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by yo go re

"Gee, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?"

Pinky and the Brain are two tiny lab mice. Brain is a genius, but Pinky is just goofy. Both have the desire to take over the world. But they fail each time they try.

Although Tiny Toon Adventures had a large cast, creating them was relatively easy - you just take the existingly Looney Tunes and create school-aged derivatives - but the Animaniacs crew had a much tougher time ahead of them. Their show was going to be an anthology, meaning even if you successfully create one hit premises, you've still got tons of work ahead of you; so you take inspiration anywhere you find it and hope for the best. Honestly, under those conditions, it's impressive they managed to put together not one but two iconic, enduring concepts. [yes, Minerva Mink and Mr. Skullhead, love them --ed.]

Pinky was voiced by Rob Paulsen, same as Yakko Warner. (He'd also been the original Raphael and the 2012 Donatello.) The characters sound nothing alike, however, thanks to Rob playing Pinky with an inexplicable British accent. Er, inexplicable for the character; the actor chose it because he was a fan of Monty Python and similar British comedy, and thought the combination of goofy and surreal suited the dimwitted lab mouse. Pinky's sculpted with a typically sweethearted smile, and his large buck teeth poke out of his mouth just as they should.

Brain and Pinky had a sort of Laurel and Hardy, big guy/little guy thing going on, with Pinky being the taller one (though not particularly stronger or any more physically capable). He's slender, with short legs and long arms, and his head rests on top of a long neck. His hands and feet are pink, and so is the tail that curls around to his side - usually it's rats that have bare tails, while mice's are furry, but do recall that the themesong indicated these have been genetically modified. Considering the toy stands about 6" tall (not counting his ears), that would almost make this a 1:1: scale toy! He's certainly not in scale with anything else. The body is unpainted, just the color of bare plastic, but we do get blue for his eyes and red for his nose.

The articulation is mostly good. Pinky has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed waist, balljointed tail, balljointed hips, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The tail is just weighty enough that sometimes it doesn't want to stay in place if you lift it off the floor, but the real problem is that the waist is shallow. It barely offers any more range than a swivel would. And really, considering how long his feet are, some hinges for the toes would have been welcome, to aid him in walking poses. (While the insert behind the figure is the same stage Yakko had, the outside of the box is designed to look like a cage. Clever!)

The vast majority of Pinky's accessories are alternate bodyparts. He's got five pairs of hands! There are the relaxed pair he starts with, another pair that's very similar (just with the fingers slightly less bent), a flat pair, a pair for holding things, a right hand that's open a little wider, and a ledt hand with a blue pen. Then there are two alternate heads, one laughing happily, the other with his tongue sticking out and eyes swirling like he's been bonked on the head. Both of those mean more paint apps: the interior of his mouth for one, green and yellow eyes for the other.

Then we get to the actual accessories. Pieces of lab equipment include a round-bottom flask set over a burner, a set of flasks connected by a condenser tube, and a stand with three large yellow buttons and an old-fashioned lightbulb on top. Then there's a small red grappling hook that Brain probably made for him, a small spiral notebook to go with the pen mentioned before, and a picture of Pharfignewton, his horse/girlfriend, who's named after a 1990s Volkswagen advertising slogan ("Fahrvergnügen"). Yes, he's a mouse, and she's a horse. Each of the hands is designed for holding a specific accessory, so the grapnel will always be in his right hand, the photo will always be in his left, etc.

"Pinky and the Brain" was the only Animaniacs segment to get its own spin-off (and a sequel to the spin-off, though we don't talk about that). Somehow there were never toys, though, so it's nice to get something at last.

-- 04/12/23

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