The last 6” figure in Bandai’s wave one was Mumm-Ra.
Mumm-Ra was the big bad in the cartoon Thundercats: a demon sorcerer in service to the Ancient Spirits of Evils. Usually, he was this old decrepit dude in a ratty, red robe with a bad case of emphysema, but every now and then, he would croak out a mantra asking his gods to help him out:
"Ancient Spirits of Evil...transform this decayed form...to Mumm-Ra... the Every-Living!"
After his chant, he’d show up as this super, shirtless guy in a loincloth who could fly around in rags and zap people, change his appearance and doing all sorts of gnarly stuff. He was a hell of a lot scarier than Skeletor with that desiccated face and that death’s rattle of voice (no one could ever have taken Skeletor’s nasal whine seriously).
Funny thing was, despite being a devil priest, the vessel for all the powers of the “Ancient Spirits of Evil”, Mumm-Ra was still pretty much a pushover. I mean he spent most of his time sleeping in a coffin, schlepping around his pyramid with his toy bulldog, Ma-mutt (yes that was its name) at his heels, dreaming up all these sinister plans that never actually worked. Half the time, he was up against kids (Both Lion-O and the Wiley Twins were teenagers) or the Thundercats’ pet (Snarf), or the Thundercats’ pet’s nephew (Snarfer).
I bet even the Ro-Bear Berbils could have kicked his butt and they weren’t even as intimidating as Ewoks.
But then the bumbling, big baddies are part of the reason I loved Saturday mornings in the 80’s. Thundercats wouldn’t have been as fun if the bad guy was as competent as Joker was in The Dark Knight. And how would we have learned all those special messages that we got from 80’s TV? Without the denouement of Mumm-Ra at the end of each episode, and the subsequent morals learned by the Thundercats, we’d all be pot-smoking, booze-guzzling, bail-jumping delinquents now.
Anyway, I saved Mumm-Ra to open last when I got wave 1.
If you’ve already read my Lion-O and Panthro reviews at jointunkie.blogspot.com or geekout.ph, then you’ve already heard all I’ve got to say about the Bandai packaging for their 6” line. But for those of you who are too lazy to click the links and read those articles, here’s the short version:
It’s nice. I like it.
And we move on.
Mumm-Ra’s kind of a mixed bag. He’s got a good number of accessories, and a decent number of points of articulation, but they don’t translate into a nice, playable whole as they did for the Lion-O figure. The designers meant well when they started with him, but it looks as if some big corners were cut as they moved to production.
I’ll tackle the bad parts later. First I want to talk about what I like about the figure.
And what I like about the figure is that it looks like a super, shirtless guy in a loincloth.
In fact, it looks so close to how he looked like in the original series that I thought that this was the classic Mumm-Ra, straight from the 80’s cartoon. It didn’t help that Bandai has also produced one in the 80’s look to go with their 6” Classic Lion-O (figures whose arrival I’m still eagerly waiting on).
The biggest difference between the two is the aesthetic of each. The old one is closer to the more realistic (and I use that term loosely, since we are talking about anthropomorphic cats here) portrayal of the characters in the original cartoon. The body type, while muscular, is close to the proportions of a real body builder. The modern one is closer to the exaggerated look of modern comics or Japanese animation, with a huge chest, hands and feet, long limbs, and a tiny head.
Both look great. If it ain’t broke, I guess.
One thing they did change is his lack of a cape. I remember the old design had a cloak that he would wear when he was the old mummy, which turned into a tattered cape when he transformed. In the case of the new version, only ribbons of the old cloak remain, flying out of his helmet.
I’m not saying it’s bad, though. It is fairly good looking. And it does add a lot to the dynamism of the figure: the strips really do help make it look as if he's casting some sort of spell and the power is flowing around his body. The wrappings around his hands also help, though they are sort of counter-intuitive, since when you raise his arms, they look as if they're defying gravity.
One curious thing is that the helmet and the red tatters are separate pieces. You might get a package that looks like this:
I kind of freaked out a bit inside when I first saw this. It took me awhile to see that it's perfectly fine, the hat and hair just worked themselves loose.
Though the hat doesn't really count as an accessory, he still has some good ones.
The first is his sword. "What?" you say? "Mumm-Ra doesn't have a sword!" Well apparently, in the new continuity, he steals the Sword of Omens from Lion_O and it turns into a nifty demon blade:
Both of the parts are fairly well sculpted, with nice details, and they fit well in his hands. There is a problem with construction though, since the swords are made of a very soft type of plastic (probably due to safety restrictions in the States) and because of this, they tend to bend under their own weight.
It's not such an annoyance with the smaller sword, but with the big one, it makes displaying him with it totally untenable.
The other accessory that he has is a corrupted version of Lion-O's Claw Sheild. It looks like a squashed spider.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. It's really detailed, and it's mounted on a clip which has a pivot joint so you can twist it around on his arm, but it looks kind of funky. I have a feeling its arms are supposed to be articulated, like tentacles, and used to capture erring cats, but they don't really play that way in plastic.
Another thing that kind of sucks is the fact that his articulation is even worse than Panthro's. He's got 18 points of articulation according to the package, but it really doesn't feel like it. Many of those joints are hampered in one way or the other, so the range isn't really there.
For one, his elbows are terrible. You can see in the photos that they don't even make it to 45 degrees really. Then the hips are limited by his skirt, which really doesn't seem to be designed as a piece with the rest of the figure. So really, he's got poor articulation on both his lower body and upper body, which kind of kills the play value for me.
That said, I don't think it would bother a kid at all. This thing really does look the part of an ultimate bad guy, and I think they'd have a blast with it.
I got this one at Php 850.00 (pre-order group buy), but they're still available at the local retail price of about Php 1,000.00 in Toy Kingdom and Toys 'R' Us stores. If you have Lion-O and Panthro figures, it's only fair you give this one a chance, too.
Happy toy collecting!