REVIEW: Bandai's Flash Changers Goku & Super Saiyan Goku 2-Pack

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Bandai is undoubtably the largest manufacturer of Dragonball toys and action figures in the world, and Japan has enjoyed literally thousands of incredible figures based on the Dragonball franchise for many years. 2008 has been a special year for the American Dragonball fan however, as Bandai’s new Ultimate Collection, Flash Changer and Power Booster lines, (among several others) are the very first Bandai Dragonball creations native to America, and not re-releases of older Japanese toys.

By far the new Flash Changers series is the most interesting, as they continue a grand tradition for Bandai of high quality mini-figures - though this time with a new and special twist!

So far there are only two sets of figures in the Flash Changers series that you can get: Vegeta and Super Saiyan Vegeta, and, up for review today, Goku and Super Saiyan Goku.

With the Flash Changer series, you are given two mini-figures mounted on individual bases, a hollow shaft sculpted to look like a huge burst of energy, and two soft plastic attachments that go on the outside of the shaft for added dramatic effect. The mini-figures each can click onto a sliding harness inside of the shaft. This harness can either securely be locked to the top of the shaft, or you can slide it all the way down, thus hiding the figure from view, and making it possible to enacted the toys main gimmick! By positioning the figure inside the shaft and then slamming the whole toy on top of the second mini figure, the figure inside dramatically shoots to the top, and gives you the illusion that the character has just transformed into a Super Saiyan!

PACKAGING: The packaging for this two pack stands out nicely. Featured in the background is a great picture of Super Saiyan Goku about to teleport away, which was a very nice touch. I’m continually impressed with the packaging of Bandai Japan figures, and while this is a little toned down in comparison to those releases, it’s still very effective and quite nice.

The greatest thing about this packaging is the way that it allows you to actually try out the sliding action inside of the energy shaft! With a little plastic insert (which can be removed for good once the toy package is opened), you can make the Super Saiyan Goku figure already attached inside the shaft more up and down! While this doesn’t really explain the ‘Flash Changing Action’ aspect completely, it was a great little touch they added to show what fun you can have with these. The back of the package also has great images showing how the toy works, as well as images of the Vegeta/Super Saiyan Vegeta in the series, as well as pictures of the new Ultimate Collection Series.

SCULPTING: The sculpting on these minis is really good, and they fit in quite well with both older Bandai and AB Dragonball mini-figures. Both the Goku and Super Saiyan Goku have nice rips and folds in their clothing all over the place, Super Saiyan Goku in particular. The little bases that they stand on are also well done, and have a great craggy texture to the touch.

The hair on the Super Saiyan Goku is particularly interesting, in that it looks very much like a Super Saiyan 2 Goku, because of all of his extra bangs. My only complaint is with the regular Goku - his back is oddly smooth and unrefined, throwing him off a bit. It would have also been nice if they had painted either the Kame, Go, or Kia symbols somewhere on his gi, but I suppose thats a fairly minor gripe, and one that doesn’t really hold the figure back from being a nice addition to my mini figure collection.

The energy and rock base is also very well sculpted, and extremely well put together and sturdy. Because of all the clicking-into-place that is involved with this toy, something less well made just wouldn’t make it through the first 10 minutes of play. But the functionality of the sculpting here is so well done, I’ve never once worried about breaking mine.

Also included with this set are the two soft plastic pieces that attach to the front of the shaft. They are a little flimsy and don’t always really hold the shape you need them to, but I haven’t had any trouble with them either falling off, or getting in the way, so it’s not really a big problem. Over all I’m glad that these where included, as they add another layer of tactile and visual texture to the toy, that really make the whole thing a great display piece.

Over all the sculptural presentation of this toy is super nice. There was great attention payed to the fact that this both a toy and a sculptural piece, at the same tiime. The inclusion of the softer plastic add on’s was a fantastic touch, and the mini figures are great looking!

PAINT: The paint applications on all the pieces are very well done, and the errors and slip ups I found were little to none. Even the little yellow ropes on Goku’s boots have been painted on admirably well - a detail flubbed countless times on other figures.

The colors are bright and very pleasing, and immediately draw you it. Super Saiyan Goku’s hair almost has a gliteryness about it which is subtle but noticeable - very cool touch. The painting on the base has a nice pearlessence to it, which is also subtle, but more odious when the mini-figures are attached at the top. The softer rubber add ons have some nice gray scale strokes in their paint scheme which really adds something to the piece - almost making this toy look like some of the great Megahouse Gashapon figures that have been released in the past. And that’s why I think this figure really works - It’s essentially a piece of semi-functional Gashapon. Instead of just looking pretty, it actually dose something as well! As I mentioned before it was slightly disappointing that they didn’t paint any of Goku’s symbols onto his gi, but I don’t think it hurts this figure either.

ARTICULATION: There really is no articulation in the mini-figures, unless the up and down sliding action in the shaft counts. It should be noted that this really does work well. Also the minis are able to snap on beautifully, and never once did I feel like I was forcing it, or worried that any kind of breaking would occur. The gimmick for this toy is not complicated, but the fact that it works so well and is so well made makes having fun with it really enjoyable.

ACCESSORIES: This is a tough one with this toy, because what would you consider the accessory, the minis or the base? I’ll go with saying that it’s the base, since Dragonball mini-figures are such a huge mainstay for Bandai. I do applaud Bandai for giving us something different and interesting, in conjunction with what is essentially just another release of mini-figures, as well as for finding a fun way of playing into the concept of the Super Saiyan transformation! All that is possible, because inclusion of the shaft.

COST AND OVERALL IMPRESSION: Both of the Flash Changer sets retail for about $10 at most places, and I think that’s a pretty great deal for what your getting! Your getting two really well done mini-figures that actually have some kind of functionality to them, as well as a great looking base with a lot of detail. As a big collector of Dragonball mini-figures, I can honestly say I like this set and plan on getting the Vegeta set to go along with it. Its a unique way to play with Dragonball mini-figures, and is a beautiful display item at the same time!

A second series in the Flash Changers line will include sets of Super Saiyan Gohan/ Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, and Super Saiyan Goku/ Super Saiyan 3 Goku, as well as several others! Series two is scheduled to ship in February 2009. I’m personally very pleased with these figures, and look forward to this next assortment. If you’re someone who loves mini-figures and Gashapon but are looking for something a little different, then these will be very much up your alley!

For even more images of Bandai’s Flash Changers Goku & Super Saiyan Goku 2-Pack , CLICK HERE!

To watch Flash Changers Goku & Super Saiyan Goku in action, check out the video below!

Review, Photos, and Video by Amanda Sukenick

Review Sample Courtesy of Bandai

Posted by Jeff Saylor on January 28, 2009 11:49 AM

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