Laserion DX with Full Armor
Review by The Enthusiast
**** I notice from time to time that this review will inexplicably trend on CDX. When I click thru, I am embarrassed by the sometimes terrible photography. I have updated this review with better pics. Please to enjoy. **** Laserion DX is the hero mecha from Video Warrior Laserion, a cartoon which originally aired for 45 episodes in 1984. From what I can tell, VWL was a virtual-reality based story, obviously influenced by Tron.
The show and its toys were unpopular, and the chogokin languished on shelves in both Japan and the US (both DX and ST models were released domestically under the Godaikin brand). When I became serious about vintage gokin, I was equally confused and elated by the typical robot collector’s indifference towards Laserion, a toy which I found especially appealing*. I was able to easily snap up a few lots to assemble a complete, minty specimen for hundreds of dollars less than any other Godaikin-era gokin of similar size. It was one of the rare instances where what I desired was actually plentiful and cheap. Laserion, at least in its Godaikin incarnation, ontinues to be an easily obtained, entry-level piece. Laserion comes in a classic suitcase-styled Popy box (15" x 12" x 4"), with handsome photographs and art on the front and sides. I particularly like the green wireframe illustration.
Inside, the playset rests in its Styrofoam cocoon, covered in the typical Popy window-lid.
In broad strokes, the set consists of the main robot armature, the infill body pieces, and weapons/accessories. I find the shear number of parts exciting, but I can understand how those partial to perfect transformation would be put off.
The “empty” armature is a formidable toy on its own. It’s substantial (at 11”)and fun enough to play with by itself.
The figure tends to “melt” due to its collapsible nature, though.
The fully-collapsed mode is interesting, Laserion could compress himself to make his file size smaller. The first Winzip compatible robot!
The body is mostly ABS, but with metal pins at all of the multifarious collapsing joints and diecast at the shoulders, knees, and elbows.
The parts which fit inside its torso and appendages can be combined into two modes with small rubber plugs, included (but often missing).
Both of these configurations suck heavily. The rubber plugs prevent any sort of solid connection, so the toys are just gooey blocks of fail. This feature is the weakest part of the whole set.
The head is a spaceship unto itself, and includes a small pilot within.
With the combination of the armature and the inserts, the figure really shines.
The textural complexity of the flat black, red, silver, and red; the chrome; and the translucent green, is unequaled in classic gokin, or indeed, since.
The figure comes equipped with a sword, gun and knee-lasers.
Laserion, while technically well articulated, is essentially a brick. But he’s so heavy and complex that I don’t miss the pose-ability.
But wait! It gets (much) better. Until a few months ago, I was somehow unaware of the upgrade armor! I luckily happened upon an auction for the accessory, bid on it before I knew what the hell it was, and then did my research. The armor is sublime. All plastic, it comes packaged separately in a window box. G2:572608] Inside, the (8) pieces are packed in Styrofoam with cardboard backing graphics.
I was a huge fan before I knew this set existed, but Laserion is incomplete without it. When you’ve fitted the pieces, each held on with friction, you get the feeling that this is the way he was supposed to look.
The bulkiness of the armor still preserves the layering and transparency of the overall figure, magnifying the complexity and depth of the design.
Gaze upon it, ye mortals:
*So why does Laserion appeal so much to me? My design sensibility is influenced by the confluence of nostalgia and tectonics, ie what I feel is “cool” in my gut and what I can appreciate as a beautiful and intuitively fun object. As a child of the eighties, my aesthetic taste is forever imprinted with a bias for the design touchstones of that era: chrome, angular lines, transparency, bold colors. This era, arguably, also saw the nadir of aesthetics and engineering in Japanese toys. Laserion, as a toy, is ambitious. It does more per-inch than other contemporaneous gokin. Each joint in a toy is a significant investment in engineering and material cost, and Laserion has around 70 JOINTS in the main figure alone. The engineering of the armature is totally unlike any other toy robot, Popy or otherwise, with no closed clam-shell volumes at all, just an articulated framework. Laserion personifies the entire mystique of the modern robot, the union between the machine and the spirit. Laserion’s design is a totally unique interpretation of the larger idea. The other titans of classic Gokin, say Tetsujin, Voltes, and Combattra, while well executed and soulful, don’t break any new ground in character design. Most are just impeccable versions of classic characters, either revised from previous designs or similar to each other. Laserion is a singular, beautiful expression of the mecha narrative which isn’t visually derivative of other characters. Laserion succeeds in being the embodiment of the super robot idea, realized with state-of-the-art engineering and quality (which we may never see again), while still being fun and funky. I think, by any standard, Laserion can compete with any of the more beloved Popy DX bots.
|Posted 22 August, 2009 - 17:59 by The Enthusiast|
Comments34 comments posted
Thanks so much for seeing this toy as I do, and posting this review. I've taken pics , but not to satisfaction, for a review project, but ya beat me to it. Awesome job!
This is one toy that even many serious robot geeks just shrug their shoulders about, because they haven't handled the toy itself. If they did , as you see, the things coolness, tons of features, and variety of materials start to win over. Quite an arsenal of spring loaded stuff too.
One part you need to be complete is the "complete" box, that houses both of the boxes you have shown, together into one huge pack with it's own unique graphics. I'll try to send a decent pic of it if you like?
Definitely send a pic! I've never seen the whole package together. I've also had a hard time getting photos to my satisfaction (I'm still not pleased). With all of the chrome it's a hard piece to photo.
I have a lot of love for laserion - i too have the boxed set. Its so great. You beat me to this one as well, but I doubt I could have done better. Great Job, and good to have you back around!
You are ALL freaks. This robot is...horrendous! ;P
Great review, though, The!
Maybe, but it's also freakin cool collapsable toy :) I really like this design :D
Good review, my enthusiastical friend :)
I don't post much, as these things are way out of my price range, but this toy is gorgeous. So unique, it's just amazing. What a toy!
trust me, it's not out of your price range. My Japanese version was fifty bucks. I actually have an extra Laserion in a beat up box. If you send me your info I'll send it to you for the cost of shipping.
Lezarion is the correct name for Laserion which, as usual, got bastardized and remained so in the States, in Italy and in Spain. In brief, the story is about a Japanese teen student (Takashi Katori) who chats - via internet - and plays online with his american buddy. They design their own robots online and fight with them as Max and Mirya did in 'Blind Date'. While the Japanese Government is experimenting with WARP travel something goes wrong: Takashi's virtual reality game interferes in the government's programme and his robot Lezarion becomes real and tangible. In fact, it appears out of nowhere instead of the passenger plane used in the experiment.
Watching the anime in Italian you immediately notice that 1. It comes from the same mecha designer/production house as Arbegas, GodMars and Dangaioh; 2. It is unique; 3. It is an 80s robot and 4. It was influenced by Tron (the green wireframe illustration and the virtual reality world are proof of that). The anime is made up of 45 episodes of which only 26 were aired in Italy as the show was somewhat unpopular. To make matters worse for Lezarion, he had to face a lot of competition in the 80s as fans were bombarded with much more attractive super robots like Daitarn 3 and Daltanious here in Europe.
Kindly remember that Lezarion had to travel through cyberspace and so the fully-collapsed mode seems to be its .zip format. What was also striking (and revolutionary at the time)in this robot was the fact that Takashi Katori used to pilot the robot through a simple computer keyboard! A sign of things to come?! I'm thinking of Dr. Ritsuko Akagi re-programming her mother's MAGI through a keyboard right now.
And no Sanjeev, this robot is NOT horrendous!
Excellent review, indeed. To be honest, I never knew an upgrade armor set existed. Thanks.
I think you might of missed it but even the Japanese box for this Product even says Laserion! It appears that Laserion was the official Romanji name for this anime, and really had nothing to do what America at all with it not being called Lezarion, which I've never heard until now. Maybe only the Italians called it that. Thanks for the info!
Nice review Ethusists! Great to have you back as I really missed your reviews! This is the only Godaikin I sold a few years ago which I regret now but at the time I didn't had any cash at the time and I really wanted my Spiral Zone Sentinel Bear (which I since bought and reviewed here on CDX) that was on Ebay at the time. I have mixed emotions about this design. It was a cool figure and I enjoyed playing with it as a kid but design wise it reminds me of the those late 198o's Super Sentai Robots designs I don't care too much for.
In light of the extra armor I REALLY regret selling the figure as the it brings the figure up to a new level. I like the new head design. Amazing accessory and thanks for sharing it. Great to have you back!
PS If you guys haven't read Josh's review of the smaller version of Laserion check it out it's one of my favorites on CDX!
CollectionDX Staff Writer-West Coast Bureau
All you have to do is to watch the YouTube video clip and you will hear the Spanish narrator announce it as Laserion, whereas the Japanese opening track calls him clearly Lezarion. Yes, it's that simple. If still in doubt, go and learn katakana and you'll see that I'm right.
Good that you brought up katakana as I do know it!
Yes that's the proper katakana way of saying it but everybody calls it Macross without pronouncing the "SU" at the end. People call it both ways Makurosu and Macross and it appears that Japanese write it both ways as well. In Romanji it is spelled Macross, in katakana its Makurosu. It's OK to have two ways of writing a title of a cartoon. I'm sure Laserion/Lazarion are both correct one version in Katakana the other in Romaji.
I'm just disagreeing with your statement that the Americans bastardized it as on all my JAPANESE toys they have it written as Laserion on the box. We are just reading what it says on the box in Romanji.
CollectionDX Staff Writer-West Coast Bureau
showoff. All I see are squiggles
That double boxed set is amazing, I really regret selling mine now, but how would I have known I would have got a better job only a year later. But after 20 years I needed that Sentinel Bear!
CollectionDX Staff Writer-West Coast Bureau
Then again, Mr. Rightguy, the show name and our english pronuciation of Laserion (Laserion...where is my phonetic alphabet when I need it) is 100% correct. You can't blame us for doing so, because the romanisation of the name is still Laserion. The reason is simple. "Lezar" is just how Japanese people pronounce "laser". Heard it that way in many various shows, so it can't be wrong.
Written Laserion and english-way spoken Laserion are ok. If you have that unstoppable urge to pronounce it the Island way, that's ok, but don't say it's the one and only "right" path. Because it isn't.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle :)
"What's in a name? Call a rose a different name would still smell the same."
"No Gnu is Good Gnu like Gary Gnu!"
I am sure that if Lezarion was given the Soul of Chogokin tratment, he would look as cool as Tetsujin 28 and GodMars issued recently by Bandai in their SOC line.
Thanks for all the info on Laserion/Lezarion. I always wondered what the story was behind this unusual looking toy. Now that I know the background, the toy makes much more sense to me. However, its design aesthetics still do nothing for me and I would most likely pass if it was made in the SOC line. Cool review! Keep up the good work Enthusiast!
"the other fat bearded guy at CDX"
Would you like to watch the first 26 episodes of Lezarion? Yes or No? If interested I can send you the links via email.
I would loooove to see this show.
It's not that the design of Laserion is ugly, it's just that what i "think" might have contributed to it lack of appeal was that the design was already considered outdated as in the same timeframe, much more sleeker and refined designs came about such as Macross Valkyries, Orguss, L-Gaim and Votoms. The only "older styled" designs at the time that were able to escape that and still remain appealing were Transformers, Machine Robo and Sentai.
I have the ST Laserion right next to me at this very moment. The spring loaded gun still works great.
Okay, let's hope these show up.
Double DX box front
Box Back, with fully decked out extra Laserion for scale.
It's also worth noting that this is one of the few bots with articulated fingers and thumbs to hold his accessories, not just a block plastic fist.
thanks for sharing! That is a sexy box. Does the larger box just contain the two smaller boxes, or is there a larger tray? (edit: duh, you answered that above)
Thanks for extra info and kind words, everybody. Knowing that the collapsible mode is laserion.zip makes it so much cooler!
I've also noticed a certain PLEX-like quality to the proportions. What else did this designer do?
Ah Koichi Ohata. The man designed the following:
M.D. Geist (no, I will not hear ill things about it. It's awesome)
The big box is actually just a sleeve/slip cover, that goes over both smaller boxes. The ends are open, and the flaps are just the end flaps of the other boxes. It does have it's own additional handle in the middle top though.
Is it just me or Laserion looks like it could have been from a Super Sentai TV show?
I wouldn't be surprised but I think that honour goes to Golion/Voltron.
For some strange reason the more this robot gets cornered and underappreciated the more I'm beginning to love him. And yes, if it was released as an upgraded new tooled Soul of Chogokin, I'll definitely buy it! All Lezarion lacks are some cool ball-joints and proper articulations and toy-wise it would even stand up to GodMars. Wait and see! Thanks for sharing.
WOW I couldn't agree more with you grendizer'75!!! I'd be in on the S.O.C. release for sure. Laserion ie "Lezarion" lmao.. is now in my favorite searches until I can secure one. Thanks for the excellent review Enthusiast.
Well I got mine! and it is a BEA-YUT! I got both Laserion and the DX Armor for a damn song. They were both old toy store stock MIB. Of course that giant slip box would be cool, but is really hard to find by itself. I was blown away at the entire heft of this set. It is even better than I could have imagined. Waaaay underrated Godaiken here people!
I'm glad you enjoy Laserion; sounds like you got a good score! In my opinion he is, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the best robot around.
I received mine directly from Japan on 21st March 2011 and was lucky enough to win one in MINT in MINT box condition!
It is clear that the one I got has never been opened, let alone played with!
It is definitely one of the many 'jewels in the crown' of my collection.
I am very happy with it!
Laserion was dubbed into ENGLISH and shown in Southeast Asia circa 1986. I have episode 1-24 in English. ;) Laserion is one of my favorite early 80s series, he deserves more credit!