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"Graduation Day" Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
by Shocka

Toy fans everywhere were sad when Moore Action Collectibles' line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer figures quietly passed, but Diamond Select picked up the pieces and released a super-articulated "Deluxe" line of Buffy figures, released two characters at a time with tons of variants. Today we're looking at one of the regular releases, Graduation Day Buffy, wearing the garb she took to in that episode, the two-part finale for the acclaimed third season. There are four exclusive figures based on other episodes from the show's seven fantastic seasons: a Buffy and Faith from the final season episode "End of Days" from Tower Records, and then a Buffy from the musical episode "Once More With Feeling," and a "Bad Girls" Faith, from the episode where she became a killer. All retailed for around $12 - $15 and broke the mold from the previous Buffy figures with the best articulation we've ever seen for the Jossverse!

All of the Buffy and Faith figures come in a nice - if a little plain - clamshell with a picture of Buffy/Faith on one half, and the figure displayed proudly in plastic on the other. The back displays all of the super-articulated figures in the line as well as a little description of the two characters. Inside, the backing opens up as a brochure with details about other Buffy figures and minibusts. Overall, it's nice enough for the MOC collector but not as nice as the earlier carded Buffy figures, but with plenty of protection in the clamshell.

This is easily the best Buffy figure we've ever seen, capturing the likeness of Sarah Michelle Gellar wonderfully in an uneasy, melancholic look - they've even got her green eyes right (I believe the first time in an action figure). Her hair looks good, though was seemingly still wet when packaged, thus it was sticking to the back of the plastic. But not to worry, it looks nice both as in motion in a fight, or relaxed, as Buffy is about to utter some of that famous Whedon dialogue.

Below the neck is where there's a split; because Buffy includes two sets of arms, the sculpt changes depending on which arms you have on her. On the one hand, she wears a very cool leather jacket and looks spectacular, from her fashionable shoes and red pants to the black top and shiny coat. On the other hand, pop out the clothed arms and take off the coat-bodice to pop in her unclothed arms, leaving her upper body covered in only the torso, and her arms don't look very good at all. The super-articulation in the arms is obvious and looks like that of a wooden doll; it's ugly and doesn't look quite proportioned. I didn't like this look about the prototypes and I like it even less in real life - even the bare-armed Marvel Legends' articulation looks better - but fortunately, she looks excellent in the coat, although that does slightly limit the articulation.

For the first time a deservedly super-articulated figure, Buffy has a lot of movement and a lot of poseability. She has a balljointed neck, shoulders (without coat) and legs, then jointed torso, upper-arms, upper-legs, double knees, double elbows, wrists, feet and mid-shoe. (I've never been quite sure what to call this joint - someone e-mail me and tell me what it's called?) With the jacket on, she looks better but loses the balljointed shoulders, replaced with swivel joints; without the jacket, she has the full poseability; I don't see why it couldn't have worked both ways, but that's the only drawback with this figure; there's a lot of playability and poseability, and the toy is seemingly very durable. But there's another drawback for playability:

Although she does have both sets of arms and the coat section as accessories, "Graduation Day" Buffy seems awfully limited, for one simple reason: a super-articulated demon-fighting ass-kicking hot chick figure without weapons?! What were they thinking?!

That's right, GD Buffy comes with three episode-themed accessories, but not a single weapon. First up, she has her graduation scroll and the Sunnydale '99 Yearbook, both of which are basically useless for an action figure, then she has handcuffs, which are even more useless. The poor quality of these things saddens me - they came into play during a critical moment in an excellent slayer-on-slayer fight to the death in that episode, and the accessory absolutely sucks. You can barely get one of the shackles onto the wrist of any figure, and the other is stuck permanently open. Further, the chain is just a limp bit of plastic that'll break easily. This could have been a really cool little accessory if it worked - if both shackles could open and be attached to the wrist of a figure, with a real chain between both (reenact that excellent fight!) but instead it's just a waste of plastic.

Annoyingly, our super-articulated heroine is left unarmed, without her dear Mister Pointy or any other stake to use against vampires; she has no axes; she doesn't have anything. Of course, any Buffy collector with the earlier MAC figures will already have plenty of weapons she can use, but for new collectors, it doesn't make sense to have her so empty-handed.

Despite the problems with this figure - most noticably, the poor accessories and the awful look of her bare arms - she's the definitive Buffy figure and the most kick-ass one we've seen so far. She's quite good value and an excellent addition to your collection, fitting in with all the older MAC figures and the rest of the Diamond collection (obviously), which also saw super-articulated Angel and Spike - at $15 or more, she's a little overpriced. Still, she's a fine figure and, with a few weapons around, she gets this OAFE's recommendation!

-- 10/06/10

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