Yesterday, we got to take a look at the latest Metal Gear-themed entry into the Play Arts Kai line, Solid Snake. However, the figure everyone seemed to be waiting for wasn't Snake, but Cyborg Ninja. In part, that's because we really haven't had a figure of the popular character before, and a poseable one at that? Just the sight of Cyborg Ninja was enough to make Metal Gear Solid fans' dreams come true, and compared to Snake, our ninja friend seems to have sold out in more places.
Then again, sometimes dreams can turn into nightmares when they come true. Will that be the case with Cyborg Ninja, or did Square Enix get things right?
So to begin with, we find ourselves looking at the box. It's identical to Solid Snake's box, except with the appropriate swapping of images for Cyborg Ninja instead. Nothing too fancy here, but before we could do anything more, the powers that be needed our ninja friend for a top secret mission.
Cyborg Ninja awoke from his electronically induced slumber, confused. Where was he? What did "they" want him to do now? Assassinate the president? Plant a bomb in Russia to start World War III and bring forth a perpetual cycle of conflict from which they could profiteer?
Hmmm, some sort of secret facility, apparently. A sneaking mission, perhaps? We must investigate this further ... in a bit. But for now, a closer look at Cyborg Ninja:
Out of the box, the first thing you can tell about Cyborg Ninja is there's a distinct resemblance to how he appears in Metal Gear Solid. from the dark blue (though greyer in the game) and orange color scheme to the one-eyed helmet encasing his head, there's no doubt this is Cyborg Ninja. The joints are also a little more hidden on Cyborg Ninja than on Solid Snake ... but he's also half-robot, so it really doesn't take too much away to have a few of them exposed. He balances alright when standing up, but as I've said before, a stand for Cyborg Ninja (or any other Play Arts Kai figure) would make this so much better.
Starting with the head sculpt, we get the idea that Square Enix pays good attention to the detail on their Play Arts Kai figures and have definitely been doing so to a better extent lately. Cyborg Ninja is no exception, with an accurate reproduction of Ninja's head here. The lone "eye" on his helmet is even made from a translucent PVC to give it the look of a lens, and the neck joint has full articulation with a decent range of movement.
Each hand is cleanly painted (save for one tiny spot on the left hand), though you can see there's a little bit of flash when you look up close that makes the space between the figures look a little rough. If you want to nitpick, the thumb perhaps looks a little bit off, but I'm not going to worry about it.
Ninja's torso is a wonderful looking piece of work. The definition on the exoskeleton looks great and accurate, and there's pretty good flexibility with the mid-torso joint. All the armor doesn't get in the way of the poseability, either. I also like how they've printed text onto the body that make this look more like a machine because ... well, he's a cyborg, after all.
Down below, the legs are as well sculpted and defined as the body of the exoskeleton, but there's something missing here, isn't there? Yes, there are fewer joints on Cyborg Ninja than on Solid Snake, which to be honest, is a bit disappointing. I understand why they did it (to maintain the integrity of the look of Ninja's armor), but it's led to a little less poseable of a figure, overall. Though not shown, his hip joints are a little more prone to popping out ... but part of that may have been me seeing how far I could pose this fellow.
The attention to detail carries around to the back of Cyborg Ninja, with every little bolt or panel seam represented on the figure. I also love the text on the suit, which again makes it seem that little bit much closer to reality. There's a tiny bit of paint bleed you can see up close, but it's negligible.
But the mission cannot be stopped by such review silliness. Onto the main compound via this ... odd zipline.
One of Ninja's big selling points is his trademark high frequency blade. It wouldn't be a Cyborg Ninja figure without one, perhaps, and he looks very cool when holding it. However, you can also kind of see where those extra joints would be a little more helpful. The pose above is pretty easy to pull off and Ninja stands on his own when balanced right, but I haven't really been able to go beyond a pose like this. All of that is despite the joints having a pretty good range of motion, too.
One of two hands to come with Cyborg Ninja, of course, is made simply for holding onto the blade. As it's made for only such a use, Ninja's high frequency blade fits easily and firmly into the hand, so you won't have to worry about it falling out, even if you turn the figure upside down. The hilt is detailed as accurately as I can remember, though it is a solid dark gray, almost black color, so don't expect it to be a focal point of attention.
The blade itself is nothing too fancy; it's as long as you remember it from Metal Gear Solid, painted a shiny silver color that looks nice in the light, and doesn't really feel too brittle.
Our ninja friend's other weapon is the prototype railgun, which attaches at the elbow on his right arm. The open, default left hand can also be used for supporting the railgun, which means you can either have him with the sword or the railgun, not both.
Yes, I'm sure some of you are saying, "Can't you just remove his left arm instead?" Sure, you could ... if you wanted your figure to be inaccurate. It also feels a little more tailored to be on the right arm at the elbow, anyways, so I don't think Square Enix intended you to have both weapons wielded as an option.
Observing it from a closer viewpoint, the railgun looks just as detailed as the rest of Cyborg Ninja, albeit in a gunmetal gray color because it's not supposed to be a part of Ninja's exoskeleton. I like how the lone colored detail on the piece is the scope, as well, so that the different, slightly darker gray color really contrasts with the orange and dark blue exoskeleton shell. It attaches easily at the elbow; just make sure you remove the forearm as the instructions say you should, to avoid damaging the joints.
But look out! Other people have arrived ... with children in tow! Quickly, time to escape!
On a slightly more serious note, I find my feelings mixed on Cyborg Ninja. It's a wonderfully sculpted and painted figure, but not nearly as poseable as you might think it should be. With the limited number of accessories, too, there's not a whole lot you can actually do with him. It doesn't make him a bad figure at all, as he's very clean looking and pretty detailed, but if you buy Cyborg Ninja, know ahead of time that you should keep your expectations a bit tempered. Specifically, you were going to buy him as a Metal Gear Solid fan who just wants to put him on the shelf and leave him there, and not try to pose him in some insane manner (like ripping off the radome of Metal Gear REX), Cyborg Ninja will fit what you're looking for.
[Thanks to Square Enix for send along a review sample!]
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