For the G.I. Joe Retaliation line, it seems like Hasbro has been making a big push for the ninjas. You know, as if they never did that before. As a result, we’re getting all sorts of toys released with “ninja” somewhere on the package, regardless of whether or not it makes sense. But hey, most of the time, just slapping a word like that onto a package doesn’t really hurt anything. The days of Ninja Force and the like are thankfully behind us, and it looks like we won’t have to deal with action features anymore. Thank god.
For the next three reviews, I’m going to be covering each figure in one of the first two “G.I. Joe Ninja” sets, the Dojo set, featuring Kamakura, Roadblock, and Beachhead. I’ll be starting with the set’s actual ninja, Kamakura.
Kamakura was one of the few (only?) characters from G.I. Joe’s short-lived affair with Image/Devil’s Due comics to get his own figure. It’s a shame he was all we got, as I would have loved a figure of Firewall. We do have Zanya now, however, but there are still many others that deserve figures. Since he received his first figure in 2003, he’s become a mainstay in G.I. Joe as a whole, and you know something? I quite like him.
Kamakura’s last figure was released during Rise of Cobra. Unfortunately, he was possibly the rarest figure in the line and now fetches quite a premium on the aftermarket. Let’s just say I REALLY regret turning him down the time I saw him for $12 in a CVS…
The parts on this figure come from a rather off assortment of figures. The torso and upper legs come from everyone’s favorite Storm Shadow (30th Anniversary), the head and hood come from Resolute Storm Shadow, and the arms and lower legs from that Tornado Kick Snake Eyes figure that is best left forgotten. If I didn’t know better, I would have taken this figure for a Night Creeper.
That’s mostly due to his rather odd choice of colors, however. They’re very reminiscent of the Night Creeper figures from the Spytroops/Valor vs. Venom Era. It’s not a BAD color scheme per se, it just doesn’t suit Kamakura. Maybe if it was greener it would…
Because most of his mold comes from figures prior to the 30th Anniversary line, his articulation leaves a little to be desired. Sure, it’s better than some of the figures in the line, but I just would have liked to have him on the same level as his Sensei, you know?
His accessory loadout is surprisingly good. His webgear and machete are the same as the one included with Pursuit of Cobra Duke and 30th Anniversary Stalker, which is one of my favorites. He also includes a pair of nanchaku with a string “chain”, an Uzi with removable silencer, the “I’m not Wolverine” claws, a pair of katanas with a rather strange backpack, and, for some odd reason, Snake Eyes’s sword. Maybe Snake Eyes passes the sword down to him or something. It’s kind of surprising to see a figure in a multi-pack get as many accessories as one of the figures from Pursuit of Cobra or 30th Anniversary. Sure, none of them are really new, but it beats ziplines and spring-loaded launchers.
Kamakura is… a passable figure. He’s really just… there. There’s nothing really bad or wrong about him, but he isn’t anything spectacular either. From what I’ve heard, the Rise of Cobra version is far better, but like I said, good luck finding that one. This figure works pretty well for a 30th Anniversary or Pursuit of Cobra incarnation of the character, so for that, I can recommend him. Don’t worry, though, the rest of the pack is somewhat better. Remember to check for yours at FPNYC!