DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The Super Sentai saga - created and produced by Toei Company, Ltd. since 1975 - celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2006! Every year for the past 31 years, a completely new Super Sentai [“special taskforce”] series had aired, with new characters, new villains, new storylines, and new mecha- creating a genre that has become generational in its appeal to of the island nation of Japan. In fact, some of the actors today who perform in a Super Sentai series were fans themselves when they were younger. Rarely does a franchise last for so long and succeed at being able to reinvent itself from year-to-year and continue to please fans of young and old; very few have been able to keep pace with it. It is filled with both drama and humor - with some hero characters actually dying or being replaced. And the villains- ranging from mad human scientists, buried demons, to invading space ninja aliens - are no less varied in personality, motives, and methods; aggressively attacking with carefully planned operations. Super Sentai was so popular that in 1983, “Kagaku Sentai Dynaman” was brought over to the USA Network as a dubbed comedic parody. Unfortunately, American audiences failed to stick with it. Saban Entertainment attempted to reintroduce Super Sentai to America as a children’s series in 1992 with “Choujin Sentai Jetman”, but failed with the younger test audience. Saban tried one more time the following year with a new version of “Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger”, and succeeded when the less-intense first season of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an instant hit with children 6-to-10yrs. While “Power Rangers” is based on the previous year’s Super Sentai show, it is a separate entity that will be celebrating its own 15th anniversary in 2007. Here are the Super Sentai that have come before:
|“Himitsu Sentai GoRanger” (1975-1977)
“JAQK Dengeki Tai”................. (1977)
“Battle Fever J”........................ (1979)
“Denshi Sentai Denjiman”.......... (1980)
“Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan”....... (1981)
“Dai Sentai Goggle V”............... (1982)
“Kagaku Sentai Dynaman”......... (1983)
“Cho Sentai Bioman”................. (1984)
“Dengeki Sentai Changeman”.... (1985)
“Choushinsei Flashman”............ (1986)
“Hikari Sentai Maskman”........... (1987)
“Choujii Sentai Liveman”............ (1988)
“Kousoku Sentai TurboRanger”.. (1989)
“Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman”.......... (1990)
“Choujin Sentai Jetman”............ (1991)
|“Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger”......... (1992)
“Gosei Sentai DaiRanger”........... (1993)
“Ninja Sentai KakuRanger”......... (1994)
“Chouriki Sentai OhRanger”........ (1995)
“Gekisou Sentai CarRanger”....... (1996)
“Denji Sentai MegaRanger”......... (1997)
“Seijuu Sentai Gingaman”........... (1998)
“Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo-V”........ (1999)
“Mirai Sentai TimeRanger”.......... (2000)
“Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger”..... (2001)
“Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger”........ (2002)
“Bakuryuu Sentai AbaRanger”..... (2003)
“Tokusou Sentai DekaRanger”.... (2004)
“Mahou Sentai MagiRanger”........ (2005)
The 2006 series - “Gougou Sentai Boukenger” [“Thundering Taskforce Adventure-Rangers”] - is a tribute to all that have come before, with old and new styles mixed together. For a more expanded explanation of Super Sentai, be sure to view this Wikipedia entry.
The Search Guard Successor museum organization (also known as SGS, or Sargess) has created a secret team to begin tracking down ancient artifacts that have been disappearing. With skills in treasure hunting/recovery, and their adventurous hearts, the Boukenger use their Accellular henshin devices to scan relics (called Precious) to discover their hazard levels and value. However, the many Negative Syndicates - the ancient stone Gordom Civilization, bio-engineered reptilian Jaryuu Clan, and covert ninja Dark Shadow - are also separately on the lookout for Precious to rule the world... or destroy it. The Precious are many, and they hold unknown power. Who will gain the most from them?
Knowing that the Boukenger team would have to operate alone most of the time, and that dangerous or difficult situations often accompany great adventures, Sargess created five large Gougou Vehicles- each the size of a large office building, to assist in large-scale excavation & defense.
“Gougou Vehicle, launch!”
Launch Shift On:
Dump, Formula, Gyro, Dozer, Marine
|Gougou Dump||Gougou Gyro||Gougou Dozer||Gougou Marine Diver|
- Gougou Dump (back) - a large red off-road haul truck, piloted by Bouken Red. In addition to being able to haul large amounts of dirt, rocks or other unnatural objects in the split bed, it can also turn around and form a pair of large utility arms to lift or move heavy objects. (As a point of interest, it is nearly double the size and quadruple the weight of the world’s largest modern mass-production haul truck - the German-built Liebherr T 282B.) Gougou Dump forms part of the trailer section of the Gougou Trailer; and it also forms the head, center torso, & legs of DaiBouken.
- Gougou Formula (back) - a six-wheeled vehicle similar to the shape of a Fourmula-1 racing car, piloted by Bouken Black. The heavy arsenal of the five, the front half folds up to reveal a multi-tube hidden missile launcher. It is also the fastest and most ground-agile of the five. Gougou Formula forms half of the front section of the Gougou Trailer; and it also forms the front torso of DaiBouken.
- Gougou Gyro (back) - a gyrocopter with three enclosed jet turbofans, piloted by Bouken Blue. In addition to being the only flight-capable of the five, it also carries a separate tracked expedition vehicle called the Met Lander in its back half. Gougou Gyro forms half of the front section of the Gougou Trailer; and it forms the back torso & helmet of DaiBouken.
- Gougou Dozer (back) - a bulldozer, piloted by Bouken Yellow. It has a double-barreled cannon turret on top, and can scoop dirt and rocks into the back of Gougou Dump, or has enough power to lift a monster off its feet! Gougou Dozer forms part of the trailer section of Gougou Trailer; and it also forms the right arm of DaiBouken.
- Gougou Marine Diver (back) - a deep-submerging submarine, piloted by Bouken Pink. As the only vehicle capable of underwater work, it is equipped with a pair of utility claws, and is unusually strong for its size. It can also move along reasonably flat surfaces on land for short periods of time. Gougou Marine Diver forms part of the trailer section of Gougou Trailer; and it also forms the left arm of DaiBouken.
I’m going to be blunt here, and say that the first word - the very first word - that came to mind when I pulled it out of the box was, “Huh...???” In 2005’s “Mahou Sentai MagiRanger” there was a reason to have different-sized mecha because of the creatures they used, but the same most certainly does not apply here. There is a huge, almost disturbing difference between the five Gougou Vehicles; it’s almost like they belong to different sets!
Gougou Dump steals all of the thunder away from the other four Gougou Vehicles. It is the most interactive and, by far, the largest in size & weight. In addition to rubberized ABS tires, it has excellent detail with the pistons all over it. The special feature is not only the halved tilting truck bed, but how the bed separates into two huge clawed utility arms; very similar to what the Red Ladder fire truck Kyuukyuu Machine from the DX Kyuukyuu Gattai Victory Robo had in 1999’s “Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo-V” (aka PyroRescue-1 from the Deluxe Lightspeed Megazord, in 2000’s “Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue”). Though unlike Red Ladder, Gougou Dump doesn’t balance really all that well since the arms are so big. Gougou Formula is about the same size and weight of my three-button PC mouse, but has good surface & paint details all over it. The 15-tube missile launcher does fold over, but there aren’t any tubes; just some lines molded in. Gougou Formula has the distinction of being the only Gougou Vehicle of the five with decals; already applied to the rear tail fender on either side, which shows the Boukenger logo and the Vehicle’s number designation (#2). Also, the arrangement of the six wheels reminds me a lot of the Pat Striker from the DX Tokusou Gattai DekaRanger Robo in 2004’s “Tokusou Sentai DekaRanger” (aka Delta Runner-1 from the Deluxe Delta Squad Megazord in 2005’s “Power Rangers S.P.D.”). Gougou Gyro is a very simple design that incorporates a small excavation vehicle known as the Met Lander, which can operate independently, and has two small rocket engines to land it and two tractor treads to propel it along the ground. Gougou Dozer looks much more like a simple Matchbox™ bulldozer than a Super Sentai bulldozer - at first glance it looks like completely solid metal rather than the yellow ABS it really is, and is no bigger than my thumbs placed one on top of the other! The cannon turret is also really out of place, but at least the bucket can move around. Gougou Marine Diver has a pair of large claws affixed to the nose, but the arms seen on the show are not used here. It is also unique in Super Sentai history- it the first actual submarine, rather than an animal pretending to be one:
- Aqua Dolphin and Gran Tortoise (“Choujuu Sentai Liveman”, 1988)
- Gao Shark, Gao Hammerhead, and Gao SawShark (“Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger”, 2001)
- Hurricane Dolphin (“Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger”, 2002)
- MagiMermaid (“Mahou Sentai MagiRanger”, 2005)
(I don’t count Gao Alligator, Bakuryuu Brachiosaurus, Bakuryuu Carnoleutus, or Bakuryuu Chasmoshieldon because they don’t depend on water to operate even though they move through it.)
Combination Shift On:
Dump, Formula, Gyro
To move quickly over land to a common location en force, the five Gougou Vehicles combine to form a larger all-terrain mode known as Gougou Trailer. This allows Gougou Dump & Gougou Formula to take over movement, carrying the slower Gougou Dozer and water-based Gougou Marine Diver. Gougou Gyro serves better as a navigation aide from higher up on the combination, and contributes to overall firepower and energy output for Gougou Trailer.
Gougou Trailer (back) is, again, a little distorted compared to a real semi-truck and trailer you’d see on a freeway. Because of the huge size differences, the trailer section looks like it’s driving the front section, not the other way around! However, Gougou Formula, Gyro, Dozer, and Marine Diver all can direct their weapons forward. In addition to this, the Gou Scooper and Gou Picker accessory weapons can be clipped onto the sides of the trailer section.
Combination Shift On:
Dump, Formula, Gyro, Dozer, Marine
To go up against larger and more powerful Negative Syndicate creatures, the Boukenger can combine their five Gougou Vehicles into the Gougou Gattai DaiBouken. This ‘thundering combination’ surely lives up to the name when the huge silver pistons on its legs are pumping to provide it more physical strength in battle. To quickly alter the battlefield to its advantage, the DaiBouken employs a large shovel-like tool called Gou Scooper to off-set its opponents, and an equally-large pickaxe called Gou Picker which can create crevasses. These tools can combine into the more-powerful Gougou Sword for its slashing Adventure Drive finisher. To match the Boukenger in spirit and drive, the combined mecha has been given a name that means “Great Adventure” in Japanese.
Gougou Gattai DaiBouken (back), once again, is out of proportion even though it’s passing as a rough, almost-practical-looking giant combined mecha with hard edges and exposed mechanical parts. The arms are unusually small for its overall size, but that is not really all that unusual. I recall how when the DX MagiKing from “MagiRanger” first came out in 2005, they complained about how large the chest seemed. The DX DaiBouken seems to suffer from a similar flaw - a big, brick-shaped chest unit with some silver metallic plastic parts and gold paint. The back is a bit of an enigma as far as design. Here are these two turbofans from the main body of Gougou Gyro attached to the back... and they can’t rotate downwards to provide a jump or flying capability! Why!? (That would have been a great idea, PLEX!) For such a large machine, you’d expect it to have some sort of noticeable foot, wouldn’t you?
However, like most of their designs, they added some good things...
DX Super Sentai mecha have rotating shoulder joints, and sometimes elbow and wrist joints. And one of my personal pet peeves with their designs is that they don’t have poseable legs to go with the arms for the large robots.
- DX Dragon Caesar, from “Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger” (aka Deluxe Dragonzord, from 1993’s “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” Season-1) was the first with working hip and knee joints, but that was transformation purposes only.
- DX Daijinryuu from “Gosei Sentai DaiRanger” (aka Deluxe Serpentera, from 1994’s “MMPR” Season-2) had the first really poseable hip and knee joints, but it was limited because of balance and size issues.
- DX Kakure Dai Shôgun from 1994’s “Ninja Sentai KakuRanger” (aka, Deluxe Ninja Megazord, from 1995’s “MMPR” Season-3/”MMPR-The Movie”) had knee & hip joints, but again it was there only for transformation purposes, and you couldn’t really do anything with it.
- DX Bakuryuu Gattai AbarenOh and DX Bakuryuu Gattai BakurenOh from “Bakuryuu Sentai AbaRanger” (aka, Deluxe Thundersaurus Megazord and Deluxe Blizzard Force Megazord respectively, from 2004’s “Power Rangers Dino Thunder”) were really close, but somewhere in the design phases they just missed the ball.
- DX Majin Gattai MagiKing from “Mahou Sentai MagiRanger” (aka, Deluxe Titan Megazord, from 2006’s “Power Rangers Mystic Force”) had an articulate hip and knee joint more specifically for its alternate MagiDragon form, but less for the main combination.
With the DX DaiBouken, it actually has decently poseable legs; even though, again, it’s only due to the Gougou Dump’s multi-mode utility arms, but still...! In addition to this, its arms can pivot inwards at the elbows (because Gougou Dozer & Marine Diver need to fit inside Dump in Gougou Trailer mode). The head can rotate around 360º too! [I wonder why...?]
As far as weapons, the cannon turret on the Gougou Dozer becomes affixed to the right elbow, though I don’t know if it’s used in the show as a forearm cannon. There is also the Gou Scooper - which on the toy seems more like a garden trowel than the giant snow shovel-like tool it looks like in the show. The Gou Picker looks a little better for a giant pickaxe. And when you combine them, you get the holey Gougou Sword. They also put a stupid tab on the Gou Picker so that DaiBouken can’t grip the Gougou Sword’s handle completely. It’s only there to stabilize Gou Picker when it’s attached to the Gougou Trailer, but even then it’s unnecessary. (For the sake of my own sanity and to protect it against breaking in the future, I cut it off. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you really want it to hold the entire handle.)
What can I say...? This year’s weaponry is gonna be different.
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken from “Gougou Sentai Boukenger”, and it’s English-speaking counterpart - the—
Wait a minute--! What am I saying!? “Power Rangers Mystic Force” only came out a few months ago! We don’t even know what the 15th anniversary “Power Rangers” series will officially be called yet! But I can pretty much guarantee, with all the paint apps on the DX DaiBouken, there’s bound to be a few areas neglected on the yet-unnamed Megazord. But I suggest you appeal to Bandai America immediately and say to them, “Leave It Alone!”
This was supposed to be a significant benchmark in Super Sentai history, something to match or surpass the 24-piece Power Animals line from the 25th anniversary series “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger” in 2001. Instead, I’m slightly disappointed. I won’t say the DaiBouken is a bad design, but it has a lot of flaws to it as far as overall look & function. I was expecting a lot more from Bandai and PLEX this year, considering all of the pre-release hype. I like the DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken, but not as the first lead combo mecha for the 30th anniversary series. (Personally, I think they ran out of energy from their excellent work on the “MagiRanger” line...) I’ll still recommend it, but I think that even hardcore Super Sentai fans would have a slightly difficult time accepting it. Let’s hope they make up for it later in 2006!
On a more personal note, I’d like to pass on my special thanks on to the owner of CollectionDX, Joshua Bernard. While in Japan at a toy fair in late Winter 06, he picked this set up for me as a gift, along with another crucial set from “GaoRanger” (which I will be reviewing at a later time). Josh - you have my gratitude and many continuing thanks, man!
|Posted 31 May, 2006 - 09:27 by EVA_Unit_4A|