REVIEW: #9553 Ninjago Jay ZX Booster Pack

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Shock the snakes with some stunning Spinjitzu!



Jay ZX is more than ready to battle, outfitted in his ZX costume, metal brackets, and Golden Double-Bladed Sword! Take on the Serpentine any time with this early 2012 Ninjago booster pack, complete with 28 pieces (including five Spinjitzu cards and three weapons)! Check out an image of the set contents (from Brickset) below:


And my picture of the bag - after cutting the top off (after all, I had to get inside somehow… :grin: )


Product Details:

Name: Jay ZX

Number: #9553

Theme: Ninjago

Year: 2012

Pieces: 28

Minifigures (included in piece count): 1

Price: USD $4.99

Source: Brickset, Peeron

Non-ABS Contents (I'm pretty sure the bag is plastic, though not ABS.)

As shown above, the bag front has the same Jay ZX graphics as his character card, while on either side are two yellow circles illustrating, from left to right and top to bottom, Jay ZX, the five included cards, his weapons, and the additional pieces that can be added on to the 2012 kind of spinner. On the back of the bag we have the normal legal "…components made in DENMARK, SWEDEN, HUNGARY, MEXICO and the MOON…"*er* "CZECH REPUBLIC", :laugh: plus the bar code, other information, and a picture showing how Jay ZX can be "boosted" with a weapon, the pieces in his spinner, and a spinner/spinner crown (not included).


Upon opening the bag and dumping it out, the contents are one plastic bag with the 23 LEGO pieces (and one extra technic pin, 3/4), the five cards (also sealed in plastic), and the "instructions" or, more accurately, play guide for the spinner game. Before opening it, we can see the same Jay ZX artwork that was on the front of the bag and also on his character card. On the back is an advertisement for Ninjago.com, and once opened this will end up right underneath the front. And directly beneath that is the Win! advertisement, which seem to be present in almost every instruction booklet… To the right is a column showing how to build the weapons, minifigure, etc. On the other half of the pamphlet are advertisements, first for the spinners, then Kendo Kai's Training set, Kai's Blade Cycle, Jay's Storm Fighter, and Cole's Tread Assault.


On the back the cards are explained in enough detail to play a game, although, without a spinner, it's not possible to do so here!


For a normal set, that would be about all the paper. But, since a big highlight of the Ninjago game are the cards, we have five more "printed sheets" to deal with. The back of all the cards is the same; the Ninjago "logo", a red ninja (with the standard ninja eyebrows, not Kai's, and a sword right behind each shoulder) slowly fading into black, underneath which is a Ninjago.com advertisement, "LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group," plus, in this case at least, a six digit number (110642, if you were wondering) that is the same for all five cards.


Jay ZX's character card is awesome in terms of graphics, he really looks impressive in the middle of a storm of lightning! As far as SP (and if you're not interested in the game, bear with me, the cards shouldn't take that long!) he's certainly not a bad character, with 1100 total SP (the bars on the sides of battle cards, and on the bottom here), arranged in a fairly even format, 200 Fire, 400 Lightning, 200 Earth, and 300 Ice. (There's a lot more I could say about any card, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll stop there!)


Fast as Lightning, the only golden card in this booster pack, and also a Build card (see the bottom left symbol-in-circle), since you are supposed to "Build the above on spinner until a player wins, then remove. Opponent spins with one hand until a player wins." Since the bottom pieces turn freely upon contact with another spinner, they don't really do much toward knocking down your opponent. And since the spikes on top stick straight up instead of out, your opponent will have to hit them with his (or her) weapon to be thrown (and even then, it doesn't always work). Besides being golden, this card also requires 300 Lightning SP.


Surrender, "Remove your headgear or armor to avoid losing," is the next card (I'm going by the seven digit numbers on the bottom of the card), and a Control card. Requiring 200 Ice SP, this one can come in handy as a useful last resort when playing. Plus, the front snake on this card looks especially good.


Avalanche, the third card, is actually Ice, although you would usually expect an avalanche to be Earth. However, the cards graphics make the reason clear - it's a snow avalanche, not a rock one. According to the instructions (on the card), you are to "Lay down card. Opponent loses if spinner touches it, then remove." With only 100 Ice, this is the lowest metallic Trap card that does not require a golden weapon (denoted by the golden color found on, for example, Fast as Lightning above). And, by virtue of its low SP, it is one of the best cards included with Jay ZX.


Double Stars is a Force card, but also a crown card (meaning that you need a crown on to be able to play it) with 300 Lightning SP. The instructions on the card, "Throw this card and your character card during spin," leave it unclear, at least to my mind, whether or not, like a normal crown card, this remains in play until your crown is removed, or just during the one spin you played it in. And unless you're willing to ruin your card, you can't achieve enough force with this to knock anyone off their spinner. Below is a comparison of my card (which I rarely throw), and a friend's, who enjoys trying to whap you with it:


And that's all the paper! Let's get on with the minifigure!

Minifigure - Jay ZX:

Like all the ZX figures, Jay ZX has a new style ninja hat and a shoulder bracket for added impressiveness! His blue color contrasts perfectly with the metallic color of his shoulder gear and hat decoration; I only wish his right arm was the same silver color! In general, his torso is nicely detailed, although the bottom left could use something to take away the empty blue look there. On the back of his torso he has a buckle, and his symbol printed in the middle where it will show through the round circle in his bracket. His pants also have a belt nicely printed on.



Weapons and Boosting Pieces:

Just like the rest of the Ninjago spinners and Booster Packs, Jay ZX includes three weapons - one golden, one sword-based, and one pole/stick-based. His golden weapon is unique to this set (the Ninjago.com Weapons Dictionary calls it a Golden Double-Bladed Sword), and uses a golden chainsaw (only occurring in one other set, or so says BrickSet) to attach the other two pieces together. The sword based weapon is, in fact, a simple Silver Katana, while his pole-based weapon is a bit more complex - a small dagger on a black light-saber hilt on the end of a pole - which is way too long of a weapon to spin with! None of them are particularly good for spinning, but Jay ZX does look impressive with his Golden Double-Bladed Sword!


To help power up any spinner, Jay ZX includes two spikes and three blades which can be attached to the bottom of the newer 2012 spinners. And to raise the spinner a bit higher so the blades work better, the pack also includes a 2x2 round brick with grooves on the sides. (Note: spinner not included in booster pack! And for stability, I have removed the 2x2 round trans-blue piece at the bottom of most spinners!)



Playability: 5/10 I hate to give it such a low score here, but the lack of a spinner or a minifigure opponent makes playing with it difficult. The weapons aren't the best either, as far as spinning goes.

Design: N/A

Minifigure: 9/10 Just about the only problem I find is Jay ZX's lack of a chrome arm. Otherwise, the detailing is excellent.

Price: 9.5/10 A much better value than a normal spinner, although in general it's not high on parts, the weapons, minifigure and cards are fairly specific pieces that are therefore worth more.

Overall: 7.8/10 It's main problem is the lack of playability, but overall I would say it's a good addition to a spinner. Jay ZX is a great character, and, apart from this set, is somewhat rare. Plus, the cards (if you like the game), are useful and Surrender just might save your hide one day!

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