Thursday, March 7, 2013

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Jitsu By Mattel

Jitsu was a guy I was happy to be getting. I don’t feel that way about every Masters of the Universe Classics figure, certainly not the humans. But throw in a cool samurai-looking head, a couple of Ninja-Turtle weapons, and some slick red and gold armor and I’m sold.

Obviously Jitsu is meant as a direct foil to Fisto. I almost feel bad that it’s so clear that’s what’s going on, because it almost diminishes the guy a little bit. He has a cool design and a lot more character in his appearance than a lot of the other humans. He also has a new bio that gives him a much more central role than he previously had; which was next-to-nothing.

We haven’t watched all of the old He-Man cartoons that are available on Netflix, but I think I vaguely remember Jitsu showing up and talking in a grunty Japanese accent for one episode. I think he might have piloted something at some point as well. I don’t remember him being in the 2002 cartoon, but I’ll bet he was. They managed to cram almost everybody into that thing.

First Glance: I like him, but for some reason it seems like he should have more going on. I guess the Fisto comparison leads me to think Jitsu should have a different belt and loincloth. Actually, that would have been really cool.

Articulation: Jitsu has the standard male MOTUC articulation. 

Head – ball joint

Shoulders – ball joint

Biceps – swivel

Elbows –pivot

Wrists – swivel

Waist - swivel

Hips – ball joint

Thighs – swivel

Knees – pivot

Boot tops - swivel

Ankles – pivot

I don’t know whether they gave up on rocker ankles or maybe my Jitsu just has more rigid side-to-side joints, but mine only move forward and back.

The shoulder joint on my figure’s right arm is very loose. This is very unfortunate since that’s the one with the giant hand on it. I would assume that all Jitsus might not be like this.

The rest of the joints are tight and functional.

Sculpt: Jitsu has a new head and right hand. That may not seem like much, but when those parts look as distinctive as Jitsu’s, it’s all you need.

This guy has a heck of a goatee. Seriously – a lot of time went into sculpting this thing. There’s a ton of detail to make the hairs stand out and the bottom is nice and long. I like how it’s kind of scraggly . And the whole things stands out from his face a good bit. It has a thickness and distinctiveness that other figures facial hair do not. And no I have just spent a whole paragraph talking about an action figure’s facial hair, so let’s move on.

Can I spend a paragraph on Jitsu’s eyebrows? You betcha. They have the same depth and detail as his goatee. They have a nice sort of evil wizard shape and make this guy look even more menacing than his craggy face does by itself. 

His hair is that weird male-pattern samurai bun thing. I don’t know what the deal is with that, but we’ve all seen it in the movies. The Horsemen did a good job with the sculpt. Jitsu’s face is severe and definitely looks not-to-be-fucked-with. It looks like he could cut paper with his cheekbones. I like that his eyes are decidedly Japanese in appearance but aren’t little slits. The Horsemen did a very good job capturing Jitsu’s ethnicity without making him look like a caricature. Well, not an ethnic caricature, anyway.

The rest of this guy is the standard MOTUC male body, right down to the furry boots and loincloth. It’s still a great buck and has plenty of detail and articulation. I think it’s worth pointing out again just how important this buck is to the line. Some might look at the amount of sharing that MOTUC does as cheap and uninspired, but I love the uniformity it gives the line. Just for comparison, while I love my Marvel Legends, those things are all over the place. There simply isn’t any kind of unifying form. And while a shared buck wouldn’t work for that line (although Hasbro is certainly giving it a go right now), a little uniformity in the style and placement of the joints would be nice.

Coloring: Jitsu’s skin looks dark and weathered and has a different color from any other Masters figure. He looks like he’s been out in the sun, fighting battles. 

I’m thoroughly irritated by the paint on his goatee. Or the lack thereof. The right side of his mustache isn’t painted all the way in, so the hair on the inside near his mouth is flesh-colored. If his hair were jet black I could dab some paint on there and cover it, but it isn’t. And it also isn’t a big enough deal (to me) to deal with Digital River’s nightmarish return system.

The rest of his head is good. The hair is tightly defined and his eyes are – like his face – very distinctive and different from other MOTUC males. 

Jitsu’s huge hand looks nice. I like the shade of gold they used on this figure. It isn’t over-the-top shiny, but is still quite metallic. The green gems on his knuckles are a nice touch, and make me laugh because it kind of looks like Jitsu has the Infinity Gauntlet or whatever that glove is that Darkseid has. Of course, this would explain how somebody from Skeletor’s C-team ended up taking over when the boss flew off into space.

The wristband on his left arm looks great. It’s just the basic He-Man one, but the coloring makes it stand out. 

The belt and loincloth look good in the chosen colors and I particularly like the detailing of the gem – the red with the gold around it.

Finally, the boots are tightly painted and have nice detail, but I’m not crazy about the brownish tops. If it were up to me I would have probably just had them match the rest of the boot.

Flair: Jitsu has a new and unique piece of chest armor. It is made out of a soft plastic and fastens a bit further back than some others so it doesn’t interfere with his arms as much. It also doesn’t interfere with Jitsu’s abdominal pivot very much.

I absolutely love the design on this thing. It’s intricate and exotic and unlike anything the other Masters have, and yet somewhat reminiscent of Fisto. The sculpt is awesome and the paint job is great. Sometimes you get a little slop or bad edges on softer plastic. That’s not the case here. There are spots on the back to store the dual blades included with the figure. They fit in just fine and stay put. I like the design of the sheathes or whatever and you can wedge the sword in there as well. I don;t know if that's part of the design, but it sort of works:

Accessories: Jitsu comes with a sword and two blade things that I used to be able to name. The orange is kind of a weird choice, but I guess that’s what the old figure had. And I just realized that Faker’s orange weapons didn’t strike me as odd at all, so I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

The sword is a basic katana with a dark orange hilt and a lighter, metallic orange blade. It looks cool. I like the detailing on the hilt and guard. Most importantly, it fits well in Jitsu’s left hand. Not so much the right.

The twin bladed things are neat, but in all honesty I would rather have had a longer, armored loincloth thingy. I realize that’s not really a comparison, but given the choice I’d take something to make Jitsu just a tad more like a samurai. The handles of these things fit perfectly into the spots on Jitsu’s back and also into his left hand. It does not, however, make sense that he has two of them. You can kind of half-ass set one in his right hand, but not really.

Packaging: It’s the regular MOTUC blister card. Still neat and still effective. Here’s her bio:

As I've mentioned before, this guy has two stupid names. His bio isn't too bad, but as Beau pointed out on the first podcast, Skeletor sure has freed a lot of dudes from Prison Starr.

Value: Jitsu hits the mark of being acceptable for twenty-five bucks plus shipping. The entire line of Masters of the Universe Classics feels pretty overpriced, but some figures they seem less overpriced than others.

Overall: Jitsu might not be a must-have, but he’s a cool villain and I like him. I probably wouldn’t have sought him out if I didn’t have a sub, but if you like samurai or just want more of Skeletor’s henchmen he’s a good one.

4 out of 5

I can’t imagine Jitsu will be hard to find or prohibitively expensive. People dig him, but he isn’t a necessity. If you really need one I’d check eBay first. There might be some sub holders that didn’t care about this guy.



  1. An add on belt would have been great with Jitsu. That would have been better than having two more weapons that he can't hold.
    Also, if his shoulder is loose where it rotates (forward/backward movement) it's easy to wrap one of those clear packaging rubberbands tightly around the shoulder, let it work it's way in between the arm and body and it should put enough friction in there to tighten that joint.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'll give it a try. I've got a million of those little rubber bands.