|Name||Machine Robo Blue Jet|
|Toy Design||Alan Moriguchi|
Review by VF5SS
When the Machine Robo toy line debuted in 1982 there was very little tie in media to accompany it. While it was quite successful as a pure toy property, the arrival of the Japanese dub for The Transformers in 1985 must have ruffled some feathers at Bandai as the world was soon graced with the indomitable anime series known as Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos. As a result, many of those cute little toys would get to go on animated adventures thanks to the under-appreciated geniuses at Ashi Productions.
Revenge of Cronos is an interesting show to me because despite having some similarities to Transformers like sentient robots that turn into vehicles and other things, it actually plays out more like a combination of every popular action movie of the early 80's filtered through the narrative of a kung fu epic. The main character, Rom Stoll, leads his small band of friends on an incredible journey to find the secret of the Hyribead in order to save his home world (which is surprising Earth-like despite being full of robots) from the evil Gandora. While Rom himself was created for the anime, his two comrades in battle were re-purposed from popular Machine Robo toys with the charming Jet Robo toy becoming the stoic swordsman BLUE JET!
Blue Jet locks swords with the villain of the week.
A member of the Jet Clan, Blue Jet serves as one of Rom's most trusted allies and is a fellow student of the Tenkuchuu Shin Ken school of martial arts with his specialty being swords. He's a very calm individual who stays cool and collected even in the face of certain doom. Jet is quick with a joke and is quite a handsome fellow as well so all the lady robos love him.
Jet and Ruri are my OTP.
Looking back, Ashi Productions was one of the most "80's" of all the animation studios in that decade. They had lots of talent, ideas, and money so it seemed like nothing could go wrong so long as they put all their effort into making a weekly TV show. They also tended to play a lot looser with character models so while sometimes Jet would look rather normal, he could also look incredibly stylized and detailed depending on which animator was in charge of a particular scene.
This ain't your father's Gobots.
Blue Jet is quite popular among fans of the series and even the writers of the show realized how much cooler he is than Rom Stoll. His charisma and longevity managed to get him a modern figure in the form of an EM Gokin.
The EM Gokin Blue Jet stands roughly six and a half inches tall and is a quite hefty figure due to the diecast metal used in his construction. The sculpting on this figure was done by Alan Moriguchi and was previously used in an articulated garage kit made by a maker called Burivary System. I actually owned this resin kit before I sold it to our own Prometheum5 so I was both surprised and happy to see it get a new lease on life as a completed toy. While the toy takes some liberties from Jet's base design, I think it does a good job capturing the spirit of the more stylized sequences in the show. Blue Jet could have easily looked like this at one point or another.
Here's a shot of the original Burivary System kit courtesy of Prometheus Rising Studios
The face sculpt is decent but a little soft. This figure doesn't look quite as handsome as its animated source material but is a marked step up from the other Blue Jet toys. Despite his name, Jet really doesn't have a whole lot of blue on him. The EM Gokin actually added a little more by making his trademark shades blue instead of black.
The canopy on the back of Blue Jet's head also represents the color in his name. Perhaps his name was an obscure reference to something or maybe it hinted at what was behind his jet black sunglasses. As I mention before, this figure is quite heavy thanks to the diecast metal used in his lower legs and upper chest. His beautiful red shins in particular are a thick pair of gokin glory.
It's fascinating to see how the humble Jet Robo evolved into an actual character thanks to Revenge of Cronos in a way quite similar to how the Diaclone Battle Convoy became Optimus Prime. Here is a shot of the EM Gokin Blue jet with the original Jet Robo toy and the non-transformable Blue Jet that came out as a tie-in to the anime. I'd like to thank fellow reviewer (and fan of Rom Stoll's poetry), Spacerunaway, for giving me the middle toy as a gift.
A lot of details of the small Jet Robo were extrapolated from and exaggerated to make the Blue Jet character. The later non-transformable figure attempted to be more show accurate but fell flat in some areas like its awful looking chromed face.
The EM Gokin Blue Jet comes with a good number of accessories. You get his signature sword (with hand), a splayed hand, vehicle mode conversion parts, and a stand. If they were feeling more ambitious I could see the makers opting to include Jet's backpack powered Blazer Cannon but that was never in the original garage kit.
As expected this is easily the most articulated Blue Jet figure to date. His arms in particular are loaded with multiple swivels, double jointed hinges, and ball-joints which afford him a great deal of personality. Ball-jointed hips and movable side skirts let Blue Jet splay his legs out quite far. The ankles utilize a clever set of ball-joint to his hit feet a good range of motion. Jet is also quite stable thanks to his heavy diecast legs. Jet's head and chest have a ball-joint connection that allows them to swivel left or right. His chest is somewhat limited by the sculpt though.
In the series, Jet would draw his sword from one of his side skirts with the blade flashing into existence with what was clearly the lightsaber sound effect. I kinda wish there was a way to just have the hilt sticking out of his skirt pieces but was able to fake the effect with some clever angles.
"Blue Jet has arrived!"
Jet's sword is an all plastic accessory that is permanently attached to a right hand. It is appropriately large and styled to match the figure.
Jet's only other alternate hand can be used to reach over and appear to grip the sword's handle.
I really enjoy the way this figure looks when posing. To me it feels just like the character as he slices his way through freaky looking bad guys.
If there was one thing that brought the whole package down it's this terrible display stand. The fit and plastic quality of this stand is pretty lackluster and it is clearly not durable enough to hold Jet up in any kind of dynamic pose. It also comes with a connector piece to hook onto other EM Gokin stands.
At the very least it does plug in solidly to his back and will keep Jet upright. However, the figure is stable enough on its down that this isn't really necessary.
The stand's articulated arm is full of adjustable screws that need to be loosened before posing the arm around. It also has an extendable portion that doesn't lock in place due to how easily the friction tab bends out of position.
The EM Gokin Blue Jet is capable of transforming into the character's sci-fi jet fighter mode. However the stylized sculpt means that this conversion involves a fair bit of parts swapping. This feature was present in the original garage kit and is a nice bonus. Pulling Jet apart is easy in some areas but difficult in places like his head and chest joint. The arms in particular needs some careful working out of the package to separate the large black shoulder blocks from the inner red portion of his body.
This figure has a lot of painted diecast parts that are used in friction connections so the paint may be a bit thick and can also chip if you're not careful when pulling things apart. One really good bit of engineering is in Jet's legs where the knees plug into the shins. They attach via an ingenious little friction clip that snaps in and out very smoothly yet is also strong enough to keep those heavy diecast bits in place without accidentally falling off.
The three chunks of diecast are actually the only things that carry through to jet mode.
Start by attaching folded up versions of Jet's arms to the torso. You can see the big red diecast pegs in this shot. Unfortunately the fit between these pegs and the vehicle mode parts is a big snug out of the box. Here you also attach an alternate abdomen piece which allows the lower legs to connect directly to the torso.
Also check out how the folded up arms have visible fist detailing.
Next add the vehicle mode nosecone which is much longer and more exaggerated looking than Jet's regular head.
The feet undergo a clever transformation where the foot and heel parts rotate around in such a way to that they look like they hinged close.
A pair of unfolded wings and tail fins complete Blue Jet's vehicle mode. Be sure to shout "JEEEEEEEET!" as you transform him.
Again that adorable little Machine Robo toy has really grown up!
Vehicle mode is where the display stand redeems itself a little bit as it does a decent job of holding Jet aloft.
He has some terrific detailing overall and much of it is highlighted in jet mode like the engine nozzles on his heels and the black panel lining on his wings. Sadly the tail fins need to have their connecting tabs sanded down a bit so they'll play nice with the thick paint in the lower leg slots where they attach.
"As a member of the Jet Clan, I enjoy getting a beautiful view of planet Cronos whenever I so desire."
"Asuka... I just want to tell you..."
But what happened to Ruri?
Overall the EM Gokin Blue Jet is an excellent toy that really captures the feel of a lesser known character. I often wonder what it would have been like for the west if Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos had been our introduction to the legendary Bandai toy line as very few people hold the Gobots cartoon in high regard. It really goes to show just how adding a definitive personality to a robot can turn it into a character that endures for many decades. The EM Gokin toy is an excellent diecast action figure that has an added bonus of being able to convert to vehicle mode. Aside some some possible paint chipping, the figure feels really solid and satisfyingly heavy in the hands. This toy was released in 2012 and seems to be difficult to find under its 6648 yen MSRP. I paid basically that plus shipping to get Blue Jet and I very happy with him as whole.
It's just a shame we'll probably never see the great ROD DRILL to go with him.
|Posted 26 February, 2014 - 20:25 by VF5SS|