Dragon Ball Z is a line that just won't die. In all of 2006, they produced one new figure buried under an avalanche of
reissued figures. The line all but disappeared entirely from store shelves. But somehow Jakks Pacific has gotten a couple
more series of both single and two packs into production. And while they are quite heavy on reissued figures as usual. There
are at least of couple of figures that manage to fill in some big holes in my collection, namely Frieza and his father King
Packaging - individual figures 5/10, two pack 6/10It's hard to know just what to say about the current package design for the DBZ line. I wonder what the intent was as they designed it, because it doesn't seem to have been selling toys. The figures are nicely displayed within a plastic bubble shaped like a dragon ball. An insert at the top provides the logo and the name of the series. It also includes what I assume is the term Dragon Ball Z in Japanese, just in case you weren't aware of the series' foreign origins. The insert at the bottom brings up one of the major issues I have with the packaging, there aren't many images of the figures. And where there are images, they used black and white photos of the toys. Between the photo on the insert, another along the side of the card and a group shot on the back, not a single photo shows a clear view of an entire figure. They even used the prototype for the photos of Frieza which still shows the rough sculpting for the shoulder articulation. One nice touch is the use of a different color border along the top and bottom of the cards for each series. It is handy if you are trying to find the new figures amongst older ones. Of course that is something of a moot point given you are probably going to be lucky to even find any of these figures in a store. The back of the cards have a photo of all of the figures in the series, but yet again it is in black and white. Even more strange is that the single figures do show the Alien Invasion two packs in full color, but the photos are so small that you can barely make out the figures any way. The two packs at least have the advantage of having enough space on the back to show the entire figures. Overall the design has a certain artistic flair, but it doesn't really do much to tie into the cartoon or show off the toys.
Sculpting - Trunks 3/10, Capt. Ginyu 4/10, others 8/10It has taken a long, LONG time to finally get a decent figure of Frieza in his first form, and this figure doesn't disappoint. He may be a little too tall. But that could just be because he spent so much time sitting in his floating chair. The area around both Frieza and King Cold faces should be wider. The faces themselves are fine, but the helmet like structure over the sides and their ears is a bit less pronounced than it was shown in the show. It's hard to believe that it has taken this long to get a Vegeta figure in his original armor as a part of the regular line (I believe there may have been one as part of the deluxe series with an action feature.) He is a bit smaller than average for the current figures, which works well for the character. It is a bit annoying that his head is stuck permanently bowed down. Captain Ginyu is simply a reissue of the earlier deluxe figure. The sculpt does stand up fairly well. It isn't quite as detailed as a new sculpt probably would have been and the yelling mouth is a bit unusual for the line, but not inappropriate for the character. And then there is Trunks. Looking back at the original Future Trunks figure and I can see why they didn't want to reuse that mold. But this figure isn't much of an improvement. They tried to recycle the legs from Gogeta who had much baggier pants. The torso and arms are recycled as well, though I'm not sure from which figure they come. But due to the recycling, the strap to hold Trunk's sword is missing. (of course, so is his sheath) It also results in a figure that is much bulkier than Trunks was shown as in the show, particularly during the Trunks Saga when he faced King Cold. To help make up for this they also use his Super Saiyan head despite the figure not being in his super saiyan form. To put it simply, the didn't try very hard with Trunks.
Paint - Trunks 4/10, Vegeta 5/10, others 6/10The paint work on all of these figures turned out well. They did not try anything terribly elaborate. But multiple colors and a lot of narrow borders for the saiyan armor that four of the five wear, even the simple could be difficult to do well. Vegeta is a little less impressive since the borders of his armor aren't painted. The only serious issue is with Trunks. Trying to paint costume details when those details don't exist on the sculpts is difficult. But ironically, they did a fine job painting Trunk's belt buckle on his sash belt. But they screwed up in painting the belt itself. There is a large stripe of orange on his pants right below the belt in the front. And in that position, it is very noticeable.
Articulation - Captain Ginyu 3/10, others 7/10Trunks and Vegeta both have twenty points of articulation:
Accessories - Trunks & Frieza 0/10, others 3/10Neither Trunks nor Frieza come with any accessories. That's fine for Frieza, though I would love to see him come with his hover chair. But to have Future Trunks without his sword, especially in a set with King Cold is just lazy. Vegeta and Captain Ginyu both come with Scouters. Sadly they don't live up to the scouters that we have seen on other figures. Ginyu's scounter sticks far out from his head so they gave it an equally huge eye piece. Vegeta's scouter on the other hand is too small so that it barely covers his eye. They also skipped the clear plastic so the eye piece isn't translucent as all of the other scouters have been. King Cold has a removable cape and a spare set of hands. Why they gave him extra hands when they serve no purpose is beyond me. You can barely even tell that there is a difference between the two left hands. The cape has the potential to be very cool. They found a pretty creative way to attach the cape with two elastic straps around each shoulder. It matches the design from the show well. The only touch that is missing are the round connection points at each shoulder in the front. That is too bad since they would have served to hide the elastic straps. But what is really silly is that there is a tag sewn onto the cape!
Value - Trunks/King Cold 4/10, Capt. Ginyu 5/10 others 7/10The single carded figures sell for $7 while the two pack sells for $13. For a decent figure of Frieza or Vegeta in their original looks, I had no problem plunking down that much even after I had already packed away most of my Dragon Ball Z figures. Captain Ginyu is a figure I had passed up originally at the higher deluxe figure price. But now for the lower price and for the chance to fill in one of the two missing Ginyus, he was worth it. (Now if they would just produce a Guildo figure and perhaps a better scaled Burter.) King Cold is also a nice figure, perhaps the best of the five. Unfortunately you end up spending almost twice as much just to get him since he is only available with the sub par Trunks figure.
Happy Hunting:The Dragon Ball Z line has long since disappeared from most stores. The only one that I know of locally that still carries the figures is Toys R Us. That is where I got Ginyu, Vegeta and Frieza. I have still seen some DBZ toys at Kmart. But I don't know if they are still ordering new series. And since the closest Kmart to me is still over 30 miles away, I don't go there very often to check. On line options are pretty sparse too. Toys R Us has the King Cold/Trunks set listed right now. There are also some smaller web stores that stock DBZ figures, but their service can be hit or miss and the prices are sky high. If you can't find them locally, your best bet online is actually through the Funimation web site. Their prices are higher, full manufacturer suggested retail price. But that is still better than places like ToyWiz.com and their selection is pretty extensive.