Metroid Action Figure
Item No.: No. 41386 Manufacturer:Jakks Pacific Includes:Morph ball mode Action Feature:n/a Retail:$9.97 Availability: ca. January 2023 Other: Came out along a Mario, Zelda, Link, and Mario movie stuff
At first I thought that this Samus Aran figure was just a repaint. It was not! Despite having a slightly smaller, perfectly good figure they went ahead and sculpted a new one for 2023. She's taller standing about 5-inches high with brighter colors, a little less gloss, but more articulation. She's also pretty cheap in the context of the modern action figure market. Hasbro's 4-inch figures have 5-9 points of articulation for $10-$12, and this Jakks figure has 22 points of articulation and it's under $10. Also, you can easily find it. I'm sure Jakks may be pumping out a ton of this figure and that helps keep the price down, but you can't help but wonder how a licensed figure is priced pretty competitively in the marketplace today. Even if you have a Samus Aran toy and a full shelf of Metroid debris, it's new. It's different. I had to have it.
The figure comes complete with a "Morph Ball" mode figure/accessory, completing what looks to me like a Metroid Prime suit in Super Metroid colors. Maybe some day we'll get another figure specific to the retro versions of the suit, but probably not given the adherence to style guides in our increasingly conformist era of toy production. Although I guess that contradicts what this is, given the traditionally metallic and mostly gold figure has been released in incredibly bright yellow, red, and orange colors.
Most toys made for the American "fan" market are rarely amazing. They're good - or good for the price, and this figure is absolutely good for the price. Sure, you can get a Figma import for over $100, but this is potentially at a Walmart, near you, right now. (Walmart.com's tracker doesn't seem to work right now.) Samus has double-jointed knees and elbows, plus extra articulation at the shoulder to hinge her arms forward a bit. I had no problems getting her to stand, and the hip joints have a decent range of motion. She can sit if you like. She doesn't have thigh swivels, but this figure is priced comparably to some of the best the 1990s had to offer. She may not have as much stuff as an old Star Trek figure from Playmates, but she can move in a lot more places.
Deco is largely good for a cartoon-style Prime suit. You can see dark gray and green panel lines, plus some energy gradients in her blaster arm and even one on the visor. It would probably look better with metallic paint, but it's a good-looking workaround that seems decent in lower light situations. The yellow-to-red on the blaster arm makes it seem like this figure is powered-on, and the visor goes from green to white to green again. I guess it's nothing too special, but I don't see a lot of this kind of thing on run-of-the-mill toy figures. Everything else is painted pretty competently, although the yellow on her thighs seems like it could scrape off with moderate play. Be careful.
The morph ball mode has a green equator and some red panel lines. Other Jakks (and Figma) morph ball mode figures had more colors and generally looked better, but eh, whatever. Honestly they could have left this out and I would not have missed it - I'd much rather have a Zoomer or Skree or some other mini-figure creature to play with.
I've got more expensive Samus figures, but I'd recommend this one to anyone reading this. Sometimes getting a good figure for the price is better than getting the best figure (and money is no object.) As a collector, the amount of time we actually spend appreciating a figure can be short. For some reason, this one has hung out on my desk and couch for months before I got around to writing this review, and I pick her up and still have fun futzing with it. I'd love to see a 5-jointed Kenner-style Samus some day, or perhaps a Hasbro-style one just to have as a basis of comparison. I have no doubt either would be cool, but Jakks Pacific did an excellent job delivering a good figure within the budget and not catering to the higher-end collector demands. The figure seems to sell through, restock, and repeat, so I guess they must be doing something right. If you don't have a Samus toy, I can't imagine you will see a better one for the money for years to come.
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