Self Henkeijuu MantanGun
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The Self-Henkeijuu MantanGun is the standard sidearm of the five Go-On Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, and Black. In order to power a MantanGun, an Engine Soul must be inserted into it; without the living cartridge, it remains inert. “Mantan” is a slang term equivalent in Japan for “Fill ‘er up”. It has two modes of operation- Gun Mode and Rod Mode.
Gun Mode (opposite side) is how the MantanGun is stored on the clip-on holster on the Go-Ongers’ belts. In this form, it strongly resembles a gas pump dispenser, which fits in with the vehicle theme that the heroes have in the series. The nozzle is the gun barrel, and has features like fake bendable ribbed sections and a spill-prevention guard; these all, of course, being ABS & PVC plastic as opposed to metal & rubber. The grip is completely solid with no moving parts, and features a fake silver-painted squeeze handle resembling a dispenser’s activation lever, and a PVC fitting on the bottom where a fuel feed tube would attach. However, a smaller functional black trigger is placed on the immobile silver lever. Directly above the grip but part of the overall handle design is a shiny molded Go-Onger logo in a notched protrusion on the left side only; this is the mounting point for the belt-mounted holster. The large main section of the toy is molded in black ABS, but is then painted red, white, and silver. On the left side is a transparent-blue dome which exposes the interior of the toy; on the right side, the dome is opaque with rounded slots, and is then painted light blue.
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Typically in this form, the Engine Souls used to power a MantanGun are inserted. Just behind and below the dispenser nozzle is a small black lever. When pressed backwards, a black ABS cartridge holding frame springs out & around 135° from the top. (Be careful when you flip that thing around that you don’t have any fingers in there between the holder and the grip- it can hurt ya!) While any Engine Soul from the “Go-Onger” line can be inserted, Engine Buson’s (see below) is provided with the set. The Engine Soul will only fit in one direction- with the label facing left, and its own three activation buttons facing forward. Then the holding frame can be pressed back in by you until it locks in place. This is why that dome on the left side is transparent- it allows you to see the Engine Soul within, and which one it is. Pulling the black trigger will activate the independent sound effects within whatever Engine Soul has been inserted into the toy, and you will be able to see its red LED shine through the left side.
The two steps for transforming the MantanGun from Gun Mode into Rod Mode are very simple, and they can be changed in any order you wish (i.e. they’re not linked together internally):
- There is a small spring-resistant silver lever on the left side of the main section that needs to be pushed forward. As you do this, the entire grip free-rotates around diagonally 180°. To lock it in place, simply release the silver lever as the grip comes around.
- Grabbing the end of the nozzle, pull forward away from the main section, and two cylindrical sections will telescope out 3 ½” (9cm) for a total length [up to the spill guard] of 6” (15.2cm). Both cylinders are independent of each other, and snap in place on their own when both extended and retracted.
Switching between Gun Mode and Rod Mode also switches the set of special effects that will be emitted from the Engine Soul within when the trigger is squeezed (see below). The character-specific effects will sound in Gun Mode, while the generic effects will sound in Rod Mode. However, unlike some of the DX-sized Engines (sold separately), both activation buttons on the Engine Soul itself cannot be pressed at the same time by using this toy.
Rod Mode (opposite side) is not a sword-like weapon, but rather a long inflexible baton or nightstick. The main section is now positioned upside down diagonally to the grip. The transparent-blue dome which reveals the Engine Soul within is now on the right side, with the slotted dome switched to the left. While the Engine Soul is still fully accessible, if the holding frame is opened up, it will flip downwards. However, because it does flip down, the frame was built with a small spring catch which prevents the Engine Soul from being ejected.
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 Self Henkeiju MantanGun set comes with Buson’s Engine Soul. It is uniquely identified by its blue ABS casing, the stylized “2”, and the phrases “ES” & “02” on the front decal. While each of the Engines in the “Go-Onger” line can accept an Engine Soul, only Buson’s is provided; however, it will work equally in all of them since, again, all Engine Soul cartridges are the same size. Buson’s Engine Soul has four unique effects- all performed by the same seiyu from the series, Hisao Egawa. (He returns for a third time to Super Sentai here- previous voices being a one-time role in 2001’s “Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger” and a lead villain in 2005’s “Mahou Sentai MagiRanger”- but he is better known for more-numerous anime, OVA, and video game performances. He also serves as a dubbing voice for several American & British TV series.) He says, in Japanese:
Like all being from Machine World, Buson tends to repeat part of his name after almost every sentence. So when he says “On-On!”, that is actually is the last syllable from his name, and Mr. Egawa says it in a way so it sounds like the revving of a motorcycle or other gas-fueled motor. The phrases will always play in that order, each preceded by the same sound of a laser blast. Now, if you place Buson’s Engine Soul into any other DX Engine set, it’ll say the same things, but it’ll obviously be inaccurate since that’s not the right Engine for it to go with. When you switch the MantanGun to Rod Mode, you can then access Buson’s alternate/generic effects:
This time, however, instead of a laser blast, you hear the sound of a sword clashing. But it is still Buson speaking. Buson also has another single hidden effect:
Unfortunately, this can only be accessed by activating both of the Engine Soul’s buttons at the same time- something that cannot be accomplished with either the MantanGun, or Engine Buson himself. Ordinarily, you could use a paper clip or some-such small pointed object to depress both outside buttons along the bottom of the Engine Soul. However, there are several Engine Gattai Series sets that you can use- Engine Birca, Engine Gunpherd, and Engine Carrigator at least- where you can press both activation buttons at the same time.
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Buson’s Engine Soul, because it is sold with the MantanGun, must serve two masters- this set, and Engine Buson himself from the DX Engine Gattai Engine-Oh set. While most of the other Engine Soul cartridges are customized with sound effects preceding their spoken lines that fit their character, Buson’s has the laser blast and sword clash sounds preceding his lines that are customized for the MantanGun since it does not have any electronic feature of its own. This is why, when you put Buson’s Engine Soul into the toy from the DX Engine-Oh, the sound effects seem to be misplaced or incorrect for the character. On the other side of that coin, because the MantanGun can accept any Engine Soul put into it, any other Engine Soul inserted would have preceding-sound effects that don’t match it. In the series, since the MantanGun is used by the first five Go-Onger only, this means that it fits in continuity that the Engine Souls from Speedor, Buson, Bear RV, Birca, and Gunpherd would be placed within it. So, you would get their preceding character-based effects instead of those in Buson’s which are customized specifically for the MantanGun.
(If you don’t understand what I just said here, then watch the video below, and I’ll show you there what I mean.)
The Power Rangers’ version of the MantanGun has not appeared yet, so comparisons are impossible. Lately, Bandai America has become notorious for not releasing the standard Ranger sidearm in their original forms, but instead creating brand new toys with fewer functions and removed electronics which are frequently made of soft foam for safe play. (Well maybe, if parents supervised their kids more closely with weapon-shaped toys, we wouldn’t have these stupid laws banning their sale! But I digress…) However, I have a good feeling that this one might make it over intact because of its simplistic construction and use, albeit with a few change in paint apps, and whatever the do with the equivalent-Engine Soul cartridges. Oh, and they might remove the spring-loaded holding frame.
My only gripe with this set is that because of my adult-sized hands, my fingers almost become crushed in the grip, so I have to wiggle to get them in there. Even just another half-inch would’ve done fine! Otherwise, its simple design, aesthetics, and function won me over, not to mention its striking and hilarious resemblance to a gas pump dispenser! Yeah, having a baton as a weapon seems a bit odd, but it’s a nice change from seeing daggers & swords all the time in almost all previous Super Sentai series. The transformation to Rod Mode was also different- no flipping parts, only sliding or twisting. It was a nice touch to be able to see the provided Engine Soul stored within the main section. While Buson’s Engine Soul suffers a little in order to accommodate this toy as far as those preceding effects go, I think it was an interesting twist to have a removable electronics package that could be swapped out for another; thus allowing role-players to select which Go-Onger they’d like to be without having to make heavy modifications or their own versions. For someone else who doesn’t like this toy, they would still be forced to get it in order to obtain Buson’s Engine Soul for use in the DX Engine-Oh set. But, I liked this toy, so I highly recommend getting the Self Henkeijuu MantanGun!
|Posted 5 September, 2008 - 02:00 by EVA_Unit_4A