If yesterday’s revelation that Episode I: The Phantom Menace is my favorite Star Wars movie didn’t condemn me to Hell, here’s an even darker secret: I love obnoxious children characters in my sci-fi stories. Wesley Crusher was my favorite character in Star Trek: The Next Generation, I adored Wheelie in Transformers: The Movie, and my favorite main character in the Star Wars prequel trilogy is Jake Lloyd’s kid Anakin Skywalker. Seriously. Astoundingly, there hasn’t been a new-sculpt kid Anakin figure in over a decade. I bugged the crap out of Hasbro in Hasbro Q&A’s for years wanting a super-articulated kid Anakin Skywalker, and in honor of the 3-D Release of Phantom Menace release, he’s finally here! There’s only one problem: I think they sculpted Doogie Howser’s head by mistake instead of Jake Lloyd’s…
This new figure of padawan Anakin Skywalker from the end of Episode I is galaxies better than the one we got in the Phantom Menace toyline a decade-plus ago. That figure was little more than a statue with a couple of cut-joints in it. This time out, Anakin is a lot more dexterous and capable of doing (most) of what you’d expect from a Jedi Padawan. Hasbro crammed an admirable 14 points of articulation into this Anakin Skywalker, which is a pretty decent feat considering how small Anakin in. Anakin has a ball-jointed head, swivle waist, ball-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows, double-jointed knees, double-jointed ankles, swivel wrists, and (unfortunately) T-crotch hip joints. All of this articulation gives Anakin a much wider range of flexibility than we’ve previously had from Hasbro in any child figure at this scale.
The sculpt of the body (we’ll talk about the head later) is terrific. The scale is accurate next to adult figures, and the textures sculpted into the Jedi tunic are well-done and far, far better than what we got back in 2000. I’m always wary about the use of soft goods, but on this figure they’re used expertly to add a degree of depth to his outfit that would otherwise be missing. The best soft goods are the ones that you don’t immediately realize are there, so these are a total success.
Lil’ Annie comes with four great accessories, all of which Expanded Universe since he never had any of them in the movie. He comes with a lightsaber, lightsaber hilt, Jedi training helmet, and Jedi training probe. The accessories are logical ones to give Anakin, as they’re reminiscent of the ones we see Yoda teaching the Younglings with in Attack of the Clones. Obviously Anakin trained off-screen between Episodes I and II, so these accessories make sense and are well-done. The training probe is especially nice to get, since I’m not sure we’ve ever had one released outside of the BMF and this one is pretty good. The lightsaber hilt can of course plug into Anakin’s belt, where it fits snugly and looks nice.
For whatever reason, the designers decided that Anakin didn’t need ball-jointed hips. I can understand the temptation to cut costs, but no Jedi figure should ever be lacking highly-flexible hip joints unless they’re an invertebrate like Oppo Rancisis. Anakin should be able to do side kicks and acrobatic poses, but his posing potential is severely hindered by the choice of a T-crotch hip that only allows back-and-forth movement. This is a big disappointment, since it’s likely to be many years (if ever) before Hasbro develops a new super-articulated kid mold. Consequently, no future kid figures that use parts from this mold are going to have a full range of flexibility either.
Also, it’s a little bizarre that Hasbro chose to given the super-articulated treatment to this Anakin instead of a Tattooine version Anakin, since we have both a new Podracer and a new Naboo Starfighter coming out and people are going to want a new super-articulated figure of that Anakin to pilot the vehicles.
But wait, there’s more…
Whatever else this figure may be, it’s about as far as you can get from being an accurate representation of Jake Lloyd. It’s unfortunate that Hasbro picked such a fantastic picture of Jake Lloyd for the card art, as that’s the moment in the movie where he shows the most personality and charisma. Other than the fact that the head is sculpted to be a boy with short hair, there’s no likeness to Jake Lloyd whatsoever. My first thought upon seeing this figure was that Hasbro had mistakenly used a Season 1 screenshot of Doogie Howser MD for reference instead of a photo of Jake Lloyd. Hell, for all we know, this could be a young Davy Crockett dressed as a Jedi, because it sure isn’t Anakin Skywalker. The face sculpt is completely wrong, the hair sculpt is completely wrong, and the hair color chosen is much too dark. It’s as if Hasbro had a generic Padawan head laying around and they just threw it onto this figure rather than spending any time developing an appropriate head.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
Young Anakin Skywalker is part of the first wave of 2012 Star Wars: The Vintage Collection figures. Hasbro set a street-date of January 30th on this case, but a few Targets in my area accidentally broke street date on these and I snagged a few figures. Most online stores are honoring the street date, though some Amazon sellers are not…
Amazon has kid Anakin Skywalker in-stock right now with free shipping from various sellers, but prices and availability change rapidly on Amazon so you’ll need to click through for the current specifics.
BigBadToyStore stocks every single Vintage Collection Star Wars figure, and have cases containing one each of all 12 of The Phantom Menace Vintage Collection figures as well as Vintage kid Anakin Skywalkers available for $12.99 individually.
Overall: Although young Anakin Skywalker was my most-anticipated Star Wars figure of this wave, if not the whole year, I’m severely let down by Hasbro’s efforts here. They’ve crafted a nearly excellent child body sculpt with more articulation than they’ve ever done in a figure this size before, but fall short of perfection with a few glaring errors. The T-Crotch styled hip joints render the double-jointed knees and ankle articulation close to useless, as Anakin can’t do any cool poses or kicks at all without toppling over due to the restricted hip movement. And the head–Ugh! If this was supposed to be a background extra like Whie from Revenge of the Sith, the head might be acceptable. But as the first representation of the most crucial character in the Star Wars saga in over a decade, the head sculpt is embarassingly bad. As an action figure this is pretty good and I’ll grade it as such, but as Anakin Skywalker, this figure is a failure.