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by yo go re

"You talking 'bout a Gremlin with glasses who could talk and sing 'New York, New York'? That's brilliant, it's in the movie, done. It's done, I love it, it's in the movie. Next!"

When NECA first made Gremlins action figures, there was just a single Gremlins 2 Gremlin, the Brain Gremlin. Now here we are, 19 years later, and the Brain is back.

A good 90, 95% of his figure is rehashed. The body isn't the new Ultimate Gremlin mold they created a couple years ago, because that was for Gremlins 1 and Gremlins 2 introduced a slightly different body type. This is, rather, the generic Gremlin body they were using a decade ago, as seen on figures like the original Flasher Gremlin. Brain is obviously brown instead of green, but it's the same underlying mold. Logically, they've only bothered to do complex paint apps on his extremities, since you're never going to see the central part of the body.

And if you go look at the Flasher Gremlin review, you'll find that figure used the original Brain Gremlin's head, meaning this 2022 toy uses parts from a 2012 toy and a 2003 toy. Time really is a flat circle! Can't wait to see what kind of Gremlins NECA gives us in 2032, and how many of these molds they're still using.

The reason Ultimate Brain only uses the head and not the entire body is that the old toy had sculpted clothes, while this one wears softgoods. Theoretically this is intended to be the same outfit, because he only wore one thing for most of the movie: a grey wool suit over a blue turtleneck. (Before it, he wears a shredded white shirt while trading stocks; after it, he first dressed like Sinatra, then was in a tuxedo in a deleted scene.) Why, then, does this one get pants when the original did not? Because the original was wrong. You can totally see his little pantlegs when he's being interviewed by Grandpa Fred. The clothes are all held shut by velcro - behind the button on the jacket, and down the back for his shirt and trousers.

Since the body is pre-existing, you already know what the articulation is going to be like: balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists, balljoint hips, hinged knees, and balljointed feet. That's way better than the first Brain, and the softgoods clothing hardly limits it at all - just the way normal clothes would limit anyone's range of motion. Because the head is two decades old at this point, it doesn't have a hinged jaw or articulated ears. No giant loss, admittedly.

We do at least get some new accessories. Like before, Brain has his glasses, but they're not removable this time; no great loss. He has the same beaker of mutagenic brain hormone, but no book this time. We do, however, get a pipe for him to casually smoke, and a syringe full of blue stuff - the genetic sunblock he injected into the soon-​to-be-Bat Gremlin! How fun! There's also an alternate pair of hands, for holding things. But they're both pre-existing molds, which means we don't get a hand where the thumb is positioned to fully take advantage of the syringe, and we don't get any hand capable of holding the serum. That's disappointing.

While Mohawk was the main antagonist for Gizmo in the movie, Brain spent more time interacting with the humans, acting as the Gremlins' spokesman (in the novelization, too [and the real world --ed.]). Even using decades-old parts, this is a tremendous upgrade over the old toy, and is, for the first time, dressed properly. And thanks to the way they did it, we could even see some alternate costumes in the future.

-- 08/07/22

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