sparkywolf: (Happy Pinkie says hi)
[personal profile] sparkywolf
So yes, Christmas. The time of year when everyone gets gifts and things! I got a necklace from Mom when I wasn't expecting it, because well, I was commenting on how many things she had compared to everyone else, and she was all "such a pretty necklace, but I'm afraid too old for want it?" And I was all "Uh, sure!" It's a very pretty silver leaf on a chain, and I really like it. So much so I might want to wear it on my first date with [ profile] chef_andy... *blushes*

Oh, and as I'm obligated to do every year, I present to you, the next toy review. Presenting, some of the most dangerous animals known to man: the shark, the wolf, and the almighty alligator. Crikey, as Steve Irwin might say. Please keep all hands away from the screen and to yourself, my pets like to bite.

            The Power Animal toyline that accompanied Hyakkujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force is perhaps the best animal-based robot merchandise ever made by Bandai. For one thing, they are true to their real life animal counterparts and less machine like than other animal-based Zords or mecha we’ve had before or since. And they can still combine, being robots and all. I am just blown by the awesomeness of this set. 83

                A few shots of the box. Gao Hunter Blue Moon is a Japan-only version of what was known domestically as the Predazord and it is only one of the many variants of Gao Hunter out there. There’s a purple variant box featuring the evil version of this mecha (which I can show later, actually!), a good version box, the 3 individual Power Animals box set, a completely chromed Hong Kong only version of this mecha in individual box sets, and THIS. How many boxes do you need for the same toy, albeit in different forms/color variants? GEESUS. Here in the US, and also in the UK, only one version of the Gao Hunter was released, and only one box was released for that version, this being the one with the green Gao Alligator. The “Blue Moon” box, which you see here, is a variant that includes a blue alligator rather than green. This reflects the form Gao Hunter took in the show (only once, but now memorialized in toy form nevertheless) after receiving a power up to defeat a particularly challenging foe.

                Another thing I love about Japanese robot boxes is that they actually bother to try and educate you on the stuff you’re getting. From top to bottom the statistics give you the length, height, and weight of each Zord in meters and tons. Just in case you wanted to know how much it’d take for you to try and put one of these guys in an actual zoo, that is, if it was possible… ^_^; (On that note, I would NOT want to be crushed under a 5000 ton alligator, thanks.)

                Let’s first start off with the first and the largest Power Animal in this photoset: Gao Alligator, or Gaoligator for short. Due to the fact that this is a special version of Gao Hunter, the Alligator’s usual green body color has been changed, and some gold paint apps were switched for silver. Other than that, the mold is the same. If there’s one thing that I have to comment on though, it’s that this guy is absolutely huge. I’m talking longer than a ruler huge. Displaying him in animal mode is definitely going to take a lot of shelf room, 15 and a half inches if another reviewer’s ruler is to be trusted, making him, as others have pointed out, just slightly longer than a real alligator hatchling just after birth. Now I’m no Steve Irwin, but CRIKEY.  Are you telling me I just let a baby alligator into the house? O_o

Now I must comment on the details of this guy. The painted scales are fantastic and stand out really well against all that blue paint on him.

The tail is articulated, able to snap side to side at every segment to mimic swimming. The paws and legs do not move in this mode, and they do not in Megazord mode either, making him what I call a “semi-brick.” The yellow paint apps on the face are gorgeous!  However…

                Those are some very impressive jaws, I tell ya.

                Oh, and details on the feet.  More scale impressions!

                We move on next to Gao Wolf, whom my boyfriend and I affectionately call Moon Moon. Which I think is appropriate, considering this guy has one very floppy front right limb, making posing a bit of a challenge and causing him to do a chin plant right on your book/desk/whatever when you least expect him. <_<” He’s also a bit weighty due to having diecast(!) paws and stomach plates (visible in Megazord mode, which I’ll show later). Mostly silver, he does have black and blue accents, with a blue decal on the back to add a touch of color to his normally silver spine. Articulation wise, he’s really pose-able with double elbow joints, shoulder joints that can be pulled out for a wider range of motion rather than locked in place as I have him here, and paws that can be bent forward or backward. His head can also spin 360 degrees, and his mouth opens to reveal two lower fangs not visible when the mouth is closed. The tail does not move, sadly, when plugged into his butt.

                Finally we come upon Gao Hammerhead, who looks absolutely GORGEOUS in metallic (!) purple paint and equipped with chrome gills. The yellow highlights on his head and silver on his fins break up the purple in places, and he comes with a mouth full of sharp silver teeth. There’s also a landing gear thing beneath his jaw, allowing him to roll around the table. Due to the diecast stomach plate and blue sticker on it, it really isn’t advised to actually put him in water.

However, he can “swim” from side to side due to articulation in his torso. Articulation wise his fins can also move up and down, mostly for transformation purposes. His tail also moves up and down at the break you see there, mostly for transformation purposes, since real sharks can’t go and move their fins up and down when swimming as they’re only one piece.

                Closeup of Gao Hammerhead’s head, giving you hopefully a better look at the metallic sparkly paint, and the chrome gills. SO SHINY.

                Transformation is simple for Gaoligator, we simply straighten out his legs, stand him up, and make him dislocate his arms by swinging them to the back, while we snap his head down to his chest, revealing a wolf head! Swinging the arms back also reveal connection ports for GaoHammerhead and Gao Wolf.
                After twisting Gao Wolf’s limbs into a pretzel (we really just tuck them into his shoulders, but that looks painful no matter how you look at it) and twisting his back halves so that the decal now faces forward, AND snapping the two diecast plates together, we put that on Gaoligator’s left side. Thanks to the heavy plate, and gravity, the left half of Gao Wolf’s back haunches like to sag, so the decal doesn’t always line up, and I expect, over time that it’ll sag even more. This is one nitpick I have with this toy, and thankfully I think this is the only one. I’m all for diecast, but putting them on a part that transforms is a really bad idea, especially if they cause problems like this. DAMN IT, Moon Moon!
                Gao Hammerhead has it easier than Gao Wolf, though I can’t blame him for saying he has a stomachache after every battle. He does have to twist his body so that the decal faces forward just like Gao Wolf does, AND pull his body apart, allowing Gao Hunter to have (*GASP*) actual decent elbow articulation! When was the last time we had this in a Megazord toy?! Oh, glorious elbows! *_* Thanks to elbow joints, we can actually get some poses out of this guy transformed as it is. That is, if you want to. Or you can just be lazy and pose him without bending anything, just like toys these days are due to the lack of said joints.

                Gao Hunter in the show used to be under the control of an evil wolf demon, hence, you can choose to exhibit Blue Moon (supposedly now on the side of good) like so! Pretty intimidating, no? There’s even teeth on the head, giving me this werewolf vibe to the whole thing. The horn can be moved up and down. Because if you put the horn down, and open the mouth, you get…

                How Blue Moon should be displayed as, in its good mode known as Gao Hunter Justice (particularly if you had the green gator). On the show, the eyes were yellow, but now, due to the power up, they are now green. Very ninja esque. I like! :D

                Now, a robot must have weapons. Entering the ginormous Ligator Blade, formed from the tails of Gao Hammerhead and Gaoligator! The weapon itself is taller than the actual robot! GEEZ! To display it, it is possible to just drape the tail over the front legs of Gaoligator. There’s a notch on the tail that lines up perfectly with a little piece of plastic sticking up from one of the legs, allowing the tail to sit on the legs without wobbling…that is, if you don’t poke the whole thing. *pokes….CRASH* Oops. He’s back heavy like this, so don’t do what I did and go “POKEY POKEY! WHEEE!” XD

                Pose your robot ready for battle by snapping the handle into the clip inside GaoHammerhead’s jaws. I’d say that’s a pretty impressive staff. That’s going to knock out a few teeth if you aren’t careful, I’m sure. The handle is a bit softer than I’d like, making it possible that with repeated transformations the whole thing is gonna warp and bend permanently. EAUGH. D: Gotta be careful, then.

                And if you don’t give Moon Moon a chew toy he’s quite miserable. Let’s just stick his tail in his mouth, call it a Crescent Boomerang, and be done with it. The holes on the tail line up perfectly with his upper fangs, and then his lower jaw holds it in place. In the show, it would be thrown at an enemy for a bit of slashy-slashy goodness before the staff goes in for the kill.

                Side view. Gaoligator looks absolutely murderous here…like, he’s plotting something…   ^^;

                And if the staff and boomerang don’t kill you, there’s always that big Beast Hurricane attack where you get bowled over by all three animals firing giant laser beams of doom at ya. FUN! This mode wasn’t in the instructions, so I improvised. But at least I can pull it off! This is another attack featured in the show but used more often by the Evil version of Gao Hunter. The good version could probably still pull it off, though. I don’t think it was ever seen in the latter half of the show after the evil was removed, probably because our Silver Wolf Ranger was a bigger fan of smacking people in the face with huge gator tails.

Final verdict: THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.  I love my present, I love everyone involved in sending and buying this thing (THANK YOU [ profile] numba1shadowfan!), and I have my holy grail so I am ever so satisfied. :D
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