DX Phone Braver 7
Review by JoshB
Japan has a long tradition of transforming toys. If you are reading this site, you know that is nothing new. A particular subset of transforming toys are those that transform from actual, life size objects, into robots.
The trend took off in 1982 with Takara’s Micro Change line, a subset of their Microman line. This line featured everyday objects that transformed into robots and other things to work with the actual-size Microman toys that were sold alongside. Also at that time the first Gold Lightan toys came out. These were 1-1 scale toy lighters and other accessories that transformed into shiny metal robots.
Some of those early Micro Change toys came over to the US as part of the very first series of Transformers. Megatron and Soundwave are classic examples of toys that depict actual size real world items that change into robots.
With the runaway popularity of the toy line, both in the US and Japan, competitors came out of the woodwork. A slew of transforming binoculars, cameras, soda cans and more flooded the market for the next few years. While the fad died down in the US, it kept going strong in Japan.
The toys from Phone Braver 7 continue this proud legacy.
But what is Phone Braver 7?
Phone Braver 7 (or Ketai Sousakan 7) is a Japanese live action drama television series which aired from 2008-2009.
The series was created by two powerhouses of Japanese pop culture. Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor) produced the show, while Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition, Zebraman) directed.
The story centers on a group of sentient mobile phones, created by an agency called Anchor, that are partnered up with a human to solve technological crimes. The main phone in the show is 7, while the main villain is a rogue phone, 01. There are also an assortment of add-on phone accessories that act as battle armor and the like. It’s fun stuff.
We’ll be showcasing a few Phone Braver toys on CollectionDX, in conjunction with the super sale going on at HobbyLink Japan.
We start out talking about the DX Phone Braver 7 from Phone Braver NEXT. There are slight differences in the design of the phone from the way it appears in the first series.
The DX Phone Braver 7 is a big fun toy. I was surprised at how big and how toy-like it is. The construction is definitely designed for play.
Because it is packaged in Robot mode, that’s where we will start. The toy rests in a plastic tray with no twist ties. When you remove the toy, turn it over and remove the plastic tab in the battery compartment. Phone Braver 7 will spring to life.
But before we get into the electronics, let’s talk about the toy itself.
For a phone, it’s got great articulation. Shoulders twist and swing out, elbows are double jointed, but the fists are stationary.
There’s no waist joint, but there is a waist hinge where the screen meets the body.
The legs are basically just like the arms, except longer. The feet unfold from the bottom.
He’s very top heavy so it takes a little bit of fidgeting to get him to stand properly. But honestly, this toy is meant to be played with, not displayed.
What do I mean? Well, the toy has a fully functional keypad and multi-color LED screen. Depending on what buttons you press, Phone Braver 7 says different phrases. You can even select a combination of keys for other phrases. There are some key codes printed on the box, and some on the inside flaps, but all are in Japanese.
But wait, there’s more. Each phrase triggers a different facial expression on the LED screen. Both the face animates and the color changes. The screen is bright enough to see while playing with it, but not for display. As you can see in the pictures, it looks much too dark.
But wait, there’s even more. In addition to the key sounds, there are also mini-games you can play, as well as special animations.
But wait, there is yet even still more. When transforming from phone to robot, a transformation animation appears, and makes transforming sound effects!
AWESOME. This toy is so much fun.
And if that’s not enough, you can buy additional helper robots that can attach to the Phone Braver for a powered up mode!
The best news is that right now (07/2010) these are on clearance at HobbyLink Japan for around 1,500 YEN!! All the accessories are on sale too!
Transforming into phone mode is simple. You can do it in seconds. It doesn’t make a very convincing phone being just too thick for anyone to carry around. But the overall proportions are right for an actual phone. Small nubs stick out on the side from where the arms and leg joints are, but like I said, this is more of a toy than a display piece.
So yeah, they are lots of fun. I got both Phone Braver 7 (the hero!) and Phone Braver 01 (The villain) from HobbyLink Japan. They go great together, and have different animations and different sound effects.
The only complaint I have about the phone is the darkness of the screen. There could have been some better illumination to make the facial features more prominent.
|Posted 26 July, 2010 - 08:44 by JoshB|