Kenzan (Transformers Go)

Transformers Go Kenzan No evil shall escape my sight.

Autobot faction symbol and Swordbot team symbol Name: Kenzan
Partner name: Zan
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Samurai Team Captain
Sub-group: Swordbot, Samurai Team
Timeline: Robots in Disguise

Toyline: Transformers Go


Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode
The youthful Kenzan is the leader of the Swordbot team who have come to Earth to counter the threat of the Predacon Oni. Kenzan takes his mission almost as seriously as his training regime - committing to both with 100% of his strength and skill. Bravery and courage are Kenzan's hallmarks, and he has a take-charge attitude. Kenzan believes it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak and the helpless, and will regularly put himself at risk to protect others. This incredible drive to protect others is born out of an incident in Kenzan's past - when he was still a young and inexperienced 'bot, Kenzan was only able to stand by, helpless, as one of the Predacon Oni murdered his master. On that day, Kenzan resolved to never again be helpless - and to ensure that others do not endure the same sorrow and suffering that he had to face. Kenzan's preferred fighting style - which sees the Swordbot wield two swords - is high on aggression but risks leaving himself open to counterattacks, which reflects his disregard for his own personal safety and hints at a more aggressive side to Kenzan's personality - but if Kenzan does have an aggressive side, he is very good at keeping it under control and not letting it lead him. Kenzan has a great deal of respect for all of those who train in the ways of the sword and who follow a code of honour - even his enemies. The one exception to this are the Oni, who Kenzan xenophobically believes are incapable of acting with any sort of honour. Kenzan has made it his personal mission to safeguard the people of the Earth and keep the O-Parts out of Oni hands.


Kenzan wields a pair of electrosonic swords, which were used by the warrior who defeated the lord of the Oni, Dragotron, millennia ago and have been passed down through generations of Swordbot captains. The blades vibrate at a frequency that weakens molecular bonds, improving their cutting power fivefold. Additionally the blades project an electrical field which can disable an opponent. Kenzan has learned how to direct this field as a blast over short distances, often to immobilise a foe before moving in to deliver a finishing blow. The vibrational frequency and polarity of the energy field are particularly effective against the Oni and their Jaki servants.

In addition to his swords, Kenzan carries an advanced prototype railgun that uses electromagnetic fields to launch a projectile with a muzzle velocity of 5 km/s. The railgun contains gravimetric dampeners to reduce its recoil, which Kenzan has resourcefully adapted to give him limited flight when attaching the weapon to his back.

In police cruiser mode, Kenzan can reach speeds of up to 200 mph. Advanced radar systems incorporated into his lightbar enables Kenzan to detect nearby obstacles and take evasive action as required to avoid collisions.

Kenzan can merge with fellow Swordbots Jinbu and Ganoh in one of three different formations to form a super-warrior. The trio's default combined form sees Kenzan forming the upper body, a formation known as GoKenzan. As GoKenzan, Kenzan has access to the combined strength of his team. GoKenzan is an all-around warrior, balancing strength and speed, and fighting with giant versions of Kenzan's twin swords. These enhanced versions of Kenzan's swords possess the same properties as the ones wielded by Kenzan, and are particularly effective against the gigantic Jaki beasts sent forth by the Oni.


Kenzan has relatively limited ranged attack capabilities, and doesn't make full use of what ranged combat abilities he does possess, due to his focus on "honourable close combat". His swordfighting style has some weak spots which a particularly skilled opponent could exploit.

Kenzan has an extreme hatred of the Predacon Oni, born out of witnessing his sensei - and the former Swordbot commander - slain before his eyes. This hatred can sometimes cloud his otherwise sensible judgment.

Police cruiser mode:

Transformers Go Kenzan police cruiser mode

GoKenzan merged form:

Transformers Go Kenzan Combined Mode

Additional images of Kenzan:

Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode with swords posed 1 Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode with swords posed 2 Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode with swords posed 3
Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode sword storage Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode with Arms Micron Zan Transformers Go Kenzan robot mode with Arms Micron Zan and railgun

More information on Kenzan at TFW2005

Author notes:

Kenzan "the killing sword" aka "Deathblow Kenzan" is a character without much personality so I took a few liberties here. That dangerous sounding nickname and the hints of anger buried deep down are story seeds leading up to the black redeco of Kenzan, who I view as a version of Kenzan corrupted by Oni brainwashing.

As I wrote Kenzan I was drawing pretty heavily on two main inspirations: Japanese super robot shows, particularly the Brave series, which I feel Transformers Go! shares some stylistic points with, and Kung-Fu movies, particularly in respect of the backstory concerning avenging the master who was slain by a bad guy (or in this case, a demon). The swords being "magical demon-killing swords passed from generation unto generation" is likewise inspired by the tropes of that kind of story. 

There's a bit to say about those swords, actually. I've not mentioned it in the bio, but in my mind, the original owner of those swords was the mighty Go Prime, who would have also had some connection with the ancient Primes. An earlier draft suggested that the swords were forged by Solus Prime, so they'd be naturally some pretty powerful weapons. I also imagine that these swords have degraded over time - imagine the scene when Kenzan moves to strike a revived Dragotron with his swords, only to find them ineffective (which would kick off a storyline to get the swords restored to their original power).

Lastly, a note on the timeline I've put Kenzan in. As I've mentioned, Transformers Go! is a series that has some strong super robot inspiration behind it, which I've always felt was a bit at odds with Transformers Prime (not to mention the series doesn't really fit the timeline of that show, unless you set it beyond the finale of the sequel, Robots in Disguise, which is plausible). On that basis I initially started out writing Kenzan - and Transformers Go! as a whole - as its own separate universe. I quickly realised that the show would work within the timeline of the 2001 Robots in Disguise series. Transformers Go! deals with a series of disks left on Earth which can unseal the monstrous Dragotron, which is thematically similar to Robots in Disguise's O-Parts and Fortress Maximus. Plus, both Transformers Go! and Robots in Disguise use Predacons, rather than Decepticons, as the main villain faction. With all that in mind, I was only too happy to move Transformers Go! into the Robots in Disguise (2001) timeline.

And yes - that does mean I have opened the door to using some other cool story beats. Such as, for example, a possible alliance between Dragotron and Galvatron, the use of "Hunter Nemesis Prime" as an upgraded Scourge... it's a verdant field full of story ideas.

Kenzan's toy is... interesting. It suffers from trying to do too much. As well as being able to transform from police car to robot, he has three different combined formations based on whether you're forming GoKenzan, GoJinbu or GoGanoh. As a result, you've got a robot who is mostly legs, since he needs long legs for combined mode when he's a pair of legs, and those legs can become suitably bulky arms for combined upper body mode. It's a lot of fun to transform and combine, but the design is quite awkward. I had a bit of trouble getting this one posed properly because while he's full of ratcheting joints and other goodness, very little of it actually makes for natural, organic looking poses. The combined mode, while impressive, lacks substantial poseability - while he can be posed, getting the thing to balance properly and also not looking awkward is a greater challenge. The lack of head articulation in combined form doesn't help, either.

As far as toys go, Kenzan is one I'd recommend if you like transforming, combining robots with a unique visual style, and aren't too worried about the individual robots looking amazing as well.