Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Japanese anime-style giant robot Lego sets 

Lego is finally wising up: they just released a line of ultra-cool Japanese anime-style giant robots as part of their ExoForce series. Lego has always been the best toy ever: sure, there were a few dark years in the late 90s and at the turn of the millennium, but somebody at Lego gets it and gets it good. Fully poseable, 10 inches tall, with giant blasters and Lego minifigs with spiked blue hair, these are the toys I dreamed of when I was eight years old!

Beyond being cool, I think these are the first post-modern Lego sets. Just like Joss Whedon's hybrid Sino-Anglo Firefly/Serenity future where cowboys swear in Chinese, a Danish company selling most of its products to English-speaking North Americans has its new toys covered in Chinese characters.

Japanese animation used to be hard to find; you had to either get a copy from a friend's copy VHS cassette, or wait around after school until the guys running Suspect Video in Mirvish Village would finally roll out of bed and open their shop. Now it's everywhere, even the robot toys that were almost impossible to find over here. Lego doing Star Wars was a good move: Lego moving into anime robots is just awesome.

On top of all that, each of these mecha comes with a new kind of brick I've never seen before: it's transparent plastic, the size of a regular 2 x 4 Lego brick, but it has a little watch battery and an LED light inside. The LED connects to a little flexible fiber-optic tube that kids can plug into the laser sight on the mecha's laser rifle. Squeeze the button on top, and a little red laser designator lights up!Lego is finally bringing cheap electronics into their plastic bricks, paving the way to a day when kids (okay, well, growing-ups too) will be able to make programmable robots and other devices since it by clicking some Lego bricks together. 2016 is going to be a great year to be a kid...`

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