Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bastila Shan

Presenting Bastila Shan from the Star Wars Expanded Universe Toy Series. This is Bastila's character debut - there are currently no other Bastila figures out there in the market - after having won the Star Wars 2009 Fan's Choice Poll.

If you are reading this, and have never played Knights of the Old Republic, then you probably shouldn't be here and you probably think that Bastila is a spicy Moroccan Chicken dish (If so, then you really shouldn't be here and have missed out on a really good role-playing game - Though Moroccan Bastila Chicken is not bad).

In a nutshell, Jedi Knight Bastila Shan is one of the main characters in Knights of the Old Republic. She is a Jedi Sentinel - meaning that she is one who uses the Force but doesn't mind having to rely on technology to get things done.

Unfortunately, nothing is written about Bastila on her blister card. She is primarily known for two things: First is that she is a master of Battle Meditation - a Force technique that allows the user to control a vast army through sheer willpower (It's a handy power akin to omniscience that allows the user to perceive an entire battlefield better than any commander can, and control her army all at the same time, allowing for seamless reactions to enemy movements and solid, complex combat maneuvers. It is said that Emperor Palpatine had this power which is why when Darth Vader killed him, the vastly superior Imperial Navy collapsed to a smaller Rebel force).

The second thing she is known for is falling in love with Darth Revan - assuming that you didn't play Darth Revan  as a woman like I did (I felt that following a hot chick around for hours was better than following a dude). Despite her dislike for the Jedi brainwashed Revan whom she still saw as the scourge of the galaxy, Bastila fell for him slowly with every simple act of kindness that he would show on their journey. When Bastila falls to the Dark Side thanks to Darth Malak's influence and because of her impatient, headstrong nature, it is Revan's love for Bastila that brings her back to the Light-Side (Or if you played the Dark Side like I did, she'll join you anyway). Together, the two take down Darth Malak and she uses her Battle Meditation to destroy the Sith fleet bringing an age of peace to the galaxy.

What's to like about Jedi Knight Bastila Shan?

Well she looks like a dear friend of mine.

Also, it's Bastila Shan! It's about time she had an action figure. It boggles me why Hasbro and Lucas would spend so much time and money making all those "Extra" characters with .05 sec film exposure when there are so many characters from the video games and books that have yet to see the light. There isn't even a decent Mara Jade-Skywalker figurine out there (But I digress).

Two great video games have come and gone - Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords with at least 24 unique characters between the two video-games. Only four have been made into action-figures: Darth Revan, Darth Malak, HK-47 (Who was a Build an Action Figure release) and now Jedi Bastila Shan. More characters have come out from the Force Unleashed video game than from these two great RPGs.

Bastila Shan provides that much needed nostalgia trip from hours spent playing Knights of the Old Republic - watching this fiery - often haughty - Jedi Knight fight side-by-side with you - her amber dual-lightsaber slashing away at the Sith:

Jedi Knight Bastila Shan comes with everything you see here: An Amber colored Double-bladed light-saber - which is a tad bit longer than what I remember from the video-game and is more akin - but not of the same sculpt - as the one used by Darth Maul, and; an unlit version of the Double-bladed Light-Saber with a mounting stud that fits nicely onto a slot on her belt.

Speaking of sculpts, another nice part about Bastila Shan is that - to the best of my knowledge - she's a new sculpt and has much of the enhanced articulation that the new Star Wars Toy Lines have. The only thing that she's not capable of doing are splits as her hip joints don't open up sideways - like Darth Maul's do - still there's quite a lot that she can do:

There is some friction in her shoulder joints thanks to her shoulder- pauldrons, but it's still quite easy enough to slide these into her shoulders so that she can extend her arms:

Bastila Shan is also one of the few Star Wars characters who can cross her arms so that it looks like she's twirling her light-saber:

What's NOT to like about Jedi Knight Bastila Shan?

Well while she looks like a dear friend of mine, she doesn't look anything like Bastila Shan. The action figure looks like a young oriental woman. Bastila Shan never struck me as Asian when I was playing Knight of the Old Republic. Mediterranean maybe, or Eurasian, but not Asian.

If we ignore her depiction on her blister card, this is what Bastila Shan should look like:

There's nothing we can do about her hair's lack of body, but  I'm thinking a steady hand to give her a little more make-up and hair detailing might correct her appearance. It would also have been nicer if they layered the detailing of her paint-job so that she has several levels of tan/brown paint like she does in the video game.

Bastila Shan's Action figure only comes in one type of brown:

Again, nothing a steady hand can't fix.

But perhaps the biggest problem that the Star Wars Extended Universe Bastila Shan Action figure has is her rarity. Finding one is proving quite hard to do in the Philippines. She's available on Amazon for as low as US$ 34.99 (Roughly PhP 1,500 plus shipping). Luckily two good friends of mine, Jason and Chrissy, bothered to get me one when they found one at retail price in Japan and sold it to me for the fair price of PhP 1,000 (Roughly US$ 23.25). Definitely worth the finder's fee.

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