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Anakin Skywalker

SW: Clone Wars
by yo go re

Some people claim that the Star Wars prequels undermined the character of Darth Vader. In Episode I, Anakin was a gaping simpleton; in Episode II, he'd become a self-involved dork; and by the time of Episode III, he was of course a gullible prick. There was only one time Annie got to show hints of the man he'd eventually become, and that was during the Clone Wars.

Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to the planet Nelvaan to find General Grievous. While there, Anakin is sent on a quest by a village shaman. In a cave decorated with primitive drawings, Anakin sees powerful visions of his future. To carry the memory of this experience with him, he has the drawings tattooed on his body.

Of course, this figure is based on the first Clone Wars cartoon - you know, the good one? The one that's in continuity? And backed up by every other piece of Clone Wars tie-in fiction released, other than the CGI cartoon? The CGI cartoon, incidentally, which stole re-uses all the 2D designs for its characters? Yeah, you know the one. Anyway, like Yoda and his kybuck, animated Anakin's been turned into a real boy.

This figure is based on the four-episode story arc at the end of Clone Wars Season 3, where Obi Wan and Anakin found themselves on the planet Nelvaan (named after animation studio Nelvana). When they learn that all the male Nelvaanians have disappeared, Obi-Wan helpfully volunteers Anakin to go find out what happened to them. Dick.

Anakin is shirtless, providing some added value for the ladies. The sculpt is good, and probably way more buff than Hayden Christensen ever was. He's wearing baggy yellow pants with a slash on the right leg, and brown boots to match his utility belt. The blue marks on his chest, arm and back are all painted crisply - and by the way, they're not tattoos. They're the trails of "bruise-leech crawlers," and just as the name suggests, the marks are actually bruises left as the leech-like bugs crawled over his skin. Think of it like a slug's slime trail, but more painful.

The articulation is plentiful, even with all that bare skin. Anakin has balljoints at the neck, shoulders, elbows and knees, and swivels at the hips, waist and right forearm. Yes, just the right, because that's the mechanical hand that made the Nelvaanians believe he was the one to fulfill their prophecy - and just as seen in "Chapter 25," you can destroy his arm. In addition to the standard blue-bladed lightsaber, this figure includes a shattered stump that can plug in place.

The likeness is decent, definitely one of the better Anakins we've seen. Hayden Christensen must just have a tough face to capture, because the toys always seem to have problems. Obviously they were going for realism with this figure, so it's supposed to look like the human actor, not his line-art counterpart. The hair even looks just like it did at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith - which is perfect, since the end of Clone Wars led directly into the opening minutes of the film.

Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars was an excellent cartoon, and showed just how exciting a capable director could make the characters and situations of the prequels. And perhaps most impressively, Anakin Skywalker got to be fairly competant throughout, instead of a whiny bitch. That Anakin is the one who became Darth Vader, and this figure shows a pivotal moment in his development.


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