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Nightmare Before Christmas
by yo go re

Jun Planning has had the The Nightmare Before Christmas license for a decade, now, and has mainly focused on high-end collectibles, like statues, collector plates and bobbleheads. They've also produced action figures, but those were closer to dolls, with their large size and cloth costumes. However, now that NECA's NBX license has expired, Jun Planning has expanded their product line with an assortment of more traditional action figures.

The inaugural series of figures includes all the stars - Jack, the Mayor, Dr. Finkelstein - and a few background monsters, as well. And of course, we also get Jack's love interest, Sally. She's kind of a given in these lines: her appearance based on Tim Burton's then-fiancee Lisa Marie, Sally was absent from Burton's original poem, but is nearly the hero of the the movie. Goth boys want her, goth girls want to be her.

A ragdoll stuffed with leaves and brought to life by the Dr. Finkelstein, Sally is curious about the world outside the mad scientist's lab. Se regularly drugs her creator's tea and escapes to go exploring, which is how she meets Jack Skellington. Realizing they share a desire for something more in their lives, Sally's feelings for Jack begin to grow. However, she's afraid of what Jack's plans for Christmas might mean, and is torn between helping her friend and doing what she thinks is right.

While most cartoon characters have a symmetrical design, making it easy for animators to flip the image, but Sally is distinctly different: she's made like a rag doll, so her dress isn't even a symmetrical shape, so say nothing of the various patches and tatters it's made from. There are 13 different fabric swatches stitched roughly together in her dress, and one side of the rough lower edge is lower than the other. Plus, while her body may look even on both sides, the stitches holding her "skin" together are all over the place.

Sally's face is almost perfectly spherical, and her big eyes are framed by darker lids. Her "eyelashes" are made from stitches and they, like all the other stitches, are fully sculpted raised elements. Her expression is bright and cheerful, though that could just be the big stitchy smile going up her cheeks - just like The Dark Knight's Joker. Her hair is straight and hangs down past her waist, and the individual strands are impressively detailed. Her skin is a light powder blue, and her stitches are darker.

The figure has nice articulation, though there are a few more joints she could use. The head is a balljoint, and though her hair offers no "give" to the joint, the range of motion is still fairly good - just don't expect to tilt her head backwards. There are balljoints for the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and simple pegs for the wrists. Rather than having a break at the waist, the dress is a single piece, and there's a swivel waist beneath it. The hips are balljoints, the knees are hinged and the ankles are swivels, even though they aren't obvious. The fact that there aren't any swivels in the thighs is good, because it helps keep the legs in line and lets us work the waist, but biceps would have added more poseability.

Sally's hands pop out at the wrists, so she can hold her accessories. Despite having two replacements, they're both righties: one to clutch a thistle blossom, the other to hold her picnic basket. The basket is packed with a blanket, a wine bottle, a fish skeleton on a plate, and more. Despite her ultra-tiny feet, Sally can stand well by herself, even when holding the heavy picnic basket. For more stability, though, she includes one of those adjustable three-piece waist-clamping doll stands. The base of the stand is shaped like a coffin, and printed with the NBX logo.

The figure for this review was provided by Jun Planning, so unless these are going to show up on store shelves swaddled in bubble wrap and packing tape, I can't speak to the packaging. What I can tell you is that the figure is well-made, decently articulated and painted nicely. This isn't some glorified statue that you can't do anything but display: this is a real action figure, and should please even casual Nightmare Before Christmas fans.


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