|Character Design||Go Nagai|
Review by JoshB
Kotetsushin Jeeg 鋼鉄神ジーグ (literally – Steel God Jeeg) is the sequel to 1975’s Koutetsu Jeeg, created by the legendary Go Nagai. This Jeeg series takes place 50 years after the original, and features an all new cast and robot.
The original Jeeg was made in cooperation with Go Nagai and toy maker Takara. Takara had decided use a magnetic joint system for the toy, and this idea was then worked into the show.
Audiences in the US likely did not see Jeeg on TV, but they might be familiar with the toy. The Takara Jeeg was used as the body of the Micronaut’s Baron Karza toy from in 1977.
I was never that into the Micronauts, and I never understood Jeeg. I didn’t like the original toy due to the magnetic floppy limbs. When Bandai announced the new Jeeg, I was skeptical. Had magnetic ball joint technology advanced that much in 30 or so years? Could this new Jeeg maintain the original gimmick while updating to modern standards?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
This new Jeeg toy is part SOC, part floppy mess. It pains me to say it, because as a rule I love the SOC line, but this just doesn’t deliver.
Now, before the entire country of Italy begins to send me hate mail, let me explain.
Bandai had a difficult task ahead of them. They couldn’t make a Jeeg toy and NOT have the limbs magnetic – that’s the whole idea of the character. They tried their best I think, to work within the confines of the design. It’s not a terrible toy – it looks great actually, but it is a frustrating toy to handle and explore.
The main gimmick of Jeeg is that it is a toy that is the sum of its parts. There are 16 main sections of Jeeg that compose the body. Fans were disappointed that only the head, arms and legs connected magnetically, but then again, that’s what the original did. The head is mostly plastic, save for the magnetic connection joint at the bottom of the neck, and the joint work.
The head connects to the chest by a magnet, and the neck section is articulated. The chest unit is almost all diecast metal.
Each arm connects to the body at a round plastic shoulder part. This circular piece has a magnetic connection point and the inner part swivels to allow a wider range of motion.
The upper arm / elbow parts have metal connection points with plastic covering. The forearms are a hard rubber much like the fists of SOC toys. The hands connect to the forearms by a tiny metal joint.
Here’s where one of the major flaws appears. Because the forearms are rubber like the hands, it’s almost impossible to remove the hands without removing the joint. From there you need a set of pliers or something to remove it. The same pin connects on the other side of the forearm, making that a connection that easily separates. In addition, the swivel joint where the arm connects to the shoulder is rather tight. When you try to move this joint, you usually just dislocate the magnet instead.
The chest connects to a waist section and then to the hip section, which is diecast.
The upper legs have steel balls at the end that connect to the magnets in the hips. This upper leg is plastic, but it connects to the lower leg at a nice strong metal knee joint. The lower legs are metal, with metal ankle joints.
The feet are plastic but contain a nice touch that almost shows that Bandai knew there was a problem with this toy. The bottom of each foot is padded with rubber. If these were just plastic, there would be no resistance and the magnetic joints would just split apart. It is only the friction generated by these pads that allows Jeeg to stand at all.
The magnetic connection to the hips, while technically strong, offers almost no resistance. Jeeg just flops all over the place when you are trying to pose him, and once you get a pose right he will topple over with the slightest breeze.
Those are the main issues with Jeeg. If you can look past those, you will probably be fine with him.
Where Jeeg redeems itself is with the gimmicks and accessories. They range from awesome to weird, but all of them are pretty cool.
The coolest in my opinion is the Mach Drill. These two large drill weapons can be combined into a drill ship or be attached at the shoulders to Jeeg. Small pegs fold out and attach to the side for flying mode (this is also why the head can look straight up).
Almost as cool is the Jeeg Bazooka. This large gray cannon attaches to the right shoulder via a magnet and another peg that attaches to the body. While insanely huge, this cannon stays firmly in place. Unfortunately, the cannon does not fire anything.
You know a character is a badass when they can tear their own arm off to beat someone with it. The Jeeg Crusher is exactly that. Change the left shoulder to one with spikes and grab it with the other arm. Let the flailing commence!
There are six panels on the chest that can open up to reveal the Jeeg Breaker weapon. No idea what it does, but it looks neat.
The Knuckle Bomber is an actual firing gimmick. It replicates the two hands clasped together, which then fire from the launcher. The launcher is a plastic part meant to replicate the two forearms. The launcher is weak.
In the “greatest weapon name ever” category comes the Hell Slap. The Hell Slap is basically an open hand with spikes on the palm. You have to love the simple accurate naming here.
FINALLY… you get a second head. This head is transformable from a motorcycle called Raikoba. It’s a little fidgety and doesn’t look as good as the regular head, but it’s a nice addition. It also comes with a special neck to attach to the chest.
Koutetsushin Jeeg also comes with a stand that has places for all of the accessories. In another nod to Jeeg’s instability, the stand has a waist clip. Unfortunately, the clip is a little big and really does nothing to support Jeeg.
While some of the gimmicks are neat, I just can’t overlook the poor execution of the magnetic joints. I know there are a lot of diehard Jeeg and Magnemo collectors that are probably used to this type of thing, but I’m just a bit disappointed in it.
|Posted 10 October, 2008 - 15:05 by JoshB|