ZordBuilder System - Beetle Zord with Mega Ranger
|Toy Design||Bandai America|
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
For hundreds of years, the demonic Nighloks have tried to rise up from the Netherworld and flood the surface with the waters of the mythological Sanzu River under what is known today as Japan. They do this by collecting human tears and screams. In the past in Japan, specially-trained Samurai Rangers used their powers to hold back the Nighloks. Over the generations, the ways of the Samurai Rangers have passed from father-to-son, mother-to-daughter, and this has continued all the way into the year 2011 where the newest generation of Rangers must take up the responsibility. Four samurai from different families, Kevin, Mia, Mike, and Emily, must put aside their normal lives to answer the summons from Jayden, leader of the ancient Shiba clan, and come together under the tutelage of Mentor Ji to learn to use the special Symbol Power and semi-sentient robot-like creatures called Foldingzords. With these tools and the support of each other and their confidence, the five will unite against the Nighloks as the Power Rangers Samurai!
Embedded within every Nighlok is the ability to change into Mega Mode once they are destroyed the first time. Mega Mode allows them to grow to giant size and smash tall buildings in a single blow! To counter this, the Samurai Rangers use semi-sentient mecha called FoldingZords, which are based on the ancient Japanese art of origami (“folding paper”) and were created hundreds of years ago through the use of Symbol Power. Ordinarily able to fit in the palm of a human’s hand, FoldingZords can be given simple commands, or initiate basic attacks and defensive tactics on their own. When a Nighlok grows to giant size, however, a Ranger can use Symbol Power to initiate their own conversion to Mega Mode (spawning new armor on their Ranger suits and increasing durability and strength), and causes their FoldingZord to grow to giant size as well! Once aboard, the Ranger can then take direct control for more advanced combat tactics.
Throughout the centuries, as the Samurai Rangers have battled against the Nighloks, many different kinds of Power Discs have been used, each one bestowing a special samurai technique upon its user. Over time, however, many of the Power Discs have been lost or broken. The Beetle Disc is the only one that has remained in possession of the Samurai Rangers at this time. This particular Power Disc requires twice the amount of Samurai Power to activate, which has put a heavy strain on Red Ranger Jayden despite his determination to master it. When he finally does, he is able to use it to convert his giant Fire Smasher sword into a cannon mode! In addition to this, when fighting a mega monster, the Beetle Disc can be used to create the Beetle Zord. The Beetle Zord can use its rotating antlers to trip-up and mangle mega monsters, and it has a hidden blaster beneath its upper antler.
A short time later, the Beetle Disc is passed on to the Green Samurai Ranger for regular safe-keeping and use in battle.
The toy is composed primarily of hard ABS plastic, while all six legs are made of softer PVC plastic.
When the Beetle Zord rolls on a flat surface, the head will spin quickly!
This set comes with a fixed-pose Mega Mode Ranger. The helmet can be removed to reveal the Green Ranger hero beneath, Mike! (Oddly, Mike never got a last name in the show.) The arms are also locked into their pose, but can bend up and down a little at the shoulders.
This Mega Mode Ranger figure can then be pegged into the top of the Beetle Zord!
Included in the box is a cardboard cutout of the Beetle Zord. By removing the separate pieces and folding them correctly, you can assemble an origami-like card-stock representation of the Beetle Zord.
Beetle Blaster Megazord
Sets required for this combination:
- ZordBuilder System – Samurai Megazord
- ZordBuilder System – Beetle Zord with Mega Ranger
When commanded to, the Beetle Zord will form a Samurai Armament formation, combining itself with the Samurai Megazord to form the Beetle Blaster Megazord. While this combo still has access to the Megazord’s katana, it increases its ranged firepower many times with energy cannons built into the new helmet. And finally, the Beetle Blaster Megazord can use its finishing attack, the Rotating Beetle Blaster- which closes up the helmet, spins the Beetle Zord’s head, and releases a giant fireball at the mega monster.
Because of the modifications Bandai America made to the function of the Beetle Zord, it does not entirely resemble its onscreen appearance. Though it does keep the new helmet that the Samurai Armament gives it, the toy forms a large shield for the left hand to hold.
The Rotating Beetle Blaster attack cannot be imitated here.
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the ZordBuilder System Beetle Zord with Mega Ranger from “Power Rangers Samurai” (2011), and its original Japanese counterpart, the Samurai Gattai Series 01- Kabuto Origami from “Samurai Sentai Shinkenger” (2009), the changes are broad and stark.
Simply put, the Beetle Zord is a completely new toy, and significantly smaller by several inches. While the Kabuto Origami was the first of the Samurai Gattai Series to utilize a rotating Hiden Disc to power its gimmick, the Beetle Zord eliminated the Disc feature altogether, but swapped it out so that rolling the toy on the floor would spin the head instead. Additionally, when the tip of the Kabuto’s horn was pulled out, it exposed the eyes for the later DaiTenkuu combination. For the Samurai Battlewing combination (covered in another review), however, the Beetle Zord already features the eyes exposed on the horn. Beyond sharing a lack of any kind of individual articulation in its animal form, the Beetle Zord integrates platforms to hold Bandai America-exclusive Mega Ranger figures.
(Something tells me this will become a trend for my FoldingZord reviews- me saying the original Japanese DX versions are larger, more detailed, and more functional than their ZordBuilder System counterparts. I’ll try not to do that every time…)
It’s interesting to see how Bandai America handles the conversion process for each ZordBuilder System set. Constructed nearly two years after their Japanese counterparts, while each one is significantly smaller and less detailed, there are occasional hints that BA tried to fix or lessen some of the issues that collectors had with the originals.
In this case, while the Kabuto Origami’s head-spinning gimmick was controlled by turning the Hiden Disc clamped inside its body, this toy instead spins its head by rolling its wheels on the floor. That was something a lot of people, including myself, complained about with the original. Now, I know exactly why BA did this [only for the sake of removing the Power Disc gimmick to simplify construction and costs], but in this case it does make it more streamlined as far as what you saw in the show, and I was satisfied with the change (even if I disliked the loss of more usable Power Discs in the toy line).
That being said, once again, in my opinion, BA has sacrificed production budget for the wrong reason(s).
I will remind you first that only two times in the past has Super Sentai put small representations of that year’s ranger team onto their DX transforming toy lines- 1993’s “Gosei Sentai DaiRanger” (“MMPR” season 2, 1994) and 2000’s “Mirai Sentai TimeRanger” (“PR Time Force”, 2001)- and on those occasions the rangers were barely an inch tall. I will also remind you that several times in the past, BA has created non-transforming versions of Zords that larger semi-articulating PR figures could then stand atop or interact with. Well, in addition to making the ZBS line as cheap to produce as possible, BA decided to slip one of their own gimmicks into the line… and as a result that extra $5.00 in the price tag went to an action figure that can’t even, well, “action”!
Here’s how I see the solution: if they want to simplify the ZBS toys to make them cheaper, that’s fine. Don’t include a figure in the same box-! Supposing some of us do not want a non-posable figure included in the box that can stand atop the robot? Why not make it so that the ZBS can still interact with action figures that we buy separately, but then leave it to the consumers to decide if they want that extra toy interaction, and put that extra budget towards making the transforming toy better?? Honestly, I would rather pay $15 for a good quality accessory Zord than $10 for an accessory Zord that includes a P.O.S $5 action figure in the box that can’t even be posed. You know why? Because I don’t want an extra action figure and it will unquestionably remain left in the box or sent to a thrift store!!
I mean, c’mon, BA… everyone knows you’re trying to recoup manufacturing costs from the consumer, but considering how many extra action figures already litter the store shelves, this is overkill! Please, please, please stop thinking with your wallets, and simply start thinking!
Mm, speaking of “thinking”…
That combined form is looking a bit half-assed, isn’t it? While I didn’t like the look of the Kabuto Origami awkwardly hanging off the back of the head (was that a giant headdress, or a really long backpack?), I did like how the animal’s head could still turn on the combined form, because it kept the accessory mecha’s gimmick intact (…bizarre as that was). In fact, my only complaint was that the body of the Origami didn’t rest flush against the back of the Shinken-Oh while preserving the spin-the-Hiden Disc-to-make-the-head-turn gimmick.
Clearly BA said, “F*** that s***”. It really, really shows. If they thought that, then at the very least they could have: A) taken the accessory Zord’s legs off and attached them to the Megazord’s arms like they were in the show; and B) take the rest of the body and snap it onto the back like an actual backpack like it was in the show. You don’t want to preserve the rotating gimmick in combined form? Fine. Then don’t go off and make your own thing that looks nothing like it does in the show. Kids are gonna get these things, and then wonder where the hell the real-looking one is still on the store shelves! (I know I certainly would have at that age too.)
Oh, and this reminds me…
While it’s a nice sentiment to give the kids a paper version of their favorite FoldingZord (‘cause the transforming toys don’t already, y’ know, fold), why not save yourselves some trouble and resources? Go find some genuine old Japanese master-type up in a hidden forest hut to come up with an original, simple-to-execute origami lion or tiger or bear, and then provide instructions for that in the box. That way, you don’t have to go through the effort of getting cardstock, printing a colorful design on it, punching it out, and then thinking that kids will be fooled into thinking that is what origami is. Make it fun and educational at the same time: provide black-and-white instructions on how to make a real origami critter, so that years from now when they’re in college, they can impress their drinking buddies by saying, 'Yeah, I learned how to make an origami dragon when I was a kid. Wanna see?'
I’m telling ya BA- you missed a really good opportunity right there.
So, I like that the head of the Beetle Zord with Mega Ranger spins when you roll it on the ground. …Great, that’s one-out-of-four things Bandai America got right with this toy. Now, how about the rest of it?
|Posted 8 May, 2013 - 21:34 by EVA_Unit_4A|