By Ray H.
If aliens invaded the planet and demanded that we show them the greatest toys on the face of the Earth or be destroyed, the SOUL OF CHOGOKIN (SOC) line would save the population. Super Robot fan or not, any toy collector just can't deny the greatness of these toys. Loads of articulation, dead on sculpts, coupled with extremely high quality and tons of accessories make these toys winners. Not to mention they are Die-Cast metal. What more could you want from a line? All the kids that used to play with Popy Super Robots (many of which saw release in the U.S. as the Shogun Warriors) in the 70's are all grown up now, and Bandai is capitalizing on that with the SOC line. All those kids are now adults and have disposable incomes, and a need for "Big Kid Toys", and Bandai delivers. Short of owning an actual life size working Super Robot, these are the best toys you can get.
Bless My Soul, It's Chogokin!
The engineering on these action figures is phenomenal, the way everything works together so perfectly, not to mention all the extra arms and weapons that come with these guys for classic trademark Super Robot attacks. ROCKET PUNCH!! SCREW CRUSHER PUNCH! Lets not forget these are CHOGOKIN toys, so they have a bunch of die-cast parts, giving them lots of weight and a really slick, smooth and cold metal feel. Chogokin, which means "super alloy" was a term coined by Mazinger and Devilman Creator Go Nagai as a gimmick for the original Popy Mazinger toys (see TBDX glossary). Since the toys are made of metal another very neat feature is some of the pieces are attached magnetically so there are no ugly joint marks.
So far Bandai has served up:
Fight Dr. Hell's evil minions in style with MAZINGER Z! Mazinger Z considered the father of all Super Robots series was released on the unsuspecting populace of Japan in 1972. If he seems familiar to you Mazinger was also a part of Mattel's Shogun Warriors line in the '70s, and also came to the US airwaves in 1985 but was re-named TRANZOR Z. Bandai's SOC Mazinger Z toy stands about 6 ¾ inches tall. He comes decked out with spring-loaded firing arms (3 sets of arms in all), a removable Hover Pileder and magnetically attached arms and fins. This Mazinger Z toy is also engineered so Mazinger can bust out all hi trademark attacks, from stomach missiles to elbow drill missiles, this guys gonna poke your eye out. Since these are "Grown up toys" that's also reflected in the price Mazinger Z's original Japanese retail is about $55, but he's hard to find these days, so prices are going up.
The sequel to Mazinger Z that came out in 1974, the Great Mazinger is a new robot based on Mazinger Z with new powers and new weapons. The SOC incarnation is yet another masterpiece pumped out by Bandai. Great Mazinger stands about 7 ½ inches tall, comes with spring loaded rocket fist, 3 sets of arms, eight fist, Magnetically attached chest boomerang, lots of articulation, a removable Brain Condor, Swords, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Great Mazinger's original Japanese retail is about $73 definitely worth checking out.
Based on the Com-Battler anime, This guy transforms from all the modular vehicles into the Giant Robot COM-BATTLER V! Battle Jet, Battle Crasher, Battle Tank, Battle Marine and Battle Craft all combine into Com-battler V. Com-battler also has a bunch of swank accessories to like his Electromagnetic Yo Yo's, Twin Lancers and Atomic Buster. Com-Battler stands about 9 ½ inches tall, and cost about $130 original Japanese retail.
UFO ROBOT GRENDIZER!
Another of Go Nagai's Super Robot shows that premiered in 1975, GrenDizer shares the same timeline and some of the same characters of Mazinger fame. GrenDizer is Bandai's latest edition to the SOC line. Out of all the other SOC toys GrenDizer has the most accessories. He comes with a UFO to dock in, all the spring loaded firing fun all the others have, plus a bunch of UFO' accessories for creating attacks from the show. GrenDizers about 7 ½ inches tall and since he comes with so much extra stuff he retails for about $140 in Japan.
Bandai's not done yet, not by a long shot. The next SOC toy slated for release is the DAIKUMARU from GAIKING. No pictures of the toy itself have been released yet except this control art, but given Bandai's track record it's sure to be another masterpiece.
Still need more?!?! Well, Bandai's got more, If you need a place to store your awesome Super Robots, you need the SOC Robot Base. It can fit all the super robots and is specially designed to hold their spare weapons. Plus it has a battery powered motorized lift, for making dramatic entrances from out of the secret base. Bandai has also recently released a "Soul of Popynica" Hover Pileder. The Hover Pileder is the little ship that flies around with Mazinger Z pilot Koji Kabuto inside. It fits in Mazinger's head and that's where Koji pilots Mazinger. Bandai's Hover Pileder toy has die-cast parts and also comes with a fully poseable Koji Kabuto action figure. Both cost about 45$ each, these items are perfect for complimenting the SOC line.
If you want to buy some of the SOC line check out: