And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Great Unveiling: A Special Three-Year Anniversary Action Figure Review
by: Wes

Greetings, reader, and welcome to YEAR FOUR of Scary-Crayon! Unless this is your first time here, there's a good chance you've seen our review of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anime. Despite being one of the first articles with which we opened the site way back on January 25, 2004, the article (or at least the first page of it) is still one of the most popular pieces on SC. In 2006, the page received 11,608 views -- considerably more than the 7991 views garnered by our second most viewed article on the site, the Naked Blood. (Warning to the kiddies and the folks at work -- as the name may or may not imply, there's some pretty graphic stuff in that piece. Viewer discretion is advised!) In 2005, the TMNT anime piece won with 13,137 views, whereas Stupid Internet Ads took the runner-up spot with only 7945. The latter pages of the article and our two-part review of the second episode of the TMNT anime are hardly as popular -- none of these pages received even 4000 views in 2006 -- but I guess there's something about Turtles in Wolverine masks and goofy song lyrics in translation that appeals to a broader segment of the online constituency. It's a shame, because anime April and the vacationing Foot Soldier don't even appear until the second page! And there's the anigif with Mu's bouncing breasts on the third.

The fruits of many eBay stakeouts.Transform!

At any rate, given that the TMNT anime piece is probably the oldest and most popular article on the site (even if it's only for the images on the first page), you might expect it, and the anime, to hold a special significance for me. And you'd be right, but in 2004 that significance was more of an obsession. The TMNT anime wasn't just the subject of our flagship article at the time -- it was like a birthmark. Scary-Crayon was and remains very important to me, and the TMNT anime was its defining stamp. I watched it multiple times. I took screencaps just for the sake of taking screencaps. I drew and meticulously colored a picture of Super Michaelangelo. But I did more than that: I logged onto eBay and bought all kinds of action figures related to it in order to preserve its memory. I sought out Supermutant Leonardo and Donatello in auctions and stalked them for days, waiting until the last 15 seconds to snipe the bids and bring home the goods. I purchased a huge TMNT lot -- mostly of figures I didn't even want -- just for the pleasure of owning three of the transforming Mutant Masters figures. They're not bona fide Super Turtles, mind you, but they do transform from chubby "regular" versions of themselves to leaner, meaner forms. I'd always planned to buy some Sculpey Super Flex clay and fashion them more appropriate Wolverine-style Super Turtle masks, but I never got around to that.


I'd admittedly bought them with intent to do a whole bunch of Dusty Plastic HELL comics featuring these figures -- given that they were sort of the site's defining mark at the time I was really going to drive home the Super Turtle connection -- but that's something else that never happened. As far as I can recall, only Super Don has appeared on the site before. (His sole appearance was in the Netiquette Special, which incidentally came about in part because of the rampant image and bandwidth theft that resulted from the TMNT anime piece. I thought it was fitting.) They're pretty neat toys, though, so let's take a moment to briefly review them. The Supermutant line is clearly based on the Super Turtles from the anime -- and with hinged elbows and knees in addition to rotating wrists and the more or less standard rotating leg, arm, and neck articulation, they represent some of the most poseable figures the old or new line. At 6" -- 6.5" if you go to the tops of their masks -- they're also among the tallest, which makes sense because they're supposed to be super. Like CGI, the mutastone adds 20". And while they don't transform or do anything themselves, their weapons do sport action features -- Leonardo's twin sword thing spins if you press a button, whereas Don's bo fires a spring-loaded missile. Keen.

The Mutant Masters figures are a bit cooler, even though they came to me lacking all of their accessories except for the shells on their backs. As shown above (here's a larger picture of the process), removing them from their outer shells and switching their heads a la the old Mutations line results in a leaner and more super Turtle that looks somewhat similar to the Super Turtles that appear in the anime. They stand at 5" tall -- a full inch taller than most of the old line offerings -- even though the fact that their awkward hinged knees and ankles require them to be bent for effective posing makes them appear to be roughly the same size as the old figures. (It's worth noting that most of the old figures came sculpted with bent legs, so if there were a way to straighten them out they'd all be the same height.) Their shoulders and legs have ball joints and they have rotating forearms, but the neck has no joint because it is sculpted out of the peg that they use to transform. Also, if you look at the arms, you can also see that they're slightly off in relation to the body -- likely in order to make them easier to pose when they're inside their larger shells. Nevertheless, I like these figures a lot. I can kind of see why the old line didn't survive too much longer after their release -- after all, they're pretty far-removed from the pizza-eating mutants that kids knew and loved -- but they're definitely interesting interpretations of our green heroes.

OMG, what is that?FOR PERSONAL USE!

The figures reviewed above, however, were not my only Super Turtle-related eBay acquisitions. No, there was another. Another that, although its difficult journey from Nagoya in Japan's Aichi Prefecture to my Maryland residence ended in October of 2004, has not seen the light of day... until now. Well, that's kind of a lie. I did peek inside the box once or twice to make certain it contained what it was supposed to contain -- and not some wacky Japanese porn DVDs with floating CGI fish and busty cosplayers (not that I would have minded all that much) -- but it has only seen the light of day through its windowed box from within its bubble-wrapped casing surrounded by fat pastel-colored packing peanuts. So while the review above represented an "unveiling" of sorts for all but Super Don, as it was the first time that they have appeared on SC, the title of the article refers instead to the contents of this box. Gift toy: TMNT Figure Turtle Saint. For personal use. Oh yes, friends. It is time.

I cannot read this.abgdsbjdsbds

Can you feel it, friends?
I cheated with "feel".

front of the boxback of the box

(click the upper pictures for a closer look at the front and back of the unopened box)

Yep, there he is: the Turtle Saint. You don't want to know how much I paid for this on eBay -- one of the reasons I'd refrained from opening the box for so long is that I thought I might have to try to sell it back -- but with it being the most definitive representation of our flagship article, I had to have it. I had to have it. And now, three years to the day that I replaced "COMING SOON" with a bold red link to the main page on our old splash page, it is finally time for us all to take a good, loving look at the plastic version of the anime character that launched a site.

Very shiny.Do the drunken chicken dance!

First impressions: the Saint's arms are a bit more buff, but he's otherwise about the same size and build as the Mutant Masters figures (remember that Don's knees are bent in order for him to stand more effectively). Aside from the slightly offset ball-jointed shoulder, his arms lack articulation. However, this is because -- true to the design of the Super Turtles! -- he sports retractable fins that can be pulled out or pushed in depending upon his intended stage of mutation. Rather neat, eh? But while that feature does sort of leave his arms lacking in the Weird, man.If you haven't seen it, it's new to you!articulation department, his legs attempt to make up for the lack with some of the funkiest articulation I've ever seen, as he's got rotating joints at his hips, thighs, knees, calves, and ankles. It's great if you've ever wanted to see a Turtle do a drunken chicken walk, but it seems kind of useless otherwise -- or at least that's what I thought before I read looked at the pictures in the detailed transformation instructions. Popping open the shell and swapping the heads was familiar enough, but before putting an end to silver Leo's anorexic Olsen twin impersonation, one has to rotate the legs up and then back down at the thighs in order to widen the gap and enable him to slip on his tubby outer shell. Then -- I guess for better stability, even though it looks hella funky -- the calves have to be rotated backwards and the ankles turned forward in order to complete the transformation. And voila! He's looking a bit more metallic than usual, but otherwise Leonardo is all prepared to lead his transforming team to victory against Shredder and the Foot... so long as the Foot Soldiers aren't currently on vacation.

Regular Silver Leo......and the Turtle Saint!

So here are the fully transformed versions of each Turtle with their various accessories. When he's regular fat silver Leonardo, Leo can wield his giant unpainted sword and use his alternate shell as a shield. However, if he feels the need to go SUPER on someone's ass, he douses himself with red mutagen and transforms into the Turtle Saint, switching his heads, rearranging his legs, and the wings out of the shield and wearing it on his back. He also dons an unpainted utility belt and puts on his empty turtle shell shoulder-guards (which are stored within his giant shell when he's normal). The Saint can also use his regular shell as a shield -- 'cause no matter which form he chooses, silver Saint Leonardo always makes sure to protect himself from enemy projectiles! It's enough to make one wonder if Venus de Milo kept shell-shaped condoms on hand for similar reasons.

Okay, so the toy is kind of cool -- but given the amount of money I spent on it and the years that I spent looking upon that styrofoam box in my room with slavering anticipation, the end result is kind of anticlimactic. I mean, TURTLE SAINT and all, but it's really not that much different from the Mutant Masters figures I've had for ages. It's arguably inferior to them, because at least they have hinged joints and rotating forearms and transformations that don't make their legs look all funky and broken. I'm not saying that I don't like the Turtle Saint -- oh, I do, I do -- I just don't know that I would have paid what I paid for it (which, okay, wasn't all that much, but still) if I had known what it was like before I bought it. Well, I probably would have, but only insofar as the figure represents an unofficial mascot for Scary-Crayon. If there were ever a museum shelf dedicated to the site, the Saint would probably have as much right to be displayed there as the Crayon Critter and the green plush crayon for which SC was named. So welcome, Turtle Saint! May you live long and appear occasionally in Dusty Plastic HELL.




However, even cooler than the figure is the comic that came with the figure -- which you can see in its full glory by clicking the image above (or here). Aside from the incredibly broken Engrish introduction, which arguably makes it sound more like the darkness age is beginning, I have no idea what's actually being said in the comic. (Anyone with translation skills and a graphics editor is encouraged to give it a go!) As far as the action goes, though you can clearly see the Shredder transform into a dragon and give the Super Turtles a good thrashing before they combine to form the Turtle Saint and think about something in the last panel. The fold-out insert also includes pictures of the Japanese Super Turtles figures (and Super Devil Shredder), so feel free to have a look at that as well. At any rate, we hope that you've enjoyed this special unveiling and review of the Turtle Saint and assorted related figures -- and we hope that you'll continue to visit us as we progress into Scary-Crayon's fourth year! And remember, friends: if we all learn to dance together, even angels would dance in the sky.

UPDATE: In response to the parenthetical invitation above, reader Alex actually went to the trouble of translating the comic for y'all! Here's the comic with English text. Thanks a bunch, Alex -- sorry it took me so long to post it!

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