Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mazinger Z Gets a Major Upgrade in Bandai's DX Soul of Chogokin Line


From what little I know of Japanese culture, I can tell you two things: Japan really loves robots and it really, really loves miniatures. Therefore, it only stands to reason that many of Japan's robot toys and model kits will have insane amounts of detail. For example, there's the upcoming DX Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z set by Bandai, which was released in December 2012.


I'm not very familiar with Mazinger Z as an anime series, but this collectible toy that's based on its titular robot is sure to impress both anime and non-anime fans alike. Sure, the price tag of this toy is jaw-dropping--it costs around $400--but with its jaw-dropping price comes equally jaw-dropping amounts of features and detail. Read on for more information about this robot toy collectible.

From what I understand, Bandai has been using the Soul of Chogokin line to release a series of collector's toys based on Japanese robots from various anime series from the 70s through the 90s. These are expensive, high-quality toys made of plastic and die-cast metal parts, and some of the toys also have accessory items that are sold separately--weapons, display bases, etc.--to add more details to the toys. For interested collectors with smaller budgets, Bandai has also released the Super Robot Chogokin line, which features smaller and cheaper toys based on a similar selection of robot anime titles.

The DX Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z set comes with a 12 inch tall replica of the Mazinger Z robot. The robot's armor can be removed to reveal its internal parts, and it also includes sound effects and light-up LED eyes and chest plates. Its display base is modeled to appear like a storage hangar for the giant robot: it features cranes, display lights, and places to hang the removable armor pieces. Click here for more details about the set, and see the pictures below for a closer look at this amazing anime robot replica.










In keeping with the "Soul of Chogokin" title, the Mazinger Z's removable armor plates are a nod to another Japanese robot toy from the '80s. In 1981, Bandai subsidiary Popy released a "Chokinzoku" ("Super Metal") toy based on the Tetsujin 28 anime series (a series known in the U.S. as Gigantor) that featured removable, magnetic panels that exposed the robot's internal parts. However, because the toy's panels were made from sheet metal and not die-cast metal--hence the toy's designation as "super metal"--its production costs quickly overshadowed its profits and it soon disappeared from toy stores. The Chokinzoku Tetsujin 28 toy remains a thing of legend among Japanese robot toy collectors in spite of its short shelf life, so it's fitting for the DX Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z set to reflect its conceptual predecessor in terms of design and features.

Popy's Chokinzoku Tetsujin 28 toy
(photo courtesy of Collection DX)

Click here to read a review of the Chokinzoku Tetsujin 28 toy at the Collection DX site, a review that also features a link to an English-translated excerpt from the book Chogokin Chronicle that details the history behind this rare toy.




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