After Jakk'z last Dragon Ball Z offering, I was beginning to wonder if there was much
of a future for the line. The last line of figures was almost half repaints with one
new character/version of a character: Cybog Frieza. Well the new two packs that were
shown at Toy Fair are hitting shelves already and they just might change my opinion of
Packaging - 8/10Jakks has come up with some pretty attractive packaging recently, and this line is no exception. The figures come on a large card with the two figures facing off with each other. The bubble itself is quite large, filling the entire bottom of the card and has a smaller bubble attached to it at the top with the DBZ logo on an insert inside. The buble also has some texture to give it a sense of depth. The cards themselves are fairly attractive as well. The only sections which are not covered by the bubble are the two top corners which have images of the two characters. The back of the card is a generic backer with images of the Ultimate Struggles 2 packs, DBGT series 1, DBZ series 14, the Stadium playset and the Buu Playset. Some character info or images from the anime would have been an nice addition.
Sculpting - Trunks 7/10, Others 9/10These two packs have some of the best sculpts to come out of this line. Cell is probably the best sculpt of the six. And as a great extra touch, they made his tail out of bendable rubber on a wire frame (like a Gumby figure) He is nearly perfect, and I don't just mean that he needs to absorb more androids. The only problems are minor mold seams along the base of his tail and ribs. Though it should be noted that this is the wrong version of Cell to include in this set. This is actually Cell's form after he absorbed Android 18.
Piccolo is also great sculpt, a worthy update to the original Irwin Sculpt. The new sculpt is slightly taller which gives him better proportions. They also corrected the details for the pink areas on Picolo's arms and added antenna that actually extend off of his head as opposed to simply being sculpted on. This is a battle damaged version of Piccolo but the damage isn't very extensive or noticeable. There are minor tears in his clothing on both legs and his chest. His collar is also slightly torn but is generally going to be covered by his cape's collar.
Frieza is going to be another figure that is going to interest a lot of fans. This is the first version of Frieza's final transformation since Bandai's sculpt was imported by Irwin in the earliest waves. The sculpt is sleek and clean like the design of the character. Details such as the bands around his ankles and wrists are well done as are the muscle details. Unfortunately they did not sculpt the purple circles on both shoulders which allows the paint to be rather sloppy. This Frieza figure also shares the shortcoming that Cyborg Frieza had, his tail does not connect securely. Rather than using a single peg, they split the peg in half. This makes it easier to insert, and to fall out.
Goku is another great sculpt. Unlike most of the battle damaged figures, this version of Gouku is substantially different. This is the first shirtless version of Goku that has been released and it looks like it was taken directly from the anime. His right pant leg has also been torn off. His boddy is also buffed up for his Super Saiyan form.
Vegeta is well done as well but borrows heavily from the recent battle damaged Vegeta sculpt. The body, head and right hand are new but the rest appears to be reused. Naturally, like the battle damaged version from series 15, this version is slimmer and appropriately short. The head sculpt is excellent and captures Vegeta's smug expression well.
Trunks is a completely new sculpt and looks very good. So you might wonder why his score is so low. He is completely out of scale. Vegeta's forehead only comes up to his shoulder. And he is at least half a head taller than the other Trunks figures. While Trunks bulked up a lot in his ultra Super Saiyan form, he didn't actually grow taller. Oh, and that is another thing, the packaging is listed as Super Saiyan 2 Trunks but there never was a SS2 Trunks.
Paint - Frieza & Piccolo 6/10 Others 9/10The Saiyans all have near flawless paint jobs. Not only is the paint well done, but Jakks has begun using a two tone paint scheme on the hair of the Super Saiyans with a lighter yellow being used for highlights. The results are quite impressive. Certainly a far cry better than the gold color that was traditionally used on Japanese figures. Cell's paint is just as well done. Only the most minute details could use improvement such as the lines in the cracks around the orange areas.
Piccolo and Frieza don't hold up as well. Piccolo's paint is done quite well except for the pink patchs on Piccolo's arms are really blotchy. The purple circles on Frieza's shoulders are rather poorly done as well. Plus the center portion of the cut joint is purple in color so when the arms ar at his sides, his has the purple line across his shoulder. But the worst thing is that they took an excellent Frieza sculpt and marked it up with "battle damage" which is just black paint marks.
Articulation - 8/10This is an area where the DBZ line has really come a long way. The old Bandai figures with three points of articulation are gone. All of the figures have 20 points of articulation: rotating and hinged ankles, hinged knees, rotating hips and waist, rotating and hinged shoulders, hinged and rotating elbows, rotating wrists and a rotating neck. Frieza also has a rotating tail and as mentioned earlier, Cell's tail is bendable.
Accessories - Piccolo/Cell 7 others 2/10You want some rocks? We've got rocks. Each set comes with the same three plastic rocks that Jakks has been packaging for years. Vegeta and Trunks also come with a large boulder that can be taken apart and the smaller ones placed inside. Oh well, a few more and I can start a rock garden.
The Piccolo/Cell pack fair better because Piccolo does come with two additional accessories, his hat and cape. Unlike the first Piccolo that was produced by Irwin, the cape is fully removeable as is the hat. They also moved away from the hard plastic that was used for the first Piccolo and the one Gohan figure. These are soft rubber so that the hat fits snuggly and the cape can stretch to fit over his head. This is a very nice improvement.
Value - Vegeta/Trunks 5/10, Cell/Piccolo & Frieza/Goku 9/10Both the Frieza/Goku and Cell/Piccolo sets offer an completely new version of a character and a great version of another character. At $14.99 for a two pack, they aren't a value pack, but you are getting your money's worth. And I know there are a great many people who have been anxiously waiting for figures of these characters. The Vegeta/Trunks pack is nice, but since there have been several versions of Vegeta in saiyan armor and the Trunks figure doesn't fit in scale with the rest of the line means that this may something to pass on if you don't have a completist attitude or money to burn.
Happy Hunting:I found all three two packs at Toys R Us on the west side of Madison, WI. Thus far I have yet to see them else where. But in due time, after the existing stock has had time to sell down, I'm sure these will be hitting Walmart stores as well. Those two chains will likely be your best bet as, at leaset locally, Target and other stores seem to be droping the line.