Putting the "super" in Super Robot...
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I was raised on a healthy diet of Super Robot, Japan's extreme anime/manga machines. From animated wonders like Voltron and Tranzor Z (better known as Mazinger Z), to Mattel's amazing Shogun Warriors toy line, Super Robots fueled my childhood with their fantastic powers and garish good looks. Add on the fact that they were piloted by humans, and this kid's overactive imagination was ready to explode.
Needless to say, I LOVE Super Robots. Today we take a look a true Super Robot classic, DALTANIOUS, the starring force of the anime series Future Robo Daltanious. While it only aired for one year (1979 to 1980), it remains an Asian favorite... and for good reason. Daltanious puts the "super" in Super Robot. Comprised of of three units - Atlaus (small robot), Gunper (spaceship), and Beralios (robo lion) - Daltanious is like a Super Robot "Greatest Hits" album. For starters, there is the mechanical lion, which no doubt heavily influenced Voltron in the early '80s. Then there's a separate command ship that pops out of Atlaus' head, a feature prominent on Mazinger Z. Daltanious even borrows his arsenal from other Super Robot greats, such as a bow and arrow, reminiscent of Brave Raideen.
To honor the mighty Daltanious, Bandai Japan has entered the Super Robot in it's prestigious Soul of Chogokin series; a high-end toy collection that includes all the bells and whistles. Die-cast content, complex transformation, and a wealth of accessories, the GX-59 DALTANIOUS is the epitome of robot collectibles on the market today. However, owning the best does come at a price. Hitting U.S. retail later this month courtesy of Bluefin/Tamashii Nations, GX-59 DALTANIOUS can be the center of your Super Robot collection for a SRP of $269.99. Better yet, pre-order him from BigBadToyStore.com and Daltanious can be yours priced at $249.99.
PACKAGING: To deliver this cool collectible to your doorstep, Bandai has crafted a package fit for a king. Measuring a whopping 16" long, 12" wide and nearly 8" deep, Daltanious' box instantly impresses with its size. Equally attractive is the abundance of product photos adorning all sides of the package. Dynamically pictured are Daltanious' many modes - separate and combined - along with a look at the plethora of gear he comes with. Everything included inside is listed on the back of the box. The "wow" factor is pretty big. If I saw this package on a toy store shelf (which you won't, unless it's a hobby importer), I would have no choice but to pick it up and examine it.
Popping off the cover, collectors will find no less than three stacked storage trays crammed pack full of Daltanious goodies. To insure all the parts arrive in prestine condition, Bandai went as far as wrapping the majority of the pieces in individual plastic sleeves to prevent abrasive wear and tear. You'll spend a good hour at this stage simply unpacking and gawking at the multitude of components and thinking to yourself how awesome this Super Robor it going to be fully kitted up.
Before we get to that fully transformed state that is Daltanious, we must explore his many modes. First up is the smaller robot Atlaus - the leader of the Super Robot team. Like a minature version of the combined 12-inch tall Super Robot, Atlaus stands proud at close to 6 inches and packs some incredible die-cast content. This robot reminds me a lot of my old Shogun Warrior toys in size and construction and I got a warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling while playing around with him. And wait until you do play around with him! There are so many layers to Daltanious and his individual modes that it's like peeling back an onion of awesomeness. For Atlaus you have multiple weapon attachments. These include two spiked hand-held blades that can also be combined to form a powerful boomerang. Then there's his arms. Each silver nub on his gauntled arms pops off and can be replaced with protruding spikes called "Hand Slicers". There's even a surprise in his head! As mentioned at the beginning of my review, Atlaus features a removable micro command ship, very similar to Mazinger Z. With a few twists of the wings (yes, even the small ship transforms!), the shuttle can be inserted into Atlaus' noggin for piloting the robot, or removed for roving around on its own. Now imagine a human pilot behind the wheel of that tiny ship and you get a clearer idea how large Daltanious would be - fully formed - in real life. COLOSSAL!
Next up we have Beralios, the mechanized lion that inspired another Super Robot legend, Voltron. Here we only get one lion, but the gist is the same as the five that comprise the Lion Force. With its opening and closing mouth and attachable back blaster, Beralios is a really fun toy on its own. Heck, all three of Daltanious' modes are great fun. It's quite the dilemma deciding on how to display these - individually or combined?
Pushing on through the twisting maze of Daltanious delights we reach Gunper, a sleek spaceship. At first glance, the Gunper may look simple in appearance, but the craft actually comes loaded with well concealed action gimmicks. First, slide out the two hidden bars below the vehicle and attach the two included silver blades. Presto! Instant slice and dice machine! Lifting back the dorsal fin panels reveals another secret defense, two extremely possable grappling claws. Each finger even articulates! Next, the two thruster panels can flip down and Daltanious' power fists can be stowed away for later use. Or you can pretend to launch them for a devastating rear attack. Last, but not least are two handle bars that pop out from below and reattached in their appointed slots. This allows Atlaus to grab on to them and use the Gunper as super rocket transportation.
Finally we come to main attraction, the fully transformed Daltanious! Hasbro Transformer fanatics will absolutely have a blast converting the three modes into this towering toy. Transformation is not too challenging, but there is so much going on that it'll keep you raptly entertained. Morphing Atlaus is the initial step. Flip around his legs and fold them up around his chest, the latter which splits open wide to accommodate them. Atlaus' small head pops off as well, to be replaced with a much larger version (sans the removeable ship ability). Next, Beralios balls all up to form the torso. His head flips down to form the lion crest on Daltanious, the front legs compress and become part of Daltanious' back, while the lion's back legs stiffen out to become anchors for the main legs, Gunper.
Gunper is the easiest of the bunch. The ship splits in half while the nose cones on each section retract and bend out 90 degrees to form feet. The rest of the process is as simple as connecting the three components: Atlaus locks onto Beralios, while the lion's feet lock into the Gunper halves. The entire process reveals remarkable craftmanship, not only in how it all transforms (rocket engineers at work here, gang), but the toy's solid construction. I never once feared that anything would break. There is also barely any part swapping. There's the head that muist be changed, bigger shoulder pads to slide on, and Daltanious' larger arms have to be attached, but almost everything else is part of the toy(s).
Once built, the fun with Daltanious continues with an arsenal bursting at the seams. This figure includes so much gear that Bandai provides a weapon's rack (that you snap together) for storing all the stuff! Included are all the gizmos mentioned above for the three modes, in addition to four sets of interchangeable hands (fisted, two weapon gripping and splayed open), spiked and not-spiked arm bracers, clear power cross and stand, a Trans Shield, Thunder Bow and arrow (with rotating handle for two-handed firing), as well as two bladed weapons, one being the massive Fire Flame Sword!
Bandai's Soul of Chogokin GX-59 DALTANIOUS is, in a word, INSANE. My review and the over 140 photos I took (check them out at the link below!) only begin to scratch the surface of this amazing collectible. $269 ($249 at BigBadToyStore.com!) may seem like alot, and it is. But Bandai certainly makes sure you get your money's worth. Soul of Chogokin Daltanious was created for the passionate Super Robot fan, one who wants to recreate - in precise detail - every possible mode, pose and action of their favorite anime robot hero. Soul of Chogokin Daltanious delivers on all accounts with a toy worthy of a legend. Two power fists up... way up.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Bluefin
Toynami's Voltron Masterpiece Edition teams up with Bandai's mighty Soul of Chogokin Daltanious