Bebop Inspired By The Original TMNT Animated Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. 91080 No. 91087 Manufacturer:Playmates Includes: Gun, sewer stand Action Feature:n/a Retail:$19.99 Availability:November 2013 Other: Toys R Us claims exclusivity, this does not appear to be accurate
The announcement of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Collection had me excited - these are the only new Turtles I buy. I snagged all four last year and eagerly awaited a new version of The Shredder which never came. Over a year later, despite samples floating around for months, Bebop and Rocksteady finally hit Toys R Us stores at a markup I can't say I'm too jazzed about. $20 each? Seems high. However, they're making these so hard to get that I have to assume that Playmates has decided that they're going to make collectors pay for allowing previous collector lines to languish on shelves. "Suffer, peons!"
Standing over 6-inches tall, the figure is a bizarre amalgamation of a modern Marvel Legends/Mattel Classics figure and a chunky, squat 1980s action figure. It's also slightly smaller than it should be relative to the green teens, making it a little less threatening and harder to buy as a bad guy. Bebop retains elements of the TV show, but those animation models were a little skinnier and had slightly more human proportions. This version of Bebop barely has a neck, but it does retain the ammo bandolier, red vaguely Chuck Taylor sneakers, and red vest. The pants are the wrong color, but whatever, it's "inspired" by the original TV show and not a direct adaptation. (Otherwise the turtles would look too goofy.) While it's not entirely accurate to any existing incarnation of the character, it does look appropriately close enough to them that I don't think anyone is going to mind too much. Well, except the ponytail - I really do miss that being here. The face doesn't look too close to the toon, but it certainly looks like something that came out of Playmates before 1990. It manages to fail at replicating anything too accurately and what you're left with is a 2010s version of a 1988 figure.
If you're familiar with many of the twisted and grotesque animal-based toys from Playmates, this figure seems to recall that more than anything I've seen of the character. I've read the Archie TMNT comics, and this doesn't look a thing like any of those... or of the video games... or of the toys. It's a really bizarre figure and I would daresay the sculpt is wildly inappropriate for a collector-driven figure line. Were this the look of a new Bebop for the kiddie line, I'd actually be quite keen on it. I want something that looks like the cartoon - and while this comes close, its authenticity is inversely proportional to your ability to see it. Got smudged-up glasses? You'll love it. Collect animation cels? This figure will drive you crazy.
The figure plugs right in to his display stand and he has no problem holding his only weapon, a gun. Given the increased price I feel like I deserve more - it's not like Playmates splurged on articulation here. Bebop is quite good with bend-and-swivel wrists, but the rotating neck movement is superbly weak and the grand total of joints is 20. 20 sounds like a lot, but the whole thing feels like an unfinished factory test, especially compared with last year's "toitles." The shoes swivel around, but don't pivot at all. The legs can't swing forward easily, and feel a lot like hindered versions of the original 1980s figure hips. The double knee joints are nice but don't really add much to the figure's ability to be posed. The double elbows are a nice touch, and work well. His hip joint is, in a word, worthless. He can't twist more than a few millimeters and there's little "pivot" to help him hunch forward.
...and just for fun let me complain about the back of the packaging. The artwork is terrible and I don't know what they based it on - the costumes don't look at all right. "About the Bebop & Rocksteady Characters" just as verbiage sounds like something ripped out of a press kit sent to the AARP. C'mon people, speak like a human being on these things. We deserve better. The copy on the package feels like it's written for people who are completely unfamiliar with the characters... and collecting toys. As these figures are clearly designed for older fans it'd be nice to see something geared more toward people and not some form of sentient robot.
As I never had Bebop and Rocksteady as a kid - just a whole bunch of Turtles and a few minor players - this is a new one to me, and I loved the characters on the cartoon and in Archie's comics. I know what Bebop looks like, and this looks like Bebop was hit with the ugly stick a few times over. It is unquestionably Playmates' best effort on the character in his normal costume, but it could use some work. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think it's an average figure at an above average price and I still recommend it. Only two TMNT Classics figures were introduced in 2013 so it's hard not to get a little excited for them, even if Shredder wasn't one of them. Ah well - maybe next year we can get him, April, and Splinter.
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