Magnugiga and Drew
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This toy appears here courtesy of Bandai America.
. . .
Ventara is an alternate dimension that exists behind all mirrors. For everything that exists on Earth, there is a copy of it on Ventara as well, and more. The alien General Xaviax invaded Ventara and began a war to conquer it. To defend themselves, the Ventarans created twelve armored superheroes, the Kamen Riders, who use individual Advent Deck cards to command powerful Contract Beasts for attack and defense. Xaviax defeated all but one of the Kamen Riders and stole their Advent Decks, eventually conquering Ventara as well. Unfortunately, because the Ventaran Riders had all been defeated & Vented (banished forever into the Advent Void), Xaviax had to find the genetic equivalents on Earth since the Advent Decks were DNA-locked. Finding specific humans on Earth, Xaviax disguises himself as a different person each time, and tricks them into serving him. One Advent Deck, however, fell into the hands of a young man on Earth whom Xaviax did not choose, named Kit Taylor. Working together with Len, the mysterious original Kamen Rider Wing Knight, Kit reluctantly uses his own Advent Deck to become Kamen Rider Dragon Knight in order to find his disappeared father, and stop General Xaviax and the ten other corrupted & selfish Kamen Riders from conquering Earth.
. . .
“Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” is based on the original TV series, “Kamen Rider Ryuki” (仮面ライダー龍騎, "Masked Rider Dragon-knight"), which aired in 2002 as part of the long running Kamen Rider franchise in Japan. It is produced by newcomer Adness Entertainment, Ltd. in close association with Ishimori Production, Inc. and Toei Company, Ldt. [both of which make the original tokusatsu franchise].
Even though Bandai is making the toys for “…Dragon Knight”, they are all completely new remolds from those that they originally released during “…Ryuki”, and so they will all differ in size, features, and materials from their Japanese counterparts.
Drew Lansing first appeared in Episode 4- “A Rider's Challenge”, but is formally introduced in Epsiode 5- "The Power of Two". He is a con-artist on Earth who was recruited by Xaviax to convert other Riders for him. Because he was under threat for his crimes on Earth, Xaviax held that against him to insure his loyalty. If Drew served faithfully, he would become a general in Xaviax’s army after he had conquered Earth. One of his first assignments was to trick newcomer Kit Taylor into thinking that the last surviving Ventaran, Kamen Rider Wing Knight, was actually the enemy of Earth, and that Xaviax was in fact trying to help them all.
As the green & silver-colored Kamen Rider Torque, Drew draws on the power of his Contract Monster- a slow but heavily armed minotaur called Magnugiga. Some of his Advent Card attacks include Launch Vent and Shoot Vent, which use pieces of Magnugiga to form larger-sized projectile weapons for Kamen Rider Torque. To activate his Advent Deck cards, he slides them into his hand-held Magnuvisor blaster gun.
Drew Lansing is played by actor Christopher Foley.
Magnugiga is 5” tall, and is composed of green & silver ABS plastic, with PVC plastic only in the head. As a Contract Beast, it is expected that it should be bigger than a human. Its bulky and sharp-edged armor mirrors that of Kamen Rider Torque’s, again giving it an industrial, heavily-reinforced look like a military machine would have. Though it has the golden horns, bulky [re: muscular] chest, and black angular hooves of a minotaur, the similarities end there. While both shoulders and upper arms are the same, the left arm has a giant pair of silver claws with a gold-painted multi-barrel cannon in between, while the right arm ends in a long single silver & gold cannon barrel. Paint apps are rather sparse, with only silver, black, and gold represented.
. . .
For a 5” figure that serves only as an accessory to another set rather than as a stand-alone, I suppose the restriction on posing is to be expected. The neck, both shoulders & elbows, and the claws are all free-turning single-axis joints.
While a plain-clothes version of Drew Lansing is also provided (see below), this set’s primary function is to augment the 4” Kamen Rider Torque action figure. Like all Contract Beasts, Magnugiga separates parts of itself when commanded to by Torque’s Advent Decks cards in order to provide its master with additional weaponry. For example, the Shoot Vent card turns Magnugiga’s legs into large over-the-shoulder cannons; the Launch Vent separates both of its arms to form a long under-the-arm artillery cannon. All Contract Beasts do this for the Kamen Riders- detaching parts of themselves to augment their masters’ abilities- though this is done in different ways. Sounds cool, right?
Well, the problem is, this set does none of those things! The only augmentation you can accomplish is to separate Magnugiga’s head from its body, fold down a little green cover, and then attach the green peg to Kamen Rider Torque’s right vambrace armor on his lower arm. This, supposedly, gives Torque a crossbow-like shooting weapon… which he does not have in the series [nor in the Japanese version of the series]!
. . .
While separating pieces of itself is a downplayed gimmick in the series (and with the toys), all Contract Beasts can be summoned for a powerful and unique finishing attack, called the Final Vent- where they help their Kamen Rider master destroy a specific target in an overwhelming combined-effort assault.
For Kamen Rider Torque’s Final Vent, Magnugiga appears in front of him, and deploys all of its available weapons. Then Torque plugs his Magnuvisor laser gun into the Contract Beast’s back and pulls the trigger- unleashing an alpha strike of missiles, lasers, and cannon shots.
While all of the other Vent weapons cannot be recreated, the Final Vent can be because it requires nothing to be separated from Magnugiga’s body. Both lower arms are pointed forward, and the claws are opened. Next, a pair of cannons folds out from inside its lower legs. Then, Magnugiga’s silver torso armor opens up to reveal an array of 56 micro-missiles! And finally, you can take the Kamen Rider Torque figure and have him plug his Magnuvisor into Magnugiga’s, well… backside. This is Kamen Rider Torque’s Final Vent, and it is the only arrangement from the show that can be successfully implemented with these two sets.
(FYI: in Japan, there were larger 6” versions of Kamen Rider Zolda and Magnugiga which could swap parts like in “Kamen Rider Ryuki” to resemble the various Advent Card attacks.)
The 3” plain-clothes version of Drew Lansing has him in a dark green t-shirt which shows off his muscular build, and he’s wearing black pants & shoes. Though all Kamen Riders carry their Advent Deck holders on their person at all times, the Advent Belt is not visible. However, here Drew’s blank Advent Belt is visible, with two holes on the side for- um… whatever you want to plug in there.
The figure has only three points of articulation- free-turning single-axis joints at his shoulders and neck. None of the figure is meant to pop-off, so if something comes off, it’s stayin’ off!
(You can tell that the head is the only customized part on this whole figure- the body is generic for use by other characters in other sets. How do I know this? Simple- Drew is not that muscular in the show! He also… doesn’t look much like… Captain Kirk?)
All “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” toys carry a unique Advent Deck card related to the character they are packaged with. Then, when you purchase the electronic Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Dragvisor role-playing set (#33971, sold separately), you can take the Advent Cards and insert them into it to create one of 15 unique sound effects!
For this set, you get Kamen Rider Torque’s Guard Vent Advent Card, which provides an additional 3000 defense points against any attack. To use the Shield Vent card, Torque removes it from his Advent Belt and places it into his Magnuvisor gun. This commands his Contract Beast, Magnugiga, to separate the front of its torso to become a giant shield for Torque.
(Regretfully though understandably, they did not make a full-sized version of Torque’s Magnuvisor gun, only Dragon Knight’s Dragvisor. So, when I get the Dragvisor, I will demonstrate the Guard Vent card then.)
The only reason you want to buy this set is because the Contract Beast can interact with the equivalent 4” Kamen Rider action figure. The human figure is only a small bonus, but is too generic-looking to be of any significance beyond simply having the plain-clothes version of a Kamen Rider. If it would have allowed the Contract Beast figure to be more versatile, I would gladly have sacrificed the second figure to get those extra Vent accessories! Why else would you have those Kamen Rider figures with all the extra unused holes if not to attach stuff to them!?
The biggest disappointment for me, by far, in getting this set was that Magnugiga couldn’t separate parts of himself to attach to Torque! I was concerned less about posing since it doesn’t move about much in the series to begin with. While it’s good that you can recreate the Final Vent pose, not being able to recreate the Shoot Vent or Launch Vent really irked me to no end. With a little ingenuity, I’m sure it could have easily been pulled off for the same price! I mean- what in the hell is that head-weapon supposed to be anyways??? If Bandai ever gets around to making a larger version of Kamen Rider Torque and Magnugiga someday in the future (most-unlikely since this is a villain character), I hope they read this review before they start designing it. Despite bashing the Drew figure, I thought the Advent Belt and pants were well-sculpted. (I’m not gonna say anything at all about how that soooo doesn’t look like Drew’s head. Clearly casting for the character had not been completed when they started working on that head…) For a simplified version of the Contract Beast, I think a little more effort could have been put forward, and then I would have been full of praise. But, other than a lack of show-accurate features, I can’t really find anything outstandingly-wrong with the Magnugiga and Drew set.
|Posted 19 July, 2009 - 02:24 by EVA_Unit_4A|