Mazinger Z (Reissue)
Review by JoshB
Before you get all excited, this is just a reproduction of the original GA-01 that was offered as a prize item from Banpresto. While it is not the original item, it is a great opportunity to talk about some of the history behind this legendary gokin, the one that started it all.
Back in 1972, Japanese toy maker Popy was having a bit of success with merchandise from its live action shows like Kamen Rider when it decided to first use Zinc Alloy (aka Diecast) in making small vehicles seen in the shows. The resulting toy line was known as Popynica (a combination of Popy and Mini-Car) and was the first Popy product to use the now legendary numbering system. It was during this time that Popy got the license to manufacture merchandise from a new cartoon called Mazinger Z. Developed from a manga, Mazinger Z had been capturing the minds of children everywhere. In order to replicate the feeling of the giant robot, Popy created the Jumbo Machinder line of 24" polyethylene robots.
The Jumbo was a huge success, and Popy was about to hit on another. Lead designer Katsuhisa Murakami was brought in to create another toy concept. If the Jumbo represented size, what would represent weight?
In the anime, Mazinger Z is made out of a fictitious metal called Cho-gokin (literally, "Super Alloy"). Murakami decided that creating these new toys out of the diecast used in Popynica toys and branding them "Chogokin" would be a hit with kids, thinking their toys were made out of the same metal as Mazinger Z.
Murakami was right, and the rest is history. The Chogokin Mazinger Z was dubbed GA-01, and sold like crazy. So much so that they continued to refine and execute the design, resulting in four original versions of the GA-01 and countless repaints and reissues.
This design is why we are here today. Why my childhood was what it was. Why this website exists.
Of course, being the first Chogokin, finding a mint condition example can be a rare and costly affair, costing thousands of dollars.
In 1999, Banpresto decided to reissue the GA-01 and offer it as a prize item to be given away when customers sent in coupons from a select Super Robot Wars video game (Super Robot Wars F Final). Banpresto needed a GA-01 to reproduce, and since the molds had long since deteriorated, looked to collectors to find a mint specimen. They eventually got one from Koji Igarashi, author of Green Arrow Graffiti, and another from Kazunori Saito, legendary collector and publisher of several guide books. It is from these collectors that Banpresto got their template for their version of the GA-01.
According to this article on Toybox DX, the Banpresto version is pretty close to the original, aside from the markings on the feet and the firing mechanism on the back. A comparison of the original versus the reissue can be found here.
Like the original, this version features folding down chest plates with launching missiles.
Included are regular fists and iron cutter fists, both launch with the press of a button on the shoulders.
The toy comes in a reproduction box, complete with paperwork, foam padding, missiles, and two kinds of fists. The reproduction box came shipped in an outer Banpresto box. A black version was also offered, and is harder to find than this one.
This reproduction can be easily found for under $100 on various sites, and is a great stand in for the real thing.
As a bonus, here's a montage of vintage Popy commercials, starting out with Mazinger Z
In 2009 Bandai announced the GX-45 Mazinga Z, a complete retooling of the first Soul of Chogokin, and in the commercial it relates a modern day salaryman's yearning for his classic GA-01
|Posted 2 June, 2009 - 08:25 by JoshB|