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Thundercats Classic
by yo go re

Okay, so Lion-O was great - let's see how Mattel does with one of the villains.

Loyalty is very important to Jackalman; unfortunately, he's loyal only to himself. As a member of the mutants, enemies of the Thundercats, Jackalman leads the Jackelmen, [sic] a group of humanoid jackals from planet Plun-Darr. Jackalman's real name is Kaynar, and regardless of his name, there's no question that this scavenger is a conniving coward whose intentions can never be trusted, except when it comes to him using any means possible to destroy the Thundercats.

Well now, that's interesting! In the '80s cartoon, which inspired these toys, Jackalman was only ever Jackalman: he never got a "real" name. [Not even "Jack Alman?" --ed.] Calling him Kaynar comes from the 2011 series, where (rather than being a conniving coward) he was a bloodthirsty maniac who had to be strapped down like Hannibal Lecter to keep him from killing his fellow prisoners. It seems Mattel is doing the same thing for Thundercats that they did for Masters of the Universe - ie, blending all the old continuities into one shared story.

Jackalman does of course have an animalistic head: pointy ears, big tufts of fur on his cheeks, a long snout, all that. Real jackals have short fur and long, pointy snouts, while the character's snout is broad and flat. His mouth is open slightly, which makes him look a little dumb, and like Lion-O, his eyes seem a little too large. Must be the style of the line.

His body is a completely new mold, covered entirely by sculpted fur. He's barefoot, revealing his dark brown claws, has big bands around his shins, and wears a furry green loincloth held up by a black leather belt. A silver band is around his right wrist, and his left forearm is shielded by a cheetah-spotted bit of protection, held on by three brown strips. A single piece resting on the toy's upper chest creates the thick fur on his shoulder and neck, the big armored pad on the left shoulder, and the straps that hold it on.

Proving that Lion-O was no fluke, Jackalman has excellent articulation. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles that have an actual side-to-side rock to them, meaning you can throw him into some truly wild poses and still have his tootsies firmly touching the ground. Perhaps the chest hinge could flex forward farther, but that's a minor complaint. His shouder pad thingies are soft PVC, so they don't block the arms, either.

The vintage Jackalman toy only had one accessory, a wooden club. This one has the same! It's sculpted to look like gnarled wood, and has a fierce black spike sticking out of it. He could really do some damage with that! The figure also includes a 7¾" tall axe, which is similar to one he was seen using on the cartoon sometimes, but which Mattel's website refers to as "an axe from the evil Slithe." Does that means Slithe is the mutants' armorer, or are we meant to give this accessory to a different figure if Mattel actually manages to get a second series of figures out? Either way, Jackalman has two sets of hands: a pair for gripping accessories, and a pair with the fingers open slightly wider for slashing attacks.

Jackalman's packaging is similar to Lion-O's, but with an image of Castle Plun-Darr instead of the Cats Lair. Everything about this release shows that Mattel is dedicated to the line, not just polishing things up for the release of the main character. Now that Matty has handed control of Club Eternia over to Super7 (having realized, years later than everyone else on Earth, that they have no business running direct-to-consumer distribution on their own), there's been no word about the future of the line. Hopefully 2017 will bring more Thundercats toys that are as good as this one.

-- 11/26/16

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