Henshin Keitai Mobirates
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
In the past, the thirty-four Legend Sentai teams fought a great battle against a large alien invasion force called the Space Empire Zangyack. The Legend War ended in one great blast when the Legend Sentai sacrificed all their powers to successfully drive Zangyack away.
Many years later, Captain Marvelous and his small crew of space pirates approach Earth aboard the Gokai Galleon starship in the hopes of taking “The Greatest Treasure in the Universe” for themselves. Unfortunately, at this same moment, the son of the Zangyack Emperor, Commandant Toiles Gils, launches a renewed attack on Earth, and the five space pirates suddenly find themselves begrudgingly forced into the role of defenders of this backward planet. The Pirate Taskforce Heroic-rangers have a special and unique power that will give the rekindled Space Empire Zangyack pause: the mysterious ability to use Ranger Keys to transform themselves into- and harness all the powers of- any of the 199 members of the disappeared 34 Legend Sentai!
“Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger” celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the Super Sentai Series in 2011!
At the climax of the Legend War, all 199 members of the Legend Sentai teams sacrificed all of their power to halt the Space Empire Zangyack’s advance on Earth. While this was successful in driving back the Zangyack [for a number of years], unfortunately it stripped all Legend Sentai of their powers, and they were lost into space.
Over the years, the armored Super Sentai Anniversary hero known only as Aka Red (lit. “Red Red”) and his small Red Pirates Gang traversed the Universe to collect 199 small artifacts known as Ranger Keys, each of which represents the stored power of a single Legend Sentai member. When the Red Pirates Gang was broken-up, the cache of Ranger Keys and the responsibility of finding them was passed on to Marvelous, and he then became both Captain of the Gokai Galleon and formed the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger from people he encountered in his travels through space who would help him in finding The Greatest Treasure in the Universe.
The Henshin Keitai Mobirates (“Transformation Digital Mobile[ phone]-pirates”) is the standard henshin (‘transformation’ or ‘strange change’) device for the five members of the Gokaiger. With it, they can activate their armor, and communicate with each other by voice beyond line-of-sight Gokai Red (Captain Marvelous) can also remotely summon the Gokai Galleon starship to the team’s location.
The Mobirates is the cornerstone component of the Gokaiger’s entire arsenal. When a Ranger Key from any of the previous 34 Legend Sentai teams is inserted into the Mobirates and then activated, a Gokaiger will take on the appearance, fighting styles and special attacks, and all associated powers of that specific member of the previous team!
Over the course of “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger”, an individual or group of members of a previous Legend Sentai team will appear on Earth in their civilian form, and will test and then reveal the secret of their specific team’s success to the Gokaiger, known as an ōinaru chikara (“Great Power”). By utilizing the Ranger Keys and harnessing all of the Great Powers, the Gokaiger will be able to discover and then finally claim The Greatest Treasure in the Universe!
Three Ranger Keys are provided with this set-
(from 2008’s “Engine Sentai Go-Onger”)
(from 2009’s “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger”)
-though each can be acquired through other official accessory sets (namely capsules and candy toys) with other Ranger Keys.
The Mobirates is a flip top-style cellular phone toy. The red On/Off switch is on the back-right side, and the black AAA battery compartment panel is on the back as well.
When the power is Off, the toy does nothing special, though it has small commonly-seen cell phone details such as battery remaining icon, tower reception signal strength icon, painted-in camera lens and screen icon, e-mail indicator, and file download icon.
The Mobirates has two electronic features, which are the focus of the toy.
The keypad has eleven functional rubber keys- 0 through 9 and ENTER- while the CONNECT, DISCONNET, #, and * keys are all molded-in non-functional ABS plastic.
The Mobirates is programmed to uniquely recognize many different code number sets, each one being only four digits in length. While several are provided- or hinted at- in the instructions, others must be discovered by other means. (Honestly, I have no clue where all the extra codes were found at!)
When the appropriate code is entered, and the ENTER key is pressed, the toy will respond with the appropriate sound effects. If a code is entered incorrectly- or you just push random numbers- the Gokaiger ringtone will simply sound once. All sound effects are accompanied by the flashing of the single red LED in the “display screen” above the keypad.
The list of codes provided in the instructions are:
- 0001 - "GoRanger!"
- 0035 - "Gokaiger!"
Codes 0001-through-0035 will make the Mobirates call out the name of a Legend Sentai team according to the order in which they appeared. Unlisted examples include 0004 (“Denjiman!”), 0023 (“GoGo-Five!”), 0030 (“Boukenger!”), and so on.
- 0223 - "Mina, konichiwa!" ["Hello, everyone!"]
- 0508 - "Okaa-san! Otou-san! Itsumo arigato!" ["Mother! Father! Thank you always!"] (NOTE: 0619 provides the same response.)
- 5081 - "Gokaiger! Ouen Yoroshiku!" ["Nice to meet you, Gokaiger!"]
- 1111 - "Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger!"
- 9999 - "Tatakai, Gokaiger!" ["Fight Gokaiger!"]
- 5091 - "Hasshin Gokai Machine!" ["Launch Gokai Machine!"]
- 0120 - [Gokaiger ring-tone automatically sounds three times, as opposed to singly when the ENTER key is pressed by itself without entering a code first]
- 2011 - "Gattai! Gokai-Oh!..." ["Combine! Gokai-Oh!..."]
Code 2011 refers to the year in which “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger” was on the air. There are several others that will appear when you punch in the corresponding year/code. 1992 (“Gattai! Daizyujin!...”) is the earliest year it counts (significant because the Daizyujin also served as the first Megazord, this entry is a nod to Power Rangers fans), a gap in between it and 2001 (“Gattai! Gao King!...”), and it also skips past 2006 (the 30th Anniversary series, by the way) and 2007 to continue on with 2008 (“Gattai! Engine-Oh!...”) and on through to 2011. (Believe me, I check all 36 years just to make sure…)
All of these year-based codes, when spoken, will be followed up immediately by one of four randomly-played additional phrases- “…combine!”, “…hasshin!” (“launch”), “…ikuze!” (“let's go”), and “…tatakai!” (“fight”)- regardless of which code is entered.
As of the publishing of this review, only one code has been seen used in the TV show itself (which is not listed in the instructions)-
- 5501 - "Hasshin! Gokai Galleon!..." ["Launch Gokai Galleon!"]
Using Ranger Keys make up the other major electronic gimmick of the Mobirates. Every single Ranger Key in the entire toy line has a unique identification based on the teeth of the key. And so, the Mobirates will respond accordingly to each one.
The Mobirates is typically held in the left hand, and a Ranger Key in the right hand.
When any one Ranger Key is inserted and then turned clockwise, the ‘display screen’ will split in half and pop-outwards, forming the Gokaiger brand: two cutlass swords crossed behind a Ranger Key. At the same time, the LED will flash, and the toy will call out the name of the Legend Sentai team whom the specific Ranger key represents. So, for example, when Gokai Red’s Ranger key is inserted and activated, the Mobirates will declare “Go-o-o-o-kaijaa!” followed then by the henshin sequence sound effects for the Gokaiger team.
Now, it should be made clear that Gokaiger Ranger Keys react differently from all other Ranger Keys once they have been activated by turning them inside the Mobirates:
- Only the Gokaiger Ranger Keys have the henshin sound effect; all other Ranger Keys will use a different sound, indicating instead that a Legend Sentai’s power is being switched on. (In the TV series, the Gokaiger cannot go straight from their civilian forms into a Legend Sentai form. They must change into their respective Gokaiger armor first, and then apply the Legend Sentai powers over that. However, the Mobirates toy is not restricted in such fashion.)
- The toy’s keypad buttons are rendered neutral when any Ranger Key is in place with the sole exception of the ENTER button. When pressed the first time, the Mobirates will shout out “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaijaa!” But when pressed a second time, the Mobirates will declare which Gokaiger Key- Gokai Red, Gokai Blue, Gokai Yellow, Gokai Green, or Gokai Pink- has been inserted.
When any Ranger Key belonging to a team other than the Gokaiger is inserted and activated, and then the ENTER button is pressed, the team’s motto/catchphrase and complete team name is shouted out instead, no matter how many times ENTER is pressed.
So, since they are provided with this set, I can provide non-Gokaiger-related Ranger Key interaction examples:
- When Shinken Red’s Ranger Key is inserted and activated, and the ENTER button is pressed, the Mobirates will say “Tenkagomen no Samurai Sentai! Shinkenjaa! Mairu!” (“The Samurai Sentai authorized by Providence! Shinkenger! Going forth!”), immediately followed by an explosion.
- When Go-On Red’s Ranger Key is inserted and activated, and the ENTER button is pressed, the Mobirates will say “Seigi no Rōdo o tsukisusumu! Enjin Sentai Gōonjā!” (“Persevering on the Road of Justice! Engine Sentai Go-Onger!”), immediately followed by an explosion.
. . .
There is a ‘game’ of sorts that can be played using Ranger Keys from certain Super Sentai Series. It is called Versus Mode. This refers to all of the non-canon theatrical crossover movies that have been made since 1995 when “Chouriki Sentai OhRanger” was on the air. (To be clear: in a Super Sentai crossover movie, the word “versus” is not meant to imply conflict between the two teams, though there have been a few times where they mistook each other for villains initially.)
Entering code 0000 without any Ranger Key inserted will activate Versus Mode. The Mobirates will prompt you in Japanese to insert any single Ranger Key from one of these crossover movies. When an appropriate Ranger Key has been inserted, the toy will acknowledge this and prompt you to insert any other Ranger Key associated with the other team from the crossover. (Typically, each Super Sentai team is involved in two separate crossover movies- involving both the preceding and succeeding teams- though there have been a few exemptions for things like an Anniversary movie.)
Versus Mode can be demonstrated using the Go-On Red and Shinken Red Ranger Keys because there was a crossover movie between them- “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger VS Go-Onger: GinmakuBang!” (2009). When both Ranger Keys have been activated and acknowledged by the Mobirates (it doesn’t matter which order they’re activated in), it will call out “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger! Versus! Go-Onger!”
I should reemphasize that Red-colored Ranger Keys are not the only ones needed for Versus Mode; you can use any-colored Ranger Key from either team so long as it is from a legitimate crossover movie. (NOTE: Any movies involving more than two teams in a crossover are exempt from Versus Mode, examples being the more-recent anniversary movies “Gougou Sentai Boukenger VS Super Sentai” and “Gokaiger Goseiger Super Sentai 199 Hero Great Battle”.)
Oh, come on-! Another Super Sentai cell phone changer!? That makes now six times in ten years where the core team has had a phone changer. (Wouldn’t it be amusing to have a rotary-dial phone changer for once…? No, the Magi Dial Rod doesn’t count because that was a weapon.) Like many other fans, I have become very irritated with this trend since the traditional wrist-mounted device has been abandoned in favor of the modernism of a smart phone because, well, there’s nothing a smart phone can’t do!
In this case, however, even though it contains all the marks of a flip-top cellular telephone, the thought has crept into my mind that maybe it isn’t as advertised, and that stems mostly from the bulk of the toy. The lower half is tremendous! (Yes, yes- TWSS.) Clearly extra space was needed to accommodate inserting a Ranger Key perpendicular, the components needed to uniquely identify that Ranger Key, and the electronics necessary to provide all those unique responses. Unless I am mistaken, this is now the most-advanced sound-based Super Sentai toy out there as of its release because it contains hundreds of separate audio clips.
And because it is so misshapen in the lower half, and the upper half physically splits apart, I’m wondering if we shouldn’t be treating this instead as an “item changer with built-in keypad” rather than a cell phone changer. If you ignore the little display screen icons (email, battery, reception, etc.), then it becomes less-and-less a cell phone changer.
Holy crap, there’s a lot of codes in this thing! As of the publishing of this review, there are at least 67 unique codes that have been identified (or at least that I am aware of). Some of them say the same thing but end with a different phrase or a sound effect, some of them have nothing to do with the show itself, some of them are nods and tributes of varying sorts, and some of them are downright silly (punch in code 1224 and you’ll see what I mean by that). While some of them are irrelevant, it is the effort that was put forward to give us so many responses period which impresses me! My only problem with a lot of these codes is they’re never used in the show, or rather that the codes aren’t more functional in the show for things like activating special attacks and summoning all of the Gokai Machines. Ranger Keys seem to take care of that part with the various toys, and while I like having all these different responses from the toy, it does make the extra codes rather superfluous.
(Ugh, I keep wanting to hold this thing in my right hand-! Bad EVA, bad EVA!)
Putting aside the use of Ranger Keys for a moment, I would like to draw a parallel between this toy and one of its predecessors, the Mahou Keitai MagiPhone from 2005’s “Mahou Sentai MagiRanger”. Both have a spring-activated display screen that moves in a manner different from cell phones, both have red LEDs in said display screen, and both rely on inputting codes of four digits (coincidence?) that result in unique responses from the toy. Though it made for an odd magic wand, I was rather enchanted by the MagiPhone because of all those unique responses. If I had reviewed the MagiPhone [for CDX], I would have said its only flaw was that it didn’t have enough unique responses in it, being limited to about five codes- err, “magic spells”- having truly-original sound effects. But it was interesting that it covered its ass by having the thing actually speaking aloud the spells and each of the thirteen keys having a different generic sound attached to it, so that kept me entertained a bit.
Well, I’ve come to realize that the Mobirates feels very much like an evolution of the MagiPhone more than the Bouken Keitai Accellular was the following year (which- in my opinion- was a different animal, but has been my top-favorite cell phone changer so far). Using multi-key codes is a very engaging toy gimmick, and if executed correctly can be quite fun! Everything that the MagiPhone did, the Mobirates can do better. (Umm… except casting magical spells.) And truthfully, the only thing that is stopping me from saying it has outright outperformed the MagiPhone and become my new second-favorite cell phone changer is all that bulk on the opposite side of the keypad! (I know I keep bringing that up, but it really is difficult to ignore that part, as visual appearance and the ability to hold the damn thing plays a part in my opinion of these toys!)
Okay. Ranger Keys.
We’ve had a taste of something like this before- bestowing different powers onto a ranger- with the Engine Soul cartridges from 2008’s “Engine Sentai Go-Onger”. The difference was each Engine Soul had its own internal electronics, but was limited in the same way because it wasn’t affected any differently regardless of which compatible toy you inserted them into. The Hiden Discs from 2009’s “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger” was more similar to Ranger Keys, in that each Disc had no electronics on its own but was uniquely identifiable based on physical divots underneath each that corresponding electronic toys could read and identify each one with a unique response. (Okay, only ONE toy in the line could actually read Hiden Discs, the Hiden Kaisekiki Inromaru accessory.)
Both of these toy lines’ unifying gimmicks were needed to eventually produce Ranger Keys: identifying dozens of identically-functioning accessory components, and yet produce a unique effect for each one.
So I must say that this toy has completely delivered on its promise! Though I don’t have many Ranger Keys at this time, it is quite impressive that it can read each and every one of them… and there’s still well-over a hundred more I could collect and still have the satisfaction that it can ID each and every one of them. About the only problem I have, though, is that it doesn’t speak aloud the name of the other 194 Ranger Keys like it does the five Gokaiger Ranger Keys, so the other teams kinda get snuffed out of the light by the current team. Well, I suppose the Gokaiger needed something to make their Ranger Keys stand out… so I guess I’ll leave that alone.
Getting back to that bulge on the back, therein lies perhaps the one flaw of this rather remarkable toy. Interacting with Ranger Keys is a crucial part of making this toy work, just as all those unique codes are. However, couldn’t the Ranger Keys have been inserted in another location- the most-convenient of which could have been below the keypad on the bottom side? Yes, it would still have been bulky, but it would have distributed it along the length rather than sticking awkwardly perpendicular out the back. I don’t know- maybe this was considered during the concept and pre-production phases?
When I reviewed the Gokaiger’s standard sidearms earlier, the Gokai Saber and Gokai Gun, I said of both that I was not a fan of 18th-Century weaponry (I don’t think those on the receiving end at that time liked them either now that I think about it), and that if they had not used Ranger Keys, I probably would have thought them bland and ultimately not gotten either one.
Since the MagiPhone in 2005, I have come to think of multi-response cell phone changer toys as portable soundboards- providing a multitude of readily-available sound clips from the show they represented (one of the reasons I like the Accellular). The effects that the toys make should reflect what is seen-and-heard in the show, and yet be entertaining in their own right.
If the Henshin Keitai Mobirates had not had either one of these, I would have balked at it as well like I have three others from the Super Sentai Series. But, as I have continued to press here, it is the numerous responses and unique sounds that this toy makes that get me all wrapped up in it. Then you throw in a cleaver compulsive-buying gimmick like the Ranger Keys, and you have the makings of a solid winner.
|Posted 18 October, 2011 - 22:59 by EVA_Unit_4A|