Review by Laserwave13:
DARK GUARD OPTIMUS PRIME
Series: Prime First Edition
Categories: Voyager Store Exclusive
The standard must be observed. Where there is an Optimus Prime, there is a black version to be made. Itís no different for the Prime First Edition toy. Since it is a straight redeco only, there will be just a few words on the differences. Available only in Japan and only as an exclusive in the local Yodobashi Camera shops.
The packaging is an exact copy of the regular First Edition one, only done in monochrome this time and with a few Japanese letters added. Nothing new here otherwise, including the cardboard display stand, also black and white, and instructions. That is it.
Other than the black colors there are no differences to the truck itself. Itís still the nice looking vehicle it was before. But I must admit that the black together with those golden highlights and those clear blue windows is a nice change from what we usually get in a black Optimus Prime. Everything is painted nicely, from the bumper grill to the rims, all nicely done. The exhaust pipes are also gold, which looks good but makes them even softer and more floppy than before. Otherwise: looking great. The truck itself is nothing special but more than you will ever need when it comes to the on-screen image.
Here one can really see the differences and he looks just awesome. Unfortunately all the pictures that are on the internet do not do him justice. He looks way better than I thought in hand. He did receive a few more paint apps than the previous versions, but the accessories are mostly unchanged. Still a black rifle and a sword, which is gold in color matching his likeness. This may look good but was not the best decision in terms of material because it makes the sword - like the smokestacks - even more floppy than all the others. So best to leave it in the box. Otherwise a great looking figure and as genius as all the First Edition Optimus Prime figures before him.
Gold plastic syndrome and quality:
This is unusual for a review, but in this case it may be valuable information for some people. For the golden parts of this figure Takara did learn a few things and there is nothing to worry about anymore. All the gold parts are just painted golden; underneath it is simply black plastic. So nothing will break anytime soon. On the other hand, he comes with the same misplaced head connection like all First Edition Optimus Prime releases before. This restricts his possible head movement a lot. So remove the screw in the back of his head, take the back half, place it properly on the ball joint and put everything back together and the head will move just fine.
If there is one thing in the world that Takara really knows how to do, it is giving an Optimus Prime figure a black redeco. The combination of black and gold works wonders with him. He is certainly not really necessary for you collection, he does not even have a show appearance. But if you like your Optimus black or are a fan of Japanese exclusives, then there is nothing wrong in getting him. And for a First Edition nerd heís a must-have anyway. Great Figure, like he has always been and therefore the same rating for him.