Kamakura (2004)

Kamakura the Lemon Head Ninja. How quickly you were forgotten. Your Action Attack and yellow-headed tackiness was the bane of GI Joe collectors’ existence for all of three minutes back in the mid-aughts. I have to say, as much as we bitch about Hasbro’s attempts to invigorate the line with gimmicks and such, they do seem to respond to failures by changing course when necessary. First, there was the 86ing of the beloved O-ring in 2002. That was quickly reintroduced after outcry against it. Then, there was Action Attack. And again the cry went up amongst all Joedom: “Deth of teh lien!!!1” It too quickly disappeared, and all was right with the Joe world. Well, except for short torsos, long arms, repaints and blocky vehicles.

Action Attack was another gimmick that was worked into a few of the figures from this time in order to give them more play value. As I’ve mentioned in the Electric Eel entry, I do appreciate action features when they’re sensible for the character and work well. Kamakura’s action is the ability to draw his sword from its scabbard by squeezing his legs together.

This is accomplished by the metal handle of his sword being attracted to the magnets in his right hand. A good idea for a ninja figure, and although it doesn’t always work properly, it’s a unique action feature.

Waist articulation (no O-ring) suffers as a consequence of this action feature, which is understandable. But I don’t know why he wasn’t at least given knee joints or a bicep swivel in his left arm. Also, the flat palm hand ends up looking goofy, but it had to be that way to make the gimmick work. The figure ends up as something akin to a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. In the end, Hasbro gave Kamakura a do-over (sans Lemon Head) in the form of a normally articulated figure, which turned out to be quite nice.


  • I love the new layout of the blog! Great pic at the top.

  • Adding the video is a nice touch. Did you take the video yourself?

  • I have this turd of a figure. I also have the Snake Eyes bike that McDonalds did sell as Happy Meal toys in 04(?). The one with the launching front wheel. This Kamakura figure goes great with that Snake Eyes and bike.

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  • “But I don’t know why he wasn’t at least given knee joints…”

    I think I can answer that one. When an action figure has some kind of action feature that requires squeezing his legs together to activate, the knee joints tend to receive a lot of wear, which usually results in one or both of the legs breaking off at the knee in time. (Kids tend to not realize they shouldn’t be squeezing the legs by holding them below the knee joints, which pushes the knee joints sideways, again and again and again.)

    I learned this the hard way as a child. Poor Karate Commando Chuck Norris, having to retire from his action figure career with one leg…

    And he was a six-inch action figure. A G.I. Joe-sized figure, with its thinner legs, would probably wear out and break even more quickly.

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