Monday, January 17, 2011

Brave King Ekizer: Lions Are Brave, I guess?


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Today I'll be reviewing the first item from Takara's Masterpiece Brave toyline. Takara is mostly known for being the original manufacturer of the majority of the the original Transformers line. After the initial toylines, Takara has pretty maintained a partnership with Hasbro in producing Transformers figures. In the early 90s after Generation 1 died out, there was a period where Transformers simply weren't on the market. During this time, Takara partnered with Bandai to create a series of toyline/cartoons that became known as the Brave series. Takara was responsible for creating the toys, while Sunrise, a subsidiary of Bandai, created the cartoons.

Oddly enough, none of the modernized collector's grade toys for these figures have been made by Takara, until now. Takara's first toy under the masterpiece line was actually the Transformer Optimus Prime, and until now, all of their masterpiece figures have been Transformers, which have been closer to the toy end of the spectrum than the Soul of Chogokin line, for instance.

So, that's some background on the manufacturers and toylines. As for the actual show. Exkizer (I'm going with the spelling on the box, you could also use Exkaiser) is from the first of the Brave series shows, called Brave Fighter Exkizer. Exkizer was a soul/spirit/thought being from outer space, who was pursuing a criminal who fled to Earth. Upon arriving on Earth, it possessed an Earth vehicle, and essentially became a transformer... or something.


Onto the review! Okay, so when I first starting collecting Soul of Chogokin toys, I used to go gaga of the unboxing process, something about opening up to the box, and seeing a big metal toy in styrofoam with a sheet of tiny little accessories was just awesome. I'm a little more jaded now, and I pretty much gloss over the packing. One thing that still does it for me though, is a window box with a flap that reveals the figure inside.
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It just takes me back to being a kid, and seeing every toy in the store being displayed like this.

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First off, you've got Exkizer, he's a surprisingly small little robot, smaller than a GI Joe Figure, but he has a decent amount of detail, and an impressive amount of articulation.

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You wouldn't think it, but they actually managed to give him quite a few accessories and gimmicks.

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He's got a selection of interchangeable hands...

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A stand that lets you simulate flying poses. And an alternate chest plate, apparently the lion's head chest plate is his powered up mode. Now, I know that the lion head thing is part of the animation, but it bothers me a bit, because there's nothing about this bot that involves a lion, it doesn't turn into a lion, it doesn't have any lion symbols on it, maybe Exkizer's energy form is that of a lion, or it's his totem creature or some such, I don't know, it looks kind of cool, but it also bothers me.

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Moving on, Exkizer can shoot a couple of things out of slots on his forearms, first you've got these little cruise missile drone dealies.
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And then a throwing star.

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Bottom line on the robot mode, is that it's got a lot of play value, although the legs do look kind of spindly and weird from some angles.

Now of course, it transforms, or else I wouldn't have bought it, it turns into an odd little sports car. The transformation is fairly simple, although it does take a little fiddling to get his legs folded up just right, but the end result is a fairly solid hot wheel sized car.

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Now, as is the case with most Brave Series robots, there's more to Exkizer than simply transforming into a car. He also has the King Loader, which is... I don't really know what to call it, it's a lot of things. Perhaps most weirdly, it's a trailer that can be hitched to Exkizer's car mode:

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You can't tell me his transmission's going to survive going up a hill that way.


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The Loader just has a simple peg which fits in a hole in the back window of Exkizer, odd, but functional.

It doesn't have to be towed, though. It's got dual cabs that can fold out, along with wheels, and appears to be able to drive around on it's own.

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And then it's also got a flight mode:

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Truly, this is a real man's RV (Does anyone else flash back to the winnebago from Spaceballs when looking at this?)

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Okay though, the vehicle modes of the Loader are odd, and just the right brand of crazy, but what it's really good for, is an exo suit for Exkizer.

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It actually opens up, and folds all around him, holding him quite snug. Giving you King Exkizer. Now, this is what the set is all about.

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As you can see from the obligatory Christpher Eccleston GI Joe, King Exkizer is a much larger bot. He's very detailed, and has a good amount of articulation to his arms and legs. Having Exkizer inside does limit his options, his hip joints don't move too much, and a waist joint is pretty much out of the question.

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Again, we have the lion's head on the chest, which still makes no thematic sense, but it's consistent with the smaller bot. The mouth actually opens on this one, and what looks like a gun of some sort is inside.

And odd touch is that there's a removable faceplate, that just snaps in and out. Unfortunately I can't ever seem to get it settled quite right.

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Fulfilling his requirement to have at least one weapon come out of nowhere, his kneecaps can be folded up to reveal missile launchers.

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Possibly my favorite part of this toy, is the sword that is stored inside the red protrusions on each leg. It's actually broken up into two pieces, with a collapsing crosspiece.

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The resulting sword is a little underwhelming. So he's got a more respectable solid version that he keeps in his golf bag.

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Just like the smaller Exkizer, he can fire projectiles from his forearm, although he is limited to just the throwing star in this form.

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And the last thing he comes with are a teeny tiny little boy and mutant dog creature.

Bottom line, this is a great figure, with a ton of play value, it's a little more up the range from toy to collector's item than Takara's Masterpiece Transformers, but still sturdy enough that I don't feel like I'm in danger of breaking anything (I'm looking at you, Star GaoGaiGar) Ultimately, I would be interested in buying more of this figures if they ever released them, while there was one more toy in the line, which combines with Exkizer (review coming soon), it seems like that might have been the last one, due to a lack of interest.

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