Dragon Stars Janenba (Janemba) Review Jan 18, 2021 17:54:51 GMT -6
Post by Branjita on Jan 18, 2021 17:54:51 GMT -6
Bandai America sent me this Janenba figure from their Dragon Stars line of figures, and I have to say I'm impressed! He isn't flawless, but he is a great representation of the character.
First of all, a lot of people have pointed out that "Janenba" looks like a misspelling of "Janemba", but you have to remember that DB character names can be spelled many different ways when they are romanized from the Japanese alphabet into the Latin alphabet that English uses. ジャネンバ can translate to Janenba, Janemba, Janempa, or Janenpa just as easily as クリリン can translate to Krillin, Kuririn, or Klilyn.
Fresh out of the package, Janemba is unique in that he comes with 4 alternate hands and a sword. Most figures from the Dragon Stars line only come with 2 alternate hands, and often times nothing else, so this is pretty cool.
The overall figure has a really great presence. I'd call the colors perfect. Many Dragon Stars figures can have head/face sculpts that don't look a lot like the character, but I think they perfectly captured Janemba's face, ears, horns, and overall look. His proportions are overall passable, however, like most Dragon Stars figures, his shins are much longer than his thighs, which is an anatomical issue. The only main character I can think of from DBZ who has longer shins than thighs is Imperfect Cell. This creates a little bit of difficulty in posing, but I'll talk about that more later.
I found the sword impossible to get into his hand without being clever. I used a hair dryer on his hand for 10 seconds to soften the plastic and easily placed the sword inside it. It's interesting that Bandai included so many hands for this figure. I think they could have gotten by without including a left hand that can hold the sword. In fact, I don't intend on ever taking the sword out of his right sword-holding hand, because it looks so cool.
The articulation on this figure is present, but not entirely useful or at least usable enough. He has a ball jointed head, but his head cannot look up or down at all. He has an ab crunch, but the tail joint prevents very much movement. Like most Dragon Stars, his ankles cannot rotate left-to-right, so making poses where his feet are flat and firmly planted on the ground is very difficult and unfortunately very limiting. Naturally, the design of Janemba's shins prevent very good ankle articulation at all, but the joint lacks the capability to move left and right, so it isn't being hindered by the design of Janemba's shins. His arm articulation is great and the way the shoulder pieces can hide the ball joint is very nice! I have zero negative comments about the arms. The tail seems short for Janemba. It seems to me that it would have been much better if the tail was longer, and started to curve at the knees. It's in the way in some poses... and in others... it is difficult to make sure that his tail shows in photos instead of being hidden by his upper body.
Like I mentioned earlier, the leg articulation (and proportions) make posing difficult. The shins are very long and the knee caps tend to bend on the underside of the cap instead of the upper side like a real human/humanoid creature. It takes some effort to make the knees function like a real person, but then... it becomes difficult to find a place where the legs can look natural with the feet almost firmly planted on the ground. More than anything, this figure really needs to have ankle articulation that rolls left and right.
Compared to the vintage 1995 AB Groupe Super Guerriers figure from France, the sculpt of the Dragon Stars figure is clearly superior. The colors of both are good. The head sculpt on the Dragon Stars figure is significantly better, while the proportions of the body is better on the AB figure. You should note that the Dragon Stars figure can hide the hip articulation when posed exactly like this... but the knees need to be slightly bent for him to stand, and then the feet aren't completely planted flat on the ground, which jeopardizes his balance.
The poses you can do with the legs are very limited. Janemba cannot squat and look like he's about to jump or charge at an opponent. I wanted to pose him similar to Gogeta for this photo, but I had to settle for him kicking upward from the ground.
Here is the AB Fat Janemba with Dragon Stars Janemba, Bandai Real Works Janemba, and AB Super Guerriers Janemba. You can see here how Dragon Stars Janemba's legs prefer to be... with the feet not flat to the ground, which is unfortunate.
Beyond the legs, the aspect I dislike second most has to be the tail. It truly should protrude further from Janemba's butt to not get in the way of his legs. There's not a way to fully extend the tail, or make it look longer. It would have been a lot cooler if the tail didn't start to bend until it reached Janemba's mid-calf muscle.
I love the head sculpt, and face. It's perfect. This is the first (and only) Dragon Stars figure I have really wished came with an alternate head though. I would love to be able to put an aggressive head on him with the mouth open.
Overall, I would have to say that this is the best Janemba figure ever produced. The head sculpt is perfect, the upper body including the arms are perfect. It's just let down by the tail not being straighter, the shins being too long compared to the thighs, the lack of left-right ankle articulation, and the overall impossibility of doing anything particularly dynamic with the legs due to them not allowing better standing poses in spite of how much articulation is already present.