Thursday, August 30, 2012

G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown Set

Storm Shadow and his Red Ninja anxiously awaited the arrival of Snake Eyes
Presenting the Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and the Red Ninja from the GI Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown Set.

I actually had the opportunity to purchase the individual G.I. Joe Retaliation Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Red Ninja when I chanced upon this three pack. I noted that the three pack looked like the better deal because both the individual Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were just painted in their base black and white colors respectively. They were kinda...plain and typical. At the very least the two in the Retaliation Ninja Showdown Set gave me more... color... variety if you will.

Another advantage of the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown set over the individual Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow figures was that the set was chock full of accessories. I  would not be stuck with just a pair of "Sky Commander" Zipline rip-offs (Though I have to say that the Zipline comes with 7 feet of string and THAT is impressive for an action-figure), but weapons and accessories that I could use for other purposes and figures.

So I picked up the set instead - and the Red Ninja - but only because people were scalping them.

The G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown set comes with the three figures and all of the accessories you see above. It's blister card reads "G.I. Joe is the world's greatest special-ops fighting force with top-secret ninja training from the toughest of masters. Led by ultimate Ninja Commando Roadblock, these elite heroes defend the globe from the evil forces of Cobra."

I'm not really sure why Hasbro is writing blister cards for 5 year olds but including accessories meant for older children. I think this hints at why the movie was pushed back. I mean "The Rock" is a "Ninja Commando?" Really? Roadblock is a Ninja? In what deluded world? "The Rock" as a wrestler hardly even climbs the ropes to deliver flying attacks. He's a grappler.

Anyway the following accessories are included in the pack:
  • The aforementioned Zipline with 7 feet of string (I'm 6'2", 7 feet of string is impressive)
  • A pair of Sais
  • One Uzi with a detachable suppressor
  • One MPT9K 9mm Submachine gun. 
  • A pair of Kunai (throwing knives)
  • One Naginata with a modified blade. Personally it looks more like a Samurai GuanDao than a Naginata. Maybe they should have just provided a bo-staff like the one the TMNT Donatello wields. 
  • One long and one short Ronin Ninja Swords with sheaths
  • One Ninjaken - what the TMNT Leonardo uses. 
  • One Tekagi-Shuko (The Four Clawed weapon) - I've always wondered why Hasbro never ever released a G.I. Joe figure with more than one Tekagi-Shuko. 
  • A Fencing Mask 
  • And the Mugiwara (Straw Hat) That you actually cannot see from the outside of the packaging as it is hidden back where Roadblock's head is. 

What's to like about the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown Set?

A) G.I. Joe Retaliation Snake Eyes. It's Snake Eyes! No matter how many Snake-Eyes Hasbro makes, somehow the level of excitement still doesn't diminish when you get one - not unlike say the many, many, far too many incarnations of Wolverine.

We should point out though that this is a movie version Snake-Eyes and happily it moves away from the rubber suit looking uniform that Ray Park used in the Rise of Cobra Movie and has a more tactical suit look. If you remove the battle harness, you can see where the kevlar plates are in his upper chest, and Snake Eyes now uses knee and shoulder pads for additional protection that's sported by his more recent counterparts, particularly the Resolute and Renegades Snake-Eyes (That he also bears similarities to).

Also, gone is the solid visor used by Park in the Rise of Cobra Movie, replaced instead by his more traditional slit-visor. You can see the solid visors used by the Pursuit of Cobra Snake-Eyes and the Paris Chase Snake-Eyes in this photo.

The Retaliation Ninja Set Snake Eyes's battle harness is a nice touch of realism for the figure that provides him with enough ammunition for an assault bearing either the UZI or the  MPT9K, both of which he wields beautifully thanks to the Pursuit of Cobra line wrists that he has - he has two of the new wrists that can hyperextend instead of just one. He also comes with new feet joints that give him enhanced pose-ability.

As you can see articulation is excellent. There is some issue with his sword sheaths as you can see from above. His battle-harness actually prevents you from properly positioning it. In fact getting it in while Snake-Eyes is wearing his battle harness is a bit difficult. If you want to give him the scabbards, it would be best to remove the harness. It's also easier to move it around without the harness.

I love how he can actually reach back there to draw his swords and hold a single blade with both hands. Which leads to the next problem for the Retaliation Snake Eyes: he can't grasp the smaller sword. You can drop it in there and have him pose, but eventually he'll drop it. 

Retaliation Snake Eyes has much more fun with the sais:

If by chance you have the G.I. Joe Retaliation Zartan, you can actually take the spare Zartan/Snake-Eyes face which has a nicer, sharper mold and replace Retaliation Snake-Eyes' head.

B) G.I. Joe Retaliation Storm Shadow. I have a hope that this new movie will have Storm Shadow shift his allegiance to the Joes. 

Storm Shadow moves away from the original movie's "Power Ranger" look for Storm Shadow and moves more into the associated look of Storm Shadow. 

Unfortunately, in the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown set, I found him to be the most boring of the three. There really isn't much going on with him and most of the weapons when attached to him make no sense - which we'll discuss as we go.

Let's start with his bow. Looking at the bow from the front and back of the packaging, I thought that it the bow was severely misshapen - unless it's a Mongolian horseman bow. Happily when I opened it... well remember how in the Thor and Avengers movie, Hawkeye snaps his hand out and his bow extends? So does Storm Shadow's:

Which would be great except that he has no arrows, nor any means to properly carry the folded bow on his back. The bow, when folded, forms a circle at the center which hints at the idea that it goes around a back-pack stud. Sadly, no back-pack. 

The back of the blister card also shows Storm Shadow using the Kunai. HE CAN"T HOLD THEM!!!!

The Ninjaken then! Retaliation Storm Shadow comes equipped with the same new POC wrist joints that Snake Eyes has - also both the hyperextending kind, so happily Storm Shadow can use his Ninjaken quite well:

Except he doesn't have a scabbard, again, to carry it. 

Next up is the Naginata. 

I'm no weapons expert, but this does not look like a light-weight spear that Ninjas would use. Even admitting the truth that Ninjas also modified the tips to have bigger, flat blades, it's shaft is too thick to be a light-weapon. This is the much heavier guard weapon, a GuanDao. 

Which leaves the Tekagi-Shuko which I have to say looks good on him and is the only weapon that seems to make sense, especially when combined with the Ninjaken:

The only way that Storm Shadow would be so... unaccessoried... would be for us to assume that this Ninja Showdown is taking place in Storm Shadow's home where he can pick arrows off the wall, doesn't have to bother with a scabbard and can go use a heavy weapon. 

One more thing, there's a problem with his feet. Both the Retaliation Snake Eyes and Red Ninja slipped onto the universal foot pegs with no difficulty, Storm Shadow's foot peg seems to be a little shallower and won't go in all the way. 

Hey it's Raiden!
C) G.I. Joe Retaliation Red Ninja. The lovely jewel in the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown set for the simple reason that he can use practically ANY weapon in the box - except for Retaliation Snake-Eyes' guns and the swords thanks to the weird shape of his hands. 
Strangely, neither Storm Shadow nor Snake Eyes can use the Mugiwara (Straw Hat) not because the Red Ninja has a bigger head, but because the Red Ninja has a pointy head.  

At first I thought that the Mugiwara would look funny, but it actually looks good on the little Retaliation Red Ninja. You can imagine the guy just waiting for you on a lonely dirt road.

Unlike Retaliation Storm Shadow and Retaliation Snake Eyes, the Ninja Showdown Red Ninja has the more traditional Pursuit of Cobra wrist augments - which means he has one of both, instead of two hyperextending wrists which makes him the master of the sai:

Add the Fencing Mask and give him the Tekagi-Shuko and you end up transforming the Retaliation Red Ninja into Street Fighters' Vega:

The single hyperextending wrist still does wonders for the Retaliation Red Ninja:

The Retaliation Red Ninja is also the only one of the three that can use the Kunai:

Technically I should have hooked the Kunai to his pointy finger. Details. Speaking of which, I don't really want to sort through seven feet of string. It looks like something that he can't really clip to his arm anyway.

There are a few more problems with the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown Set. First of which is that the Retaliation Storm Shadow and Retaliation Snake Eyes both have excess mold plastic around the wrist area. Nothing that a sharp blade can't fix. 

But all three suffer from the inability to twist their legs. They can split them, but they can't twist which reduces their pose-ability greatly.

The G.I. Joe Retaliation Ninja Showdown set is available on Amazon for US$ 32.94 (PhP 1,416 plus shipping). This particular set was purchased at Toys R'Us in Galleria for PhP 1,499.75. Well worth it in my opinion and much still much better than having to buy the individual pieces precisely because they're... so colorful.


  1. Love the poses you made for Red Njinja. It's your posing skill that got me into buying Shadow Tracker and Jungle Assault Duke, haha.


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