It seems like just yesterday that I started Chase Variant. But how quickly and enjoyably these past 10 months of reviewing have gone by. I guess it's also fitting that my 100th falls on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year because this is the day that the Chinese believe everyone grows a year older. And Chase Variant is more or less there too. So Happy Birthday everyone!
On to the review!
There's one thing that movie makers always pull in kung fu movie sequels--they recycle sidekicks/villains not just from the previous movie, but take them from other movies as well! For example, Hollywood Ninja 2 might have a sidekick appear to aid our hero fight the bad guy Boss, who turns out to be the Big Baddie from Chinatown Samurai 3! Oh, the web of intrigue those ninja movie-makers weave!
In that spirit, we have our star for New Year with Ninjas 3--Arashikage Bike Snake Eyes!
How does he compare to Arashikage Bike Storm Shadow?
Will Storm Shadow be jealous of Snake Eyes' skill level? Or will they join forces against the mysterious Evil One? Will a fight ensue?
I know you're all dying to know!!! :P
Like: That Hasbro (generally) don't screw up the fan favorites. At first glance, Snake Eyes may look like the top half of his Ninja Commando version and and the standard Joe Blue camo pants. But while the pants may be general issue camo, the upper torso is a completely different mold with looser clothes versus the muscled skin-tight "suit" of the original version. I kinda prefer it, since with all the ninjitsu he'll be doing, he'll need clothes he can breathe in.
His arms are also new, with pouches strapped to both upper arms and what looks like spare crossbow bolts on his right forearm. Those look great but Snake Eyes doesn't come with a crossbow! Ah well, it can just sit there and add to his cool factor.
Like: His head articulation is perfect. He looks way up, way down, and can turn it all around. He does the hokey pokey and he turns himself about, that what it's all about! Hey! Ok that's enough of that...
Like: No "nose and mouth" on the face mask. Strictly mask, strictly cooler. Much cooler.
Like: His belt harness. It's got pouches, silver painted clips, and isn't just a simple belt. It really makes him look more commando than Ninja Commando.
Like: His Arashikage blade. Not only is the Arashikage symbol painted clear and sharp, but the blade is also unique, with one edge straight and the other hooked. They meet in a fearsome point. Also, the blade near the hilt of the hooked side has what looks like notches. And it looks like so far Snake Eyes has offed 5 worthy opponents. And that's just the blade, folks.
Check out the hilt! A semi-curved cross piece atop a wood carved hilt. I especially love the grip because they've detailed in wood-grain and shaped it so that it looks like it's been custom made and sized for Snake Eyes. So. Sweet. It reminds me of the sword 'Morning Light' from Storm Shadow: Solo--practically magical! :)
Like: That his grenade bandolier is removable. It's also cleanly painted and counts as an accessory!
Dislike: My main beef against Arashikage Snake Eyes is his ankle articulation. He's got the standard swivel/hinges there, but the hinges are rendered useless by the tight upper portion of his boots (the shin/lace ensemble). That's a pity because a ninja needs to be able to point his feet for kicks, jumps, etc. Less flexibility in the ankles also means a figure that's harder to balance in all those martial arts poses. Oh, well.
Dislike: This is minor, but he doesn't hold his Uzi quite right in either hand. Since his finger is part of his fist and not separate, he can't put his finger through the trigger guard. After making a small cut so that he can do this, he looks slightly better but still can't really hold the gun straight. I guess that gripping his sword right is more important and his hand is perfect for the blade.
Dislike: I haven't really mentioned his bike up till now, but it's basically a repaint of Storm Shaodow's version. However, I think Stormie's colours suit the bike better and match the rider's colours more. And really, a bike like this with no manoeuverability in the front wheel is really a BFG on wheels. Why? Because they sacrificed movement so that the vehicle can fire off a missile out the missile port in the front.
Without the movable handlebars, it's tough to pose Snake Eyes gripping the handles and sitting right (and flush in his seat) at the same time. Snake's kinda short compared to Storm Shadow, who at his height, already can't quite sit the way I'd like him to, much less Snake Eyes.
The only other movable part of the bike is the kickstand.
Aesthetics: 9/10 - Arashikage Snake Eyes doesn't look that spectacular or unique at first glance. In fact you'll probably notice the bike first in packaging. But don't be deceived! Snake himself turned out to be a gem, both in sculpt and in the small paint apps on his weapons, bandolier, belt buckle, and right forearm..
The bike though, is a repaint of Arashikage Storm Shadow's. And its colour scheme (the blue), though painted to complement its rider, doesn't quite match and turns out to be rather ordinary.
Although I love the idea of a 'downtime' Snake Eyes in half camo/half 'costume,' if they can't get him ankles that work, then they should've used different lower legs instead of the standard issue camo legs. Regular soldiers can get away without full ankle articulation, but this is Snake Eyes! Why couldn't the "Bro have just used PP Storm Shadow's legs and repainted them?...
Fun: 9/10 - His sword, his Uzi, his bike, and stickers to go with the 'cycle! Those would be fun for a full 2 minutes while you stick'em on. But the sword is just so fun to play with. There's just so many menacing poses Snake Eyes can achieve with it, all the while with his left hand free to Uzi up some baddies or knife some poor enemy soul
Also, he can even use the long sword two-handed! All just for that extra slashing power!
Value: 7/10 - Snake Eyes set me back S$22, that's about US$15.70. Seeing as how it's a Toys 'R' Us Exclusive and I've only ever heard of it being seen once here(through The Rangerlord), it's a steal. Somehow, for more than double the new price point here in Singapore and only 3 weapons, this figure manages to be worth just enough to justify what I paid for him. Thank goodness for the Arashikage Sword, which is a really nice piece of work.
Overall 8.5/10 - A solid Snake Eyes figure to own if you have none. But with how hard he is to find, it's unlikely he'll be the only one you own. You're better off buying the Paris Pursuit version or even the Ninja Commando verison, if skin tight rubber with nose and mouth mask is your kinda bag, baby.
**Oh and if you're wondering where all the ninja movie stuff I talked about at the beginning went to, well check back here soon for the next post to find out!