Hi all, here’s my review for the Soul of Chogokin Gx-13R 2017 Dancouga. This one’s a bit long so it might take a while to fully load so please bear with me.
The new head is packed in a corner on the second styro tray.
Eagle Fighter launch sequence (I had a mild case of Grendizer dejavu watching the dam launch doors opening). The other Cyber Beast Machines are deployed by air from an air drop ship which launches from another part of the dam.
Pilot: Shinobu Fujiwara
The Eagle Fighter comes with his own pedestal for propping it upright. It’s still the same as the one on the original Gx-13. It doesn’t hold that well as there are no actual connection pegs to lock onto, it mainly relies on using the robot mode’s arms to grip onto the pedestal for dear life.
Pilot: Sara Yuki
Pilot: Masato Shikibu
Pilot: Ryo Shiba
Aggressive Humanoid mode
Aggressive Humanoid mode is introduced starting episode 11.
When the humanoid transformation sequences were first shown in the series, we only got simple line art designs in terms of animation for the whole sequence.
A bit of a warning before clicking on the video playback in the link, the early transformation sequences produce an intentional flashing light strobe effect for some reason. This might cause some dizziness or epilepsy for some folks.
Weapon: Beam Gun
Weapon: Blaster Gun
The handles for both rifles can actually pivot, so you don’t have to worry about the handle being held awkwardly by the figure and stressing out any plastic parts.
Weapon: Blaster Gun
Weapon: Beam Launcher
The pilot of the Big Moth is actually a master of the Japanese martial art of Kenpo. So aside from being the heavy firepower of the team, the unit is highly capable of hand-to-hand combat.
Key word input “D-A-N-C-O-U-G-A”!!
Beyond the beast…
Beyond the human…
You are blessed the God Power!!
“Dancouga” is written like so in Chinese.
Supposedly it basically means “The self is emptied, the material world is denied”. It’s a Zen thing, where ultimate power is obtained through emptiness. Or at least that’s how Shapiro Keats explains it in one episode.
Originally, when they announced that there was a new head sculpt for Dancouga, I thought they reworked the entire Eagle Fighter figure to have a more show accurate look in combined form. Turns out the 2017 “R” Dancouga features an entirely new, non-transforming, separate head for Dancouga. The neck peg fits more snuggly onto this new head and it looks better overall compared to the original. As is, my “R’s” Eagle Fighter has been relegated to styro guarding duty.
Still the same neck connector from before.
For the curious, yes, you can swap the new, non-transforming head onto the original Gx-13 (this is my preferred setting for displaying Dancouga with his SOC mates now).
For the most part of Dancouga in the TV series, it relied on physical attacks (punches and kicks) when it combined. It wasn’t until the much, much later that they gave him more flashier attacks (Dankuhou, Dankuken)
The Daigun is a combination of all the Jyusenki Tai’s rifles into one big one.
For lack of other weapons during the TV show’s run, The Daigun served as Dancouga’s most powerful weapon.
Equipped on Dancouga close to the end of the TV series, the Flight Booster gives Dancouga flight capabilities and greatly improved speed. It was eventually deployed as a projectile weapon and subsequently destroyed in the battle against Death Gaia in the Requiem For Victims OVA.
Later on, Dancouga gains a newer, “internally deployed”, Flight Booster module in the God Bless Dancouga and Burning Epilogue OVAs. It’s a shame we don’t get this with the new Gx-13R as an added accessory.
The Booster has been redesigned a bit. With the ports now locking in better to Dancouga and the ports also make it aesthetically cleaner to look at.
As I previously mentioned, in the Requiem for Victims OVA (the first sequel following the events of the TV show), Shinobu launched the Booster directly into his opponent, dealing critical damage, but completely destroying the Booster as well. This particular Booster design for Dancouga will not be seen again.
In the God Bless Dancouga OVA sequel, the Booster is redesigned and given a new, sleeker look, with 4 new wings as opposed to the original 2. It also now deploys directly from inside Dancouga’s back. So far, neither Bandai or Sentinel has produced the wings based on the God Bless OVA. I think only toy company Giga Brain has released the OVA styled wings so far.
The Dankuken weapon does not appear in the TV series. It first appears in the final battle in the Requiem For Victims OVA.
The Dankuhou Formation never appears in the TV series or early OVAs, it makes its first appearance in the final OVA sequel, Burning Epilogue.
Here’s one of my favorite clips, from the God Bless Dancougar OVA.Comparisons with the original Gx-13 Boxes
-Box art has been modified. But the dimensions are still exactly the same as the original (unlike the “R” Baikanfu which had a 20mm differential).
-The original had 2 (!) manuals included. One had the actual transformation instructions and the second one had gorgeous pics of the toy in the various forms in full color.
-More plastic baggies for the accessories. The sword now comes bagged, along with Big Moth’s Beam Launcher cannon. The same goes for the various parts for the Booster. Back on the original Gx-13, only the main Booster part and the sword handle had baggies. I was actually worried that the styrofoam would eat into the chrome of the sword. I had to cut a piece of acid-free plastic just to wrap the sword back then, just in case.
MECHA COMPARISONS (Gx-13R 2017 on the left)
The new shorter shoulder pads make him more TV show accurate. While the original Gx-13’s shoulder pads are closer to the God Bless Dancouga OVA design. The same is true for the color schemes of both toys as well.
-Metallic red paint used for Eagle Fighter’s c0ckpit.
-Lighter tone of gray for Dancouga all around
-Slightly duller shade of yellow all around.
-Duller silver parts on the Land Cougar and Land Liger.
-Metallic red paint on the eyes.
-Thighs and biceps now sport slightly darker gray plastic (lesser chance of yellowing?).
-Gold-painted claws now just painted yellow on the Liger.
-Shorter shoulder pads for Big Moth (and for Dancouga).
-Lighter shade of gray for all the guns, plus new silver paint apps on the Big Moth Beam Launcher
-Dankuken also has a duller shade of yellow, the blue portion of the handle is now properly fully painted (edges weren’t painted on the original)
-Booster sports a darker color, lighter shade of white on the wings and redesigned connection ports for better stability.
-When attaching the guns on the sides of Big Moth’s c0ckpit, make sure to push them all the way in. To prevent and scrapping when you push the chest back into the torso. I opted to leave them on and not return them to the tray after since they might get damaged with repeated attachment and removal.
-Applying some magic tape (don’t use regular tape, the adhesive might ruin the paint over time) to the chest panels isn’t a bad idea if you’re worried about scrapping when transforming Big Moth into tank mode. Supposedly the chest panels were reworked to make it easier to insert into the chest. I don’t see any difference though?
-Yeaaaah… plucking out Big Moth’s beast mode “toes” are still a major chore (I cannot stress this enough). Hope you have long thumbnails before attempting this. Picks are ok too but it’s hard to get a good angle on these.
-Oh, look! 15 years later and the clear red plastic is still being used to support the center of gravity for Big Moth/Dancouga. Usually, clear plastic tends to brittle faster than conventional plastic, soo… what the heck Bandai? Though I am not entirely sure if this has been reinforced? It still makes me uncomfortable, especially when transforming Big Moth. I’m tempted to disassemble the hips just to actually see if the clear plastic is indeed reinforced.
-For “1st time” owners of a SOC Dancouga, you can rotate this thigh joint. It is very tight compared to the original (there was a moment I had to check with my original Gx-13 to see if the joint really does turn) but once you get past that oddly hard “1st click” then the joint frees up.
-The weigh in:
–Eagle Fighter – 13 Grams
–Land Cougar – 121 Grams
–Land Liger – 124 Grams
–Big Moth – 789 Grams
–Dancouga- 1042 Grams (1158 Grams with Booster)
Sidenote: For some reason, the Gx-13 R 2017’s Big Moth is heavier than the original by roughly 40 Grams. Even with the smaller shoulders. Perhaps they reinforced some of the joints with diecast?
–Eagle Fighter – 2.75″ in Humanoid mode
–Land Cougar – 5″ in Humanoid mode
–Land Liger – 5″ in Humanoid mode
–Big Moth – 9″ in Humanoid mode (based on the tip of his cannon on his back)
–Dancouga- 10.25″ (13.5″ tip of booster cannons)
-Diecast parts breakdown:
–Eagle Fighter – Lower legs, feet.
–Land Cougar – Back half of torso, hips , “claws”, feet.
–Land Liger – Back half of torso, hips , “claws”, feet.
–Big Moth – Sections of the torso, shoulders, lower legs, feet(?).
–Dancouga- Sections of the torso, shoulders, lower legs, sections of his “feet”.
-Gray plastic parts seem to have been modified with a slightly darker blend from the original? Hopefully this means less likely hood of yellowing?
-All new head included!
-Rifles for Land Cougar and Liger have a pivot joint for the gun handles. This gimmick was already present in the original Gx-13 but I figured I’d mention it here. I still get a kick out of this concept.
-Wings are a little droopy on the right side of my Eagle fighter.
-Booster cannons still can’t come down for the Dakuhou pose.
-Still uses the red clear plastic for the main hip support. I really never got why they went with clear red plastic for this, doesn’t clear plastic turn brittle faster than usual?
-Similar to the “R” Baikanfu, Bandai dropped the use of full color action pose pics of the toy in the manual. Pity, those were nice to look at.The Ugly
Not really much to complain about. It’s basically a slightly improved version of the previous release (“Malibu Stacy with a new hat” kind of deal). With an increased SRP.
The somewhat higher SRP ( ¥20,790 vs ¥27,000) for Gx-13R 2017 might be a factoring issue for some who already own the original, but when you consider the slightly increased SRP prices of the “R” Gunbuster (¥18,900 vs ¥23,760 ) and Daitarn 3 (¥20,790 vs ¥24,840), which came out only as straight redecos without any offering any improvements or added accessories, the Dancouga price increase isn’t too bad.
What really blows me away is how the original design of the Gx-13 held the test of time. Released in 2003, it’s a triple changer and a combiner, even reissued now, 15 years later, it’s still quite impressive. Not quite as posey or visually stylized as the Sentinel version released in 2015 for sure, but it still has a lot going for it. Quite a testament to the SOC toy engineers IMHO.
As for advice on whether to “keep the old one, skip this one”, well, I guess it boils down to personal preference. The 2017 version is based closer to the TV series look while the original is closer to the look of the OVA (a direct sequel to the TV series). This is particularly true with regards to the redesigned shoulders and the change in color. The new head is pretty good and works way better than the transforming original design. For some, another reason to get this is due to the yellowing of some parts on their original Dancouga (I haven’t encountered that issue on mine thankfully). But generally, I think if you already have the original Gx-13 that doesn’t have any aging issues, then this isn’t exactly a “must have” unless you’re aiming to complete the SOC line and all it’s variants.
Personally, for me, though, I still prefer the darker colors on the OVA/original.
Funfact 1: With the exception of the Black Wing (which was not developed by Prof. Hazuki) all of the other 4 Cyber Beast Machines (Jyusenki Tai) can activate the Aggressive System, which creates an energy barrier around their respective mecha. Successful activation of the system is dependent on a certain level of anger reached by the pilot.
Funfact 2: Among the heroes, Shinobu is the only one who doesn’t need to press a switch to activate his unit’s Aggressive mode.
Funfact 3: The Cyber Beast Force’s secret base is inside a dam, just like Grendizer’s.
Funfact 4: The hero pilots are introduced into the series episode by episode, with the whole team being fully formed by episode 5.
Funfact 5: Dancougar isn’t formed until episode 16.
Funfact 6: Dancougar doesn’t get his wings / Flight Booster until near the end of the TV series (ep. 34/38), in fact, the flying dragon base, Gundor, is revealed earlier than Dancouga’s Booster (ep. 29).
Funfact 7: Eagle Fighter’s Humanoid mode only has 4 fingers (Holy The Simpson’s Batman!)
Funfact 8: Final Dancougar, which comprises of the Black Wing mech becoming the new flight booster for Dancougar is not shown in any of the TV or OVA eps (the mech, along with pilot Alan Igor, were destroyed in episode 35), but something only introduced in the Super Robot Wars games.
Funfact 8: The series abruptly ends on episode 38 with the team traveling through hyperspace on the way to the enemy Muge Zorbados Empire’s home planet. The saga concludes with Requiem For Victims OVA.
Series 2nd closing credits (Ep.34 onwards, oddly, it’s pretty Shapiro Keats-centric).