By Past Nastification
Slice and Dice were the early 90’s Cobra ninja team of the ARAH run. That is to say they were the mid-quality ninja team. If you needed a ninja team that could probably accomplish their mission, Slice and Dice were it. Their introduction in the late Marvel run wasn’t fully fleshed out, and poorly drawn. It gave the impression that when not wearing ninja attire, they probably adorned themselves with neon sunglasses, puka shell necklaces, and copious amounts of hair gel. The word “dude” was likely used a lot in daily conversation.
What would a night on the town with Slice and Dice look like? There may have been some intoxicated lingering bear hugging on the street outside of a bar. A loud bar overloaded with obnoxious twenty somethings. When a motorist would lightly honk a horn to get them to move out of the street, Slice would yell, “What’s your problem? You want some?! You want some?!” The 90’s were a bad time. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
By the New Sculpt era, Dice was inexplicably absent, perhaps having matured as both a ninja and a person. Slice returned (as “Cobra Slice”) first in re-colors of the ARAH mold, and then in a new NS uniform. Eventually Dice did see a new figure in Modern Era format, when the GI Joe Collector’s Club made one.
But in 2004, Slice and Slash were packaged together, although their filecards didn’t mention each other. Maybe someone at Hasbro thought it was a nice idea to throw two ninja together in a set.
Was Slash intended to be a new uniform version of Dice? I don’t think so, as each character had its own strong color sets. This seems to be not an example of Hasbro losing rights to a name, but simply having developed a new character. Slash was written to be a much more intense character than Dice had been. A perfectionist with a dusting of sociopathic impulses. Had Slash been at the hypothetical bar in the 90’s, he wouldn’t have been bear hugging anyone outside the bar. He would have been still inside, over-competitively playing darts against a college girl trying to pick up a bad boy, completely unaware of her interest in him.
The figure is certainly a product of the NS era. But despite its smallish head and wide shoulders, the proportions are actually pretty good. Slash’s uniform is interesting. Unlike many ninja in GI Joe lore, Slash doesn’t wear a complete gi, only the upper portion. His mask looks more like a manufactured ski mask than a Shokuzu mask (that’s what the internet tells me a ninja mask is called). The arms may have been intended to be bare at one point, as there is no fabric texturing on them and they’re fairly muscular. Either way, the red on the arms blends them fluidly with the red of the chest/back so that it doesn’t matter.
The uniform is loaded with great details. There are night vision goggles (or whatever they are) perched above the eyes. Webgear attached to hanging armored skirt plates give Slash a unique look. There are no fancy foot wraps and ninja booties, either. Intricately designed boots, looking athletic but sturdy, keep Slash grounded a bit more in reality.
The figure’s gear includes a pop-apart sword and a two-part staff weapon, plus a handled carrying case.
In the decade plus since the figure’s release, I’ve come to see it as its own character and not a Dice wannabe. This is the kind of subtle work Hasbro didn’t give us often during the NS era, so it really stands out as time has moved on.