Dojo (1992)

The silent weapons master of Ninja Force is also the most talkative member of the group. It’s not the last time the team would play the irony card. Witness Bushido, the samurai helmeted snow ninja.

No matter what you think of the Ninja Force concept, props must be given for the first year’s eclectic mix of personalities, uniform design and weapon choices. Thankfully, the team wasn’t simply a group of Storm Shadow clones. Dojo is one of the designs that strayed from the established GI Joe ninja dress code. He’s a guy in a simple bandana mask, rather than the typical ninja hood. Maybe it’s the mask and facial hair, but I’ve always gotten a Zorro villain vibe from Dojo.

Dojo apparently drives the Brawler quite a bit. Many of the 1992 figures’ file cards handily pointed out which recent vehicle they liked to drive or ride. A ninja wouldn’t be my first thought for the commander of a tank, but then again, it was a pretty funky vehicle, we’re talking about 1992. I think the operative marketing phrase back then was “anything goes”. For the record, here’s a pointless list of the Ninja Force members and their rides of choice:

Storm Shadow: Patriot
Nunchuk: Battle Wagon
T’JBang: Battle Copters
Dojo: Brawler

My favorite pairing is Nunchuk and the Battle Wagon. A camouflaged ninja behind the wheel of a missile-launching monster truck perfectly encapsulates GI Joe in the 90s. Not exactly Stormy on the Ferret, but oddly appropriate for its time.


  • Wow, what an awesome face. Now that’s a ninja!

  • I just recently completed Dojo, though I still need his figure stand. He was one of my first Listia-won Joe figures.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Without trying to be a smart ass, wouldn’t anyone in Ninja Force be a master of silent weapons?

    For vehicles, I think the gliders would probably fit best with Ninja Force. Night Landing, too. Vehicles that go with the whole sneaky and silent idea. Obviously, Hasbro wasn’t trying to go with what made sense. Just list the vehicles that were out at the time and pair them up with random characters. Maybe some kid who really liked Nunchuck would save up and buy a Battle Wagon. Personally, I preferred the Brawler out of the big ass vehicles available then. Much lighter weight, cooler design, and it didn’t have the stupid motorized feature.

  • I have most of ninja force. I got them all in a large bag of figures i got in ’06 at the local swap meet. Until i looked him up on Yojoe i thought all the ninja force guys except snake eyes were cobra agents. The more you know.

    I think in the Dic episode “The Sword”, the ninja guys extensivly used the gyro copter doo dah’s and gliders. I could confoirm it but not even Bill Gates could pay me enough to watch most of those episodes again.

    The Ninja force guys struck me as pretty weak characters. In the comics, their antics just irritated me [a small group of invincible martial artisits that live in New York…why not go the whole hog and get Cam Clarke to voice their leader]. That said, to me i see them as blank slates who’s introduction was really annoying but i wouldnt mind a reboot of ninja force. Maybe with TMNT being so popular again Ninja force would stand a chance. I did make a custom 30th Banzai out of R.O.C Snake eyes.

  • Badass look and rooted hair for the win. Nicely detailed throughout if you get past the neon.

    Pairing up random characters with vehicles was a cheap way of getting around the fact that the formerly exclusive vehicle drivers were being phased out. It made little sense unless you were a kid who had just discovered the line and hadn’t collected the larger vehicles from 1982 through 1990.

  • @Clutch

    If you ask me, driving a monster truck with a huge cannon on the roof defeats the purpose of being a ninja in the first place.

  • Didn´t like Ninja Force back then. Don´t like them now. The only NF-figure I like is Storm Shadow and Kamikura. At least they look like Ninjas. Of all subsets, Ninja Force is the worst.

  • I found it funny that the new Ninja Force ninjas all had European origin names. No Asian love?

  • As a figure, Dojo looks nice, though he’s definately well into the absurd and brightly colored ’90s era. He might be mistaken for a Double Dragon figure? Not sure if they had toys. The infamous 1994 game had a cartoon series tied to it.

    It is funny tying the ninjas to big vehicles. Evidently the Ninja Force vehicles (Pile Driver & Battle Ax IIRC) didn’t sell very well. Question: did the ninja dilution principle (i.e. the more ninjas are around the less badass and more inept they are) affect Storm Shadow & Snake Eyes, or due to their existing prior, were they grandfathered in with all their ninja mightiness?

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I always got the impression that while Dojo, Nunchuck, and T’Jbang were all skilled ninja, they were all much like Storm Shadow’s students. So, while adept in their own right, Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow (and even Jinx) were way ahead of them in terms of skill and experience. And maybe it’s just because I thought they were so cool, but I always took Slice and Dice to be total bad asses.

    I don’t know what vehicles sold well and which didn’t, but the Ninja Force vehicles just weren’t fun at all and honestly, they looked stupid. The inclusion of action figures is honestly the only reason I bothered buying the Pile Driver and Battle Ax and even those figures were disappointing to me as they were just repaints of figures that were available at the time. The Red Ninja was just a repainted Dice, which is one of the coolest figures on it’s own, but it was too soon to reuse the Dice mold. I think Hasbro should’ve just made the Red Ninja with the original 1984 Storm Shadow mold painted red. They were offering an original Storm Shadow in blue as a Ninja Viper through Hasbro Direct.

    The other Ninja Force figure to come with a vehicle was a repaint of Ninja Force Storm Shadow, which was also still available. I still would’ve liked to have seen something more original (or a repaint of an older figure) and an easier to pronounce name. I can’t be the only kid that wondered how the hell I was supposed to pronounce “T’Jbang” and “T’Gin-Tsu”.

  • @Dreadnock Spirit
    Head on over to youtube and type “O-ring a bell”. Its a small series on underrated Joe figures. In T’jbangs episode they tell you how to pronounce his nae [“Sha-bang”]

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Thanks. I know how to pronounce their names now, but back when these toys were still on the shelves, I’m certain their names must’ve confused plenty of kids.

  • I have this figure MOC, not sure if I’ll ever open it. Ninja Force,Eco Warriors-all concepts that were desperate attempts to stay relevant in the brave new world of video games.I still think Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo took kids away from action figures at an earlier age. The 1982 G.I Joe series was originally designed to appeal to 7-11 year old kids, those born roughly between 1971-1977 roughly. All those kids had growing up were the Atari 2600 hardly a great machine, which was really on its way out in 1982. It wasn’t till the NES of 85 when a paradigm shift in children’s play patterns were changing from toys to video games.

  • Unless one was in New York City, the NES came out nationwide in 1986 (for Fall 1986. LA got it in Feb 1986, the 2nd test market for Nintendo. There might’ve been other test markets inbetween). It sold decently, but the timeframe it really started to take off was August 1987 thru 1988. Those last 5 months of 1987 are what put it on the map. Here’s something mindblowing. There are games that came out in 1985/86 that had more copies produced in 1988 alone than were produced over 1985-87 (especially considering games usually do the vast majority of their sales within the first year and more recently, it’s down to mere weeks). The initial effect of the NES was to peel off the oldest of the toy buying demographic in 1987-88 onward. This would eventually lead to toy design skewing younger, trying to appeal to younger kids because it no longer had to appeal to kids across the young to older kid age range. TMNT was the benefit of some serendipity being designed going after a younger audience and debuting just as the NES was profoundly affecting the demographics of toy buyers.

  • What makes him a master of Silent Weapons and not any of the other ninjas? I love me some 90’s joes, but oddly enough Ninja force is where I get choosy about who to collect lol. Just nunchuck SS and SE for me. and Cobra gets Slice and dice and the night creepers. Cuz theyre awesome. But dojo and all the rest……….yeah……..ill pass. its not the colors, its just too many ninjas.

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