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Zim & Gir on the Pig

Funko Pop!
by yo go re

Funko categorizes its thousands upon thousands of POP! figures into different themed groups - Disney, Games, Holiday, etc. There's one category, though, that's kind of all over the map when it comes to content, and that's POP! Rides. Comicbooks, movies, TV, videogames... anything at all that involves a character and a means of transportation is game. For instance, a pig.

In the episode "Attack of the Saucer Morons," Invader Zim's amazingly advanced space ship crashes when it collides with a bee. Not some advanced super-bee, just a bee. Needing a way to get the ship back home, he disguises his recovery vehicle as a giant, floating pig, and sets off to collect his property.

This toy is basically a stack of three figures, covering the major POP! size classes: you've got the big oversized pig, obviously, then Zim himself as the standard POP!, and a Pocket POP!-sized Gir gripping onto Zim's head - you know, like the size of the Titanfall pilots.

None of the pieces are removable from the others, but that's still a nice variety of shapes and sizes, and it suits the characters - compare that to Disney's Tsum Tsums, which will often have similarly arranged stacks, but with sizes that have no reasoning behind them. For once, a company is using its various size-classes to accurately portray scale, not just to have different pricepoints in the market.

A lot of people find the POP! style offputting, but there's something about the Invader Zim character designs that really works this way. Maybe it's because Jhonen Vasquez's art is so blocky to begin with, and the eyes so large, but other than Zim's head being slightly more squarish than usual, there really isn't anything to immediately give away that this isn't a normal piece of Invader Zim merchandise. The pig, for instance, looks even more like tha cartoon art than the one Palisades made, from the flat nose in the frontto the curly tail in the back - it's even got the proper colors! A clear stand is permanently attached to the pork belly, making it appear to hover, and there's a notch on the top where Zim sits to steer.

Zim is gripping the control handles, and leaning to the side - like your mom playing Nintendo, he uses his whole body to steer. The black lines on his shirt are sculpted in, and you can even glimpse his tiny legs if you look down into the cockpit. Naturally, he has his PAK on his back (since an Irken can't live without it). As mentioned, his head is very square, but the expression molded on his face is straight from the model sheets: his blocky, interlocking teeth are gritted in a frown, and his angry eyebrows come down low over his dark red eyes. He doesn't display this specific expression in the episode, but the parts are indiviually correct.

Gir is clearly having a blast, as evidenced by the massive smile on his face and the way his tongue is lolling about. His tiny claws clutch tightly to Zim's antennae, and his entire body is smaller than the bigger figure's head. There are a few flaws here, make no mistake: for one, the legs should be much smaller at the top, since there's no articulation or actual need to stand up preventing them from being as close to the "unattached triangles" design as possible; additionally, his back is plain and unadorned, when it should accurately have a blue circle right in the center.

The set has a cumulative two points of articulation: swivel necks for both Zim and Gir. No, that's not a lot, but it's enough to give your display a little variety, allowing you to turn the pig to the side to save space if you need. It would have been really great if those were balljoints, and if the pig were mounted on one, too - think of the variety you could get then! Still, even as-is, this is a nicely expressive 8¾" stack of characters. It's always amazing what a difference a little head-tilt can make.

Not many toylines could conceivably encompass Disney's Hercules, Daryl Dixon, The Flinstones, and James Bond [I forget, is that the new Tekken 7 or Smash Bros. lineup? --ed.], but POP! Rides does. Zim & Gir on the Pig are an unexpected inclusion, but they make sense as a trio and are welcome.

-- 08/10/18

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