Go with me, Exkaiser!

The first collaboration between Sunrise and Takara Tomy, as well as the start of a courageous franchise about bravery and justice, the Brave/Yuusha franchise tell the stories of warriors – sentient or not, alien or not – that fought for peace and to deliver justice to evil. Brave Exkaiser is the first Brave that was created and now Bandai has shown that they wanted to revisit the franchise with various Soul of Chogokins, Shokugan Modeling Project and more. Aside from an upcoming Soul of Chogokins, the first Brave also got an extensive redesign in the Shokugan Modeling Project – Alternative Destiny line (yes that’s the name).

Kit: SMP AD – Exkaiser
Series: Brave Exkaiser
Price: 7,200 yen
Release date: Jan 2023

Design: Exkaiser original design – just like the other Braves – was made by the legendary Kunio Okawara. As it was a collab project with Takara Tomy on the merchandise front, and that the series feature prominently vehicular transformable mechas, Exkaiser was originally very boxy. The SMP AD design boost the dynamic proportion significantly with more stylized areas such as waist, legs and arms. The franchise was worked on extensively by renowned animator Masami Obari, and he did the opening sequence for the show as well, and the AD design has a lot of his aesthetic to it. In addition, Bandai “infinitized” the Brave with a tons of mechanical surface details. There are so many raised surfaces and panel lines that you’d think it’s an RG model kit. The kit definitely isn’t for collector who love the classic look of the robot.

The kit’s coating is pretty amazing, especially the metallic parts. The face part and the lion chest are all painted very carefully. In addition, the golden parts put every other gold Bandai kit to shame.

Build quality: Shokugan Modeling Project is a step above Super Mini Pla, and Alternative Destiny is slightly above that. The build experience is very enjoyable, although there are parts where some subs processing skills is required since the plastic used in the kit is tougher than normal Bandai Spirit kits. But the snap fit quality is still as good as any other Bandai Gunpla. The build is smooth, but there are some parts that need some effort, mostly grey parts that requires some force to fit the parts together. Even just an oob build, the kit looks amazing.

Articulation: Along with uber details come great posability – in true Obari’s style. The ab-crunch is great, but it can feel loose sometimes. But due to how the kit is structured, there is very little chance it can pop off. Shoulders and elbows all have a wide range of movement, which is great. However, the super stylized proportions work against the kit on the lower half. The calves are very chunky so the knee bend and side-to-side movement aren’t as wide as we’d like since the calves end up rubbing onto each other. However, the feet pivot is decent so it’s not difficult to balance it on any surface.

Exkaiser is known to be the first mecha on screen to feature the famous Obari Sword Pose, so of course the kit can pull off the pose quite easily, and the kit also comes with a sword with enlarged tip to replicate the scene. However, the hand connection with the wrist is a bit weak, so balancing the sword in both hands is a bit finnicky, but not impossible. The shoulder’s contraption is similar to RG kits where it can move out and swing forward to allow the arms to cross forward.

– Gimmicks: The kit comes with all the gimmicks of the original Exkaiser (except the Form Up/Combining gimmicks of course). You can pop open the side of the leg to reveal the Kizer sword when it’s undeployed (there’s a separate piece for this). The lion’s mouth can open and close slightly. The shoulder armor can flip forward to allow the arms to swing forward, although this gimmick isn’t really needed since you can just swing the whole thing up.

Accessories: The kit doesn’t have many accessories but enough to replicate most of the first Brave’s iconic pose:

x1 Kizer Sword (deployed, normal proportion)

x1 Kizer Sword (deployed, enlarged tip)

x1 Kizer Sword (undeployed, to be stored in the legs)

x3 pairs of hands (closed fists, holding hands, spread hands)

x2 stand adapters

The Kizer Sword is pretty amazing. The proportion is much more Obari compared to other enlarged swords such as the Robot Damashii Sword Strike or Tryon 3. That accessory is definitely the highlight of the kit.

Overall: The first Brave returns in all his glory in the form of a very expensive kit. For the size and engineering and playability, this kit isn’t really in the HG affordable range, but still, Exkaiser looks absolutely amazing with this new design although it can be a bit too busy to some people. The articulation is great, and it can pull off all the great poses in the original series in an even more dynamic fashion. I’m not sure if Bandai will make more Braves in the AD line or just stick with the normal SMP line just like with Might Gaine or Dagwon, but I hope more Braves get this treatment. In addition, the Premium Bandai Dragon Kaizer kit is a great addition to this kit, but you guessed it! That kit is expensive as hell so unless you have a lot of disposable income, you might want to reconsider the upgrades.

Overall, I’d rank this kit 8.5/10.


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