The AZ Shield Liger received its own promotional video, this time animated from the perspective of Raven analyzing the Zoid from his Saber Tiger. This was a fun take on the existing promo video style, and it's nice to see the Tiger running around.
Zoids Official has confirmed that the AZ-01 Blade Liger, the first Zoid of the series, will be reissued! This is exciting news for folks who didn't get it the first time around, as we all know how much merch is closing in on the wallet right now! Pre-orders are available on the Takara Tomy Mall and the kit is scheduled to release in late March of 2024.
Though not necessarily news, Zeros have just started shipping out. Product sample photos were posted recently. For those who are expecting Ligers, remember that batteries for the LED claws aren't included by default, so be sure to pick up some LR44s if you want to test out this feature right away.
A video was posted by TakaraTomy for the AZ-03 Murasame Liger. This shows off the gorgeous colors of this kit. The video uses a finished example (custom detailed) but the color shift as the product turns is incredible. If this is in the physical kit, it will be the first Murasame Liger to actually attempt to come close to the anime colors, with former products being straight blue or seafoam. The video also gives us a good look at the chrome plated Murasame Blade.
With the upcoming AZ kits, an article has been added that provides machine translations of Hobby Watch's interview with Takashi Nakase, one of the leading developers of the Zoids franchise. This interview goes into detail about the choices made while creating the AZ-01 Blade Liger, challenges and goals from a toy manufacturing perspective, and discusses upcoming products! I've also went through and added direct links for some of the interviews buried in magazines and such, so you can now find them directly from the Articles page.
Photos and product information for the AZ-03 Murasame Liger have dropped! Several details have been pointed out about the kit over on Twitter. The Pile Bunkers on the front legs are movable. The eyes and core have LED lights. The cockpit has been modeled after the anime, including a forward-leaning Ruuji figure. The Murasame Blade, which will be chromed, features a telescoping joint and can extend to both sides, unlike the former motorized kit, where it could only extend to the left as part of the spring-loaded gimmick. This kit is scheduled to release in Late January 2024, for 14,300 yen (tax included.) An article from Dengeki Hobby features some additional photos.
Earlier on, we saw a teaser of the Murasame Blade which, aside from having the script normally seen along the edge of the blade, also features the 'Murasame' kanji at the base of the blade! Other prototype shots included a face view, a 3/4 view, and a shot with the blade extended.
On April Fools, Zoids Official also posted about a collab with Bikkuriman, a product line from Lotte that focused on collecting stickers that are typically packaged with wafer snacks. During this announcement they mentioned a sticker that showed off Murasame Liger and Super Zeus, Bikkuriman's mascot character. Looks like this sticker will be packaged together with the AZ-01 Murasame Liger when buying through TakaraTomy Mall!
Zoids Official has announced that the RZ-007 Shield Liger and the EZ-016 Saber Tiger will be released as part of the Anniversary Zoids line! Once released as the Masterpiece Zoids, these two kits saw significant price increases after their short release period. We currently don't have any additional information on them, but it's a welcome rerelease, especially for the Saber Tiger, which has ranged from 250 ~ 400 USD over the years. We do not yet know if they will include all original features, but it's currently speculated that they'll lose the roaring features from the previous release. I'd love to see them released in anime colors, though, and will await further information!
There were various posts going over the now-released AZ-01 Blade Liger. People have started posting their built photos, and this model is gorgeous. To start off, Hobby Japan posted a beautiful painted sample article featuring this kit, as well as a short video. Zoids Official posted an image of a customized Blade Liger based on Arthur Borgmann's destroyed Blade Liger. This image also showed off Arthur's acrylic standee, sold at the traveling Zoids Exhibit! Next, Hobby Watch posted a nice article regarding the Anniversary Zoids. Last but not least, a video was posted by Plaban Gunpla Build Ch featuring a custom painted Bladey, which Zoids Official showed off.
Zoids Official has announced the early planning sketch for the AZ Liger Zero Phoenix! This Phoenix has quite the glow-up, with careful attention paid to make sure the BLOX parts look more proportional on the AZ base than they did on the old motorized version. One big difference is the more seamless integration and design of the cannons, which are both substantially longer and lower-set than the old version.
Earlier this week Zoids Official posted a New Century Zero clip video, asking about what everyone's favorite NC0 scene was. They also posted a look at the armorless Zero, discussing the difference between the term 'prime state' when it comes to standard Zoids, such as the Blade Liger, and Liger Zero. It also gives us a side-by-side look at how the Liger Zero frame differs from the Blade Liger. There are more modifications than I realized at first. It's nice to see Zero have a fully armored neck. Last but not least, we got a look at the box art for the AZ-02 Liger Zero!
While discussing what all went into the AZ-02 Liger Zero's development process, Zoids Official also posted a conceptual design of the wild form of Liger Zero, complete with a beautiful digital quality of the artwork that once appeared on the back of the boxes during the NJR era! This would be a fun one to see, but to be clear, at this point this is an early concept art only. Even so, it's always cool to get to see what goes into developing these products!
After showing us the initial product images, the AZ-01 Blade Liger went on to get its own dedicated page on TakaraTomy's 40th anniversary website. This Liger is on track to release in April, for 11,000 yen, and we've seen a ton of coverage on it leading up to this point. We'll try to cover everything, but some earlier twitter posts will be skipped if they contain information already shown on the core product page and store page.
Initial Product Views We started seeing more of the Blade Liger throughout October, including this beautiful graphic. A video posted on Zoids Official gave us our first look at its walk cycle, confirming the absence of the roaring animation seen in the MPZ line. This is likely due to how finnicky the roar was in the first place (on the Shield Liger, it often only got 1 or 2 roars into the walk cycle before one part or another would shift a couple mms and cause the mechanism to jam.)
Stock Photos More recently we got a look at the first out of the box photos for this model kit, with no panel lining or special paint. Though the photos don't show the details particularly well, the kit has a unique look. The eyes beneath the canopy are especially cool. They also posted four different sample videos, showing off the Zoids' walk from several angles.
Details The AZ-01 Blade Liger includes a couple of neat traits, including the blade arm having a telescopic joint to allow the blades to rotate forwards further over the shoulders. It also includes an E-Shield Generator (mane) piece like the Shield Liger. For those wondering why this is included, it's a shoutout to the old Tomy motorized Blade Liger model kit. In this version, you could assemble the Bang version (with the standard Blade Liger generator and tail armor) or the Republic Spec., which encouraged you to use leftover Shield Liger mane pieces and tail.
Heaps Of Videos
We also saw a ton of video content for the Blade Liger! Not just that, though. We also saw the return of Zoiko, a Zoids mascot character seen during the MPZ days! Zoiko has continued to be the spokesperson for Anniversary Zoid updates, including when preorders went up for the Blade Liger and Liger Zero.
This video showed off the Blade Liger as introduced by Zoiko. It had a particularly cool shot with the old motorized Blade Liger and the AZ-01 Blade Liger rotating on the same revolving table, and goes over basic mechanics.
This video featured an interview with Daisuke Kishio, who played Bang Freiheit (Van Flyheight) in the original Japanese version of the show. Bringing back old Zoids VAs is a recurring theme in the Anniversary videos, and it's great for that nostalgia factor!
A second interview video took an in-depth look at the Anniversary Zoids series, complete with some amazing concept art created for the Blade Liger. We get to see the various gimmicks on the Zoid once again.
- AZ-01 Blade Liger PV
Daisuke Kishio, voice actor for Bang Freiheit makes a return to show off the AZ-01 Blade Liger! In this video we get a new look at the gimmicks, this time through the lense of special effects and CGI.
The AZ-02 Liger Zero development is now in full swing and we're receiving frequent updates! The Zoid is on track to be released in Late September for 14,300 yen. With that said, let's get into the details.
First and foremost, as one would expect, all of Zero's armor can be removed, and you can display it as the unarmored version. The Zoid also includes a new Ion Booster deployment gimmick, where the boosters extend from the roof of the housing and, in a new design feature, extend the barrels of the boosters themselves.
A Bit Cloud figure is included, and the cockpit even has a bar going over the pilot's chest, just like in the anime. In a shocking update we've learned that the AZ-01 Liger Zero also comes with additional translucent claws, which contain LEDs! This is in addition to the light-up eyes and core that are standard to the Anniversary line, and it's the first time since the big Hasbro electronic action figures that the Liger Zero has featured an actual glowing Strike Laser Claw gimmick.
Zo Sticker Some of you might've noticed a blue and white sticker with a Japanese character on it being advertised alongside the Liger Zero. This is a pre-order bonus (for purchases made before March 9th). It has the katakana "Zo", short for Zoids, and the year (2023). This is sort of a pet sticker, like putting a bumper sticker on your car talking about being a proud pet owner. It's a sticker to effectively say "I have Zoids at home."
- AZ-02 Liger Zero PV
This awesome CG trailer shows off the various features of the Liger Zero, narrated by Ayako Kawasumi, the voice of Leena Toros in the Japanese version of New Century /ZERO. The stalky big cat motions applied to the Zero also make for an awesome look at this Zoid.
- Zoiko Product Review
Moving on to Zoiko's introduction of the kit, this video shows off the actual model kit and its various features, including walk cycle and LED.
- TT Review
A final video for the Zero shows off a review from TakaraTomy, taking a look at the Liger Zero in person, not just in a special edited video. You really get a sense for the scale of this kit.
Thanks to Zoids Official we got to see our first product photos of the AZ-01 Blade Liger! This is certainly a cool development on the original Shield Liger. The kit was also on display at Takara Tomy's Hobby Expo, where people could stop by and take a look at some of their upcoming products. At this exhibit, the AZ Blade Liger was on display next to the original Tomy Blade Liger. Hobby Watch took a variety of photos of this exhibit.
- Zoids 40th Anniversary Project: First Announcement!
Zoids Official has tweeted their first News Bulletin regarding the 40th Anniversary Project. To our incredible surprise, the announcement is the revival of the MPZ series! At least, of the frames and concept. These new kits, labeled under the "40th AZ-01 ~ 03" registration number are planned to begin in Autumn of this year (October, specifically.) The first video down below is the teaser posted on their account, which will begin the celebrations for the Zoids franchise's 40th anniversary!
The last MPZ kit released was the Saber Tiger, which was released in March 2016 for 14,040 yen retail. We can expect a moderate price increase due to the global situation. However, these "more realistic" kits are a unique reimagining of the original Tomy motorized series. A lot of insight went into their design, and I highly recommend looking at one of the videos for the series, which was posted in April 2015. It will be the second video below.
The first of the 40th Anniversary Zoids is the Blade Liger! Staying true to the video's announcement "The culmination of 40 years of Zoids - Evolved ligers are here now!!", the first of these kits will evolve the former Shield Liger design into this iconic Zoid. The Blade Liger looks robust on the Masterpiece frame, and is scheduled for October 2022. This will be the first kit using the MPZ frame to be released in years!
The second anniversary kit is, of course, the Liger Zero! With an all new design, this kit is scheduled for 2023. So far we've only got the wire frame look, but at first glance it appears to be using a highly modified version of the MPZ Shield Liger frame while remaining quite true to the original Liger Zero. Especially by MPZ standards. The MPZ-style caps will be a distinctive feature on this kit.
After well over a decade, the third kit will be the first-ever full size reimagining of the Murasame Liger! AZ-03 is scheduled for 2013, and sports an interesting aesthetic. With a much stronger MPZ influence the Murasame Liger will become even tankier than its initial 2000s release, which can be attributed to applying the Murasame Liger design over the MPZ Shield Liger frame. A detail I appreciate is being able to see the rotating caps through the ventilation gaps in the front of the Shoulder Armor.
This is just the start of the 40th Anniversary of Zoids. With the way the teaser video is set up, we have to wonder, will Wild Liger also get an MPZ treatment? Will we receive a rerelease of the MPZ Shield Liger as part of the celebrations? So far we have kits set up into 2023. There's a lot to ponder, and we're excited to move forward and see what Zoids has to offer!