Some toy lines just refuse to die, and the Dragon Ball Z lines certainly seems to be one of them. It has survived the
license holder going bankrupt, being sold to Jakk's Pacific, the popularity of the license fade, being reduced to wave
after wave of repaint and reissue and even being dropped by just about every major retailer. Yet somehow when I went
into Toys R Us recently I was greeted by a fresh wave of DBZ toys. The latest offerings includes five single carded
figures, three two packs and three new additions to the Movie Collection series. But like most of Jakk's Pacific offerings
for this line, the majority of those figures have already been released in the past. The single pack figures includes
another Battle Damaged Goku (as he appeared around episode 77 in the battle with Frieza), Hercule a.k.a Mr. Satan, Majin
Buu (in his original, fat form), Super Saiyan Vegeta (who is not actually in Super Saiyan form) and Super Saiyan Gogeta
(the lone new figure). The double packs include Cell (imperfect form) with Tien, Recoome and another Battle Damaged
Goku and Bardock and Goku (so to be battle damaged I presume). The Movie Collection figures are all new, though only one
of them is from the DBZ movies. They include Super Android 13, Majin Bun (as he appeared after absorbing Gohan and
Piccolo) and Porunga, the Dragon of Namek. Since I already have most of the figures from their earlier releases, I skipped
all of the single pack figures except S.S. Gogeta. I also picked up Porunga to complete my trio of Eternal Dragons and
the three two packs.
Packaging - Porunga 6/10, Bardock/Goku pack 7/10, others 8/10The tenth anniversary toys all received a slight face lift for the packaging designs. The bubbles themselves haven't changed much, but they now have a more traditional shape than some of Jakk's past DBZ products. The DBZ logo and head shots of each character are included as inserts at the bottom of the bubble as well as another insert at the top proclaiming these to be "10th anniversary collector edition" figures. As usual, the figures are packaged in quasi action poses which is a nice touch except for the Bardock/Goku pack. I still don't understand why Goku is packaged with its back facing out. The cards themselves have an image of a maroon planet against a blue background with a bright burst in the center. There is a larger image of each character on the sides of the card and a large number 10 faded into the entire image. The final effect is fairly attractive and has a slightly more understated tone than most of the past DBZ products from Jakk's. The generic card backs haven't changed. The basic cards have all five figures pictured above the DBZ logo with photos of the two packs below. The backs of the two packs use the same images but with the position of the images reversed. I'm not a fan of generic packaging, but at least these card backs are not as crowded as those of some of the past DBZ figures.
Porunga was added to the Movie Collection figure line. It is packaged in a box with large windows in the top, side and
front panels to show off the figure. The packaging is shared between all three of the figures in the wave: Porunga, Majin
Buu (in Gohan's gi) and Super Android 13. So they tried to include images of all three on the front of the box. The
funny thing is that they made a serious goof up and used the wrong images. It isn't Porunga that is pictured, but the
Earth's dragon. And Buu is pictured in one of his earlier forms. The back of the box has photos of all three figures as
well as a brief bio for each character. The bios are so horribly written that you almost have to laugh. Porunga's isn't
too bad at least compared to the one for Super Buu:
Sculpting - Battle Damaged Goku 6/10, Cell 9/10, others 8/10Most of the figures are identical to previous releases or use recycled parts. Cell and Battle Damaged Goku are both identical to their previous releases. (Cell is from the Ultimate Struggles 2 pack. BD Goku is from series 13.) Though the inclusion of a Battle Damaged Goku with Recoome is somewhat strange since he wasn't hurt at all at the time of that fight or during it. Bardock has a new body sculpt with a separate tail. But they reused one of the Goku head sculpts. While the differences are small, the lack of the battle worn look, headband or sculpted scar make the substitution noticeable. The undamaged version of Goku seems to be a new sculpt, or possibly from the Art of Fusion 2 pack. (I passed on that 2 pack.) It isn't all that different from the other Goku sculpts. The main difference is that it is sculpted with the back arched which makes the chest more pronounced. Recoome is identical to the series 17 figure. While I would have preferred a version without battle damage, the improved scale over the Irwin Ginyu Force figures make it a worth while addition. Tien is comprised completely of existing parts. The legs are the same as those of Goku from the Bardock 2 pack. The torso and arms comes from the Brother Vs. Brother two pack with Raditz. The head is the same as the previous Tien figure. Despite his Frankenstien's Monster nature, the figure turned out quite well and is a figure fans have been waiting for a long time. Gogeta is another Frankenstien. The legs are the same as Tien. The arms and torso come from the Battle Damaged Super Saiyan Goku from the Ultimate Struggles 2 pack with Frieza. The head is a Vegito head. The legs and body work well, but the head sculpt is inaccurate, if only because it still has the Ki's earrings. Porunga is completely new and turned out very well. The proportions and details are all excellent. His only true drawback is his size. Porunga is supposed to be huge. He should be larger than even the Earth Dragons and completely dwarf any of the figures. Of course it isn't possible to get an in scale Porunga. It would have to be as big as a full grown adult. None the less, Porunga should not be small enough for any figure to look him eye to eye which Recoome can.
Paint - Battle Damaged Goku 7/10, Porunga 9/10, others 5/10The paint work on all of the figures is clean and well executed for mass market figures. There are only very minor problems with stray paint. Cell deserves some consideration due to the complexity of his paint scheme, except they missed the spotting on his right shoulder. But there are two things that I dislike about the paint work on all of the figures. The first is the inclusion of a "DBZ 10 year anniversary" logo on every figure which is just silly. The other issue is that the figures are all too clean. Areas such as any exposed flesh is all a single tone. There is no shadowing. Battle Damage Goku does have some hash marks to represent battle damage, but a wash to add some color and the appearance of a little dirt on the figures could do wonders for the overall look.
Articulation - 6/10
Porunga of course doesn't follow the usual pattern. To begin with, he has no legs. But the dragon of Namek still has nine points of articulation. He has rotating cut joints at the neck, shoulders, wrists, waist and in three places along the tail. The articulation is nice, but poses are limited if you want the figure to be able to balance on its own.
Accessories - Porunga 0/10, Cell/Tien 2/10, Goku/Racoome & Bardock/Goku 4/10, Gogeta 5/10Accessories are not an area in which this line has excelled. They certainly don't break any ground here either. Porunga has nothing. I was extremely disappointed that he didn't come with a complete set of Dragon Balls like the other two Dragons. The Cell/Tien two pack come with a miniature version of a Nemekian tree, the same one that came with the Nail/Piccolo Brother Vs Brother two pack. Why they have the tree when neither was anywhere near Namek is beyond me. The Goku/Recoome two pack come with just one accessory, Recoome's scouter. It is nicely made and even has a clear visor to go over his eye. But like most of the scouters, it is too large even for Recoome. The Bardock/Goku two pack is tied for the most accessories with two: Bardock's scouter and the same rock platform that has been included with several of the past two packs. Like Recoome's, Bardock's scouter is really too large compared to the size of his head so it covers up most of the painted scar. Gogeta has two accessories as well, his vest and a Chibi figure. The vest is removable and fits well. But the paint for the orange trim is quite sloppy along the edges. The Chibi figure (I think it is supposed to be Super Saiyan Goku.) is a nice touch, an attempt to have some type of accessory for a character that doesn't really lend itself to one. And it is better than more rocks.
Value - two packs 2/10, Porunga & Gogeta 4/10Retail price for the figure is $8 for the single figures, $15 for the 2 packs and $16 for the Movie Collection figures. That isn't cheap even by current action figure prices. The prices is easier to swallow for Porunga and Gogeta who are new characters. But it is the two packs that will really hurt your wallet. Spending $15 for a 2 pack when you probably already have one of the figures will make even a completist like myself think twice before buying them.
Happy Hunting:The figures are showing up now at Toys R Us. I bought mine at the TRU store on the west side of Madison, WI. Hopefully they will be available from Amazon.com in the future as well. If you really, and I mean REALLY ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO have these and can't find them at Toys R Us, Toywiz.com has them listed as in stock right now. The only problem is that they are just a hair shy of being out right crooks and their prices reflect that. They currently have the Bardock/Goku pack available for the bargain price of $65! (Nothing like a 400% markup.)