I considered starting off with a grape related joke or pun, but I figured it would probably end in poor taste.
Get it? “Taste”? You know, because of the….
Oh never mind.
The Budou Ryuhou, or the “Grape Dragon Cannon”, is the main weapon of Kamen Rider Gaim’s Ryugen in his Budou Arms form. Modeled after a bunch of grapes, the core of the gun carries most of the resemblance to the purple fruit, and the hammer of the gun is modeled after a stem. The barrel has six points in a triangular shape, much like the common if not simplistic shape usually used to reference a bunch of grapes.
The Budou Ryuhou is one of only a handful of weapons from the show to get a physical release and in a series that’s pretty much all about the weapons, there is a lot to choose from. The toy itself represents the one used in the Kamen Rider Gaim show about as well as you can expect for a children’s toy. You get about as much as you can reasonably expect from a design aspect and because of its relatively small size in the show, it has not had to compromise the size much, compared to other toys that are considerably downsized from the ones on the show. Of course, these are children’s toys we’re talking about. No one in their right mind would make a full-length sword, even molded out of plastic, to a kid.
However, the actual toy itself doesn’t offer much. Once you turn it on, pressing the trigger makes the desired shot sounds. An interesting point to note is that after a few seconds, an extra “Splat” sound will follow, and you can time your shots enough so that the last 5 shots or so will produce a sequence of splat sounds mirroring the pattern or frequency of the way you pressed the trigger before.
Pulling the stem/hammer back will turn the next trigger into a final attack. Letting the sound plays out initially sounds like a mystical charge, followed by something similar to a fuse that’s been lit. Pressing the trigger at this time makes the gun produce a series of rapid firing sounds that lead up to the sound of a bottle rocket followed closely by an explosion. If the trigger isn’t pressed after a few seconds once the hammer has been pulled, the lit fuse sound will eventually stop playing, and the trigger will produce the usual shot and splat sounds.
The toy DOES feature lights, or rather, ONE light, near the center of the gun. A red light will shine from the purple transparent plastic that forms the bottom grape of the gun. Every shot and splatter will cause the red light to flash from this spot, and pulling back the hammer will also get the light to shine and flash to correspond to the sounds produced by the gun. This, however, is only one light, and its not even present on both sides of the gun. Might not be that big a deal, but compared to the one in the show, which had all of the grapes on the gun lighting up, it is pretty underwhelming by comparison. And it’s not like the toy was absolutely crammed full of features that it couldn’t have had the room for it.
When all is said and done, it is not a piece that can stand on its own. Having a DX Sengoku Driver and Ryugen’s Sengoku Item Set does somewhat help making it feel like a total package deal, although this is mostly just for cosmetic reasons for anyone trying to feel like Ryugen from the show. By the end, the toy does nothing to add to the value of other toys, and is likely only going to be a collection piece.
I spent $30 on Amazon for this and really, this was something of a hard buy. Ultimately, I knew I was not going to make it a piece in my collection, but this was not something I bought for myself. This, and the Ryugen DX Sengoku Set are items I bought for Haruko, who enjoys Kamen Rider Gaim, where Ryugen is one of her favorite characters in it.
Speaking of which, the Ryugen DX Sengoku Set did not come bundled with the Budou Ryuhou, despite the fact that doing so would have made the purchase easier to swallow. The Ryugen Set comes with a DX Budou Lockseed and Ryugen’s Faceplate for a DX Sengoku Driver.
The Faceplate, once fitted to the side of the Sengoku Driver, causes the belt to play Chinese-themed standby music once a Lockseed is placed in the center until the knife on the side of the belt opposite of the Faceplate is pressed down. Every time the knife is pressed down to execute one of the belt’s function, a voice will shout out “Hai!” in a manner that sounds remotely like something from a martial arts moment.
The Faceplate itself is not much of anything on its own. The molding on the back of it simply presses down on a button on the Sengoku Driver that tells it to play the Chinese sound set. However, Ryugen’s Faceplate is one of the only 2 Faceplates that play this sound set without modification, while the other three sound sets have at least 4 different Faceplates dedicated to them.
The other piece to this order, the Budou (Grape) Lockseed, is the main draw of the purchase though. There’s nothing exceptionally different from the other DX Lockseeds like it. It plays the same kind of noises as the ones that come with the Sengoku Driver when you press the big button on the back. Placing it in the Driver and pressing the knife on it activates the same functions, from the transformation noise and catchphrase unique to the Lockseed, and then pressing the blade down afterwards between 1-3 times in quick succession produces three different finisher sounds from the Lockseed. Additionally, it can be placed in one of the Weapon toys that has a space on it dedicated to holding Lockseeds to play a few other sounds as well. Nothing significant makes the Budou Lockseed stand out from the others in function, but the main appeal for the collectibles usually lie in the value it has to the individual collecting them.
Like the Budou Ryuhou toy, I bought this order for someone else. The Ryugen set does not have any particular value to me, despite the fact that it is one of the only ones capable of making the Sengoku Driver play a certain sound set. The price of this set is ESPECIALLY atrocious, with copies on EBay going for well over $100 just for a used one, never mind the price of a brand new one with the packaging and all. A used copy cost me just over $40, so I did manage to avoid paying a lot more for this toy than I would have wanted to. Not that I think the toy was worth the $40 I spent for it, but all things considered, I could have wasted a lot more if I hadn’t found a reliable seller who sold a used set in great condition at a significantly more reasonable price.
While the going price of the Ryugen DX Set is probably in part due to it being the only Faceplate that played a unique sound set for a long time, paying over $50 for it is absolutely ridiculous, and I’ve paid $200 for 2 different sets that sold 2 DX Lockseeds and Faceplates for the Sengoku Driver. However, in those cases, they were items that I wanted in my collection. That’s not to say I was okay with them being as expensive as they were, but those were the collectibles I had enough interest in them to warrant dishing out the money for, and I’m sure their prices will eventually inflate as well.
At $70, I got nothing that I would value as apart of my own collection though. I wouldn’t deny that a good portion of my reasoning relates to my opinion of the character in the show the products were based after. However, the ultimate reason I do not recommend these collectibles for fans of Kamen Rider Gaim is that for the prices you’re likely to pay, they simply aren’t worth it unless you are absolutely set on collecting every DX product of the show or a big enough fan of the character to want them as part of your collection.
The money I myself spent could have been used instead on an S.H. Figuarts action figure of Ryugen and I would have felt that I got a better deal than the items I have now.