Blade Liger Mirage
Created by the Evolution and Transformation of Shield Liger, the Blade Liger is basically a vastly improved version of Shield Liger that was better able to counter combat the Genosaurer. The Blade Liger is far quicker than the Shield Liger, and has additional weaponry. The Blade Liger made it's first appearance in Chaotic Century approx. half way through the series. After Van's (the central protagonist) Shield Liger was destroyed by the Genosaurer his Organoid "Zeke" along with an ancient Zoidian named "Fiona" actually merged with the wreckage successfully resurrecting the unit and transforming it into a new form known as the "Blade" Liger. The use of Blade Liger was continued in the Zoids Anime Guardian Force.
Blade Liger is quicker and more maneuverable than it's previous incarnation. Modifications are included on everything from the weapons systems to the Energy Shield. The Energy Shield is now enhanced by the addition of four inter-cooling units that are vented through the fins of the shoulder armor allowing for quicker heat dispersion. Due to the merging with the Organoid, the Blade Liger now possesses an Organoid System allowing the Zoid to operate in "AI" mode, without a pilot. (This fact probably also accounts for the lack of pilot in many of the model's releases.) The Organoid system also grants the Blade Liger limited and highly powerful "power boosts".
Perhaps the most noticeable enhancement on the Blade Liger are the dual set of laser edged blades taking the place of the small missile pods. These blades allow the Liger to be a master of close quarter combat, and are often combined with a jump attack that has resulted in literally cutting more than one unfortunate Zoid totally in half. Blade Liger still makes use of it's strike claws and has used them in combination with the dual blades to wreak havoc upon many an enemy. A Double Barrel shock cannon takes the place of the previous triple barrel anti Zoid shock cannon yet remains mounted in the same place, directly under the chest. The pop out missile pod is replaced by a set of pop out rocket boosters. Just like the Shield Liger, the Blade Liger also possesses a pair of laser sabres, and a set of pulse laser guns located on the blunt side of the laser blades.
Blade Liger was successfully used until the release of Liger Zero. It was a Blade Liger that was responsible for ending the rampage of the Rogue Death Stinger. The center of many collections, Blade Liger and it's variations make sweet additions to any collection. Many collectors don't see the sanity in collecting "same unit / different color" pieces, I personally enjoy every release of Blade Liger and many releases there are!
The NJR release of Blade Liger is light blue with a grey body white trim and an orange canopy. Some units have both metal teeth and feet while other units have plastic teeth and feet. Speculation is that the later runs used the plastic feet and teeth. Taking a look at the cockpit, it will not fit a standard Zoids pilot comfortably, and is designed for an anime specific pilot or no pilot at all. Blade Liger comes with a frame of Anime specific characters: Van, Fiona and the Organoid Zeke.
In 2000 a limited release of Blade Liger was released. This is an anime specific version and is titled "Leon's Red Blade Liger". This unit was piloted by Leon Toros in New Century Zero. Leon's Liger was red with white trim and black legs. It did not come with the frame of anime characters, favoring a regular pilot instead. This unit was released in limited numbers and came in a monochromatic red box. It can still be found with ease on Yahoo Japan today, but rarely shows up in the US.
Based on the Leon's Red Blade Liger, Hasbro released the Red Blade Liger as part of the NAR or New American Release. This version of the Red Blade Liger was released in 2001 and has become very hard to come by. The red is lighter than that of Leon's Liger, the legs are re-colored in light grey as opposed to black. This version has plastic teeth and feet and did not come with any pilot figure.
In 2003, as part of the Yuji Kaida series we received Blade Liger Mirage. This unit was re-colored with white armor with red trim and black legs. It came with a Attack Booster (CP-12) in a color matching scheme, and did have a standard pilot figure. This version is strikingly beautiful and the box art features a Liger in the middle of a full moon. From the Blade Liger Mirage comes the ultra rare Blade Liger Mirage Blade Liger Mirage Canon Special. Rarely seen, this unit was produced in strictly limited numbers and has the re-colored trim finished in pink. I have heard rumors that this was done in honor of a Japanese Pop Singer, alas I am not sure.
The next version of Blade Liger to hit foreign shelves was titled Blade Liger "Forest and Night Fight". Released as a limited in 2004 this version of Blade Liger was (at the time) relatively easy to obtain. The Liger was re-colored in a wonderfully beautiful forest and mint green along with light brown and blue. The canopy is yellow, and this version of Blade Liger has a wickedly organic feel to it. This version did come with a sprue of Anime specific characters, again: Van, Fiona and the Organoid Zeke. Once landed for around $40.00 US this piece has seen a steady rise in price and is creeping up to the $100.00 + range. This re-color is stunning to behold and really shows off how much a simple color rearrangement can change the look as well as the feel of the Blade Liger.
In 2004 we received the "Back in Black" version of Blade Liger. Known as Blade Liger "Black Impact", this version was released as part of the Zoids Fuzors line. With a charcoal grey color scheme trimmed in white, and solid black legs, Blade Liger Black Impact has metal teeth and fangs. It is speculated that it may have been released from left over stock of the never released Hasbro limited version of Blade Liger simply titled "Limited Blade Liger".
The building of Blade Liger is very similar to building a Shield Liger, and I am using that build review as a reference. Blade Ligers have a more aerodynamic look when complete and their elongated features make them appear more feline like than the Shield Liger. The build is of medium length, and there is, again, the infamous problem of the fidgety "TLL" (Tricky Liger Legs) syndrome. A straight forward experience, the build is satisfying when completed, and when activated the unit stomps forward moving it's jaws. Blade Liger tails are fragile and seem to be more susceptible to breakage. The long tails also make them space hogs when displaying the units, with one unit often extending to the entire width of the shelf. I am one that enjoys variations, and just like the Shield Liger, the Blade like should be a staple in any Zoids collection. I recommend at least the regular version, and once you have one they have the tendency to "grow on you" making you desire to seek more of the same while effectively making your wallet cry for a few days.
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