like Precious. To refit Gougou Vehicles #1-10 with Neo Parallel Engines will take another week; and because Eiji has disappeared, soul-searching, the Boukenger again cannot resist the energies from the Gordom Engines, and DaiBouken is disabled. Forced to protect the city without their Accel Suits or DaiBouken, they summon Gougou Vehicles #6-10 to fight on. But Natsuki (Bouken Yellow) helps Eiji realize that the proof that his mother and father really loved one another is his life. This builds Eiji’s confidence, and he becomes a true adventurer and transforms into Bouken Silver once more. In the city, the Gougou Gattai Vehicles are all disabled and the Boukenger have been corralled into the midst of a flaming inferno of steel and glass. As the Gordom Engine-powered Questor Robo closes in for the kill, many sirens sound loudly over the cityscape... Gougou Fire, Gougou Aider, and Gougou Police have arrived directly from the Sargess mecha bay!
(Still there...? Good; the review proper begins here.)
“Gougou Aider and Gougou Police too!”
“So you came, Eiji. No... Bouken Silver!”
Hasshin Shift On:
Fire, Aider, Police
Gougou Vehicle #11- Gougou Fire (back)- A large red, black, and silver fire engine, piloted by Bouken Silver. In addition to the two stabilizers which swing out from between its eight large wheels, Gougou Fire has a pair of large extendable crane-like attachments which have gold-colored water nozzles on the ends. With these two hoses extended, it can use the Double Water Shoot to spray pressurized water long distances. And there is a third water hose nozzle on the turret above the cockpit. It also carries the light-&-sound feature of the set. Bouken Silver also draws his power from this Gougou Vehicle’s Neo Parallel Engine. Gougou Fire forms the head, torso, and legs of the Siren Builder.
Gougou Vehicle #12- Gougou Aider (back)- A white ambulance with six wheels controlled remotely by Bouken Silver via his Gougou Changer henshin device. Significantly smaller that Gougou Fire, but faster and more agile, Gougou Aider is equipped with a pair of energy blasters on the front bumper, and can swarm an opponent with Gougou Police with a set of small thrusters that can raise it into the air. It can also hold emergency supplies to be distributed throughout the region if need be. Gougou Aider forms the left arm and hand of Siren Builder.
Gougou Vehicle #13- Gougou Police (back)- A white & black police car with four wheels controlled remotely by Bouken Silver via his Gougou Changer henshin device. Significantly smaller that Gougou Fire, but faster and more agile, Gougou Police is equipped with a pair of energy blasters in two cannon turrets on top of the front bumper, and can swarm an opponent with Gougou Aider with a set of small thrusters that can raise it into the air. Gougou Police forms the right arm and hand of Siren Builder.
Yes, this set definitely belongs in the Gougou Vehicle line... unfortunately.
Going into it, you immediately know that Gougou Fire is going to be the largest of the three Gougou Vehicles. Heck- it’s the biggest Gougou Vehicle to date; larger and heavier than Gougou Dump from the DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken! The crane-like fire hoses have three joints each, and can point in all manner of direction... except sideways or backwards. The third hose nozzle is located on the turret above the cockpit... which cannot turn side-to-side. The two black stabilizers are nice, but useless; Gougou Fire is heavy and stable enough that it actually doesn’t need them; unlike Gougou Gattai Vehicle #2- Gougou Shovel and Gougou Gattai Vehicle #4- Gougou Crane, which actually needed them. The only good part might be the light-&-sound system. The four red LEDs are bright, and the sound projecting out of the speaker in front is quite loud; almost louder than it needs to be! Gougou Aider and Gougou Police do absolutely nothing. Except roll. They also have a pair of gaping holes in their sides for when they combine. That’s it. And the two paired cannons on Gougou Police could have done with about ⅛”-less length.
(In my humble opinion, Gougou Aider just looks better that Gougou Police.)
Oh- and why are these two Gougou Vehicles portrayed as flying through the air in the show...!? Beats me.
“Alright! Go! Kinkyuu Gougou Gattai!”
Gattai Shift On:
Fire, Aider, Police
While the two Questors were surprised to find their mortal human enemy with new powers of his own, they were even more frustrated when he appeared on the battlefield with three new Gougou Vehicles of his own which were immune to the effects of the Gordom Engines in their own bodies and their Questor Robo. But now, they would have to deal with something their own size. In addition to the Knuckle Magnums in its fists, and high ground speed & agility, Siren Builder can utilized the same Double Water Shoot feature that it can separated, which allows it to even shoot down fireballs from a Precious. Or, it can employ the Triple Liquid Bomber finisher, which shoots three sets of water projectiles from its three torso-mounted water cannons. As an added bonus, Siren Builder can “Jack Up” or “Jack Down” with the scissor-like feature of its legs to dodge blows or jump into the air.
To see a small QuickTime movie of Siren Builder’s transition, click here!
Siren Builder (back) is not exactly the bright future that I had in mind this year... (Remember I toasted to the future at the end of my DX DaiBouken’s review? Looks like it didn’t work.) At first glance, it seems okay... until you actually get it into your hands, that is. The lights are fine and the sounds are still clear and loud, and they activate as Gougou Fire is transforming; that was a nice touch I’d like to see more of. There is a lot of automated changes that only require that you keep your fingers out of the way when they happen. They also used magnets instead of snap clips on the forward section of Gougou Fire to get it to hold in place when transformed; same with the inside of the knees. But, so long as you don’t really drop it hard, they hold well enough. (You know- drop a magnet on a hard surface, it ceases to be a magnet?) Using magnets for the transformation is a new one; we haven’t even seen magnets in use since the Karakuri Ball Set 05- Spin Bee & Kabuto Gani and Karakuri Ball Set #06- Trance Spider & Pitashito Hitode sets from “Hurricanger” in 2002! The transformation for both Gougou Aider and Gougou Police is as simple as twisting the front bumpers 90° and that’s it. The shoulders snap very well at every 45°. Siren Builder’s head has a blue face with red eyes (haven’t see that for a while!), and then wears a firefighter’s helmet topped off with the third water hose nozzle which can pivot about 135° total. The two water hose cranes are just as poseable as they were in vehicle mode. Though not very convincing, it can also be posed into its Triple Liquid Bomber pose. Sadly, it looks even stranger with its Knuckle Magnum pose since Gougou Aider and Gougou Police are converted back but still connected!
I should point out that this isn’t the first time in Super Sentai that one Ranger has had control of three component mecha all by himself from the start, with one of them being significantly larger than the others. The DX Majuu Gattai Gao Hunter Evil (turned-Hyakujuu Gattai Gao Hunter Justice later) from “GaoRanger” (2001) was controlled by Gao Silver, and was composed of three Power Animals- Gao Alligator (largest of the three), Gao Hammerhead, & Gao Wolf (from which Gao Silver drew his power). This would make Siren Builder only the second combo mecha to be such.
Okay. There was the good. Here’s the bad:
- A lot of people were disappointed when we learned that the scissor action transformation would not be automated with internal motors (myself among them) as the rumors had suggested for months before Siren Builder’s debut. Thus, many wondered why it had an equivalent price on it if there were no motors. DX DaiBouken was only ¥5500.
- The unnerving one-step transformation simplicity and look of Gougou Aider and Gougou Police is really dumb for such supposedly-advanced machines.
- The connection holes for the shoulder joints are out in the open on the two Gougou Vehicles rather than being hidden until needed. (Hey- they did it with all of the previous Gougou Gattai Vehicles, so I don’t want to hear it!)
- Why, why, why weren’t there extendable, poseable elbow joints installed in Gougou Aider and Gougou Police!? This is yet another occasion where they had plenty of opportunity and completely blew it! (I tell ya- it’s ticking me off!)
- Why are the legs joined together all the way down? They don’t need to be! DaiBouken’s weren’t! Just put some small free-swing joints at the hips, and then have it snap together again before changing it into fire engine mode!
- The rotating wrists thing was a nice idea, but Gougou Police looks way too thin compared to Gougou Aider. The two of them put together are too small to be arms anyways!
- The speaker is a bit too loud. Hiding it behind Siren Builder’s head is a nice idea. I wish it was turned down just a notch...
- Why can’t the head be moved forward a bit so that it could’ve turned side-to-side...? Come on, really!
- Why don’t the two water hose arms turn side to side... like they do in the show?
- There’s only one sound for when it’s in vehicle mode, one for robot mode, and then one while it’s transforming. How about a few more for the transformed modes? The DX Tokusou Gattai DekaRanger Robo from “DekaRanger” (aka Deluxe Delta Squad Megazord from 2005’s “Power Rangers S.P.D.”) had no less than 6 sounds and a motion detector; Siren Builder only has 3 sounds total.
- In a later review, Gougou Jet combines with Siren Builder to become Siren Builder Jet. The platform that is used to link the two together on Siren Builder’s back sits in quite an odd, uncomfortable place on its backside. And that’s the only time it’s used. Why didn’t they put it somewhere else, or make it less obvious?
Many of these things are such simple oversights that it makes me wonder if PLEX’s design team and Bandai are getting lazy.
So, was there anything on Siren Builder that I liked in particular?
The rotating wrists were a good idea.
- Gougou Fire looks fairly good in vehicle mode; like a real fire engine or HAZMAT vehicle would. I would add Gougou Aider to this as well.
- The appearance of the water hose turret is only offset by the spotlights added to it, which gives it more than one reason for being there. If they hadn’t been there, I would have yelled for having the head in such an obvious place.
- I like the broad-rimmed fire helmet look to Siren Builder’s head.
- The auto-change of the cockpit section was nice, even though it looks a bit weak.
- The scissor-like transformation was good, but I think it could have used a little refinement.
- The four little doors that pop-up on the feet when the legs are changing was a nice touch. It gives them some substance rather than looking like it has sandals for feet! It’s not perfect, but the effort is appreciated.
- The stabilizers were nice, but unnecessary. Yeah- I know they’re on real fire engines, but still...
- Having the cannons built on top of Gougou Police’s fist looks better than having them built into the fist on Gougou Aider.
- The capability of the toy to know which mode it’s in and then change sounds accordingly is a really great feature. Keep that.
Was light & sound required for this set? No; I think that they could have done with eliminating it and I would have liked it the same. It would also have eliminated some of the cost. The chirp that is heard when switching the light-&-sound feature on is the same one heard when you turn on the Bouken Cell Phone Accellular henshin device toy. Also identical is the voice that is heard when the transitions are completed: “Siren Formation!” and “Fire! Go! Go!” Though it’s nice to have the phrases there, they weren’t really needed because they are already heard in the electronic Gougou Changer henshin device toy. (Shinichiro Ohta- a Super Sentai alumni- performs the same voices for the Accellular, Gougou Changer that there are in the toys, and the opening narration in the show!)
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the DX Kinkyuu Gougou Gattai Siren Builder from “Gougou Sentai Boukenger”, and its as-yet-unnamed English speaking counterpart from the upcoming 2007-series, “Power Rangers Operation Overdrive”, as of the posting of this review there is no word yet as to the [inevitable] modifications. Three possibilities here:
- Major loss of paint applications
- Loss or reduction of Light-&-Sound feature
- Various combinations of the above
Another letdown for the 30th Anniversary Super Sentai series... If just a few more things had been wrong with it, I might not have even bought it. The colors used are fine. We’ve kinda gotten used to the blocky shapes by now, and it just barely squeaks by, IMHO. This thing is near devoid of options except limb-swapping with the other Gougou Gattai Vehicles in the series. At the very least, the shoulders can pivot, but that is not an impressive feature; that’s a standard feature, like wheels on a car.
I almost can’t recommend the DX Kinkyuu Gougou Gattai Siren Builder, but I will, if only because it can limb-swap (that could use some improvements & twists, too), the individual Gougou Vehicles look good, the scissor transformation is original, and the light-&-sound is fair enough. Aim higher, PLEX and Bandai. Please!!!
|Posted 26 February, 2007 - 11:45 by EVA_Unit_4A|