Look, I’m not really a “toy guy.” Not a full-fledged one, anyway. Sure, I like a lot of the vintage stuff, early-1990s or before, but I really only buy when I come across them cheap at thrift stores and the like. And as for new toys, very rarely do I pick any of those up. The figures related to the Adam West Batman series were the last ones to really strike my fancy, producing in me a fervor that was quite unprecedented for an (ostensible) adult. Still, even then I didn’t wind up getting the entire line, and now I’m too far behind to ever catch up. At least I have my official Surf’s Up Batman action figure to ease the pain.
So yeah, when it comes to action figures and whatnot, it’s a somewhat limited range for yours truly. There’s an exception, however: The budget toy aisle. Whenever I find myself at a store that features toys, I simply have to check these things out. There’s something alluring about those oftentimes cheesy, fragile, poorly-painted pieces of plastic sold for low, low bargain prices that I just can’t resist. I think it all comes down to charm. These things frequently have charm to spare, and it usually works out for the better anyway, since I so rarely have money anymore. It’s the best of both worlds!
Which leads me to my latest acquisition. You want charm? You got it! Behold!
It’s the incredible Super Ninja action figure set!
The merits of this should be immediately, brick-in-the-face obvious to anyone. You know those common masked wrestler/ninja/whatever figures that have been repainted endlessly and sold in various forms in dollar stores all across the U.S.? I don’t know how, when or where the molds originated from, but they must give them out free with each tank of gas in China, because countless manufacturers have tried their hand at figures cut from the cloth, so to speak.
Well, that’s what these guys are, those common ninja figures, but with paint jobs approximating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Now that’s cool!
Also included is a mask I’m not about to wear, for approximately six thousand reasons.
It’s important to note that these aren’t bootlegged or pirated action figures, and if they’re considered knock-offs, it has to be only technically so; these aren’t turtles, and no reasonable consumer would confuse them as such. Sure, thanks to the paint jobs it’s clear who these guys are aping, but at the same time, they’re so different that the manufacturer apparently skirted any legal issues. Or so I hope, anyway!
I think of these as “gravy train figures.” We’ve had stuff like this for years, and not only with toys; whenever there’s a popular TV series, movie, or what have you, companies come from near and far with products that hope to ride on the same wave as whatever the current phenom is. It’s actually part of the fun; sure, you naturally want all of the legit, officially licensed products of your favorite whatever, but at the same time, it’s a blast to see what “supplemental” releases are out there. To me, Super Ninja nails that latter ideal.
These guys have seemingly been around for a few years now, and not at hole-in-the-wall shops or sold under the counter, either; these figures are evidently sold in discount stores all across the U.S., as well as from major online retailers. Not sure why I didn’t become aware of them until only a few months ago, but better late than never, chief.
Before I release my ninja guys from the plastic prison in which they are, as of this picture, still ensconced, here they are unsullied. We’ve got ninjas mimicking the colors of Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo, plus a mask that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be red or orange so it went burgundy. I still refuse to wear it.
There are a couple different variations on this set. There’s another one with the same digs as mine, except the mask is blue and the figure approximating Mikey is subbed out for one that apes Donatello. Needless to say I went for the “Mikey” variant, but to be frank, as long as there was a red one included, I didn’t really care. Raph was always, and still is, my favorite turtle.
But those aren’t the only two sets out there. There’s also one that includes all four characters at once plus a plastic, kid-sized play sword, and one that includes only one figure, a rockin’ motorcycle for said figure, the wearable mask and the plastic sword to go with it.
Online searches say these are made by “OKK Toys.” There’s a small blurb (and UPC) on the otherwise-blank back of the card mentioning them as OKK Trading, along with JPW International Commerce of California. Apparently this all originates from Zhongshan City, Guangdong, China, which sounds about right. Other than that, there’s no company info to be found on the packaging.
They’ve been unleashed! And boy, they don’t have much weight to ’em!
No kidding, these things are incredibly light. A strong fart could probably blow these guys across the room. It’s the kind of fragile plastic that has you second-guessing whether or not you should make use of their points of articulation, though you don’t have many options there (more on that momentarily).
Aside from the color schemes, there’s no difference between the figures, but then, did you expect there to be? As such, it’s all about the weapons here. OKK was kind enough to include several fightin’ choices for your fightin’ guys. My picks? Red Ninja got the sais. Blue Ninja got the sword and, I don’t know what they are, wrist-mounted claws I guess. And Orange Ninja got some kind of scythe, presumably so he can go and work the wheat fields when he’s done combating crime. ‘Course, it’s totally up to you which figure gets which, if any, weapons; the possibilities are endless!
Because you’d have little hope of keeping them in place otherwise, little pegs in which to attach your weapon or weapons of choice are graciously provided. Because these figures were made with a combined total of approximately two ounces of plastic, this at first seems to keep your Super Ninja’s hands from needless wear and tear, except that the little pegs don’t really inspire much confidence, either. Look closely to your left and you’ll see that Orange Ninja’s peg is already showing the tell-tale signs of bending; I was handling these things pretty gingerly, but even so, I’m not sure how many trips across that bridge I can take before I’m the victim of heartache. I couldn’t even get Blue Ninja’s sword in place at first because one side of the hole in the sword was too small, though victory was eventually mine. Guess what, Blue Ninja; that’s staying in your hand for life now. However, I had relatively few problems with Red Ninja, which is only understandable, since he’s aping Raph and Raph was always the best Ninja Turtle. (That’s a scientific fact, man.)
Despite implications made on the packaging that the figures would have articulated arms, elbows, heads and legs, they, uh, don’t. The actual figures only have articulated arms. Since you can’t adjust the legs, this means they often have trouble standing under their own power when weapons are placed in their hands. And good luck keeping them upright should you decide to have them raise their arms in victory whilst holding said weapons; ain’t gonna happen, chuckles!
I didn’t test this theory to be sure, but something tells me that if you were to, against all reasonable appearances, attempt turning a figure’s head or bending its leg anyway, you’re in for a world of plastic shards.
The “Action Ninja” motorcycle pictured on the card is pretty rad. I’m not sure how these guys are supposed to ride it, but it’s a nice thought. Me want!
On the “Leo but not really” figure’s incredibly-chiseled back is this convenient sticker, reiterating its OKK Trading / Zhongshan City birthplace. That’s as close to copyright info as you’re going to get with these guys, and frankly, I’m amazed it has managed to stay affixed to the fig since leaving its Guangdong, China homeland.
(I’m not convinced “Zhongshan” and “Guangdong” are actual places found on this planet, but since plastic action figures have never lied to me before, I guess I’ll take their word for it.)
For the sake of scale comparison, Super Ninja(s) are taller than Honky Tonk Man, and quite a bit taller than the Noid, but are still dwarfed by an inexplicably-bearded Dwight Schultz action figure. This picture is important because it not only gives you, the reader, an idea of Super Ninja height when compared to more well-known figures, but also because it gives me, supposedly an adult, the chance to play around with toys while under the facade of providing informational information. My life is empty and I do what I can to fill it.
Just for fun, here’s our heroes
in a half-shell being accosted by a cop out walking his beat. I have deemed this cop O’Malley, and he suffers no shenanigans; Super Ninjas look like a bunch of hooligans, and this is a safe street!
(The police officer comes from a line of solidly-colored yet impressively-detailed actions figures I found at the dollar store several years back. There were several different related figs to a bag, with police, firefighter and army varieties available. They totally had a leg up on the Super Ninja team, as they all featured five full points of articulation. The police and firefighters were my favorites, because they gave me the potential to reenact Adam-12 and Emergency! scenes on my living room floor.)
Aw, why not…
There, I put the mask on. I put it on for YOU. It’s more comfortable than I thought it would be. Kinda bothers the bridge of my nose a little, but then, it probably wasn’t made for people of my size and/or age. I could wear it around in public easily enough, provided I wanted to confuse passerby (which I do). I look more ashamed in the pic than I intended to; selfies are tricky, yo.
And so there you have it, the incredible, unbelievable Super Ninja action figure set. Three figures that kinda sorta recall Ninja Turtles, and a mask that kinda sorta does, too.
So, in summation, what has this article proven? That Super Ninja action figures are cool, all-blue street cop action figures are cool, and that I’ve got far too much time on my hands.