As one of the vintage MOTU line's final releases, Ninjor was a bit of an oddball that stuck out even in a sea of oddballs. Even among cybernetic elephant men and reptilian speed freaks with tires wedged into their torsos, a straight-up ninja transplanted to Eternia seemed a little weird. Ninjas were very popular fare in the late '80s, however, so it was perhaps inevitable that the team behind MOTU would slip one into the line in one form or another. Something that is particularly amusing to me is that, given the vintage figure's resemblance to Lee Van Cleef under his mask, the character seems to have been partly inspired by the TV series The Master, which really only remembered today for the good-natured mocking it received on Mystery Science Theater 3000! As with most of the line's late releases, Ninjor made few media appearances, and lacked much character development as a result. He continues to be one of the more obscure and maligned MOTU characters. Is his debut in the Origins line cool enough to overcome that? Read on...
From the neck down, Ninjor shares all his parts with Skeletor. Many have expressed puzzlement that an apparently human character would have the clawed hands and feet shared by many of the line's villains, but this always made perfect sense to me. I always assumed these were simply boots and gloves he was wearing to aid him in combat and climbing, no doubt inspired by my having seen ninjas use clawed devices for climbing in various movies. Of course, given that he does live on Eternia, there's always the possibility that he's not entirely human. However you rationalize it, the parts are accurate to the vintage figure, so they definitely belong here. The head is new, and while the mask is not removable on this figure, the part of the face that we can see certainly carries the same likeness. The shirt piece is not cloth, as it was on the vintage figure, but it is sculpted with a nice clothlike texture that works very well, as we saw previously with Scare Glow.
The few paint apps the figure requires are applied very neatly, and despite some color combinations that are often problematic, the underlying color never bleeds through. Caucasian fleshtone over black plastic is a recipe for bleed-through, but non is present here. Ninjor has the articulation model we've become familiar with, with swivel & hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, swivels at the boot tops and waist, and a ball-jointed head. He's a very fun figure to pose, and none of the joints on mine are overly tight or loose. The pieces pop apart at the usual spots for easy swapping, but as always, I recommend heating the elbows, hips, knees, and ankles before popping them apart.
Ninjor has a nice assortment of accessories, with a katana, nunchaku, and a bow. The weapons fit easily into his hands, and so far have not shown a tendency to fall out. The nunchaku have a chain with actual individual links, which is a nice touch. With the two weapon slots on his back, you can have him hold one while storing the other two. I always appreciate when a figure's accessories can be stored on the figure itself, so this was a very nice surprise! All weapons are molded in silver, and while some additional paint apps would have been nice, their lack is not surprising. The wave four minicomic is also included, and while the tiny page count severely limits the kinds of stories that can be told, I'm still gleeful about getting actual minicomics with these figures!
The announcement of this figure's inclusion so early in the Origins line was a big head-scratcher for many collectors, but I was happy to see Mattel mix things up a bit. For most collectors, Ninjor is far from an essential character, but he has an interesting look, some cool accessories, and let's face it: Ninjas are still cool. A ninja with red demon boots, even more so! I doubt he'll be cracking any top ten lists, but if you tend to like the oddballs, as I do, Ninjor is a figure you definitely want to add to your collection. That's it for today, but infiltrate the blog again in three days for more! Until then, stay safe out there, and happy hunting!