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Ginrai, occasionally spelled Jinrai and also known as Super Ginrai, and later rebuilt as Victory Leo, is the main protagonist from the animated series Transformers: Super-God Masterforce and its toy line, one of the Transformers series exclusive to Japan in 1988. He also appeared in Transformers: Victory, where he was upgraded into Victory Leo. He was called Apex Prime in some fandubbed versions of the animated series.
Transformers: Generation 1
With the American Transformers animated series having come to an end the previous year, Japan had struck out on its own and already produced one series exclusive to its shores, Transformers: Headmasters, and repeated the action with the creation of Super-God Masterforce, which took the American Powermaster toys and created an entirely new concept and story for them in its animated series, where they were renamed "Godmasters" (using the word as a reference to "power," with no connection to any deity intended). Powermaster Optimus Prime's toy was slightly recolored with a more metallic shade of grey, and retooled with a die-cast metal cab and retractable super-mode fists, and released in Japan as an entirely new character named Ginrai.
The central concept of Super-God Masterforce was that it would be human beings, rather than Transformers, who would defend the Earth - their own planet - against the threat posed by the Decepticons. To that end, the Headmasters and Godmasters featured in this series were not Transformers who partnered with smaller beings, or even, as with the previous year, small Transformers who piloted larger, lifeless bodies named "Transtectors" - here, they were human beings imbued with the "Masterforce," who could combine and control Transtectors, becoming Transformers themselves.
Some years before the beginning of the series, the evil alien energy entity and self-styled "Decepticon God" known as Devil Z stole eight Transtectors from the region of space known as the G Nebula, one of which was intended to be a new body for Optimus Prime. Breaking off from the largest Transtector - Overlord - as they entered Earth's atmosphere, the other Transtectors were scattered across the planet, with most of them adopting the form of Earthly vehicles to remain hidden in plain sight. The body built for Optimus Prime, by coincidence or design, adopted the form of a truck cab while a secondary portion of the Transtector was split from it and buried underground.
The truck found its way into the hands of a garage owner in America, who rented it out to needy drivers. However, the drivers soon began to report strange phenomena occurring when the truck drove itself - but this did not dissuade Ginrai, a nineteen-year-old Japanese immigrant, from renting the truck to complete an important delivery.
In the truck's glove compartment, he discovered a set of Master-Braces - the metallic bracelets that endowed humans with the Masterforce - and donned them, completing his delivery, which was coincidentally received by the Autobot Pretender, Diver (Waverider). Recognising the Master-Braces, Diver accompanied Ginrai and explained their significance to him, only for them to be attacked by the Decepticon Godmasters, Buster and Hydra, and forced over a cliff. Accidentally touching the bracelets as he attempted to escape the crushed cab, Ginrai was infused with the Masterforce and a suit of armor materialised around him, healing both himself and the Transtector, as they combined and transformed. Harnessing a Godmaster's natural ability to manipulate Chokon Power - the energy of the heavens (Tenchokon), the Earth (Chichokon) and man (Jinchokon) - Ginrai saw off the Decepticons, and, after a period of deliberation, after which he decided that becoming a Godmaster was the will of God himself, he joined the Autobots.
Following a premonition, Ginrai discovered three further sets of Master-Braces in his Transtector, a portent of things to come. Events began to escalate when Ginrai's Transtector activated on its own, Ginrai was pulled to a construction site at the base of Mount Yatsugatake. Again confronted by Buster and Hydra, the secondary component of Ginrai's Transtector burst from within the tunnel being dug, taking the form of a trailer for his truck. Not long thereafter, in a battle with King Poseidon (Piranacon), Ginrai discovered that the two components could merge, creating "Super Ginrai." Appearing on TV in hopes of locating the remaining three Godmasters, to whom he would give the Master-Braces, Ginrai successfully located Lightfoot, Ranger and Road King, and recruited them to the Autobot side, after which the Autobot Pretender leader, Metalhawk, stepped down as Commander and requested that Ginrai take his place. After some deliberation, Ginrai accepted.
Arriving on Earth to inform the Autobots there of the impending arrival of the Decepticon super-weapon, BlackZarak, Grand Maximus provided them with the schematics necessary to create the non-sentient drone, Godbomber. Able to connect to vehicle mode (Super) Ginrai as a tandem trailer, Godbomber could also transport the Transtectors of the three Headmaster Juniors - Cab, Shuta and Minerva - and most importantly, would be able to combine with Super Ginrai, powering him up into the new form of God Ginrai, giving him the strength necessary to battle Black Zarak. As the so-called "Bomber Project" proceeded apace under Metalhawk's command, Super Ginrai was dealt a severe defeat by the Decepticon, Overlord. Following a failed attack on the Bomber Project facility, the barely healed Ginrai insisted upon taking the fight to the Decepticons, combining with the completed Godbomber and confronting Overlord and Black Zarak on the moon. With the aid of Grand Maximus, God Ginrai was able to force Black Zarak to retreat back into space.
During a desert battle with Overlord, God Bomber revealed an unexpected ability by reconfiguring his components into a robot mode in response to Ginrai's threat. Later, the Headmaster Juniors discovered that they could control Godbomber in both of his modes by uniting their own Chokon Power, together matching the level used by Ginrai to control him.
With BlackZarak's return to Earth and subsequent merging with Devil Z, God Ginrai was forced into a final battle with the hybrid entity. He succeeded in decapitating the villain, but BlackZarak then assumed a new hydra alternate mode, which God Ginrai destroyed with his God Fire Guts attack. With the added power of the Headmaster Juniors from within his God Bomber components, God Ginrai then executed the almighty Final Fire Guts attack, destroying Devil Z. With the energy-being's destruction, Ginrai and the other humans were separated from their Transtectors, who continued to exist as true robot life forms, having evolved real personalities through their partnership with humans. The newly born Transformers then departed Earth to pursue the surviving Decepticons back into space.
The human named Ginrai presumably resumed his normal life, and was seen no more in the following serials.
In 1989's Transformers: Victory the robotic God Ginrai rejoined the larger Autobot forces out in space, based in the G Nebula. However, attacks by Overlord drew his attention, necessitating the intervention of Autobot Supreme Commander, Star Saber, on occasion. He was eventually reassigned to continue battling Overlord's forces while Star Saber took over defense of Earth, though Star Saber would later visit Micro at Ginrai's request. Ginrai later came to Star Saber's aid during the first attack by Liokaiser; though no match for the villain, his intervention allowed Star Saber to break free, and together the pair drove Liokaiser off.
Blacker recovers at the Autobot Shuttle Base under the care of the Rescue Patrol. God Ginrai contacts Star Saber from space wanting to know about Blacker's injuries and offering to help if the Autobots on Earth need him. In the Thunder Arrow the Decepticons plan their next mission, with member of Breast Force wanting revenge on Greatshot and Deathsaurus closely watching Leozack. The Breast Force are sent to attack an Autobot garrison in Asia. Star Saber receives an SOS from the garrison orders the Brainmasters to remain at the base as he, the Rescue Patrol and Galaxy Shuttle respond. Blacker suspects the Autobot left without him and finds it shameful. The Breast Force focus their attacks on Star Saber and get the best of him. Blacker orders Braver and Laster to join in the fight, leaving him to protect the Shuttle Base. Liokaiser leads Star Saber into a trap where Deathsaurus is waiting. Realizing Star Saber is in danger Jan and Stakeout send an SOS, hoping Greatshot will answer. As Deathsaurus goes to deliver a fatal blow to Star Saber with his cannon God Ginrai arrives to block the blast. All the combatants are injured in the fighting and with the arrival of Braver and Laster the Decepticons flee. God Ginrai's wounds are severe and he collapses. "A Deadly Battle" (in Japanese). Transformers: Victory. No. 25, season 1.
His body utterly shattered, even Autobot scientists Perceptor and Wheeljack were unable to restore his mobility. Learning of a new conversion process conceived of by Star Saber, Ginrai insisted that he be subjected to it, even when Star Saber attempted to stop him - the process would completely transform Ginrai into a new form that could be used by Star Saber as a power up, and the commander refused to use Ginrai's body in so base a manner. Ginrai persisted, and the Autobots relented; Perceptor and Wheeljack initiated the process, and God Ginrai's body was completely reconfigured into the new form of the lion-bot, Victory Leo. Victory Leo initially struggled, his old noble personality being suppressed by his new animal side, but eventually reconnected with his Ginrai persona and became a valuable ally to Star Saber's team. Most notably, he could convert into accessories for Star Saber that enabled him to assume the powered up form of Victory Saber, who proved more than a match even for Liokaiser.
Victory Saber was formed again to battle Deathsaurus' Fortress, but proved woefully inadequate against the massive vessel; however, with the aid of Jan Minakaze, the fortress was crippled, and Star Saber entered it while Victory Leo faced Liokaiser alone, eventually defeating him. He would then merge with Star Saber again to destroy the fortress before it could crash into Earth, and the pair were later seen flying into space. In Transformers: Zone they were caught in the destruction of Feminia but rescued by Dai Atlas; Victory Leo subsequently attended the noble Autobot's swearing in as the new Autobot Supreme Commander.
Ginrai (nicknamed "Fire Guts") was a veteran of the Great Wars, and not without baggage. He saw new potential conflicts everywhere, and so he cultivated a reputation for being paranoid. Ginrai saw his demeanor as preparedness. Nevertheless, deep in Cybertron's post-Great Reformatting peacetime, Alpha Trizer placed Ginrai as Commander of the new Cybertronian Knights. The two personalities routinely clashed, as Trizer's more zen-like approach drove Ginrai up the wall.
Ginrai clashed with Primal Prime when he recruited Devcon to the Knights. Ginrai and the Prime were of equal rank, but their methods differed dramatically. Primal Prime had recently expelled Devcon from the Wreckers for his abusive tactics, and he was nonplussed to find Ginrai recruiting Devcon and encouraging the use of those same tactics.
Ginrai's knack for paranoia and overreaction led him to call in a CODE RED ALERT on Nebulos in order to deal with what turned out to be a fender bender in space.
When a communications failure cut off the Knights from a space bridge outpost near Delta Prysmos, Ginrai ordered an immediate investigation. Devcon was hunting Flamewar in that area, and sent a garbled transmission that seemed to authenticate Ginrai's concern. Alpha Trizer convinced Ginrai to wait for a second transmission from Devcon, which led the Knights to bridge directly into Unicron's head to interrupt the mission of the Star Seekers. Ginrai brought Alpha Trizer, Apelinq, and Flare-Up to assist Devcon. They successfully captured Captain Cannonball and his team of pirates and mercenaries.
- Generation 1 Super Ginrai (1988)
- The Japanese version of Powermaster Optimus Prime by Takara sports chrome and more die-cast metal parts than the Hasbro version. This figure was recolored into Nucleon Quest Convoy.
- Generation 1 God Ginrai with Godbomber (1988)
- A re-release of Super Ginrai with a new partner called Godbomber, which can merge with Ginrai to form a larger robot.
- This toy did not see a U.S. release until 2003, when Hasbro sold it as the Toys "R" Us exclusive Powermaster Optimus Prime with Apex Bomber. According to the tech specs, Apex Bomber (the western name for Godbomber) is depicted as a drone rather than a sentient robot.
- Generation 1 Victory Leo (1989)
- A new mold. Turns from robot to robotlic winged lion. Combines with Star Saber to form Victory Leo.
- Generation 1 Fire Guts God Ginrai (2002)
- When the God Ginrai toy was reissued in Japan in 2002, online retailer E-Hobby produced an exclusive "Fire Guts" version, representing Ginrai as he utilizes his final attack. Decorated in various shades of red and orange, the toy was limited to 1600 pieces.
- Robot Masters Victory Leo (2004)
- A new figure created for the Robot Masters line.
- Robot Masters RM-17 Victory Leo (2004)
- A recolor of Robot Master Victory Leo.
- E-Hobby Victory Leo (2005)
- A dark recolor of of the Robot Masters figures.
- Timelines Pirates Vs Knights (2014)
- A boxes set exclusive to BotCon 2014. Ginrai is a recolor of Classic Voyager Optimus Prime in fire guts orange.
- "Absolute Anime • Transformers: Masterforce • Ginrai". Absoluteanime.com. http://www.absoluteanime.com/transformers_masterforce/ginrai.htm. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- "The History of Transformers on TV - IGN". Tv.ign.com. 2011-06-27. http://tv.ign.com/articles/800/800768p1.html?_cmpid=ign542. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- "Transformers Super God Masterforce (1988)". Heroic Cinema. 2008-06-29. http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/supergod. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- "Dvdresurrections.com". Dvdresurrections.com. 2013-07-09. http://www.dvdresurrections.com/reviews-dvd-transformers-victory.html. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- Altered States Magazine, Takara: On the Ball? By Anthony Brucale
- Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Japanese and International Transformers. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. p. 46. ISBN 0-7643-1282-0.
- http://www.mechaworx.com/toyreviews/results1.asp?strToyName=Reissue+God+Ginrai%7CMechaworx: Reissue God Ginrai Toy Review