Metamor Force Dancouga by Sentinel (Available From HobbyLink Japan)
In one of its recent releases, Sentinel has decided to grace us with its take on the mighty Dancouga. Like in the anime, it does the full combination sequence and each separate mecha transforms properly. It’s definitely an epic and impressive toy.
First off though, the original Dancouga is probably my all-time favorite super robot anime. The series starts with an alien force known as the Muge conquering Earth and our plucky as well as very angry teenage heroes are taken under the wing of the Cyber Beast Force. Here both Professor Kotaro Hazuki and Commander Ross Igor tutor the four pilots that will eventually make up the mighty Dancouga.
Each of the pilots have their own cyber beasts as well and these transform into three modes: beast, vehicle, and mecha. What’s unique about these machines is that they feed off the anger of their pilot, so the angrier they get the more powerful their cyber beast becomes. This is why the pilots are teenagers, as you can’t get anyone angrier than that, really.
The four cyber beasts are the Eagle Fighter, Land Cougar, Land Liger, and Big Moth. These are piloted by Shinobu Fujiwara, Sara Yuki, Masato Shikibu, and Ryo Shiba, respectively. Once combined they form Dancouga, where the Eagle Fighter is the head, both the Land Cougar and Liger are the feet and Big Moth comprises the body.
Over the course of the series the Cyber Beast Force squares off against the Muge forces and their various generals. Despite the fact the series is named after the titular mecha, the Dancouga doesn’t actually show up until around the fifteenth episode. When it does it’s not your typical super robot either, as it’s slow and runs out of fuel, among other things. It is only through the sheer anger of its pilots that it manages to emerge victorious.
So as you can imagine, Dancouga was a pretty damn great anime all told.
Dancouga was not a typical show, either, as it broke a lot of super robot conventions and especially because of its excellent animation as well as its art style. With people like Masami Obari famously working on the series as well as several key animators from Thundercats, the series had a very distinctive look.
It was also wildly popular at the time and its finale wasn’t typical either, as it was released as a separate OVA after the TV series finished airing. To be honest that was a pretty cheeky tactic but the fans lapped it up.
These days the original Dancouga is a series with a serious fanbase in Japan, so much so that a newer sequel was commissioned a fair few years back in the form of Dancouga Nova. In all honesty though it wasn’t a patch on the original show and most fans tend to ignore it these days.
So this toy has a serious legacy behind it and Sentinel hasn’t shirked from that. From the Masami Obari illustrated box art and free bag (if you ordered from HobbyLink Japan) to the seriously nerdy detail on the toy throughout, it’s very clear that this has been a labor of love for Sentinel and that is something I heartily approve of.
As I’ve bought pretty much every Dancouga toy to date I’ll be doing some written comparisons in my review. So keep an eye out for that as it will be posted soon!