Review by JoshB
The Konami Great Impact Model Gurren Lagann is Konami’s first (that I know of) foray into the world of high-end diecast toys. It was only a matter of time really, seeing the success of similar lines by Bandai, Takara, Yamato and CM’s. I’m happy to report that this thing is awesome. Gurren Lagann WAS available from HobbyLink Japan, but as of writing this article, is sold out.
Gurren Lagann comes from the anime series Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (天元突破グレンラガン,). The series was created by legendary animation studio GAINAX (aka the people behind Evangelion) and ran on TV Tokyo for 27 episodes in 2007.
The series is very good, and I suggest you check it out. Wikipedia gives a good description of the series, but what I will tell you is this – Gurren Lagann is actually two separate robots that combine into one.
Lagann is a small Gunman (robot) that becomes the head of Gurren Lagann. He is found buried deep in the earth by Simon, a digger from Giha Village. Gurren is a Gunman that was originally owned by the enemy Beastmen. Simon’s “Brother” Kamina steals the Gunman and takes it for his own. The two combine in battle in order to overcome the enemy Gunmen, and make the combined form, Gurren Lagann, their own.
I know what you are thinking here, but no, Gurren Lagann does not transform.
Gurren Lagann comes packaged in a huge heavy-duty cardboard box with a flip-up lid. Inside the lid is a nice Styrofoam tray with each part neatly displayed. Gurren Lagann comes ready to go right out of the box.
The toy is heavy, and features lots of metal parts. Articulation on this thing is insane, with double-jointed elbows and knees, and possibly the most poseable feet ever. Check out the video to see what we are talking about, but its really great. The legs use a neat system of collapsible panels on the backs of the knees to allow for greater movement, and the elbows feature a neat pull out joint system.
At the hips there are 4 pieces of moveable skirt armor – the front and pack pivot out, while the sides move in all directions. These skirt parts are probably the only poor thing about this toy. Extreme poses can cause the skirts to pop out, but the good news is that they pop back in. Still, a stronger connection would have made this unnecessary.
Gurren Lagann’s torso has a huge range of motion. There is of course a waist joint, but in addition there is a joint in the upper chest that can move any which way. The chest is a giant face, and the joint takes advantage of the jaw placement. The jaw too is moveable. This whole chest unit is metal. It’s breathtaking. Gurren Lagann’s sunglasses can clip on to the chest and are made out of translucent plastic.
Gurren Lagann uses the sunglasses as a weapon, so Konami included not one but two additional sets to be used as weapons. These cannot be attached to the chest, and are a little bigger.
The head has a few ball joints that allow it to shift forward and back as well as the usual range of motion.
Another place where this toy really excels is the arms. The whole shoulder assembly is diecast with a section that moves forward and backward near the chest. Then there is the diecast ball joint at the shoulder and the previously mentioned elbows. Several sets of hands are included and they are easily swapped.
Included with the figure is a large Gurren Wing that can be attached to the back of the figure. This gives an impressive wingspan to an already impressive figure. The wings are all plastic and are actually collapsible. To attach the wings, you simply remove a metal panel on the back of the figure and connect the wings.
If you have watched the show, you will notice that drills play a prominent role in the series, in both the literal and metaphoric sense. I’m not sure what role these accessories play in the show, but included are what seems like dozens of small plastic drill bits that attach all over the figure. There are four different size bits, and each has a specific place, so make sure you read the manual for placement. These things are SHARP, and are made out of hard plastic. Most drill bits just plug in, but there are a few exceptions. The long drills on the arms require an additional cover piece that goes over the holes in the arms, and the drill that goes into the forehead requires some “modification” (at least on mine it did). It looks like paint filled the hole on mine, so I just had to clear it out with a thumbtack. The great thing is, that even with all the drill bits attached, Gurren Lagann is still fully poseable.
Another place where the drill metaphor comes into place is in an included accessory. A 1:1 scale key to operate Gurren is included, and is in the shape of a translucent gold drill. The handle to this key is solid metal, and it includes a holder.
An accessory called the Gurren House is included that is used to hold all the small drill bits when not in use. It has a removable cover, and requires a small amount of assembly.
Finally, included is a stand. This stand comes with two different display arms – one for standing and one for flying. The stand attaches to a hole in the rear of the figure, under the armor. It’s a solid, tight fit. There is also a small part that can clip onto either stand that can hold the wings. The back of the stand has a compartment that can hold the remainder of the accessories.
I really really love this toy. The build quality, engineering, and accessories are top notch. So where did Konami get this ability to produce high-end gokin? My theory is that they didn’t. I think Konami subcontracted this toy out to Max Factory. Everything about this reminds me of their Max Gokin Godannar toy. The build, the finish, the stand, hell even the packaging is identical! The two just seem too similar to not be related somehow. Not that that’s bad though, it is a quality piece, regardless of who made it.
As you can probably tell, I can’t recommend this toy enough. It is just so cool on so many levels, and is one of the rare toys that I think is worth the high price tag. Unfortunately, these things are selling like crazy and are already sold out at places like HobbyLink Japan (where I got mine). Be diligent in your search, and hopefully you will find one.
|Posted 4 May, 2008 - 22:06 by JoshB|