Hyakujuu Ou Goraion (百獣王ゴライオン) or the King of Beasts Golion aired way back in 1981 in Japan, where it eventually got extremely edited and released Stateside in 1984 as Voltron: Defender of The Universe. This lions Voltron was considered the first season, succeeded by the 15-vehicle Voltron based from Kikou Kantai Dairaga XV (機甲艦隊ダイラガーXV) or Armored Fleet Dairugger XV.
Although plenty of Voltron toys have been released over the years, this latest incarnation, the Dream EX Gokin Goraion by Chinese company Tong Meng EX, is apparently the one that caught my eye the most. I’m a fan of SD (super-deformed) robots so this little guy was a definite instabuy, a supplementation to the popular ES Gokin toys, a series of SD robots by a joint collaboration of Hong Kong-based Action Toys and distributed by Japanese company Art Storm.
Let’s begin with the outer packaging. The box is quite small, typical of your average-sized ES Gokin boxes (approximately 7 x 10). It doesn’t shy away from showing off the figure’s gimmicks. You can tell based on the pictures that lots of love was put to the design on the packaging alone, it even has metallic stamping on the name.
Once you open it, the contents reveal to be the 5-6 inch tall figure, complete with 3 variations of the Ju Ou Ken (Blazing Sword), 3 different faces, a shield and a display stand which also has its name on it. A small manual depicting the figure’s features is included.
You can easily appreciate whatever effort and care was put into this product despite being an abrupt imitation of the ES Gokin toy packaging. Not that it’s a bad thing in this case.
Neatly wrapped in plastic, the figure is visibly protected. The faces come with a smile/smirk, an open-mouthed mode (typical of Golion, his mouth is usually open in the tv shows for no reason) and a simple tight-lipped expression. Normally, any Golion fan would use the “open mouth” face as the default. Each face has a magnet inside of it, and once you position it unto Golion’s head, it will stick into its proper place with minimal effort. Ingenious.
The figure is 70% diecast metal, yet it’s very lightweight. It basically mimics the feel of any of the smaller-tier ES Gokin toys. Golion also boasts around 30 points of articulation, and that’s very impressive for a little guy.
Watch me attempt to (poorly) make this toy Golion mimic his most iconic poses in the opening sequences of the anime, using the 3 different variations of the Ju Ou Ken included in the package:
This pose is where Golion materializes the Ju Ou Ken from his “hands”. Clasping them together then stretching his arms, a blinding flash appears. The makers of this toy cleverly designed a special “blazing flash only” version of the sword, to which you can insert it unto both Red and Green Lions’ mouths. This pose is easily one of my favorites, and is highly praised/ppreciated by fans and reviews in Chinese toy forums.
This is the usual pose Golion does before finishing his enemies off, and the no-effect “default” Ju Ou Ken fits nicely when posing the toy this way.
There is no name for Golion’s finisher attack in the American dub, but it’s called “Ju Ou Ken Inazuma Otoshii” (十王剣イナズマ落とし), “Hundred Beast Sword Dropping Lightning Flash”. That’s because he slashes downward with the sword spurning lightning, hence the “drop”. Use the sword with a hilt and blazing effect for this pose.
Judging from these comparison pics, you can tell that it’s astounding the figure is able to at least do the poses to a certain degree of accuracy. This alone should be a deal-breaker.
As you can see, the figure is VERY versatile with a wide range of motion, almost with the same level of posability as a Revoltech toy. This figure even outshines (in my opinion) most of the ES Gokins of his size, in terms of posing variations/dynamics.
This however is the best and sweetest gimmick the figure has to offer, and the sole reason why this toy review got delayed. Go behind Golion’s head, and remove the small red portion to reveal an area where you can insert two LR44 batteries. Tinker the small switch below it and Golion’s eyes will glow. At first I thought the glowing eyes were just promotional Photoshop effects when the images were released months ago but I was gravely mistaken. So a tip for you guys out there, if there’s a manual, please do take the time to read it.
Golion isn’t the only SD figure to have light-up eyes. The first contemporary toy I have seen with this feature is the ES Gokin Getter-1. For comparison, I put the two toys together so you can see the degree of luminosity. Golion has a warmer, orange hue, while the Getter-1 has a brigher, yellow shine that is definitely not too-camera friendly. Luckily, their glowing eyes are still visible even under a light source, and make very good pictures.
So there you have it. Should you buy a Dream EX Gokin Golion? HELL YEAH YOU SHOULD. The question is where to buy one and how much is it? Well, I got mine for 3,500 PhP (roughly converted) from HKD, as mine was sourced from Hong Kong, thanx to our partner Tendou Toys. EBay has a few in stock, but it’s overpriced and ranges upwards of $130, and that alone excludes shipping and import duties/tariffs.
Your best bet is to call popular toy store Greattoys Online, place an order and see if its proprietor, my colleague Malvin Lim can secure one for you (he usually can and fulfills special orders). In my personal opinion, $130 is worth it, considering its rarity. There are rumors circulating online that Tong Meng EX is planning to release the Dairugger XV Voltron to compliment this toy, but I’m not holding my breath just yet. If it does happen, rest assured I’ll review it.
Now, enjoy Golion’s sole Super Robot Wars game appearance: 2007’s SRWW for the Nintendo DS.