Semantics is a wonderful thing. It means you can say the same thing in more than one way, a useful method. Take a paradox for example. You can say two things that are opposites yet are both true and get away with it. If you refer to human behavior that is a paradox the not so diplomatic term might be schizoid. Since we're being diplomatic, we go the paradoxical behavior route and talk about our good friends at Palisades Toys. Their symbol is a mountain peak and they are located in the not quite mountainous state of Maryland. And they have two advertising campaigns that ran just a little opposite, with 'size doesn't matter' on Micronauts and 'bigger is better' for Mega Muppets. Well which is it? Today it's going to be the latter.
When you have a successful action figure line one way to expand it is to work with different scales and formats. While there is little doubt that they'd be making resin busts if the license weren't held by Sideshow Toy, Palisades is taking the route of different sizes with their line of Muppets Toys. The line of six-inch action figures will be supplemented by the small via Mini-Muppet pvc sets, and the large with the Mega Muppets. Perhaps they should change the name of the regular line to Mid-Muppets just to keep the alliteration going.
The Mega Muppets have twin pillars of puissant puppetry as the cornerstone of the line. The first was Mega Beaker now followed by Mega Animal. Both of these characters appear in the regular action figure line as exclusives to the first two playsets and not as figures available in single packs at your local store. Future plans for other Mega Muppets have not been revealed and clearly the sales on the first two figures will be the deciding factor on whether the line continues.
You probably shouldn't call him number two, but the second Mega Muppet is the bombastic beat man for Electric Mayhem, Animal. Animal isn't the most loquacious of Muppets, but he has a style all his own providing a driving beat for the band. If he isn't playing the drums you can bet he's busy with either grunting, female companionship or lots of eating. Maybe all three.
Animal's keen fashion sense would be charitably called eclectic, and perhaps more accurately weird. His influences include Jethro and Elly May from the Beverly Hillbillies for his slacks and belt, Hobbits for his footwear and the flying monkeys of Oz with their sexy shirts. Add in a spot of punk rock with a variety of bracelets (ankle and wrist) and a necklace complete with a metal chain.
There are two big differences in Mega Animal and his smaller predecessor - one has a set of drums with him and the other is a lot bigger. Mega Animal is the larger of the pair, towering over the regular version at nearly a foot tall. He'd be taller if he worked on his posture and didn't creep around on those bent knees. The smaller version has a complete set of drums and a pair of drum sticks while the larger version just has the drum sticks.
The Mega Animal has some slight color differences from the first, smaller figure. The hair is a darker shade of violet and since he's bigger there can be more detail in the paint. The best way to describe the paint differences would be subtle. The sleeves of Animal's shirt has subtle shading, and this is carried over to his pants also. The laces that tie the shirt closed are gold on the smaller Animal and tan on Mega Animal. The hair for Mega Animal is much more elaborately sculpted than the smaller figure due to the size since the simpler scheme wouldn't hold up as well on a larger scale. Other than that the figures are just about identical.
For articulation you won't see differences even though the larger size might be able to accommodate more points. The articulation has been hidden in most cases by clothing joints or jewelry (the chain manacles on his wrists) and this creates a better aesthetic for the figure. Here's a look at what Animal's packing!
Shoulders - Ball-joints
Mid-bicep - twists
Wrists - twists
Calves - twists
Waist - twist
Thighs - twists
He also has eyebrows (really a mono-brow, so no winking) that can open and close and his mouth can open and close via a hinge. His neck has a ball-joint but it has a limited range of motion so it works mostly as a twist with slight tilting available. He can also double as a bludgeoning weapon that would work best against smaller foes, but you didn't hear that here.
Animal's Muppet inspiration is the child of master Muppeteer Frank Oz. Frank's talents can be seen in other Muppets like Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle. He's also responsible for Bert and Cookie Monster on Sesame Street and Yoda from the Star Wars movies. Frank has also had success as a director and currently he does more voice work than actual puppeteering because of his busy schedule. Animal has also been performed by John Kennedy and Eric Jacobsen.
The original sculpted figure was pantographed up with some slight changes for the hair, and the primary sculpting for Animal was done by Raven Hood. Raven also sculpted Zoot, Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, Dr. Teeth and assisted with Miss Piggy. Raven got an assist from Camelot Ind. Artists for the sculpting and good old Johnny Apokolips did the prototype. BTW, Johnny A is a made-up name because it just sounds too cool. The paints were created by Eddie and Jason Wires (think there's any nepotism here?). Well, the paints weren't actually created by them but the paint scheme for this figure was. Paint is created by the paint fairy. The product designer was Ken Lilly, and yes, that's his real name.
More pictures of Mega Animal
|Where to buy Mega Animal: The Mega Animal action figure retails in the $22.99 to $29.99 USD price range, and is available at stores like Target, Electronics Boutique, Tower Records, Suncoast, and Musicland, as well as various online toy retailers.
Several such online stores are RTM sponsors Big Bad Toy Store, The Outer Reaches, and Action Figure Xpress. (Be sure to check the other RTM sponsors, listed on the Shop Center.)