The now-annual San Diego Comic Con exclusives have really improved over the years. The debut exclusive was the infamous “Pimp Daddy Destro” which brought to life a near-mythic color variation of the late 90’s in Gen 3 construction. In the following years, fans were treated to a suited Cobra Commander, Clan McCullen two-pack, Sgt. Slaughter and finally last year’s update of Zarana. So, how was Hasbro going to top that and still have a figure that was relevant to the forthcoming film G.I. Joe: Retaliation? After all, they didn’t want to jinx a pretty solid track record right?
(Yeah, I know… I went for the obvious pun. Hey, it’s been 4 years since I regularly wrote reviews! Cut me some slack!)
The Kim Arashikage figure is pretty elegant in its utter simplicity. She’s essentially a Gen 3 female form sculpted in a martial arts gei with a masked head. That’s it—no fancy web gear or 11,000 included holsters as was found in the 30th Anniversary line. Yet, the simple sculpt is exactly what this figure needs to be a terrific update of the original Jinx figure. The subtle sculpted folds and wrinkles in the mold give the appearance of a light cotton or silk uniform that is both form fitting and airy—which is precisely what someone of Jinx’s profession might wear. The sculpted belt, leg guards and torso seams provide some of the figure’s only paint apps save for the black dragon emblem just below the left shoulder. Even the ends of her sleeves are highlighted with a black painted “seam” which adds just the right amount of detail to what could have been an otherwise bland design. It works extremely well to bring Jinx forward from Gen 1 to Gen 3!
In terms of head sculpt, the “standard version” of the figure gets the shaft a bit when compared to the variant version. Kim is shown here with her head wrapped up with just her eyes showing. While this might seem to be a bit “Snake Eyes” or “Storm Shadow”, long-time Joe fans will recall that the original Jinx figure was also released with a sculpted wrap over her face which makes this figure a near-perfect update to the original design. In terms of articulation, Jinx has all of the joints that fans of the current era of G.I. Joe have come to expect and then some. (She makes the Retaliation vehicle drivers look like Happy Meal toys—but then again, HAPPY MEAL toys make them look like Happy Meal toys!) The design team at Hasbro pulled out all of the stops by including the new “rocker ankles” that debuted with the Renegades version of Storm Shadow in the final waves of the 30th Anniversary line. The result is a Gen 3 figure that is amazingly easy to balance in a variety of martial arts poses. While I don’t feel that the rocker ankles are necessary for EVERY figure in the line, when it comes to the ninjas the more points of articulation the better! The only downside to the entire figure is that her elbows don't quite have a full 90 degrees of motion meaning that she can't bring her weapons quite as close to her upper arms as I'd like. This may loosen up in time but for now-- she's still a bit arthritic. It's nowhere NEAR as bad as the 25th anniversary Duke figure but then again I've seen Golden Girls with a great range of motion than Duke!
When it comes to the figure’s kit—Jinx is packing nearly the same assortment of weapons she had back in 1987. Two swords and bladed staff are all she needs for a night on the town of kicking Cobra’s tail! Rather than including a backpack like the original, the crew in Pawtucket opted to got with a double scabbard which conveniently carries most of her gear. It’s not exactly a Gucci bag but Jinx never struck me as the overly girly type anyway. (Let’s just ask Lt. Falcon about that!) In the end, the gear works to create a great modern homage to a classic character.
So, what’s the bottom line on this? It’s a shame that this figure was relegated to the status of “convention exclusive” as she’s one of the better female figures released in recent years. While her design might seem initially bland and uninspired, closer inspection reveals that she has all of the details that she needs to represent a ninja without going into full-blown Street Fighter territory. Fans not lucky enough to snag her at SDCC 2012 or in the nano-seconds that she appears on HasbroToyShop.com are going to be forced to pay premium prices on Ebay to acquire her and that’s where I wish things were different. It would be one thing if the conventions got an exclusive DECO of the figure with the standard version seeing a more wide release but that would most likely diminish the demand at the conventions. While I don’t begin to claim knowledge of the decisions that go into determining a con exclusive item, I would hope in the future that Hasbro opts to go the route of an exclusive deco versus a full-bore exclusive figure that cannot be obtained otherwise. The reason I say this is because Jinx is a solid figure and one that no fan of the classic A Real American Hero era is going to want to be without. Again, who else is there for the Lt. Falcon figures to hit on? So, if you can snag her do so—as this is one unlucky lady that fans are going to want to own.