PA-SP Gao Kong
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Over 1000 years ago, the demonic Orgu, soulless creatures created from the despair and hatred of humanity, fought a terrible war against humans. Side-by-side with the mighty Power Animals, the ancient Gao warriors were just able to defeat the Orgu generals, and drive them back into the deepest places on Earth. By 2001, the Orgu had slowly gathered their strength once more, thanks to humanity’s mistreatment of the world. One by one, the Orgu left their domain known as the Matrix, and ascended to the surface to conquer and destroy, gaining power all the more in the name of their grand stone-encased Orgu Master. They usually took on the form of inanimate such as streetlights, magnets, barbed wire, etc, and were recognizable by the long horn on their heads. On the mystical, turtle-shaped Sky-Island Animalium- "the highest paradise for animals"- the virginal Gao shrine priestess Tetomu and the surviving Power Animals have been searching for new modern warriors to counter the Orgu threat. Over the course of one year, five special people were plucked from their daily lives and chosen to secretly defend humanity from the darkness of its own heart- as the Hundred-Beast Taskforce GaoRanger!
“Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger” celebrated the 25th-series Anniversary of Super Sentai in 2001!
The 30-minute feature film, “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger: Fire Mountain Howls!”, is not part of the canon of the regular TV series itself.
One day, Gao Shrine priestess Tetomu receives a strong omen of danger, and shortly afterwards she and the six GaoRanger are sucked through a mysterious tear in space-time and flung into another world! There Gao White, Yellow, Black, and Blue are attacked by Hades Org. However, his attack is thwarted by the human resistance native to the island. At the same time on another part of the island, Gao Red, Silver, and Tetomu have been captured by Zeus Org and Poseidon Org. The resistance informs the other GaoRanger that the three Org Brothers came to the island a year earlier and viciously conquered and enslaved them, including Princess Iriya, who labor in the ruby mines. They have a legend about three rings appearing in the sky which will summon a sacred red animal that will save them all. The next morning, the resistance and the four GaoRangers fight their way into the castle where the mines are. Gao Red and Silver break out with Iriya and they work their way to the throne room to find her stolen half of the ruby necklace. However, they find that Tetomu has unknowingly won the necklace in a drinking contest against Poseidon. The fight and escapees all move outside, where the humans and the GaoRanger can more effectively mount their defense, while Iriya and one of the villagers go to a sacred place on the island. The two are intercepted by Zeus Org, and Gao Silver comes to rescue them, but the villager is killed anyways. The GaoRanger come back together and defeat Zeus Org, but he grows to giant size. Unfortunately, they can’t summon the Power Animals because their calls wouldn’t reach them! Just then, the three moons in the sky move in front of the three suns to create the three rings from the legend. At the right time, the two halves of the ruby necklace are reassembled, and they merge together to become a red Gao Jewel! As twilight fills the sky, the mountain at the center of the island erupts, and a Power Animal rises up from the magma, called Gao Kong.
The three giant Org Brothers come together and prepare to attack Gao Kong, but the Power Animal roars loudly into the sky, which successfully summons the five totem Power Animals from the Animalium! Iriya gives Gao Kong’s Gao Jewel to Gao Red so they can use him in battle. They bring their Jūōken together and create the Hyakujuu Gattai Gao Knight! They effortlessly beat Poseidon Org with one slash, but Gao Knight is taken by surprise by the other two Org Brothers and disabled. Suddenly, five black-and-gold Power Animals appear, and quickly form themselves into the long-lost Hyakujuu Gattai Gao God which has some unknown connection to this world. At his request, Gao Silver boards Gao God, and together they use the special Power Arrow finisher to shoot right through Hades Org’s head, which frees up Gao Knight to use its own slashing Big Burn Final to finish off Zeus Org. Before the GaoRanger leave inside Gao God, Red gives the Gao Jewel back to the islanders so that Gao Kong can remain to protect them, and they give their blessings that the natives will make the island beautiful once more.
(controlled by Gao Red)
Though not named officially or directly in the movie, Gao Kong can twirl burning about trees in his hands like a Hawaiian dancer, and then accurately throw them like boomerangs at an enemy from a distance. He can also (obviously) live and move across liquid magma without injury.
Gao Kong is a direct repaint of PA-4 Gao Gorilla, and so there is no change in materials or molds. This toy also retains Gao Gorilla’s Muscle Anchor weapon, though it is not seen or mentioned in the movie.
Hyakujuu Gattai Gao Knight
Sets required for this combination:
There was also a limited-edition DX Hyakujuu Gattai Gao Knight set released as a Toys-R-Us exclusive in Japan which included the entire above save for Gao Lion), and a black repaint exclusive of Gao Elephant.
While Gao Kong has no outward differences between itself and its Gao Gorilla ‘cousin’, Gao Knight’s head has been slightly modified to have a visor completely covering the face.
For those of you wondering what the differences are between PA-SP Gao Kong from “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger: Fire Mountain Howls!” (2001), and its English counterpart, the [Red] Gorilla Wild Zord from “Power Rangers Wild Force” (2002), the changes were significant:
- All die-cast metal was removed and replaced with light gray ABS plastic equivalents.
- The vacuum-metalized chest for Gao Knight was exchanged for red paint.
- A little of the black paint from each of Gao Kong’s legs was removed.
Oddly, all of the gold painted highlights remain (whereas some were missing on the Green Gorilla Wild Zord).
The [Red] Gorilla Wild Zord was never seen on-screen or referred to in dialogue in “Power Rangers Wild Force” (because Saban Entertainment was unable to secure the rights to the GaoRanger movie), but it was released as part of the Deluxe Ultimus Megazord set. This set also included:
- The Green Gorilla’s flail weapon (including the original metal chain!)
- A modified Blue Shark Wild Zord (same as the one from the Deluxe Wild Force Megazord)
- A previously-unreleased Deluxe-sized version of the Soul Bird (minus some paint apps and the in-scale GaoRanger figures)
- The battery-powered motorized Black Bison Wild Zord that was seen in the Deluxe Kongazord set (though here it was changed to the “Purple” Bison)
- The “Armadillo Puck” adapter that was required to successfully complete the Kongazord Striker Mode combination (which, by contrast, was provided with the Japanese release of PA-5 Gao Rhino and Gao Armadillo)
But not the White Tiger and Elephant Wild Zords needed to accurately complete the Gao Knight’s appearance.
I wasn’t straining at the leash to obtain this set, but I knew that if I got the chance to get one, it would be worth it because my very positive experience with the Gao Gorilla proved it was a solid toy design. (There is a second repaint out there which was never seen or mentioned, PA-SP Gao Ape, but I don’t want it, seeing as I now already have two versions of the same toy, and that it is also very rare.) Additionally, this set marks the first time in Super Sentai history where a toy was marketed and featured as a movie-exclusive design (repaint notwithstanding), because the DX Hyakujuu Gattai Gao God was seen several times in the series as well and thus does not count.
The main reason you would want to get this set is so that you can make Gao Knight. It is interesting to note that this combo, with the exception of including Gao Elephant, mimics the appearance of the never-seen Gao Cracker (aka Gao Muscle Shark and Tiger). Only two official photographs of this combo have ever surfaced, establishing Gao Cracker as one of a multitude of combinations which were never utilized in the show but were quite easy to achieve with the toys that were released. The only difference between it and this combo is the coloring used for the torso and the faceplate. It is also interesting to note that, according to the naming system used, this combo should be called ‘Gao Knight Sword and Shield’ because Gao Elephant is not listed as a required component. Oddly it is labeled simply Gao Knight, meaning that any changes made to this configuration would add titles according to which accessory mecha were used. (For example, Gao Knight Double Knuckle is prominently seen on this toy’s box, is essentially Gao Muscle but with Gao Kong at its center).
I have to admit, though (as I did in a previous review), that while having Gao Knight is nice, it looks a bit weak from the perspective that it uses Gao Shark and Gao Tiger which seems miss-matched to the larger fusion of Gao Kong and Gao Bison which are more stocky and muscular Power Animals. (My opinion extends, thus, to Gao Cracker.) Also, as Gao Elephant is my least favorite PA, that doesn’t help ease my previous opinion much. (Indeed, Gao Knight clearly struggles in its debut battle in the movie without its weapons, whereas Gao Muscle would have simply beat the crap out of the remaining two Org Brothers without Gao God having to intervene. On the other hand, that does say something about how Gao Knight can move faster than the heavier Gao Muscle, so perhaps the trade-off is acceptable; lack of accessible Power Animals notwithstanding.) In the end, I got the PA-SP Gao Kong because it felt like adding something special to the collection of Power Animals I already had, and it was through previous confidence in the Gao Gorilla that convinced me it was a good choice. Highly recommended!
|Posted 23 November, 2010 - 21:41 by EVA_Unit_4A|