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Christmas Town Sora

Kingdom Hearts
by yo go re

By any logical rubric, Kingdom Hearts would be the ideal license for any toy company: it has huge name recognition, you get access to the entire catalog of famous Disney characters, and best of all, you get to make variations of the main character.

Every time Sora goes to a new world, he gets a new, thematically appropriate makeover. And even when he is wearing his standard outfit, sometimes it changes colors based on which accessory he's holding. There's no need to invent silly new costumes, because the game has already invented plenty of them for you. We already talked about Vampire Sora, and here's the next evolution of that.

In the original Kingdom Hearts, Sora went to Halloween Town (home of Jack Skellington) and turned into his Vampire Form; in Kingdom Hearts II, Halloween Town was expanded to include Christmas Town (home of The Sandy Claws), but Sora still dressed the same way when he went there; however, in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (a Japanese re-release with some additional content), Sora's trip to Christmas Town was accompanied by a change to the new "Santa Form," which is what this toy brings us.

Like Sora's Vampire Form, Santa Form is mostly dark. He's basically wearing a black Santa suit: the giant shoes, wrapped legs, and poofy pants remain the same, but he now has a short-sleeved jacket with white fur trim, silver crown-shaped buttons down the front, and a faded brown belt. His arms are still covered by tight black material, and though his hands are still slightly clawed, there are no X's on the back of his gloves, and they have fur trim to match the Santa feel of the design. He even has a Santa hat tilted on his head, in place of the hovering jack o'lantern mask from before. There's a small seam running down the back of the jacket, which could either represent stitches or a zipper.

Sora's face is longer and more pointed than the Vampire Form figure, which makes sense if KHII takes place a few years after the original game - he's older, now! He retains the dark, ashen physical appearance, and even still has the faint shadow over his eyes, but since he's Christmassy rather than Halloweeny, he no longer has the tiny vamp fangs at the corners of his mouth.

Santa Form Sora is also taller than Vampire Form Sora, topping out above 7" thanks to his hat. He still has all the same articulation, including balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel boots, hinged ankles, and mid-foot swivels. Because his feet are so epic, you'll have no trouble getting him to balance, even in some fairly dynamic poses. None of the joints were stuck, which is always refreshing to see (especially when we're talking about an import figure that's a little bit on the pricey side). His right elbow is slightly loose, but only when he's holding his accessory.

Sora's only accessory is his Keyblade - the game's signature weapon. If you haven't played the game, the Keyblade is exactly what it sounds like: a sword with details that make it looke like (and eventually, function as) a key. The Keyblade changes its appearance and abilities depending on what keychain is attached to it. By defeating Dr. Finkelstein's newest experiment (meant to be a playmate for Lock, Shock and Barrel), you unlock the ホーリーパンプキン (Decisive Pumpkin).

Decisive Pumpkin has a Christmas motif with a hint of Halloween. The handguard is designed like one of the skeletal reindeer, with Jack's face (complete with beard and Santa hat) on the hilt. The blade is a red-and-white striped Snake, done in the typical Tim Burton style. The keychain is non-removable, sadly; it has a jack o'lantern motif and the dongle is Zero, but the entire thing is plastic. There's a hole in the hilt that matches the thin peg on Sora's palm.

In the Vampire Sora review, we wished for Halloween Town versions of Donald and Goofy - we're still waiting for those, but now we want Christmas Town versions, too: Donald and Goofy become a snowman and a reindeer, respectively. Santa Form Sora isn't as singularly iconic as Vampire Sora was, but he's still a good figure, and will make a nice holiday decoration.

-- 12/26/10

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