Review by EVA_Unit_4A
In the past, the thirty-four Legend Sentai teams fought a great battle against a large alien invasion force called the Space Empire Zangyack. The Legend War ended in one great blast when the Legend Sentai sacrificed all their powers to successfully drive Zangyack away.
Many years later, Captain Marvelous and his small crew of space pirates approach Earth aboard the Gokai Galleon starship in the hopes of taking “The Greatest Treasure in the Universe” for themselves. Unfortunately, at this same moment, the son of the Zangyack Emperor, Commandant Toiles Gils, launches a renewed attack on Earth, and the five space pirates suddenly find themselves begrudgingly forced into the role of defenders of this backward planet. The Pirate Taskforce Heroic-rangers have a special and unique power that will give the rekindled Space Empire Zangyack pause: the mysterious ability to use Ranger Keys to transform themselves into- and harness all the powers of- any of the 199 members of the disappeared 34 Legend Sentai!
“Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger” celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the Super Sentai Series in 2011!
The Gokai Saber is one of two standard common sidearm used by the Gokaiger. While each Gokaiger has both a Gokai Saber and a Gokai Gun when they first henshin, their personal fighting styles often lead to them swapping weapons mid-battle to wield dual weapons, though Gokai Red usually keeps his weapons as deployed. (In an extreme case, Gokai Blue wielded all five Gokai Sabers at once for an improvised-yet-successful ‘Five Sword Technique’.)
Lacking individual weapons for each, the Gokaiger can transfer the power of any Ranger Key they have into a Gokai Saber for the powerful Final Wave- Gokai Slash or Final Wave- Gokai Scramble finishing attacks (the latter while wielding the weapons in dual fashion).
Ranger Key #004- Gokai Yellow is provided with this set, although it can also be acquired through other official accessory sets (namely capsules and candy toys) with other Ranger Keys.
The Gokai Saber is shaped after cutlass-type swords commonly seen during the 17th century. As short but robust swords, cutlasses were commonly used by sailors at sea as both a tool and a weapon in close quarters. Such short swords were often used to off-set the extended reload times of one-shot flintlock guns.
When the toy’s electronics are turned on, an electronic horn sounds, and the LEDs along the left side inside the transparent Gokaiger logo will flash. When the trigger is squeezed, only one simple blade clashing sound is heard.
If the trigger is held down for two seconds, the TV series’ narrator and voice of Gokaiger technology will enthusiastically say “Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger!” one time, but a clash will not be heard when the trigger is released.
To initiate a Final Wave attack, the button brandishing the Gokaiger logo between the blade’s edge and the guard of the Gokai Saber is depressed, and a section of machinery above your hand will spring downwards. Then you can insert any Ranger Key into the provided slot, turn it horizontally (a power-up sound is briefly heard), and then pressed the inserted Ranger Key flush with the rest of the weapon. The voice will declare “Fi-i-i-i-nal Wave!” and a new repeating power-up sound will be heard until the trigger is depressed for the actual Final Wave blasting sound. As long as a Ranger Key is inserted into the Gokai Saber, the single Final Wave blasting sound will be heard. (However, unlike when it is removed, the finishing attack sound cannot be interrupted by squeezing the trigger rapidly as it’s playing.)
Like the Henshin Keitai Mobirates transformation device, the Gokai Saber uniquely recognizes individual Ranger Keys, and so it will change the colors that flash during a Final Wave attack based on which Ranger Key you insert. There are many different colors, all associated with Super Sentai heroes- white, red, blue, yellow, purple (the stand-in for black), green, and pink. Then, when the Final Wave is triggered, only the color of the Ranger Key that is inserted will flash. For example: since Gokai Yellow’s Ranger Key is provided, when inserted during a Final Wave only the white and yellow colors will flash.
This is certainly not the first time in Super Sentai history where a sword- or in a few cases, dagger- has been the primary sidearm of the team. In past uses of a common-use blade, however, that was the only weapon the core team had (examples of this include the Juoken from 2001’s “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger” and ShinkenMaru from 2009’s “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger”). In this case, however, a sword is being teamed up with a completely-separate blaster, the flintlock-styled Gokai Gun (which was commonly seen with pirates in the 17th Century on the high seas), and they are not capable of merging with each other in any fashion. And as I mentioned in my review of the Gokai Gun, the more traditional approach to the common-use Super Sentai sidearm has been to have a blaster that transforms in some fashion into a sword or dagger- which has been discarded at least for “Gokaiger”.
The big issue that a lot of people had with the Gokai Gun is resolved nicely here, as the toy can uniquely identify Ranger Keys, though the only changes it makes is in the colors it displays rather than in audio drops like in the Mobirates. Also the Ranger Keys are used once more for the finishing attack, though I found it awkward now to insert-or-remove a Key with the cylindrical section now bent at almost-90-degrees. (I don’t know why it’s awkward, it just is. Maybe because it’s wielded in the right hand and I have to use my left hand to insert a Key…?) What is nice, though, is that the cylindrical section isn’t a copy of the one on the Gokai Gun even though they look and function similarly.
Many fans have found this toy to have rather odd proportions as far as the length and breadth of the blade section. While still unmistakably a cutlass sword, I found the kid-ified blade more mildly amusing, and so I am not as offended as others are in this issue. It is, after all, a toy meant for children less than half my size!
That being said, I have two minor complaints of my own, including tacking-on my typical problem nowadays with the speaker volume being too high- louder than the simultaneously-released Gokai Gun! The first is how thin the light-gray PVC blade is. My Geki Saber from 2007’s “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger” was understandably thin because the blade was meant to be flexible in the show due to how it was used (and the toy came off more like a glorified pair of butter knives as a result). And while thin blades aren’t unheard of in Super Sentai role-play toys, for a blade this size it is rather unusual. And unfortunately they overcompensate for this here by making the black ABS plastic enveloping it project out too far, so if you look at the blade from the front, it’s totally unconvincing as a weapon. (Maybe a wedge block for cutting down trees instead…?)
The other complaint is much pettier, but must be spoken aloud regardless. While- for a change!- the hand guard and grip allows just enough room for my adult-sized hands, ironically it’s the Gokaiger symbol on either side that proves to be the main squeeze- pressing down painfully on the side of my knuckles! So I end up holding it at a slightly-awkward angle anyways. (Damn, so close this time…) But I can deal with that inconvenience quite easily considering how nice the rest of this toy is.
It is unquestionably clear to me, though, that one cannot really enjoy the Gokai Saber without a companion Gokai Gun. Simply put, it’s like having jelly without peanut butter, carrots without peas. The button in front of the guard is obviously meant to be pressed up against the equivalent on the Gokai Gun just like they do on the show because it is so bad ass to do so! While having separate standard sidearm swords and blasters is not unheard-of in Super Sentai, it is a potential turn-off to a modern audience used to the more common integrated-and-transformable designs.
The Gokai Saber is a perfect companion to the Gokai Gun (not that one has more importance than the other). It shares the Gokaiger aesthetics very well, functions great, molded and painted in exquisite detail, and utilizes the Ranger Keys in a very fun way. Oh, and it doesn’t have one, but seven lights built into it! Win all the way around. Strongly recommended!
|Posted 6 September, 2011 - 03:11 by EVA_Unit_4A|