Friday, October 18, 2013
Tenkai Knights: Bricks Are Fun
We all know Bricks are Heavy (a great man named Arthur taught me that) but are they...fun? Well that all depends on whether or not said bricks turn into robots.
Uh...these ones do. Yeah.
So I was watching the 'ol television (probably Adventure Time or something) and a commercial came on for a new anime-looking show called Tenkai Knights. There were kids and they were somehow connected to cool robots. After the commercial I said to myself: "That's a cartoon that'll have a toyline involving robots!" I also figured they would be either card based or something like battle tops or...you know. Any of those toys out there that pop out and battle.
Anyway, I went straight to the internet (I.E. turned my head to the computer) and looked them up. Turns out they...well, they aren't any of those things. They're transforming bricks.
I opted to check out one of the three packs of the basic little figures. Inside the box are your standard little bags of parts, directions, and a sticker. A sticker with a warning.
What a specific warning! Why? WHY NOT?! What do you know that I don't?
After I doused my hand in vinegar and was released from the hospital, I opened up those little bags to find parts! Various parts! VARIOUS AND SUNDRY!
And a Lego brick? Essentially?
Yes, the robots and the bricks are one and the same...though you may have figured that out by my saying so earlier. Anyway, Josh Baskin is the character played by Tom Hanks in the movie Big. There was a scene where he shows how useful he is to the toy company by giving commentary about toys. During this scene, a man pitches a toy of a building that turns into a robot. Josh asks what's so great about it. The basic idea is that kids are supposed to like exciting things that turn into robots, not boring things like buildings that turn into robots.
To this day I never really understood that. I'd LOVE a building that turns into a robot! Heck, I want that toy in the scene! Point is: if you have something that may not be that exciting, it WILL be if it turns into a robot. You get me a coffee table and I will be interested if it turns into a robot. The stranger or seemingly more boring, the better!
And hey, what could be more strange or boring than a brick that turns into a robot? At least, you'd think.
Once the brick becomes a robot, you have a surprisingly articulate little figure. The directions tell you how to outfit your figure in the basic sense - helmet, shield, cape, and weapon - but then they give you extra items that the directions do not mention.
Our first guy here is Bravenwolf. Yes. YES. That is a delicious mix of basic kid's toy name ideas. I like it!
So Bravenwolf is your basic Main Character With a Sword in my favorite mix of red 'n white. I knew this guy was going to be a favorite, and I wasn't wrong. His gear stays on well and he's fun to play with. The extra items above were a tad bit confusing, but it didn't take long to figure out what they were meant for to really add to the play value.
There's the guns, of course. But the little standard "lego" pieces are for his arms and shoulders! Armor! Neat! I don't know why that didn't hit me right away, but when I found out, I got excited. You see, I had always tried to sort of build little armors for my Lego men, but kinda gave up when they made more and more armors for them to wear. This brings back that idea by giving the minifigures a surface to build on! Granted, you can't add much without taking away articulation, but still - it's a novel idea!
So next I tried a bunch of things with the extra parts to see what I could do.
Tried using that clip piece to put the guns under his arms. Then I messed with his cape-like thing to make another shield.
Then there were these little red pieces I was struggling with. What WERE they?
My first thought was putting them on the front of the shield to make a...cannon? I dunno.
Then I took 'em off and made a gun shield!
Then finally I found out what the red things were for.
They were for his shoulders! Possibly. At least they worked best there to give him either a regal or winged kinda look. I also threw his guns over his shoulders there.
So as you can see, there's lot of different ways to customize your brickbot when you mess with those parts. Each figure came with his own parts, though.
With that in mind, the next guy is the second reason I bought this three pack.
This one is called Guardian Boreas, and he has a bit of a soldier feel to him. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a common army builder type, but the wings are a bit fancy for an unimportant soldier. Doesn't matter! He looks cool, and that's what drew me to him. Also, I love the sword-gun thing he's got, though I would have liked if the back of it had a handle so he could use it like a sword.
This one comes with slightly different parts. There's an extra rifle and the usual armor...with some extra clear pieces that I just can't figure out, beyond just customization. He's also got a clear handle of some sort...like a beam saber handle. Yet there's no beam! So I messed with things, naturally.
The only problems with his cool gunswords is that the backs are so long. They'll run into his helmet and shoulders unless you adjust them just right. As I had said: It would have been nice if they were thin handles instead. Would run into him less and he's be able to use them as swords as well (though I still imagine him slashing with them anyway).
I really don't know what they had intended for the clear handle...so I sorta made it a stabilization handle for one of the guns. Works, I guess, but I'll probably end up adding a beam from a Lego figure.
In the end I used the clear round piece to attach the shield to the side of a gun, then attached the guns to his shoulders for some cool shoulder gunblades.
This one comes in second as a favorite only because of his almost unwieldy weapons, but he's still friggin' cool. I just love how well they move; they're expressive for how little they are, and the joints are helpful beyond their use in the transformation.
The final guy in the pack was Valorn, the turtle guy.
You can already see the turtle stylings on his face.
But it gets even more obvious here, and on his back:
The shell is COOL, and would probably send this guy up in my favor if it wasn't for one little flaw: the way the shell is attached to his back - it pushes up on his helmet. So whenever you move him, his helmet falls off! Beyond that, I really do like the look and feel of this guy. I just wish that helmet would stay on like with the other two!
Ignoring that, though: I like his extras as well. There's the standard armor and more clips, but then there's some interesting horns and a cool rifle.
When you switch out his normal shield for his shell it kinda fixes the problem with his helmet, but it doesn't change the fact that his helmet just doesn't stay on as tight as the other two.
Anyway, now that I had a feel for where things went, I stuck those horns on his shoulders and mixed his shield with his spear.
Then mixed his shield and shell to make an ULTIMATE SHIELD OR SOMETHING.
I imagine him charging through a horde of enemies with some sorta green energy enveloped over that monster shield. Like I said: I like this guy! I just wish his helmet stayed on better.
So that's the basic Tenkai Knights in a nutshell. Basic, above.
To reiterate: they only tell you how the build the basic figures, but the extra parts become obvious in their uses when you mess with them a bit. BUT - the sky's the limit! Add 'em where you like, or add things from ANY 'ol building toyline! The box states clearly (as does Kre-O or anyone not Lego) that they work with LEADING BRANDS!
Oh, and on a side note: these guys don't need elbows to hold things with both hands!
But back to the point at hand: They certainly work with LEADING BRANDS, and any building block toy would be silly not to.
And...of course...you can use them as bricks, if you want to.
Which I guess brings me to the question: Why bricks? I honestly have no idea. You'd think that would be the worst idea - if these are build into a wall, then they aren't robots! So what do you want? Robot or brick? If the idea was to make them customizable using Lego-like parts, then why even have them be bricks?
The answer, I guess...just has to be: who cares? For some reason, I like them! I like that it turns into a brick. Probably stems from the fact I stated earlier: if it turns into a robot, it becomes interesting. Plus - customizability! I love that! Always.
So it really doesn't matter why these turn into bricks. What matters is that they made bricks fun beyond the building aspect, and I can get behind that. Especially when they turn into robots.
Check 'em out! They come in single packs, multi packs, and larger bricks that turn into larger robots. Bricks are fun!