Tuesday, August 15 2017 01:07

Toy Review: TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Usagi Yojimbo & The Samurai Turtles!

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The world of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has evolved numerous times throughout the past few decades, and through countless adventures that have sometimes jumped dimensions, the Turtles have occasionally crossed paths with a Ronin rabbit called Miyamoto Usagi, perhaps better-known as Usagi Yojimbo. Created in the 1980s by Stan Sakai, the character has appeared alongside the TMNT crew in several different versions, particularly becoming a cult favorite based on the original 1987 animated series. Now, in Nickelodeon's TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Usagi is back, and a recent three-part story arc found the Ninja Turtles transported to an alternate dimension in which they fight as samurai alongside the mysterious Ronin rabbit. Of course, being back on the radar for a new generation means the right time to be reintroduced to the toy line, and Playmates has stepped-up with a fantastic Samurai-themed collection of new TMNT action figures, a sampling of which arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ for review.

Playmates Usagi Yojimbo TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Samurai Leo, Samurai Don, Samurai Mikey and Samurai Raph are available now at retailers everywhere, with Usagi Yojimbo joining the fun (all figures are part of the basic assortment with a suggested retail of $8.99). Then, Walmart has an Exclusive 4.5" Usagi in Samurai Armor ($8.99), along with an Exclusive 11" XL Usagi ($12.99) and an Exclusive 4.5" Samurai Usagi with Samurai Horse ($19.99). As always, please note that the suggested retail gets tossed out when third-party sellers pop-up, so the way to pay the best price is usually to look for these at your local store.

Playmates Usagi Yojimbo TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

The Samurai figure assortment is a welcome addition to our ever-growing TMNT collection. These highly-poseable figures come with Samurai-era weaponry, along with removable helmets and face masks that are color-matched to their turtles. My one criticism of note is that the face masks do tend to fall off pretty easily, making them something that might get lost. 

Playmates Usagi Yojimbo TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Usagi in his full armor (Walmart Exclusive) is impressive, though I remain partial to his classic blue garb. Still, the kind of copper-plated look gives him an ornate and almost Regal appearance that the kids really seem to enjoy - as if he's just meant to lead the Turtles into their next battle against evil....

Playmates Usagi Yojimbo TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

While the basic action figures tend to be the staple of the TMNT line, like many other toy lines there's also been a movement back toward some larger figures. Our 11" Usagi is pretty cool, articulated at the neck, shoulders, waist and wrists. Packed alongside his dual katanas, he's a formidable opponent for similarly-sized figures and dolls, and yes - I'm pretty sure he's been lounging in the Barbie Dream House a few times over the past week.

Playmates Usagi Yojimbo TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Look for all of these toys in-stores now, and keep checking Playmates Toys' official site for details on the latest offerings as they're released. Next up is a TMNT collection inspired by some classic monsters... just in-time for Halloween! Stay tuned...


James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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