We've got to travel now back to the armpit of the 90's. Yup, let's whoosh all the way back to 1994. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on their way out, but roller blades, rock and roll, and attitude were very much in, thus paving the way for a new Show-As-Toy-Commercial premise at last. He-Man may have perfected this concept, but in the 90's we didn't want some scantily-clad dude with a sword. We wanted anthropomorphized hero teams! Thus, the Street Sharks were born!
The show itself lasted 40 episodes (and I'll go into more detail in the video), but the big draw was the action figure line the show was built around. These were sturdy chunks of plastic made by Mattel, let me tell you. Just take a look at Ripster there, the leader and a great white shark. Street Shark figures were beefy, top-heavy, and full of gimmicks such as the biting action, but that doesn't mean they didn't have a ton of detail to compliment the size.
Where Stone Protectors played it safe and had the bare minimum of detail, Street Sharks threw in a fantastic amount of detail onto every figure, including well-defined muscles, gills, even veins here and there. You can tell Streex up there (hitting both the 90's love of in-line skates and the letter X) has gloves that have been ripped, and while the photo doesn't clearly show this, you can see actual textures added to really go all the way. Say what you will about the dopey concept, but Street Sharks were not half-assed toys.
Here's Streex again, this time with a facemask since I think he's also a hockey player. Maybe. I know that at least one of the Street Sharks plays rock music (probably Streex again since he's oh-so 90's), as some figures came with accessories, but mostly it was just a box and the toy. Then again, you didn't really need accessories, nor could the standard figures hold anything, so we just made do.
Another of the four brothers (yes, there were four Street Sharks and they were brothers), Jab, is a hammerhead shark with the special feature that lets you pull his arm down and make his head ram forward. Each toy had one special feature, usually beyond just the biting. As mentioned, Jab can pop his head out, Streex has claws that pop out of his right hand (sharks have claws, right? Maybe tiger sharks do?), and Ripster has a swivel punch...thing. The one brother not shown is Big Slammu, a whale shark. I really wish I had him to show since he was my second favorite as his mouth was huge and he looked like he was always smiling, but I didn't snag that one when my cousin gave all these up.
Last in my possession is Slash, a Seaviate (villain character), a marlin of all things with a nose that has a drilling action (the video shows this so check it for EXTREME AWESOME). One of the best parts about Street Sharks had to be the variety of figures. While Ninja Turtles were great, the four original brothers were essentially the same figure with slight alterations and color swaps (and accessories, but let's not dwell). Here though, every figure is vastly different and really cool to check out. Beyond the four main sharks, you also have a killer whale, a lobster, a squid, and even a manta ray. I wish I could find some decent images online to show off a few of these, but just do a Google search for "Killamari" or "Slobster" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Compared to a Ninja Turtle figure, even a larger one like my Mutatin' Michelangelo here, Street Sharks are beastly toys. They'd be the roughest of sorts if they were ever in Toy Story and they don't look all that friendly, either. Despite trying to snag the Turtles' formula wholesale, they have a surprising amount of personality and detail, making them an excellent garage sale find or hobby shop snag. Sadly though, if you're looking to buy these days, you're looking at US$29.99 on the cheap side, and usually over US$100 for something still in the box.
Of course, I can't just sit back and let the Street Sharks hassle my boy in green there. They may have cool details, but they're no where near articulated enough to rank among my favorites. I have a feeling that some Tomofolk out there may be huge Street Shark fans though. There seems to be one in every crowd. Were Street Sharks among your favorites, or did you just find them pointless? Leave some comments with some Sharkly love why don't you! Other than that, hopefully everyone had a good Christmas and will have a good New Years as well. I leave you with the full video to enjoy. See you in the next year with something Turtles-related!
First, the Street Sharks cartoon intro for clarity:
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