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Jyaaku the Nightmare

Spawn Series 19: Samurai Wars
by Shocka

Ah, a refreshing change for McFarlane Toys!

Spawn Series 19: "Dark Ages Spawn: The Samurai Wars" marks a new, cooler, more playable toy from the company with a reputation for well detailed statues. Almost each figure in this six-figure series has a nice amount of articulation and poses, with just as much (or even more) detail as before. I picked up the awesome Samurai Spawn, with 20-odd places of awesome articulation (he can even dance!!! Woo!!) and beautiful armour detailing (including an actual real-hair braided goatee!!) with a cool sword, and Dojo, the big green demon thing which is ultra cool with not as much articulation but stands out with his sick shrunken heads and dead souls and things. Very nice.

I was pleasantly surprised. After hearing many bad things about this guy, he's actually pretty cool. So, with this in mind, I freed him from his plastic prison and check out the packaging, which is the same as the other Samurai Spawn figures. A large picture of the monster himself and some creative art mans the front of the box, which is kind of small for a "Deluxe Boxed Set," and the back has details on the other figures, and a short job description, which reads:

A three-headed monster who magically resdides inside the body of his minion Dojo, Jyaaku guides Dojo's actions and is the force behind the unjust treaty that led to the rebirth of the brash young Samurai warrior Takeda as a Spawn in feudal Japan. After Takeda completes his mission avenging his own murder, he asks to be returned to the grave for eternity. Jyaaku appears to turn down the request, leading to a full-scale battle that rages for weeks until an angelic warrior is dispatched from the Worlds Above to end the confrontation between the monster and his formerly human creation.

Getting the Jyaaku free of his box is the usual McFarlane ceremony involving 2001: A Twisty-Tie Odyssey and a pair of wire cutters, and also a pocketknife to cut off all the tape, followed by the intoxicating trademark plastic smell.

It's all rather satisfying.

Once out, the big fellow is about 9" tall, even taller if you pose him on two legs. Covered in beautiful marble-shaded armour, he's a joy to behold as his detail stretches the imagination and further. His three heads are each posed differently, roaring or staring or both, and are enthasised with the long, bendy rubber necks, covered in brown shaded armour on the front and sculpted hair on the back. The neck and heads can be posed in any direction and moved in any style, allowing for some cool poses.

His body is covered in different shades and pieces of armour, highlighted with metallic drybrushing. His two arms are interesting; in the expected pose (ie one on the box), Jyaaku stands on his two legs and is supported by his right arm, his left raised in a striking battle pose; to do this, the right arm is sculpted horribly. It's fine in the expected pose, but if you get Jyaaku standing on two legs only the arm looks out of place and strange. It would have been nice to have included an additional hand to snap onto him if you wanted a different pose.

His legs and arms have big amounts of articulation, which is both a plus and a minus. When the articulation becomes looser, Jyaaku can fall over more easily, which isn't a good thing. But on the plus side, a little reposing can keep him standing, and the arms work well to give him balance and support. On the whole, the beast has about 30 points of articulation, not including the bendies, and many of them balljoints, and almost all of them hidden. Very nice.

Thanks to his detailed bendy tail, you can get him into a nice pose on two legs by balancing him on his tail; the only problem with this is trying to get his right arm to look nice. All in all, he's a very nice figure for display, and you can get a bit of play out of him as well.

But he doesn't go without his problems. One of these involves the CRAZEE!!! orange hair that tops each of this three heads. It looks kind of strange for a menacing three headed demon to have Dennis Rodman's stupid hair, but things can be done. Some solutions include dying it black (which looks quite good, but is tricky to do), pulling it off (kind of final, and makes his many orange goatees look strange) or simply using a hairdryer on it - the latter is my personal preferance, as you can make it look good without resorting to desperate measures.

Plus, I'm lazy.

Another issue with this guy is his price. Originally offered for $25, this guy was meant to be huge and cool - but he's not much bigger than the normal figures. The new Spawn Series 20 boxed set, the ugly Overtkill, is huge, with about double the plastic of Jyaaku, and he's only $20. The amount of detail and individual pieces of plastic of Jyaaku is no doubt more than Overtkill, but it really doesn't add up. Even the box it comes in is tiny; the figure probably could have been carded rather than boxed. Finding this guy on clearance is the only way to go. Any more than $20, and you're wasting your money.

I like Jyaaku The Nightmare muchly, and think he looks excellent in both my Spawn display or just standing next to Monev the Gale, who he towers over. He looks awesome with your other Samurai Spawn figures, and although he's not a children's toy, he's fun, playable and almost unbreakable (hell, I dropped him from the second story of our house and he didn't even lose a bit of armour - guess that's a perk of being a three headed demon).

Definitely pick him up if you see him on clearance and you won't be disappointed.

-- 11/12/01

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