Great Mazinger 1969
Review by Sanjeev
This is Fewture's EX Gokin Great Mazinger 1969. And, yes, like the Mazinger Z 1969 from this line Josh had reviewed, I don't exactly get the connection between these robots and the year, 1969. But, hey, whatever! It's a damn cool toy.
Myself and other writers here have talked about this before, but I think it's worth repeating: quality, thoughtful packaging can really make a toy experience all the better. Yes, a turd in a dress is still a turd, but something Bandai just hasn't figured out with their SoC line is how much nicer a toy experience can be with the right presentation.
Along with gorgeous styrofoam tray you see above, there's a cool double-sided print of sketches of Great Mazinger and Mazinger Z by the late, Taku Sato. Another part I love: a single sheet of instructions! That's all you get; that's all you'll need.
Yes, glossy color booklets are cool, but I sure don't mind this minimalist approach. The time I have to devote to this crazy hobby is limited, so a lack of fluff is appreciated. And this sentiment is no more apparent in how I feel about accessories. The styro tray above is ALL there is. There's no double-layer or separate vacu-formed plastic tray for million other tiny bits. There is a hidden cavity on the bottom for the stand, but don't bother. You'll never need it. You just start with the basic robot and everything you need is right there.
The robot is a mixture of diecast and hard plastic. There are some PVC bits like the opening jaws(!). Again, as you'd expect from reading Josh's review of MZ, the metal and sheer size of this figure are more than a little awe-inspiring. The joints are super-tight and super-clicky and everything holds together nicely. ...With one exception. The toy comes with two PVC Brain Condors; one fixed and one with articulation to fold up in order to fit into GM's head. I don't know what I need to do to appease the toy gods, but I just can seem to get the folding one to fit securely into the head. I've seriously considered just gluing the damn thing in.
See...this is exactly the kind of thing that turns me off to most modern gokin. Designers are so desperate to offer multi-gimmickery and anime-accuracy that little details like this end up failing and annoying the collectors they're trying to impress. But I digress. Your mileage (and fundamental collecting habits) will vary!
Anyway, the good news is that the Brain Condor issue is pretty much the only flaw I have to report! The forearm magnets came securely glued to where they're supposed to be (unlike the common problem with many folks' MZ's). The Great Booster (not to be confused with the Scramble Dash!) clicks into the toy's back very firmly.
The only caveat, again, is the knee articulation. The knees are double-jointed, but the thigh, kneecap, and lower leg are all painted diecast. If you're not careful about how you flex these joints, the parts could bump against one another and rub the paint off in spots. This has already happened a little bit with mine, but as I've said before, life's too damn short to worry about paint rubs on a toy! Play with the damn thing! You won't be disappointed.
Sure, it's over $200US...but a couple paint rubs add character, right? ;)
Now, seriously, look at this toy.
It's gorgeous...that is, if you're into the whole retcon thing. I'm sure there are plenty of purists out there who don't exactly appreciate this almost McFarlane-ish take on a classic design. That's entirely subjective.
If you happen to like what you see, then you may just need this toy. Besides my gripe about the Brain Condor, the execution is essentially flawless. This was a rock-solid purchase for me.
So, let's take a look at some of the accessories and gimmicks. First, ya gotta have wings. In the cartoon, Great Mazinger could sprout wings out of his back just by yelling, "Scramble DASH!!". Now, that would be a pretty tough thing to pull off in a toy, so Fewture opted to go with the later upgrade to this feature, the Great Booster. This vehicle would be sent out from the base via remote control to dock with Great Mazinger, much like the original Mazinger Z's Jet Scrander.
Now, I guess if you're a completist and want both GM and MZ, there's something to complain about here: MZ's red Jet Scrander and GM's grey Great Booster are essentially the same thing. The sculpt of the main body of each accessory is identical. The wings are subtly different, though. Fortunately, I'm not a completist! ;)
The Great Booster features nice detents in the rotating wings and the nose of the craft is diecast. I'm not sure why many people have complained about these things not attaching securely to the robot--mine clicks in very firmly.
Next up, we have a huge sword! In the cartoon, Great Mazinger had his "Mazinger Blades" that would launch out of those things on his hips and...uh...grow in length. Well, Mazinger Z never had a sword, but Fewture gave him one anyway. This Great Mazinger toy has the same accessory, but there's nothing really to indicate that it comes from his hips. One neat thing is that, in addition to the sword, Great Mazinger comes with an alternate hilt that, when combined with the two swords from MZ and GM, forms a huge super-sword! Pretty neat. I'll have to bring this guy over to Josh's to check that feature out. Still, nothing ground-breaking.
It's worth noting here that the fingers aren't articulated. There are several different hands--all fairly flexible PVC: closed fists, open/aggressive hands, fists with separate, loose fingers, and one right hand with just the index finger extended (for the Thunder Break attack). The fists with the loose fingers look really good, but take a little effort to work the sword hilt into them. All the wrists are ball jointed as one would expect.
And speaking of the hands, here's an interesting design choice. A staple of these super robots is the launching fist weapon. For Great Mazinger, it was the Drill Pressure Punch; for Mazinger Z, it was Rocket Punch. Such weapons were also prominent features of the toys--spring-loaded fists were a much-copied gimmick from the classic chogokin era.
Modern gokin designers have addressed the problem of the launching fist in different ways. In most cases, replacement arms or elbows--lacking articulation--have been necessary to make these gimmicks work. Extra clunky bits...not exactly ideal solutions. I don't know if this was Sato's idea from the beginning or a decision made by Fewture based on the realities of toy manufacture, but either way, they have eschewed the launching fist altogether. Granted, the forearms can be removed and reattached easily via the magnetic joints to simulate these weapons, but there're no springs or buttons.
Instead, we're given...assorted brass knuckles?
Ah, the classic weapon of the honorable warrior: the noble brass knuckle. Well, what can ya do? There it is. At least ya get three sets of 'em.
Next up, one of my favorite attacks from the Mazinger era: Breat Burn. Sure, the name's a bit unfortunate, but it was sure cool to watch in the cartoons! What Fewture has done here is pretty neat. Normally, the figure is fitted with a solid diecast chest plate that can be removed and put into one of the loose fists to simulate the Great Boomerang attack (not pictured). To simulate the Breast Burn attack, this plate can actually be replaced on the figure with a translucent red plastic version with molded detail inside that catches the light in interesting ways and just looks killer!
A popular feature with these figures is the articulated jaw I mentioned earlier. Now, the original Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger robots had a simple grills covering where there mouths should be. GM could blast his enemies with the Great Typhoon, a powerful wind attack lacking the corrosive power of MZ's less-windy version, the Rust Hurricane. There really hasn't been a toy equivalent of this attack, so Sato designed one! The lower jaw drops down and the upper jaw lifts up a bit to expose the nicely sculpted Great Typhoon emitter. Sure, it doesn't actually do anything, but the addition of this detail is really cool!
Lastly, we have one of Great Mazinger's most powerful weapons, Thunder Break. GM would point his finger up into the sky and absorb all of the static electricity in the nearby atmosphere...then unleash that energy in a directed blast at the monster-of-the-week. Pretty rockin' to my 7-year-old mind back in the 80's. But don't get too excited; as far as the toy goes, it's just another alternate hand!
So, that basically covers everything. Again, besides the Brain Condor, the execution is excellent. If you can't get past the liberties Sato took with the sculpt, pass on this toy. But if this sort of thing appeals to you visually, go grab one.
|Posted 13 January, 2008 - 17:39 by Sanjeev|