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

Robot Mode: Kenzan is a car-former where the car shell mostly folds together in the legs, while the upper body is formed from the roof of the car mode, while the rear of the car becomes the rucksack and arms. Said rucksack also contains the electronics that come with this figure. I didn’t personally test them out as I’m not a big fan of electronics, but apparently they make different sounds depending on whether Kenzan is in car or robot mode and even feature different sentences from different voice actors depending on how Kenzan is combined with the other two Samurai Swordbots (or rather, which of the three combiner helmets is plugged in). Anyway, not that interesting to me, but I wanted to mention it.

On to the actual robot. Kenzan is a pretty well articulated robot, about Voyager-sized, and almost but not quite manages to hide the fact that he is lacking a belly and hips. His legs begin right underneath his chest and a flap in the center tries to pretend it’s his lower torso, which only works from certain angles. Still, not as bad as Jinbu, and a necessary compromise for being a multi-purpose part of a combiner, I guess.

Kenzan wields two Katana blades as weapons. Because he is a Samurai. In case the blades weren’t enough to clue you in, he also has a robotic chonmage hair knot on the back of his head, a hair style apparently very popular among medieval Samurai warriors. Not so Samurai-y is the gun he comes with, really his Combiner-helmet folded up to very, very loosely resemble a gun. He can hold it in hand or plug it into his rucksack, either with the gun barrels pointing up or forward. Neither looks very good, so best to just leave that thing aside until you combine him.

What else to say? Kenzan is a solid robot, but apart from being one of the very few Transformers featuring robotic hair there is nothing terribly interesting about him as a single figure.

Alternate Mode: Kenzan transforms into a Japanese-style police car. Most of the car shell unfolds from Kenzan’s legs, forming a pretty streamlined-looking vehicle. The detailing on the car is good, though short of great, featuring detailed wheel rims, sculpted headlights and, of course, a light bar on top. The rear of the vehicle, composed of Kenzan’s battery compartment and the arms, is a bit short, you somehow get the feeling there is a part missing. Kenzan’s swords can fit underneath (the grips doubling as exhaust pipes) and if you really want you can fit his strange helmet-gun on top, though I can’t imagine why you’d want to. Still overall a good-looking car mode. Considering the combiner gimmick and the big chunk of electronics in this figure, a pretty decent job.

Combiner: The three members of the Samurai Swordbot Team can combine into a larger robot in three different combinations. Each combination is named for the bot that forms the top with an added ‘Go’-prefix, so this particular combination here with Kenzan on top is called GoKenzan. Kenzan becomes the upper body and arms, Jinbu becomes the belly and rucksack, while Ganoh provides the hip and legs.

You can easily see that this is supposed to be the primary configuration of the Samurai Swordbot combiner. GoKenzan is the tallest and most wholesome-looking of the combiner variations, has the biggest helmet-thing and the longest horns on said helmet. Ganoh makes for a solid lower body, Jinbu works as a slightly oversized belly and Kenzan does pretty good as upper body. Personally it’s a tie for me between GoKenzan and GoGanoh (sorry, GoJinbu).

GoKenzan has the most interesting hands of the three combiners and can easily hold the combined or separate weapons of all three individual robots. The only slight drawback is that his shoulder joints are a tad too weak to support the arm when he wants to point the big gun that is comprised of the to unused helmet-things from Ganoh and Jinbu. But then again, best to leave that aside anyway. So bottom line: the combined mode is why you are getting these three robots and GoKenzan ties with GoGanoh for best variation of the combiner.

Side Note: Not in the instructions, but very possible: take just two of the Samurai Swordbots and combine them Energon Powerlinx style (see last picture in the gallery). In GoKenzan's case you can give him Jinbu as a lower body and leave Ganoh aside. Not necessarily better than the three-bot GoKenzan, but I'd call it just as good. The proportions are a tad more realistic (though the arms are a little long now) and the combo looks pretty good overall. My second-favorite two-bot combo for this team (GoJinbu wins in the two-bot combiner category).

Remarks: Transformers Go! is the Japanese version of the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters series, but includes quite a few figures exclusive to Japan and with its own cartoon series that has nothing to do with the Prime TV series. I’ve only seen the first episode of said series, but it featured the Samurai Swordbots who were awakened by a small child and got to face off against Abominus, who dutifully reassembled himself time and time again so the Swordbots could show off all their combinations and special moves.

Kenzan is the leader of the Swordbots, as you can easily tell. He’s got the biggest combiner helmet, he’s got the hair knot thing, he’s got the electronics, and the combiner variant with him on top is the most wholesome- and smooth-looking. Also, he’s the most samurai-y of the three, so of course he’s the leader. Probably a young hothead whom everyone inexplicably considers the natural successor to Optimus Prime (just guessing). As a toy Kenzan is in the middle for me, better than Jinbu, not as good as Ganoh. Again, though, you either buy all three or none. Bottom line, considering all the things this figure has to contain (gimmick, electronics, etc.) it’s pretty good. And again, only recommended if you’re a fan of the Japanese aesthetic or the combiner gimmick.

Rating: B-

Update 2017-10-31: At CONS I got a little gift from fellow TF-fan Scourge, a golden Kabuto helmet for GoKenzan. Here is a short look at it:
Toy DB Link

Picture Gallery:

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