With poseable arms and legs, you can make this robot simulate 'walking'.

LaserionOne of the later Bandai Chogokin designs, Laserion was released in America at the start of the loose 'third series' of Godaikin figures. Both the ST and DX versions were part of the line (most of the toys released in the range by this time followed this pattern) - the review covers the former.

Super Robots were on the wane by the 1984 release of Video Warrior Laserion , taking a bit of a battering at the hands of Western-style series such as Transformers, and more mature, less formulaic domestic series decimating the target market. Despite the anime being the first to use virtual reality as a setting (disclaimer: according to Wikipedia anyway) the show flopped, taking the toy with it. As mentioned, there were two versions of the toy. Laserion had no real transformation as such and the DX version was only able to separate into two rather weak robots - one made up of the internal parts, and one of the exterior skeleton. The ST version was simply a robot.

It would seem the figure was released when Bandai America were still throwing a lot at Godaikin - it seems comparatively numerous, at any rate. Considering Laserion's performance in Japan however it could just be a lot of overstock was available. It probably continued to be available after its' transpacific journey as well; by the time Laserion was released in America, the initial fad for anything that was a robot was fading, and there was only really room in the market for one line, and Transformers nabbed that. Everything else was dying out.

The plus side to all this is that Laserion's cheap to buy. My example cost about £15, and came with the full kit - 100% complete, boxed, instructions, catalogue, missiles still on the tree - even sticky tape still holding the accessories onto the Styrofoam. It's worth that for an example of the line's high-quality packaging alone.


LASERION

So the dire, dire news is the 5" Laserion (an inch or so smaller than most ST figures) doesn't transform into anything, or separate. He doesn't do a whole lot except stand there. Thankfully he does that incredibly well. Much like another late-release Godaikin, Abega, Laserion just screams mid-1980s. There's something about the proliferation of chrome and the blocky lines that makes you think of Tron, Quattro commercials and robots-are-the-future segments on Tomorrow's World. If Harrison Ford had piloted a Super Robot in Blade Runner it would be Laserion. The chrome and black primary colours really work beautifully offset nicely against the red, green and yellow highlights. The shape of the robot is also very pleasing - there's barely a curve on Laserion, but this doesn't mean he's a great big block. The detail is also quite staggering. Aside from the back and shoulders there's hardly any smooth areas and yet the toy doesn't look too busy. Every inch is lavished with all manner of pipes, tubes, boxes and ridges. The overall effect is fantastic, and Laserion is a really beautiful robot, topped off with an unusually and interesting hexagonal head.

While there might not be any real alternate modes to Laserion, there's still a few things to do with him. As with the TV series the face of the robot can slide out to form a little spaceship known as the Warp Robo. The toy also comes with four weapons - two Laser Guns that attach to ports on the outside of the knee, an Energy Laser Sword and a fearsome Beam Bazuka. The latter is a spring-loaded missile launcher, and Bandai haven't diluted the usual Chogokin potency. All in all, he's a heavily armed machine. On top of this, Laserion has incredible articulation for the time. While nothing compared to more modern lines, the toy is very dynamic. Bandai have worked in the usual 'walking' legs with diecast ball-joints at the hips and moving ankles - this gives him a range of more natural poses than most ST figures. In addition to this there's the extravagance of elbow joints and rotating fists. And, thank God, a turning head at last. The joints haven't been introduced at the expense of neat lines either, and Laserion can hold a wide range of poses without looking unnatural. And the quality is still there despite what some people will tell you about the Bandai Chogokin. While only the chest and thighs are metal, that's still about 60-70% of the figure, and he weighs in at a mighty 200g. No expense as been spared on the paint apps or the chrome either.

Godaikin Laserion DX
Godaikin Laserion DX
Godaikin Laserion DX
Godaikin Laserion DX

SUMMARY

Laserion is a lovely piece of design and a great affordable display piece. Purists might turn their noses up at the lack of any combination or transformation but really the main attraction of most ST is the robot mode. By not attempting to include a downsized version of whatever it is the DX Laserion actually does the figure is able to concentrate entirely on a neat and effective robot. A delightful and underrated toy.