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Yoda (Force Spirit)

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by yo go re

I really can't stay/
Baby, it's old outside.

Yoda was a legendary Jedi Master and stronger than most in his connection with the Force. Small in size but wise and powerful, he trained Jedi for over 800 years, playing integral roles in the Clone Wars, the instruction of Luke Skywalker, and unlocking the path to immortality.

Yoda has already had two cracks at a Black Series figure: first boxed, but it came out in that dead period when nothing was being released, and then carded, alongside Anakin in the "Archive" line. Now we've got a third, a Walmart-excluisve "Force Spirit" edition to go along with the Obi-Wan from a few years ago.

The likeness is rather so-so. Maybe it's the impossibility of sculpting wispy hair, maybe it's a subtle mistake in the shape of the head, but this looks more like a Prequel Yoda than an Original Yoda (Phantom Menace version, when they were still using a puppet, not the CGI one from later).

Like Obi-Wan, Yoda's legs and lower arms are molded from translucent blue plastic, while the upper arms and torso are solid. The blue is lighter, and not quite as sparkly, but it still feels the same. Because Force Ghosts are blue, all the normal figure's colors have been hue-shifted in that direction, meaning his little brown clothes are nearly purple, and his skin is a dark metallic teal. Even his hair has a tint to it, ending up nearly the same color as the faded hands and feet.

Yoda wears his softgoods robe, which is made from a shimmering, diaphanous material colored to look like a blue version of light tan (if that makes sense). He still comes with a few accessories, which is surprising: Obi-Wan couldn't take his lightsaber into the next world, but Yoda was so attached to his cane and his necklace that they turned into ghosts with him? The necklace is actually a "blissl flute," basically a panpipe, and, in perhaps the utmost example of every dang person and item in Star Wars having an utterly epic and detailed backstory revealed only in the novels and comics, the cane is a "gimer stick," a gift from the Wookies that could be chewed on for its nutritious juices and painkilling properties. Really? Really, Star Wars? The little old Muppet's walking stick couldn't just be a stick he uses to walk because he's a little old Muppet? Ugh. The normal release(s) also had his lightsaber and a snake, which didn't make the cut here, but aren't really missed.

Despite his itsy-bitsy body, Yoda is articulated just as highly as the human-sized characters. He's got a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and swivel/hinge ankles. It's slightly strange that he doesn't have knees, but were you really planning to have him doing deep squats? Surprisingly, this Yoda has something the first two didn't: a second softgoods skirt beneath his outer robe. Why does he get this, when the others went without? Maybe to keep the legs from being too translucent and blue? It's the same kind of tan-purple as his clothes, so it blends in just fine, but if they were worried about his legs, why not mold them in the color they wanted?

Force Spirit Yoda feels even less worth his price than the regular Yodas did, and neither of those were good values to begin with. Even with his ghost-flute and his ghost-special-Wookiee-health-juice-medicine-cane, he feels like more of a rip-off than Obi-Wan did. Honestly, the pair of them should have been a $30 two-pack, not separate solo releases at the normal price. But now that Walgreens has had one Force Spirit and Walmart has another, what store is going to be the one to carry the bright blue box with Force Spirit Anakin in it? And will he be old or young?

-- 12/07/19

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