I am very pleased to show two new acquisitions, two bits I’ve been trying to hunt down for ages for my Brave collection.
Released in 1997 for the final series of Brave TV shows; King of Braves Gaogaigar, we have two great looking robots; HyoRyu and EnRyu.
Although not many figures were released in the final year of Brave, and given that it’s arguably the most popular of all of the series, with several licensed releases of Gaogaigar released by several different companies, these guys have been some of the HARDEST figures I have ever hunted for. Harder to find than most mainline Transformer release (but nothing like some of those early Diaclone figures!). It’s easier to find a Big Powered boxset, Darkwings, Grandus, than it is to find these, and trust me, I have hunted for them on Yahoo Auctions, various ebay sites, lots of dedicated giant robot forums, and even on foot looking around Hong Kong. It’s a testament to Transformers how easy even the rare figures can be to find, as everyone knows what they’ve got now. Not so with some of the Brave figures.
They’re not particularly expensive though, when I finally found them, the guy accepted a reduced Buy It Now offer for the two, and the only annoying part of the transaction was that he would not ship to the UK, so I had to send these to a very good mate in the US who is very patient and doesn’t mind me taking the mickey with proxy shipping. Thanks Kev.
Now bear with me with these, as I don’t watch the TV show, and I don’t understand Japanese, and I don’t actually know that much about the world of Brave itself. I just love the Brave toyline for one reason; they were made by Takara, and you can see the influence of some of those early G1 designers in these figures. I often look at these figures as a parallel universe where the Takara designers kept working on the G1 aesthetic with a heavy emphasis on fun and chunky toys with Giant Robo combination play patterns, while the Hasbro guys went their own way with Beast Wars. Essentially, this is what they are, but with zero official Transformers crossover, as these were designed for Sunrise, a famous animation studio who work with legendary mecha designer Kunio Okawara.
In their own way, Brave figures contribute, borrow from, and add to the world of Transformers, sometimes in ways people don’t expect.
In the bright, primary colour of red, with an obvious firetruck mode and a huge ladder to go with it, it’s obvious to see the Inferno parallels with this guy. In all honesty, he feels more like Fire Convoy from Car Robots, or maybe Galaxy Convoy. Above, I show him with G1 Inferno and Maketoys Hellfire, just for a bit of context on the size of these toys. His elemental powers are reflected in the head on his forehead symbol.
*Updated with show info from the Wiki in italics*
GGG Super-AI Vehicle Machine, model number GBR-3. His vehicle form is a fire truck, and he attacks with a handgun and an infrequently used chest-mounted flamethrower, the “Chest Warmer.” EnRyu also carries a Mirror Coating-equipped shield on his left arm, which is capable of returning attacks if it can fully absorb them. After the initial Primeval attack, EnRyu is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of heat from his handgun. When first charged with “THE POWER”, EnRyu instead fires bolts of the mysterious energy from his handgun. There is a running gag focusing on EnRyu’s inability to land correctly after aerial deployment – although he actually lands properly in vehicle mode once and later as the pilot of Liner Gao, suggesting it is his construction (or the weight of his Mirror Shield) that throws him off. He eventually gets used to it, and in FINAL he manages to save a falling elevator car while crashing.
His name means “Fire Dragon”.
Has a hot, headstrong, brash personality. Even though they are twins with the same AI and the same training, the brothers have opposing personalities and sometimes argue. HyoRyu suggests in a passing remark at one point that EnRyu’s hotness is a result of his overloading heater (to which EnRyu retorts that HyoRyu’s cooling systems have cooled his heart as well).
HyoRyu is the blue one, and visually borrows quite a lot from Grapple with his crane mold, a slight retweak of EnRyu as with their Transformer predecessors. The blue works well, and has inspired me to attempt a G2 Grapple with the blue colourscheme at some point. Notice the ice detailing on his head as well.
GGG Super-AI Vehicle Machine, model number GBR-2. His vehicle form is a mobile crane, and he attacks with a rifle and a freezing ray, and a Chest Thriller that blows our freezing winds (which he often uses to put out flames). After the initial Primeval attack, HyoRyu is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of cold from his rifle and gun if he wishes. When first charged with “THE POWER”, HyoRyu fires bolts of the mysterious energy from his weapons.
His name means “Ice Dragon”.
Has a calm, collected, calculating (all compared to EnRyu) personality.
In robot mode, these guys are simple enough. The emphasis for this toyline was similar to the TV show, it’s a constant battle of one-up-manship leading towards the Ultimate Perfect-Mode Combination Super Robot, a format that Car Robots / Robots in Disguise (2000) followed. If you’re looking for super detailed, multi-articulation from your robots, then these aren’t the guys for you. However, Bandai have released non-transforming PVC versions of most of the characters from King of Braves, so you might find something more action figurey for you yet!
Obviously, these guys share the same base mold (as do their brothers Furyu & Rairyu, but more about them another day!), but with subtle differences such as mirror heads, and differing alt. mode kibble like the fire-ladder and crane, which can be held as weapons or stored on their backs, but it’s a bit clunky. Better to put them to one side and forget about them for individual modes.
They can store their handguns in their legs, and these guns actually double as the hands for the combined mode. This is a great feature, but while they can be stored I wouldn’t recommend it, as getting them out again can be a pain. Given that the combined mode head and breast plate cannot be stored, it sort of defeats the purpose.
Wait, did you say combined mode?
Duh! It’s Brave.
The combined mode of HyoRyu and EnRyu!
These guys basically split down the middle and stand on end, and then join with the other one to form a very unique looking combined form.
Again, you can store the ladder and crane on the hips, almost like a sword scabbard (as seen on the excellent Duke Fire), but alas, with no sword, they just make the figure insanely deep and limit display options, so I leave them out.
The Symmetrical-Docked form of HyoRyu and EnRyu, formed when their “SympaRate”, a measure of their synchronization and unity of purpose, reaches 100%. ChoRyuJin is a defensive specialist with his Mirror-Coating Chestplate (which he uses at the risk of his life) and ability to use the Eraser Head tool. He also possesses HyoRyu and EnRyu’s Gun, Rifle, and Tonfa attacks, usually used in “Double” form (firing from both sides at once). He can also fire all of his projectile weapons at once for a full-burst-style attack. After the initial Primeval attack, ChoRyuJin is retrofitted with the ability to fire Ul-Tech beams in place of heat or cold, which appear similar to most beam weapons in anime.
In technical specifications (and finally shown in FINAL), he also has the desperate final attack “Super Nova” – in which HyoRyu and EnRyu turn their respective dials to “Infinite” and simultaneously blast the enemy with their Chest attacks. Due to the placement of the chest plates on ChoRyuJin, he could not actually use this attack while Symmetrical-Docked, but it may imply that HyoRyu and EnRyu must have a similarly high SympaRate.
Transformers fans might find this combined form concept slightly familiar looking. It was one used in Transformers Animated for the combined mode of Jetstorm and Jetfire; Safeguard.
A lot of people would argue that while the show pulled it off, the toys didn’t manage to execute the look as cleanly as they might. One of the few disappointments of the TF:Animated line.
It just goes to show that even the most obscure of combining gimmicks, from a more obscure TV show with no real ties outside of a toy licensee, can go on to have impact over a decade later in the TF fandom. And that’s why I love this hobby, every single moment adds something to the overall tapestry of the brand. Mecha informs Transformers, Transformers inform Brave, inform Giant Robo Mecha, inform Transformers. It all comes full circle.
Thanks for reading!