G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Kamakura (Dojo Battle 3-Pack)

I think as Joe fans we need to get ourselves prepared now...it's going to be a ninja onslaught in 2012! I know many of us aren't big fans of the more ninja elements of the G.I. Joe brand, but I think we need to quickly accept what's likely to be a crazy year for the silent assassins.

If Hasbro is going to go all out with the ninjas, though, I'm glad they're throwing the fans a few little Easter eggs, even if the end results are somewhat mixed. Announced at Toy Fair, 2012 as "Kamakura" this figure is a bit of a mish-mash. Using G.I. Joe: Resolute Storm Shadow's head, the infamous Pursuit of Cobra "Tornado Kick" Snake Eyes' arms and lower legs, and the 30th Anniversary Storm Shadow's torso and upper legs, Kamakura is a somewhat strange amalgamation.

I kind of get what Hasbro was going for here, with a funky homage to his textured pads from the Devils' Due days, but the results aren't terrific. I know most folks had issue with Snake Eyes' action attack spin-kick, but I actually wasn't wild about the overall design itself, and this figure seems to borrow from that quite a bit. The armored forearms and legs are okay, I guess, and provide decent protection from ninja warfare, but I'm just not a big fan of the look. It makes the figure feel a little... "clunky" to me, I think.

For the colors, it almost seems like Hasbro was attempting an homage with a very strange shade of light green/blue that doesn't work exceptionally well. I almost would have preferred they go the whole green route, but instead they almost went kind of with the "Ninja Viper" idea. Not a terrible paint scheme, but not really appealing either.

A word of warning here, you have to take accessory compliments with a grain of salt. It's likely that most of this gear was just sort of piled together for the box, and weapons can probably be swapped out here and there. Considering that sword is kind of iconic for Snake Eyes, I wouldn't be surprised if it is intended for him instead but since he comes in the other 3-pack, obviously this one was meant for Kamakura.

Regardless, there are a ton of accessories here, including the Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Duke's webgear (with machete), Resolute Storm Shadow's hood (which does not even come close to fitting), backpack, and swords...and other stuff mixed in here. None of the weapons are revolutionary, though I love the Uzi and the silencer that fits it nicely.

EDIT - Turns out the hood issues were mostly due to the temperature in my garage, which made the material really stiff. I brought it into my house, and once the plastic softened it formed around his head and fit MUCH better. So that's another positive sign for this figure.

The look with the webgear is unique, and the figure looks pretty decent all decked out. Well, as "all decked out" as he can be, considering once he wears the webgear, the backpack sheath no longer has a place to plug in.

That's one thing that has become evident with some of these Retaliation toys. With the Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary, nearly every single weapon and accessory seemed to have a distinct purpose, especially when looking at an excellent figure like the 30th Anniversary Storm Shadow. With Kamakura, you have a backpack that he can't even wear because the webgear covers up the backpack hole. Bizarre. He's not the only figure who suffers from this either.

Sure, you can keep the webgear off and just use the backpack, but the figure looks a little bare without it. Your mileage may vary.

Kamakura is okay. Nothing great, but okay. Certainly nothing here that outweighs the surprisingly cool Rise of Cobra version. The parts are somewhat bizarre once they all get put together, and while I do like his weapons, some accessory choices make little sense, and the paint scheme really doesn't do the figure any favors. Not a whole lot of love for this one, but it does get much better from here.