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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Action Figure Review: Ninja Warrior/ Ninjor from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel
TV show, the Masters of the Universe character. Still not ringing a bell? Well, what if I said "Ninjor?" Yes, just like Strongarm was renamed Strong-or, Ninjor has been renamed Ninja Warrior. That's because Mattel lost the trademark on the name at some point and Bandai has a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers character named Ninjor. Whatever. Mattel might call this guy Ninja Warrior, but I'll be calling him Ninjor for the rest of this review. Ninjor was a figure that I never had as a kid but who I wanted. He was released rather late in the line and seemed to capitalize on the insane popularity of ninjas in the 1980s. I've been looking forward to this guy for a long time and I'm glad Mattel has finally released him. He's the basic February 2015 Club Eternia release for Masters of the Universe Classics and I'm ready to review him. Are you ready to? Is your body ready? Mine is. Let's do this...
Height: 7 inches
Articulation: Hinged ankles w/ limited lateral rockers, boot swivels, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, hinged abdomen, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head.
Accessories: Extra unmasked portrait, removable chest armor, quiver, katana, nunchaku, tech bow, and an alternate belt.
Non-Scalper Price: $26-$28 dollars
* Ninjor is an incredibly impressive looking figure! While there's no doubt as to who he is, Mattel has definitely taken a few liberties that set this guy apart from the vintage figure. While the original might have felt like a hodgepodge of random parts covered with a cloth tunic and a hood, the MOTUC Ninjor feels quite a bit more coherent. He still has the demonic feet and arm find that the vintage figure had but they're rendered in such as to seem like they could possibly be specialized bits of armor. I love the sculpted scales on the boots and wrists. Of course, he also has glowing red eyes. That's new and it;s incredibly awesome. I like that Ninjor is a bit mysterious and appears to be some sort of demon in a human form or perhaps a skilled ninja master with the ability to deceive his opponents. I like what the Four Horsemen did here.
*Ninjor's articulation is awesome overall. He's solid, sturdy, and can take pretty much any pose that a MOTUC figure can take. His armor is also nicely designed to allow for his arms to sit flush against his sides. Mattel has really improved the quality control on MOTUC figures over the years and Ninjor is another shining example of how these are simply just great toys.
*On the vintage figure, Ninjor was essentially wearing a cloth t-shirt with an iron on transfer of a dragon wrapped around a tanto. For MOTUC, that cloth t-shirt now looks like some light chest armor that covers Ninjor's shinobi shozoko and offers a bit more protection. The image that was just a transfer on the original figure is not a fully sculpted detail. It looks really cool, although it would have been amazing had the tanto been removable. Gosh, that would have been sweet. Still, I;m digging the armor. it even has a glossier black paint on it for the straps and painted silver rivets, too!
*Ninjor comes with two portraits: One masked and one unmasked. I love getting extra heads and I think this was the best way to interpret the vintage figure's removable cloth hood in MOTUC. The heads are done in the more detailed style of figures like Jitsu, Gwildor, Fisto, and Blade and look great. The red eyes and the furrowed eyebrows look incredibly fierce. On the unmasked head we can see Ninjor's angry scowl (with amazing sculpting on the musculature and folds around his mouth) and his cool top know. Just top notch work here.
*Ninjor is loaded with accessories. He's got a quiver that plugs into the back of his armor, a katana, a bow, and nunchaku. While the nunchaku aren't on actual chains like the original, they are nice and flexible. Both the sword and the nunchaku feature painted handles while the quiver features painted arrows extending from the top. The quiver also can store two weapons. One clasp holds the bow while the other can hold the nunchaku or the katana. I wish he had a folded up Frisbee accessory so he could commit Frisbee seppuku when he gets bored, but he doesn't.
*The extra belt is really, really cool. It's a bit tricky to get on and off, but it looks great. While it can work with Ninjor it seems more intended to supplement Jitsu since it matches his 200x Staction figure. There are lots of cool little trinkets hanging off the back. I'm personally a fan of Mattel including extra accessories for other characters with different figures.
*Let's start with Ninjor's bow. It's not that impressive. Maybe if it had come with a TMNT figure or something I'd be fine with it, but it's a bit weak for a MOTUC accessory. Honestly, the vintage figure's bow looks a bit sharper and more defined. I mean, granted, a real ninja only uses a bow when he doesn't want to snap his fingers and kill people, but still, the sculpt of this piece just seems to be too soft and under detailed. A paint app or two may have definitely improved things.
*Usually I don't mind if one of a figure's hands is spread open in a gesturing pose, but it's a bit frustrating with Ninjor since he comes with three weapons. His left hand is open quite a bit and while the wider grip of his katana can kind of balance in there, neither his bow or nunchaku can be gripped tightly. For a real ninja that uses telekinesis and flying, this wouldn't be a problem, but for a toy ninja, it is a problem.
*Ninjor has lateral rocker ankles. Kind of. They're extremely, extremely limited in motion, almost to the point of being non-existent. It seems like Mattel has been cutting out the lateral ankle articulation off and on for a while now and Ninjor is another victim. Well, I can't really say a ninja is ever a victim (unless he's the victim of another ninja). Maybe a ninja threatened Matty into making these joints stiff because real ninjas don't want normal folks to know what ninjas are really capable of.
I'm really pleased with Ninjor. While he has a few small things that bother me like the bow and his stiff rocker ankles, overall I'm really happy with him. Nothing is a deal breaker here. I'm extremely impressed by how Mattel has managed to take the design of the vintage figure and improve upon it by making small changes such as giving Ninjor red eyes, a longer top knot, and chest armor instead of just a shirt. I mean, the head sculpts are amazing. This guy looks like he's about to flip out and kill someone wherever and whenever he wants. I also like how the alternate belt can be used to improve Jitsu, a figure released about two years ago. Little things like that really make this line fun to collect. While Ninjor was a character that never received much attention in the past, here's to hoping that this great update gives him a bit more prominence in MOTU lore moving forward. I'm giving him a Great rating due to his sculpt and nice complement of accessories. Snap him up before he disappears! Ninja Vanish!
If you want to learn more about ninjas, please visit:
Real Ultimate Power or Enter the Ninja.
Both are methodically researched, meticulously footnoted, and 100% factual.
I've reviewed a ton of MOTUC figures, including:
End of Wars Weapon Pak
The Fighting Foe Men
Galactic Protector He-Man
Galactic Protector She-Ra
Loo-Kee and Kowl
Rokkon & Stonedar
Sky High with Jet Sled
Spirit of Hordak
The Unnamed One