Review by ArshadAA
Paraphrased from Wikipedia:
Brave Exkaiser is a Japanese animated television series that began in 1990, created by Sunrise as the first of the long running Brave series funded by Takara and produced by Sunrise. The story takes place on a present day Earth that was secretly visited by a group of space police led by Exkaiser who were chasing after an evil gang of energy beings called the Geisters. Upon arriving on Earth, Exkaiser and his team put their spirits into vehicles all over Japan so that they could convert them into transformable bodies for themselves.
With the advent of the Masterpiece line for the Transformers, Takara had the idea to make a spin-off line featuring their other big transforming robots franchise: The Brave series. Naturally the first out of this line would be King Exkaiser.
King Exkaiser comes in a big wide box weighing nearly two and a half pounds. The front of the box has a flap that can be lifted to show the figures inside through a clear window plus some additional photos of the toy’s features.
Inside are figures of Exkaiser and King Exkaiser in robot form and their various accessories housed in a clear plastic tray. The cardboard tray carrying the plastic also doubles as a neat backdrop you can use to recreate the final shot in King Exkaiser’s combination sequence.
Exkaiser transforms into a small sports car with rolling wheels. It looks good overall and the transformation is accurate to the show aside from Exkaiser’s hands sticking out from the bottom of its backside. There’s also a nice panel flipping gimmick which allows the lion emblem to be properly hidden in robot mode.
Also included are two miniature figures of Exkaiser’s human friend Kouta and his dog Mario.
In robot mode, Exkaiser stands 8.5 cm tall and has diecast in his legs, which form the front half of his car mode.
His head ends in a ball joint inside the body which gives it free range of rotation and some degree of leaning.
He also has two swappable chest pieces, one with the lion face and one for his non-combat mode. These are a bit difficult to handle because they tend to get pushed inside the chest cavity easily and there’s no way to lock them in place. Once they’re fully pushed inside you have to poke at them from the figure’s back with a strong thin object to get them out.
Exkaiser’s hips, feet, shoulders, and forearms are connected via ball joints which are liable to sag easily with repeated play. The knees are double-jointed, but more for the sake of the transformation mechanism than to allow any fancy poses. Overall, though, the figure has pretty decent articulation for its size.
Exkaiser comes with three pairs of hands (closed fist, open palm, spread palm) plus one pointing finger hand for the right arm, all of which snugly attach to the arms via simple round pegs.
Exkaiser’s weapons include two kinds of projectiles: The Jet Boomerang and the Spike Cutter. Both are molded into blue “firing” effect parts which can be plugged into holes on the figure’s forearms.
Finally, Exkaiser comes with a stand base shaped like the Space Police emblem. Unfortunately, the part that the figure attaches to is mounted on a ball joint and mine was quite floppy already and unable to support the figure’s weight.
Finally, the figure comes with a small collectable card showing Exkaiser in robot mode.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s time to move on to the real prize.
King Exkaiser transforms into a somewhat unconvincing futuristic trailer with two parallel cockpits called the King Loader. It has rotating wheels on the bottom of the cockpits (which form King Exkaiser’s feet) and the parts that become King Exkaiser’s forearms.
The underside of the trailer is basically the front of King Exkaiser with only the shoulders tucked away inside the chest cavity. The legs are attached together via a simple locking mechanism which flips out of the sides but requires a bit of wiggling before the legs truly stick together.
In trailer mode, the wings tips attach via pegs to a pair of small panels that are supposed to be raised and in line with the frontal flaps. This is nearly impossible to do without some thin metal object to use as a lever.
The cockpits can be rotated into the main body to expose a mechanism that allows you to attach the King Loader to Exkaiser’s car form for some trailer–towing action. Despite the cockpits fitting into a spring loaded cavity that allows them to be brought back out easily, there have been reports of people struggling to get them back out again which is an issue I luckily never ran into.
The King Loader can also transform into a flight mode by pulling the wings back, flipping the red flaps backwards, and changing the wheels on the cockpit through a simple rotation mechanism.
Transforming the King Loader into robot mode is pretty simple, but there are some catches. The arms need to be pulled out by pulling the upper arm so that it slides past a locking tab located in the lower shoulder joint. This can be a bit intimidating the first time because the tab requires a good amount of force to push past. The King Loader’s back cover, which flips onto the robot mode’s back, is double hinged and requires some specific positioning before you can attach it via peg.
For the authentic true to the anime experience, Exkaiser can be fitted inside King Exkaiser by flipping up the latter’s chest and opening panels on its shoulders and legs. It’s a tight fit and frankly, not a very exciting gimmick for one reason I’ll get to in a bit.
You’ll notice that in the process of cramming Exkaiser in its left arm popped off. The other arm followed suit when I took Exkaiser out, but they are both easily reattached. More importantly, though, this gimmick is completely optional. You can have both Exkaiser and King Exkaiser as separate figures.
The completed King Exkaiser stands an impressive 21.5 cm tall to the tip of its white antenna, and comes with its own accessories as well as diecast in its legs.
Now we come to the main flaw of this figure. Thanks to the Exkaiser fitting gimmick, King Exkaiser has no hip rotation whatsoever, which severely limits its posing options. It compensates by being able to spread its legs to a pretty wide degree. Despite the feet having very limited sideways movement, the large surface area allows the figure to stay upright.
This is about as far as the legs can go in terms of forward and backward movement.
The head rests on a standard ball joint and has a removable face plate.
The lion head chest can open to reveal a flamethrower. Like the Exkaiser figure’s chest it doesn’t have much in the way of a locking mechanism and any applied force will push it back inside. If it’s too far inside to be grabbed by the maw you’ll have to flip the chest upwards and push it out from the inside.
Like Exkaiser, King Exkaiser comes with the same three pairs of hands plus the right pointing finger hand. The closed fist hands, however, are articulated in that the four non-thumb fingers are a single piece that can open and close to wield its signature sword weapon. Additionally there’s an extra right hand that’s bent at an angle to allow for more dynamic sword holding poses. All the hands mount via ball joints.
The golden knee caps can flip up to reveal a pair of missile launchers.
King Exkaiser also has the Kaiser Shot, a silver shuriken-like weapon molded onto a firing effect part that can be slotted into the figure’s forearm. It can even spin!
King Exkaiser’s signature weapon is the Kaiser Sword. It’s made by assembling two pieces that are stored in compartments on the figure’s legs. I don’t quite understand the point of this gimmick though, since in the show the sword came out as one piece from King Exkaiser’s right leg, making this two-piece more of a useless effect part than an accessory.
Though, if it’s any consolation, you can have the figure dual wield it with the other Kaiser Sword, which comes in proper “overcompensating” proportions.
The real sword measures 22 cm in length, basically as tall as the figure itself. It can be held by any of the closed fist hands via a peg that plugs into the palm.
Despite the average leg articulation and other minor flaws (nub marks, chipped paint, and slightly flubbed paint apps), this is still a nice solid figure and a great modernization of a classic robot design. It will look great on any toy shelf. We’re not quite done yet though, since its companion robot the Dragon Kaiser was also released into the Masterpiece line and I’ll be covering that in my next review.
On the flipside, good luck finding this, since it’s been out of production for several years now. Your only hope is eBay and its equivalents at this point.
|Posted 11 July, 2011 - 05:47 by ArshadAA|