Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 388: Anakin Skywalker

Saga Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84851 No. 84605
Number: 0222
Includes: Two lightsabers, removable arm
Action Feature: Arm is removable for battle-damage, turn dial on back for dueling action, lightsaber is Force-attracted to magnet in right hand
Retail: $4.99
Availability: April 2002
Appearances: Attack of the Clones

Bio: During the epic battle on Geonosis, Anakin Skywalker duels with the evil Darth Tyranus within a secret hangar. Anakin demonstrates his tremendous power by wielding both his and Obi-Wan's lightsabers to battle the skilled Sith Lord, who fights in the classic "old style" of ages past. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves. Standing on top of an Episode I holographic communicator.

Commentary: I have little doubt that this figure helped to make many of the now forgotten "haha N-Sync Jedi" jokes of 2002. Anakin Skywalker as a character is a topic I won't get in to here, but as a figure, he probably could have been painted just a little bit better. The sculpt here is excellent, it's just that in this size, exaggerating the hair or skin color is often necessary to make a more "realistic" looking product. Here, it needs a little work. The figure itself is pretty good, though, with 10 points of articulation, a few action features, and more weapons than you might be able to expect. Both lightsabers have removable blades, but the green one has a metal handle which can fly up into a magnetic hand. While this magnetic feature is quite cool, the one in the arm of the first release is not. The magnet in the arm is so weak that if you have the figure in your hand and gently place it on a flat surface, the arm will likely fly right off. Later releases changed this (see below) because it's a pretty big design flaw.

Speaking of design flaws, this was the first regular Anakin figure from the movie, and he couldn't sit down-- while this may not seem like a huge deal, it was released at the same time as Anakin Skywalker's Speeder vehicle, which didn't have a figure that could sit in it particularly well until 2005. Not that this is particularly relevant to the figure, I'm just required by law to get a dig in when Hasbro/Kenner releases a vehicle where the figure(s) designed for it aren't particularly compatible. The figure itself has a decent sculpt, stands fairly well, and sports a fun "dueling" action figure that doesn't get in the way of the figure's look or play ability. As such, if you can get this one, it's a pretty decent addition to your collection. The "perfect" Episode II Anakin figure does not yet exist, but this is probably one of the two best you can buy today.

Collector's Notes: This figure comes in two flavors. The initial release had a magnet holding the peg in the arm in place, while later releases got rid of the magnet and went for a straight peg. The magnet doesn't hold very well, and the figure's arm can drop off easily. The peg version is fairly good at staying put. The packaging was changed slightly for the peg release, and this came much later in the toy's run-- so if you bought it at "Midnight Madness 2002" then you got the magnet one. I can't say enough nice things about the pegged version-- get that one if you have a choice. It's also worth nitpicking that this figure, like many, has lightsabers that are not true to the scene in the movie from which this figure was designed. Oh well.

Day 388: May 29, 2007

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