I discovered Gobots/Machine Robo as a kid when I got a few Robo Machines (Europe’s Gobots, which actually were a bizarre mix between Machine Robo and the American Gobots with various sticker and color variations, and which were released by Bandai themselves) from a friend. I also bought some myself, but of those early toys, only one survived my childhood – An A-10 named Bad Boy.
When I started collecting Transformers again, I did a lot of fleamarkets and came across the odd Robo Machine. These were usually snapped up at once, and gradually I began to appreciate the design that Bandai had put into the various Machine Robo toys, which was usually a lot better than what Hasbro put(s) into Transformers. Especially the later Machine Robos had very interesting designs, and transformations that made a Rubik’s Cube look simple.
However, when Transformers are already rare on the Dutch market, Machine Robo/Robo Machines/Gobots are even rarer, and the occasional find could not quench my Machine Robo-thirst.
So when Bandai announced that it would be releasing a brand new Machine Robo toyline, together with an accompanying anime series, I jumped on it. The first pictures looked promising, with designs based on older toys, a new combining concept with interchangeable limbs, and huge carrier vehicles that transformed into equally huge robots. This new line was to be called “Machine Robo Rescue” and would have a strong ‘rescue vehicle’ theme. It appears the line is currently going strong in Japan, as far as I’ve been able to gather it from various sources, and when you look at the toys, you can understand why.
The main toys in the Machine Robo Rescue line are the Hyper Robos, combining teams consisting of one Team Leader and four drones. The Team Leader lends the Hyper Robo its name, so if the Team Leader is named “Jet Robo”, the combined mode will be called “Hyper Jet Robo”. The four drones share the same design, the only way to differentiate them being their number. The Team Leader is Robo #1, the drones #2, #3, #4, and #5. The drones can combine with the Team Leader to form the Hyper Robo. Each drone can become any leg or any arm, thanks to the shared design. Each Team is named after the Team Leader (eg. MRR Jet), and belongs to one of the following subgroups: Red Wings, Blue Sirens, or Yellow Gears.
Currently I own the Hyper Jet Robo, the Hyper Police Robo, the Hyper Drill Robo, and the Hyper Fire Robo, which make up the first 4 Hyper Robos released. The Jet and Fire teams belong to the Red Wings, the Police team to the Blue Sirens, and the Drill team to the Yellow Gears. The Jet Robo and Drill Robo designs are both clearly based on the original Machine Robo Jet Robo (Fittor) and Drill Robo (Screwhead) toys, while the Police Robo reminds me of Turbo and the Bike Robos vaguely ressemble the original Bike Robo (Cy-Kill). The Hyper Fire Robo appears to be a completely new design. All of the toys have very simple transformations and articulation, making them fun to play with, and preventing the hassle of posing them. The toys are nicely detailed, and each Team Leader’s head is styled after the team’s subject. The Hyper Jet Robo comes with 4 missile pods that can attach to the connectors used for the combining feature, while the Fire Robo has two guns. The toys have pre-painted parts and the sticker sheets include spare stickers in case something goes wrong.
The combination feature is probably the best thing about these toys. The arms connect to pegs on the Team Leader Robo, while the legs have their own pegs to which the Team Leader connects. This means that each drone has at least two connections points. All of the drones can be interchanged. The connectors used for the combination feature provide an interesting and fun possibility, namely that of creating your own superrobot modes, or using the missile pods in ways they weren’t intended to (hoverboard!).
In short, these toys are simple, yet fun!
Now onto the other Machine Robo Rescue toy I currently own, the DX carrier vehicle known as Siren Garry. Siren Garry is the Blue Sirens’ motherbase vehicle, and is a giant car carrier. I was quite shocked when I received him, as he weighs quite a lot, even though he doesn’t have any diecast parts. This toy is, simply said, HUGE! Measuring a wopping 40 cm long (more than a foot!) in vehicle mode, he is a fully articulated semi-truck. The trailer can be disconnected from the cab. There’s actually two holes in the trailer, to allow the whole thing to execute the sharp turn that is shown on one of the pictures. There’s also an additional wheel under the trailer to prevent it from tipping forwards when it’s disconnected. Both the cab and trailer open up, ramps folding down to allow the MRR Police Team to roll in and out. The other Teams also fit into Siren Garry, but might require some folding of parts. The guns on the trailer fold down to allow the cab to open up.
The transformation is simple, and the resulting robot a block. Siren Garry only has shoulder articulation in robot mode, although he gains a bit of articulation by using his transformation joints. Sorry, no waist joint on this guy, BlazeEagle. The looks make up for the blockyness, as Siren Garry looks like one bad Mothafucka. He has a jet pack, and those claws gotta hurt when he grabs thing with them. All the details on Siren Garry are tampo-printed on, so no hassle with giant stickers. Just like the smaller Machine Robo Rescue toys, he is loaded with details.
But that is not all! One of the possibly coolest features of Siren Garry is that he includes non-transformable vehicle mode versions of the Police Robo and the Bike Robo from the MRR Police Team (Hyper Police Robo). These are less detailed than the transformable versions, but they do offer you the chance of playing with this toy and all his features without actually having to buy one of the Hyper Robo teams. I think this is one of the best ideas ever.
I think Bandai’s doing a great job with these, and I’ll certainly be buying more of them in the future. From an online interview I gathered that the idea behind this line was to save the Machine Robo concept (Yes, it appears ‘Machine Robo Rescue’ has several meanings at Bandai), and this certainly seems the way to do it.