Ronin Warriors. AKA: Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, this anime was possibly the most important of my childhood. Man, the memories of this show are of the most awesome caliber, I assure you. Might be the first anime I ever watched…can’t remember.
Sage of the Halo. AKA: Korin No Seiji, is the blond of the group. His surname is Date, as in Masamune Date. This would probably explain why he was designed to sport one eye at a time when not donning armor. This guy is the “playboy” of the group, though this fact changes from the original Japanese version to the English. He’s the most mature of the group spiritually and the calmest under pressure. He’s got green armor, and a MONSTER blade to go with it. His corresponding attribute is Wisdom/Courtesy/Grace (depending on the version you’re watching), but I’m, partial to “wisdom”. Another cool trait about him is his power comes from light…any kind of light, and he can use said light to repair his sword, should it become damaged. Honestly, I don’t know all that much about him, but if you want to do some research on your own, start with these: http://www.squidge.org/~skippyscatt/sage.html, http://www.absoluteanime.com/ronin_warriors/sage.htm and http://roninwarriors.wikia.com/wiki/Sage_of_the_Halo.
Armor Plus Korin No Seiji. The 4th installment of Bandai’s Samurai Troopers line. “Tread silently, and carry a big stick” is what comes to mind with this guy. Like the rest of the line, the coloring for the armor is rich, and glossy. The metallic green is brilliant with hints of grey, blue and gold about it. As expected, he is rather skinny in his base form. Well, there aren’t too many Japanese heroes with a real set of muscles anyway. Besides, this is Armor Plus we’re dealing with. You need a smaller base to deal with so that the armor makes it a thicker figure.
We’ll start with the base form. The articulation is 2nd to none…of course. Wrists, neck and waist are on ball joints. The rest of the articulation is done by hinges and metal rivets. There isn’t much going for the midsection, besides maybe turning and twisting. Though the base form is obviously very simple looking, it still is done splendidly, and serves as a better “toy”. You want poseability? This is the best you’re going to get. Fight poses, action scenes, etc…the most dynamic will come from his base form. Just about all the poses from the transformation can be re-enacted with this. The head is done nicely as well. There is nothing really special about Sage’s hair, but it does accurately cover his right eye, and flare outwards in the back like it’s supposed to.
|Default factory settings|
Next, is the “object”. Whenever one of the warriors dons their armor, it is represented by a mannequin wearing it, sitting down. This is no exception. The object has no real discernible, nor practical articulation about it. The arms and wrist can move a bit, but that is only a side effect of the removal process of said pieces. They make it a point to have the object and the stool it sits on separate pieces. Because of the particulars of the armor, the object can hold the giant sword if it wants to or not. Unlike the Myth Cloth line, the armor on the object is 95% spot on to what goes on the base form.
The armor formula is always the same. Legs pieces on the legs, arm pieces on the arms…etc, etc. However, this time there are some removals of the base form first. The articulated shoulder panels, as well as the knee plates, arm guards, chest plate and small crotch plate must all be cast aside prior, making the figure incomplete. I like this formula, personally. This lets you know that the real armor pieces are going to go on smooth, and will better look like they are a part of the toy, rather than just an addition to an existing figure. Once completed, you get some real Ronin Warrior goodness. Now. Be advised: this thing is pretty heavy for its size, but surprisingly not as heavy as say…Taurus Aldebaran, or even Gemini Saga for that matter. It’s about 60/40 plastic to die-cast. The die-cast is in the armor, and bottom half of the legs, mostly. The stomach areas, inside of arms, inside shoulders, and helmet are plastic, however, with the rest of the body being plastic as well. Even his great sword is plastic.
|Armor of Halo|
|:Insert silk rolls:|
|Complete Sage of the Halo|
As for Special Parts, there isn’t a bunch, but enough. It in addition to the base form, it comes with three extra sets of hands (open, grabbing, and grabbing tighter). It also comes with an extra set of hand guards, so that the base form and object can be displayed complete next to each other. The sword is a mention. I love this damn thing…absolutely love it. It just might be my favorite weapon for any of my figures, next to either White Rock Shooter’s scythe or the Shinkiro’s Anti-FLEIA spear. The bad boy is about 7 inches in completion, with the gloss to give it the menacing look it needs. Sage himself is the “tread softly” while that nodachi of his would certainly be the “carry the big stick”. The nodachi is large, and can be wielded with either one or two hands. Also, you can change the makeup of the sword from the hand guard, down to a smaller, and less threatening look if desired, though I am not sure of the purpose for this gimmick. Feel free to let me know if you have an answer for it. It comes with an extra “screaming” face like everyone else. Also, like the rest of the line, you get the helmet with two different front sides. One has the mask intact, and the other without it. It’s pretty rare that the Ronin guys wear the helmet without notably removing the metal framework of the mask, but is has happened before. Besides, that is the way it goes on the object anyway.
Sage of the Halo, though not my favorite Ronin Warrior, would have certainly been had I watched this series a bit older than I was. I like the calm, collected type that isn’t the main character. Also, his particular shade of green is completely awesome to me, especially with the added gold Gundam-like forehead crest and shuriken-like hand guard on that commanding blade of his.
Before I actually grade this thing, I’m gonna take a bit of time to assess why I’m so interested in this line, and why I want to complete it in entirety…even more than my Saint Seiya line. If you don’t want to read this part (because it’s pretty much a tangent and not really a part of the figure review), just go ahead an skip on down to the grading section.
Ronin Warriors was the first of its kind to me. It introduced a world of elements in Japanese manga/anime culture that I have never seen before. A lot of things that are pretty cliché now, are so because of shows akin Ronin Warriors (five different colored heroes, big shoulder pads, heavily destructive super-moves, etc) and it’s a shame to see what I think is a dying era of cartoon. Some of the things that Ronin brought to the plate (for me) were:
- Animation style – Long legs, and “anime penis posing” galore, Ronin Warriors was jam packed with little tidbits that made their otherwise basic fights seem pretty epic. Back then, there were A LOT of still scenes, and emotions going on in anime that would delay the fight, and waste airtime…making a pretty small fight last several episodes long. As a kid, I hardly ever noticed it, but the integrity of anime has changed, and you can’t really get away with that anymore…unless your anime is spawned from Shonen Jump…in which that is THE bread and butter for them. Also, evading attacks usually came with high leaps in the air. Everything from blasts, to blades, to even kicking a nearby wall was all evaded by jumping tens of feet away. That was the era then
- Armor – they say clothes make the man. In the anime world (at the time at least), the best clothes came from costumes that required some kind of Transformation sequence to get. Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon, and even Power Rangers all had a few…and look how far they have come. No, I didn’t understand the “wallpaper” effect and cherry blossoms that was going on the put the armor on, but then again, I didn’t know anything about Japan at the time…but it sure as hell looked great! Is was really the shoulder pads that got me. Ryo’s shoulder pads reminded me almost of a human wearing robotic armor, and nothing could be cooler than that. The closes thing I had to human and robot at the same time was Power Rangers, but that could never fill Ronin Warriors’ shoes. Each armor had its own look, color, theme, purpose, and weapon. I was WAY down with that. All assembled, they made the most awesome looking set of heroes I can imagine at the time. The only thing close was another cartoon I remember watching as a boy called “King Arthur and the Knights of Justice”. Here, was another set of heroes in different colored and different styled set of armors. Their theme song was just as corny, and their action sequences were on the same entertainment level, but they had the armor like Ronin Warriors, and so did the enemies. Such a great formula: Man + Armor + Weapon + Magical Powers + Awesome.
- Screaming out signature moves, and combining powers – Ronin Warriors helped set a precedence for having a signature move unique only to the character, and screaming it the top of their lungs while performing it for the heroes and Warlords alike. Yes, Sailor Moon and Saint Seiya had it too, but not like these guys. I only saw the English version, and until my deathbed, I will remember “Quake with FEAR!!!” and “Iron Rock CRUSHER!!!” The voices used for the show went on to do many more, but I was convinced as a kid that Rowen was from New York, and Ryo was from Cali, while Anubis was from Australia or something. All the moves pretty much blew everything around them to pieces, but the animation for them was pretty nice. Also, they used the “power into one” thing where the leader gets all the feelings, and wills, and powers from his comrades to win. However, they didn’t skimp on the final result. Not only did you get a brand new piece of armor (that was drop-dead sexy btw), but with the “Swords of Fervor” added to it, you got some pretty nice pyro-kinesis going on. I had never dealt with anything like that before. In addition to that, you find that later on in the series that you don’t need all the heroes to make the armor. Hell, Ryo once uses the Warlords’ armor to create the White Armor…how sweet is that?
- Attributes – This is probably my favorite one. The Ronin Warriors all have a certain attribute about them that defines their purpose and representation in their universe. Sage was wisdom, Ryo was virtue, so on and so forth. Thing is, the Warlords happened to have their own toward the end of the anime, which made me respect the series even more. The fact that they got the bad guys to do something good, and showing that their similarities were even deeper than previously thought was all pretty genius to me. Now, I cannot tell you what all of these attributes make up, or what they are attributes of…bushido, maybe? But they all are aspects of pretty much the ideal person…and I like that. This attribute representation was visited again in the later 90’s with the first season of Digimon, where they picked up tags and crests. Courage, friendship, love…all that good jazz was divided up for each of the kids. I thought it was a good plot tool at the time, but I still never forgot that scene in Ronin Warriors where the heroes were caught in their own personal trials, and in order to break the “spell” and call out to each other, they embraced the very virtues they represented. Warriors of Virtue, Captain Planet, Sailor Moon, Mystic Knights, are just a few other pieces of media that have used the attribute formula for their protagonists, but it was the Ronin Warriors that to this day used the right elements, and the right formula for their particular field.
|Nicest blade yet...|
|Prepare to do battle|
|With this blade...|
|Check out it's height|
All in all, I give this figure an 8/10. Reason being, is that though it’s so very handsome to stare at, it simply doesn’t have good ankle joints. Can’t afford for your ankle articulation not to be tight when dealing with so much die-cast. Also, because of the arrangement of the shoulders, it’s very hard to get the arms in select places, as well as the shoulder circles getting in the way of Sage’s face when wanting to pose with a turned head. In my particular figure, the armor paint has become weary in parts by the knee, and the larger shoulder parts are a bit loose. I have to play for it a bit to get them where I want them to be. But some good things are the accuracy. It keeps the Halo symbol on its left shoulder, just like Rowen’s Armor of the Strata. They all keep the cool hook-like things on the back of their heels. This was used to make different wrestling poses with the original toys (sure, like “wrestling” was something a Ronin Warrior would do), but I just thought it was a cool little gimmick on their armor that really served no purpose. Everything on it is glossy and shiny, which though at the same time makes it look incredible, also makes it a fingerprint magnet.
If you’re thinking about getting it, I would do so. Keep in mind, the entire line are Tamashi exclusives…so they aren’t cheap. Just about 150 USD a piece at the cheapest. Big Bad Toy Store still has them all in stock, and is really good with shipping, but I’m sure it won’t be long before they are bought up. If you’re a big Ronin Warrior fan like me, and have a bit to spend…please get these. They are certainly worth it. This is one of the nicest additions to the Armor Plus line that Bandai can do, and almost pee’d myself when I found out that Ryo of the Wildfire wasn’t going to be the only one they released.
|Kikoutei Rekka (Hariel of the Inferno), Rekka no Ryo (Ryo of the Wildfire), Tenkuu no Tohma (Rowen of the Strata), Korin no Seiji (Sage of the Halo)|
|Warriors in attendance|
|It's place amongst the collection|
|A corner for exclusives|
And now, for some Ronin Warrior goodness:
Next up, the Brothers Elric double review, followed by EX Scorpio Milo. Stay tuned.
Happy Hobbying, everyone!