Kamen Rider Blank Knight with Advent Cycle
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
“Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” is based on the original TV series, “Kamen Rider Ryuki” (仮面ライダー龍騎, "Masked Rider Dragon-knight"), which aired in 2002 as part of the long-running Kamen Rider franchise in Japan. It is produced by newcomer Adness Entertainment, Ltd. in close association with Ishimori Production, Inc. and Toei Company, Ldt. [both of which make the original tokusatsu franchise]. Even though Bandai is making the toys for “…Dragon Knight”, they are all completely new remolds from those that they originally released during “…Ryuki”, and so they will all differ in size, features, and materials from their Japanese counterparts.
Kit Taylor first appeared in Episode 1- “Search for the Dragon”, and is one of the two lead protagonists of the series. His father disappeared when he was 17yrs old, and he was placed into foster care. During this short time, he had several run-ins with the law for minor crimes. Always, he saw visions of his father, urging him not to fear “the dragon”. When he turned 18, Kit found an Advent Deck sitting in his father’s old apartment. This brought him to the attention of Len, the last-surviving Kamen Rider from Ventara who tried to take the Advent Deck from him. As they struggled, they fell into a mirror. While Len transformed into Kamen Rider Wing Knight, Kit- still possessing his Advent Deck- was changed into a non-contracted/blank-form Kamen Rider. They both arrived on Ventara after traveling safely through the Advent Void, and eventually were confronted by a red flying dragon. In Episode 2- “Contract with the Dragon”, after they escaped the dragon on Ventara, they returned to Earth, though Len still urgently wanted Kit’s Advent Deck. After becoming separated, Kit was attacked alone at his apartment by the same dragon- originally a Contract Beast called Dragredder. Kit formed a new contract with Dragredder, thus becoming the new Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, and pulling him reluctantly into the struggle against General Xaviax and his corrupted Kamen Riders. As the red & silver-colored Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, Kit draws on the power of his Contract Monster- a fast and powerful flying dragon called Dragredder. Some of his Advent Card attacks include Sword Vent and Guard Vent, which use pieces of Dragredder to form melee-type weapons for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. To activate his Advent Deck cards, he slides them into the Dragvisor card scanner always mounted to his lower left arm. Kit Taylor is played by actor Stephen Lunsford.
Advent Cycles are partially-enclosed vehicles which transport a Kamen Rider safely through the Advent Void between Earth and Ventara once they have made a Contract with a Contract Beast. They can carry only one occupant at a time and can be easily driven on roads in both worlds. They are not designed for combat and carry no armament but provide limited forward &back protection within their donut-like chassis. Once a Kamen Rider arrives at their destination, the curved windscreen and reclined driver’s seat will gently rise upwards for easier disembarkation. To ensure further safety, the Advent Cycles feature locking bolts which attach to mounting points on a Kamen Rider’s back and Advent Belt. If a Kamen Rider becomes advanced enough, they can learn to transform their personal Earth-based motorcycle into an Advent Void-traversing vehicle as well without having to use an Advent Cycle.
Two words come to mind when I see an Advent Cycle: racing bullet. (Yes- I did get that term from the 2008 Super Sentai series, “Engine Sentai Go-Onger”, but it just felt like an apt description...) By that I mean it is silver and rounded like a bullet and the reclined seat inside emphasizes its speed, but that is imbued in a high-tech racing motorcycle. There is no real bumper to speak of on the front wheel, but the chassis is wrapped around it rather than from above like you would ordinarily expect. The back wheel is completely hidden beneath the back-half, and is only visible when you turn the toy over. The back wheel, unlike the front one, is very wide, and this allows the Advent Cycle to rest upright on its own without a kickstand or completely falling over even with a 4” figure placed inside. A set of four rectangular exhaust nozzles along with small tech details are on either side of the back-half. Inside, the black PVC control column is sufficiently detailed with a blank display panel and braking levers. The footrests have lined grips molded in, and there is a thick drive-shaft column running from beneath the handlebars to under the seat. The rounded windscreen itself is darkened translucent ABS. All silver, yellow, and red on the Advent Cycle itself is painted on, as the toy was molded completely in black plastic.
. . .
For movable features, there are only two. The first is, obviously, the two wheels, which let it glide easily across any hard flat surface. The other is the windscreen, which snaps shut, but will rest comfortably with friction in the upwards position. Unfortunately, neither the canopy nor driver’s seat move in synchronicity like they do in the series.
The original Japanese version in “Kamen Rider Ryuki”, the DX Ride Shooter, was far larger (12”-long) and featured die-cast metal. It had a spring-loaded canopy which, when triggered, then popped the seat upwards. Though not a feature in the show, three separate transparent-yellow ABS flowing-energy effects are provided on a tree that need to be cut off, and they can be optionally attached to the sides and back. [By the way, these are the exact same effects which are used on the Kamen Rider Dragon Knight with Dragon Cycle (#33952) and Kamen Rider Wing Knight with Wing Cycle (#33953) sets.]
Though called "Kamen Rider Blank Knight" on the packaging and in promotional materials, this is simply Kamen Rider Dragon Knight in his [thus-unnamed] pre-Contract form. He is weaker in this state, but can still access his Advent Deck. When he used the Sword Vent card, a basic katana appeared which was not very strong against even basic Mirror Monsters. It is not until Episode 2, when Kit makes a Contract with Dragredder that his suit changes to red, and gains its dragon-like decorations, including the evolved Dragvisor on his left arm. While a Kamen Rider Blank Knight figure (#33906) was made, the one provided here is specifically made to fit into the Advent Cycle, and so has some significant differences:
- The head is made of translucent ABS, with a window in the back (see below for the reason why).
- The new PVC-only arms are redesigned to have the fists opened and turned at an angle so that they can only grip the handles on the Advent Cycle’s handlebars. While still poseable at the shoulders, in the same way, the hands are not molded as a single piece with the rest of the arm.
- New legs have been designed as a single PVC piece. They are posed specifically with the knees bent almost 90-degrees, and the thighs pointed slightly outwards. Therefore, he cannot stand on his own but will fit more comfortably into the Advent Cycle.
While the coloring and decoration are slightly different between Dragon Knight and his pre-Contract form, the molds between this version of the figure and the one used for the Kamen Rider Dragon Knight with Dragon Cycle set is more-or-less the same.
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Here is why Bandai made a unique altered version of the Kamen Rider Blank Knight figure… On the Advent Cycle, just behind the windscreen’s mounting on top, is a black square button. When this specific Blank Knight figure (and no other 4” figure made to-date) is placed in the seat, the button can be pushed, and a red LED in the headrest of the seat will shine brightly through the translucent back of the figure’s head… lighting-up his veiled red eyes!
If you watch the show, the only time that Dragon Knight’s eyes glow is when he is seated in the Advent Cycle; that is why this feature is in the Advent Cycle set only. Unfortunately, even though you can awkwardly place other 4” figures [such as Kamen Rider Torque (#33904), as seen here] into the Advent Cycle’s seat- the thighs are shaped differently from the provided Blank Knight’s- they cannot have their visors glow because the back of their heads are not translucent. (Besides, no other Kamen Rider has visible eyes other than Dragon Knight. I don’t know why that is, other than that he is the hero of the show.) Ironically, though all other 4” Kamen Rider figures have holes on both sides of their Advent Belts, the Advent Cycle offers no attachment levers or posts to fit into them; the Blank Knight’s belt has no holes at all!
All “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” toys carry a unique Advent Deck card related to the character they are packaged with. Then, when you purchase the electronic Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Dragvisor role-playing set (#33971, sold separately), you can take the Advent Cards and insert them into it to create one of 15 unique sound effects! For this set, you get a Survive Advent Card, which--
Well… truthfully, I don’t know what it does. As of the time this review is being written, I haven’t seen this specific Advent Card used yet. It does not seem to be linked to any Kamen Rider in particular, but since it is provided with Dragon Knight in his pre-Contract form, I suspect it may belong to him.
(When I get the Dragvisor, I will demonstrate the Survive Advent Card then.)
I gotta say this- I am almost immediately reminded of the Light Cycles from the cult-classic American film, “Tron” (1980), when I see this high-tech motorcycle, even though it only vaguely resembles the early-CGI vehicle. That image is certainly enforced by the trans-yellow effects along the sides and back! (If the effects had been a spring-out feature, I might have balked because they were built-in and would have always been visible.) The toy keeps its balance so well that you can’t intentionally lean it to either side, or pose it in a wheelie position. And the LED is bright enough that, when activated, it will actually shine through some of the paint apps on the figure’s head! As with all other “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” sets released thus-far, the level of detailing is quite good despite the overall size of the toys! One thing that bugs me, though, is how the vehicle interacts with other figures. I get the distinct impressions that it was specifically made to accept only the provided Blank Knight figure, and that’s it… which should absolutely not have been the case at all! I have to fight with my Kamen Rider Torque figure to get him in there; most notably with the thighs not spreading to accommodate the lower torso. Most- if not all- Kamen Rider figures should be about the same shape and size, and this toy should have been able to accept most of them without too much of a fuss. Additionally, while it’s nice that the canopy cover can pop off if too much pressure is applied, because of its shape it hangs kinda loosely; annoying, but not discouraging. While having a movable seat would have been cool, I can see how that might have hampered getting figures in-and-out of there. But, the LED through the back of the figure’s head was a nice touch. (Now, if only some of the other figures’ eyes could also light up, it would have been less of a problem with just this one.) Overall, the Kamen Rider Blank Knight with Advent Cycle set is a good one, with few-to-no problems. I recommend getting one… or two for displaying some of your other Kamen Riders at the same time.
|Posted 12 August, 2009 - 01:36 by EVA_Unit_4A|