Astro Toy
Riobot Gurren Lagann

by David Cabrera,

Riobot Gurren Lagann
Maker: Sentinel
Series: Gurren-Lagann
Cost: ~$120

A while back, when I reviewed the bizarre gdgd fairies pack, I said that the figures I had on hand were very fancy and that I wanted to have some time to give them proper reviews. One of those figures was the Sagittarius Gold Cloth, which I totally still play with. The other was this.

This figure has been sitting here since September, actually. It was released in the spring, and until very recently Sentinel wasn't able to make enough to keep up with demand. (How nice for them!) I have been trying to get my hands on it since it came out. It took so long to get this figure that in the meantime that Bandai's been able to make a Super Robot Chogokin of this guy, due out in a few months.

Another beautiful window box: unfortunately, the sheer size of the box contributes substantially to the eye-popping cost you see up there.

Inside the figure is dramatically framed with the kanji “Tengen Toppa”. Gurren logo is of course on the flap.

This is the pose it comes in out of the box; piercing the heavens. The first thing you notice out of the box is how small the figure is, to come out of such a big, expensive box. At 14cm tall it's only slightly taller than the Revoltech of the same character. It's also extremely light-weight for a robot figure: definitely all plastic.

But this one isn't about being big or heavy: the main draw is the high level of detail. The armor is beautiful (credit to sculptor Chemical Attack), and details like the glassy “cracks” on the sunglasses and the sculpted Gurren logo on the shoulder armor really impress. In many spots this figure actually looks significantly better than the upcoming Super Robot Chogokin version of the same robot.

Articulation is good, if a little stiff in points. I particularly like that the shoulder armor is able to swivel around the shoulder. The figure often feels fragile: the sunglasses in the chest got in the way of posing more than once, and it was scary when they did. The head will pop right off at the slightest nudge. We'll see what that's about in a second.

Anyway, let's get to gimmicks, shall we? We have a lot of ground to cover. The designers have paid a lot of attention to GL's “face” torso. Because of the way it's jointed, the mouth can be made to “open” or “close” by bending the body back and forth. The sunglasses pop right out from the body, revealing eyes. But that's not all...

By way of a wobbly switch buried behind a panel in the back, we can actually move the eyes! The head is rigged to move along with the eyes (and, as mentioned before, can only be swiveled by itself) as though the robot is actually looking around. Extremely cool gimmick, really an above-and-beyond extra.

Of course there are drills. It wouldn't be Gurren-Lagann without drills, right? These two can be placed on either arm.

Side note: this is the point at which you I started using the included stand. It is excellent; I'd even recommend buying a couple by themselves if you have the chance. It's both sturdy, and good-looking as its own display piece. G-L is suspended by a connection under the armor (it sits on it, tee hee) so that there isn't a peg in the back.

More weapons! Two pairs of sunglasses for throwin', as is done during the Giga Drill Break scene. Where do these pairs of sunglasses come from? Where does the giant drill come from? It's the miracle of a man's fighting spirit!!

Even more weapons! A single giant drill! It's not exactly Giga Drill Break-- that would be kind of expensive-- but it does look good. (Only the old Composite Ver. Ka G-L has a Giga Drill Break part, if you were wondering.) Also note the gauntlet with drills extended: this part snaps in easily to replace the regular wrist part.

The Gurren Wing backpack finishes up the set, and at this price it had better be included. The wings snap securely onto the back of the figure without any noticeable attachment point: just be careful handling them, as there are more pointy points here than anywhere else (those drills!) on a toy with sharp edges all over. The wings flap, and the sculpt is just as nice as that of the robot.

This figure may indeed be small for its price, but it delivers on details and features like crazy.  Uncompromising, single-minded in pursuit of the character and expensive: in other words, it's like everything else I've seen from Sentinel thus far. Just like with Canti, the price is hard to justify, but the figure is top-shelf. I can't wait to see what Sentinel gets up to next-- oh my god, look at Bendy Santana, Keep it up, you crazy damn geniuses.

This cost us a whopping $135 shipped from Amiami, where it is still available at what I estimate comes out to $125 shipped. Despite the price drop, a huge chunk of the cost of this figure (7000y by itself) came from international shipping on that big ol' box.

The Super Robot Chogokin of this character will probably come out for about $60, but be advised that drills and the Gurren Wing accessory will be sold separately... bringing the total cost of that figure pretty close to this one.

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.

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