Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:31 am Post subject: Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: April O'Neil
Not my usual greeting is it? Up till now I've only been doing reviews of Masters of the Universe Classics figures. While MOTU is still my first and top love, and the only line I'm a completionist for, I still enjoy many others and will pick up selections from them.
By the late 80's MOTU was gone for the time being. The line had ended and the figures weren't in stores anymore, the cartoon wasn't on the air anymore -not even in syndication- so what was a young collector to do? In stepped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While it could never replace MOTU entirely, it became my new obsession and it was along the same lines to a degree, Great action/comedy cartoon with a toy-line featuring a wide variety of cool characters.
Well TMNT kinda went away for a while too and like MOTU it got a new millenium reboot which lasted a while then left. And also like MOTU it's seeing a new reboot line thanks to a new series from Nickelodeon. So naturally I had to pick up the new version of my favorite: April O'Neil!
April comes in what is the standard packaging for this new line. Featuring a mixture of purple and green, you get a New York cityscape background. Off to the side you can see renditions of the turtles as they will appear in the new animated series. On an interesting note just like the vintage line the turtles will have full eyes in the cartoon but their toys feature the whited out eyes in the masks. Also note the Nickelodeon logo on the pack. Nick is not only doing the new show, they now own the TMNT property entirely.
On the back of the card, like the vintage line there is look at other figures in the line. In this case it's all the other figures since this is still just the first wave. You've got the turtles, April, Shredder, Splinter, Foot Soldiers, and Kraang. [sic] From sneak peaks at past conventions we know there will be more characters coming in later waves including Metalhead, Baxter Stockman, and some brand new mutant characters.
Also like the vintage line there is a small bio card for the character. (and unlike MOTUC there are dotted lines to cut along for removing and collecting) As you've probably noticed already, this new version of April is quite a different take on the iconic character. Instead of being a news reporter or Baxter's former assistant she is a young teenager. I'm on the fence about this, I don't think I can really give a fair critique on it until I've actually seen the new cartoon, which hasn't started airing yet as of this review. It could go either way. I will say I like the idea of April participating and also learning the ninja ways from Splinter instead of just playing damsel in distress. I for one usually do like the plucky young sidekick roles especially mixed with the adventurous, tomboy girl character. However, I fully acknowledge that it can be a dangerous route to take because if you don't do it right you end up with Scrappy Doo. Again we'll have to wait to see how the new show handles it.
Now let's look at the actual figure. First thing I want to say is, she is cute! Making April attractive is a very important factor in my opinion, but when reducing her age so much making her too sexy could be troubling. I think they managed to pull off the proper level here. Her outfit is pretty cool featuring a yellow jersey over a black shirt, shorts over black leggings with tall boots, and also the wrappings around her wrists which alludes to her ninja training. The neat thing about the jersey, aside from being yellow in a nod to the vintage series, it features the number 5 on it which refers to her being the honorary fifth turtle -an actual member of the team as it were.
Her hair is done in a ponytail but this does not hinder her head movement at all. I'm so used to the articulation of the MOTUC figures that at first this one seems lacking, but it actually is on par if not slightly better than the vintage TMNT figures. April's head is on a sort of ball joint. You don't get too much up and down movement, but she can tilt it a bit as though cocking her head to either side. She does have full ball joints in the shoulders and swivel joints further down her arms. They are not at her actual wrists or biceps, but rather at the point where her sleeves end and her bare arms begin. This is pretty cool as it helps hide the joint while allowing movement. She has a similar deal with her waist. It is also a swivel joint, but is kind of hidden by the sculpt of her jersey.
April does feature ball joints at the hips, but that is the extent of her leg articulation. You can get some good kicking poses and put her in a full sitting position, but she can't really put her leg up behind her much due to the sculpt of her waist/butt. They actually did some good detailing here with her back pockets and just enough curve and detail that she has actual sculpted buttocks, without making it look like they were over sexifying her.
Yeah I know I sound like a weird pervert talking about a female action figure's butt, particularly in this case where she's technically under age, however just look at April's history. Go back and watch a few episodes of the classic cartoon and you will see the animators took just about every opportunity they could to draw April with a nice ass. Then look at the various action figures. It cannot be denied the sculptors almost always gave her defined buttocks. Look at the "Ravishing Reporter" variant (second from the left) She had a skirt, they could have left it there instead they made the skirt removable and gave her probably the most detailed ass of any April variant. I may seem weird for pointing it out, but remember I'm not the one who made the figure in the first place!
Let's move on to accessories. April includes a loose bo staff as well as a "tree" of other weapons much like the vintage TMNT figures would come with. Included in the "tree" are two large shuriken (throwing stars), what I think are supposed to be smoke bombs (they look more like Easter eggs) and weapons that help add to the "in training" feel. In addition to the nightstick weapon, she comes with a bamboo sword and what looks like a katanna, however it is sculpted with a grain to make it appear to be made of wood -such as the type used in training.
There have been many versions of April over the years and they vary in appearance but still look great. This one, despite the radical de-aging, is no exception in my opinion. I have to admit though that opinion may be a bit bias.
I fully admit it; April O'Neil was my first cartoon crush. We've all had those cartoon characters we fell in love with (don't try to deny it!) and April was my first. Before you ask, "what about Teela?" let me point out I was too young when the show was on. Going back and rewatching the show now sure I realize how hot Teela is (and how much the animators liked drawing her butt too) but I got into TMNT around the time I started getting into girls too so to speak, so April was my real first and I still absolutely love her in any incarnation.
The new TMNT show starts in September but the figures are hitting store shelves right now. Keep in mind though April is apparently the short-packed figure so she may be a bit harder to locate than the others. Good luck and good hunting.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005
|Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:06 am Post subject:
|Nice review, man. I'm definitely a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'm not as much of a toy collector though, but I still have some action figures from various lines. I still have a number of the figures from the original line based on the classic '80s cartoon.
I've been super excited lately to finally see that cartoon come to its completion on DVD with the release of Season 10 that also includes 2 episodes from Season 5 that were skipped over originally.
I will be interested to see how the new Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon does this fall- I've seen the toys at the stores and they do look pretty cool. It feels like a blend of the '80s cartoon and the 2000s cartoon in some ways. I suppose the TMNT movie also had some influence on it if it's to be in CGI.
I don't know about April O'Neil now being in high school (college seems like it would be more fitting- she could still be a journalism student in reference to the '80s cartoon and even interview Baxter Stockman... oh well- I suppose maybe they'll have her doing some part-time work for a local newspaper or something- or just ignore that angle altogether. I'm good with either one, but I grew up primarily with the '80s cartoon so I just generally see her as a journalist.)
Do you know if April's been portrayed as a ninja-in-training in the original comics? It seems like this is a more recent thing from the TMNT movie- perhaps it was in the 2003 series too, but I haven't seen enough of that to tell. I do like that the figure maintains her classic yellow look and the 5 is a nice reference to her being an honorary Turtle as it were. (No reference to Venus De Milo there though, I'm sure- lol.)
Of course, I still think of Zack as "the 5th. Turtle" technically from the '80s cartoon, but of course- April was there from the start and their first human friend.
Anyway, it will be fun to see the new TMNT series and see all the characters show up in their new forms. Kraang looks quite different, but I think this is closer to his comic book form. I love that the Foot Soldiers look very similar to their appearance in the first 3 live action TMNT movies.
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