A Decade of Sentai Henshin Item Toys

Welcome back to the second part of my look at Super Sentai Henshin Items of the 2010s. Last time I declared an early winner and issued a challenge to Bandai to prove me wrong in 2019. This time I want to detail the decade-long decline of my favorite toyline. In order to do so properly...I have to go back just a little bit further...back to Engine Sentai Go-onger...

I vividly remember 2008. I was excited for the initial Go-onger toy line. Cars are my first love and outside of a trick Henshin Brace and some cool weapons, I don't think shows like Turboranger and Carranger did a great job of living up to their potential with the theme. Go-onger...actually did some things I really liked. The suit designs were pretty slick and the mecha really grew on me over time. The show itself sucked, but I tried.

So it was a case of a neat toy line with a lousy show? Well...no, not really. It was way worse than that. It was the beginning of the end of the ease of collectability of Super Sentai Henshin Items. Let's review, shall we?

Engine Sentai Go-Onger

While the Changers themselves aren't too bad, it did introduce the gimmick of interchangeable electronics to unlock new sounds and features. That's right, I'm talking about the dreaded Engine Souls. Each of the Changers came with a Change Soul that was unique to the group of character Changers, but they could also house individual Engine Souls.

Go Phone > DX Engine Oh, DX Highway Buster, DX Mantan Gun
Shift Changer > DX Birca, DX Gunpherd
Wing Trigger > DX Jetras, DX Tripter

That isn't the worst considering you could ignore Engine Souls and stick with the Change Souls. Bandai had gotten a taste of the collector's blood, though. People who would have otherwise completely skipped out on the DX Highway Buster now had to have one in order to get that damn BeaRV Engine Soul.

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger

Shinkenger's Henshin Items were actually spared the nonsense that Go-onger fans were forced to endure. You had the DX Shodophone which, despite it's faults (row of keys that are painted on instead of being actual buttons), is my favorite Henshin Item of the 00s decade. The Sushi Changer was pretty rad as well and only makes me hungry to think about...

It wasn't a bad year. Sure, the Hiden Disks were a thing, but outside of the one that came with the Sushi Changer, these were irrelevant to Henshin Item collectors.

Tensou Sentai Goseiger

What a mess this year was... You had the Headders AND flippin' Gosei Cards which were seemingly willed into existence whenever someone needed help. I don't know, it didn't take me long to abandon this series. The cards, though... You'd think it wouldn't be bad, but this just may be one of the worst offenders considering how much you had to spend to get the DX cards...

As far as I recall, these cards were only bundled with the soft vinyl figures. I looked up the receipt for my figures and realized that I spent a good $60 just to get the Pink, Blue, Black, and Yellow cards. Just for the Henshin sounds... Even then, the cards were only limited to the initial pressing of these toys. If you didn't buy them when the show first aired, you missed out. The Tensouder came with the Goseired card and a bunch of random shit cards I didn't care about. Out of the box, this toy was painfully limited.

Plus the forgettable DX Leon Cellular... Almost forgot you, but I didn't...

Fuck Goseiger, and more importantly...fuck 2010 Bandai...

Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger

Ranger Keys. I might be in the absolute vocal minority, but I hate these goddamn things. When you buy the DX Mobirates, the only keys you get are Gokaired, Shinkenred, and Go-on Red. Heh, that sure is a kick in the pants to Goseiger. Are you only after the Gokaiger Ranger Keys? Well, here is what you need...

Gokai Blue > DX Gokai Gun
Gokai Yellow > DX Gokai Sabre
Gokai Green & Gokai Pink > DX Gokai Buckle

There was also Gokaisilver and his Gokai Cellular. It came with his Ranger Key, but if you wanted the Golden Anchor Key, you needed to get Ranger Key Set 5.

Given the nature of the show and the Ranger Key concept, there is a good chance you won't stop there. Getting DX Ranger Keys or just the reds is incredibly expensive. There were cheaper options, at least (Candy Toy, Gashapon), but the amount of money you need to spend to unlock the damn sounds that are already inside the damn toys is incredible. Not to mention, some series Ranger Keys look like absolute dogshit (Zyuranger comes to mind first). Clearly series were assigned out to different people with varying levels of quality sculpts.

Ranger Keys...yeah, not a fan. They've done nothing but clogged Yahoo Japan Auctions and probably will for years...

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters

Go-Busters did us right with a legit Henshin Brace for a change. While Ranger Keys continued to burn along well into (and past) 2012, it freed up the series to skip the gimmicks and focus on spy tools. The Henshin Items were...

DX Morphin' Brace (Great)
DX Morphin' Blaster (Alright)

It was a good year...one that really looked back to the golden 90s.

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

Ugh. Back to this...

The Zyudenchi are lousy. If there is a rhyme or reason to anything in Kyoryuger, I don't care enough to know what it is. Batteries...that are bullets...that are used in a dinosaur gun...that requires dancing... I don't care.

While Bandai did show some restraint prior to Gokaiger, all bets were off with Ranger Keys. Zyudenchi are no different. These are millions of them for all I know. If you want the Zyudenchi to complete the core Kyoryuger Henshin, you'll need to get...

Kyoryured > DX Gaburivolver
Kyoryublack > DX Parasagun
Kyoryublue & Kyoryupink > DX Kyoryujin
Kyoryugreen > DX Zakutor

Kyoryugold also had the Gaburichanger and there was the Giga Gaburivolver for Kyoryuviolet.

Unlike Ranger Keys, there were other ways to get DX Zyudenchi, but I'm trying to kept what's left of my sanity intact trying to keep up with toy lines at this point. There were options to do this a little bit cheaper, but I'm still not convinced that these are a worthwhile gimmick.

Ressha Sentai ToQger

While I kinda dig the concept of the Henshin Items for this series, they are FAR too complex. It takes like five minutes to do the whole song and dance plus, once again, this is gimmick heavy. DX ToQ Changer comes with the Red Ressha and that's it. However, there was a set version that contained the ToQ Changer and DX ToQoh. Just get that set...it's easier that way.

The DX Applichanger was as basic as most Sixth Ranger Henshin Toys. Not much to report there...

Not the worst year for the Henshin Item collecting, but it did kinda force you to buy the stupid mecha. You could technically get it all in one box, though...

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger

I would very much like to forget this year. Not only is the DX Ninja Ichibanto utter garbage but the gimmick of the year, Nin Shuriken, were expensive. The DX Ninja Ichibanto came with Akaninger's Nin Shuriken, and the DX versions of the Nin Shuriken were also mercifully sold separately. In fact, I think that was the only way to get the Pink one if I recall correctly. Don't even bother with the DX Nin Shurikens that are packed in with other toys...just get the individual ones. Unless, of course, you want those toys as well... Just be prepared to pay.

At least the DX Ninja Starburger was kinda fun...

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

I talked about this series main Henshin Item, the Zyuoh Changer, at a pretty fair length in my previous post. It's a great toy that does it all! It fits the theme of the show, has tons of sounds, and doesn't require an extra crap to work. It's a great toy that I think a lot of people overlook because "LOL MINECRAFT". So what? I like it. The other Changers are just as complete and fun out of the box. Zyuoh The Light is just that, a three-way light for Zyuoh The World. Zyuoh Changer Final is a boring repaint/update of the Zyuoh Changer, and the Whale Change Gun is a oddly technical changer/weapon. Yeah, I hate weapon changers...but I actually had fun with it while making my video.

I dig the 2016 Henshin Items. It was a good year to be a collector again.

Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger

What an awful, awful year for Henshin Items. Not only are there four of them (one being a Tamashii Web Exclusive for the first time ever) but two of which are horrible weapon changers and all of them use yet another overbearing gimmick. I have all of these damn toys and still haven't reviewed them. I have no desire to. I have no reason to. They're stupid. This show was a horrible waste. Toei/Bandai looked to America for input and only a year later finds themselves locked out of the damn country. Hasbro, meanwhile, is looking back at Go-Busters for 2019 Power Rangers. That's the same amount of time between shows are Kamen Rider BLACK RX > Masked Rider and Metalder > VR Troopers. Weird how this is happening to Sentai this time...but then again Shinkenger never stopped being adapted here...

Kyutama are the cancer of the year. If you want all of the DX Change Kyutama for the three main Henshin Items, you have to buy...

01, 03, 05, 07, 09 > DX Kyurenoh
02 > DX Sasori Voyager
04 > DX Tenbin Voyager
06 > DX Hebitsukai Voyager
08 > DX Washi Voyager
10 > DX Ryun Voyager
11 > DX Koguma Voyager
12 > DX Gigant Houou

This, folks, is what extreme greed looks like. Do you see now why I have zero fucking interest in this line? It wasn't appealing in the first place. I bought all that shit and never even bothered to open the shipping boxes they came in. They're just languishing...

Kaito Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger

This is the current Sentai series for 2018. In keeping with the current trend of too many fucking characters, there are two different Sentai in this show, but they both use the same Changer, the hideous VS Changer. The VS Changer comes with the Red Dial Fighter for Lupinred, but of course you'll have to buy all of the other Dial Fighters (Lupinranger) and Trigger Machines (Patranger) for the full Henshin line for both teams. The cost? ¥1500 each. There is always the DX Lupinkaiser and DX Patkaiser sets as well, but I don't think you'd be saving any money going that way outside of not having to buy a second Red Dial Fighter.

The X Changer is also happening, but yeah...snore.


Bandai is not only losing me, but they seem to be losing a lot of others as well. Rather than focusing on making a handful of must-have toys per year, they are absolutely spamming the toy market with absurd quantities of gimmick-laden toys every year. It all started with Engine Souls, which seemed to work out well for Bandai. That then parlayed into Ranger Keys, which was a sheer jackpot. From there...the hits stopped coming.

I only want the best for Bandai, but their approach is absolutely the wrong one to take in this decade. Space is limited and parents are wise to their game since, well, they were kids too at one point. They know what to expect every year from Super Sentai and Bandai. Except...it's only gotten worse. Twenty years ago you could pick up a DX Ginga Brace, turn the dial, and get five different sounds for all five Gingaman. Now you have to buy an enormous gun and two different sets of mecha just for essentially the same experience. It's getting old...

People out there are going to disagree with me, and that's totally fine. I just want some justification for the extra spending. I understand the appeal of Ranger Keys, so that's cool. None of the other heavy-handed gimmicks have impressed me, though. It's just the toy version of downloadable content. I want the full experience out of the box...



  1. Just a thing, CC: From a scale from F to S, how would you rate the Super Sentai henshin toys of 2008-2018?


    1. Hmmm. How about going grade-school style A-F? In that case, I would give it a C-

      I couldn't bring myself to give it a D+, though it probably deserves it...

  2. If i may say a idea why not have the Kyoryuger cast voice the gaburevolver when you insert a battery that belongs to a Kyoryuger

    1. It certainly would have made that toy a hell of a lot less annoying.

    2. It could have extended to the whole toyline