Super Robot Chogokin: DekaRanger Robo
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This toy appears here courtesy of HobbyLink Japan.
In the not-too-distant future, Earth has opened its doors to the universe, and co-exists peacefully with most of the known worlds throughout the galaxy and the many alien species that inhabit them. But like here, there is also crime, and it exists in many forms. The Alienizer Syndicate is one of the more powerful and influential crime organizations, and they fund terrorism and chaos as their business through various alien spies, arms dealers, smugglers, and other illegal and dangerous activities. There are also individual criminals out there who indulge themselves in various schemes, cons, and thefts. For those extraterrestrial beings who cannot co-exist peacefully on Earth, there is the special-investigation taskforce known as S.P.D. - Special Police DekaRanger [Detective Rangers]. This intergalactic police force, made up of dedicated humans and aliens, fights to defend the peace and freedom of Earth and its allies.
Whenever an alien becomes a major threat to the city by growing to the size of a multistory building, or when the Alienizer is contacted and hired by a criminal to send down a giant robot as a distraction, the Earth-based S.P.D.- led by the commanding Doggie Krugger (a tall blue dog-like Anubinoid from the planet Anubis)- sends out the Patrol Machines from the giant DekaBase headquarters to the DekaRanger to combat the threat directly. The Pat Machines are five large police vehicles specifically designed for inner city, close-range, ground-based combat.
The DekaRanger Robo is composed primarily of ABS, supplemented by a little PVC, and a healthy dose of solid die-cast metal in the lower legs-only.
This is a high-quality 5 ¾” display figure, designed for dynamic posing. As a result, all joints have a minimum of two axis of movement, and some joints- the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles- can extend for expanded range of motion. (The shoulders have no less than four axis of motion packed into each, including a pair in the torso that let the both shoulders swing forward!) Unlike its two SRC Super Sentai predecessors- Shinken-Oh and Gokai-Oh- the fronts of the hips are not covered by flexible skirt armor. (This, however, makes the DekaRanger Robo the first SRC Super Sentai robo to be able to do the splits.) Additionally, while the waist does have a full range of motion, it does so using a three-axis universal joint, rather than a covered extendable ball joint like its two Super Sentai predecessors did. The hips and knees- only on certain points- also lightly ratchet!
This figure cannot transform or separate like it does in the series.
[NOTE: an accessory clip is provided that allows this figure to be attached to a display stand sold separately by Bandai. However, since I do not have a stand for it, I cannot demonstrate that here.]
Five types of non-posable hands are provided.
- Solid fists
- Fists with small holes to hold the Judgment Sword
- Fists with open fingers that can hold the Signal Cannon and Gyro Wappa
- Splayed fingers
- A single additional left hand in a thumbs-up pose is also provided for when the DekaRanger Robo celebrates a victory over an Alienizer. (The DekaRanger declare “Got You!”, and flash the thumbs-up at the viewer when the monster-of-the-week explodes.)
The large-hole hands are uniquely suited to hold the Signal Cannon and Gyro Wappa. However, the right hand can only hold the Signal Cannon, while the left can hold all three weapons. While it is possible to set the Judgment Sword into either of the large-hole hands, it is a very loose fit; hence why an additional pair of small-hole hands were provided. Likewise, the Signal Cannon and Gyro Wappa cannot be placed into the small-hole hands at all.
. . .
Three weapons are provided.
- Judgment Sword – It cannot be broken down and collapsed like its onscreen counterpart. Instead, to simulate its stored form, a separate accessory piece of the yellow Patrol Armor’s searchlights (which form the hilt and guard of the Judgment Sword) can be attached to/removed from the right forearm.
- Signal Cannon – A triple-barrel police pistol that is multipurpose (standard blaster, quick-entangling police tape wrap, and fire extinguisher). It is normally stored inside a sliding compartment in the right leg (green Patrol Trailer), but that is not possible here due to the sizes of the leg and weapon. An ABS door along the right side of the leg does slide open for appearances-sake only, even though the weapon cannot be placed inside.
- Gyro Wappa – Almost never seen in the show, this is a large pair of police handcuffs used for restraining Alienizers. Though it breaks down to form the rims of the blue Patrol Gyro’s VTOL engines, that is not possible here. The Patrol Gyro’s engines remain unmoved as part of the left foot, but also do not have a removable accessory like the Judgment Sword does for Patrol Armor. (Wappa is Japanese for “ring”.)
As an added bonus, a semi-clear muzzle flash accessory piece can be fitted over the front of the Signal Cannon. Close examination reveals a spent shell casing flying away from inside the shockwave. (Bite me, Disney. Bite me.)
Though “Tokusou Sentai DekaRanger” was on the air in 2004, a tribute to the series was made in the 35th-Anniversary series, “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger” (2011). In the fourth episode, the S.P.D.’s Chief Doggie Kruger makes a cameo and provides the Gokaiger with the secret of the DekaRanger’s Great Power. This gives the space pirates regular access to a modified Patrol Striker to be used at their discretion in defending Earth from the Space Empire Zangyack.
As a result of merging their power with the Great Power of the DekaRanger, the Gokaiger can command the unmanned Patrol Striker to combine with their Kaizoku Gattai Gokai-Oh robo to form Deka Gokai-Oh, providing it with a notable increase in firepower!
As Super Sentai made its entry into the Super Robot Chogokin line during the run of “Gokaiger” in 2011, the merging of the two teams’ powers is represented here as well! But now, with the addition of the DekaRanger Robo to the line, the creation of Deka Gokai-Oh is possible.
Provided with this set only is a tiny representation of the Patrol Striker vehicle as it appears in “Gokaiger” (it’s not even 2” long), a pair of pistol grips, and four additional accessory panels. The Patrol Striker itself splits apart into six pieces (only the undercarriage is not used), and then they and the four additional provided panels are inserted accordingly into the five compartments on the SRC Gokai-Oh. The pistol grips are pegged onto the front fenders of the smaller Patrol Striker, and these form Deka Gokai-Oh’s pistols.
As was the case with the SRC Gokai-Oh alone, the panels of the mecha’s arms, legs, and torso cannot be closed up when assembled as Deka Gokai-Oh.
(For on-screen continuity’s sake, remember that the panels in the arms are supposed to represent the two pistols when they’re stored. So if you want to deploy the pistols in the hands, make sure to close up both the arms and legs for the proper look!)
For many years now, Bandai has offered 6-7” Candy Toy versions of the various mecha appearing in the associated year’s Super Sentai Series. However, while far more poseable than their larger DX toy equivalents, they were in essence models that had to be cut from spruce, assembled, and paint and decals all added by you. And occasionally, keychain characters would appear, but these were neither poseable nor actual figures to be played with. Beyond these three options, a pre-assembled and poseable action figure of a giant transforming robo from a Super Sentai Series has never been seen until now.
Bandai America was actually the first to attempt this, with a wide selection of vaguely-poseable 4.5” action figures for their Power Rangers line. Then in 2009, they introduced the Retrofire Megazords, which were truly-poseable stylistic interpretations of several Megazords. While not as poseable as typical Ranger action figures, Retrofire provided the first poseable versions of the robos appearing in a Super Sentai-or-Power Rangers series. So, in a way, Retrofire (which proved to be popular among older collectors) could arguably be considered a direct foreshadowing of the figure reviewed here (even though the Super Robot Chogokin line had been out years earlier in Japan).
As many of you on CollectionDX already know, I do not buy action figures at any scale. However, I was impressed and pleased by the first-steps that the Retrofire line made because I had always wanted poseable versions of the Megazords (and later their Super Sentai counterparts) which the DX-sized toys I regularly buy could never accomplish. The figure here provides the same kind of relief and satisfaction for one of the more exotic combining robos to appear in Super Sentai. You can pose it, and it’s pre-assembled!
All of the friction joints are nice and tight; only the knees lightly ratchet. However, because I do not collect action figures, let alone ones targeted at collectors like this, my inexperience makes me nervous about all the thin shafts used for joints like the neck, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. Keeping all of the die-cast metal in the lower legs means this thing will hold its balance very well in any number of poses, but I do wish some other body parts had metal in them as well, just for consistency.
(I must admit that, for as much as I adore and want it, all this poseability is becoming intimidating- it’s very easy to move something you don’t want to after you’ve spent five minutes trying to get everything just so, so sometimes you spend extra effort resetting the pose of one limb!)
Okay, it’s officially reached the point of ridiculousness. The number of tiny pieces floating around that cannot be attached all at the same time has finally pushed the right button, and I’m now putting my complaint in stone. There’s a lot to get easily lost here…
Having solid fists, splayed-finger expressive hands, and hands that hold weapons is fine; three pairs per set sounds about right. (The earlier Soul of Chogokin releases often had just two pairs.) But this one passes that with five, and then provides that extra thumbs-up left hand by itself. Now, while I understand and appreciate all this effort, and love that everything here is seen on-screen, I do think that having an extra pair of hands just to hold two weapons kinda pushes my tolerance. Why not make the grip of the Judgment Sword large enough for it to fit into the large-hole hands, and then eliminate the small-hole hands altogether?
The popular trend among Japanese toy and figure makers in recent years has been to include detachable “dramatic effect” parts that slip onto the existing design, often replicating a gun blast, sword swing, or cloud of dust from under-foot. (As a matter of fact, three separately-purchased kits- none of which I have at the moment- provide all three of the Super Sentai robos the ability to do just that!) A single puff of PVC smoke for the Signal Cannon is quite sufficient here (and as I highlighted earlier, I chuckled when I saw the spent shell casing sitting on the side).
What pushes the excessiveness of little accessories into Annoyance Land for me is all the extra bits that are leftover for Deka Gokai-Oh. This is actually something that I intentionally side-stepped in my review of the SRC Gokai-Oh because I knew I would be doing the review for this set in the future, and I would be able to better address it here. While it is abundantly clear that Bandai wanted the same crossover effect for the SRC version of the Gokai-Oh that they had for the official DX toyline version, I knew beforehand that it would mean a lot of little extra pieces to keep track of and have to add/remove from a 4.5” collectable high-articulation figure. If the SRC Super Sentai robos had been a few inches taller, I wouldn’t have minded. But if you’re an adult collector like me, then you should also be aware that you will have to be extra careful in not just keeping track of all of them, but actually manipulating them on the figure(s) themselves! And the reason they’re so tiny is because the compartments for the Gokai-Oh’s arms had to be broken up to provide those blessed elbow joints; while the leg pieces are fine, the ones for the arms are the difficult ones to deal with. (I mean, some of these pieces are no bigger than fingernails, fer cryin’ out loud!) In my opinion, Bandai should have left the combining gimmick to the DX-sized sets and not tried to import it over to the far-smaller SRC figures. (They should have had molded-in cannonballs in the arms and legs that didn’t come out.) On top of that, the difference in proportions between Patrol Striker and Gokai-Oh are such that it doesn’t look as good or fit as well in SRC format compared to their DX counterparts.
Oh, and because of the bone-breaking angle that the SRC Gokai-Oh’s wrists are always bent too, having it hold the pistols looks really bad. So, Deka Gokai-Oh doesn’t fare that well in the SRC format.
With all this complaining about too many pieces lying around, perhaps my primary opinion has gotten lost in the clutter. This is a very well detailed and articulate figure. Not even the smallest detail is ignored, even compared to its 10” DX counterpart. I do feel that everything from the knees upwards is a bit too small compared to everything from the knees downwards. (It’s like it is wearing knee-high platform concrete boots made of die-cast metal.) The previous two Super Sentai robos handled that well, but something slipped up here.
The articulation in the waist tricked me for a few hours after I opened the box. There’s actually a third axis joint hidden in there among the black paint and plastic above the hip joints that I completely overlooked! And I just can’t say enough about the articulation of FOUR axis of motion in just the shoulders; it is simply to die for, and allows you to achieve that most rarest of poses any humanoid robot toy or model kit can achieve- overlapping one hand with the other across the chest. (*swoon*)
I don’t know why the panel still opens on the lower right leg, but I suppose it was necessary for them to recreate the “Mobile Police Patlabor” action of removing a police pistol from inside the shin armor. (Take that, Robocop!)
The Judgment Scanner on the left arm was handled tastefully, being able to swap from the proper join on the shoulder to the forearm for when “It’s Judgment Time!”
Once more, this is a wonderful entry into the line for the Super Sentai franchise. Its biggest fault actually lies in the accessories it provides on a previous release, rather than anything in-and-of itself. Regardless of if you liked or disliked the original mecha at the time for its simple and blocky design, the Super Robot Chogokin DekaRanger Robo set shines brightly with justice and transparent strobe lights!
(Now all I need is a container for all these tiny accessory pieces, and a proper display stand.)
|Posted 18 March, 2012 - 03:42 by EVA_Unit_4A|