Samurai Jack

Today I have another terrific guest review.  I've been really happy with the quality and the variety of the guest reviews - keep them coming!

This time we have the four new Samurai Jack figures from the Cartoon Network.  The review was written (and photos taken) by Derek Murrell.  Take it away, Derek!

This is my first review for Michael, I hope you enjoy it and maybe there will be more from me in the future.

Now, on to Samurai Jack, the series (which debuted on Cartoon Network on August 10th) is, in my opinion, the best cartoon on television. Genndy Tartakovsky of Dexter's Laboratory
fame, has created an action masterpiece and I highly suggest if you haven't seen it to check it out on Mondays at 8:00. Fans of the show are in for a treat with this first series (of many more, hopefully) of figures which includes: Spinning Blade Jack, Two-Hand Slice Jack, Side Slash Jack, Space Battle Jack, and Aku (which was sold out when I ordered).

They are only available at and according to the banner at the top of the page will resume shipping on September 20th. The 8 inch figures are 7.99 each and the 12 inch figure is only 14.99.

Packaging - **1/2
The packaging is pretty good, with a colorful card and sturdy bubble. At the bottom is a insert with the name and list of accessories on the front and instructions for the figure on the bottom. The figure and accessories are very well displayed. My figures all have a sticker with what number out of 1,000 it is, but there have been other people say that theirs did not have a sticker (Maybe it's a hoax?). The only drawbacks are that the color of the card is blue instead of red, which is color of the "eyes" logo on the show and website ( ), and the backs of the cards are all the same, but these are minor complaints.

Articulation - **1/2
First off, I will tell you the so called "action features" are unbelievably lame. They don't work very well, and what does work sucks, badly. Do not buy these for kids that are looking for cool action features, as they will be disappointed. Anyway, the articulation points range from 7-9 making hellacool poses kind of hard, but the main pose you can put them in is bitchin'. The Space Battle has the most articulation and stands up the best. These have been lambasted for not standing up well, and I thought the same thing at first, but with a little practice they stand up fairly well. At first glance they appear to only have one pose (and as I said achieving more is kind of hard, though not impossible). Take the Two-Hand slice for example, his hands are over head, but if you move them down behind his back then slowly around the waist you get a whole new pose that's pretty cool. Overall not the best articulation but definitely not the worst.

Sculpting - ***1/2
This one of the areas where these figures really shine. They are exactly like the source material, all four have different head sculpts which are dead on. The tall face, square fingers, and square feet with sandals are all perfect. If you were to look under his robe you would see a pair of samurai undies exactly as they were on the show. Details like that make great sculpting. Not much else to say about them because three out of four are mostly covered with cloth, but what you do see is great. The Space Battle, which is all plastic, is the best. The big helmet, feet, and body are exactly like what was on the show. It's nice to see great sculpting like this, because these figures had a possibility of being crap (they are Cartoon Network's first in-house piece). (A quick note about the pony-tails, they are extremely fragile, my Side Slash was broke off before it was ever packaged, so be careful with them).

Paint - ***
The paint on the faces is pretty good but not without problems. The hair is easily scraped off in the front (I have already touched them up once). Plus, my Space Battle has black paint smudged on the face, which is kinda ugly. The good is that the skin color is very accurate to the source material and looks great. The Spinning Blade figure has nice green "bug guts" splattered on his chest and face, but the only problem is that it is supposed to be black oil not green guts. Overall a pretty nice job.

Clothing - ***1/2
Most figures smaller than 12 inches that have real clothing are lame, but these are an exception. The robes are very well made and are, like most everything else on these figures, exactly like the source material. Made of thick cloth, these will hold up really well. There is a cloth belt that goes around the robes and velcro at the back to hold it in place. The best bit of clothing is on the Spinning Blade Jack, which has a half torn robe that looks great. I am very pleasantly surprised at how good the clothing is compared to other smaller figures with cloth ( Star Wars ).

Accessories - ***
The Accessories are as follows: Two-Hand Slice: sword and sheath, dagger and sheath, and a battle axe. Spinning Blade: sword and sheath, naginata, chigriki, and Battle Banner. Side Slash: sword and sheath, helmet, and armor. Space Battle: sword and sheath, removable helmet, and rocket. It may sound like a lot of swords and sheaths, but it's his trademark and each figure needs one. All of the accessories are exactly to scale and fit snugly in the hands. The Long stick with a blade on the end (naginata maybe?) is very flimsy because it comes apart in the middle. Other than that they are very good. The armor on the Side Slash (although, is the wrong color) is made of rubber and conforms to to the body very well. Some of these accessories have not been on the show yet, but probably will in the future. (About the removable helmet, at first I didn't know it came off but eventually I figured out that by twisting it to the left it came off pretty easily.)

Value - ***
I think 7.99 is a fair price for these. Considering what they come with and comparing them to today's sky-rocketing figure prices, there a pretty good buy for the money.

Overall - ***
If you are going to get these for a kid I wouldn't bother, they have lame action features and don't have very much play value. But, if your a collector, like the show, and want some nice figures to stand up on you're shelf these are great. This is a great start for Cartoon Network and hopefully a sign of things to come ( A Johnny Bravo perhaps? I sure hope so! ) .

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Figure from the collection of Derek Murrell

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