Red Ninja (1993)
Ah yes, the Red Ninja. The cobra ninja cannon fodder that made their first appearance in the classic issue 21 of the Marvel Joe comic. I remember reading that issue and hoping I would see them in toy form some day. Little did I know that Hasbro would make that hope a reality with the 1993 Red Ninja fig–wait. What? This isn’t the comic’s original Red Ninja? What? You mean it’s just a shockingly-hued repaint of Ninja Force Dice? Oh. Crap.
That about sums up my disappointment with the figure’s name. The name, you ask? What about the shockingly neon figure and weapon? What about the fact that he’s the driver of one of the all-time flying rodent excrement crazy vehicles in the Joe line? What about the file card that reads like it was written by a staff writer from Cracked magazine?
Those things aren’t a big deal to me. Yeah, I’m most disappointed in the name above all else. After years of pining for an obscure comic character, a name associated with years of expectation is slapped on an obvious afterthought of a figure like this. I’m talking Episode I levels of disappointment here.
I can best explain it like so: Imagine if a figure named Billy showed up on a 2012 figure release list. Joe comic fans would naturally freak, right? The cry would go up: we’re finally getting a Billy figure! Then when press images later show up online, the figure turns out to be an Arctic Destro repainted green and chartreuse, packaged as the driver of the Road Rebel.