Transformers Animated is rather different from other Transformers shows. It’s probably the most light and cartoonish of the shows right down to the art style. It’s a sharp contrast to the Michael Bay films that started coming out around this time, but it still managed to bring about good characters while the Autobots took a more superhero role than the traditional defending army or current “police officer” approach. The heroes weren’t trained soldiers but a simple work crew in over their heads and trying to survive on Earth. It’s really a good show and worth checking out.

One of the later characters was the Animated version of Jazz, working not with Optimus Prime but with Ultra Magnus, this version not too sure about humans due to Cybertronians in general having a xenophobic fear of organic beings. Jazz, however, grew to see the humans as just as worth as any Transformer, and the only one of that group to respect them. It’s why I like him, but his cool persona and ninja styling helped. It was around this time that my FIRST hospital stay came about, due to inflammation and where I first learned what Crohn’s Disease was. So a friend on the Transformers newsgroup sent me a bunch of Transformers to make me feel better, and it sure helped. I couldn’t buy my usual “pity Transformer”, which in hindsight is part of the reason my collection is too big today. But where does Animated’s Jazz fit into that?

Jazz always gets the coolest vehicle modes.

If memory serves the show was set at some point in the near future, making it easier to come up with cars that look like they came from Earth instead of Cybertron but being less strict in matching (within licensing issues) a particular make and model. Jazz of course gets a cool sports car. Some tabs don’t quite go in place but you barely notice it until you try to roll it and only two wheels move. This is when Hasbro could still put quite a bit of paint applications on their Transformers, and Jazz’s is really good. I like the designs on his hood and trunk, but his taillights are painted red. The glass is painted but I can’t tell if it’s originally translucent or not, but I don’t think so. I don’t demand see-through windows unless they hide the internal robot parts as well. You do get translucent headlights, which I’m quite happy with. Overall this is a cool car with obvious robot parts only if you look at the undercarriage, but how often do you do that on a car?

I wonder if Jazz listens to jazz music?

There are no color differences from his vehicle mode outside of that design on his lower body. That’s fine because the colors all look good. I like how well the Animated line hid the vehicle parts in robot mode, with little kibble and only some indication of how they transform. Jazz is a little easier to see how he transforms into his car mode but he looks good doing it, so who cares? Kibble only bothers me when it gets in the way or I can’t find some alternate use for. The Autobot symbol works in both modes, as a decoration for the car and the badge of Elite Guard in robot mode.

Somebody out there may tell me that the arms are not fully transformed. The official instructions states to turn the tailpipes outward after turning the door panels around. Personally I never cared for how they look so I don’t bother unless I’m using them as built-in weaponry. But before I get to the weapons…

“Here’s looking at you, baby.”

…I want to discuss the head. There are two things that keep the Animated line visually detached from the rest of the toylines. One is the body shape (although some of that engineering came from the movie toys and has been improved in other lines) and the other is the head shape. All of the Animated Transformers models have a long chin. Jazz’s is a bit thinner like his fellow Cyber Ninja, Prowl (a toy I was never able to get–due to what was going on at the time Transformers Animated has one of the smallest representations of any of the sublines in this franchise). It looks good for him but it’s harder to have the Animated figures near the others because of the visual contrast involved. They still look good but it is sort of a shame.

“Come on everyone, Jazzercise!” (I’d be sorry if anyone remembered that fad.)

Articulation is quite good. The feet could use some better articulation but the car sides would limit that anyway. You can still get some decent action shots though. Also his “waist” articulation is actually closer to where his ab crunch should be. Luckily he does have shoulders, full bicep and wrist, the neck turns (although his head ends up on an angle when looking left or right), and if you turn the door back into “car” position he can use his exhaust pipes as an arm-mounted melee weapon. But that’s not officially how you use them.

“Let’s see a ninja turtle match my sweet moves.”

They’re actually nunchucks he can hold in his hands. You have to put the string between his fingers and pull them into place but that’s not a problem and the result is so worth it. And yes, it’s an actual string or cord, not a plastic “string” that’s molded to look like a chain. This isn’t much for posing but it’s great for playtime. And they tab together when put into the arms so they’re not a problem putting them back into storage. Or you could pretend he’s launching them at a Decepticon.

Decision: Stays

I have few Transformers Animated figures and I honestly enjoy all of them. Jazz may look out-of-place next to his namesakes but he looks cool in both modes and his nunchucks can actually…chuck, I guess. He’s a good addition to my collection and I’d be sad if I had to part with him.

 

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