Deluxe-class Autobot Jazz
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
While the self-fulfilling and arrogant Sentinel Prime was filling Ultra Magnus’s audio receptors with horror stories of potential organic contamination from this Earth, and great mistrust & doubt of his former Academy classmate Optimus Prime, Jazz was more open-minded on both subjects. Though hearing troubling tales about giant organic alien spiders from Sentinel, Jazz was quick to realize that even though Earth and humans were vastly different from Cybertronians, they had their own ways of doing things that strangely struck a chord in him. Of particular interest to him was the fact that each human is created uniquely from all others- whereas all Autobots share similar structures and forms with unique Sparks. Trained in a higher level of Cybertronian martial arts than Prowl, this makes him equally sensitive and open-minded to things that others would not immediately recognize. And no matter what he does, he always puts a personal flair into it. This also certainly applies to his fighting style: cool, fast and impressive with his twin Energon-powered nunchaku- with which he can deflect energy shots, and slice through hard metal. Otherwise, the way Jazz figures, it just ain’t worth doin’ if he can't do it in style. The voice of Autobot Jazz is performed by cartoon and television actor Phil LaMarr, as his only character in “Transformers Animated”. Jazz’s vehicle mode (back) may no longer be a Porsche 935 Turbo, but it sure invokes the feeling of his original G1 disguised form, particularly with the red and blue stripes along the rounded nose. While no longer a racing vehicle, he retains the look of a sports coupe, though with the exaggerated styling of the “...Animated” line. The passenger section is lower than you might expect, and is flanked on either side by stylized extended side-view mirrors. Believe it or not, the front and side windows are actually made of the same transparent-turquoise ABS plastic, but for whatever reason, they have been completely blackened out [by whatever method]. Rather than being placed in back, the four exhaust pipes are located prominently on either side of the two doors. And in back, the tail lights are raised on high flairs above the back wheels. One obvious paint error is found here: on the character’s vehicle mode in the series, the red and blue stripes continue all the way up and over the car, but on the toy they occupy only the hood. The reason this was done, however, is because when Jazz is transformed, he has no blue and red stripes along the front of his lower legs... which are made up from the roof of the vehicle mode. (So, if this toy is true to the character’s appearance in that regard, then does this mean his transformation is different in the series...? I’m inclined to say “No”.)
Unlike most of the figures I’ve reviewed so far from “Transformers Animated”, Jazz is one of the very few that does not have an assisting Auto-conversion feature. Not to spoil anything here-- “Spoil what exactly...?”, you ask. --but the only ‘special feature’ he has is his robot mode’s weapon. Beyond that, you do it all yourself. (Of course- sarcasm aside- there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!) One thing about his transformation I will comment on, though, is that it’s rather difficult to get the bottom panels of the lower legs to slip past the windshield when transforming him between either mode. While bending the hips helps a little bit, I’m afraid that someday that windshield might declare it’s had enough, and finally crack or warp. (Unfortunately, the panel on the lower leg cannot be trimmed down by you because he needs it to stand upright!) So you’re just gonna have to deal with it as is, and be aware that’s you need to be both careful and patient. Oh, also, you don’t have to store his hands folded inwards 90° when he’s in vehicle mode; they’re just fine stored as if they’re extended for robot mode.
Jazz’s robot mode (back)- unlike his disguised form- does not nearly as closely resemble his G1 counterpart from 1984. Perhaps the closest comparison might be that the car’s nose, wheel wells, and hood become his upper torso, and that’s about it. While the roof and back of the car still become his legs, they are reoriented to point downwards and are placed on the front of his legs rather than the back. His head, while an original design, does carry one familiar trait- the light blue visor. The visor is transparent, so that when light shines on the back of his head, the visor will glow. (Does it work? It’s a “Transformers Animated” figure- of course it works! And quite clearly too!) While he carries the now-trademarked large chin that all characters do in this series, his gray face is narrow with sharp features, similar to Prowl’s. Because Jazz always appreciated hip-hop and pop culture, one awesome detail they added was a pair of black headphones molded directly into the sides and top of his head over his even more-subtle white flat cap-shaped forehead! Perhaps the most stand-out features of the arms other than their flexibility is the storage clips for the upward-pointing nunchaku on the outside of his elbows, and that his hands are opened up a little rather than being solid fists [which, notably, transforming toys in the “...Animated” line do not utilize nearly as much as its predecessors did]. Notice also that, not only is Jazz the first character toy to have a red Autobot symbol on his chest (all of the Autobots' are red on-screen), but he is the first release to display the winged Autobot logo created for the series which designates him as part of the Elite Guard. As Jazz is a smooth operator in everything he does, his range of motion is equally fluid and impressive, with ball-&-socket joints in his neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips, and everything else twisting freely, including a waist joint! Perhaps the only objection I have with Jazz is that his ‘headphones’ bump into the back of his neck when turned side-to-side; so when he looks to either side, his head tilts downwards quite a bit, and he can’t really look upwards. The proportions of the figure, also, are only slightly off from his on-screen counterpart- his lower legs are slightly longer than they should be, and his upper legs aren’t long enough, but there is no interruption in style or function to be a problem. While the clips for his nunchaku do indeed shift to that upwards-position in the series, the weapons themselves do not appear- stored internally instead until needed. But here, since they are big enough, their correct orientation has them rising quite a bit beyond the elbows. While poseability is in no way a problem, if you wish, you can remove the weapons and leave their clips open to recreate the more series-accurate look. Perhaps this would be the only consideration of “kibble” I would apply to this figure other than the windshield on his back (which really doesn’t get in the way of anything anyways).
. . .
Jazz has only one weapon feature- two pairs of nunchaku (aka nunchucks), which are stored on the outside of his elbows. They can be easily separated from each other- each pair being tied together with small pieces of white string- and placed in both of Jazz’s hands, though the curved sections will not fit at all.
This is another first for me in the world of Transformers®- I have never own any character by this name before (though I would certainly like to get a G1 ver of him). But I can tell that, like many of the characters from the first season, this one was crafted with a little TLC by the good folks over at Takara, and was brought to life by the wonderful animators over at Cartoon Network. You cannot look at this guy and deny that he is a tribute to the classic hip-hop-bot from the ‘80s, but now with a crafted body to match his personality and legacy. The poseability is awesome, and though he doesn’t have any shooting weapons, the nunchaku, I thought, were a nice change from a blaster or missile launcher or- heaver forbid!- a sword; we haven’t really seen that kind of weapon on a Cybertronian before. Even more-so than some of the other figures I have, the proportions chosen by the animation development team translates very well into toy form. I mean- headphones on a robot? That is an awesome idea, and, again, it fits the character! So, complaints? Other than having a difficult time getting his legs past that windshield when transforming him, not really. So, I give full marks and a high recommendation for the Deluxe-class Autobot Jazz figure. I hate to sound clichéd, but seriously... he rocks!
|Posted 2 September, 2008 - 11:42 by EVA_Unit_4A|