Oh! Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he! SpongeBob Squarepants! In ULTIMATES! figures is something you wish! SpongeBob Squarepants! Then keep reading and we will give the dish!
All right, enough of that. I promise no more cartoon theme song freestyles for at least the rest of this article. But, it has been a busy spring in terms of shipping for a lot of ULTIMATES! series hitting our shelves. Brian Flynn gave us the heads up on that a couple of months ago, and it has certainly been true for a lot figures we have been waiting on. I have to admit, with all of the ThunderCats and SilverHawks and G.I. Joes and TMNT figures that have released over the past couple of months, I had kind of forgotten about these SpongeBob U! figures.
It was a mistake, and that is definitely on me – but I can promise you this: I will not forget about them again. Sometimes the best collecting experiences come from places unlooked for, and in a way, that has certainly been my experience with these new Spongebob and Sandy figures. That isn’t to say I wasn’t looking forward to these, I ordered them after all, but SpongeBob just doesn’t rank quite as highly as property for me as some of the U! collections. However, these two figures might be some of the most satisfying ULTIMATES! we have gotten to date.
While we see figures in the Joe, ThunderCats, SilverHawks that are based on their cartoon appearances all the time, it feels like the likes of The Simpsons, Animaniacs, Ren & Stimpy, and now SpongeBob are truly “animation” figures to me. I know that sounds weird, but as they are (mostly) without vintage action figures (I will cry to think that World of Springfield is now vintage), their basis and forms come right from the screen – and that opens the ULTIMATES! world up to a lot more shapes, sizes, and colors.
SpongeBob and Sandy are both big, chonky action figures (in the best way), and to my eyes, they look like they pretty much stepped right off the screen. I am admittedly not as well versed in this mythos as say, ThunderCats or TMNT, but these figures capture the look, form, and feel of the citizens of Bikini Bottom very nicely. The scale picture tells the real story, but these feel like they fit much more alongside Ren & Stimpy and Pinky & The Brain, and that certainly is appropriate. I know there was some concern early on that SpongeBob himself was too large in comparison to Sandy, but I think that has been rectified for the most part. He might still be a *touch* tall, but certainly not at all to a distracting degree.
That said, I think everything else with these figures turned out really, really well. It is unfair to said “surprisingly so” but more along the lines of just not expecting some of it. Of course, I was wanting all of the paint to be clean, and the joints to be strong – and all of that is true – but there are still some surprises that we didn’t really know about until these figures were in-hand. I know it is more of a name than anything else, but SpongeBob and Sandy both do a very excellent job of embodying the “ULTIMATES!” moniker.
Despite their unique forms, both of these figures have a LOT of articulation, and that articulation is very functional. The amount of articulation was a bit surprising to me based on the figure forms, but the range of movement and strength of each of the joints fantastic. I know it has been a tough time navigating some production challenges with the world the way it is, but between this series, and some of the other recent releases, it feels like a corner has been turned, and it is a GREAT thing. I have zero looseness or floppy joints here. I was a bit scared that with SpongeBob’s tiny legs he would have balance challenges, but that is not at all the case. Heck, his giant rectangle form even houses an ab joint that gets great range, too. So, bravo overall on the articulation.
The accessories and swappable parts are also fantastic amongst these two figures. I mean, SpongeBob’s swappable “head” is like ½ his body. The different arms and hands help to facilitate some iconic poses (like blowing bubbles and catching jellyfish), and the glasses are definitely appreciated as they add a lot to SpongeBob’s character. Plus, I mean – you get his pet snail Gary and his food dish as well. That is a lot to pack into the window box, but it definitely makes good on having several different options for display.
Sandy is no different, and her standard look compliments the guitar, cowboy hat, and lasso used to highlight her Texas roots. She gets three portraits, and while I will probably go with the standard smiling look, the angry expression, and fist helmet are both pretty great, too. She has a set of hands with pegs so some of the larger accessories like the acorn and lasso can be held effortlessly.
If you are a SpongeBob, you will not want to miss out on these figures. The sculpting and overall quality on these is just great – and both look very iconic on the shelf. I am more excited than ever for Patrick and Squidward now, and I know there are LOTS of different SpongeBob looks that would be really fun in this style. If you didn’t pre-order from Super7, you can still do so at BBTS, so head HERE and HERE if nautical nonsense is something you wish.