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Super Robot Chogokin Gaogaigar and Key Of Victory Set 1
Series: King of Braves Gaogaigar
Price: $60 base figure, $24 for extra sets
“But Dave, you just robotted!”, you says to me.You're not wrong, I did. It's just how the schedule came out, alright? Don't blame me!
Besides, when I buy you guys (me) robots, you know I always go top-shelf. Chogokin is reason enough for celebration (have you seen Franky?), but our King of Braves, Gaogaigar? This is big!
Before we do anything, I want you to see the boxes. No window on the toy itself, just a fiery background and screaming gold print. The base figure box says THE KING OF BRAVES, and the weapon set says THIS IS THE KEY TO VICTORY!! Please imagine your own powerfully enthusiastic narrator.
Gaogaigar is a combining robot whose parts are all designed to be as maximum as possible. Let's go down the list.
Bullet trains for shoulders!
A drill-equipped tank for legs!
A stealth bomber strapped to the back!
A mechanical lion for a body, with its howling visage for a chest!
Aw, man, it's so cool. But, alas, this isn't a combining figure. Just try and think of that stuff, because it's pretty exciting. I'm excited just thinking about it. Let's go outside and start yelling at the sky about courage.
So it doesn't do the Final Fusion-- if you want a nice GGG combiner think $200 or so-- but this is an extremely solid figure. The sculpt is accurate, the details are crisp, the paint is bright and glossy like it should be. The diecast metal is mostly down in those heavy tank legs, as is the norm for this line. It's significantly heavier than it appears, but it isn't close to the deadly, bludgeoning heft of the more expensive Chogokin figures. It still feels tougher than any other toy on your shelf.
Every place on the robot that you could imagine-- and others that you might not even think of, like the wings of the bomber and the panels on the outside of the legs-- moves on this figure. The only thing in the way of GGG's movement is GGG itself: stuff like drills on the knees and a damn howling lion sticking out of the chest get in the way a little bit.
I'm kind of fond of the silly transparent plastic effect parts that are in style these days. This one is for the Broken Magnum attack, where GGG shoots a fist out at the enemy. This is a big molded plastic piece-- the same as the effect you see in the anime-- that replaces a hand and snaps neatly over the right arm. No spring-loaded fists here: you should have bought Shin Mazinger when you had the chance!
And on the other end we have the Protect Shade shield, with a “blessing” left hand that is specifically made to be used with this piece. I'm not too big on this piece, really. I get it, but it looks and feels like one of those cheap disposable plates you'd eat off of at your neighbor's barbecue. Remember kids, the left hand is to protect, the right hand is to destroy...
And both hands at the same time destroy extra hard. There is a specifically molded two-hands piece for the signature Hell and Heaven attack, and you'll need to replace pieces on the lion's mane at the chest for the arms to be able to reach each other.
The Zonder Core-- the mechanical heart that Gaogaigar pulls out of its enemies-- is also included. They didn't miss any spots with this one.
The final piece in the regular figure's arsenal is the massive, reality-bending screwdriver, the Dividing Driver. There's really nothing to this one, the big ol' chromed-out screwdriver just snaps on the same way a replacement hand would. Yes, there is a bit of a tool motif here, funny you should ask. Tools, heavy vehicles, and lions. Now that's what I call an aesthetic!
When I said that they didn't miss any spots from the TV show, well... that was half of the truth. Packed with the full arsenal from the TV show, GGG would have been a massive and seriously expensive toy set. For that reason, and because this character is popular enough that they can get away with it, even more weapons are sold separately. We got the first weapon pack, called the Key Of Victory set on the box. (Every episode of GGG ended with a picture of next week's McGuffin as the narrator announced “This is the Key to Victory!”)
The first pack is just one damn weapon, but that's because it's so huge that it's really its own figure. Fans of the series will have an extremely hard time turning down the truly ridiculous Goldion Hammer. No, it doesn't squeak. The base figure doesn't come with a stand... but the hammer does. (It's very small.)
Did you know? The Goldion Hammer is actually the transformed form of another robot, Goldymarg: in the show it both carries the hammer and transforms into a hand large enough for GGG to carry it. The giant Marg Hand comes with its own replacement pieces: closed fist, open hand, all that. Miraculously, Gaogaigar can hold this huge hammer-- which, by all rights, should shift the balance of the whole thing off-- without any problems at all.
The energy nail is included as it's seen in the animation during the Hammer Hell and Heaven attack, and you can nestle the Zonder Core in the Hammer Heaven nail for perfect accuracy. Like I said, they didn't forget anything.
The next Key Of Victory set, with the upgraded Stealth Gao II and the Gatling Driver, is due for January. The last set contains the mighty Dimensional Pliers. Bandai loves to pull tricks, so that one is a Japanese web-exclusive item that you'll have to really pay out the nose for. The temptation to complete this set is overwhelming. I mean, pliers? Come on, you know you'll need them around the house!
You know, SRC was supposed to be the economy-price version of Soul of Chogokin, but the price is really creeping up on the low-end SoC figures anyway: with all the weapons GGG's cost starts to look more like $120. I'm starting to think they're the same thing. Of course, SoC releases these days are more likely to stand a foot tall and cost two hundred dollars...
We got this figure because oh, man, it was just so easy to buy. Bandai's US supplier Bluefin ships items via Amazon these days for low prices. Those of you with Amazon Prime, my preferred internet grocery supplier, get super fast shipping for nothing. The Amazon selection doesn't compare to any of the Japanese specialty shops, and most of the Bandai stuff (like Tiger) is still at outrageous scalper prices via marketplace vendors, but they do have the Endeavour!
Anyway, GGG is $60 on Amazon and the first set is $25. That's as good a price as you're going to get, and even putting aside the weapons set, this one's absolutely worth what they're asking. I'll probably be buying the other weapon sets for myself. I don't think I can resist.
Good god, this has been a long column. Thanks for sticking around. I'll see you again next time, on the sea of stars.
When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.