Episode I Collection
Item No.: Asst. 84125 No. 84167
Includes: Gong, Chuba Projectile, 2-Headed Announcer Figure
Action Feature: "Real-Feel" Skin
Availability: Summer 1999
Appearances: Primarily Star Wars: Episode I
Bio: The annual Boonta Eve podrace at Mos Espa is perhaps the most exciting, action packed sporting event in the galaxy. Completing a time-honored race ritual, crime lord Jabba the Hutt bites the head off a chuba and spits it at the traditional gong. The podracers are off! While a two-headed announcer narrates the play-by-play, a young Podracer named Anakin Skywalker races towards his destiny. (Taken from the figure's box.)
Image: Oh, shelves. Will you ever learn?
Commentary: While not sized or sold as an action figure, Jabba the Hutt deserves a little more than to be viewed as a dumb beast, and as such, we're going to look at his 1999 redesign. This figure drew no small amount of ridicule, mostly for its ridiculously shaped mouth that resembles that of a kind of doll that, coincidentally, is also geared toward adults. To compound the amusement factor, the toy's box boasts "real-feel" skin, something else I've been informed is also popular in products designed for grown-ups. But before this turns into a smut discussion...
Jabba's sculpting is much better than his 1997 forerunner, not as great as his 1983 ancestor, and about a few rungs below the 2004 "Ultra" version. This one has a jointed neck and shoulders as well as a Chuba with a "bite-off" head that's able to be shot out of his mouth when you pound his back. (...) Also, his mouth has an extra hole that can be filled with water and used as a squirt gun of sorts. Truth be told, this figure's real value is as a novelty, and this is one of those toys you keep around to go on about, at length, to cynical non-collector friends to invite giggles at one of the wackier items you can buy. While the gong-spitting action is awesome (in concept) and the sculpt was great for the time, his coloring is a little bland and sadly he's not the Return of the Jedi version-- and that's how most of us came to know and love Mr. The Hutt. It includes a companion announcer figure based largely on concept art which, in and of itself, is a worthwhile curiosity. We'll look at him separately later, but for the time being this toy is one of two Jabba toys based on his Episode I appearance and we daresay it's the lesser of them. Still, as a toy, this is a fun little item. As it can be had for retail (or less) on the secondary market, Jabba fans owe it to themselves to pick it up. As to everyone else, if you have the "Ultra" Jabba and want another one, make this your next purchase.
Collector's Notes: Released once, and late, this was a very hard-to-find item in its day. Along with the rare-as-all-get-out Eopie, Jabba was largely hunted by collectors because of his rarity, not because of his authenticity or his overall awesomeness as a collectible. It's a fine toy from a day when Hasbro was still making toys over collectibles, and as such, it's a figure worth having. Fans on a budget may wish to hold on to their money, though, as it doesn't exactly go in any diorama themes nor does it, for lack of a better expression, "sing."
Also, the "chuba" is also referred to as a "gorg," as in "Gorgmonger" Gragra.
Day 49: June 24, 2006