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Toys: Armor Plus Tekkaman Blade

Posted on : 30-01-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits, Videos

Hardware:

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Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the latest in Bandai’s Armor Plus toy range; Tekkaman Blade. This titular mecha was also repackaged abroad as Teknoman and, due to the series’ high production standards, enjoyed a large amount of popularity across the world. Earlier this week, Capcom finally released Tatsunoko vs Capcom Ultimate All Stars (which you can buy here) and it features Blade as a playable character. So Bandai’s release of this toy is timely indeed.

Due to the nature that this is a toy, all pictures shown are of the item out of the box. However, we’ve also included comparison shots of the recently released Soul of Chogokin Spec Tekkaman and Pegas set (sold separately). In any case, it’s worth clarifying here that this toy is one of the few that falls under the category of “impossibly awesome”. Click on to read more…

In the mid-90’s Tatsunoko Productions were in the process of rebooting several of its successful franchises from the 70’s. The original Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman series was one such show that fell under this remit. What was birthed wasn’t quite just a simple reboot, as Tekkaman Blade was a very thorough re-imagining and took the license into new territory. To the extent that Blade now defines the Tekkaman mythos almost more than the original.

Blade’s narrative shifted away from the focus on exploration for a new home in the original show and was distilled into a more straightforward plot based around Earth being invaded by an alien threat, known as the Radam. In addition to these potent insect-like aliens there were also humanoid enemies that were part of the Radam forces, these were known as the Tekkamen. It was shortly revealed within the show that the Tekkamen were actually a captured human family that were modified by the Radam. The protagonist, Blade, was spared from the final stage of this process allowing him to retain his free will and a large amount of motivation to avenge his family.

The series is actually remarkably poignant for show ultimately aimed at teenage boys and Blade was by no means indestructible either. Towards the end of the narrative, his life is threatened by the sheer nature of changing into a Tekkaman. To the point he is left almost a cripple by the series’ conclusion. If anything, the whole premise displays the gruesome consequences of physical self-sacrifice for the survival of others, as Blade inevitably has to kill each member of his family in order to save the Earth’s populace. Regardless, Tekkaman Blade both as an anime series and its protaganist have entered the pop-cultural psyche across the world.

Unsurprisingly, this also means Blade has been a fair few games over the years. Obviously the Super Robot Wars series has featured Blade in a few of its iterations (notably J, W and Gakuen). Not to mention a GameBoy and a Super Famicon shooter around the time of the series’ original airing in Japan. However, the recent addition to the Tatsunoko vs Capcom line-up probably captures the character and his abilities best, as ability set was mostly close range.

Toy: Armor Plus Tekkaman Blade
Price: 7500 yen
Size/Weight: 32.2 x 20.1 x 7.4 cm / 600g

This toy is actually quite special. Part of Bandai’s Armor Plus range, it allows the owner to affix Blade’s armor across his body. The reasoning for this is that Blade’s transformation into a Tekkaman has a few stages and this is something the toy uniquely caters for. What’s most surprising, despite the wonderfully accurate sculpt, is that most of the attachable armor is actually diecast and not plastic. This gives the toy a wonderful sense of permanence, as well as a hefty weight, and the subsequent paint job is all the more muted as a consequence.

Diecast armor aside, the articulation and gimmicks are also suitably impressive. As this toy is actually based around Bandai’s other action figure lines, so this poseability is hardly surprising. The real bonus though is how wonderfully the toy is sculpted as it’s remarkably faithful to the original design. It’s one of those rare toys that truly encapsulates its inspiration in an almost uncanny way.

That said, it’s not without its faults. As changing the hands is quite a fiddle as the armor on the arm slides around. Plus the spiky nature of the design makes pushing in the hands quite painful. In addition, the ball joints that the hands snap onto are potentially quite fragile and too much pressure could snap the joint. It’s also worth pointing out that in much of the toy’s promotional material it shows the eyes glowing, in reality there is no internal light source. However, the internal eyes are reflective and are visible upon closer inspection.

Overall all though, these faults are ultimately quite minor in the face of such a faithful recreation and its high production quality. There are very few toys that are quite this good and especially not at such an affordable price. After all the Soul of Chogokin Spec set actually costs double the Armor Plus version, so you really are getting an amazing bargain. If you’re in any way a fan of the series or just like really nice toys, then you’d be certifiably daft to not get this. It’s a toy with genuine tamashii.

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  • lech

    In the first YouTube clip, what are those last two segments? They look like alternate opening and closing sequences to the original TV show. Would they be for episodes 28-49?

    • Cacophanus

      Indeed, the video contains both the updated opening and ending segments that started at ep 27 in the series:

      Opening Theme:
      #1: “Reason” by Yumiko Kosaka (eps 1-26)
      #2: “Eternally Lonely” by Yumiko Kosaka (eps 27-49)
      Ending Theme:
      #1: “Energy of Love” by Yumiko Kosaka (eps 1-26)
      #2: “Lonely Heart” by Yumiko Kosaka (eps 27-49)

      • lech

        Thank you, sir.

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  • http://www.james-strocel.com James Strocel

    Sweet! I don’t care about the removable armor, but the fact that it’s die cast definitely makes it worth the 7500 yen! How’s the stability when you pose him?

    • Cacophanus

      Very good, as the underlying skeleton is an already well jointed action figure. It really is an excellent toy.