Monday, August 6, 2012

NWC Figure Fraction: The New Villain Designs for TMNT - Too Retro?

Hey everybody, Geddy Cahoon with my second post of the day (I've been feeling extra-efficient). I figured I would update the Figure Fraction page with some concerns I have over the toyline I'm currently obsessing over.

Basically: There's a new Ninja Turtles cartoon debuting on Nickelodeon in September. The cartoon doesn't look fantastic, but I'll definitely be giving it a shot before I renounce it or anything. The toyline on the other hand? It's freaking awesome. I've already gotten Leonardo, Raphael, and Kraang, and I'll be snagging the rest of the turtles, April, Shredder and Splinter soon enough. That should really be a testament to the greatness of these things: I'm by no means a huge turtle fan, but I feel totally compelled to own the whole line. Mini-review real quick: They're awesome and cheap. Buy them.

However, as awesome as the figures are, there are some distinct issues with all of the figures in this line who are A. Villains and B. Not Turtles. The articulation on the Kraang figure sucks, as cool as the design is, and the Shredder is lacking in both aesthetic and articulation. The trend seemingly continues with these two newly announced villains (Two newly announced because the uncolored robot thing-y is a revamp of a retro character) that are coming up in September.

Hit the jump to here my detailed thoughts on the two newest members of the TMNT family, Dog Pound and Fish Face!

NOTE: I won't be talking about Metal Head at all in this post. The final figure may look wildly different than the one shown, and the one shown isn't even that bad and fits quite nicely into the new series' aesthetic.

My first issue would of course be the articulation thing. If you look closely at these two, they seem to feature hinged/rotating shoulders, and cut legs. Dog Pound (The furry one, duh) seems to have cut... Forearms, which is weird, as well. But that's it. Look at the turtles. Look at how fucking articulated they are. It's nothing insane, but the turtles have a ton of movement, whereas most of the villains thus far have been somewhat... Limited.

 Now I mean, I guess that's no problem if they're going to be sitting on a collector's shelf, but this is a line directed at children. And when you give us these awesome turtles... The lacking bad guy articulation doesn't cut it. I really hope Playmates doesn't make all of the villains this limited, or else they may garner some reluctance from potential buyers. But hey, that's no problem as long as the designs are nice right? And the designs ARE nice, right?

"Well now that you mention it..."

I'm just really fucking divided over the sculpts. On one hand, they do look really nice. I totally dig Dog Pound, and Fish Face looks really neat too. My only qualm is... Are they too retro for this line? Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a little retro love. However, the turtles have been updated in a very modern way. I'm just not sure these villains will gel with the any of the new character designs, quite frankly. Just look at these photos for comparison:

The designs of these guys are just not working with the turtles for me. They just feel too retro. Like they'd be right at home in the vintage line, but so many things just don't scream "2012 CG Cartoon" to me. The odd designs coupled with the limited articulation just make me worry that these guys aren't gonna look right on the shelf.

I definitely think Dog Pound is a more obvious offender in the whole "retro" category; the bones or whatever the hell they are jutting out of him look exactly like the kind of random stuff that would be all over the original figures, but Fish Face doesn't exactly vibe with the new turtles (Or the new Shredder, the new Kraang, etc.) either.

Dog Pound also looks extremely realistic. He has beady dog eyes, black lips, and his fur looks like real fur. This new Turtles cartoon is going to be extra-sleek by the looks of it. Green Lantern-esque. The toys maintain some level of detail, but they're faithful to that sleekness to a degree. Dog Pound looks chunky and, well, like I keep saying, "old." Fish Face is definitely more cartoonish, but he seems horrendously oversized to me. Not in terms of height, but because his head is apparently as big as Michelangelo's torso.

If Dog Pound and Fish Face are to be Shredder's main henchman (There doesn't seem to be any sign of ol' Bebop and Rocksteady) I think they vary too much from even each other. Bebop and Rocksteady definitely had different looks - Bebop looked like a biker and Rocksteady a military man - but those two looks were somewhat similar. Or at the very least, they didn't look too weird standing next to each other. But Dog Pound and Fish Face are SO different looking. From the waist down, Dog Pound looks like some kind of samurai. Fish Face has a sci-fi heavy look all the way. They're just going to look off next to each other.

At any rate, I think I'm really excited for these guys. They look great, and even if they don't look "2012" Dog Pound could easily become my favorite figure from this line, and Fish Face has a really fun sci-fi look about him. I'm just at the same time worried about their entire aesthetic versus the turtles' designs. It'll be a little different when I have them on hand in the store, and I'll probably buy them regardless. Also on top of all this, the little kids that this line and show are targeted at aren't going to look at it as overly logically as I did today. But that doesn't mean I don't get to voice my worries over the internet, dammit.

No relation to anything; I just like these guys and wanted to have a picture of them before the article ended.

That's it for this short little piece. Be sure to leave a comment or like the NWC Facebook Page to tell us what you thought. Thanks for reading, and let's all keep collecting action figures well beyond the age it's generally considered socially acceptable!

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