GA-09 DX Raideen (1st Version)
Review by JoshB
Portions of this review are taken from my Super7 article about Raideen.
I can trace the obsession back to Christmas of 1978. I had discovered comic books, and my favorite was the Marvel Shogun Warriors comic. I had begged my parents all year long for a Shogun Warriors toy. I didn't care which one; I just had to have one. On Christmas morning my wish was granted. I tore open the wrapping paper to find my very first giant robot: Raideen. It was the Raideen Jumbo Shogun Warrior. It was the third version, but I wouldn't know that until years later. My dad instantly took it out of my hands and cut off the sharp point of the shield with toenail clippers. I was five years old, and the only kid I knew with a Shogun Warrior. I ruled the neighborhood with a shooting fist.
Years went by, and Raideen got burnt, painted, buried and eventually lost. As a teen I ignored my toys and all but forgot about him. After college I began to get into toys again, and once I got online I decided to look for my favorite childhood toy again. I discovered Alen Yen's ToyboxDX, and through them, eBay. It was all downhill from there.
Raideen's original name was Brave Raideen, or Yuusha Raideen. The Japanese TV show aired from April 4, 1975 to March 26, 1976, and ran for 50 episodes. Produced by Sunrise, Brave Raideen told the story of Akira Hibiki, who pilots the giant robot to fight against the Devil Empire. Akira would ride his 'œSupercar' motorcycle off of a cliff and yell 'œfade in!' as he entered the dormant Raideen.
Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of Mobile Suit Gundam, directed the first 26 episodes of the show. He quit and was replaced with Tadao Nagahama, who also directed Combattler V and Voltes V. The mechanical design of Raideen was done by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Suzuki Yoshitake. Originally, Raideen was intended to be green, but Mr. Yasuhiko changed his mind about this. The show was also the first to incorporate mystical or supernatural elements into the super robot genre.
Popy produced the very first Raideen toys. Raideen was the ninth toy in the Popy GA series of die cast robot toys, known as Chogokin. It has a place in history as being the first Popy toy with the DX label, and the GA-09 is commonly regarded as the first transforming die cast robot.
The GA-09 Raideen is a work of art. In robot mode, it features firing fists and weapons that attach to the arms. Transformation to Godbird is simple - close the face plates, fold the wings back over the arms, fold down the shoulder pads, bend the legs at the knees and move up, and finally swing the landing gear out from the back. Simple and beautiful.
The story of the Popy GA-09 is a complicated one. The first version (shown) of the GA-09 came with white legs and later versions would have chrome. The GA-09 was reissued in the 'œEtarnal Heroes' (yes, that's how they spelled it) series, and again in the mid 80s in a blue and white box. Raideen was also released in 1978 as part of the Shogun Warriors 'œ2-in-1' line by Mattel.
Popy also issued an extremely limited black version of the GA-09, officially known as Super Metal Black GA-09, which has become very expensive over the years. It came out three years after the original, and was sold in limited quantities and intended for older fans. It is not know where the idea of the black version came from, as it does not appear anywhere in the show. The Super Metal Black GA-09 was the very first black version toy, starting a trend that continues to this day. In the mid 1990's, there was also a re-release of the Black Raideen, along with a Black ST Combattler and Black ST Godsigma. Unlike the original, this black version has no gold trim. Rumor has it that these were made by the molding company without Bandai's consent. The boxes have no markings, and the toys are less detailed then the originals, due to the degradation of the molds over time.
In 1999, Bandai released the GA-09R, a re-tooling of the original Popy toy. Over an inch taller, the reissue featured an entirely new sculpt and paint job. Some of the notable differences are red wings instead of white, and metallic gold horns instead of yellow. Although it looks similar to the original, it is an entirely different toy. Bandai also created a limited gold version of this toy, available only at the Tokyo Toy Festival in February 2000. Only 1000 were made, and they were completely sold out.
The Raideen shown here is a first version toy, but the box is a second version. I do not know if some first version toys got placed in this second version box, or if this was done by a collector later on.
|Posted 21 February, 2006 - 09:58 by JoshB|