While Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a great show out of the gate, it really hit its stride in the second season. There were several reasons for this, but one notable aspect was the introduction of Oz, played by Seth Green. While Buffy had already been known for its humor, the character of Oz added a new dimension to the comedic side of the show. His unique, ultra laid-back outlook on life provided the series some of its funniest moments, especially his incredibly casual reaction to the revelation that vampires really existed. Soon his character was deepened, as a romance with Willow (Alyson Hannigan) began that became one of the most popular pairings in the shows history. Oz was also given quite a huge bit of development when his character became a werewolf, though once again, his characters "these things happen" point of view was on wonderful display. While his time on the show was relatively brief, spanning less then three full seasons, Oz remained a fan favorite.
Sideshow's new Oz figure is one long awaited by the Buffy fandom, and no doubt by the actor who played the character too, since Green's love of toys is well known. The figure recreates Oz's look in the Halloween based Buffy episode, "Fear Itself", which would mark one of the very last times Oz would appear before he left the town of Sunnydale and the series behind. The figure comes in the standard Buffy Sideshow flip cover box, accentuated by an image of the full moon behind the Buffy logo as a hint at Oz's lycanthrope nature. The Oz box continues the more recent trait in the Buffy line of featuring a photo of a close up of the toy itself rather then the actor who played the role. I preferred the actor photos on the front, which would particularly have been a nice attribute to the Oz box, which features such a wonderful likeness inside. But more on that below...
The sides of the box feature two different photos of the figure, along with the Oz quote, "Sure! We saved the world. Let's party!" The quote however is colored an extremely dark blue that is hard to read on the black background. The back of the box features an illustration of Oz, along with a nice write up on the history of the character. There are also photos of two other new Sideshow Buffy releases, Subway Spike and Liam/Angelus. The Oz figure is held in the package by a large twisty along the body, but also was held down at the wrists, ankles and neck by a different kind of twisty then the gray, flexible ones usually used: clear, extremely tough plastic ties that were nearly impossible to break apart with my fingers and required scissors to remove. My Liam/Angelus figure had these same kind of ties and those came off much easier then the ones on the Oz figure, for whatever reason.
The Oz figure is the first male Buffy figure to not make use of the usual 12" body, instead utilizing a slightly smaller 11.5" body, though it has just as much articulation as the standard size figures. Seth Green is a notably diminutive actor, so it's appropriate to have him be shorter then other Buffy figures like Angel, though to be honest, if the figure were to scale, it should be even a bit smaller then it is. The most remarkable aspect of the figure is the head, which features one of the greatest actor likeness recreations in the entire Buffy line. Sculptor Oluf W Hartvigson has done wonderful work before with the Buffy, Angel and Spike figures, but this might be his best work yet in this line. Not only has he perfectly captured Seth Green's features, but the expression on Oz's face is exactly the kind of silently observant look the often quiet character was known for. The figure features sculpted hair that matches Oz's season four appearance, when it was at it's longest.
Oz was way too cool a guy to wear a wacky Halloween costume, so on "Fear Itself," when it seemed he wasn't wearing a costume at all, only to reveal a name tag saying, "Hello, my name is God," it was a classic moment for the character. The Oz figure comes wearing the black t-shirt, brown pants, black sneakers and red button down shirt from "Fear Itself" and it's great to see the aforementioned name tag as part of the t-shirt. On the episode, Oz's t-shirt shirt was for a Louisville/UCLA 1980 championship game, but on the figure, likely for legal reasons, the shirt is now for Buffy's fictional UC Sunnydale's championship game. Whatever the reasons behind it, it's actually a very fun change that mostly made me wish you could buy a life size version of that shirt.
The clothing on Sideshow's products is usually terrific and that is the case here, except for one notable aspect, as unfortunately, the unbuttoned red shirt Oz is wearing over the t-shirt is not very well made. One big problem is that the shirt seems a bit tighter then it should be, and when you change the pose on the figure, the edges of the shirt (which have no buttons except on the cuffs) often flip backwards rather then hanging straight down. Trying to pose the figure, this aspect of it became frustrating, as I comically kept trying to fold the flaps of the shirt back and flatten them. On my figure, the shirts edges folding back also revealed a large number of hanging threads on the inside of the shirt. In addition, the color of the shirt is a far stronger red then the dark color seen on the episode itself. Also, it's a bit odd that the Oz figure doesn't have socks, since as laid back as the character is, I don't see him going the Sonny Crockett route. But hey, maybe he decided it was part of his "God" look.
I must say I was let down by the accessories Oz comes with. Reflecting the Halloween setting of "Fear Itself," he comes with a Jack O Lantern and a bat (the vampire variety, not the baseball one). While both items are featured on the episode itself, they don't particularly affect Oz and have nothing to do with his character overall. Oz was a bass player and the decision to include his bass guitar as an accessory would seem to me to be an obvious one, yet for some reason this is not the case. However, the Exclusive version of the Oz figure does have a big saving grace when it comes to accessories: A "Dingoes Ate My Baby" t-shirt, which as any Buffy fan knows, is the band Oz belonged to. This shirt is the right size to fit many other Buffy figures, most notably the Willow one and it's an excellent, character specific addition.
The problems with the shirt and the lack of interesting accessories on the non-exclusive version do add some strong quibbles to my opinion of the figure, which otherwise is a wonderful looking collectible. The fantastic likeness of Seth Green alone makes this one of the best Buffy figures Sideshow has made so far and it's great to finally have Oz as part of the Buffy collection. Now if they'd only announce Cordelia and Giles were coming soon...
Overall rating: Four out of five stars.