DX Soukou Sharin Go-Roader GT
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
In one of the eleven dimensions, Machine World is a planet populated by Engines- giant sentient living machines with individual personalities and capabilities. They succeed in driving the destructive Ban KiZoku Gaiarc clan off their world during one of their largest planet-wide races. Unfortunately, the Gaiarc decide to move on into the dimension where Earth is since it seems to be an easier target for them to conquer in order to turn it into the ideal world of unchecked pollution and waste which they favor. Several Engines cross the dimensional barrier to pursue them, but they will begin to suffer fatal rusting if they exist in the atmosphere of the Human World for more than ten minutes at a time! To protect against this, they separate themselves into two halves- inanimate Engine Casts which are smaller versions of their physical bodies, and Engine Souls which contain their life energy and personality. Therefore, they and their smaller rust-resistant assistant Bomper chose a team of young humans to fight the Gaiarc in their place, and restore them to their larger forms whenever they are needed. Together with the arrogant & expertly-trained Go-On Wings, they form the Engine Sentai Go-Onger! So far, the Go-Onger have had it rather easy in their fight to prevent the Gaiarc from taking over Earth. But now, the mighty Engines are all cowering before the evil genius of the Land-Pollution Vice-Minister & Gaiarc’s tactician Hirame-- ummm... Hiramesusukidesu- Hirakimekimedesu-- (Hang on- I’ll get it...) Hiramekideathme- Hiramekiss- Hira-Hi-- rrrrgh! Wait- it’s Hiramekimedes! (Yeah- that’s it.) He is the only Gaiarc whom the Engines have never been able to defeat, and they fear him greatly for all the devastation he caused on Machine World. Unfortunately, Hiramekimedes suddenly disappeared just before the three Gaiarc ministers were defeated on Machine World, and no one’s heard from him since... until now. So his sudden arrival on Earth has shaken the Engines badly and sent them running for cover, leaving the Go-Onger near-powerless! And even when they manage to outwit him just one time, Hiramekimedes is still able to keep the upper hand! But then, suddenly, two new Engines appear from out of the clouds...
. . .
Hiroto (Go-On Gold) has been working secretly with Engine Jumwhale to develop a new weapon system for the Go-Onger to use, the Armored Wheel Go-Roader GT- a powerful Engine-like warrior. To reach its full potential, the Go-Roader must use new high-energy Power Soul cartridges. But unfortunately, because it is still in test phases, once activated the Go-Roader is highly unstable and will rampage uncontrollably! And so, many test runs have ended badly, with Hiroto often beat up because of it... In Grand Prix 29- “Stop Hiroto!”, the Gaiarc Land Pollution minister Yogostein is filled with single-minded hatred and determination upon returning from his extended mourning over the earlier loss of his honorable & dedicated Vice-Minister Hiramekimedes. And so he pours all powers of the Gaiarc Land Pollution ministry into the new Hammer Banki, which can level entire city blocks in a single pounding! First, he uses this Banki to lure the Go-Onger out, and then Hammer Banki brutally attacks Go-On Silver as Go-Oh Gold is restrained and forced to watch helplessly! The only way that Hiroto can avenge his injured sister Miu is to unleash the Go-Roader on Hammer Banki. But then, the only way to stop it would be to fight it hard himself into submission! When Hammer Banki returns, Hiroto runs off alone to fight it with the other Go-Onger only just realizing this. Meanwhile, Renn (Go-On Blue), Miu, and Jumwhale work hard and fast to modify the Power Soul in order to stabilize the Go-Roader. In desperation Go-On Gold unleashes the Go-Roader with another Power Soul. But while it easily beats back Hammer Banki just in Wheel Mode, it remains just as uncontrollable, and Go-On Gold- thinking he could stop it alone- is run over by his own creation! Then the other Go-Onger arrive to help him stop it. As Hammer Banki disobeys Yogostein and grows himself, Engine-Oh G9 is formed, and Hiroto realizes that they are stronger when they work together. Go-On Blue brings the new stabilized Token Soul to power the Go-Roader GT, and Go-On Gold unleashes it.
This is the Go-Roader GT’s storage form when there is no cartridge placed within it. It is good to know, though, that in this form the toy is to the same size that it is in the series, and this means that it is quite large in your hands- 6” (150cm) in diameter and 2 ?” (5.5cm) thick! (This thing is almost as wide & heavy as a glass dessert plate!) It has an inch thick tire with a detailed tread pattern, but the entire toy is made of hard ABS. The tire is decorated on both sides with the phrases:
- Engine Soul Power
While the letter/number phrase is just for show to make it look like the model number(s) found on real tires, the latter phrase is inaccurate to a degree since the Go-Roader does not use Engine Souls. The phrases are found on both sides of the tire, but the ‘back’ side’s are not painted silver like the ‘front’ side’s are. (The trademark info is also found along the ‘backside’.) The Wheel Mode is balanced well enough- with or without the Token Soul inside of it- that you can roll it long distances across completely-flat hard surfaces without great fear of it becoming unstable and falling over! I would say that this rolls a good ways before some little grain of sand sends if off cavorting in some wildly-unexpected direction, but I won’t put a specified distance on that; it’s all up to you. I will say, though, that the instructions warn you [in Japanese] not to roll it into other people! Good advice.
If the Go-Roader GT is fast and furious in Wheel Mode, then it is equally-so in Action Mode. Though lacking any dedicated weapons in either form, its speed, agility, and strength more than make up for it! It stands to the same height as Engine-Oh, Gunbir-Oh and Seiku-Oh, but because it is less complex than any of those combinations, it can allow for higher energy performance to achieve its dynamic & courageous fighting style- able to run up the side of buildings, jump high, or match a Banki punch for punch & kick.
Though it is usually seen when the larger Engine-Oh G9 is already formed, it is still pretty big even in toy form- standing 10½” (26.5cm) tall! But it remains in-scale to all of the other DX-sized Engines. The proportions are also rather similar to a human. (Because the shoulders are slightly higher, the arms seem a bit short, but it’s not a big deal.) In addition to the wide light-blue visor with the silver Go-Onger logo directly above, the head has two panels on either side of it that are always extended, and these show minor details between them which are highlighted with silver paint (vaguely resembling the engine block from a petroleum engine). The torso is the core of the Wheel Mode where the “hub caps” would be, and the Token Soul rests. The three Token Soul activation buttons remain fully accessible in the crotch section. The red ABS ramp, which is only used in Wheel Mode, is regularly stored on the back by means of a pair of hidden tabs. (In case you think this is unique to the toy, the ramp also appears there in the series as well, making its positioning there official.) The arms are half as wide as the width of the tire, but unfolded to double their stored length. It’s interesting to note that even though the lower arms have red ABS plastic, the fists were molded in black and so were painted to match! With the legs always tilted slightly outwards, the soles of the hollow feet have been shaped to adapt better by sloping slightly inwards. (Because of their placement in Wheel Mode, two of the four lettered phrases on the tires appear only on the right side of both lower legs!) The all-black lower legs (which both make up a good portion of the tire section) are hollow so that the blue upper legs can be folded into them when in Wheel Mode.
(*EVA_Unit_4A rubs his hands together greedily*)
Traditionally, poseable DX-sized figures do not appear very often in Super Sentai save for one-axis shoulder joints, but I can now seriously discuss posing options with this toy. Never before in Super Sentai history has a DX-sized set been so flexible in such a human way! While smaller examples like the MagiPhoenix MagiMajin from the DX Majin Gattai MagiKing (from “Mahou Sentai MagiRanger” in 2005) come to mind, perhaps the closest to it we have seen before is the DX Kidenjuu RyuuSeiOh (from “Gosei Sentai DaiRanger” in 1993) and the DX Senpuujin Hurrier (from “Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger” in 2002). But the Go-Roader GT one-ups the latter-two in that it has neck, elbow, and hip articulation at the same time! The way the toy collapses together in Wheel Mode means that it has a wide variety of joints with which to play around with later in Action Mode. All joints ratchet along one axis, but the shoulders & hips have two axis of motion. Posing joints are in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. And so, put simply, posing is astounding! (It only took friggin’ 32 years to reach this point!) I just can’t tell ya how absolutely pleased-as-punch I am about this-! They’ve come so close in the past, but it was always hindered by something. Unfortunately, I must rain on my own parade for a moment here... The Go-Roader’s posing ability is lacking in one crucial way: the hips can’t bend forward or backward! They twist side-to-side and can pitch sideways just fine, but you just can’t bend them forwards. And the reason for this ironic loss of articulation? Space was needed inside for the Token Soul’s four activation buttons in the crotch. (Try as I might, I regretfully can’t see where else those buttons could have been put even if the Token Soul had been positioned in a different way!) So, this feels like a bittersweet victory for articulated DX-size Super Sentai figures everywhere.
. . .
The DX Go-Roader GT set comes with a red accessory ramp that can be used with the Wheel Mode. On the ‘back’ side of the Wheel Mode, where the head would be located, there is a tiny molded triangle that needs to be lined up with an identical triangle on the ramp. (These are too small to take pictures of, sorry!) Then- with the Token Soul inserted- when you are ready, press one of the three red buttons. As the Go-Roader rolls along, the small black button will be squashed as it hits the hard flat floor, and the cartridge within will make different sounds each time it makes one complete revolution based on which red button was pressed! (See below for description of the effects.)
In addition to future accessory DX Engine sets, the common ‘collecting’ gimmick is the battery-powered Engine Soul cartridge. These serve as a replacement in all of the toys for a dedicated light-and-sound effect. Each Engine Soul shares an identical shape (2½” x 1¾” x 9/16”, or 2.57cm x 4.5cm x 1.5cm), has a single bright red LED light (which can project over 6ft / 2m in a dark room!), a large decal which identifies it, and they all have some generic sounds. Because of this, any Engine Soul (or Change Soul, which I won’t get into here) can be fitted into any properly-fitted toy that can accept one. But, the gimmick is that each Engine Soul has a unique set of sound effects...
. . .
The DX Soukou Sharin Go-Roader GT set comes with a single Token Soul. It is uniquely identified by its pale silver ABS casing, the Go-Onger’s stylized “G” logo against a spiraling golden background, and the phrases “ES” & “GT” on the front decal. Also different is the word “ATTACK” along the top of the decal in small lettering versus the typical “ENGINE SOUL” labeling. While the Token Soul can be inserted in either mode, it is typically inserted into the dormant Go-Roader when it is in Wheel Mode. Pulling back on the large red tab on the left side of the compartment will spring the door open. The bright red LED light from the Token Soul shines through the transparent-light blue circular window in the Go-Roader’s chest. When the Engine Soul is activated, the LED shines through, making it glow! Though I have covered only Engine Soul cartridges up to this point, the Token Soul acts differently. There is no distinct difference between generic and character-specific effects since the Go-Roader has no personality and does not speak. On the crotch are three larger red buttons. Pressing the one on the left reveals three sound effects, with the LED flashing in unison each time:
- one vehicle racing past quickly
- two vehicles racing past quickly
- a vehicle accelerating, and then brakes screeching
Pressing the one on the right reveals only one other sound/LED effect:
- an energized charging-up
As with all other Engine Souls beforehand, pressing on both side buttons at the same time reveals yet another effect, though this time, it is unique:
- three electronic tones sound (like the countdown before a race), and then metal clashing once
Now, all of these effects seem to be geared towards Wheel Mode as each time one of the three buttons is pressed, it changes how the fourth between the legs acts. So, converting to Go-Roader back to Wheel Mode...
- when the left red button is pressed and then it is rolled, you hear a short blasting sound each time it does one complete revolution on the ground
- when the right red button is pressed and then it is rolled, you hear bowling pins being knocked over once each time it does one complete revolution on the ground
- when the larger red button is pressed and then it is rolled, you hear a blast, a vehicle accelerating, and then another blast. (Unlike the other two, this one does not repeat each time the entire toy turns over. Instead, you hear the typical sound of the cartridge being placed into the compartment)
Now, in Grand Prix 30- “Friendship’s Punch”, the Go-Onger experiment to see what would happen if an Engine Soul were placed into the Go-Roader. Sousuke (Go-On Red) casually places Speedor’s Engine Soul inside against his protests, and the Go-Roader becomes wildly uncontrollable! After a few minutes, though, the Go-Roader grinds to a halt, and Speedor’s Engine Soul is ejected with him clearly exhausted & in pain, and more than a little irked at Sousuke for carelessly treating him like that without consulting him first. Later in the episode, when Sousuke is unintentionally poisoned by a Gaiarc, Speedor works up the courage to insert himself again into the Go-Roader in order to be able to personally interact with his partner for the first time ever on a more human level. Though the experience still drains Speedor’s energy within a few minutes (he later can’t grow his own Engine Cast in order to fight because of this), he is able to successfully control the Go-Roader’s body this time- allowing it to fight also at human size. The lesson here is that while an Engine Soul can control the Go-Roader at human size, it is a very trying experience and can only be maintained for a few minutes before they become completely drained and exhausted. So, even though you could put an Engine Soul cartridge into the DX toy regardless of if it appeared in the series or not, it is official that it also done in the series. My Exhibit "A" shall be using Speedor’s Engine Soul provided in the DX Engine Gattai Engine-Oh. Putting an Engine Soul into the Go-Roader toy, I have found, changes nothing into how it acts versus how the Token Soul works-
- Pressing the left buttons gives you the character-specific effects
- Pressing the right button gives you the generic effects
- Pressing the larger button [or both smaller buttons at the same time] gives you the alternate combined effects (because both activation buttons on the cartridge are being pressed at the same time this way)
- Pressing on the small black button gives you the Engine Soul-insertion effect
As of this review, “Power Rangers R.P.M.” has not aired yet, so it is impossible to compare the DX Soukou Sharin Go-Roader GT to its English-speaking equivalent. We haven’t even gotten a name for it yet. However taking into account pre-release images, I am doubtful that the transition will be smooth in any way. With the complete rebuilding of the Deluxe High Octane Megazord for 2009, it is clear that the Engine Soul cartridge system will not be making it to American shores in their current forms, so the possibility of seeing the DX Go-Roader coming over are slim-to-none, though it will still probably appear in the series. Expect either a scaled-down remake or no releases at all, save for 4½” action figures in 2009...
I would be foolish and careless if I were not to mention the similarity between this toy and another transforming warrior-shaped wheel figure that was released years earlier- the DX Tackle Boy from 1995’s “Chouriki Sentai OhRanger”! While Tackle Boy was always far smaller than the other UAOH Mecha, the American football player-themed robot was never seen shrinking down to human size, but still converted into a giant armored wheel that could be thrown around or used for one of the Choujuu Gattai OhBlocker’s finishers. (I am fortunate to own a Deluxe Warrior Wheel from 1996’s “Power Rangers Zeo”, which was identical to the Tackle Boy figure in every way, so that I can compare them for you here!) Though to this point Super Sentai now allows for a third combining robot to appear on-screen at the same time, this set fills a role that doesn’t appear very often, but is seen many times in the past- that of a helper mecha that can operate independently from the heroes, but will still accept orders and/or suggestions from them. The biggest draw for me, though, is the awesome level of articulation allowed for posing- which I have been wishing, hoping, and begging for almost 16 years to happen. On top of which, it looks cool, has a good [if initially-confusing] electronic feature that is well-timed, and the toy is well designed & built. Aside from the loss of movement forward & backwards in the hips (I literally sat there for about five minutes in stunned silence when I realized this), the only other thing I can nitpick about is that the leg-twisting and shoulder-pitching joints aren’t quite as tight as I would have liked, but that isn’t too bad. In Wheel Mode, again, it is tricky figuring out which buttons to push before you send it on down the hallway. The ramp is nice enough, but it’s also good that it attaches to the back in Action Mode so that you don’t have it lying around to be stepped on. While the Tackle Boy may have served as inspiration for it, I don’t think that it is misplaced in the series in any way. And so, I am putting high marks and full recommendations into the DX Soukou Sharin Go-Roader GT. Considering how most of the line has been rather average in 2008, this is really one of the bright points in it.
|Posted 24 December, 2008 - 14:47 by EVA_Unit_4A|