Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: April O’Neil (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

TMNT is still the only figure line hanging on the pegs at my local big box that I’m currently collecting. There’s still no sign of any more Marvel Legends Wave 3 turning up and the Transformers section is literally all Bumblebees and Hot Shots. But that’s fine, because the Nick TMNT figures are still some of the best values out there and I’m happy to pick some more of them up every time I make a grocery run. If nothing else it keeps me out of that expensive Lego aisle. But today was a day I was dreading. The day I actually picked up April O’Neil. I bought her because I felt I needed the figure in my collection, even though considering my thoughts on the character design, buying her went against all reason.

I’ve gushed on and on about the packaging for this line, so I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s gorgeously retro, it’s nostalgic, it’s functional, and it makes me want to buy the figures. Case in point, even April looked good enough in the package that I was willing to toss her into the cart. As always, the back of the card includes a file card, and in this case, it is quite possibly the file card for Sari Sumdac from Transformers Animated line. Apparently they’re both teenage chicks with attitude who fall in with the heroes because her genius father was abducted by the bad guys. Ok… time out.

Seriously, guys, how f’cking lazy is that? Look, I will likely never watch this show. It’s not because I won’t give it a chance or I don’t think it can be good, but I just don’t have the time for more than a handful of TV shows a week and a TMNT cartoon isn’t going to be one of those. But what was wrong with the portrayal of April as an independent professional journalist? Can little kids today not relate to an independent career woman as a role model? Do female toys have to be the slutty goth offspring of monsters for them to be marketable? “But, FigureFan the old April always got kidnapped and the Turtles had to save her, so she wasn’t really a strong female role model and…” SHUT UP! I’m making a point! I don’t care how much attitude this new April has, this just seems like a regression. Ok, that’s enough, let’s look at the figure.

Ugh. This over stylized design in animation today pisses me off so much. I’d even take Filmation’s atrociously gratuitous reuse of stock animation footage over this shit. Whether it’s Sari or Miko or Brave or this April, it all just feels so lazy and everything looks like everything else and I totally hate it almost as much as I hate hyperbole. I know, I’m a dinosaur and I think everything was better back in the day. But I calls it likes I sees it.

In terms of transferring the character design to figure form, I’d say this figure mostly succeeds. Playmates got her outfit down pretty well, although I think the white on yellow tampo for her shirt is too hard to see and they should have went with different coloring to make the figure pop more. It may be show accurate, but the show was designed to sell toys, so they maybe should have planned that out better at the drawing board. Still, the sculpted ruffling in the fabric of her shirt and shorts is nice detail for this kind of figure. On the other hand, April’s face sculpt looks a lot softer than all of the other figures in the line, making it hard to define important details, like her mouth. I should also note that this whole figure looks kind of grungy. It’s something about the plastic used for her yellow top and the skin tone of her face. She doesn’t have that bright and toyish charm that the other figures have.

April’s articulation falls in line with the other figures in this line which are not Turtles. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips, swivels in the forearms, and a swivel at the waist. There isn’t a lot of poseability here, but I’m going to give April a pass, since her limbs are so skinny and soft that I doubt they could support hinges in the elbows or knees.

April comes with a bowstaff and a sprue tree of other assorted gear. It’s interesting that she comes with more weapons than either Splinter or Shredder. I kind of dig the fact that it’s supposed to be training gear and her sword actually has a wood grain sculpted into the blade to point out that it’s a training sword. That’s a cool little touch. The downside is only one of her hands is really designed to hold anything.

And there you have it. April failed to win me over, but then I didn’t really expect her to. There are a few nagging issues with the figure beyond just the character design. That all having been said, I don’t regret buying her. She was only nine bucks and I really wasn’t about to collect a Turtles line without getting April.

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