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Series: Transformers Go!
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2013

Part of the Autobot army stationed against the Predacons. Leader of the commando "Shinobi Swordbot Team." Specializes in ground based ninjitsu called: "Ground Lion Shinobi." He can vary the strength of his dashing ninja attacks. His tail transforms into the Vivit Bute and uses this to menace the Predacons with Kunai type attacks. Has a deep friendship with Fuma, a stronger bond than is normally shared between humans and Transformers.

Robot Mode: Like with most of the original Go! Transformers it is quickly apparent that Gekisoumaru is a very, very Japanese kind of robot (if the name wasn’t enough to clue you in). Put him in a line-up with various Power Ranger toys and you would probably be hard-pressed to single him out, given his design. His chest is basically a large lion’s head, surrounded by an orange mane. Gekisoumaru is actually the best of the six Swordbots at disguising the fact that he consists mostly of long legs and has no belly or hip to speak of. You only really see it when looking at him from the back.

Articulation is good, only slightly hindered by his bulky proportions. The orange pieces of his mane can be moved out of the way for whatever pose you feel like, so no problem there. No twisting hip or wrists, but otherwise he can pose quite well. The detail work is good as well, though again, very, very Japanese in style.

On to the weapons. Gekisoumaru carries two orange Kunai-type daggers as his main weapons. Additionally he can use his beast mode tail as a whip (a “Vivit Bute” whip and no, I have no idea what that means), to which he can also attach his two daggers for a combined weapon. Finally there is his Kabuto helmet, which he can wield as a kind of gun or attach to his back (I advise the latter, as the gun looks pretty dumb).

Overall Gekisoumaru is a very nice robot if you like the Japanese styling. Sure, the fact that he has to serve as part of a combiner in three different variations does cause some drawbacks, but overall he handles them pretty well and there is nothing bad about this robot mode at all. So thumbs up.

Alternate Mode: Easy to guess from the big lion’s head on his chest in robot mode, Gekisoumaru becomes a robotic lion. The transformation is rather straight-forward as Gekisoumaru basically goes down on all fours, though his robot legs fold in and the lion’s rear legs unfold from their sides. The result is a blocky, robotic lion with a somewhat oversized head and mane (the latter completed by attaching the two orange daggers), but still looking pretty good overall.

The lion is moderately poseable and can be armed by using the Kabuto helmet as a gun on top of the beast and pointing the daggers forward. So overall a pretty good beast mode, again only slightly hampered by the requirements of the combination gimmick.

Combiner Modes: Gekisoumaru can combine with fellow Shinobi team members Hishoumaru and Sensuimaru in three different variants. In this review we shall look at the GoGekisou variant, where Gekisoumaru forms the upper body of the combiner. The other two variants will be in the reviews of Hishoumaru and Sensuimaru.

Unlike the combining variants of the Swordbot Samurai Team, the Shinobi figures combine in a slightly different way. Case in point GoGekisou, where Gekisoumaru is the upper body, Sensuimaru is the lower body, and Hishoumaru is the back. You barely see anything of Hishoumaru from the front except for the wings hanging off the hip. Sensuiaru makes for a sturdy, if slightly skinny pair of legs with the missile launchers as feet. Hishoumaru, as I said, is barely seen, but helps connect everything solidly together. Gekisoumaru makes for a superb upper body, naturally dominated by the big lion head on the chest once again. The robot mode legs become the arms and the Kabuto helmet is put over the normal robot mode head, giving the whole thing a great visual.

Articulation is not a problem either, though one must take into account that GoGekisou is very top-heavy and has skinny legs, so balancing him in certain poses takes a while. GoGekisou can wield any of the individual weapons of the three Shinobi bots or combine all their weapons into one big... something. Not really sure what it’s supposed to be. Anyway, fun features include that you can slide open the Kabuto helmet like a visor, revealing the smaller robot head underneath, and the fact that GoGekisou has a shark for a butt. No kidding, Sensuimaru’s beast mode head forms the combiner’s ass. I find that hilarious for some no doubt childish reason.

Anyway, this is the primary combiner variant of the Shinobi team and a much better combiner than any of the three variants of the Samurai Swordbot team in my opinion. Everything holds together well, the proportions are almost normal, and the visual is simply great. So thumbs up for this combiner variant here. No complaints at all.

Well, one complaint, though it doesn’t really come into play here, but only when Gekisoumaru is not the top of the combiner. In those cases the mane parts have to be turned around in order to lie flat against the lion’s head, which is somewhat problematic. The mane parts are made from a relatively soft rubbery material and turning them around is putting a lot of wear on the balljoints where they connect to the head. A somewhat more solid plastic would have been a better choice here. That’s my only complaint, though.

Also, see the review of Optimus Exprime for how Gekisoumaru can combine with Optimus into yet more combiner variants.

Remarks: When alien robots from outer space utilize Ninjitsu attacks, wear Kabuto helmets, and use Kunai daggers against their foes, it quickly becomes clear: yes, we are in a Japanese Transformers series. Gekisoumaru is the commander of the Shinobi Swordbot Team in the Transformers Go! series and does what Autobots do in Japanese Transformers series. Performs a lot of special attack combos, forms deep friendships with human children, and combines with other Autobots in a variety of ways to overpower and blow away the seemingly unstoppable bad guy in the series finale.

As for the toy, Gekisoumaru suffers from an acute case of being very, very Japanese, but unless you are simply not a fan of the Japanese Transformers design style, that isn’t really a problem. He is not really meant to be a stand-alone toy as such and it shows, so it really only makes sense to get him along with his two team mates. If you do that, though, you are in for a lot of combiner fun. If that’s your thing, go and get him. If not, better spend your money elsewhere.

Rating: B+
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