Friday, February 27, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Ninja Warrior (Ninjor) from Mattel

I was really stoked about Ninjor.

Okay, first – this is Ninjor. He’s called “Ninja Warrior” due to some of the legal copyright nonsense that sometimes causes such things to happen. The same thing happened with Flipshot (called Icarius in the MOTUC line) and Double Trouble (called Double Mischief). “Ninja Warrior” is just a couple of words on a box, so I’ll be referring to this guy as “Ninjor” for this review.

Side Note: Googling “Ninjor” brings up pictures of some stupid-looking dillhole from Power Rangers. Like, a hundred of him before you even see one real Ninjor. 
 
This is one of the characters I was anticipating the most in the MOTUC line. Ninjas were huge in the 80s and I was all-in for Ninjamania, perhaps even more so than Hulkamania. I don’t really know the origins of 80s Ninja Madness, but I just decided we’re going to record an episode of the Needless Things Podcast about it.

I thought that Ninjor was one of the coolest He-Man figures I had ever seen. Partially because he was a ninja, but partially because he had actual fabric parts. I had a much different view of soft goods when I was a kid. I loved it when action figures had cloth parts – the later Jawas, the Endor Rebels, Dr. Mindbender – there was something that felt so deluxe about the little guys that had capes and robes and stuff. And Ninjor had a mask and a shirt. Plus a bunch of ninja weapons. His nunchaku had an actual chain on them! I was also huge into nunchuks (as we all called them prior to the internet) back then.

My dad made me a set out of a couple of wooden dowels and a short length of chain because, for one time in my life, he severely overestimated my hand-eye coordination. Or maybe he just wanted to see me bust my nose open. Fortunately for me, I was stupid enough to take them to school and they were confiscated before I had a chance to do myself harm.

Nowadays they’d probably sentence a kid to life in prison. 
 
I was very excited to see how the 4 Horsemen would handle a MOTUC-style Ninjor. I wasn’t expecting – or wanting – soft goods. I was curious to see the sculpt of the analogous pieces and how other aspects of the design would be sculpted. 
 
First Glance

This guy looks absolutely fantastic in the package. Then you take him out and everything falls apart.

Not literally.

Okay, maybe that was exaggerating, but as soon as I had all of the pieces separated out of the tray I could see all kinds of things I didn’t like. Ninjor was not making me as happy as I thought he would. 
 
Packaging

Big blister card, consistent packaging, attractive design, blah, blah, blah. Love it.

I am shocked and pleased that they (Toy Guru) didn’t make up some stupid name for Ninjor.

I am irritated that the bio specifically says “longbow” when the accessory included clearly is not. 
 
This bio is a little more vague than some. Rather than detailing specific events like “Ninjor cut Snout Spout’s snout off at the Last Ultimate Final Ground of Sacrificial Battle of Forever” (which I think is also the name of a TNA Wrestling pay-per-view), this is more of a description of the character. The revelation that Ninjor is actually an agent of Hordak and not loyal to Skeletor just shows that he’s smarter than the average bear-headed man. Or man-headed-bear. Whatever.

Looks

Ninjor’s head looks great. The visible portion of his face is the most evil-looking visible face portion I’ve ever seen. His eyebrows would whip Peter Capaldi’s like a government mule. The detail on the hood are great additions. I love the degree of separation between the different parts and the seams sculpted into the top portion. His black eyes with red irises look awesome, as well.

The body is just a regular human Masters body in black, but it works because Ninjor is a ninja. 
 
The torso piece looks a bit too wide like most of these sorts of things do in the MOTUC line, but surprisingly it’s possible to pose Ninjor with his arms hanging straight down. The details look great, though. The way that the glossier black belts attach to the piece on the back and thread through the shoulder pads is very cool. The crest on the front looks great, but I was actually surprised that the dagger isn’t removable. For some reason I was sure that it would be. The paint on all of these parts is great and for some reason feels a bit tighter than I expect from this line. Not that we’ve seen bad paint lately, but Ninjor just seems particularly good.

Matty chose to use the textured “evil warrior” pieces for Ninjor’s forearms and calves and I do not approve. I get that they were probably trying to make the figure seem a little more interesting and perhaps demonic (given the red eyes), but this look just doesn’t work for me. 

The forearms aren’t quite as bad, but those feet:

They look like bird feet. I had reconciled the fact that Ninjor has the weird, three-toed feet that many Eternian villains seem to be cursed with, but the scaling on those calves just looks too odd. I’m seriously considering stealing Mo-Larr’s feet for this guy. I think I’d be a lot happier with him.

Of course, there are other problems…

Accessories

Ninjor comes with an extra head, a quiver, a bow, a katana, nunchaku, and a loin cloth thing that is actually for Jitsu.

The piece for Jitsu looks great, though to my eye it doesn’t quite match his colors. But it looks okay. It is a huge pain in the ass to get fastened on a figure, though. I’m just impressed that Matty continues to do neat things like include other characters’ accessories with figures when it fits in the budget.

Ninjor’s extra head, or “unmasked” head, is a very cool update of the original figure’s head. It’s terribly similar to Jitsu’s, but different. The sculpt is great and I love the expression. I hate the position that the ponytail is sculpted in. It’s silly. That thing really should have been a separate piece plugged into a hole so that you could position it. The masked head pops off and on easily enough, but the extra head takes some work.

The quiver is cool, though I would have preferred it in black. It really screws up Ninjor’s nice red and black color scheme. It plugs into a hole in the figure’s back and has clips for the katana and bow. These could have looked a lot nicer. There’s a definite cheap toy look to this thing.

The nunchaku are pretty bad. Unlike the original toy, these are one solid piece rather than having a chain in the middle. This makes the figure look immensely stupid when it is holding them. The sculpt is good and so is the paint, but they are not functional to the point where I can display them with the figure.

The katana is a piece of crap. It’s made of rubber so soft that I don’t even want to bother straightening the badly bent blade out because I honesatly think it will just droop in the figure’s hand. The sculpt and paint are nice, but due to construction it is useless.

The bow is the worst and most embarrassing piece of Ninjor’s arsenal. It looks almost exactly like the original figure’s which is not okay. For something that is described as a “longbow” it is laughably tiny. I also hate that there is an arrow sculpted onto it and that the string is a thick piece of plastic. And there’s no paint. This thing just looks terrible, which is surprising given how great Bow’s bow was. Maybe they can repaint that one for Ninjor in a future Weapons Pack. Unless they’re not doing any more Weapons Packs.

As excited as I was about all of Ninjor’s gear, most of it sucks. The quiver and the bow are far too toy-like for the line and the sword and nunchaku are functionally deficient.

Fun

Ninjor is, however, fun. He has all of the great articulation that the rest of the Masters of the Universe Classics figures have and can be posed in plenty of ninja-ish ways. 
 
Multiple heads are always a fun thing to have, and even though the accessories suck they’re still there and a add a ton of play value. Especially with how they interact with the figure. I may hate the bow, nunchaku, and katana, but they can all be stored on the figure at once (although in admittedly crappy ways).

If I wasn’t so disappointed with the execution of certain aspects of Ninjor, he would almost certainly be hanging around my desk for quite some time for me to play with. 
 
Overall

I’m mostly disappointed with this guy. As things stand I just want him away from my sight ASAP. He isn’t terrible, but the things I don’t like are so significant and apparent that I just can’t overlook them.

It could be said that the calves and forearms are more personal preference, though the original figure didn’t have textures. But I feel like Matty just blew it with the weapons. I can find another sword to give him and I might even take it upon myself to put a chain on those nunchaku, but that bow is just embarrassing. There’s nothing to be done about that.

3 out of 5

I hate to say it, but I can’t recommend this guy. If you like what you see, then that’s great. But I don’t have an enthusiastic endorsement like I do for a lot of the MOTUC guys.

If you do for some reason like what you see, then you can pay way too much for one from Amazon and help out Needless Things!:

6 comments:

  1. Perhaps Skeletor knew about his spying and therefor supplied him with a plethora of shitty weaponry.

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  2. Great review, honest and to the point without the @$$ missing that other reviewers do.

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    1. Thanks, man. I try to keep it as honest as I can. I do let enthusiasm color things sometimes, though. Not this guy.

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  3. I am not nearly as disappointed with Ninjor as you are. Actually, I really like him. The bow is stupid, yes. I don't know why Mattel insists on sculpting arrows to their bows. As far as the nunchaku go, they don't look good, but putting a real chain on there is a real easy modification.
    The sword that came with mine is no where near as soft as your described. Maybe I lucked out. Mine was warped, but the plastic feels nice and firm, like most swords in the motuc line, and it was easy to straighten out with a hair dryer.
    Sorry you didn't like him, but your review really lowered my expectations; which ultimately was good because he far exceeded what I was expecting.

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    1. Eh, you know how I feel about making aftermarket changes to get a figure to look right. It should never have to happen. But this guy is currently on the operating table. I'll share the results, uh... once I have results.

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