Ronin Warriors was an American adaptation of the Japanese animated series (or “anime”) Samurai Troopers, with surprisingly little editing. It’s a great show in either translation, and my favorite character was Cye of the Torrent. (Granted, it’s mostly because he had a cool accent, wore blue–my favorite color–and I’m a bit of a water baby–for a guy who can’t swim. Also, his symbol (although I believe this was one that was mistranslated) was “trust”, which speaks to me personally, but you don’t need my baggage.) So I really wanted the figure when it came out. I do like me some armored heroes, and the whole series is about a group of guys who can summon magical battle armor to battle with. (Even the villains could summon armor.) The story behind the armor is different and makes for a great story and I highly recommend this show. This is why I wanted the action figure and Big Lots had a whole bunch that they were able to find and sell for clearance.

I can see now why they didn’t sell.

Produced by toy company Playmates (who did a much better job with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line), I expect better from them. Just by looking at the figure the only flaw you see is that his head (although nicely sculpted and painted) is way too small for his body. All the Ronin Warrior figures had this body, only with different heads and slight modifications to their light armor. It’s when you get the figure out of the package and start playing with displaying it that the toy begins to show how poorly it was designed.

Cye's career as a dance instructor was cut short.

This is what passes for articulation in the figure. The neck turns side to side, but what do you expect from an action figure from the 90’s? The arms go up and down, his wrists turn, and his waist pivots naturally enough. The ankles have some movement, but that’s where the pluses end. Do you want to know how his legs ended up in that position?

Works OK in that spot, but terrible everywhere else.

The secret is in the way this figure is articulated and is the ultimate fail of the toy. Here you see the shoulder, since it’s the easiest spot to show you. The figure doesn’t use the traditional hinges or the ball joints that were already doing well for articulation by this time. Instead, the joint uses springs and some kind of gear-ish system. It’s like somebody wanted to challenge themselves by coming up with the most useless way to make moving parts. The neck, waist (as far as I can tell) and wrists don’t use these, but the upper and lower arms and legs all do and the end result is the total inability to put this guy in a cool position even while playing with it, much less displaying it. Whomever greenlit this should have been fired, and that’s not something I call for very often, especially in this economy. That’s why I could never be a boss. 🙂

I never could understand what they were saying at the end of their transformations.

Additionally, Cye comes with the “heavy” armor, the actual magic armor they summon to battle their foes. (The bad guys had their own set of armor.) I can’t even put Cye into the pose they used to summon the armor, but you do get everything: two gauntlets, two shoulder pieces, a chest piece that connects to the backplate, leg protectors, extra boots pieces (helps with stability, I guess) and the helmet. So how does he look with all of that on?

Wow, that's really unimpressive.

Yeah.

Now there’s no head articulation, and that’s when the helmet is willing to stay on. Nothing else interferes with the limb movement (any more than the figure design already does). Cye also comes with his signature weapon, a lance with a trident point. You actually have to assemble the trident part yourself, as I recall. The sides open and close, but you can’t really point it in a way that makes that useful. To get Cye to hold it you have to take the point off (which uses a little connector that’s very easy to lose–nice move guys, couldn’t just design the hands better or not require a third otherwise useless piece?) and slip it into his hands before putting it back on. It does keep it in place, but like I said, why the connector piece?

Decision: goes

I can’t believe the prices these figures are going for on eBay. The articulation is an exercise in fail, the removable armor is cool (once you fight to get it on or off–that’s a challenge in itself) but that hardly saves the figure, and overall this is just a bad toy. As much as I like the character, I really can’t support this depiction with my current space issues. Hopefully there’s an affordable Samurai Troopers version of “Shin” (his Japanese name) that I can pick up that is much cooler than this thing.

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