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Beetlejuice

BST AXN
by yo go re

Eh-ha-ha-ha-ha! AH-HAHA-HAHA-HAHA! It's show time!

Seemingly fun, Beetlejuice is a trickster and mischievous ghost. Rude and crude, he loves to scare people and pull pranks on them. Beetlejuice is always on the lookout for a quick snack of insects, including files [sic] and beetles. Despite his malicious nature, he occasionally directs his chaos towards other evil for the benefit of good people, such as Lydia.

NECA has a line called Toony Terrors that reimagines horror icons in an animated style. One of the figures they did was Beetlejuice, which prompted fans to ask why they didn't just use the cartoon design. As Randy pointed out, Beetlejuice the movie and Beetlejuice the cartoon are two different licenses, so they weren't allowed. But hey, here comes The Loyal Subjects, with their sarcastically named BST AXN line!

You're probably familar with BST AXN, even if you don't know the name: they're those boxed pop culture toys sold all over the place, the ones with tons of licenses but no sense of scale. BST AXN seems like a wonderful line... as long as you only want one single character, not a collection. It's for the people who are huge fans of a specific property and want something to display from it, not those of us who want everything everywhere all at once. That's why you can have Gizmo, Aang, and Sauron in the same line, and they'll be the same height: they're absolutely not meant to interact with anything else.

And if what you want is a single figure from a single property, they're honestly not bad. We've seen better things, obviously, but Hot Toys exist and yet we still buy Hasbro. Beetlejuice wasn't drastically redesigned when going from live-action to animation, so he's still wearing his rumpled striped suit and crooked necktie - in fact, from a purely sartorial standpoint, the biggest change is that his pantlegs hang loosely over his Beatle boots, rather than being tucked into Doc Martens. The cartoon's proportions were all over the place, but Tom Chouinard's sculpt certainly looks like something we would have seen on the screen.

One thing that's not right, though, is the paint. The colors on Beetlejuice are off from the cartoon art. They didn't mess up his black and white suit, obviously, and his maroon shirt is accurate, but the skin's all wrong: they made it pink! If you look at literally any shot from the series - even the art on the toy's box! - you'll see that his skin is supposed to be pale lavender, with the dark circles around his eyes purple. How do you get that wrong? I mean, his teeth may not be as gappy as they were in the animation, but they're the right color, so how do you whiff so badly on something so easy to spot?

Considering how most of The Loyal Subjects' toys move, the articulation is great. Beej has a balljointed head, pec hinges, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The hips are nearly useless, and the chest joint (which cuts straight through the tie, annoyingly) has trouble thanks to the shape of the torso, but this is still a surprisingly decent amount of poseability, and definitely more than we were expecting.

Interestingly, the accessories he comes with are not the same pictured on the back of the box. We'll start with the top hat and cane, which appeared in some promo art for sure, even if it wasn't common in the actual series. The hat has a notch inside shaped to accommodate his hair; it's not enough to hold it on the head permanently, but it's also not going to tumble off at the slightest nudge or anything. Both his hands in the tray are shaped to hold the cane, but you can trade those for a more relaxed pair, or a left hand with the pinky extended. Because he's classy. That one's for holding the yellow... flask? Of... potion? I don't know, it's a thing. He's also got a green bug to eat.

So that's all the same, but the back of the box shows a baby sandworm, and that is definitely not included here. Instead, we get Ginger, the tap-dancing spider! She's got a fully detailed sculpt, and moves with balljoints at the head and thorax, plus swivels for her arms. Those two are very small and very delicate, so it's pure luck that I realized they moved at all. This may not be the sandworm we were promised, but it's better!

Things definitely had to change when converting Beetlejuice from movie villain to cartoon hero. he was less threatening and pervy, he and Lydia were pals, and he had a whole new set of powers: basically, a lot of shapeshifting, impressions, and puns... basically, a rip-off of Genie from Aladdin. Except that this cartoon came out three years before Aladdin, so who was ripping off whom? For a company we have a low opinion of, Animated Beetlejuice turned out really well. So well, in fact, I'm actually looking forward to a Lydia to go with him.

-- 10/29/22


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