DX Daikenjin Zubaan
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, covert ninja Dark Shadow, and the converted biotech Questors- 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?
In Task 29- “The Golden Sword”, Akashi (Bouken Red) and Eiji (Bouken Silver) go into some mountains to investigate recent mysterious activity regarding a previously unknown Precious. There, they run into Professor Hanzo Igarashi- the world’s foremost expert on the ancient Lemurian Civilization, which thrived in the southwestern Pacific between Asia and Australia long before both Atlantis and Gordom. Realizing that the Lemurian artifact he was trying to recover is suddenly taken, he becomes outraged at the two Boukenger- his being well-known for his loud protests against SGS’s “monopoly” on Precious. While Akashi follows Igarashi for information, Eiji tracks the Lemurian Egg to a group of Jaryuu grunts trying to sneak away with it. But when he engages them, they foolishly open the Lemurian Egg and a giant Mythical Beast promptly roasts the Jaryuu alive. While both Ultimate DaiBouken and Siren Builder engage the Mythical Beast, Akashi learns from Igarashi that he is now looking for the nearby Golden Sword- the only thing capable of taming the Lemurian monster. But they run into King Ryuuon, leader of the Jaryuu Clan, who is also looking for the Golden Sword, and he injures Akashi. Igarashi suddenly realizes that Ryuuon can also read Lemurian- something that only he and a scholar from 200 years ago could do. Putting two and two together, it is revealed that Ryuuon was once human himself but was ridiculed and abandoned by his crew while he too was looking for evidence of the Lemurian Civilization. After humanity betrayed him, the enraged man gave up his own body, and used a special potion based on the few Lemurian texts to turn himself into a dragon and vowed to destroy all of mankind. To do that, he needed both the Lemurian Egg and the Golden Sword to control it. After all three reach the resting place of the Golden Sword, both Ryuuon and Igarashi are unable to remove it from the red stone it is placed in- the sword chooses who has the most righteous soul to be its owner. Right out of Arthurian legend, Akashi proves he is worthy and pulls the sword from the stone, and quickly forces Ryuuon to retreat with the overwhelming power of the Golden Sword. Then, running to the site of the fallen and heavily-damaged Gougou Vehicles, Bouken Red single-handedly destroys the Mythical Beast with one Golden Slash from the Lemurian sword. Meanwhile, on the valley floor, High Priest Gaja of the Gordom Civilization takes the carelessly-discarded Lemurian Egg for himself, laughing at King Ryuuon’s foolishness...
The black 2” grip is scarcely long enough for an adult collector to grab completely and so you end up hanging onto the orange-and-gold crest on the pommel. The crossguard is as thick as the grip, but is decorated with a gold-plated plastic crest with two painted red jewels and one larger green one lined by silver paint. The ‘sharp’ edge of the sword is painted silver with orange and gold highlights, but the point of the blade is silver PVC.
(muffled struggling sounds)
Shh! Not yet-!
The light & sound feature is built into the grip and the On/Off switch is just below the transparent red crystal on the back side as is the battery compartment. The speakers are hidden behind the orange-&-gold plastic on the back side as well. Looking at the Golden Sword from the front, point downward, the orange plastic trigger for the light-&-sound is on the right side. Turing it on—-
N-- stop it! What is with you!? What part of “not yet” don’t you get!?
Ahem... When you turn it on, there’s the sound of metal clashing twice accompanied by the red light inside the crystal. Pressing the trigger sounds a clear sword clashing sound again accompanied by the light effect. Cute, basic, everyone makes ‘em like that.
Well, at the end of Task 29, the six Boukenger are standing around admiring the Golden Sword when one of them notices the three jewels on the crest glowing. Passing is back to Akashi, he looks closer and runs his hand along the golden crests. Glowing even brighter, the crest turns all by itself. The Golden Sword jumps out of Akashi’s hand and suddenly triples in size! As this happens, the Lemurian relic splits apart and reconfigures itself into a human-sized figure! The Boukenger step back, flabbergast at this sudden and quite unexpected development.
Fine. Y-you know what? Ugh... whatever.
(grabs Golden Sword by handle and turns crest clockwise. Sword jumps out of writer’s hands and transforms all by itself)
(choir singing brief harmony)
(sigh) You do this to Akashi-san too?
Figures... Okay; now that you’re all opened-up, you gonna behave?
Don’t “Zun” me. Yes or no?
I’ll take that as a “yes”... Well, anyways, in Task 30- “The Rage of the Golden Majin”, the Boukenger weren’t quite to sure what to do with, em, Zubaan, either. He followed Akashi all around, but for whatever reason, all he could say was his name.
Uh... yeah... Or parts of it. With such a significantly-limited vocabulary, it was difficult to figure out what he wanted even though he seemed benign and friendly enough. But when the Boukenger begin arguing as to its fate, Zubaan quickly beats each of them up (except for Akashi who was with Makino-sensei discussing the missing Lemurian Egg) and runs away from the SGS Museum! Trying to figure out what went wrong, Mister Voice (their anonymous boss who communicates through a cone-shaped avatar in HQ) suggests that perhaps Zubaan has a grudge against humanity because he is a living machine with a will of his own. Now worried about what he might do, the Boukenger spread out through the city looking for the potentially dangerous Precious. Overhearing some young children talking about an interesting gold robot, Akashi and Sakura (Bouken Pink) follow them and find Zubaan surrounded, enjoying the company of over a dozen curious children. But when the six Boukenger try to pull the children away and restrain Zubaan, he becomes confused and moody again and resists, even ignoring Akashi’s pleas to stop. Head drooping, Zubaan throws the Boukenger off and runs away.
Chasing after him, High Priest Gaja laughs at three of the Boukenger, knowing they can’t control Zubaan after all. He then sends his latest creation at them- a brand new Mystical Beast equipped with a Gordom Engine inside its body! Somehow, Zubaan knows that Bouken Red is in danger, and he unknowingly leads the other Boukenger to the fight. But when Bouken Red questions Zubaan about his motivations, he becomes very depressed and changes himself back into his sword form! And even when Bouken Red tries to use the powerful Golden Slash attack, it has no effect. Gaja steals Zubaan and tries to use him, but he also fails to prompt the Lemurian sword to do anything, so he disappears planning to destroy it. While Eiji tracks Gaja down, the others return to HQ- where Natsuki (Bouken Yellow) and Souta (Bouken Blue) have a revelation about Zubaan. When he was around Natsuki earlier, Zubaan was pleasant to be around, but when the Boukenger began fighting, the jewels on his chest went dark and his mood immediately changed; same thing with the children- when they were around him, he was happy and the jewels glowed, but when the Boukenger became hostile towards him, the jewels darkened, he became defensive again and ran away. Deducing that Zubaan draws his power from the light and happy feelings around those he is connected to, but was unable to verbally say anything about it, the Boukenger redouble their efforts to find him. Eiji finally tracks him down to a factory, saying that Zubaan seems to have drawn a small group of children there as well. After fighting past a group of guarding Karth foot soldiers and the Gordom Engine-equipped Mythical Beast, they rescue Zubaan and assure him that they were mistaken and understand him now. Bouken Red turns the crest, and Zubaan transforms. Forcing the monster outside, the Boukenger attack again, but when they are knocked down, Zubaan defends them and takes over- attacking with lightning-fast reflexes, and quick punches & kicks. Directing all his energy, Zubaan finishes off the monster with a series of sharp kicks. But this only destroys the Gordom Engine which had been keeping the monster at the smaller scale until now. And having used all his energy in his attack, Zubaan loses power and collapses. Taking their turn, Siren Builder and Super DaiBouken (then Ultimate DaiBouken) fight, but again are not able to win. Remembering that Zubaan is powered by good emotions, the Boukenger force themselves to laugh. Surrounded by the children from near the factory as well, Zubaan reawakens, reassures the kids to stay safe, and then grows himself to giant size and flies off!
Surprising the Boukenger, a fully-reenergized and confident Zubaan once more mixes it up with the Mythical Beast with super-sized kicks and punches. Working together with Ultimate DaiBouken, Zubaan changes himself back into his sword form but stays giant sized. Then Ultimate DaiBouken uses the giant Lemurian Precious to create the Giant Holy Sword Slash and destroy the Mythical Beast. With the Lemurian Egg recovered by Zubaan, SGS decides not to put Zubaan into storage with all of their other collected Precious and have him fight alongside the Boukenger. As Zubaan gives Akashi a genuine-yet-awkwardly-painful backrub, it is Eiji who figures out what Zubaan is saying- “Zun Zun” means “yes yes”!
--“Zun Zun! Zubaan!”--
Zubaan (back) is a very sharp [figuratively] mecha with well-shaped gold and orange armor; his mouth, neck, upper arms, hands, lower torso, and inner thighs are all black; and the front of his lower legs & feet are the silver blade of the sword mode. (And with a title that means “Great-sword-god”, he better be one!) The crest switches to a more horizontal position and the pommel slides up to cover the crystal and form Zubaan’s crown and reveal his face. (Eagle-eyed collectors will note the shape of a small stylized sword molded on the gold-plated section of Zubaan’s crown!) He stands just shy of 11”. The arms can rotate around 360°, snapping at every 45°, and can also snap outwards only 90° horizontally away from the body, though this is more of a function of the transformation. His legs have no poseability other than to snap-twist a little at his knees, and then beyond that for the transformation back to sword mode.
The light-and-sound effects are where the DX Zubaan really shines. The trigger during the change has been repositioned on the left side of his waist, and changing him also lets the toy know that a new set of effects are to be used (a feature which I just can’t say enough about!). Pressing the button once makes Zubaan’s eyes light-up green, and he speaks the following phrases at the same time:
Now these lines are clearly performed by the same seiyuu (voice actor) who does Zubaan’s voice in the series, href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideyuki_Hori">Hideyuki Hori. He says only one word each time (Pokémon™, anyone?), but he does it so well! :D There is also a hidden phrase which I stumbled across quite by surprise that is not mentioned in either the instructions or on the box, and which had me rolling on the floor for about five minutes. (I’m an easily-amused guy, ya know?) While the four phrases above used by the DX toy are nice, they are all spoken relatively calmly. But in the series, Zubaan is energetic when he attacks or is passionate about something. If you continue to hold down the trigger after he says any of the phrases above (all of which are randomly chosen by the toy, BTW), about two seconds later, there is a metal clashing sound and Zubaan shouts out-
-followed closely by a different clashing sound and an explosion! This secret effect also makes Zubaan’s red crystal glow along with his green eyes (which it doesn’t with the others). Much better!
Regretfully, I can’t offer audio, but href="http://www.collectiondx.com/gallery/v/Toys/Bandai/Sentai/Boukenger/Zubaan/DX+Zubaan-+light-_amp_-sound+feature.MOV.html">here is a small QuickTime video of Zubaan’s light-up feature.
This toy, like several others from Super Sentai before it, is also aware when it switches between modes. When the power is switched On, and the crest on the sword mode is turned, there is the same metal clicking sound followed by a chorus vocalizing for a moment, and then Zubaan proudly says his name-
Alternatively, when the arms are folded back into place and the crest turned to lock them, the clicking sound is followed by a quick & somewhat deflated-
-which matches what is heard in the show.
The transformation, also, is easy to learn and fun to do whichever mode you start with. The elbows are spring-loaded and flip out when the crest turns, but also much be held in place at the same time before the crest is turned back. The legs cannot be accessed until after the upper torso & arms have been shifted, but when the torso does slide up, it triggers the spring-loaded crown to pop up. And finally, the legs just twist, and the feet rotate up. Only trick here is to remember to flip the transparent plastic tab under the right foot up before standing Zubaan; alternatively, remembering to flip it out again when changing to sword mode. It can go without flipping the tab out, but it just fits together better when you do.
Click href="http://www.collectiondx.com/gallery/v/Toys/Bandai/Sentai/Boukenger/Zubaan/DX+Daikenjin+Zubaan+transformation.MOV.html">here to watch a short QuickTime video of DX Zubaan being transformed!
For those of you wondering what the differences are between DX Daikenjin Zubaan from “Gougou Sentai Boukenger”, and its as-yet-unnamed English speaking counterpart from the recently-aired 2007-series, “Power Rangers Operation Overdrive”, as of the posting of this review there is no word yet as to the [inevitable] modifications. Five possibilities here:
- Loss of paint applications
- Loss of Light-&-Sound feature
- Various combinations of the above
- A redesign of the entire toy
- They don’t release it at all
I suspect that Zubaan just might make over to the US with only minor paint apps lost. This is cheap enough to be appealing to parents price-wise (¥5000 = $42.29/ €31.98), and fun enough to keep everything as is. And considering the heavy negative reaction to the redesigned href="http://www.collectiondx.com/node/1328">Deluxe DriveMax Megazord early in 2007, I suspect that Bandai America may just leave it alone with the standard paint loss and possible loss of the Light-&-Sound effects. I don’t know- it could go any direction. What would be absolutely certain is that if the Light-&-Sound feature is left in, a new voice with new phrases would be used, duh! (Whether-or-not it actually matches the one heard on the show is something completely different!)
This thing is just a blast! It is/was rumored & assumed before it was released that since this was the 30th-Anniversary Super Sentai series, the name “Zubaan” may pay homage to Saban Entertainment- the company that started “Power Rangers” 15 years ago, but I don’t think that that was ever confirmed or denied by Bandai and/or Toei... I think it surpasses by quite a margin any of the DX Gougou Vehicles from 2006. The changes are fun, it isn’t specifically designed to be more accurate in one form or the other, the effects are well executed, and the look in either mode is well done. I find it hard to complain about things like less poseable elbows or non-poseable legs, and those things can be overlooked because what they did do was excellent! I will say that I am not disappointed that it wasn’t able to combine with any of the Gougou Vehicles; that was no problem for me. So, I recommend getting DX Daikenjin Zubaan!
So, Pika- uh, I mean Zubaan... any last words?
--“Bon bon- Zubaan!”--
|Posted 14 March, 2007 - 08:40 by EVA_Unit_4A|