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Samurai Spawn

Spawn Series 19: Samurai Wars
by Shocka

Samurai Spawn: Series 19 is a lineup of new figures from McFarlane Toys, the makers of the Spawn line and many other collectible figures, most of which are known for the most beautiful detail on a figure, with the most pathetic articulation. Well, not today, muchango! This series marked a landmark, with almost all of its figures excellently articulated with grand sculpting and detail up to the McFarlane standard. The series itself comprised a remake of the original Spawn story in Samurai times, transposing original characters into samurais and altering the story to make it new and interesting. Spawn became Samurai Spawn, Angela became Lotus, Clown became Dojo and Violator became Jyaaku. To make the story public and create interest in the figures, a section on the making of, the story behind and a virtual look at the figures was hosted on Spawn.com, with lots of fun things to check out and do, advertising the figures. A wise marketing move from McFarlane, similar to the marketing of the Tortured Souls.

Feudal Japan circa 1185 was a desperate place. But novice Bushi warrior Takeda wasn't concerned with war and famine. He wanted to become a master Samurai. Takeda's brash tactics won him few friends and garnered the anger of the feudal lords, the Daimyo, who ordered his death. Assassins struck down Takeda, who, with his final breath, cried vengeance. Alas, Takeda's words were heard by the powers of universal darkness. A bargain was quickly struck in the Underworld, sending Takeda back to Japan to fulfill his prophecy. Now known as Samurai Spawn, this creature from the pits of blackness hunts Samurai Warriors who are not pure of heart and searches the land for his own salvation.

Samurai Spawn comes on a big card, complete with Samurai insignia and design, highlighting the series and name of the character, at the same time displaying him inside good and nice. The back has pictures of the other characters and figures, a short biography on the character, and an advertisment for the Accessory Pack (more on this later). It's very nice, and sells the figure well.

Out of the card is where Samurai Spawn really shines. This is the most incredibly detailed figure I have seen. It takes McFarlane to a whole new level, and is an absolute work of art. Samurai Spawn's face is darkly red, an odd flesh colour that stands out the Spawn trademark green eyes, which glow. His teeth are highlighted, also matched with horns growing out of his face and chin. A real hair goatee grows from his chin and is braided into a knot at the bottom. Upon his head sits a beautiful gold helmet, marked with insignia and highlighted with rope and stain. His head is marvelously articulated with a balljointed neck, which moves his head realistically in all directions. And this is only his head!

Moving down, his enormous shoulders have big golden pads, covered in design markings and encouraged with black hair adorning the sides. These huge shoulder pads hide the excellent balljoints and other articulation underneath, giving him free movement with his arms without blocking it. Unreal. Some excellent design went into this baby. His arms adorn grey highlighted black frills and armour, peg-jointed at the elbows before his golden-armoured gloves, hiding further articulation. The gloves have about 3 points of articulation each, and his right side has a removable wrist dagger; both of his hands are highlighted with red and black insignea and hold his samurai sword with ease in excellent poses.

His torso is emblazened with the (\/) sign given to all Hellspawns, only in dark red colour which is lit beyond the black, white and gold colouring that covers his vest. Rubber sleeves separate this from his shoulder pads, with white rope above his wonderfully articulated torso, which is both peg-jointed (to allow free left-to-right movement) and balljointed, allowing him to slightly bend down or up and look at his opponent. A rubber belt covers this articulation, decorated with a golden samurai mask-buckle, and a rubber cloth hanging from the front, and further armour and "holsters" hanging from the sides.

His legs are individually decorated like all Spawns', done in the samurai style; one leg has a large golden boot with hair frilling the top, covering the rest of the decorated leg; while the other has a larger tusk-like weapon mounted on the front of the thinner, material-style boot. They provide an excellent contrast to each other and make him look like a HellSpawn; but the articulation is where this boy's legs shine. There is a balljoint at the top of each leg, giving him free movement to walk, dance, step to the sides, splits and kick. His legs also have cut-joints to turn, pin-joints for knee movement and further peg-joints underneath the boots.

If this amount of detail makes you salivate, the articulation will make you come. He can do basically anything; the only toys I can second him to are Classic Spider-Man and Monev the Gale. Samurai Spawn is the man.

His sword is very nice, a long golden-samurai sword with a dark-designed grip for his hands. All of the detail, on both his sword and body/armour, look authentic - not that I'm an expert, but it all looks real to me. If I was a Samurai, I'd give my battle standard to look like him. Awesome job, McFarlane, two thumbs up.

But one thing bugs me about an otherwise perfect figure. On the picture of him on the card, he has a further battle standard and sword on his back, which isn't included. What is this, you ask? It's part of the Accessory Pack, which is a great idea in theory, but in reality it sucks. In the McFarlane Toys Collectors Club, customers can purchase specialty, limited edition toys, this accessory pack included. However, this accessory pack really isn't that at all; it's more decoration for the "Samurai Spawn" figures, which make them the whole nine yards. Without it, you basically have an incomplete figure, and that's just stupid. Why didn't they include new weapons, swords, insignias and bits, instead of including scrapped add-ons so they could make more profit?

[Because they took a poll on their message board, asking whether fans would rather have fully loaded figures that cost 20-30% more, or if we wanted fewer accessories and the usual price. Obviously, "fewer accessories" won. --ed.]

While the price is ok in the US, in Australia I have to pay $31 to get my hands on this pack just so that my Samurai Spawn is complete. What a load of nonsense. While it doesn't spoil an otherwise great figure, it sure is annoying. If you buy the pack, you don't just get the battle standard: there's also a pistol to replace the hook on his left arm

Apart from this flaw, Samurai Spawn is excellent, one of the toys to get in 2001. I love him, and he looks super-kewl in any one of his many poses. I definitely recommend him with most of the line; most of which mark an excellent turning point for McFarlane Toys, and I hope they go further and make even more articulated and better toys.

-- 12/01/01

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