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November Ajax

Pacific Rim: Uprising
by yo go re

In a world where hotshot pilots fight giant monsters, some people will still need to be traffic cops.

In response to an exponential rise in criminal activity involving illegal Jaeger tech in the years following the Kaiju War, it became necessary to utilize Jaegers in peacekeeping capacities. In the aftermath zones of Santa Monica, November Ajax is a 250-foot juggernaut of justice, keeping a vigilant watch over the California coastal region, and towering over what's left of the glamorous world of old.

Equipped with a non-lethal arsenal of weapons including a deafening 136 dB enforcement bullhorn for crowd control, she also has a tazer array in her knuckle-mounts to easily disable the electrical systems of rogue Jaegers bold enough to poke their heads out of the underground.

Like Saber Athena, November Ajax has a head that's long and flat. Well, "flat" by comparison to the more head-shaped heads: it's still quite oblong, it's just laying down instead of standing up. It's kind of football shaped, really. Or maybe rugby. There's a single bright blue "eye" port in the front, and no "ear" antennae.

November Ajax's design includes big shoulder pads, of course, because that was what Pacific Rim Uprising was all about. She's got small vertical fins as well, which sets her apart from all the Jaegers in the sequel (and most of the originals, too). The arms and legs are mostly smooth, while the central trunk has more small, separate panels. Honestly, with the big collar behind the neck, she feels like a stripped-down version of Striker Eureka. A sleeker version of what was already sleek. The design could easily pass for a standard, mass-production Jaeger, the starting point from which all the crazier designs spring.

The blue here is lighter than it was on Gipsy Avenger, helping sell the "this is a beat cop" look of the design. The internal mechanics are dark metallic grey, and there are bright blue apps on the back to suggest thrusters. This isn't flashy, but it's a solid look.

November's articulation is quite good. She moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, hips, knees, and ankles. The upper arms are a tad odd: there's a swivel where the arm joins the body, but there's also a hinge at the top of the bicep, which duplicates the range of motion; it feels like the (concealed) swivels weren't part of the real robot's design, with the (quite visible) hinges meant to do the work. The hinges that allow the arms to move out to the sides are designed in such a way that the arms always hang out to the sides. The pads on the shoulders and the flaps on the tops of the feet are mounted on their own tiny balljoints, so they'll move with the bodyparts rather than getting in the way. The chest, surprisingly, is done as two balljoints, making it very flexy!

The closure of Toys Я Us and the lukewarm reception of Pacific Rim 2 have clearly taken their combined toll on DST, because November Ajax's only accessories are an alternate pair of hands. You've got the giant "Select" packaging, and yet nothing at all in the bubble other than the robot and two fists? Not great. You know what it could have included? Scrapper. You know, the tiny Jaeger from November Ajax's only scene? Tamashii Nations made one, and Diamond should have too.

DST did a good job with November Ajax, but the lack of extras really brings the value down.

-- 05/21/19

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