If you had told me in October, 2005 that Sigma 6’s main antagonist would be a crazed albino ninja spirit with frizzy hair and monkey feet, I would have said “thanks, but no thanks” and moved right on.  Funny how things change…

It seems evident by this figure that the main Sigma 6 storyline was destined for a big change in the 2007 series, probably carrying on into 2008.  It would appear that the line would have been moving from a Joe/COBRA military conflict to a more fantasy, super-natural based Ninja/Samurai battle.  Ultimately I’m not sure if it would have helped or hindered the line’s popularity at retail, but one thing I can say is that at least apparently the figures would have kicked some ass.

Dark Ninja Master has all the earmarks of being the “deth of teh line” to most hardcore Joe fans who are sick of ninjas, realism-purists, and think that all battles should be won with 5.56mm, not swords and knives, but stepping back and looking at the figure from a purely aesthetic and “toy” point of view, Dark Ninja Master just plain reeks of coolness.

First of all, he’s the only figure in this series with new tooling from head to toe, and as bizarre as he looks the sculpting and detail are just incredible throughout.  From his bandage-wrapped face (leaving only his freaky pupil-less eyes) to his over-exaggerated musculature, to his savage, almost bestial proportions, this is a guy that is definitely more (or less) than human, as he should be.  Written as a sort of spirit monster, Dark Ninja Master can work in that regard, or as some sort of failed genetic experiment if you want him more in a “real world” environment.  A hunched over, angular creature covered in arm wraps, with a rope for a belt, he is a creature from the dark, something from a nightmare.

The hair also brings a very interesting element into the figure with his wild and crazy “real” hair that works surprisingly well for me.  It’s gray/white coloring and the crazed way it flails about all adds to the animal nature of this character.  He’s got some ragged pants, very nicely detailed kneepads, and those bare feet that add another unnatural element to this Ninja master.  But what really makes this figure incredible?  His body tattoos.  The way they designed and implemented the markings on his torso and arms is just amazing and really makes this figure just explode with life.  What folks might not realize is that the figure is actually tooled in translucent red plastic with the white “flesh” painted over it.  Where those markings are there is actually a lack of paint, so if you catch the light just right, his tattoos almost glow red.  It is so, SO cool.  Little touches like this really add some flair to what could have been a questionable figure and character.  He just rocks.

It’s going to be tough to talk about the weapons just because there are so many of them.  His primary sword is absolutely humongous and fits very nicely into a sheath that plugs directly into his back, but what really kicks ass is all of the complimentary weapons he comes with.  Hatchets, knives, smaller swords, he is just loaded with tons of great bladed weapons of all nasty types and shapes.  He’s also got a trio of small throwing stars and throwing blades that also fit neatly between his fingers (and toes!!) for realistic throwing poses…another little touch of detail that adds even more character to these figures.

From his overall dramatic, animal appearance, to this huge array of incredible accessories, amazing paint applications and incredible sculpting, the Dark Ninja Master is simply an amazing figure…practically a work of art.  How well he integrates with your typical “G.I. Joe” universe will be endlessly debated, and honestly many folks won’t find a place for him in their collections.  Honestly, I feel like that is their loss, and if they can’t find a spot for this excellent figure in their mythos, they’re missing out on an incredibly cool figure, regardless of his background or concept.  Amazing work on this one, Hasbro…absolutely amazing.















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