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Series: Transformers Go!
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Voyager Triple Changer
Year: 2014

Hunter Optimus' spark of justice has returned to Earth once again. A super express train was scanned and Optimus Exprime was born. He stands firm against Guren Dragotron and his Predacon army.

Robot Mode: Looking at this robot you immediately realize two things. One, it’s quite clearly meant to be an Optimus Prime figure, given the head and the familiar chest plate. And two, it’s quite clearly a Japanese version of Optimus Prime (they stopped calling him Convoy a while ago). He’s got huge anime-style swords, he comes with two Kabuto-style helmets/shields, and he looks like he can barely walk with all that armor and weaponry he carries. Yep, clearly a Japanese Optimus figure.

The actual robot is about Voyager-sized and comes in Optimus’ classic blue and red colors, but with a lot of white thrown in on the forearms and lower legs. His proportions are a bit strange, with a relatively small head, a protruding upper chest and lots of kibble on the arms, but overall he looks pretty good and the articulation is nothing to sneeze at, either.

One thing that definitely needs mentioning: Optimus Exprime wears the Transformers equivalent of cute little bunny slippers: his feet are shaped like his train mode, including tiny little molded wheels. He wears his alternate mode as slippers. I don’t know why, but for some reason I find that utterly adorable.

Let’s talk accessories, because Optimus sure comes with a lot of them. All of the Transformers Go! Swordbots come with a fold-up Kabuto helmet for their combiner mode (see below), but Optimus, being Optimus, comes with two of them. One is a more or less traditional looking Samurai-style helmet, the other resembles a dragon head. In robot mode he can use either of them as a shield or combine them into an even BIGGER shield. Each can also become a rucksack (but sadly not combine into a BIGGER rucksack), with the non-Dragon rucksack also offering a place to store Optimus’ really BIG swords. He’s got two of them which he can either wield separately or combine them Darth Maul style into an even BIGGER double-bladed sword. Finally, and not mentioned in the instructions, Optimus has the claws of his dragon mode in his forearms. Twist the kibble around and unfold the claws to give Prime even more ways to slice off his enemies’ faces.

Finally Optimus also contains electronics for light and sound effects. I haven’t tried them, to be honest, but apparently he speaks several Japanese phrases from the cartoon, different ones depending on what mode he is in and in what way he is combined. Nice if you like it, but not for me. So overall, clearly a robot mode that is less about the robot itself and more about the many ways you can arm and accessorize him. Still, unless you don’t like the very, very Japanese styling, it’s a pretty good robot mode with the most adorable choo choo slippers ever. No complaints.

Alternate Modes: Optimus Exprime is a triple changer. His first alternate mode is a red and white Japanese bullet train. Everything folds together pretty nicely, only the rear end is open, but you can’t see any robot bits there, either. The wheels on this train are pretty tiny, meaning either the train is really big or... you know... has tiny wheels. Anyway, the train as such looks pretty good and has light-up headlights, too. Optimus’ two helmets and the big swords can be attached to the rear end of the train, which... yeah, looks really stupid. Better to leave them off. So all in all, a solid, if unspectacular train mode.

Prime’s second alternate mode is a dragon. Well, at least it’s advertised as one. It does very, very loosely resemble a Japanese dragon in that it has a dragon head (the kabuto helmet), has claws out front and I guess you could presumably interpret the big swords attached to the rear end as wings. In actuality, though, it’s really the robot mode lying flat on its stomach with the arms extended above the head and the dragon helmet attached. A nice idea, but personally I don’t really think much of the execution. Bottom line: Optimus Exprime’s main attraction does not lie in either of his alternate modes.

Packaging: Not usually something I talk much about, but Optimus Exprime is a bit of an oddity package-wise when compared to the other Go! Transformers. Unlike all the rest, he comes in a closed box without window and is packaged in alternate mode instead of robot mode. I assume this is because packaging him in robot mode with all his accessories displayed would have taken up too much space, especially given the sheer amount of information displayed on the box.

Combiner Modes: Optimus Exprime can combine with the two Swordbot team leaders Kenzan and Gekisoumaru, forming the torso of the combining robot with the other two forming either the head and arms or the lower body respectively, making for two different variants. When Kenzan forms the top the combiner is called DaiKenzan. This is my favorite of the two combiner variants. Optimus’ red kabuto helmet replaces Kenzan’s blue one and the two giant swords form ‘wings’ on his shoulders. Gekisoumaru makes for a sturdy and stable lower body, so while the combiner still looks somewhat disproportioned with a massive upper body on a very slim lower body, everything holds together well and looks good.

The variant with Gekisoumaru on top is (you guessed it) called DaiGekisou. The upper body, with Optimus’ Dragon helmet framing Gekisoumaru’s big lion chestplate, looks pretty fabulous, but Kenzan as a lower body doesn’t work so well, making the entire figure somewhat less than stable. It can still stand and pull off poses, mind you, but it simply doesn’t look as ‘together’ as DaiKenzan.

In either variant the combiner has his pick of the many, many weapons carried by the involved Go! robots, so you can accessorize here in whatever manner you like. Swords, spears, shields, guns made from helmets, the works. Bottom line: the combining is the main attraction of this figure and it is lots of fun, even if the results are a bit mixed.

Remarks: The Japanese Transformers Go! series ran congruently to the Beast Hunters season of Transformers Prime and featured the Predacons as bad guys (thereby showing many more of the much-promoted beasts than Beast Hunters ever did). But even though the toy line included many of the Beast Hunters Autobots, too, the accompanying cartoon series featured two teams of Japanese exclusive robots as the protagonists instead, plus a new version of Optimus Prime, called Optimus EXprime for some reason. I didn’t watch the series, but apparently it ended in the usual anime fashion with Optimus Exprime finding his heart of justice (whatever that means) and combining with Kenzan and Gekisoumaru to overpower and destroy the main bad guy Dragotron (aka Predaking).

Optimus Exprime, much like the two Swordbot teams, is a very, very, very Japanese kind of Transformer. He certainly isn’t for everyone. The train and dragon alternate mode are pretty forgettable. The fun of him lies in his over-the-top styling and the many ways he can combine and interact with the other Go! Transformers. You really need both Kenzan and Gekisoumaru to get the most out of him, and to get the most out of those other two you need their respective teammates, too. So basically my recommendation is this: if you like the Japanese insanity here and enjoy the many combinations, then go and buy Optimus Exprime and both the Samurai Swordbot and Shinobi teams. If not, spend your money elsewhere. Me, I enjoy both and got this guy (and the Shinobi Team) as an anniversary gift from my wife. Thus I am very happy.

Rating: B
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