The Riobot/bone line is still fairly small, with the figures being mostly hit or miss from what I can glean from reviews. However, when they announced that they’d be taking on the Gurren Lagann series I was immediately excited for the possibilities. The last GL figures I bought were the Revoltechs and as you can imagine, they’re quite dated and compared to the modern figures I’ve bought since they feel…inferior. The Riobot GL deviates from the standard TV design but I love the way it looks, so I placed a preorder when the second batch went up at AmiAmi with the hopes that they’ll also do the Lazengann (as it was previewed at one event) so I’ll have a nice display piece with the two of them.
The box for the figure alone shows how much effort was put in to this figure (HG Astraea for size comparison). It’s also a hell of a lot bigger than I was expecting but it definitely explains why EMS shipping cost 4000 yen. I still can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Gurren Lagann first came out…
Let’s take a minute to appreciate that this is how the figure comes posed in the packaging.
Accessory wise, this thing is loaded with goodies and everything that an excellent figure of Gurren Lagann should come with. Two large drills, one extra-long Giga Drill part, two sword/boomerang sunglasses part, alternate drill-deployed wrist parts, plenty of hand options, a yelling head, the Gurren Wing, a nose bit to cover up the hole when you remove the sunglasses from the body and a stand with two different styles of connecting pegs (locking and free-moving). The 7,000 yen price tag on this thing, while steep, is absolutely well deserved.
The figure takes a departure from the standard TV Gurren Lagann design. For some this is a negative if they’re a stickler for show-accurate design but to me this redesign is absolutely fantastic. While the figure itself feels a little light since it doesn’t have any die cast in it, it still feels solid enough that I don’t worry about it breaking at all. It’s also loaded with articulation so that posing it is easy. The transparent sunglasses on the chest look great and the drill motif on the ends of them are really nice, as well as them not being very hard to pull off of the figure so you don’t have to worry about breaking them. Not to mention the engineering that went in to this figure is easily on par with things that you would see out of Bandai’s Master Grade kits.
The first really excellent inclusion is the Gurren’s eyes moving with the head of the figure when you turn it.There’s also a little lever in the back you can use to move the eyes around when you pop the red part off of the back if you want Gurren to look one way and Lagann to check another way. Sometimes getting the eyes to look just right can be a bit of a paint just by turning the head so it’s really nice that they’ve made it possible to get at the lever.
The second neat gimmick the did was make the thigh and knee armor bend in a fashion that makes getting Gurren Lagann in to the extreme poses that the show is known for.
You can see the sections where the shoulder pads swivel (the lighter grey sections), the upper arm joint is on a peg that gives it full rotation while the elbow is a ball joint. The waist is split in two and both of those are ball joints as well, so the figure can lean back and twist around well. I’ve already covered the legs, but all of these things come together to make a really superb figure. The joints are all strong as well as the drill parts not being overly heavy which means that there are no sagging issues here even in the most extreme poses.
The only issue I really had with the figure is after attaching the Gurren Wing the top ball joint of the figure couldn’t hold the weight that well but after putting a drop of future floor polish on it that issue quickly vanished. Also, an important note about the Gurren Wing: that thing is sharp as hell, so be careful. Aside from being sharp, it also has a neat feature where the flight orb deploys from the backpack. Definitely glad they packed this in with the figure and didn’t leave it as some sort of extra set or make it so you had to get another figure to get it (like the Revoltech originally did- of course they’ve since released a Gurren Lagann [Wing ver.] that eliminates the issue of having to track down Revoltech Lazengann and Enki to get the wing parts).
For fans of super robots in general, this figure is an excellent offering of what has become an excellent homage to many other super robot shows and an outstanding Gainax show. While the price point is a bit hard to swallow (especially with the strong yen and weak dollar) this is THE Gurren Lagann figure. As long as you don’t mind the stylized nature of the figure you are absolutely going to love this thing. However, if show accuracy is your thing then Bandai has just recently announced a Super Robot Chogokin version of GL (as well as a bonus set with a bunch of tiny drills to recreate the “full-drillerized” Gurren along with a static and spinning giga drill part) which will probably also be an excellent figure. If this figure is something you’d like to add to your collection, you can order it from AmiAmi here.