Observations & Critique: The sweet smell of money burning
Like all Tamashii exclusives, these parts came in an outer brown shipping box. Inside the brown shipper is a two-toned and very basic (but not glued shut like Yamato’s Clear Super Parts accessories) thin product box housed in a layer of tissue paper. Inside you get the LAI special fold drive that Michael used to get to Galia IV in a hurry. Of course, that’s not all you get; you also receive a singing Ranka figure and the sound system that was attached to Michael’s VF-25. Silly? Unquestionably. One bummer to note: the instructions come on normal paper stock, nothing glossy, so they feel pretty cheap (but are unneccessary anyway). It would have been nice if Bandai had thought ahead when making the VF-25 toy and allowed the cockpit to be swapped so that these extra parts could include an additional cockpit featuring Michael piloting with Ranka in the back seat. There are lots of other great extras that could have been included here (especially at this price). It would have been great to have Grace with the dimensional eater bomb or standing figures of Michael and/or Alto.
This is bound to be fairly limited in its release as it was a website exclusives available only to residents of Japan. The parts were featured in the actual show so that ups the charm considerably. That said, they aren’t exactly heroic parts and are actually a bit silly. As exclusives these were priced pretty high for what was actually delivered (and ridiculously high for Westerners who paid finders fees on top of the already high price). This is definitely something neat to own but I don’t see people going to too great a length to pick up speakers and a pink fold drive.
Considering the more casual approach Bandai has taken to anime accuracy in their DX line I was rather impressed at the detail work done on these extra parts. First, the Ranka figure, while tiny, easily exceeds the level of detail found on the pilots in the DX craft. Second, the speakers use plastic colored like some modern-day premium speakers which reveals a bit more thought and concern than I had expected. I’m not comparing the fold drive to the show right now, and I can’t say my computer’s color settings are perfect, but I remember the fold drive being a darker shade but otherwise things look good. The one weakness I found was the fold drive connector piece which is sparsely detailed and made of a flat gray plastic (it comes in two varieies, one for use with super parts, one for use without).
Many of the faults here actually belong to the underlying VF-25 toy you will have to own separately. The VF-25 toys do not have hard points under the wings to attach accessories like missiles or speakers. To remedy this Bandai made the speakers clip to the front of the wing. This is incredibly lame and a very 80s approach (even Toynami tried to use hard points on their VF-1 toys… although they had questionable success considering how often the missiles just dropped right out due to poor fit). The speakers do attach pretty firmly so there’s no concern here of them popping off unless your hands hit up against them. The fold drive connects firmly and securely. To accomodate the Super Parts on the shoulders Bandai requires you to remove the shoulder super parts, remove the extension arm from the shoulder super parts (the black arm that allows the shoulder parts to slide off the shoulder in battroid mode), then connect the shoulder super parts directly to the fold drive attachment piece which then attaches to the VF-25 in the same holes as the shoulder super parts. If you were able to follow that description then you should realize this means you can’t have the fold drive attached in any mode other than fighter (which should be fine since the show does not depict the fold drive attached in any other mode).
These parts all seem really well built and chunky which is fitting of the DX line so far. As has been the problem with all DX releases: paint scratching will be your primary concern. I can’t imagine many people will scratch the paint on these accessories but I can imagine people scratching paint on the VF-25 while clipping these accessories on. Always use caustion. The clips themselves may fatigue over time and someone applying the speakers carelessly may manage to break something or other.
Nothing moves here. Should you expect anything to move here? No. The Ranka figure is way too small to have any articulation. I suppose they could have worked in some mechanism to make the speakers appear to pulsate but that sounds pretty gratuitous to me.
I didn’t do this as a full review (as I have done some accessories in the past) because too many faults of these accessories belong to the underlying VF-25 toy purchased and reviewed separately. There also just isn’t enough meat here (like there would be with say, an accessory GBP pack) to review things like articulation and durability and build. Between the pics and my write up above I hope you’ll have everything you need to determine if this is something you’d really like to hunt down and own.