Engine Gattai Series #2- Engine Gunpherd
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!
Though the excitable Hanto Jou and former-police detective Gunpei Ishihara didn’t know each other, they were both strongly intrigued when they first saw the Go-Onger fighting against the Ban KiZoku Gaiarc. Gunpei (with Hanto following cautiously behind) actually managed to track down the Go-Onger’s private RV, and then steal the Engine Attaché Case with the three dormant Engine Casts in it, and kidnap Bomper! After interrogating Bomper in a tunnel, they learn about the origins of the Go-Onger, and both then insist on joining the team. Later, as the Go-Onger are loosing in a battle, Bomper recognizes positive qualities in Gunpei and Hanto when they help some civilians, and he gives them Shift Changers & Change Soul cartridges so that they may officially join. Though initially suffering a rocky start between the five Go-Onger, they manage to get along and become a real team.
. . .
Though Gunpei is an official Go-Onger, he still needs an Engine partner to grant him access to the same powers that Sousuke, Ren, and Saki have- such as even the standard MantanGun sidearm! Towards the end of Grand Prix 3 – “Basic Investigation” (aka episode 3), Bomper announces that the energy signatures of two Engines have appeared near Earth from Machine World. After some difficulty tracking down and acquiring both newcomers’ Engine Casts and Engine Souls in Grand Prix 4 – “Engine Trouble”, Birca and Gunpherd secure their place among the other Engines as they help Engine-Oh beat back the Spray Banki monster.
Engine Number 5 – Gunpherd (back) His partner is former police detective Gunpei Ishihara (Go-On Black). He is represented as a combination of a semi-automatic pistol and a German shepherd dog. On Machine World, he is a dedicated police Engine with a serious mind and no-nonsense policy- even criticizing Go-On Black one time in Grand Prix 7 for missing three shots while using the Gunpherd Gun Fire finisher! But he is also loyal and understanding, providing helpful suggestions & insight when needed. With a sniper’s accuracy, he uses the barrel in his long muzzle (pun intended) for his Gunpherd Gun attack to knock enemies down in a fury of bullets. But he also frequently teams up with Engine Birca for a combination attack. As a life form from Machine World, he ends most of his sentences with the first syllable of his name, “Gaan Gah-Gaan!” Gunpherd serves as a right arm component for any combination, but usually is seen as part of the Engine Gattai Gunbir-Oh.
One thing is immediately clear about this character- he would never have been considered if this had been an American TV series aimed at kids! (When’s the last time you heard a Saturday morning American cartoon say the word “gun”? Not even in dubbed anime.) But here, it works, because in Japan they usually don’t shy their children away from uncomfortable subjects; certainly not the way most Super Sentai series [and even the darker Kamen Rider franchise] work out! While it’s a little difficult to distinguish a German shepherd in there, you can at least tell that Gunpherd is of a dog- or wolf-like nature, with small whisker-like lines on the forward cowls, pointed ears, and small but distinguishing jowls on his muzzle. And as a representative of the Engine police, the square-like muzzle and silver trapezoid nose are clearly indications of a modern pistol. And keep in mind (as I keep having to remind myself) that Gunpherd is not trying to imitate a police car even though he has four wheels, a police shield beneath the stylized “5” against a white-painted panel on either side, transparent-red ABS on top of his head above the green-painted cockpit to indicate police strobe lights, and a front fender. Despite having larger back wheels, Gunpherd does not tilt downwards in any way, so his aim is always straight-on. (Should I mention that I chuckle when I recall that the hole for the barrel is actually a small black decal...?)
. . .
Aside from putting the provided Engine Soul into him (see below), you can only really just roll him around. While you can extend his nose & face forward a little less than an inch , it doesn’t really do the Gunpherd Gun attack justice. (It doesn't bounce up-and-down like it does in the series when he talks.)
In addition to future accessory DX Engine sets, 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 (which can project over 6ft / 2m in a dark room!), 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 Engine Gattai Series #2 set comes with Gunpherd’s Engine Soul. It is uniquely identified by its black ABS casing, the stylized “5”, and the phrases “ES” & “05” on the front decal. While each of the Engines in the “Go-Onger” line can accept an Engine Soul, only Gunpherd’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 is located in front of the back wheels, and requires very minor transformation to get access to. The head needs to be pushed forward (unless you have small fingers and/or strong fingernails) in order to access the lever on top, which will then swing down the wheels and open up the Engine Soul compartment. The bright red LED light from the Engine Soul shines through Gunpherd’s head, and right into the transparent-red plastic on top of his head. When the Engine Soul is activated, the LED shines through and into the plastic, making it glow!
Gunpherd’s Engine Soul has four unique effects- all performed by the same seiyu from the series, Kenji Hamada. (He makes his Super Sentai debut here, but is best known for more-numerous anime and OVA performances.) He says, in Japanese:
- Gaan Gah-Gaan!
- Target [???]... Lock On! (gunshot sound repeats)
- Emergency Deployment
I suspect he's saying something like "Target is acquired" or something like that in that third effect, but I'm not certain. (You'll just need to watch the video below and help me figure out, please!)
The phrases will always play in that order, each preceded by the same sound of a fictional/techy-sounding gunshot. Now, if you place Gunpherd’s Engine Soul into 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.
Unlike the three previous Engines from both the DX Engine-Oh set, access to Gunpherd’s alternate/generic sound effects can be accessed in both his regular form, and his Engine Busou form:
- Go-o-o-o-o On!
- Gaan Gah-Gaan!
This time, however, instead of a gun firing, you hear a police car klaxon first. But it is still Gunpherd speaking.
As with Birca, if you press both of Gunpherd's sound-activating buttons at the same time, most of these phrases will be repeated (though now preceded by the crackle of a radio), and a single new phrase will also sound which can only be found in this way:
Because of the similar design of the center lower parts of their bodies, Gunpherd’s Engine Soul activation buttons mirror the location and function of those on Engine Birca- set directly behind his front wheels.
The Power Rangers’ version of Engine Gunpherd has not appeared yet, so comparisons are impossible. If I were to take a shot in the dark, I’d say the silver paint on all of the wheel hubcaps & on top of the transparent-red plastic, the white painted lines in front of his eyes, and the Go-Onger logo on the nose were removed and left the plain coloring of the plastic. 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.
Engine Busou - Engine-Oh Gunpherd
Components required for this combination:
- DX Engine Gattai Engine-Oh
- Engine Gattai Series #2- Engine Gunpherd
In Grand Prix 6 – “A Maiden’s Heart”, after growing to giant size, the sound-stealing Speaker Banki faces off against Engine-Oh. But it can’t fight against the increased power of the destructive sound waves. However, Go-On Black realizes something...
[Go-On Black]: “Gunpherd can shoot through that sound wave barrier!”
[Gunpherd]: “If we do an Engine Busou and do an energy charge, that is.”
[Go-On Black]: “Everyone, go with Engine Busou.”
[Go-On Red, Blue & Yellow]: “Right!”
“Engine-Oh Gunpherd: Tune Up!”
Go-On Black’s theory proves true, and the Gunpherd Gun shoots out Speaker Banki’s speakers, disabling him. And then Engine-Oh Gunpherd destroys him with the Gunpherd Gun Fire finisher. Smoke still floating from the muzzle, Engine-Oh Gunpherd casually blows on the barrel to cool it off...
Engine-Oh Gunpherd (back) s the second upgrade of the series for the lead mecha. The right arm is now dominated by the extended barrel from Gunpherd, and is now fitted with a scope-like sensor above it. The scope sensor is made by removing Gunpherd’s back wheels and attaching them to his head; this also exposes the connection joint which they were snapped to. Though rather oversized compared to Engine-Oh’s regular arms (reaching to within 2” of the ground it stands on), this new right one has an added advantage over the former. At the connection point in the upper arm region, there is a ratcheting joint which allows the entire lower arm to twist in 45° increments all the way around at the elbow! Unfortunately, like Engine Birca, with Gunpherd’s upper body pushed forward, the shaft which allows the Engine Soul’s LED light to shine through is now cut in half and can’t be seen anymore when activated; however, both activation buttons are still fully accessible.
Again, I am more surprised because of the cultural differences between the US and Japan that this character is directly based on a real firearm rather than a more-fictional energy-based weapon. (You just know that it will be changed for its PR incarnation to just that to please the censors. After all, Disney is a family-friendly company, and wouldn’t dare show violence of any kind in one of their TV series. Should I mention that of all the TV networks that Disney owns, not once has a single PR episode appeared on The Disney Channel...?) It’s a good little toy, though a bit featureless compared to some of the others. I did like the light-up strobe light detail using the Engine Soul’s LED, and how well the dog & gun features were blended together. But the backside of the Engine seems a little lackluster compared to the rest of him. Using the back wheels as a sniper scope was an interesting idea, but I didn’t like how you have to separate it to get there, and it doesn’t really blend in once this is accomplished. But again, I can’t argue with the advantage of that new ratcheting elbow joint, which I absolutely love on here! Between this one and Birca, I think I like the latter a little more just because it has more moving parts. (Oddly, as of Grand Prix 16, we haven’t seen Engine-Oh with both him and Birca attached at the same time.) But that doesn’t mean I dislike Engine Gunpherd any less. I think that Engine-Oh Gunpherd is also a good little upgrade, though perhaps without the dramatics of Birca’s Engine Busou. Regardless, he passes, so go-on and get ‘im!
|Posted 2 July, 2008 - 12:31 by EVA_Unit_4A|