Possibly the best Mazinger Z toy you could give to your inner child.
For quite a few years (more than I’d care to admit), I’ve toyed with the idea of buying one of the die-cast Great Mazinger toys made by Mattel back in 1979 for its Shogun Warriors line. Acquiring one at this stage in my Gen-X lifetime would serve to replace the die-cast Great Mazinger that I had as a 10-year old.
I was a huge fan of Japanese giant robots back then due to the live-action imports on TV in Chicago like The Space Giants, Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, and Spectreman. Mattel’s die-cast Great Mazinger, though, was my first introduction to actual toys based on super cool “Super Robots” like those to which lucky brats living in Japan seemingly had unlimited access.
Though I’d come to own other Super Robot toys, including the 24-inch plastic Shogun Warriors (based on Bandai/Popy’s “Jumbo Machinder” line), the first one I owned would come to hold a justifiably special spot in my heart; hence the endlessly present thoughts over the years of procuring a vintage one as a de facto memento of the era.
But it’s a good thing that I held off as long as I did before pulling the trigger on a vintage one. The high prices on classic toys in the collectibles market were partly a factor in my delay. But there was also the matter of condition. The better the quality of a vintage item, the higher the price it commands, and I wanted a vintage Mazinger for my desk that was “minty fresh.”
Well, thanks now to those wonderful designers at Bandai and their Super Robot “Chogokin” (Super Alloy) line of adult collector’s toys, I’ve ended up with a one that’s even better than what I was thinking about. I’ve also spent less than a third of what I’d would have likely forked over for an original Mazinger die-cast figure still in minty fresh condition. [Colgate smile™]
Unlike the die-cast robot toys made in ‘79, whose design was very limited, in terms of joint articulation, these modern figures have articulation out the wazoo! So when I factor in the price ($70) and the super sophisticated design, I really couldn’t be happier than I am with this brand spankin’ new Bandai Hobby Iron Cutter Edition Mazinger Z.
Oh, and for the record, while still “new” in the literal sense, these toys aren’t new-new. Bandai has been producing high-quality –– and justifiably high priced — die-cast action figures for adult collectors since 1997, branded under the Soul of Chogokin (????, Ch?g?kin) or “Soul of Super-alloy” banner.
In 2010, Bandai also wisely introduced a second line for collectors who also wanted to know the joys of owning high-quality Super Robot toys, but who were — like moi — a bit more frugal in their spending habits. These figures were scaled down in size, but offered a nice analog to the 5.5-inch figures produced by Bandai (and later Mattel) in the late 1970s.
Toy making has really become something of an art form since the early days of die-cast Super Robot toys. As such, Bandai’s “Iron Cutter” Edition Mazinger Z, like all the other figures produced for both the Soul of Chogokin and the Super Robot Chogokin lines, is an eyelash-yanking masterpiece.
Since it was delivered, I can barely stop eye-balling this baby. It’s positioned on the desk right now as I type this review and I can hardly resist taking breaks between paragraphs to make goo-goo eyes and blow smooches. Okay, I’m only kidding about that last part (Is he? – ed.). But I cannot stress enough how much of a masterful production this figure is. It’s gorgeous.
Anyone who’s also been window shopping (before finally making the leap into The Chogokin Zone®) knows there are quite a few Mazinger designs in Bandai’s catalog alone from which to choose. That’s not even including all the other Super Robots from manga and television shows that have been produced!
The first thing that caught my eye with “Iron Cutter” (orig. release 07.2016) was the more reasonable price. But I wasn’t sold on the price alone. Because I was interested in a Mazinger figure that captured the aesthetics of the ‘79 die-cast Great Mazinger, the inclusion of a Scrander (see: winged jetpack) was a must.
With the Iron Cutter Mazinger Z, I was also particularly drawn to the fact that blended into its color scheme was a subdued metallic aqua, which vaguely recalls the aqua that was used in the original Jumbo Machinder Mazinger design.
In 2013, Bandai actually produced a full-on “Machinder Color” edition for the Soul of Chogokin line. The figure even boasted kanji letters on the obi (or sash), like that affixed to the stomach of the early toys. But the much heavier aqua on the 2013 edition didn’t blend as nicely with Mazinger’s dark blue and black body parts as it does in the Iron Cutter edition. Here it strikes a balance hovering between aqua and silver, both of which are colors that have made up parts of Mazinger Z’s design at various times.
Another strong selling point with Iron Cutter— aside from the Iron Cutters themselves — was the fact that the figure boasts a redesigned Scrander. Unlike previous versions, this one features a ‘Z’ insignia on the top fin. For OG fans like myself, this holds dual significance in relation to the name Mazinger Z and also “Tranzor Z,” the name used when the Mazinger Z cartoon was dubbed and aired on TV in select US cities in the 1980s, Chicago among them.
Yes, all kinds of geeky factoids were factored into my decision to buy Bandai’s Iron Cutter Mazinger Z over one of the other Chogokin editions. So if you too are also likely to have only one Mazinger toy in your collection, the Iron Cutter Mazinger Z is the one. And while the price on it has gone up a bit, even since I acquired mine, it’s still very much worth it.
Trust me. Your inner child will thank you.
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