Last year, Hasbro released, what has become, the "ultimate" Snake Eyes figure and it scored rather high on our Top Ten Toys List. Now, the forces of Cobra have thrown their hat in the ring with Snake Eyes' polar opposite (color-wise at least): Tomisaburo (Tommy) Arashikage a.k.a. Storm Shadow! The 30th anniversary Joe line has been a standout and we find ourselves searching the pegs at any and all stores we happen to be in that carry them. Why would we suddenly be so into G.I. Joe when we're also collecting about a million other toy lines? Because of figures like this one! Read on as we review a ninja who wears white but can still kill undetected.
The packaging for this figure is on the the familiar G.I. Joe card, but features artwork from the short-lived "G.I. Joe: Renegades" animated series instead of the usual painted style. Unlike the actual cartoon series though, this shot of Storm Shadow has him fully covered by his mask, unlike the series that weirdly exposed his face and hair, looking like a joke. All of the weapons are crammed into the blister, but you can still get a good look at most of them.
The bio on the back of the package isn't all that long, so here it is:
Storm Shadow trained in the Arashikage ninja clan with Snake Eyes. When his ninja master was murdered, Storm Shadow blamed Snake Eyes and vowed to get revenge. He works for Cobra as a ninja assassin and is also a bodyguard for Cobra Commander.
The sculpt for Storm Shadow is all new. However, this is not the only time you'll be seeing it since practically every ninja figure hitting pegs from Hasbro's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" line will be using it. Thankfully, that is not a bad thing as we think this is the best ninja sculpt in the line to date! The cloth of the mask hangs perfectly on his face and the wrinkles and folds of his outfit bring a definite realism to the toy. The ability to switch between his red sash or his black belt is also a nice touch that doesn't interrupt the sculpt.
The paint for Storm Shadow is his only stumbling block. While the figure has been molded entirely in the white shade of the uniform, there is still some gray wash used on his feet and leg wraps to show texturing. Other than the white, only the skin on his hands and face were required for paint, and painted they were...sloppily. The hands have a caked-on look and the paint finds it's way onto the white of his sleeves. For the face, it's the opposite as not enough skin-tone has been used to go all the way to the mask line. There are some positives, however. His eyes are painted cleanly and the red Cobra logo on his chest looks perfect and catches the eye on it's background of white. For a mass market figure of this scale, you can expect some paint missteps, it just seems that with so little paint involved with Storm Shadow that there would have been more care given.
Storm Shadow's articulation is worthy of his ninja-lifestyle. He has a ball-joint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists (one vertical and one horizontal, just like Snake Eyes), ball-joint torso, ball-joint hips, dual-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. All of the joints move with the same tightness we've come to expect from the Joe brand. While he can hold most poses really well, his sheer amount of weaponry may make it hard to balance the figure when standing unassisted. Thank Serpentor for figure stands!
That photo above shows off the enormous amount of accessories that come with this Storm Shadow figure. That's a lot, right? Wrong! There is even one more ninja star packaged with this white-hued assassin... but we lost it while opening the package! "How did that happen?" It's ninja magic, that's how! He comes with: a quiver/backpack, katana, short sword, bow, arrow, 2 ninja stars, 2 throwing daggers, 2 handclaws, 2 sai, wrist dart w/ removable dart, and nunchucks . Also to note is his extra head, red sash, belt, bandolier, figure stand, and his quiver can open up to store his other weapons. Pretty sneaky, even for a ninja! The weapons are mostly molded in either black or silver, but the sais and swords also have a burgundy color used on the grips. Other than that, the paint is only used on the back of the quiver to shoe the Arashikage symbol. He is able to hold all of his weapons very well thanks to the individually sculpted fingers, but the tiny dart is just begging to be lost next. the weapons are also constructed of fairly rigid plastic, but this is detrimental for the bow which seems far too stiff.
It seems Storm Shadow's latest feat of stealth has been to remain hidden from collectors. He's currently available for ridiculous mark-up on ebay, but if you're lucky, and have trained hard enough, you just might find him at retail before the "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" figures start replacing the 30th Anniversary offerings. For more info on the G.I. Joe line, be sure to check out Hasbro's official website!
Special thanks to our pals at Planned Banter for hooking us up with this fines-ass toy!
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