by David Yeh
The Ninja Turtles are back! Well, technically they’ve never left, but it feels that way every time a new batch of figures hit the shelves. This time, the cartoon (on Nickelodeon) and toy line (by Playmates Toys) have jumped into another dimension where the samurai rabbit Usagi resides. In this basic assortment, you can find all four turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Usagi Yojimbo at all retail outlets. There is one additional Usagi Yojimbo figure dressed in samurai attire exclusive to Walmart. All figures will run you about $8.99 as the usual.
The updated packaging reflects the new Samurai flavor and is identical across the board, front and back. Figures are nicely displayed in their bubble with accessories on full display.
The basic figures are all sculpted really well, and with the updated armor (that is identical for each turtle, save the helmets) they all look great and ready for battle. The head sculpts aren’t anything new, however, but that’s not too big of a deal. More random is the decision to stick with the classic non-pupil look rather than the toon version.
The two Usagi Yojimbo figures are entirely new look really good. The classic bunny created by Stan Sakai sports a look more familiar to his comic-book roots than the original figure in the 80s did. The two figures are also completely unique with different facial expressions and ear positions. Although their heads are just slight variations of the same look, odd that they’re not using the same peg. If you wanted to swap your Usagi Yojimbo heads on different bodies, you’re out of luck.
In the paint department, we’re treated to mostly clean lines with the exception of some spillage in Usagi Yojimbo’s sandals. It’s a problem in the 11-inch figure as well so I didn’t think it would be better here. There’s also some spilling on Donatello’s helmet which is unfortunate.
Something that really does grind my gears though is the photograph of the figures on the packaging. Just a quick glance will reveal how detailed each turtle is. And on the front of the package you’ll see that each helmet has painted teeth too! But that isn’t so on the actual product. Even the weapons on the packaging look fantastic, but are all presented in the standard plastic gray. It’s a shame when the product doesn’t look as good as the packaging but for $8.99, I understand why we got what we did. Maybe just don’t make the product photos that fancy then I suppose?
Each figure comes with their common accessory, but not really. With the samurai mode, the turtles have upgraded to a more unique style of weaponry. Raphael and Michelangelo each come with two variations of their classic weapon, and Donatello comes with one battle bo staff, but Leonardo, who usually displays two katana swords only has one sword.
The Usagi Yojimbo figures both come with two swords that fit into their sheaths. If your’e wishing regular Usagi came with more accessories, you might want to find the San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive, he comes with better painted weapons, a two additional swappable heads, and a few other things.
The Samurai Usagi and Samurai Turtles also come with helmets and here’s a surprise, they’re all unique! Usagi’s helmet is one piece though and slides over his head. The ones for the turtles come in two pieces and allows for some extra play. You can display them without the mask or with the mask. It’s entirely up to you and it’s fun when there’s options.
All figures sport a decent amount of articulation to pose with their weapons. Best though is the regular Usagi Yojimbo, not because he has more points of articulation but because he’s the most fun to pose. With ball jointed shoulders, elbow and knee joints, all of these figures are a lot more fun than they are without.
In the end, these new figures are solid fun for not a lot of money. Fans of of Ninja Turtles will love the new samurai line and especially Usagi Yojimbo. Pick these up where all Ninja Turtles figures are sold, but pick up Samurai Usagi Yojimbo exclusively at Walmart.
Review and Photography by David Yeh
Review Sample Courtesy of Playmates Toys