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Anniversary Review: Sengoku Driver

Flashback Arms! Relive those memories!

A little over 10 years ago, we were given one of the first Kamen Rider anniversary series. Kamen Rider Decade gave us a look back through ten years worth of Riders, and how their stories evolved the franchise into what it is today.

With another anniversary series currently airing, it seems appropriate we take another look back over the years, but this time we look at the Drivers, how they’ve progressed in terms of technology and gimmick, and if they still hold as much charm today as they did back then.

Next up we have the Sengoku Driver!

This wonderful piece of kit was worn by the initially hated, then loved Kamen Rider Gaim, and all associated Riders in the series. Except for you know… the Genesis Riders who thought they could overpower him… muppets!

With a fruity Shogun theme, many thought the series would be an utter disaster, but it turned out rather spectacular!

But we aren’t here to review the series, that might be another set of reviews, we shall see.

Small and compact, this Driver served as an activation base for the many Lockseeds throughout the series. Personally I find this method great for future expansion, as was later seen with the Drive and Taisen Lock sets.

With simple design, this Driver features what appears to be a gloss black body, though when you shine a light on it, it’s really a very dark translucent blue, you can actually see the internal make up of the Driver! This aspect might not appeal to some, but when the light is just right, it adds a lot of character to what was originally thought of as a flat base.

This black/blue base with a simple silver trim really help the colorful Locks to stand out.
On the left side of the Driver you have what appears to be a small sword, which looks somewhat similar to a Musou Saber used by the Sengoku Riders. On the right, you have a Faceplate, these are interchangeable, and feature the “face” of the Rider the belt is bonded to.

As each Rider is different, so is the jingle played when they activate Locks, while there are only a small handful of these jingles, and some plates play the same one despite being for a totally different Rider, it does add some variety when cycling through Locks. For example, using Barons faceplate with the Silver Ringo lock, a combination never seen on screen, but one that can easily be produced here. This might not actually accomplish much, but it allows you to use any lock with your preferred Rider plate. A nice simple touch.

With the sword, it’s not just for decoration, it actually serves a vital purpose to the Driver! It quite literally, slices the Locks!

Don’t worry though, it’s not sharp 🙂

When the Lock is connected to the Driver, the Sword slides down and opens the Lock, which triggers the Henshin sounds within the Lock.

Slicing the Lock once, twice or three times will trigger attack sounds:

Once – Squash
Twice – Au Lait
Thrice – Sparking

Now.. Lockseeds.

Fruit themed padlocks, really the concept shouldn’t work, but there is something oh so satisfying about popping that lock and hearing it shout at you.

Featuring the motif off the “Arms” contained within, be it an Orange, Bananna or Kamen Rider Drive, once opened there are two pictures, typically they are the center of the “Fruit” the lock represents, and the main weapon of the Rider.

To operate, flip the on/off switch on the bottom, it’s bright red, you cant miss it, then press the button on the side. This button comes in three forms, press back, press up, and three pegs, usually these different buttons represent one of the main Riders, however it does get a little confusing as the Lock range expands. Either way, the function is the same.
Once you press the button, the padlock opens, and you get the call out of the Lock, “Orange!” “Ringo!” etc. With the lock still open, press it onto the front of the Driver till it clicks into place, and close the lock. The Driver itself will then call out with “Lock On!”. Flip the sword to open the Lock and you’re greeted with “-Lock Name- Arms! -Lock specific greeting-“.

You also have a second generation of Lockseeds, these are known as Energy Locks. They feature a translucent coloured body and alternate way of opening. Instead of the front flipping down, they “split”. They operate in much the same way as the regular locks, however they feature a different sound set and a button on the back that opens them. They can also operate in the primary position on the Sengoku Drivers, with the sword slicing them.

While the Locks themselves are electronic, they still operate on a peg/button system. The pegs are in the Driver, the buttons are on the Lock. There are three buttons on the back of the Lock, one is to let the Lock know its in the Driver, another its in the Musou Saber, and the third is what triggers the sounds.

Though with the Taisen locks, the call out button is used to cycle through the Riders contained in the Locks, then when inserted into the Driver, all functions are the same as a regular Lockseed.

As an added bonus, if you also have a Genesis Driver (Not featured in this review) or the Marron Energy Lock set, you’ll have access to a “Genesis Core”, which is what is used by the Genesis Driver to hold the Lockseeds in place.

If you remove the Faceplate from the Sengoku Driver (by pressing the silver button underneath and sliding the plate to the side), you can insert the Genesis Core in its place. This allows you to add a second Lockseed to the Driver.

Traditionally this would be an Energy Lock to create a “Jimba” form, but either form of Lockseed can be inserted here.

The Energy Lock will have a slight delay in any call out, this is to allow the Primary Lock to complete its call out before the second one starts.

Now for the pros and cons.

As great as the Driver looks, I do believe it should have been bigger, or at least wider, it’s incredibly compact, which seems to be the trend from Sengoku onward. This doesn’t deter from the Drivers appeal, it’s just my preference, I preferred it when Drivers had a bit more mass to them.

The Locks are brilliant little systems, they allow for an infinite expansion to the Driver, so any movie forms, specials, or has been seen in recent Drivers, Legend Riders can be added.

The upside to this way of doing gimmick devices is that they don’t need to cut corners where the sound files are concerned. Instead of Drivers calling out things like “Rider Medal” (To use an example from the OOO’s Driver) or the like, the gimmicks feature a full complete sound set, making each Lock as unique and functional as possible.

The downsides however, are that there is a tone difference between the sound files in the Lockseeds, and those in the Driver, the sounds from the Driver feature a bit more of an echo, though this is likely due to having more space inside the Driver for the sounds to bounce around in.

The sword is a removable part, and while I commend the connection used to keep it connected to the Driver, I must also condemn it. This is due to the force needed to remove it from the Driver when returning it to the box for storage. Admittedly this isn’t an issue if the Driver is out on display, but if like me you rotate them every so often, it can wear on your nerves a tad.

Overall, this Driver is quite pleasing. Everything works quite well together and the versatility of the Locks keeps things entertaining.

 

 

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