I can’t say that I ever expected to buy these toys (I'd never seen the movie), but when Playkit brought them in at a price point of Php 50.00 (you read that correctly: a little over $1 US each), I could hardly ignore them. At Php 50.00 my perceived value of most any toy increases about 20 times.
Think about it like a character attributes in a role playing game. You have your basic toy attributes: popularity, sculpting, accessories, articulation, construction, paint applications, play value and cost. High end toys like those 1/6th scale beauties may score high on sculpting and paint, but low on play value and their cost is prohibitive for most of the population. On the other hand, discount toys may not be popular, and they may have crappy articulation, but that price makes them far more attractive to an average shopper.
This was evident last weekend when I stopped by the Toy Kingdom Warehouse Sale, where the Warriors of Virtue “Rooz” were flying off the shelf faster than the discount Transformers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you aren’t familiar with Warriors of Virtue either. The movie came out in 1997 with little fanfare and bad reviews. The general consensus was that it was blatant attempt to kick start a new franchise that was too similar to the early 90's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and borrowed too much of the innate silliness from Japanese super sentai-inspired Power Rangers series. Despite nice set design, the story was too "stupid" to really fly with audiences.
Despite the poor reception of the film, Play 'Em LLC, a now defunct toy manufacturer, was able to field quite a few toys before they were consigned to the franchise graveyard. 16 toys were released, 5 bad guys, 6 human supporting characters, and the 5 titular good guys:
From left, the characters are Tsun, Yee, Lai, Yun, and Chi; the warrior "Rooz" (as in Kangaroos) of Tao.
When I bought these 6" figures two weeks ago, the shelves of Toy Kingdom were stacked with the figures. No one paid them any attention since the characters weren't known. However, the first day of the Warehouse sale they flew off the shelves and were gone by the end of the day. On the second day, more Rooz came in and were promptly whisked off the shelves by excited Christmas shoppers who wanted whole sets and were eagerly looking for the rest of the cast.
Sadly, most of the other figures are short-packed (or weren't available when the distributor found this cache in some basement somewhere). The 5 Rooz were plentiful, as were the other animal characters, but the humans were pretty hard to come by. They made an appearance at the end of day one (I was lucky enough to get all but four the morning of the second day) but were quickly snatched up.
But more on that next review.
Back in 1997, these would have been fairly nice figures. They only have a basic five point articulation (six if you count their tails), but that was to be expected pre-Marvel Legends ad they are very nicely sculpted. Each figure is an individual (no reused parts as you find in today's action figures) and has their own personal weapon.
Their build is solid. At 6", the things are a great addition to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection (this is how I plan to display mine) as their aesthetic is similar. Not as cartoony as the Turtles, but the proportions work if you've got a little imagination.
Paint is good as well, though mass market quality. I didn't see one figure among those on display that had paint that would have stopped me from buying it. I wish modern day toys had the amount of craftsmanship that these toys have.
As I said, articulation is the weak area of these figures character cards. Though the four limbs and the tail are attached to the torso with ball and socket joints, the actual range that you get isn't much better than a swivel. Compounded by the lack of secondary joints along the limbs, you can't really get many strong poses from them.
I imagine a kid could hardly care about that though. When I think back to my childhood, I would have LOVED to have a set of toys like this. A team of warrior kangaroo monks? Hell yeah!
That's why I didn't hesitate to get 3 sets of the figures.
Huzzah! In total, I've spent about Php 1,100.00 on these toys and they' re far more satisfying to me than anything I've bought in a long time. I highly recommend you buy a set for the little boys in your life.
There should still be some of these at Toy Kingdom and Toys 'R' Us branches all over the metro. Good hunting!