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Episode 7: Celebrating a Legend!, Review of Brave of Legend Da-Garn: Jet Saber
7 May 2012, 14:24
Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1988!
Posts: 3 644
Joined: 26 February 2006
One anniversary I don't think there will be much ado about officially outside Japan is the 20th anniversary of Takara's 1992 "Brave" (aka "Yuusha") series Brave of Legend: Da-Garn.
The 3rd installment of this Sunrise produced series, Takara had by this time really found their stride in this continuation of their post-Transformers Giant Transforming Robots series that would last many years to come still. By now the toy designs were becoming even more streamlined and - granted, this is personal bias, but still - the toy packaging even more beautiful.
Very much in tune with what Takara was doing with their domestic Transformers toy releases in the 80s, Jet Saber here comes in a styrofoam insert in a window box. Opening him up was like a trip down memory lane for me, like when I opened up my first MISB Japanese G1 toy in 1997 (Apeface, to be precise, and no, I have no regrets for opening a MISB G1! .
Now, it should be noted that I already know Jet Saber here. Around 2000 I bought the 3-piece giftset containing both him and his 2 brethren, Jumbo Saber and Shuttle Saber in my early days of Brave collecting. However impressive that giftset was, I soon set out to get the individually package versions as well - simply because of the box art of the individual releases.
Look at that robot art on the front of the box and tell me that that doesn't just simply scream "G1" to you! Having no proof other than my gut feeling, I could swear that this is the same artist who did a whole bunch of Takara's (and perhaps even Hasbro's?) late G1 robot art. The delicate lines, the realistic shading, the dynamic pose - a piece of real art that you just won't find anywhere else, not even on the giftsets (yes, plural "s"; there are more than one, but more on that another time).
Other views of the box. Click the respective links in the text below for close-ups.
The whole package is just a study in good packaging design, which - if you are familiar with Takara's G1 boxes - is a straight continuation of all the things that worked: One flap detailing the toy inside; one flap detailing the combined mode (more on that in a later post); the back showcasing all important things (only missing a giant battle mural to be completely G1); top side showing something that is almost a "Start - Change - Finish" setup; a bottom side with simple but recognisable graphics to easily ID this from afar.
With a then-retail price of 2,000 yen (roughly $25 USD today) Jet Saber here is an app. 21 cm long blue F-14 Tomcat jet (thanks to vmv-81 for the info!) with yellow wings and a green translucent canopy. Now, before you go blind from all the neon, let me remind you that this was made in 1992 - the same year as Transformers here i Europe were venturing into Turbomasters and Predators. Compared to those guys Jet Saber is actually very conservatively colored. Add to that that his sticker sheet does add a lot of detailing (see further down).
Transformation is very straightforward, but with a few nice twists: The rear fuselage section seperates and becomes a hand-held shield, while the thruster sections twist inwards along their own axis to become the lower torso and legs. Robot mode is very bland without sticker details as the "before" and "after" shots should attest to. The head sculpt is very nice, and could even pass off as a Transformers design head (most Brave toys have heads with very elaborate helmets with big chrome crests and long antennae etc.), and here we find another trait that was coming in over in the Transformers camp: Translucent eyes. In this capacity the clear green works very well and actually excuses the rather garish cockpit window color a bit.
The arms bend in two points around the elbow and the knees bend, but other than that there is very little useful articulation here. The shiels is nice, as is the "sword" - and I use that term loosely, as this "sword" looks more like a needle to me. But it works for him.
A sword and a shield is all you need to get ahead in life. And stickers. And, erm, a toy catalog. Oh, and instructions, yes.
15 cm tall at the head, Jet Saber is roughly the same height as the 1987 Targetmaster and 1988 Powermasters - and could easily fit in amongst them, design wise. If, like me, 1987/1988 had some of your favourite toys, you will not be disappointed with Jet Saber. There are quite a few ways to get hold of him, most them them involving the official releases made by Korean toy manufacturer Sonokong, who has been reissueing Jet Saber (although only in a giftset configuration of some sort) continuously up into the 2000s, but the original Japanese single-pack is probably a bit of a challenge these days.
Really amazing how much difference a few colorful stickers will make on a toy. Compare these with pictures above.
I like Jet Saber. Not only does he remind me of some of my favourite TF toys from the late 1980s, but I love the presentation and - as I hope to show later on - the well thought out intergration he has with his team mates. Yes, I'm trying to downplay his combination ability just a bit yet, as I want to save all that for a nice finale later on after I'm through with the other guys in this set. And if the word "Pegasus Saber" means anything to one or two of my readers out there, then please refrain from mentioning it too much as I'd like to explain its real meaning as well down the line.
|Lo-fi version||Time is now: 21 May 2013 - 03:28|