It’s bittersweet writing this introductory paragraph, knowing that we would’ve been expecting one more Wave 3 review for the missing Cheetara. As things stand, it’s not meant to be for now. But we’re thrilled beyond words to finally be talking about the next ThunderCats team member, the mighty mentor of Lion-O, Jaga!!! Toy Bro, aka Jared Elswick, shares his thoughts with us below. Have a look at Toy Bro’s figure review, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe!
TC.org: Oh boy! It’s time to talk ThunderCats again. I have to admit, the waiting period between the first two Wave 3 figures that got shipped early from BBTS and the long-awaited Jaga has felt like an eternity. Not really, of course, but gosh, did you pick up on the anticipation on social media for this figure?
TB: Ha, yes. As soon as Slithe and Cracker got out there, it was nothing but “where’s Jaga?” Frankly, I was in the same boat, having those two but not Jaga definitely made me more antsy about getting him.
TC.org: Given the amount of time between our initial sighting of Mattel’s Jaga at PowerCon a few years ago, and the Super7 ULTIMATES! figure you have in your hands now, this must be an “angel-choir-singing-in-the-background” moment, right?
TB: Somewhat, sure. This is one of those figures that has a “history” despite this line still not being at all robust. We knew he was coming from Mattel, we knew it. He and Grune were always on the way, but then of course Mattel did what Mattel does. Then they showed up at PowerCon, for no legitimate reason really, and finally we have Jaga with Grune on the way. So this one seems like more of a “long time coming” than most other figures.
TC.org: We now have the corporeal Jaga as opposed to the spirit version. Do you think it was a good call to have him come out first versus the spirit version, and why?
TB: I think so, but maybe not for the reason most would expect. It goes back to your last question and my answer. We’ve known about and seen this Jaga before Super7 even got their hands on the line. It’s one of those figures that I just expected to come out because it already existed. Granted, the spirit version could have just as easily been the one to lead with, but already knowing about this one set the expectation for me, so it’s nice to get regular Jaga now, and we know we’ll get a spirit version sooner rather than later.
TC.org: What are the highlights for you with this figure? Paint applications? Plastic quality? The wired cape? The many heads?
TB: The wired cape is a big thing for me overall, if I were to pick one. I enjoy soft goods on figures, when they’re done well, and go out of my way to get custom soft goods as well. So Jaga coming with both cape options is a really nice feature. The soft goods cape just adds another layer of depth that you can’t achieve with a rigid plastic cape.
TC.org: Collectors have already pointed out that they’re satisfied with the symbol printed on Jaga’s Sword of Omens. Naturally, the symbol on his cape is important to get right, too, but does it look like a home run to you on the sword this time?
TB: Yes, thankfully this looks as good as possible on Jaga’s sword compared to what came with Lion-O in Wave 1, much improved.
TC.org: Speaking of swords, obviously Jaga passed the sword down to Lion-O in “Exodus”, and wielded it before, so it makes sense for him to come with it, as his LJN figure did. But there’s a different sword he wielded in the show that his ReAction figure comes with. How important is it for you to have that accessory included in the ULTIMATES line, and do you think leaving it out may mean it’s planned for inclusion with a variant down the line?
TB: Good question. It certainly could be released down the line in a variant, though I suspect it would need yet anothervariant for Jaga. It doesn’t necessarily go with the spirit version; it goes more with the ghost version when he fights Grune. Unless they just wanted to give us this sword with Grune, which might have been the better option. Though if they did a semi-translucent Jaga/Grune set for that “Ghost Warrior” fight, I’m not sure I’d complain.
TC.org: Let’s discuss his cape. Or rather, capes. Does the soft goods work with this figure? We all know Mumm-Ra’s decrepit form was the first to have this type of cape included and, to be honest, toy photographers have had a field day delivering excellent action shots featuring that cape. Is this something you’d expect to be the same with Jaga in the coming weeks/months?
TB: Absolutely. Wired soft goods capes are a game changer for posing caped figures, as well as for photography. The cape is no longer a hindrance just because you decide to give the figure a non-neutral stance, so it completely changes what you can do with it.
TC.org: I had to buy four Jagas (yes, four!) because of the different heads. Each represents a specific moment or memory of the character that I want to display in my collection. The fourth one is for a possible young Jaga head, based on a sketch that Nate Baertsch shared a while back. Is not including it here a missed opportunity, or is it just an opportunity to release it in the future with a Spirit Jaga?
TB: Ha, honestly one of the things I’d have preferred they changed about this release was to give us a young head. I think four heads is pushing it, and I don’t think I’ll ever use the unhelmeted head in my display. I’d have rather it been a young head. That said, it seems entirely possible we could get a young Jaga figure down the road or, like you said, as a pack in with another figure, which would also be nice.
TC.org: Which is your preferred head of the three to use? And which configuration of hands will you display Jaga with?
TB: I think the standard one he comes with in the box, at least for now. And at the moment I’m using the vertically hinged right hand for the sword and one of the more styled posed hands for his left.
TC.org: No one ever expected a “magic cloth hand” to be included as an accessory. It certainly shows that Super7 is thinking outside the box when it comes to what they include in this line. Panthro’s samoflange and the thundrillium crate that comes with the ThunderTank are other great examples. Does it make the line better knowing that they can still surprise you with unique accessories only hardcore fans will recognize?
TB: Absolutely. It’s one of the things I look for when it comes to ULTIMATES in general. Not every figure gets that treatment, but it’s a nice surprise when they do. The magic cloth is certainly a weird one, but it’s also one of those things that you can easily recognize from the show.
TC.org: We now officially have six real ThunderCats in our collections, when you include Pumyra and the ThunderKittens from Mattel’s first year of Club Third Earth. Out of the six, which one is your favorite today? I’ll ask you the same question when the next member of the team comes out… but we know it’s going to be Tygra, so let’s get this settled before he arrives.
TB: For now it’s still Lion-O, specifically the ULTIMATES release, not Mattel’s. The alternate head Super7 included with that figure changes him up a great deal for me and allows him to more easily be put in action poses or scenes compared to the neutral head. But yeah, everyone’s going to be unseated when Tygra arrives.
TC.org: Let’s compare the figure itself to the prototype. Do you think they nailed it?
TB: I think it’s pretty close. The big differences for me are in the head/face area. The line work on the eyes in particular is a little heavy-handed here compared to the prototype, and it does change his expression up a bit, but for the most part it’s pretty comparable, I think.
TC.org: Now that you have all three of the Wave 3 trio, who is your favorite and why?
TB: It’s Slithe, and I think that’s going to be a pretty universal sentiment. He’s just so different that it’s hard not to gravitate to him first. I also really like bigger, chunky figures, and he fits that bill quite well, not to mention the fact that he looks absolutely amazing, so he’s got a leg up on the competition. Jaga is a close second, though, with Captain Cracker at the back. Not because he’s a bad figure, but like I said in his review, he’s up against some super stiff competition from two main characters.
TC.org: There’s going to be some waiting now until Wave 2 arrives. If all goes to plan, it will ship next month from the factory and be in our hands hopefully by January. Are you hoping to see Wave 5 revealed for preorder in the next few weeks?
TB: I suspect we’ll see Wave 5 soon-ish. Brian’s said they aren’t going to show off Wave 5 until we have Wave 3, and that time is now, so I wager it’s only a matter of time for them to be able to slot ‘Cats in somewhere. I’m itching for more, that’s for sure.
TC.org: Apart from Bengali and Vultureman, whom everybody is expecting, who else do you expect to see?
TB: Taking a cue from this wave, I’d want to say there will be a vintage figure character. I’m hoping to see Mongor sooner rather than later. But of course I’m very hopeful they decide to jump into the Lunataks at this point and start giving us one per wave, possibly. It’ll take a while to get them all, but come on! We know people want them.
TC.org: On that note, we’ll bid you adieu for now. Thank you again for taking the time out to talk toys with us. Especially ThunderCats ULTIMATES!, obviously. Until the next one?
TB: Absolutely, hopefully much sooner this time!
Jared “Toy Bro” Elswick is a longtime toy collector and hobbyist. In 2017 he turned his passion for action figures into a YouTube channel in order to have an outlet for expressing his views on the properties he collects. It has since become a huge part of his daily routine to review, discuss and promote action figures on YouTube and across social media.