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Mr. Burns

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by Shocka

You have to hand it to NECA, picking up a line many many years old and putting their own spin on it, and making it work. Following on the footstep of Playmates' (the company, not the Playboy models) [as far as we know --ed.] World of Springfield toys comes their brand new all-star "NECA Simpsons Figures by NECA Men" line (note to self: look up actual name of line). As an "all-star" line, it takes on not the many Simpsons figures already rendered in plastic by the fine people at Playmates, rather the celebrity guest stars, including classics like Penn & Teller, and also Teller and Penn. But what draws me more to the line is the chance to get some really unusual Simpsons characters.

You see, each line includes at least one Springfieldianite character that was already made, with a unique spin on it. In the case of Series 3, that means Mr. Burns from the classic "The X-Files Meets Springfield" crossover episode that the Simpsons did with Family Guy this year (Note to self: fact-check this; also, buy more meth).

In Season 8's "The Springfield Files," Homer gained fame and the interest of two attractive-but-definitely-not-dating FBI agents when he encountered what seemed to be a mysterious green-glowing, love-for-humanity spouting visition from another world. The "alien" was revealed to be none other than Mr. Burns, who quickly reverted to his old hate-for-humanity self.

The packaging here, while plain, feels like a nice throwback to the cards that Playmates were pumping out back when they were doing World of Springfield. Specifically, it looks similar to their own "All-Star" series, or at least it does in my memory. I could be wrong. I was wrong once, back in '88 - those tourists never knew what ate them, and those bears never had such a good meal. Of tourists. Anyway, Mr. Burns is a terrific variant idea because his appearance as "the alien" in "The Springfield Files" was a particularly memorable and unusual visage, an excellent sight gag that makes for a great action figure.

The packaging boasts of "GLOWS in the DARK!" which matches up with his scenes from the show, wherein he "a lifetime of working in a nuclear power plant has given [him] a healthy green glow" or something. His clothes are molded in a glow in the dark, partially see-through plastic that looks a treat. The paint is definitely there, and looks good from what I can tell - I love how they excellently got his look from the episode, with the dilated pupils. It's great!

Keeping in in the style of the World of Springfield, he moves at the Springfield Four, (as I myself named it because of its unique pastry dishes) the neck, waist and arms. His arms are basically preposed, but the movement is neat to have regardless, but so long after those World of Springfield toys it would have been nice to have seen NECA upgrade them just a tad. Imagine if this guy had balljointed shoulders instead! The many possibilities!!

The one letdown and diversion from the original World of Springfield figures here is the lack of accessories: Burnsie has diddly squat. The original WOS figures had a plethora of awesome accessories, but these have few-to-none, with Mr Burns on the latter end. This is a shame. But what would he come with, though? He didn't use anything in the episode. [Maybe the vocal cord scraper Dr. Nick used on him? --ed.] No, Playmates already made one of those, in the Dr. Nick playset.

Ultimately, Glow-in-the-Dark Mr. Burns is a great toy, and I really dig this line. It's unusual to have an "add-on" line per se, especially one so long after the fact, but NECA has experience with this sort of thing and pulled it off once again here, and even made what would usually be an undesirable character choice - another effing variant - into something awesome and must-have. You should probably buy it. I probably will.

-- 10/29/14


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