Figma Ninja Slayer
by David Cabrera,
I want to talk to you about how great Ninja Slayer is, because nobody but me seems to be saying so in English. Ninja Slayer is a Japanese light novel series, originally posted in pieces on Twitter at @NJ_SLYR. Its gimmick, which is unquestionably the truth, is that the Japanese “translators” were approached by two Americans at San Diego Comic Con and given the manuscript of a masterpiece.
“Ninja Slayer” is a the story of a wildly culturally inaccurate ninja using his powerful karate to battle absurd enemies in the wildly culturally inaccurate cyberpunk hellhole of Neo-Saitama. Trigger is going to animate it soon, but why wait when you can read the manga and the original novel too? And the interview with the authors! And definitely, definitely watch the book trailer.
Ninja Slayer is kind of the reverse of what I do with Kawaiikochans, so I have a particular affection for it.
I've got the Ninja Slayer T-shirt, the “recite your death haiku!” keychain, the Kokeshi Mart tote bag, and now I've got the action figure. GOURANGA!
Blood-red Ninja Slayer has a great sculpt. It's in the little details, and especially the “ 忍殺 “ (this is literally the two kanji characters for “ninja” and “kill”, read “ninsatsu”. Which is what you would put on a ninja-killer's mask if you used Google Translate) on the mask. Very crisp. Inga-oho!
The scarf is articulated, too! This clips on at the back pretty easily and can be replaced with a second “possessed” scarf, which we'll get to later.
It's a ninja outfit, the armor's extremely light, so articulation is fine. This is the typical figma body, with a segmented torso and all that. Obviously this is very important for ninja. It goes without saying that the power and grace exhibited by Ninja Slayer is frankly incomprehensible to any human.
It is also an accessory-packed figure! Because this is fundamentally a story about American misinterpretations of Japanese culture, Ninja Slayer takes time off to eat sushi. Egg and salmon, respectively.
He is also rockin' the nunchucks, because it is historically accurate that ninja had nunchaku, and that it was totally sweet. If there are different types of ninja, Ninja Slayer is certainly the “Real Ultimate Power” type. It's a real chain, but a little flimsy. I must warn you, these nunchaku are made to come apart like a keychain would, and they probably will as you try and set them up. Righting them is a minor accessory surgery, so try and be really careful with this part. After using them once, I didn't want to pull them out again.
There are also “transformation” parts, I suppose? Ninja Slayer was born of a pact between an ordinary businessman and a vengeful ninja soul, Naraku, to take revenge on ninja. Hence Ninja Slayer. The Naraku replacement parts are for when he loses control of his karate power! (“Karate”, as all Japan experts know, is the source of a ninja's power.) The “black fire” effect clips onto the arm gauntlet (poorly, it's a huge pain), the head is a replacement, and the decapitated ninja's head is supposed to be palmed like a basketball: it even has little grips for the fingers. It didn't work, so I left it alone.
This figure has a lot to say: six different word bubbles made out of soft plastic that you can prop up. There's a whole assembly to plug into Ninja Slayer's back so that the words will appear behind him. “Ninsatsugo” is Ninja Slayer's very specific language, and is as much a character in the original novels as any ninja. In addition to “WASSHOI!!” there's “Aiieee!”, “Guwaa!”, “Iyaa!”, “Recite your death haiku!” and my favorite: “Domo, Ninja Slayer desu.” In the world of Ninja Slayer, formal greetings (aisatsu) are extremely important, and even the grimiest yakuza will stop politely and say “Domo.”
There are a lot of accessories with this figure, but some of them are kind of bad, so I'm really torn. For me personally, the Ninja Slayer fan, the main thing I cared about was the word bubbles. I can set that up, so I'm A-okay. Get it or get dead... except it's already sold out everywhere I buy toys. Sorry.
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