Taking transforming robots to the next level...
Bandai's Soul of Chogokin GX-55 TOBIKAGE & HOURAIOH are currently in-stock at HobbyLinkJapan.com.
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Soul of Chogokin, which translates to "Soul of Super-alloy," is one of Bandaiís signature Japanese toy lines, one that focuses on robots from various anime series. Up for review today are two Soul of Chogokin toys - Tobikage and Houraioh - from the short-lived series NINJA SENSHI TOBIKAGE (Ninja Robot Tobikage). Tobikage is a mysterious robotic ninja that can form with other robots in time of need. Houraioh is a ninja machine "Phoenix Thunderhawk" operated by a human controller named Renny (not included). When combined with Tobikage, they form the "Sky Demon Houraioh". The opening can be seen below:
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLgumE3Kq8o"]NINJA SENSHI TOBIKAGE[/ame]
Having grown up on American toys, Iím pretty flabbergasted at the quality of Japanese toys, and in particular, the ones by Bandai. You donít have to understand the anime property to appreciate the craftsmanship and the amount of detail put into these fine collectibles. Transformers Human Alliance can eat their heart out because THIS is how a transforming robot is meant to be done.
Both robot ninja and robot beast come with a slew of weaponry, and weíre not talking about simple soft plastic guns. Weíre talking strong materials that can actually do some damage to softer hands. But weíre getting way ahead of ourselves here, so letís start at the beginning.
The colorful packaging for Soul of Chogokin is, for the lack of better words, awesome. The photography gracing all sides are FANTASTIC and better than my efforts. Of course itís all in Japanese so I canít translate any of it for you guys but Iím pretty sure that itís telling you what an amazing toy this is.
When opening the box, youíll find two plastic trays: one for the figures and another for weapons. A handy instruction manual will help you distinguish what accessories belong to who, and how to transform your ninja machine. It is a bit difficult though since itís all in Japanese so I did the best I could from the diagrams.
NOTE: Figures above are not shown to scale with each other.
The sculpting on both Tobikage and of Houraioh are fantastic and each are solid enough toys in their own right. The amount of detail and parts to both figures are sure to astound, and much like Sideshow or Hot Toys 12" figures, these small scale figures each come with a handful of various hands to swap out.
Houraioh stands about 6 inches tall while Tobikage stands about 4 inches tall. Articulation-wise, both bots are fully decked out. Iíve never seen so many points in a figure this size before. Tobikage has, I kid you not, over forty moving parts, allowing you to do practically anything youíve ever wanted an action figure to do.
Houraioh, on the other hand, has less articulation but thatís only because itís a transforming beast! And "limited" doesnít at all mean ďlimitedĒ as he sports over 24 points of articulation in robot mode making him quite comparable to most 6 inch figures around. Transforming Houraioh isnít difficult and the instruction booklet does a fair enough job aiding you through the process with pictures. It would certainly help if you can read Japanese, but since I donít, I winged some of it. The parts that included combining Tobikage with Houraioh was a bit of a hurdle for me so thatís something Iíll look into again in the near future.
The paint for both bots are stellar, solid, and completely clean. Many parts were pre-painted before assembly but the details that were applied after the fact are still done with the most care. These are sharp looking toys.
Itís time now to cover the vast amount of accessories Bandai included here. Tobikage comes with four pairs of hands, one additional hand firing a chain, two swords, sheath, other assorted weaponry and add on pieces to his outer thighs.
Houraioh comes equipped with three pairs of hands, two blades, four point blade, wing attachments and components in beast mode. With all thatís included, thereís no shortage of what you can do. Itís almost TOO much good stuff.
All in all, Bandai scores a home run with this release and you can get yours now at www.hobbylinkjapan.com for $107 American. It may seem steep but these are heavy duty toys and the perfect thing for fans of the show, or fans of transforming robots with ninjas in general. If American toys could be half as good as these, it would be amazing.
Photos and Review by David Yeh
Review Samples Courtesy Hobby Link Japan