Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Tale of Gunpla Piracy - BB Senshi Water Margin?

Evolution of pirated Gunpla? ^^;

Spotted a series of new pirated BB Senshi kits on a Chinese forum recently, which is not based on Sangokuden, but "Water Margin" (水浒传) instead.

For those who don't know this already, "Water Margin" is one of the four major Chinese Classical Literature Work. The other three being "the Romance of the Three Kingdom" (Sangokuden in Japanese), "Journey to the West" (西游记) and "Dream of the Red Chamber" (红楼梦). The story is about a bunch of common folks who suffered oppression from corrupted government officers and social unjust being forced to become bandits on a mountain during the Song Dynasty. Together, all 108 men and women organized an army on the mountain and fought against the government to return justice to the people. The compiler of the book was Shi Naian (施耐庵)

Two great similarities between "Water Margin" and Sangokuden are the involvement of many characters with very distinctive characteristics, and the main plot of good versus evil. Considering how the different characters from Sangokuden could be designed based on a MS from various Gundam universe, it's not exactly hard to do the same for "Water Margin", so so I thought.

And apparently a pirated Gunpla manufacturer figured the same as well. ^^;

A series of 8 BB Senshi kits with designs of characters from the novel were released not long ago. Featuring originally illustrated box art, comic from the novel (my assumption) as well as a bonus card for each kit, the runners however, are still recolored recasts from the original BB Senshi Sangokuden kits released by Bandai.

Note: Every character in the novel has a special nickname, for example, the first one below: "Calling to Keep Justice" Song Jiang. Song Jiang is his name; "Calling to Keep Justice" is his nickname, which pretty much describe what people saw him as in the story.

"Calling to Keep Justice" Song Jiang (呼保義 宋江) - Based on Koumei ReGZ.

"The Wizard" Wu Yong (智多星 吴用) - Based on Shiba-I Sazabi.

"The Dragon in the Cloud" Gongsun Sheng (入云龙 公孙胜) - Based on Sonken Gundam.

"The Great Sword" Guan Sheng (大刀 关胜) - Based on Kan-U Gundam.

"The Leopard Head" Lin Chong (豹子头 林冲) - Based on Bacho Blue Destiny.

"The Wandering Friar" Wu Song (行者 武松) - Based on Ryubi Gundam.

"The Thunder Fire" Qin Ming (霹雳火 秦明) - Based on Taishiji Dom

"The Tattooed Monk" Lu Zhi Shin (花和尚 鲁智深) - Based on Shusou Doven Wolf.

From the looks of it, the completed Gunplas are not going to be exactly the same as that shown on the box art. ^^;

Also, while the character name, box art, manual design have been changed, I believe the recast runners of these BB Senshi kits (which is the main content by the way) is still a breach of copyright, even though it may be considered a different case as compared to the one reported in April.

Images are from Nintendo World BBS.