Monday 11 February 2013

Toybox REVIEW: Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 01

If you're a follower of this blog, you probably know by now that I'm a huge Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fan. Over the last few years I've amassed quite the collection of Gurren Lagann figures, from the Revoltech range to the tattooed Ver. KA and more recently, the gorgeous Riobot. But I'm always on the look out for new ones, and Bandai recently came through with a version in their ever popular Super Robot Chogokin line. After the stylized look of the Riobot, the SRC goes back to a more anime-accurate approach to the heaven-piercing Gunman. Here is the review.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann Box Front

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann BackSuper Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann Insert Tray

In true Gurren Lagann style, the box are is brash and in your face.A drill-ready Gurren Lagann stands alongside foil text (a Super Robot Chogokin staple) and the trademark Gurren Lagann light reflection. The back shows off the figure's alternate faces, the "crossover joint" capabilities (more on that later) and a small box advertising the additional "Drill Set of Manliness" accessory pack (sold separately of course). Despite featuring a rather hefty wingpack, the figure and its accessories all fit nicely on one plastic tray.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 02

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 03Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 04

Die-cast is a staple of the Super Robot Chogokin line anyway, but it's never felt more at home with Gurren Lagann. With most of the Gurren Lagann figures this scale either dreadfully light or dreadfully floppy, its really refreshing to finally handle one with a bit of weight on it. The sculpt itself is gorgeous, the headscuplts being easily the best of ANY Gurren Lagann figure. However sticklers for accuracy will note that some liberties have been taken. The most noticeable of these is the oversized kneecaps, which are more fitting with some of the stylized drawings of Gurren Lagann you see in the commercial bumpers during the show. Early pictures of the figure made these look a lot worse than they seem, but the difference isn't all that bad in hand and still works very well with the overall aesthetic. A more minor change is the Gurren-Dan logos on the shoulder pads, which now feature an orange centre rather than just being solid red. Articulation is fantastic, with the arms coming away from the shoulders more than you'd expect for a whole range of Gainax-style action poses.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 05

Gurren Lagann features a number of removable parts outside the usual handswapping, and although they may seem fiddly Bandai have actually made it as easy as possible. The hands themselves now seem to be on joints more akin to SH Figuarts, albeit far sturdier. You might encounter some frustration changing them, but you can rest assured that there won't be any pegs breaking here. Although the instructions claim that the face can be removed simply by taking the crest off, its far easier to pop the entire head off the figure to do so otherwise it will get rather fiddly. Changing the sunglasses section is trickier (especially for fear of breaking the glasses themselves), but once you can can a strategically placed nail under the panel it'll come away with little to no problems.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 06

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 07

But what's Gurren Lagann without a selection of drill related accessories? In the case of the Super Robot Chogokin...still quite good oddly. That's right, despite have a pretty impressive selection of extra pieces drills are pretty lacking with this release. Included are 4 pairs of hands (closed fists, open palms, gripping hands and the obligatory "Pierce the heavens..." pointing hands), 2 alternate faces, 2 sunglasses blade weapons, the Gurren wingpack, four small drills and a port for Tamashii stages (as usual, sold separately). No medium or giga drills to be seen here. Don't be too disappointed, because we'll be coming to where your Gurren Lagann can Giga Drill Break in peace in the second part of this review.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 08Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 09

Meanwhile, unlike the Riobot where it warranted a whole new piece, the 4 small drills can be plugged into the wrists. The wingpack plugs in by removing the back panel off of the figure, and then just clicking it in. With hinge joints in 4 places, it can fold nicely behind and around the figure. It's nicely detailed, and if you have a Tamashii Act 5 stage on hand adds to the already dynamic range of poses possible.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 10Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 11

While this review doesn't show this feature off, Gurren Lagann includes a new feature to Super Robot Chogokin appropriately called "crossover joint". Just like it says on the box, this allows Gurren Lagann to use pieces of various other SRC figures and vice versa, for example the various Mazinger Z scranders. Just take a look here and spot the differences.

Super Robot Chogokin Gurren Lagann 12

Back when I reviewed the Riobot, I thought it was a standard that would probably never be beaten. And I still do...kind of. While the Super Robot Chogokin could never live up to it in the engineering and aesthetic department, it has it beat in being a much better toy. Where handling the Riobot can sometimes feel like a scary experience, the SRC is a solid, sturdy toy that exists to be messed around with. And even with the liberties Bandai took with the design, it's still leagues ahead of its closest anime-accurate counterpart - the Revoltech, is in overall presentation.

If you can't afford the Riobot and/or want a great quality anime-accurate version of Gurren Lagann, buy this figure. You will not regret it. It's accessory count may feel like its missing a few things, but there's a reason for this. Stay tuned to the next part of this review to find out why...

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