Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hands On: Robot Souls 00-Gundam + O-Riser

I like Gundam 00.  And I like 00 Gundam.  But you know what?  I'm really not interested in modelmaking.  I simply don't have the time or money to invest in it.  Instead, I'm content to go for Bandai's MSIA (Mobile Suit in Action) line of action figures.  Sure they're not painted with incredible detail, but I like them, and they're of course made more for play than posing and standing around all day.  I like to be able pose my figures AND play with them.  This model has given that.

Anyway, it seems Bandai is dropping the MSIA line, in favor of a new one, called Robot Soul/Spirit (or Robot Tamashii, which to my understand, can mean soul or spirit).  Its a relatively new thing, the first one (I think it was Arios gundam) just came out late last November.  I wasn't able to find much information on this, so I figured when I got it, I might as well write something up, for any potential buyers who happen to stumble upon this.  Sorry in advance if the pictures are somewhat blurry.

First, a bit of background for the uninitiated.  00-Gundam is the mascot mech of the Japanese anime Gundam 00, following the franchise's trend of naming each show after its most important (and generally most powerful) Gundam.   00-Gundam has two GN drives, known as the Twin Drive system, which makes it leaps and bounds more powerful in terms of sheer output and potential than most other mechs in the show.  Its main armaments are two GN Sword II's mounted on each side of its hips.  The Sword II's not only serve as blades, but can transform into rifles.  They have the versatility of Exia's huge GN Sword, and the light and easy handling of Exia's two solid blades.  The best of both worlds.  00 also has two beam sabers mounted in roughly the same place as Exia's bottom hip sabers.  Its two swiveling GN drives and light arsenal grant it very high speed and mobility, and the drives can also have shields mounted on them for extra defense (similar to Dynames' rotating shields).  I THINK it can generate a GN field (spherical force field, simply put), but I'm not sure.  00-Gundam is piloted by Setsuna F. Seiei, a determined and calm young guy, who is the main protagonist of the show, and also piloted 00's predecessor, Exia.  Perhaps 00's greatest flaw is its overall instability.  The Twin Drive system has proven itself to be difficult to maintain, and has literally shorted out once or twice in the show, leaving the Gundam completely immobile.


Often accompanying 00 is the mobile armor (basically Gundam terms for a jet fighter) O-Riser, piloted by the ever emotional Saji Crossroad.  The O-Riser is armed with a pair of GN beam cannons on each wing, a submachine gun, and a stock of missiles.  Its greatest asset, however, is its ability to combine with 00 to form 00-Riser.  The two share a mutually beneficial relationship:  00 can run near indefinitely because its GN drives can self generate power, but O-Riser runs on stored energy.  Docking with the 00 not only recharges its energy reserves, but the Riser system stabilizes 00's Twin Drive system and pushes its power and output to incredible new heights.  The result?  00-Riser's speed is near unmatched, so much so that it has even seemingly teleported out of danger.  All of its beam weaponry is also greatly enhanced, With Trans-Am (Trans-Am is a temporary burst of energy that triples performance while it is active) Riser being capable of generating a gigantic beam saber, using the entire mobile suit as a hilt of sorts.

00, with one GN Sword II in rifle mode with the beam attachment.

Now, onto the model itself.  I wanted 00-Riser, so I ordered both O-Riser and 00, which are sold separately, usually.  I'll start with 00.  Out of the box, the paint job and details were pretty good.  Personally, I don't actually like it when they show all the GN particle conduits and stuff running through the body.  Just makes it look messy.  This has a clean, fairly sharp look.  One of the gold antennae was a little bent out of shape, but other than that it came in great condition.  00 is about a head taller than my MSIA Exia, and its colers are much sharper and more defined.  I thought Exia looked pretty cool, until I saw 00's color scheme jump out at me.  Suddenly my Exia looked a little washed out.  Though it can hold Exia's weapons, since it's a little larger, it's a loose fit in 00's bigger hands.  The figure came with 00, two beam sabers and matching beam blades, the two GN swords, 7 different handles for them, depending on whether they are in rifle or sword mode, and two small shields, mountable either on its wrists or the GN drives.

                     I was pleasantly surprised to find the GN drives are removable.

If there's one thing that is outstanding about this model, it's the way its built.  This thing never ceases to surprise me with how many parts are in fact removable, and how many things can be dismantled.  The GN Drives, the backpack holding them, the shoulder plates, the head, and I'm pretty sure the feet are all removable.  The shields can be completely dismantled, though I don't see any use to doing so.  The shields, by the way, are rather remarkable.  If you've seen the show, you might have only seen them attached to the GN drives.  But they can also be attached to each wrist, and combined together and mounted on an arm to make a full shield.  The full shield is a little unwieldy in my opinion, but its nice that the option is there.  The GN Sword II's are also pretty cool, though I am a little disappointed that for the most part, they don't actually fully transform.  To change from sword to rifle mode and vice versa, you have to swap out the handle, which means wrenching it out of 00's hand.  The GN Swords can also be connected together to form a dual bladed staff, but I had to pry open 00's hands to make it hold it, and I don't like doing that.  However, the blade does swivel full 360 degrees, and thus can rotate the 90 degrees necessary to move into rifle mode, and back.  The GN Drives are also cool.  They can swivel a full 180 degrees, pointing to the sides, front, or back, and can also move up and down.

O-Riser in docking mode

The O-Riser is obviously meant to supplement 00 (specifically 00-Riser).  It comes with a transparent stand capable of holding either 00 or O-Riser, and also a set of new forked blades for the GN Sword II's, which are in turn made to hold the also included beam attachments.  Though I can only recall 00-Riser using its dual big beam sabers once (when it slices up the asteroid the Gadessa is camping on), its a cool option.  With the beam attachments, the GN Sword II's look ridiculously long though.


Because the O-Riser itself rarely gets more than a couple seconds of screen time to itself, it was nice to be to better explore its design with this figure.  As you can see in the topmost pic, it has two fins on each side that can fold out, and a blue "wing" attached to each fin that can fold out about 90-100 degrees, giving a sort of X-wing look.  For some reason, the end of the "tail" is removable, though I haven't found any purpose in it.  Just like in the anime, the O riser can transform into docking mode, where the back finds on each side swivel outwards, and the tail swings down to reveal the plug that connects to 00's backpack.  Its a snug fit, and the O-risers wings from the main body and must be connected to each GN drive.  They cleverly step around this part of the process in the anime.  The wings are a little heavy on the drives, and 00-Riser can't stand on its own (or on the stand) if they're positioned on the back (they have to be resting on the sides).  Unfortunately, the Raiser Sword (afore-mentioned HUGE beam attack) can't really be used due the GN drives' inability to properly position the wings forward.

00 in a badass pose.

Overall, I found this to be a really nice figure.  The poseability is mostly a step above Exia, and the amount of customizability offers a lot of possible scenarios.  It was a good purchase.  00 gets 4 stars out of 5, O-Riser gets 5 stars, and 00-Riser and all its accessories gets 4.5 stars out of 5.

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