Soul of Chogokin Gx-100 Gaiking and Daiku Maryu

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Soul of Chogokin Gx-100 Gaiking and Daiku Maryu

(Note: This review will be a VERY long read, due to the crazy amount of details and items included in the set, there are more than 200 pictures are in this review, so please bear with me. Also, the smaller images are actually thumbnails that can be clicked to view larger versions.)

The Box is INSANELY HUGE!!! Spans roughly 34.25 x 22.5 x 8.25 inches in dimension!

The box is so massive, you will scratch your head thinking up how you will store the thing once it arrives! Also, regarding storage, it’s best that you lay it lying down like an bed matress if you can. As I’m not sure if standing it on its sides will have any effect on the contents in the long term. Even displaying it with the outer cardboard shipper box removed and the proper box facing outward will mean that the toy is actually positioned upside down inside the box.

Handle strap present for the main box.


When you open the main box, the first things that will greet you are the large illustrations.

The illustrations are impressively big! Spanning 21.25 x 15.25 inches in actual dimension.

To easily access the illustrations, just cut the tape underneath the board, as there are fewer pieces of tape on the underside, compared to the top side.


Three beautiful illustrations. I wish Bandai had included artworks this big for the DX SOCs. All we got there were regular-sized images as a part of the manual.

I never realized the command center was in the neck. I always thought it was directly above the hangar gate. This particular illustration is a callback to the exact same one used on the top of the 1970’s DX GA-50 Daiku Maryu Popy toy’s packaging. Nice.


My favorite has to be this one though, featuring the whole cast. I’m not sure if it’s illustrated by the same fellow who did the amazing DX Voltes “poster”? Kazuhiro Ochi? Sure seems like it.

Curiously, the box mentions that these illustrations are exclusive to the “first release” run of the Gx-100. Is Bandai planning to do future re-runs of Gx-100?


Another acccessory tray with the display base is located underneath Gaiking’s tray.

Note that the plate hole covers for the display base come packed separately this time around. Be careful not to lose them.

When removing the foam blocks, make sure to USE TWO HANDS. The block is really packed tight, applying force in the center will cause the block to break in half. Instead, lift the block up with both hands at both ends of the block to prevent breakage. The tightness of the block is important to prevent the Daiku from moving around when you plan to return it to the package.

Proper orientation of this fin is important when returning to the styrofoam tray, particularly the other fin underneath, on the other side of the tail.

The Daiku Maryu’s neck comes with the protective material inserted into the various segments. To remove them, just simply tug them straight up at the 12 o’clock position, they’re pre-cut at the 6 0’clock position.


Story:
In order to thwart an impending invasion by the alien Zela Dark Horror Army, Dr. Daimonji and the nations of Earth secretly create the Daiku Maryu, a gigantic dragon-shaped space vessel of war, housing various vehicles and the powerful Gaiking Robot for the sole purpose of defending the Earth.


Despite the crazy large size of the box, some leg assembly is still required for the Daiku Maryu! Make sure to align the connection pegs properly.


Daiku Maryu launch!

Daiku Maryu

Created using the nearly indestructible Zolmanium Steel alloy, the Daiku Maryu is staffed by a crew of 68 personnel, including kitchen staff. It’s mentioned in the series that the team’s base of operations and maintenance dock is located in Omeazaki, in Shizuoka, Japan.

Interestingly, the series’ production team made several alternate scenes for when Daiku Maryu launches from its maintenance dock and didn’t just recycle the same cut over and over again.

Alternate “night time” launch scene.

IMPORTANT NOTES!

There’s a spring-loaded lock release button located on each of the the shoulders and elbow joints of the Daiku Maryu. Remember to push these buttons to release the locks, before adjusting the upper and lower legs. Forcing the adjustment without unlocking the joint will likely result in damage.

There’s also a hidden, ratcheted butterfly joint for the Daiku Maryu’s shoulders.

The ankles also have ratchet joints but they do not have any “lock release” mechanism, unlike the upper joints.

The feet can also be rotated above the ankle joints, they’re on ratchet joints as well.

Rolling rubber treads! Hopefully, the thickness of the treads will prevent them from breaking down too quickly as they age.

Make sure the tail is elevated to prevent scuffing the bottom of the tail (it’s made of hard plastic, not rubber). There’s a good amount of tension in the ball joint to help hold up the tail, but I’m not sure how well it will hold up after time.

Always make sure that the rear tank treads are placed flush on a surface to make sure weight is evenly distributed along the tread.
An example of the wrong way…

In case you missed it in the TV show:
Certain changes to the animation models for the Daiku Maryu were done after a few episodes in. The Daiku Maryu started having three toes instead of two, and eventually had spiked wheels added to its leg joints. This change actually started on episode 12 onwards. No particular reason was given in the show for the modification. Bandai accounted for this and included optional parts for it with this set, in case you wanted to recreate the Daiku Maryu’s look from the first 11 episodes.
You can also use the “two-toes-and-no-spike-wheels-look” in order to recreate the 2005 “Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu” animation model as well, though to make it perfectly show accurate, the Daiku would need to have a darker shade of blue.

When placing or replacing the wheel spikes, make sure to match the peg holes, one hole is slightly smaller than the other. I’m not sure why Bandai went with this for the connection. Does it help secure the wheel better from a design standpoint?

“Original look” Daiku Maryu.


Daiku Maryu armaments

Dragon Cutters! – Deployable blades on the wings of the ship.


Front Cannons! – Cannons capable of firing a wide range of various projectiles, from standard missiles to freeze rays. They are fixed in position on the Gx-100 and cannot rotate or adjust their directionality.


Rotating Spherical Gunner’s Pod! – located at the tail end of the ship.


Zaul Geyser! – The Daiku Maryu can also use this attack the same as Gaiking.


Big Missile Cannon – Space nukes! As seen in one episode close to the end of the series. The Daiku Maryu is capable of firing space nukes with this massive cannon! These are probably the most powerful weapons in the Daiku Maryu’s arsenal, but they’re used only once in the entire show.

To get the look right, remember to slide out the front barrels of the cannons by pushing this spring-loaded trigger button.

Hmm.. the cannons don’t look as huge or impressive as they did in the Anime.


When Gaiking is deployed, the Space Dragon can assume a defensive position called the “Volution Protect” when things get rough. This mode involves having the tail section curve up to the exposed neck of the Daiku Maryu. This mode is absolutely essential for defense when the Dark Horror Army activates their Death Cross attack to bombard the ship during skirmishes.

Do note that the plastic for the fins are very hollow, so be careful not to drop the Daiku Maryu, these fins will break for sure.

The connection for the head is easily removed. Just give it a good tug. The use of a “cross” peg design is pretty clever IMHO. It holds the head very securely.

Remember to pull out the latch connector from the bottom of the tail for docking the tail with the Daiku Maryu’s neck. However, hooking the neck into place is a bit tricky to do, as there’s a spring-loaded “claw” locking mechanism that you will have to draw out in order to hook the slots on the neck in. I recommend attempting this on a bed to prevent accidental drops.

The joints on the tail segments will also need to be pulled out a bit to allow for clearances to curl the tail up.

Volution Protect!

While in this mode, Daiku Maryu is more or less impregnable, but it also prevents the unit from moving or running away until it reverts back to its default mode.

In Volution Protect mode, the only thing that the Daiku Maryu can count on for defense is the Rotating Spherical Gunner’s Pod on the tip of the tail. Good luck with that, guys!

In later episodes, the Daiku Maryu was able to use its internal “Astro Stabilizers” in Volution Protect mode to rotate itself like a buzz saw. This also allowed the Daiku Maryu to move around the battlefield a bit, instead of just being a sitting duck.


ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT

Music controls are located on the right leg of the Daiku Maryu. To get started, just simply pull this tab off the right leg to activate the batteries and then flip on the switch.

SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE!

The batteries come pre-installed! So, make sure to take them out if you plan to leave the toy displayed for a long period of time. If the batteries start to leak, it will ruin the battery chamber and affect the electronics.

The set runs on 3x LR44 batteries.

Main power switch for the music box.

The buttons on the side of the leg play one track of song each. Pressing the buttons will play the series theme songs sung by the legendary Isao Sasaki. The top button plays the opening credits, while the bottom button will play the closing credits, each track lasts about a minute-thrity each (TV cut) and that’s it. It’s a shame we don’t get anything else here, not even sound effects. Maybe Bandai was pressed for time?


Gate open! Combat force take off!

Rotating the knobs on either side of the bottom of the ship will open the front hatch.

Let’s play nipple twister? Lol.. one side rotates clockwise, the other one counter-clockwise. Alternately, you can just pry the gate open, as there is no real locking mechanism to hold it shut.

Hangar for the Micro-Popynica vehicles.

The hangar deck for the Micro-Popynica actually has magnets positioned to secure the vehicles in place.

Note that Skylar needs an additional magnet piece to properly stick to the hangar. Be careful not to lose this. It’s packed on the same tray as Gaiking, right next to Skylar.




Micro-Popynica Attack Vehicles
Nessar

Piloted by Bunta Hayami, the Nessar resembles a Plesiosaur and is the team’s main underwater exploration and attack craft. It’s called the “Dynatar” in the Jim Terry Productions Force Five English adaptation.

The Nessar’s weapons include eye lasers and a flame thrower located in its mouth, along with cannons located in its chest. It’s also the only unit that can deploy a barrier around itself for protection.

Nessar has moveable legs and feet so it can dock properly inside the Daiku Maryu. In the Anime, Nessar’s neck can collapse in so that it can be more compact, it’s a shame Bandai didn’t replicate that here.


Bazolar

Piloted by the team’s resident comedy relief, Yamagakake, the Bazolar is the main unit used for land scouting missions. Its drill can dig deep into the ground for underground missions as well. Based on a Triceratops, it’s called the “Rhinatar” in the Jim Terry Productions Force Five English adaptation.

The Bazolar’s weapons include laser cannons, a drill and lasers. Bazolar’s head can also be moved up and down.


Skylar

Piloted by the team’s martial arts expert, Fan Li, the Skylar is used for aerial assault missions. Resembling a Pterodactyl, the Skylar is the only unit to retain its name among the three combat units in the English adaptations.

Since it’s designed to be a fast, airborne craft, the Skylar has the least amount of heavy weaponry. It is armed only with missiles and machine guns, lacking any heavy cannons or artillery.

I’m really impressed with Bandai for putting in diecast on these tiny vehicles.


Using Gaiking for the Daiku Maryu head
While you can plug in Gaiking’s chest unit as the Dragon’s head, the awkward-looking proportions make it way too silly to look at.

To attach Gaiking as the Daiku Maryu’s head, you will have to first use this attachment piece.

Insert Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman’s catchphrase here: “What, me worry?”



Fortress mode
Daiku Maryu can be opened up for its “Fortress Mode” to showcase Gaiking’s parts on display (this is never actually shown as a thing in the series and is something cooked up just for the toys, the gimmick first appeared in the old 1970s Popy days).

Press this button to unlock the upper half of the Daiku Maryu. There are buttons on each side, you will have to press both to properly unlock the tabs.

Pressing these buttons also unlocks Daiku’s main neck joint so that you can move it downwards for the Volution Protect mode.

The manual mentions attaching these clip mounts for Gaiking, but they actually already came in pre-installed.


Launch Gaiking!
Gaiking Part 1 go! Part 2 go! Part 3 go!

Gaiking

Launched as three separate sections, Gaiking is the most powerful battle machine aboard the Daiku Maryu. Piloted by Sanshiro Tsuwabuki, an former professional baseball player who has the unique ability of ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). Sanshiro (voiced by the iconic Akira Kamiya) uses his special ESP telekinesis ability to control Gaiking’s highly destructive Hydro Blazer attack.

Originally, when the Gx-100 was revealed at the Tamashii Nations 2021 event, the Gaiking figure was generally perceived to be just a reissue/ retool of the old SOC Gx-27 Gaiking mold (it didn’t help that they used the actual Gx-27 as a place holder at the time of the first reveal, either). But now having it in hand, it’s clearly an all-new unit built from the ground up.


Gaiking and friends


The locking mechanism for part 2 on mine doesn’t really hold well? The chest comes off easily without having the push the release button (on my copy anyways). Be mindful to NEVER hold Gaiking by his chest only, as the heavy body and legs will fall away from the chest. Always hold him by the legs. Always!

Yep, the pink and red Counter Cross colors just really don’t work for me.

Gaiking’s ankles can be pulled out to allow for wider articulation.


Gaiking’s attacks

Counter Punch! – Gaiking’s “Rocket Punch” attack.

Bandai included “elbow plugs” to recreate Gaiking’s look after he fires the Counter Punch.

This 3rd party Soul Stage is not included with this set. I just thought I’d use it for visual effect.


Counter Cross! – Gaiking deploys the melee weapons placed on his shins.

The Crosses can be used as throwing weapons or melee weapons.


Back Shredder – Gaiking’s backpack has a “flip out” saw weapon for when enemies try to attack him from behind.


Paralyzer! – Gaiking uses his horns to stab into his opponents and hit them with a huge surge of electricity, overloading their circuits and paralyzing them. The figure’s horns can be rotated down to recreate the look.


Killer Bite! – the dragon on Gaiking’s chest isn’t just for show. It can be used to bite into his enemies.


Zaul Geyser! – Gaiking fires a chain of energy beams from his chest. Called the “Electron Chain” in the Jim Terry Productions Force Five English dubs. Originally, the streams were colored blue and red, but after Gaiking got “powered up” the streams changed to red and pink.


Hydro Blazer – Gaiking’s most powerful move, fired from his mid-section (the dragons’ nose). Sanshiro can actually control the direction of the Hydro Blazer thanks to his ESP, allowing for some tricky tactics to counter enemy attempts to block the Hydro Blazer.


With the Gaiking launched, the Daiku Maryu becomes near defenseless. It relies heavily on the Volution Protect mode to hold its position while Gaiking goes to work.

Gaiking go!

The Gaiking is pretty heavy, so I needed some help stabilizing the figure using the Daiku Maryu’s foot for this pose.

Since the “headless” look for Daiku Maryu doesn’t look all that cool, you can opt to just plug the head back on.

Highly Anime-inaccurate, but more visually pleasing.

Alas, Gaiking greatly misses the mark when it comes to matching the size of the image on the box front. Lol. Ah well, at least the Daiku Maryu held up its part of the deal. lol..


Display Base

Sadly, no display arm for holding Gaiking is included this time around.

Alternate display set up for Gaiking in non-combined mode.

I can see you peeking, Gaiking.

Comparison with Gx-27 Gaiking

Display base comparison


Comparison with Chogokin GE-10 Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu Gaiking


The Good
-Daiku Maryu stands roughly spans 15.5 x 26.75 inches in dimension.

-Gaiking stands roughly 7.75 inches tall.

-The weigh in:
–Daiku Maryu – 2551 Grams (weight net of the wooden platform in the photo)
–Gaiking – 341 Grams
–Skylar – 14 Grams
–Bazolar – 20 Grams
–Nessar – 21 Grams

-Diecast parts include:
— Daiku Maryu:
—Top half of the feet only.

–Gaiking:
—Main torso (not including the dragon chest)
—Main joints
—Forearms
—Upper Legs
—Feet

–Nessar, Bazolar, Skylar:
— upper halves of their bodies

-Incredibly beautiful and huge illustrations included. I could look at them all day.

-VERY Sturdy ratchets for the Space Dragon!

-Clever use of a locking mechanism for the lower legs of the Daiku Maryu.

-Extra “default” Dragon head included so you can pose Gaiking with the Daiku Maryu together (even though it doesn’t really make sense).

-Rolling rubber treads on the Daiku Maryu. I really hope this does not become an issue down the road.

-BEAUTIFUL paint finish on the Daiku Maryu and all the mechs!

-Alternate pieces for the leg spikes and “toes” on the Daiku Maryu to recreate certain Animation models.

-Opening and ending credits music tracks included!

-LOTS of diecast on Gaiking!

-Gone are the dreadful retractable “sleeves” from the Gx-27. Thank goodness.

-Gaiking now has ankles that can be pulled down to allow for wider articulation.

-Diecast parts on the Micro-Popynica ships!

-Each of the Micro-Popynica vehicles have some articulation. Bravo, Bandai!

-Use of magnets to hold the Micro vehicles in place in the hangar is a very clever idea.

-Interesting new packing material used. It’s plastic but feels like cloth? I’m really curious what this is.

-“Fortress Mode” is a nice bonus throwback to the Popy toy. Even if this never happened in the show.


The Bad
-Assembly required for the Daiku Maryu (can’t be helped though).

-Diecast is almost not present in the Daiku Maryu (top parts of the feet only). The toy is still very heavy regardless though.

-Extra weapons sold separately. Sigh..

-Serious lack of audio tracks for the electronics here. No other music or sound effects included aside from the opening and closing credits. Dang…

-The odd color disparity of red and pink on the Counter Cross is a bit off-putting. I get that it’s Anime accurate, but it doesn’t look cool (to me, anyways). I would’ve preferred all red.

-No firing mechanism for the Counter Punch. It’s actually also a bit difficult to disconnect the forearms this time.

-Gaiking still lacks a waist joint, likewise, upper leg articulation is still highly limited.

-Super crazy, big box! The thing could practically be a table counter top! Could’ve been designed to be more compact?

-No support arm to hold Gaiking to the display base.

-The “gate” tends to open too easily, as there’s no locking mechanism to secure it shut.

-Batteries come pre-installed! Yikes!!!

-No tray for the batteries. I didn’t like the idea of placing the batteries away from the set (I’m funny that way), so I don’t know if this was the right idea, but I decided to pack the batteries in a mini-Ziploc baggie and place them on the packaging for the tray under Gaiking, distanced from each other so they don’t come into contact and drain out. Hopefully they won’t leak, but time will tell.

-Daiku Maryu’s fins are actually hollow, be careful when handling them.

-Lol… this is one of those times you just wish the actual contents matches the size of image on the box front.


The Ugly

I would probably say the Price Point? This thing is not cheap and easily the most expensive non-DX SOC. The good news is that it’s so big and imposing, you’ll probably forgive it (eventually).

For some reason, my Gaiking’s part 2 (chest component) has a very weak locking point. So much so that the body falls away from the chest when I lift the figure up just by holding the chest. Be mindful of this in case your unit has this issue as well. (I repeat, NEVER lift Gaiking by just holding the chest!)

Thankfully this thing does NOT have the nightmarish connection problems and the terrible, terrible paint finish that plagued the original Gx-05 Gaiking back in the day. Lol… imagine if that was still a thing here, given the hefty price tag of this baby.


Overall, a highly impressive set. Simply amazing! The paint finish looks fantastic! Tons of play value, lots of little bonuses included, massive illustrations! Daiku Maryu looks huge and stunning and Gaiking and the Micro Popynica vehicles are no slouches either. Everything comes together very, very well.

However, while the set is incredible, it’s not perfect, there are some negative points for it. Not really deal breakers but they do take a bit of the polish off of what could’ve been a flawless, epic release. The lack of diecast on the Daiku Maryu is a bit of a bummer, but it is understandable from a design standpoint. The electronics, while nice, are somewhat VERY limited. I was expecting more than just two music tracks, considering the works we got with DX Voltes (attack shouts, background music tracks, sound effects). The biggest issue I would probably have with this guy is the incomplete weapons. For the amount we already put out for the base set, I can’t believe we have to crank out another $200 to get the upgrade parts for Gaiking and extra weapons for the Daiku Maryu. The upgrade set better be worth the price. Sigh…

The huuuuge box is also likely a problem for most collectors at this point, too, I think. The box is really big and cumbersome. I know Bandai was going for a massive, grand presence with this set, being a landmark 100th release in the line and all, but I think a lot of collectors are nearing “critical mass” nowadays and huge, impractical boxes are going to create headaches. I personally would’ve preferred it if Bandai dropped pretenses and went for a compact, cube-ish box layout instead, with the Daiku Maryu packed in Volution Protect mode to minimize space, but that’s just me.

Regardless of the somewhat picky, minor negatives, this set is still something to behold. A strong recommend from me, as Gaiking and Daiku Maryu are one of the most iconic and recognizable mecha in Super Robot lore (mostly thanks to Jim Terry Productions for me). This set did them right!


Funfact 1: In the series, before they became war-like, the early peace-loving Zelans actually came to Earth to study and colonize the planet as early as 1 million years before the age of man. The series tries to use the Zelans as explanations for strange mysteries like the Easter Island statues, Nazca Lines geoglyphs in Peru and other strange phenomenon in human civilization’s early history.

Funfact 2: Pete Richardson (the captain of the Daiku Maryu) is voiced by Makio Inoue (Captain Harlock).

Funfact 3: Midori, the only female member of the team, is later revealed to actually be also another alien, from the planet Pigeon (episode 16). Suffering from amnesia, she eventually regains her lost memories about her origins and decides to stay on the team to help protect the Earth.

Funfact 4: Surprisingly, the Gaiking can be somehow stored VERTICALLY (!) inside the Daiku Maryu for maintenance, as seen in episode 23.

Funfact 5: Go Nagai helped create original concept for Gaiking, or at the very least, he had some inputs in the early stages of the show’s inception. He was never properly credited for it (Toei didn’t want to pay him) and this became a serious source of long-standing contention between Go Nagai and Toei Animation Studios. With the legal battle lasting 10 long years.

Funfact 6: Daiku Maryu Gaiking was Toei Animation’s first Super Robot animated series that was not based on any pre-existing media (unlike Mazinger Z and Getter Robo, which originated from Manga).

Funfact 7: Because this is still a kid’s show, silly stuff gets written in sometimes, particularly in episode 32 (the series’ nod to Herman Melville’s Moby D!ck and Captain Ahab).

Screengrabs from episode 32, featuring the crew of Daiku Maryu out of context. Remember kids, seatbelts are very important in combat situations, lest ye be thrown around the room. Lol… Bet this never happened to Captain Harlock.

Post Script: It’s been an incredible 25-year journey for the Soul of Chogokin line. As of this writing, with 100 “main line” releases, plus another 68 more as retools, redecos and event exclusives, this puts the total amount at an insane count of 168 releases (!) thus far, not including the 4 uber rare variants that were released in production unit count of 10 units or lower (“Lucky Draw” chromed Gx-18 Getter Dragon, for example, was released with just 2 units). At this point, the line can be considered pretty expansive (and expensive). Also, Bandai has officially revealed the Gx-101 to be Daitetsujin-17. That, along with Shin Getter, various Gaogaigar characters and more in the pipeline, it seems this impressive toyline is nowhere nearly done. (lol, my wallet bleeds).

While I’m personally excited to see what the line brings next (more Gaogaigar!!), hopefully, it won’t take another 25 years for Bandai to truly wrap up the line.

Gold



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