SH Masked Rider Blade Series GD-66 Masked Rider Garren (8/2004)





















GD-65 Kamen Rider Blade was released by Bandai in August of 2004 along with GD-66 Kamen Rider Garren. Both GD-65 and GD-66 came from 2004 Kamen Rider series called "Blade". There were four main Masked Riders in Blade series and the remaining two Chalice and Leangle were plan for late September 2004. It seem Bandai had decided to fully return the SH series by releasing the Riders from the two previous series along with the current one in Souchaku Henshin format. The Blade series return to the card gimmick but without the mirror world story. The Masked Riders were now even more armored than the previous year Faiz and the designs were even more of a departure than all the previous modern Rider series. The problem with Blade, for me however was not the Rider designs (I actually like them a lot) but rather the poorly written TV show. I had watch all the modern Rider shows from Kuuga to Faiz, and Blade so far was the weakest in term of character developments and story. Masked Rider Garren was one of the two initial Riders to appeared in the show. He appeared in the first episode along with Blade. The only thing that kept Kamen Rider series form becoming another Sentai show was that all the Riders never seem to get along (at least initially) and they ended up fighting one another more than fighting the bad guys. Blade series overall design follow playing card theme mixed with insect designs. Both Masked Rider Blade and Garren were based on beetle. (Garren "Change" card was a stag beetle) Since Blade and Garren Change Belt Systems were both designed at the same time, their designs were then very similar in keeping with the story line. Each of the four main Riders also belong to one of the four playing card suits, Garren of course was the diamond.

Like the other series (Faiz & Ryuki) from the 2004 SH releases, Garren's core figure was greatly reworked with new parts for legs and arms. The figure strangely seem to gain in height. SH figures from Ryuki were slightly taller than those from Agito and Kuuga but Garren and Blade SH figures were even taller. The reason seem to be the "extra" sole on these Rider's feet. (they seem to be wearing boots) The removable armor was a big improvement from the old series and had excellent fit even when compare to the newer releases from Faiz and Ryuki series. The wrists, legs and belts fit snugly to the figure. SH Masked Rider Garren came with his gun and interchangeable parts for the cards holder section so it can be display as open or close and, like Ryuki, the figure came with three small cards. (Blade gimmick was also playing cards, actually the design motif for these Riders were taken from card suits, Garren was the diamond). The paint job on these figure was very well done along with very nice detail sculpts on the mask and armor. SH Masked Rider Blade and Garren were really well made, too bad the same can not be say about the TV show that these figures were based on.

GD-66 Souchaku Henshin Series Masked Rider Garren

Bandai released GD-66 in August of 2004. The toy came package in window box. The package used was the redesign 2004 version of Souchaku Henshin series packaging.



Unmasked Mode

Like other SH Riders figures, the human body underneath can look out of proportion and was solely intended for display with the "cloth" (Rider's Armor) on. The core body was similar in style as the body used since the original Saint Seiya Cloth line, however for the 2004 SH line, Bandai had retooled the body to make it more modern. While the head still appear too small due to having to accommodate the mask, this removable "armor suit" however, was one of the aspect that drawn me to this line. The ability to "henshin" into the Rider form made these SH figure a lot like small version of Henshin Cyborg or the RAH costume hero.

The figure can be display with the "masked" removed and show a human head. The head was the same between Blade and Garren. (Not that it really matter anyway since the four lead Riders all had the same looks and appearances on TV. They were barely distinguishable from one another).

Weapon Accessories

Masked Rider Garren came with little miniature Rouse Cards (They were used in the story as a way to capture the monster and then power-up the Masked Riders). Garren also came with his gun (GarrenRouser) and optional open or closed card holders.