DX Engine Gattai Engine-Oh
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This toy appears courtesy from HobbyLink Japan.
Three 1.5 volt (LR44) batteries are required to operate electronic light-&-sound feature within the Engine Soul, and should be replaced by a responsible adult.
Adequate batteries have already been installed in the Engine Soul by the manufacturer and do not need to be immediately replaced. However, to activate the feature, you must first manually remove the small white tag from the back of the cartridge before it can work; this is a one-time issue. Nothing other than the Engine Soul on this toy requires batteries.
In one of the eleven dimensions, Machine World is a planet populated by Engines- giant sentient living machines with individual personalities and capabilities. They succeed in driving the destructive Ban KiZoku Gaiarc clan off their world during one of their largest planet-wide races. Unfortunately, the Gaiarc decide to move on into the dimension where Earth is since it seems to be an easier target for them to conquer in order to turn it into the ideal world of unchecked pollution and waste which they favor. Three Engines cross the dimensional barrier to pursue them, but they will begin to suffer fatal rusting if they exist in the atmosphere of the Human World for more than ten minutes at a time! To protect against this, they separate themselves into two halves- inanimate Engine Casts which are smaller versions of their physical bodies, and Engine Souls which contain their life energy and personality. Therefore, they and their smaller rust-resistant assistant Bomper chose three young humans to fight the Gaiarc in their place, and restore them to their larger forms whenever they are needed. Together they form the Flame-god Taskforce Go-On Rangers!
. . .
Speedor, Buson, and Bear RV were the last Engines to pursue the three fleeing Gaiarc Pollution Ministers off of Machine World. The three Engines then crossed the dimensional barrier into the Human World to finish what they started. Quickly realizing that they could no longer maintain their true giant size on our planet, the three Engines separated themselves into Engine Souls and Engine Casts to prevent from rusting to death. With the help of their smaller companion Bomper, they found three humans at a race track that were trying to protect the spectators from Gaiarc’s Ugatz foot soldiers. Speedor, Buson, and Bear RV bestowed their Engine Souls to the three humans so that they could be used for their weapons and powers as the Go-Onger. Through their GoPhone henshin devices, the Engines can communicate with the Go-Onger with kawai holographic version of themselves. And when the Gaiarc present city-wide threats, Bomper back in the Ginjiro recreational vehicle/mobile HQ can launch the Engine Attaché Case which contains the scaled-down Engine Casts to the Go-Onger. And when the Engine Souls are placed back within the Casts, the Engines are restored to their original giant forms!
Engine Number 1 - Speedor (back) His partner is former stock car-racer Sousuke Esumi (Go-On Red). He is represented as a combination of both a red hot rod and a condor. In fact, he can deploy wings and thick bird legs for flight when battling Gaiarc giants, though he tends to remain on the ground with his fellow Engines; using his flaming exhaust to burn enemies to a crisp. As a life form from Machine World, he ends most of his sentences with the last syllable of his name, “Dooru, dooru, dooru!” Speedor forms the head, arms, and upper torso of the Engine-Oh.
Engine Number 2 - Buson (back) His partner is former bus driver Ren Kousaka (Go-On Blue). He is represented as a combination of both a passenger bus and a lion. Through the sign on the top of his head, he can display words of encouragement or strategy to the Go-Onger, but if words aren’t enough, his strength and pop-up Buson Missile racks on his back will do the trick. As a life form from Machine World, he ends most of his sentences with the last syllable of his name, “Onn, onn, onn!” Buson forms the lower torso, legs and Go-On Sword of the Engine-Oh.
Engine Number 3 - Bear RV (back) Her partner is former race track concessions vendor Saki Rouyama (Go-On Yellow). She is an all-terrain Engine, hence her squat chassis but large suspension system & tires; all of which can be used to make her jump high and bite into Gaiarc’s transforming Bandouma fighters. As a life form from Machine World, she ends most of her sentences with the last syllable of her name, “Vee, vee, vee!” (However, her seiyu voice actress, Miki Inoue, sounds more like she’s saying “Bee, bee, bee!”.) Bear RV forms the center torso and V Shield of the Engine-Oh.
Animals imitating vehicles? Umm... isn’t it usually the other way around? We’ve seen plenty of machines that looked like animals, well, since “Choujuu Sentai Liveman” (1988); then the 25th anniversary series “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger” (2001) made them actual animals that were always mecha, which just took the concept to a whole new level. But we’ve never seen vehicle mecha that are alive, have animal features, and are sentient on top of that. It’s actually rather confusing- a real chicken-or-the-egg-type paradox. But let’s be honest here- the Engines’ design style is a direct shot aimed at appealing to young kids. It’s a very lighthearted series thus far. They’re meant to look kawai [“cute”, “adorable”], potentially appealing to young girls as well, which Super Sentai usually doesn’t target. And nothing says “Take that [car manufacturer]- you uncaring, greedy, polluting so-and-so!” like cars and buses with animal features. Just look at the big emotional eyes on combat mecha if you don’t believe me on that. But I digress...
Speedor is a big ol’ red muscle car, with a huge-ass engine block sitting right in front of the green-painted windshield, a set of four exhaust pipes in back, a streamlined spoiler curving up from in front of the back wheels, and stylized silver hubcaps. And he has a bird’s head on the nose of the vehicle. Speedor has a special feature in vehicle mode, and that is the ability to flip down wings for flight and thick bird legs from below. I suppose it needed to act like a bird in some fashion. (BTW, since the elbows only lock in one position, it cannot hold itself up. So don’t have a heart attack over it like I almost did. You can’t imagine how frustrating it was to spend 5 minutes getting it into this pose... only to have it promptly tip over just after I pressed the button on the camera.) Buson looks like a bus, yes? Big blocky blue thing with a band of painted-in black windows, six wheels, and a display sign decal above the windshield. But does he look like a lion? Meh... The subtle hints to this are the puffy cheeks with very tiny molded whiskers, painted-on gold mane, and small square silver-painted teeth beneath the cheeks/front bumper. (For a good while there before “Go-Onger” came out, rumors swirled around that Buson was actually a bison... which would have made much more sense to me than a friggin’ lion. If I have to look that hard to recognize a lion’s head on the front of a bus, then somethin’ isn’t right...) Buson carries the ranged weapons of the three in the series. The Buson Missile are fired from pop-up launchers which are located on top of him. Now, the only reason the launchers appear is because the doors are needed for something else. But in acknowledgment, the front edge of each door feature three molded missile cones apiece; the doors will not partially open, so you have to wedge them open (as I have done here) or hold them open yourself. Bear RV is about as special feature-less as Buson is. As with all of the Engines (including others not released yet), they can move some parts of their chassis at will, such as Buson’s face, or Speedor’s beak, when they talk. With Bear RV, however, she does not have a mouth per se. So- in true Terrance and Phillip or Pac-Man fashion- her entire yellow half hinges upwards away from the black lower half. It will snap upwards at 45°. One way you can make it open only slightly and hold there is to lift up the V Shield’s handle inside there and then Bear RV’s head can rest on it.
In addition to the numbering system, if you look closely the hubcaps from each Engine is represented on either side of their respective Go-Onger partner’s helmet.
After beating dozens of nimble Bandou Moth fighters, the Engines and their Go-Onger partners find that this has just been a ruse to draw their attention away from the real threat- the air-polluting monster Shoukyaku Banki, giving him time to restore himself. Using a new technology given to him by the three Pollution Ministers, Shoukyaku suddenly grows to gigantic proportions! But, the human heart has provided a new power to the Engines that they did not have before...
In this new form which the Gaiarc have never encountered before on Machine World, Engine-Oh can now take on fully-grown monsters. The V Shield is stored on its back, which can deflect many objects thrown at it, and it can also deploy the Go-On Sword from the left leg’s storage compartment. And when it dashes forward with the sword, it can perform the powered-up Engine-Oh Go-On Grand Prix slashing finisher.
"Engine-Oh: Tune up!"
Engine Gattai Engine-Oh (back) has some interesting proportions to it. Looking at it from a side view, its head and arms are placed rather far back, giving it something of a thick, almost-borderline beer belly. The faces of all thee Engines remain intact along the front of Engine-Oh’s body, stacked on top of each other like some strange Native American totem pole. (Trust me- I live in the Pacific Northwest, and these things are littered all over the place, if you know where to look for them... like gift shops and tourist traps.) The head has what look like metallic blue sunshades with yellow eyes, a simple silver Go-Onger logo printed on the forehead, and three gold plated exhaust pipes on either side. The arms are very simple, with large horizontal shoulders, and smaller lower arms which are actually hollow because of how it transforms. The four light gray fingers are molded in one piece and can open & close quite well. Now, this may be me being paranoid, but the rectangular bars that the shoulders are attached to seem to stick out a tad more than seems necessary; certainly they’re more accommodating than need-be for transforming it. It feels like something might go between them like shoulder straps in a later accessory upgrade. Bear RV is sandwiched in between the other two Engines as the waist section, and serves no greater purpose than that, but the V Shield is angled up behind it against Speedor. However, you cannot put just Speedor and Buson together because they won’t fit against each other at all, and need Bear RV in there. Unlike the other two, Buson perhaps go through the least noticeable changes, the biggest mentions being the extension of the feet, and how the face flips down. The legs snap into position slightly diagonal from each other, but cool part is that the footprints have been intentionally sloped to accommodate this so that they’re always even and flat against the ground! (The legs cannot extend any farther to the sides than this, contrary to what I thought before I got this set.) So instead of one big brick, it splits into two equally-sized but inarticulate bricks.
So, like most Super Sentai mecha toys, the DX Engine-Oh suffers from ‘two-seventy syndrome’- it only looks good when viewed from the front.
. . .
For weapons, Engine-Oh has two. The first is the V Shield which is stored on its back. A small “L”-shaped tab flips out from the back, which then slips over the top of the grouped fingers. Now, the thing is, the instructions and all promotional materials show the V Shield pointing forward on the left arm, which requires the left lower arm to be bent inwards 90°. However, because the elbow only snaps into two positions- and 90° isn’t one of them- you can still use it with the arm fully extended. But regardless of how the V Shield is held, it’s still a pain to fit on that hand. It actually pinches the finger(s) so tightly that it tends to squeeze itself off! So, short of holding the V Shield up vertically, it’ll fall off just about every chance it gets due to gravity. The other weapon is theGo-On Sword, which is stored in a collapsed form inside the back of the left leg. The Go-On Sword, when folded up, is shaped just like an Engine Soul. (Since the collapsed Go-On Sword can fit into any Engine Soul compartment, it is always stored in the left leg since Buson’s Engine Soul only works properly in the right leg.) As with the V Shield, the Go-On Sword doesn’t fit very well in the hand(s) because the friction of the finger joints isn’t that strong; so it tends to droop as soon as you let go of it. (I’m guessing that, over time, if Engine-Oh holds both weapons, it won’t be able to hold them anymore because it’ll wear out both finger joints...)
In addition to future accessory DX Engine sets (which you know are coming), the common ‘collecting’ gimmick is the battery-powered Engine Soul cartridge. These serve as a replacement in all of the toys for a dedicated light-and-sound effect. Each Engine Soul shares an identical shape (2½” x 1¾” x 9/16”, or 2.57cm x 4.5cm x 1.5cm), has a single bright red LED light, a large decal which identifies it, and they all have some generic sounds. Because of this, any Engine Soul (or Change Soul, which I won’t get into here) can be fitted into any properly-fitted toy that can accept one. But, the gimmick is that each Engine Soul has a unique set of sound effects...
. . .
The DX Engine-Oh comes with Speedor’s Engine Soul. It is uniquely identified by its red ABS casing, the stylized “1”, and the phrases “ES” & “01” on the front decal. While each of the Engines in this set can accept an Engine Soul, only Speedor’s is provided; however, it will work equally in all of them since, again, all Engine Soul cartridges are the same size. The storage compartment for each Engine has a small door that must be unlatched in order to place the Engine Soul inside; Buson’s is the compartment opposite the Go-On Sword’s. When inside of them, the Engine Souls in Speedor and Bear RV can be activated by pressing in on their noses, while you have to press up on Buson’s back wheels (which explains their mysteriously spring-like suspension).
Speedor’s Engine Soul has four unique effects- all performed by the same seiyu from the series, Daisuke Namikawa (who has also performed for two other recent Super Sentai series, but is better known for more-numerous anime and OVA performances). He says, in Japanese:
- Door doorae! (see above)
- Let’s go, partner!
- I won by a wide margin!
The phrases will always play in that order, each preceded by the same sound of a car racing by. Now, if you place Speedor’s Engine Soul in either Buson or Bear RV (or any other DX Engine set), it’ll say the same things, but it’ll obviously be inaccurate since that’s not the right Engine for it to go with. (Since, as of this review, I have no other “Go-Onger” toys, I can only assume that it’ll say those same phrases regardless of where it’s placed.) Also, because that LED light is so intense, when it shines through that hole in the top of Speedor’s hood/head, the light (which alone can project over 6ft / 2m in a dark room!) actually reflects off of the engine block, and then you can see the light from the front even though it’s pointed upwards! (Intentional or not, that’s a cool idea!) However, because that part of the engine block flips over to make Engine-Oh’s head, the light can’t be reflected anymore.
Now, here’s something interesting... When Speedor has his Engine Soul inside, and he is a part of Engine-Oh, a new set of sounds can be heard! Well, just two:
- Go-o-o-o-o On!
- Door doorae!
This time, however, instead of a car whooshing by, you hear metal clashing first. But it is still Speedor speaking. (These two sounds, I’m assuming, are the generic one-size-fits-all effects that would be heard if you put this Engine Soul in something other than a DX-sized Engine toy. I’m also assuming that all other Engine Souls cartridges act like this as well, as I explained above.)
The Power Rangers’ version of the Engine-Oh has not appeared yet (hell- the show only started in February), so comparisons are impossible. If I were to take a shot in the dark, I’d say the chrome and gold parts are replaced with painted equivalents. I’d also venture that all Engine Soul cartridges (whatever those will be called) will be either modified to have fewer-or-no electronics, or completely eliminated from the line. There’s no PVC or die-cast metal, so that’s not a problem. (No metal in a car-shaped vehicle... who’d‘ve thunk it?) I doubt any plastic coloring will be changed, but there may be very minor paint changes.
. . .
I’ll tell you right now: when I saw this set, I was much more enthusiastic about it than I was of the previous year’s DX Jyuken Gattai GekiTouja. Of course, I said the same thing about the DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken, and we all know how that turned out in the end... So, I’m being cautiously optimistic about this line. I can already tell that it won’t be just straight limb swapping either. (Attachment joints for lower arm accessories are located on top of Engine-Oh’s shoulder armor, which guarantee swapping at least there.) But there are several unused attachment holes all across the torso & lower legs, so we may be looking at different components swapping out, particularly with how the three Engines slide into each other. Oh, yeah- the attachment between the Engines is great; you never have to worry about these things randomly separating unless you pull the separation triggers on the side and back of the torso. Great! As I said earlier, this thing is designed to shoot for that younger audience. I’ve heard several theories on this online, most having to do with competition from other franchises and toy manufacturers. Hey, this may even be a step towards creating a Super Sentai series that has monsters that come out of playing cards, except we have the collectable Engine Souls instead. (Great- that means that I’ll have to go out and get other sets that I don’t want in order to complete sets that I do want! Not good...) Otherwise, I think this is a cool idea- using just a few unique Engine Souls to activate electronic F/X inside of a whole range of toys. Now, what could they have changed?
- Better grip design for both the Go-On Sword and V Shield, for starters; the Shinobi Machine sets from “Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger” (2002) had poseable hands, and they could comfortably grip the dozen-plus weapons that that line had.
- That’s a sword??? Umm... no. It looks like some kind of weird nightstick or staff crossed with a spear. Try again, please! At least the holes in the V Shield aren’t too large or in really bad places. Some shields in the past, man... (*cough*TimeRobo Alpha*cough*)
- I can see why incorporating poseable legs would have been both difficult and expensive for the consumer. But couldn’t they have at least left an indent or a line or something to indicate that there is supposed to be this fictitious knee joint there!?
- Head swiveling. Why didn’t it have this???
- We finally got legitimate elbow joints in, like four years. The problem lies in the fact that you can’t do anything with them!
Even though I kinda scratched my head over the picking of vehicle-shaped animals (if that makes any sense), they did it with moderate success here. Buson, though... here we have yet another Super Sentai lion after getting one last year and then two years before that. Besides- does that really look like a lion? I don’t think so. Probably no better than Speedor looking like an official condor... But, overall, I’m quite satisfied. It’s simple, but not dumbed down. Detailed, but not overly so that it clutters up the plain shapes of the vehicles. Coloring and paint apps are also up to standard, with a nice return of decals in subtle ways even though they are pre-applied (which, nowadays, I have no problem with). It doesn’t raise the bar as far as DX toys go, but it doesn’t drop that 32-year-old ball either. Recommendation: go get the DX Engine Gattai Engine-Oh.
Bear RV’s Engine Soul can be purchased along with the DX Highway Buster set, available from HobbyLink Japan.
|Posted 13 May, 2008 - 12:42 by EVA_Unit_4A|