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Jazz

Transformers Animated
by yo go re

Here's a Transformers brain-teaser for you: why is it always the white car that's the "black guy?"

Autobot Jazz has studied Earth culture since he first became aware of it. He loves everything about it - the music, the movies, the vehicles, and - of course - the style. He's usually a pretty chill guy, being a cyber-ninja and all, but he can barely contain his excitement at finally getting to check out Earth and give his new vehicle mode a spin. His excitement won't make him forget his duty, however. He is a master of hand-to-hand combat, with the fastest fists on Cybertron.

Jazz was the only "big" Transformer I had as a kid - I never got the original Optimus Prime or any of the large figures, and most of my collection was made up of Minibots and the like. So Jazz stood out, and became my favorite TF - I'd always hope to see him doing something cool on the cartoon, and now I like picking up updated versions of him from the newer continuities - as long as they have a good connection to my G1 memories.

In vehicle mode, Jazz is very sleek. The chassis looks like a cross between the original Porsche design and a 1950s idea of what cars would look like in the future: giant rounded fenders, tailfins, all that. The car is white, withe blackened windows and red and blue stripes down the hood. There are no racing numbers or other logos, but the connection is still strong.

The rear-view mirrors are long and pointed, and there are exhaust pipes running along the sides of the car. The windows are cast from translucent blue plastic, just like the headlights, but then they're painted black.

There are no real tricks or difficult bits when changing between modes - everything is designed well, and works the way it should. The robot stands 6" tall, and has 22 points of articulation: balljoints at the head, shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, torso and thighs, and hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and toes. Yes, that means there's a hinge, a balljoint and a swivel in each upper arm - Jazz is a master of cyber-ninjitsu, the show's Cybertronian martial art of choice, so all that movement will come in handy.

Befitting his combat training, Jazz's weapons of choice are a pair of nunchucks. Or is that two pairs? Four sticks, two ropes, two separate weapons. The nunchucks are formed from the car's exhaust pipes, and feature real rope connectors. One of the ropes is slightly longer than the other, but it's something you won't notice unless you're specifically measuring them against one another. He can hold the sticks in either hand, or keep them stored on his elbows. Really.

Jazz is typically depicted, in the various realities, as the Transformer who most falls in love with Earth culture, so it's kind of funny that he was the last to experience any of it in Transformers Animated. However, he does almost make up for it by looking the most human. Wait, what? Yes, rather than a robotic helmet and faceplate combo, Jazz's face is actually a face. And while that alone doesn't make him unique, the fact that the design of his head distinctly looks like a man wearing a flat cap, oversized headphones and a chinstrap beard absolutely does. Seriously, Jazz looks like a late '90s dj, and it's awesome.

Jazz is a member of the Elite Guard, the pinnacle of the Autobot military forces - that's why the faction symbol on his chest has extra wings on the sides. He's not a main member of the cast (he has better things to do), but the character's excellent and this toy is a worthy representation of him. Dig it!


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