Kit Review: HG Kyoukai Senki – MAILeS Byakuchi

Kai Hojo, Byakuchi, Lock and Loaded!

The most efficient way to procure equipment (including giant robots) is to “acquire” it from the enemy. The Byakuchi is an AMAIM developed by the Federation of Great Eurasia – which was then stolen by the Kiwa no Kyoukkou – a resistance organization actively fighting in the Hokkaido region. The Byakuchi comes with its own ILeS – Lou – an eccentric Learning A.I that pair well with the pilot: Kai Hojo.

Prior to the anime airing, a photo novel titled “Kyoukai Senki: Frost Flower” was published in the Hobby Japan magazine featuring the Byakuchi. The model kit was also the first Kyoukai Senki kit to be released, earlier than the Kenbu – the titular unit of the anime. The Byakuchi was very popular and it set the expectation for upcoming Kyoukai kits, which it did a great job of.

HG Byakuchi
Series: Kyoukai Senki: Frost Flower
Price: 2,640 yen
Release date: Sep 2021

Design: Kyoukai Senki brings back the reverse-knee bird legs for its main mech – since only the MAILeS has that style. Ken Okuyama – the designer of the G40 Gundam – brought his industrial vision into the units and give them a hybrid hydraulic/air pressure type of legs, where they can fold down and release their energy into a jump. It actually looks quite nice and refreshing. The body is very reminiscent of Code Geass with the MAILeS being around 9-10 meters (for Byakuchi it’s 10.9) with the cockpit accessible from the back and take up most of the torso space. The arm of the Byakuchi has a unique segmented look that if you’ve watched Kuromukuro, you’ll realize that structure. In theory, that structure looks quite fragile and weird, but in a mechanical sense, many of our real world machine use that for extended range of motion, so it’s feasible.

The Byakuchi is generally blocky with some rounded out edges on the joints and lower abdomen. It creates a seamless “flow” to the proportion that is similar to Front Mission or Armored Core style but much simpler and sleeker. The feet are definitely the most “industrial” parts of the mech, with the 2 rectangular toes and a back toe as well. Basically a mech’s manipulator. There are also some “handles” on the unit which give it that “real robot” vibe to it.

Build quality: The plastic has a nice feeling and color to it. So it’s easy to build and process the nub. There are quite a bit of stickers though, and some of them are really thicc. But there are not many hard curve surfaces to apply, the curved ones are all full circle so it’s easy to wrap the sticker around the pipes. I recommend using Tamiya’s Mark Fit with some softer/setter as you like, the sticker will stick firmly and nicely on the surface. The build quality is as expected of a Bandai’s HG, so not much to complain or commend about.

Articulation: What a very simple, non-cumbersome design give you: U N L I M I T E D mobility. The Kyoukai Senki kits are extremely agile due to the use of simple wide range joints while having no armor to get in the way. There are some shoulder pads but they are all movable on a hinge so they never hinder anything. Thighs, shoulders are all 360 swivel, as do the biceps, and hip joint. The ab-crunch is also significant since the basic structure is similar to an IBO Gundam frame but with no obstruction and well-covered. The reverse-knee legs need a bit of familiarization to get used to, but the agility of the feet also help it balance greatly. You can pose the kit in any way you’d like, the peg for the stand is also easily accessible. One of the best poses for the MAILeS is charging/running poses, since its form is just like that of an athlete and the flow of movement look very organic.

– Gimmick: The most notable gimmick of the Byakuchi is no doubt the weapon rack. If you know Muv-Luv, you’d instantly recognize this familiar Mount Pylon-style on the TSF: a dual weapon-rack on the back of the unit that can equip weapons – guns, swords, missile pods etc… There are also many 3mm holes all over the body that you can put armor plates, weapons, etc… all over. 30MM and Gunpla parts fit quite nicely with the kit. Since the HG Byakuchi is slightly bigger than your regular HG RX-78-2, 1/144 scale Gunpla parts is perfect for customization.

Accessories: The HG Byakuchi came with three pieces of equipment :
+ X1 Machine Gun
+ X1 Missile Pod
+ X1 Shield
The kit also comes with 2 pairs of hands: One weapon-holding pair and one open-hand pair.
Overall: Some fresh stuff from Bandai, and it’s real good. The HG Byakuchi set the standard for the Kyoukai Senki model kit (at least for the main char unit) and it was a really high bar. The kit was simple, well proportioned, and ridiculously articulated. The only fault I can think of is we need some more weapons to go with it, maybe a melee one. But it isn’t hard to procure extra weapons for him since there are many option packs available, and even Gundam weapons would fit. Maybe not a beam saber though since the aesthetic isn’t suitable. In conclusion, The Byakuchi is an excellent model kit that you definitely should get if you want to get a feel for Kyoukai Senki kits, or you just want a good kit to play with.