Being a soldier is not the life for Ginrai (ジンライ Jinrai). Command structures, fixed routines, forced formality, following orders, knowing your place and toeing the line are his complete antithesis—so it was really the worst luck in the world for him to be born Japanese. A Nagano native, Ginrai found the atmosphere of his home country unbearably stifling, and left for the United States at the young age of seventeen to "find himself." The very definition of a free spirit and a lone wolf, he took a job as a long-haul truck driver for Union Transportation which offered him the freedom and solitude of the open road. Despite his desire for isolation and self-exploration, however, he is hugely popular amongst his "brothers" in the trucker fraternity, as his easygoing personality allows him to get along with people like a house on fire.
Ginrai's life was turned upside down when he discovered that he was an Autobot Godmaster and became bonded to a Transtector from the planet Master. Now wearing the visage of the legendary Autobot commander Optimus Prime, Ginrai found that the evil of the Decepticons was too great a force for him to overlook, altering his entire worldview. It would not, Ginrai figures, be a good thing for the Decepticons to rule the world. After all, he lives there.
Ginrai's signature attack technique is the "Atomic Fire Guts", which sees him condense his Chōkon Power into his gun and release it as a blast of roiling flame. Ginrai can combine with his own trailer to become Super Ginrai, upgrading his attack into the more-powerful "Special Fire Guts", and then again with the drone Godbomber to become God Ginrai. As God Ginrai, his Fire Guts attack is powered up once more, becoming the the ultimate single-strike final attack known as the "God Fire Guts", which transforms Ginrai's entire body into a blazing fireball.
- Italian dub name: Commander
- English/Malaly dub name: Optimus Prime
- Actor: Hiroshi Takemura (Japanese)
The events that would bring Ginrai into contact with Transformers began an indeterminate number of years ago, when the super-energy alien being and self-styled Decepticon "god" Devil Z stole several Transtectors, including one intended to be used by Optimus Prime, from an area of space known as the G Nebula. Already filled with the TenChōkon of the nebula, the Transtectors were then scattered across the Earth by Devil Z, that they might absorb the planet's ChiChōkon. Devil Z planned to have human beings bond to the Transtectors, adding their inherent JinChōkon to the equation, thereby creating a new superpowered Transformer breed: Godmasters.
Through undivulged circumstances, the Transtector intended for Prime assumed the form of a red tractor trailer cab and came to rest in a small garage in California. The unwitting garage owner rented the cab to several truckers, but always found it returned early with complaints of unusual, even supernatural, incidents.
Two years after coming to America, Ginrai happened to be transporting an ill dolphin from Baney Aquarium to the Ocean Research Institute of California, which was run, unbeknownst to him, by the Autobot Pretender Diver. Destiny stepped in when Ginrai's truck broke down on the way, and he pulled in at this very garage, where the owner rented him the Transtector to complete his delivery. In the glove box of the cab, he discovered a pair of Master-Braces and slipped them on his wrists, only to discover that he was unable to remove them. When Diver laid eyes upon the bracelets, he recognized the basic design of them and insisted that Ginrai take him back to the garage where he had found the truck. On the way, however, they were attacked by Hydra and Buster, who forced the Transtector off a cliff. Accidentally crossing the bracelets as he attempted to escape the crushed cab, Ginrai was infused with the Masterforce, and an Autobot-branded suit of armor materialized around him, healing both himself and the Transtector as they combined and transformed. Now a Godmaster himself, Ginrai saw the shocked Decepticons off.
Ginrai was at first unsure of what to make of his new powers and was not entirely keen on joining the Autobots, as the notion of operating as part of a command structure and being tied down to a specific place ran directly counter to his desire for freedom in his life. Although he promised to aid them when necessary "for the sake of the world"—a mantra for which he admitted he had a weakness—he soon bore witness to the true evil of the Decepticons when Hydra and Buster killed several of his fellow truckers while searching for him. In spite of this, Ginrai was still not entirely willing to join the Autobots, but fate would continue to push him into doing so.
Ginrai soon suffered a prophetic dream, after which he discovered three more pairs of Autobot-branded Godmaster Braces in his Transtector, indicating the presence of more Godmasters on Earth. When Ginrai brought the bracelets to Japan for study at the Autobot base, Buster and Hydra. Later still, the two brothers lured Ginrai into a public battle so that they might blame the conflict on him and turn public opinion against the Autobots. The plan failed, but a friend of Ginrai's offered the suggestion that his becoming a Godmaster was the will of God Himself.events began to escalate as his Transtector activated on its own, transporting Ginrai to his birthplace of Nagano, or more specifically, a construction site at the base of Mt. Yatsugatake there. Blasting for a tunnel through the mountain had been blocked by a mysterious object, which proved to be a trailer for Ginrai's Transtector, which burst from the tunnel during another battle with
Not long thereafter, in a battle with King Poseidon, Ginrai discovered that his cab and trailer were capable of performing a "Double On", merging together to create "Super Ginrai". Additionally, after appearing on television in hopes of locating the remaining three Godmasters, to whom he would give the Master-Braces, Ginrai successfully located the Braces' destined owners, Lightfoot, Ranger and Road King and recruited them to the Autobot side. During this time, Ginrai was also challenged to a duel by the wandering Six Changer, Sixknight, who had been manipulated into doing so by the Decepticons. Sixknight lost the fight and was shocked to discover that he had been bested by a human being, but was affected so deeply by Ginrai's explanation for how this could be so that he wound up siding with the Autobots. After this string of successes the Autobot leader Metalhawk stepped down as commander and requested that Ginrai take his place. After some deliberation and much hassling from the other Autobot Pretenders, who wouldn't let him say no, Ginrai accepted.
When Grand Maximus arrived on Earth to inform Ginrai's Autobots of the impending arrival of the Decepticon super-weapon, BlackZarak, he provided them with the schematics necessary to create the drone Godbomber. Metalhawk and the Pretenders raced to finish the construction of Godbomber, but as the so-called "Bomber Project" neared completion, Ginrai was lured into the desert by a disguised Buster and Hydra (under the auspices of performing some stunt driving for a movie) and was attacked and beaten within an inch of his life by the Decepticon Ambassador of Destruction, 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 to form "God Ginrai". In his new form, Ginrai confronted Overlord and BlackZarak on the moon, where he fully embraced his role as protector of Earth and defeated the Decepticons with the aid of Grand Maximus.
Upon returning to Earth, Ginrai was lured into a trap in the Middle East by Overlord, during which Godbomber revealed a hidden power by transforming into a robot mode.Godbomber's robot mode also helped save the day when Ginrai and Lightfoot were entombed in a cave when attempting to stop the eruption of an underwater volcano, leading the Decepticons to target him for destruction. Luring Ginrai to the heartland of America, the villains ambushed and badly wounded the Autobot leader, leaving him unable to use his Chōkon Power to animate Godbomber. Luckily, the day was saved by when the Headmaster Juniors discovered they were able to take control of Godbomber together.
When it seemed as though the Autobots had finally been joined by the final Godmaster, a young man named Clouder, Ginrai welcomed him into their ranks with open arms. Metalhawk, however, proved to be less trusting, and soon exposed Clouder as a Decepticon spy. Unfortunately, this was not enough to stop the plan the Decepticons had put in motion; while Ginrai and the Godmasters were occupied battling Buster and Hydra in a nearby city, the Autobot base was crippled by Clouder's sabotage and attacked by the rest of the Decepticons en masse. Ginrai was unable to prevent the destruction of the base, but was approached by Clouder in the aftermath. Clouder had been left to die in the base by the other Decepticons, and now wanted to work with the Autobots, which Ginrai permitted.
After failing to contact Grand Maximus, Ginrai headed out into space to search for him and found him trapped inside a powerful black hole. Ginrai too fell victim to the singularity's pull, but he and Grand Maximus were able to combine their energies to destroy it from within and escape. The black hole had, in fact, been created by BlackZarak, who had been able to travel to Earth and join the Decepticons there during Ginrai's imprisonment. With BlackZarak now bolstering their forces, the Decepticons' campaign grew ever more aggressive, and Ginrai only just managed to save the planet from the villains' unholy Death-Para Machine.
When Shūta was captured by the Decepticons, Ginrai was forced to come to the villains' base alone and unarmed in exchange for his safety. Things looked bad for the heroes until the self-doubting Decepticon Cancer finally switched sides and saved the day. With Cancer's aid, Ginrai was able to lead the Autobots in an all-out attack on the Decepticon base, during which Devil Z fused with BlackZarak, creating an even more powerful composite foe.
After conclusive final battles with Hydra and Busterand Overlord , Ginrai confronted the fused Devil Z/BlackZarak entity atop the Matterhorn. As their battle raged down the mountain, Ginrai succeeded in decapitating the villain, but BlackZarak simply assumed a new, serpentine alternate mode and kept on fighting. The Headmaster Juniors boarded Ginrai's chest cockpit and joined there energies with him, allowing him to destroy BlackZarak's body with his God Fire Guts attack, exposing Devil Z. As the alien raged impotently, Ginrai and the Juniors united every last drop of their Chōkon Powe into the almighty Final Fire Guts attack, which destroyed Devil Z once and for all.
With Devil Z's death, the bond he had forged between Transtector and human ceased to exist, and Ginrai and the other humans were separated from their Transtectors. The Transtectors, however, had been evolved through their partnership with the humans and continued to exist as true Transformers. Having been imprinted with his human partner's personality, Ginrai's Transtector departed for space to pursue the surviving Decepticons and rejoin the greater war.
The Ginrai Transtector—now having taken its human partner's name as its own, becoming known as Ginrai itself—joined with the Autobot forces in space, where he became good friends with Star Saber and his adopted human son, Jean. Before long, Star Saber was appointed Supreme Commander of the Autobots, while Ginrai became commander of the Defense Force for Space Sector 2. Operating out of a base in the G Nebula, Ginrai's time was occupied battling the Decepticon forces under Overlord's control, so much so that Star Saber occasionally had to respond to emergencies in Sector Two, such as a Breastforce attack on planet Micro.
Feeling guilty over taking up Star Saber's time in such a manner, Ginrai was quick to come to his aid when Star Saber was lured into a trap on Earth by Decepticon Emperor of Destruction Deathsaurus. Confronting Deathsaurus in battle, Ginrai was struck by a blast from the villain's Living-Metal-Destroying Cannon and was fatally damaged. Despite the best medical efforts of Perceptor, Wheeljack, and Minerva, Ginrai's body was left useless and immobile. Due to a slip by Perceptor, however, he learned of the existence of a reconstruction process conceived by Star Saber that would allow him to become a power-up for the Autobot leader. Star Saber refused to allow him to submit to the process, revolted at the notion of using his close friend's body in such a way, but Ginrai insisted. Perceptor and Wheeljack brought his life functions to an end, then restored him to Star Saber's specifications as Victory Leo.
When Ginrai, the first Autobot Godmaster, was discovered in America by Diver, it was immediately arranged for him to travel to Japan to meet with the rest of the Autobots. As Metalhawk and the Headmaster Juniors awaited his arrival at Harumi Wharf, however, they were attacked by Hydra & Buster. The Autobots were unable to match the Decepticons' power, but salvation soon came in the form of a red tractor trailer: Ginrai had arrived, and saw the villains off with a blast of Chōkon Power. In the aftermath of the battle, Metalhawk commented on Ginrai's similarity to Optimus Prime and wondered if he could be his reincarnation. Ginrai dismissed the notion, explaining that he had chosen to do this not because he was fated to, but specifically because he had only one life, which he wanted to use in service of the forces of good.
As leader of the Autobots, Ginrai led the heroes in investigating a mysterious Decepticon plan, only for the team to come under attack from what appeared to be a large army of legendary Decepticons, led by Galvatron. Attacked by King Poseidon, Ginrai was severely outmatched until the other Autobot Godmasters, Lightfoot, Ranger and Road King arrived with a trailer for his Transtector. Combining with the trailer, Ginrai became Super Ginrai and defeated King Poseidon, revealing that the legendary Decepticons were nothing more than holograms.
After traveling to planet Athenia and being appointed the new Supreme Commander of the Autobots by Fortress, Ginrai received a power-up in the form of a transforming drone named Godbomber. When the Decepticon Ambassador of Destruction Overlord then attacked Tokyo, the newly-formed "God Ginrai" attacked him and lured him into space, where the powerful Decepticon warrior BlackZarak was in process of battling other Autobots there. Ginrai was able to turn the two villains' powers against themselves, and they badly wounded each other and fled.
After a mission to rescue Shūta and Cab from the Decepticons with the help of Grand Maximus , a mission to Mount Everest saw Ginrai was struck down by the newest Deception Godmaster, Doubleclouder. Left temporarily blind by the Decpticons' new A.O. Laser, Ginrai was helpless, but luckily for him, an insulting remark from Cancer prompted the fickle Doubleclouder to switch sides to the Autobots and help him defeat the villains' plans.
After several further battles, events culminated in Devil Z taking over BlackZarak's body and turning against the other Decepticons, attempting to drain Overlord and Ginrai's Jinchōkon Power to transform himself into the ultimate lifeform. Saved by the Autobot Pretenders, Ginrai and Overlord led their respective factions in combining their energies into the "Perfect Transformer Attack" and destroying Devil Z and BlackZarak for good. With Devil Z's death, the bond he had forged between Transtector and human ceased to exist, and Ginrai and the other humans were separated from their Transtectors. The Transtectors, however, had been evolved through their partnership with the humans and continued to exist as true super-robot life forms. Having been imprinted with his human partner's personality, Ginrai's Transtector informed Overlord that they would finish their fight out in space, and the Transformers departed the planet, leaving Ginrai and the other Autobot humans to return to their lives.
- Super Ginrai (1988)
- Japanese ID number: C-307
- Accessories: Godmaster Transtector, 2 Superconductor Rifles, 2 Particle Beam Cannons, Super Ginrai head
- A remolded version of the American Powermaster Optimus Prime figure, Ginrai is a red, blue and grey tractor trailer, only able to transform into robot mode when the small Ginrai human figure is put into engine mode and snapped into place in the truck's grill, unlocking the clasp that holds the legs in place. When Ginrai is in robot mode, the trailer can become a battle station. Either robot or station can be armed with any of the toy's weapons, including 2 of the following: black "Superconductor Rifles", and grey double-barrelled "Particle Beam Cannons," (referred to as "Cannon Craft" in "The Battle Begins! The United Troops of Earth and Space"), which can be piloted by any small Godmaster figures. Cab and trailer can be merged into "Super Ginrai", whose head is a separate piece, and can go on to combine with the separately sold Godbomber to become God Ginrai.
- Differences between Ginrai and Powermaster Optimus Prime include retractable super-robot fists, a die-cast metal cab with translucent blue plastic windows, shortened smokestacks, a more metallic grey plastic, chrome on the Godmaster Ginrai engine, and silver paint rather than stickers for the small robot's upper legs.
- God Ginrai (1988, 2002)
- Japanese ID number: C-310
- Accessories: Godmaster Transtector, 2 Superconductor Rifles, 2 Particle Beam Cannons, Super Ginrai head, God Cannon, Tachyon Missile
- Super Ginrai was also sold in a gift set with GodBomber, who can interact with Ginrai in several ways. GodBomber can hook up either directly to Ginrai's cab or to the back of Ginrai's own trailer and be towed along behind him as a trailer mode, while any of Ginrai's weapons can plug into the holes in GodBomber's wings and chassis. Most prominently, of course, GodBomber diseassembles into various component parts, known as the "God Armor", that combine with Super Ginrai to form God Ginrai:
- GodBomber's legs become boots known as "God Kick", to which Ginrai's Particle Beam Cannons, which disengage from Super Ginrai's arms for transformation into God Ginrai, equip;
- the drone's vehicle mode front end forms an unnamed breast that can be refered to as the "God Breast", while its wings and chest reassemble into the back-mounted "God Wings", to the top of which GodBomber's "God Cannon" sets;
- Finally, the drone's arms equip over the top of Ginrai's own as the "God Punch"; it should also be noted that an optional step is that Super Ginrai's fists retract prior, and this does not hinder the transformation of the arms.
The toy also features a secondary, (unnamed) lesser combination which involves attaching the God Wing's central pack to Super Ginrai's back, and plugging Godbomber's wings into his arms or to the God Wing core; this form is dubbed "Wing Ginrai".
- The God Ginrai gift set was reissued in Japan in 2002 with the notable modification of blue eyes for the small Ginrai robot and a slightly different shade of red paint on the cab. However, it was notoriously over-produced at the time, and online retailers were still selling it even years later, at greatly reduced prices.
- Fire Guts (e-Hobby exclusive, 2002)
- Japanese ID number: C-310E
- Released to coincide with the 2002 reissue of the God Ginrai giftset, this redeco casts Ginrai, in all his forms, and GodBomber, in reds and oranges, representing the Autobot Godmaster leader using his "God Fire Guts" attack from the animated series. Fire Guts God Ginrai featured his own unique packaging, with recolored package art, and was limited to 1600 pieces.
Sold in 1988, Ginrai's Transform Jr release is sold in two seperarate stages:
- Japanese ID number: TF Super Ginrai 1
- Accessories: Blue gun, robot head, die-cast Super Ginrai figurine
- Like the other figures in the Transform Jr line, this version of the basic Ginrai cab robot is a simplified version of its larger counterpart. And when we say simplified, we mean simplified—the figure features no Godmaster engine gimmick, and its head is simply pulled off and set aside for transformation. The figure comes packaged with a small die-cast metal figurine of Super Ginrai.
- Command Base (司令基地 Shirei Kichi)
- Japanese ID number: TF Super Ginrai 2
- Accessories: 2 red guns, Trailer post, 2 wheel pieces, ramp, Super Ginrai head
- Command Base (司令基地 Shirei Kichi)
- This is Ginrai's trailer, which can transform to base mode, hitch up to the separately sold cab robot and combine with it to form Super Ginrai. The toy includes a cardboard mock-up of Ginrai in torso mode to complete the super robot's look in-package.
- God Ginrai (1988)
- Accessories: Blue gun, small robot head, die-cast Super Ginrai figurine, 2 red guns, trailer post, 2 wheel pieces, ramp, Super Ginrai head, "God Breast" chestpiece, 2 "God Punch" arms
- This giftset includes both the Jr "Ginrai" and "Shirei Kichi" figures and all the accessories which came with them plus the attachments necessary to transform Super Ginrai into God Ginrai. Due to the nature of his construction, though, God Ginrai's fist-holes are blocked off, leaving him unable to hold the weapons which came with his components. Furthermore, as his attachments consist only of two arms and a chestpiece (no boots, no backpack), they cannot combine into Godbomber. The set also includes some sort of plastic "shield" with a cardboard insert depicting the Autobot insignia, which appears to be a pocket or belt clip, or something. We really don't know.
- Godmaster-Braces—Ginrai (1998)
- Ginrai's Master-Braces came alive with this role-play set, including two Godmaster-chromed bracelets with handcuff-style hinges, and a small clip-on "communicator" pin.
Super Collection Figure
- God Ginrai (2000)
- This PVC God Ginrai was available in the 1st act of Takara's "Super Collection Figure" series, in both full-color and clear plastic versions. In 2002, it was released as "Powermaster Optimus Prime in Apex Armor" in the 1st wave of Hasbro's Heroes of Cybertron line.
- Super Ginrai (2000)
- The second "Super Collection Figure" of Ginrai was available in the 2nd act of the series series, in both full-color and clear plastic versions. This release downgrades Ginrai to his Super Ginrai form.
- Fire Guts (2001)
- The original God Ginrai PVC was re-released in solid metallic golden four the 4th act of the "Super Collection Figure" series, available only as a rare chase figure. The "Fire Guts" concept was apparently the inspiration for the "Powermaster Optimus Prime Spark Attack" figure that was released in the 2nd wave of the Heroes of Cybertron line, although that figure was cast entirely in translucent yellow-orange plastic, rather than solid golden.
- Ginrai (2001)
- The fourth and final Ginrai PVC rendered the character in his basic robot form. The PVC, which was released in the 5th, Masterforce-centric act of the series, was available in both full-color and metallic silver.
- The human Ginrai's appearance is designed after screen actor Yūjirō Ishihara.
- According to his tech specs, there is a generator named Ultra Matrix, which contains far more energy than the Sun, mounted within Ginrai's Transtector. No actual fiction ever featured this device, though it was mentioned in magazines such as Comic Bom Bom.
- According to the episode "The Earth Family of Good and Evil", Ginrai is good at surfing and skateboarding.
- The relationship between Ginrai and Optimus Prime is a bit...sketchy, to say the least. Precisely why Ginrai's Transtector looks so much like Optimus Prime is not detailed in the series itself, with the explanation only being delivered in the featurette added to the video release of "You Too Use the Masterforce to Transform". Here, it is stated that the Transtector was created for Optimus Prime, but stolen by Devil Z...only for this to be seemingly contradicted seconds later, when it is said that the Transtector's trailer was to be used by a hero from planet Master. One might presume that this just means the trailer alone wasn't intended for use by Prime, or perhaps that the plan was not to use the Transtector resurrect Prime, but to create a new Optimus Prime. It's all terribly odd. Whatever the original ill-defined intention may have been, years later, the Kiss Players radio drama clarified things by outright stating Transtector was created as part of a plan to resurrect Prime after his most recent death.
- The reissue God Ginrai giftset was the basis for the Commemorative Series "Powermaster Optimus Prime with Apex Armor" release, which was notable for referring to the Powermaster figure as "Ginrai," rather than by the traditional name of Prime's Powermaster partner, Hi-Q. Dreamwave Productions' "More Than Meets the Eye" profile series sidestepped any mind-bending continuity conundrums by just presenting Ginrai as a different name for Hi-Q.
- When Hasbro wanted to create an Alternators Dodge Ram toy, Takara reportedly demanded that it be made into Optimus Prime to help the figure sell, only for the Binaltech release of the toy to wind up being solicited not as Prime, but as Ginrai. Ultimately, Binaltech Ginrai was cancelled, and the figure was later released as Prime in the Alternators and Kiss Players lines, but not before Hirofumi Ichikawa produced character and story information to go along with it. This storyline, made available in 2007's unofficial publication, The Transformers Binaltech Stories: Profiles and Technical Specifications, would have seen Ginrai travel back in time from the far future and possess a Binaltech body intended for Roller in order to repair the damage caused to the timeline by Operation: Distant Thunder, thereby preserving his own future. Unlike the unreleased story for his fellow Binaltech cancellation victim, Blackarachina, which can be fit into the published Binaltech continuity, Ginrai's intended story was modified into Black Convoy's fiction and therefore is not compatible with the official Binaltech continuity...although it does provide a possible identity for the spark sent by the mysterious "Protector" which fulfills the same role in Black Convoy's story.