Review by JoshB
In the 1975 anime UFO Robo Grendizer, Duke Fleed pilots the super robot Grendizer against the evil Vegan Empire. No, we don’t mean a whole army who does not eat animal products, we mean those from the planet Vega who wish to destroy Grendizer.
The weapon of choice used by the Vegan army is called the Saucer Animal. These giant mechanical monstrosities usually fly to earth in the form of a flying saucer and then open up to reveal the terror within. I think I can safely say that out of all the enemies that Go Nagai created for his super robot series, the Saucer Animals are the coolest. Unfortunately, like most villains, they barely got represented in toy form.
HL Pro, a Japanese toy company aims to change that with Giru Giru, the second entry in their Metaltech series. You have to give HL Pro credit – they have kept the Grendizer / Goldrake love alive in Europe, where the character has a huge fan base. Giru Giru was the first Saucer Animal to appear in Grendizer, and is as iconic as Garada K-7 is to Mazinger Z.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a prototype of the new Giru Giru release, so please keep in mind that this is not the final release of the toy, and changes may occur prior to showing up at retail. Also, as this was a prototype there was no packaging.
When we first see Giru Giru in the anime, he appears in saucer form. This is where most of the metal is contained and it feels appropriately solid and heavy. The center tower and wings are plastic.
Once Giru Giru hits Earth he sprouts three legs. Here, the legs are represented as add-on pieces, and will be made out of plastic. They just plug in with friction.
While the saucer mode is good enough, this is not what we are here for. We want a Saucer Animal.
You must first physically split the saucer down the middle and separate the top and bottom halves. You also need to remove the wings.
Each half now re-attaches to the main body of Giru Giru, which is all plastic.
Giru Giru is in scale with the Metaltech 01 Grendizer, so it’s not terribly big, but what it lacks in size it makes up in cool details.
First of all, the paint is amazing, with subtle shading and fine details. The molding is very sharp with appropriately dangerous spikes and teeth.
Each limb is articulated, with the four legs on ball joints (each with a ball jointed foot), and a swivel tail and neck.
The head is also moveable, with an articulated jaw. The range of motion on this jaw is limited, but it will be increased on the production version.
Posing is somewhat limited despite the articulation. This is more to do with the design of the character than anything else, and can’t be helped.
As I mentioned before, this is a prototype, so there will be slight changes before the toy goes into production. For example, the top and bottom die cast saucers will be tighter, especially the bottom part. In addition when joined together, there is still a small gap between the center part of the body of the top and bottom saucers - that slim gap will be removed.
The jaw of Giru Giru will be modified so it can be opened widely, which will be necessary due to a planned bonus part.
Also, this sample is mainly hand painted, so color application will be better due to the use of paint masks for the mass produced pieces.
Each Metaltech will come with a bonus item that certainly will always be something that you can add to a different Metaltech release. So with Giru Giru, fans will have a bonus accessory too, I won’t say what it is but it is something that you can use with the MT-01 Grendizer…
Giru Giru will be available in two color variations. The one shown here is the ‘normal’ color version, another one will be more accurate to how Giru Giru appears in illustrations and the TV show, called the “manga version”. This version will be on sale exclusively through High Dream’s online shop but the price will be the same for both versions though.
Due to all the parts necessary to make that Giru Giru and a smaller production, the retail price will be JPY9800 which is twice the price of the stand alone Grendizer. High Dream believes it is still a reasonable price if you compare this with the usual Japanese release for similar toys/collectibles, though.
I have to say I really like this figure a lot, and I also like the fact that HL Pro is numbering them like the SOC or Chogokin lines. I think they are on to the spirit of the original Chogokin toys, and future releases seem to be adding more play value.
If I had any complaints it would be that I think it needs some kind of missile firing gimmick to truly feel like it belongs alongside your vintage pieces. As it is, I think it will be a great addition to any collection.
|Posted 27 October, 2011 - 06:40 by JoshB|