Tuesday 30 April 2013

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ryuki

Kamen Rider Ryuki Shinji Kido Dragreder

Kamen Rider Ryuki is the third entry in Kamen Rider's Heisei era, and the 12th installment over all. It ran for a total of 50 episodes in 2002, complete with a feature length film, a TV special and one Hyper Battle Video crossover with the previous series, Kamen Rider Agito.

When people start being mysteriously abducted without a trace, online journalist Shinji Kido is sent to investigate. He discovers an Advent Card Deck, and is sucked into a nearby reflective surface into the Mirror World. Attacked by monsters, Shinji is saved by Ren Akiyama - who appears in the Mirror World as Kamen Rider Knight. Ren warns Shinji to keep away from the Deck and the Rider Battle, where 13 Kamen Riders must fight to the death in order for the victor to have their wish granted. Uninterested in the prize but wanting to protect innocent lives from the monsters and end the fighting, Shinji makes the required contract with a giant dragon named Dragreder to become Kamen Rider Ryuki. But despite his best efforts, Ryuki becomes an opponent to the other Riders wishing to claim the ultimate prize. Shinji strikes up a rocky friendship with Ren and his friend Rei Kanzaki, who is searching for her missing brother Shiro. Could his disappearance be connected with the Mirror World?

Kamen Rider Knight Ren Akiyama Ryuki DarkwingKamen Rider Zolda Shouichi Kitaoka Ryuki Magnugiga

Kamen Rider Ouja Takeshi Asakura Ryuki Venosnaker GenociderKamen Rider Odin Ryuki Goldphoenix

So Ryuki features a lot of Kamen Riders. 13 in fact (14 if you want to include the man-made Alternatives). With a massive cast like this, plot threads could easily get rushed and the story be all over the place. But just because there are 13 Riders doesn't mean all 13 are integral to Ryuki's story. Only 10 of the 13 appear in the series itself, with the other 3 relegated to the movie and special (which will be mentioned again later). The core Rider cast is essentially comprised of Shinji (Ryuki), Ren Akiyama (Knight), Shouichi Kitaoka (Zolda) and Takeshi Asakura (Ouja), with the others coming and going as the story fits. Non-Rider main characters include Rei and Shiro Kanzaki, and to a lesser extent Kitaoka's servant Gorou. These are the characters that you pay attention to. Having 13 Riders is nice, but the series is called Kamen Rider Ryuki and so naturally follow's Ryuki's story. The abundance of Riders just shows the scale of Shiro Kanzaki's plan.

Shinji isn't really your typical Rider either, especially in comparison to those that came before him. He's unwillingly thrown into the Rider Battle, and not a particularly great fighter. He's the most comical of the main characters, but is a true Rider in that he has a heart of hero and the desire to protect innocent people from the mirror monsters. In many respects, some might argue that Ryuki is actually more about Ren/Knight than it is about Shinji - he's the stoic one with a back story and reason to fight. The two never really see eye to eye until the very end, but their exchanges are what make this rocky "friendship" interesting. Kitoka/Zolda on the other hand comes across as self-absorbed and arrogant, but his reasons for fighting are pretty tragic. Asakura/Ouja on the other hand is a true villain and an absolute pleasure to watch on screen - a cold blooded murder who's only real desire to to keep on fighting. And to be honest, when you think about it Ouja is actually the one that plays the game best of all. The point is every Rider has their own motives and reason for fighting - you certainly won't like all the characters, but their integral to populating a world where being a Kamen Rider doesn't mean that you're eventually going to be a hero.

Kamen Rider Raia Miyuki Tezuka Ryuki EvildiverKamen Rider Gai Jun Shibaura Ryuki Metalgelas

Kamen Rider Tiger Satoru Tojo Ryuki DestwilderKamen Rider Scissors Masashi Sudo Ryuki Volcancer

The show is reasonably dark, and places a lot of focus on character development and mystery/suspense over Rider action. Early on the fight sequences only really take place at the end of an episode, gradually growing as the Rider Battle comes to its climax. That isn't to say Ryuki doesn't have comedy characters (these come in the form of Shinji's ORE Journal co-workers and Yui's grandmother) or comic moments, but they rarely get in the way of the main plot.

There also comes the subject of endings, which is perhaps a key point when talking about Ryuki. Without giving away too much, the ending of the series is rather divisive among fans with some calling it a cop-out and others praising it. Personally while I can why the ending may frustrate some, the series concludes in the most natural direction and presents an ending which, when you stop and think about, perhaps isn't as much of a cop-out as you may initially think. Ryuki also provides an alternate ending for the series in the form of a full-length film, titled Episode Final. While elements of the film are easier to wrap your head around than the series' plot, the pacing isn't great, characters are pushed aside in favour of new ones and its conclusion is unlikely to satisfy you if you didn't enjoy the way the series ended. Meanwhile the TV special 13 Riders is a much more interesting piece of AU fiction. With the Ryuki story condensed down into just under an hour it isn't particularly in-depth, but the one time all 13 Riders appear together. Some of the role changes are quite interesting and the ending (or endings, since this itself has two alternate ones) shows Shinji at his finest.

Kamen Rider Imperer Mitsuru Sano Ryuki GigazelleKamen Rider Femme Miho Kirishima Ryuki Episode Final Blancwing

Kamen Rider Ryuga Ryuki Episode Final DragblackerKamen Rider Verde Itsuro Takamizawa Ryuki 13 Riders Biogreeza

Kamen Rider Ryuki is a fantastic series, and one that seems to do pretty much everything right. It has a relatively dark plot with lots of developing mysteries, a core cast despite containing so many Riders and comic relief that doesn't ever get in the way of the main plot. Episode Final and 13 Riders may not live up to the standard the series sets, but these are a bonus and illustrate just how well alternate universe concepts work for Ryuki. If you can get past the slightly dated CGI, then this is a Kamen Rider series that is not to be missed.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

If you're looking for a Kamen Rider series to ease you into the world of S.H. Figuarts, Kamen Rider Ryuki is not the series I'd recommend. With 13 Riders, 2 powered up forms and an extra "Rider", it's one that could push you right down the rabbit hole - not just because most have been seen at various Tamashii events, but also because half of them are Tamashii web exclusives. However the big four - Ryuki, Knight, Zolda and Ouja are comfortable purchases and considered by many to be the best the line line has to offer. While Ryuki and Knight included their respective contract monsters and Zolda comes with an impressive arsenal of weapons, Kamen Rider Ouja was not so fortunate. Psychotic criminal Takeshi Asakura isn't one to rely on a great deal of weapons, and his contract monster Venosnaker was saved for the impressive Genocider set. Can the figure stand on its own merits?

(Oh, and for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight fans I should mention that this is Kamen Rider Strike).

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura StrikeSH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

The packaging is a fairly basic silver, with the name printed in appropriate foil purple lettering. Since I've never mentioned it on my blog before, I shall address why it says "Masked Rider Ouja" rather than "Kamen Rider Ouja". Due to licensing issues I'm not fully aware of, any character prior to those that appear in Kamen Rider W have "Masked Rider" printed on their box instead. There, now that that's covered we have the back of the box, which features the usual action poses as well as a shattered mirror look. Y'know, since the Ryuki battles take place in the mirror world.

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura StrikeSH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

One thing I really like about the Ryuki riders is the use of vented visors over the traditional compound bug eyes (well, Ryuki himself has both), and the distinct armoured look each of them have. Being based on a snake, Ouja is one of my favourites and the figure sculpt pulls the suit design off really well. The purple is noticeably a lighter shade than that on the actual suit, but has a fantastic metallic sheen to it (see the pictures I took with the flash on). The gold and silver detailing compliments it nicely, the "raised" sculpted sections in the matte black body give it that extra bit of depth. Some in the past complain of the silver "ports" falling off the figure (as with many other Ryuki riders) but at the time of writing I'm yet to encounter that problem. A nice little extra feature is that the Advent Deck is removable from the belt, but as you can expect its too small to actually house any cards inside.

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura StrikeSH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

Articulation is to the usual Figuarts standard, but with a few little things to note. Firstly while the shoulder pads are hinged, the suit design means that they get in the way of the torso armour - resulting in slightly-less adequate shoulder articulation. Not a huge deal breaker, but certainly something worth noting. The other point to raise is that the Ryuki figures do not feature the swing-down hips that have become the norm for most Figuarts, instead opting for more conventional balljoint pieces. They may take some getting used to, but actually feel far less fiddly and more natural than the swing-down hips.

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura StrikeSH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

While I mentioned earlier that Ouja does not come with his contract monster Venosnaker, that doesn't stop the figure coming with everything else it needs. Included are 14 pairs of hands, the Veno Visor sceptre, the Veno Saber and a selection of six Advent Cards. The level of detail on the Veno Visor is excellent, and the top even slides open to fit in your choice of Advent Card. The cards included with the figure are
  • 2 blank contract cards
  • Advent
  • Steal Vent
  • Sword Vent
  • Final Vent
It's a bit sad that they're all Venosnaker release cards, but that gives you even more reason to pick up a Kamen Rider Raia or Gai to have him steal from.

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura StrikeSH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ouja Bandai Ryuki Asakura Strike

It's true that Ouja may not come with as many accessories as the other big names of Kamen Rider Ryuki, but truth be told he doesn't need them. Ouja was my first dip into Ryuki Figuarts and it's astonishingly clear the effort that has gone into these figures. But not only is Ouja a fantastic figure that represents the very best of the Figuarts line, he's a badass snake Rider who is one of the very best villain Riders the franchise has to offer. How much more can you want than that?

Monday 15 April 2013

Toybox REVIEW: D-Arts Mewtwo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

If you own a Nintendo handheld console, chances are you've played a Pokémon game in your life. If you were a child in the late 90s/early noughties, most of these fond memories were probably spent playing the original Red and Blue versions on the Game Boy or watching the anime series. While Pokémon has always had a huge following outside its target demographic, there hasn't been much in the way of poseable figures aimed at adult collectors. Until now that is, as Bandai welcome them into their video-game based D-Arts line. Their first release is the 150th Pokémon Mewtwo - clone of Mew, final monster in the original Pokédex and star of the very first Pokémon movie. Joining him later this year will be the fully evolved forms of the Kanto starters Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur.

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon NintendoD-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

While my reviews usually look at the packaging of the figure, I'm going to take an extra moment just to appreciate Mewtwo's. Being a Pokémon character, I had fears that the box could go two ways - the first being a colourful video game mess, and the second Bandai's usual standard of packaging - effective, but usually not particularly noteworthy. But I have to say this is one impressive boxes I've seen in a while. From the great art of Mewtwo on the front to the side window, foil silhouettes on the spines and lilac/pink/black colours, everything screams Mewtwo. The back is a little more typical of Bandai, featuring Mewtwo in a number of poses against a Pokéball backdrop. Opening it up there are three plastic trays - one containing the figure, one the included stand and then a third smaller one containing the effect parts (which rests on the first tray).

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon NintendoD-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

As you can see, this interpretation of Mewtwo uses the faint lilac colourscheme of the anime/later games rather than white of the original generation one artwork, which also means he has the much leaner proportions. The articulation is fantastic, with ball joints in the head, neck, hands, waist, legs and feet. The arms not only include double jointed elbows, but also a bicep swivel. But perhaps most interesting of all is the addition of finger articulation! While this may only be at the knuckle, it adds a lot of versatility to the figure without the need for constant hand swapping.

The only real downside is that because Mewtwo stands on his toes, posing without the aid of a stand is extremely difficult. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but I couldn't manage it and the weight of the tail just makes things all the harder.

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon NintendoD-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

One aspect of D-Arts Mewtwo's design that had everyone on edge was his tail. Given the sheer size of it articulation was a must, and Bandai's method of segmenting the tail in separate parts was not to everyone's tastes. However unappealing it may look into photographs, up close it is a lot more seamless (not perfect, but better than you might expect). The range of motion varies from section to section (with the most movement being at either end of the tail), but there's enough there to go as far as stretching it out for mid-flight poses. Just be aware that the tail is heavy, and some of the more extravagant poses will probably require a second stage arm to support the tail.

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon NintendoD-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

Mewtwo doesn't have a whole load in the way of accessories, but what he does have Bandai haven't taken half measures on. The main draw in the Pokéball themed Tamashii stand, which is much bigger than I was initially expecting. The stand comes with two arm sections (but only one claw piece), and the base has enough ports for a total of four arms. However if you don't want to use that many, there are pieces included to plug up three of the holes on the base. For Mewtwo himself there is a psychic energy effect part, as well as a hand featuring a plug to hold said part. Only one hand is included, as it can be used as either the left or right. I found the energy part plugs nicely into the hand, however the articulated fingers have a habit of falling off while trying to do so, making the process a lot more frustrating than it needs to be.

If you're buying the first release of Mewtwo, you'll also be treated to a first release bonus in the form of a small Mew figurine. While this Mew features no poseable parts whatsoever, it scales nicely with Mewtwo and can be plugged into one of the stand arms to also be posed on the stage. Perfect if you fancy recreating any of those Pokémon: The First Movie moments.

D-Arts Mewtwo Mew Bandai Pokémon NintendoD-Arts Mewtwo Mew Bandai Pokémon Nintendo

D-Arts Mewtwo Bandai Pokémon Nintendo Figma Link Pikachu Super Smash Bros

Overall I have to say I'm very impressed with my first foray into the D-Arts line. Mewtwo isn't a perfect figure, but many of my complaints are because of the design of the character himself rather than the toy's engineering. Despite the segmented tail looking off-putting in pictures, it doesn't look as bad in hand and pulls off the poseability required excellently. The inclusion of the stand and Mew only sweeten the deal. Rest assured, Mewtwo is a worthy addition to your collection whether it's part of a Pokémon display, a Super Smash Bros. melee or even a stand-alone figure to satisfy your nostalgia.

Sunday 14 April 2013

First Impressions: Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness

Garo The One Who Shines in the Darkness Yami o Terasu Mono Season 3 Ryuga

While English-speaking Garo fans continue the long wait for a subbed version of the "Demon Dragon of the Blue Cries" (Soukoku no Maryu) movie to find out the conclusion to Kouga Seijima's story, the legend of the Makai Knights continues on in a third Garo season, entitled "The One Who Shines in the Darkness" (Yami o Terasu Mono). This season features an all-new cast, with just how it continues on from the original two seasons still unclear.

With the fate of Kouga a mystery, the Garo armour has found a new owner in the form of Ryuga Dougai. Though the armour strangely lost its golden shine with its former master, it still wields the power Ryuga needs to battle the evil spirits known as Horrors. Ryuga has travelled to Vol City, drawn to the high concentration of Horrors plaguing the city. Causing quite a scene killing a Horror masquerading as a bride, the newest Golden Knight catches the attention of the city's special task force SG1, but a group of Makai Knights led by a Makai Priest named Burai.

If you've read my review of the previous Garo series, you'll know that I consider it one of the greatest tokusatsu series out there. Though the thought of a sequel series featuring an entirely new cast might be off-putting to some, the first episode of The One Who Shines in the Darkness, titled "Ryuga" does not disappoint. Everything that makes Garo brilliant, from the extremely impressive action sequences (mostly unarmoured) to the adult themes and detailed mythology, is still present - a long with a whole load of new mysterious revolving around these new characters.

Much like the title suggests, this episode focusses squarely on Ryuga and his arrival in Vol City. While he definitely has the same imposing qualities that made Kouga such a badass, it's clear that Ryuga is a very different Garo to his predecessor. Rather than stoic and quiet, Ryuga is wild and sarcastic, throwing quips at Horrors as he fights them. The episode also sets up plenty of questions to be answered over the course of the show - just why has the Garo armour turned black? If Ryuga is a Makai Knight, why is he not assigned to a location and cannot speak Makai language? Why won't Zaruba talk to his new master?

While facing off against SG1, Ryuga comes face to face their female commander Enhou. There isn't much to say about her so far, other than that it's clear she's going to become somewhat of a recurring character. At the very end we also meet Makai Priest Burai and two Makai Knights - Aguri and Takeru (played by Gokai Silver actor Junya Ikeda).

The One Who Shines in the Darkness may not spend a great deal of time introducing newcomers to the lore of Garo, but it's still pretty easy to come to grips with. Once you've established what a Horror and Makai Knights are, like the already established Garo fans what you have to look forward to is a stunning, engaging tokusatsu series that certainly isn't for children.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Toybox REVIEW: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Minipla Kyoryuzin

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

With Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger well underway and the DX line on the shelves since its premiere, it's time to take a look at the cheaper alternative to those big clunky toys. After a fairly impressive year with Go-Busters, it's time for Kyoryuger main mecha Kyoryuzin to get the minipla treatment. If you are unfamiliar with the minipla line, these are smaller model kits that include stickers and usually feature far more articulation than their larger counterparts - including knees and elbows.

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Despite Kyoryuger featuring a 5-piece team, the mecha bizarrely uses a 3-piece formation with Green and Black's Zyudenryu being used for an alternate formation (named Kyoryuzin Western, whose parts are included in the second minipla release). This first set includes Gabutyra (made up of two boxes), Stegotchi and Dricera - who come in one box each. Included is the usual piece of soda flavoured candy, this time in a clover shape rather than the usual circle. 

I have chosen to paint parts of my minipla while also using the stickers, and as such the pictures below reflect that. If you would like to see what Kyoryuzin looks like using the stickers alone, please visit THIS BLOG.


Minipla Gabutrya Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

First up we have Gabutyra, Kyoryu Red's partner and the largest Zyudenryu included in this set. The first box of the tyrannosaurus includes his top section, while the second box includes the arm section and legs. While easily the most complicated kit in this selection, Gabutyra is still a very easy model kit to get to grips with for beginners and shouldn't take you too long to finish.

Minipla Gabutrya Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Gabutrya Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Gabutyra features a decent array of articulation, including a moving jaw, moving arms, a rotating waist, hip articulation and ball jointed feet. Just about enough poseability to pull off Gabutyra's rather active personality.  With the battery gimmick stripped from the minipla release of the Kyoryuger toys, Gabutyra has a rather unsightly arm port sticking out of his neck.

With a larger stature comes more detailing, and unfortunately Gabutrya is missing quite a few of the details present on the show model and DX toys. The stickers do a pretty god job of covering the silver detailing, but the yellow sections are particularly unsightly. The worst offender is his tail, which is moulded in black despite being entirely yellow - and the stickers do a poor job of relaying this. If you've done some model painting in the past, you'll know just how much of a pain it is to paint yellow on any kind of plastic, let alone black. Gabutyra's feet also are half red, but here are moulded entirely in black.

Minipla Gabutrya Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Gabutrya Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy


Minipla Stegotchi Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

While Gabutyra is what you'd usually expect from the minipla line, Stegotchi is where we begin to encounter some of the shortcomings in this year's Kyoryuger selection.To put it most simply, Stegotchi is tiny - not much taller than Gabutyra's feet. As such the kit itself is incredibly simple. Even if you're a beginner to the world of minipla and model kits I can't see this taking you much longer than 5-10 minutes to complete (that's if you're using the stickers rather than paint of course).

Minipla Stegotchi Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Stegotchi Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Articulation isn't particularly plentiful, but there is some. The stubby little lets can rotate 360 degrees, the mouth can open and close (which is mainly due to the combining gimmick rather than an actual feature) and the sword section in the centre of the spines can swing upwards). The tail itself is a solid piece and cannot move. Unlike his T-Rex friend, all the extra detailing is provided via stickers here bar the black fists. However how good you think the details are is a matter of preference - I personally chose to paint all the yellow detailing and silver pipes on myself.

Minipla Stegotchi Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy


Minipla Dricera Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Finally we come to Dricera, Kyoryu Pink's dino partner and the only female representation we have in the series thus far (for the sake of this review I'm assuming Dricera is also female right now). Dricera is also horrifically tiny, which pretty much confirms that if you aren't Gabutrya, Pteragodon or the rumoured Spinosaurus and Plesiosaur Zyudenryu you're going to be consigned to a tiny figure like this.

Minipla Dricera Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Dricera Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

The articulation level is pretty much the same as Stegotchi's (moving mouth, stubby legs) but Dricera's unique features are a little more interesting. As well as a moving gun arm....thing, Dricera's badass drill tail can also extend in two sections. Both the full tail itself and the smaller yellow tip can pull out. The only real colour details missing is the black on the gun arm (its moulded in pink plastic) and fist, but I also painted the yellow and the silver drill since the wrap-around sticker was frankly awful.

Minipla Dricera Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

So that's the three Zyudenryu in their individual forms. Gabutyra is pretty much what you'd expect from this line other than the amount of paint work he needs to look accurate (of course this is perfectly optional), but Stegotchi and Dricera are a little more disappointing. Even though they do about as much as mecha limbs usually do, they are extremely small and compared to the great playability of the Go-Buster mecha feel a little lacklustre. How does the combined form fare though? Let's find out...

Minipla Gabutyra Stegotchi Dricera Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy



Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

With the entirety of the body bar the arms made up from Gabutyra, the transformation is rather impressive but still relatively simplistic. Remove Gabutyra's legs and rotate the waist section, while also flipping the leg sections down and opening the panels attached, reattaching the legs as the instructions show. Meanwhile the "yellow" section of the tail and open it up, removing Kyoryuzin's head and attaching the tail to the robot's back to make up the cape-like section. Plug Kyoryuzin's head in and voila! You have the main body of the lastest dino robot!

Forming the arms in a little less impressive. Both include folding the legs into each other (you'll know if you've done it right because the yellow lines will connect) and opening the Zyudenryu's mouths so that the connection ports can be inserted. In Stegotchi's case remove the spine section needs to be removed, while for Dricera flip the gun arm piece in the opposite direction and extend the drill tail.

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Kyoryuzin is pretty well armed in terms of weaponry, featuring the obvious drill arm and then a sword/shield combo made from Stegotchi's spine section. Simply flatten the spines out to form the shield, and then put them back to normal and flip out the sword for the Goren Zyudenken mode. Just don't do what I did and accidentally miss connecting the sword handle piece to Stegotchi. Thankfully, a mini revoltech joint worked just as well.

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

Then we come to articulation, which is by far the sorest point in this set. While the usual shoulder, waist, hip, knee and feet articulation is there, Kyoryuzin is completely missing any form of elbow joint. Elbow articulation has been a staple of the minipla line for many years now, and to suddenly see it missing on Kyoryuzin is not only baffling, but it severely reduces his play value. You could come up with the most epic of poses from the waist down, but its not much good when all the robot is capable of is sticking his arms completely outright. 

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy

If you're curious how Kyoryuzin stacks up in terms of size, below is a quick comparison with minipla Go-Buster Ace and GokaiOh. As you can see height-wise it's somewhere inbetween. It seems a little disappointing given fellow 3-piece mecha EngineOh is taller, but since we don't know what plans there are for larger Kyoryuger mecha it's hard to give proper judgement yet. It's also a fairly decent size given the entirety of the robot's size is coming from Gabutyra.

Minipla Kyoryuzin Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Super Sentai Candy Toy GokaiOh Go-Buster Ace

So the final verdict on Kyoryuzin? It isn't a BAD robot by any means, but the set itself certainly feels like a step backwards in comparison to the minipla of the last few years. The limbs are pretty unimpressive in terms of size, and the lack of elbows severely lacks the level of poseability - one of the main draws of getting these over the DX line in the first place (other than size and price). If this indication is anything to go by, the Kyoryuger line's main fun factor is the batteries, and without them what's left comes off as fairly average.