Although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are one of the most popular franchises of all time, they lack the traditional “super hero” rogues gallery. Most comic book characters have a vast rogues gallery full of different villains that have tormented them through the years. The TMNT are a bit different as in the Mirage comic they have only a handful of true nemesis. This is part of the charm of the original comics, but it doesn’t always translate over well to a cartoon.
In the Mirage comic book run, Shredder, the most feared of the Ninja Turtles villains is actually killed in the first issue. The cartoons that are based off of the Ninja Turtles have always kept Shredder alive, but in the 2K3 version of the show they managed to kill him off a few times. This left room for new characters to come in and torment the turtles. Today we’re looking at Viral, one of the TMNT’s rogues from the Fast Forward season and the toys that followed from Playmates.
When the 2003 show or 2K3 as it’s become known first debuted it’s toyline from Playmates the packaging was very dynamic and unique. As time went on it got more generic and as a result when the show was converted over to Fast Forward, the folks at Playmates decided to give the toys an overhaul in the packaging department as well.
This is definitely a standard mass market toy package, but it’s brightly colored and pretty neat for what it is. Certainly collectors don’t love these types of bubble card and you can see some wear and tear on the one I’m examining today. Still these old cardboard card backs do stand up to abuse. I like that the new Fast Forward villains are featured up top and then we see the new versions of the green machine on the side.
The back of the package features the rest of the villains that were available in the line as well as some of the vehicles. I give credit to Playmates for not showing the turtles because that’d be wasted real estate. Everyone knows that the turtles are also available. That gives this card a unique “villain” feel, which is present throughout.
The file card is well detailed explaining how Viral is a cyberspace villain from the future. I also like that they included a little bit about the weapons and details on the figure. This is done in the same humorous style as the classic TMNT figures did it. Metallic Medusian Hair? Come on, that’s all sorts of awesome.
Five points of articulation?! OH NOES!
Some folks will immediately discredit this figure because of her lack of articulation. Truth be known, I’d liked more articulation too. Still this is a kids toy and the low level of articulation is indicative of that. Of course, that doesn’t mean collectors can’t enjoy a figure like this too. Break free of your chains of articulation and just enjoy the figures for what they are.
Since the TMNT are low on rogues it’s nice to have a new villain that’s not a Foot soldier or another mutant. For the longest time every new villain of the Ninja Turtles seemed to have to be a mutant. That idea ran out of steam years ago in my view, so to have a computer virus as an enemy is pretty original.
Click me to see the full size picture without the comic.
Of course the idea of a computer generated villain is nothing new. Viral seems to be borrowing a few of her traits from popular Japanese Anime, where creatures of this type are commonplace. What was the first cyber villain? I’m leaning towards Stephen King’s Lawnmower man. Jobe made all the phones ring! Still Viral is no Don “The Tickler” Tortelli, but she packs plenty of detail.
The sculpt is surprisingly intricate if you get in close on it. It’s hard to notice some of the ridges and sculpting because of the translucent plastic, but it’s there. Of course the entire figure is translucent which always gives a neat effect. Unfortunately it’s also cast in pretty dark plastic and could have used to be a shade or two lighter so that the translucency reached it’s maximum potential.
Another issue is that she’s sculpted to stand in a dynamic pose. It’s a very feminine pose which is definitely a plus, but it limits how Viral can stand. She’s a bit top heavy too and the plastic used on her frame is fairly rubbery, just complicating matters more. This figure would have been better served to be made out of a harder plastic.
Viral features a few paint spots throughout to represent her glowing inner electricity as seen in the episodes. She also has her eye/mouth dot and it’s perfectly in place. I also really like the whippy witchy fingers and nails. It creates a very definitive look for this character and is represented well in this 4 inch likeness.
When Viral first shipped she only came with two accessories. However later versions came packed with a few more. The character herself doesn’t really use traditional weapons, but it’s certainly a testament to Playmates desire to give figures more playability that they included several with this version.
Viral comes equipped with a whip, a large staff, a scythe type weapon and a strange disembodied head that looks straight out of Predator. One of the really excellent features on all these weapons (sans the head) is that they have some sort of clamp or grip that allows them to be placed on Viral.
This is particularly important since Viral’s hands aren’t sculpted to hold anything. I was really quite surprised how well these worked, with the whip being the weakest. Still I found that these clamps worked better than most figures who are able to actually hold weapons. You could also give these weapons to other figures as well. Shame we never got that Cyber Foot.
The detail on the weapons is quite impressive. Although they’re all cast in a single shade of silver, it’s at least a believable weapon color. It might have been better to cast them in translucent plastic like her, but at least Viral’s weapons can be used elsewhere this way. Each one has some significant sculpting on it with alien designs and electronic looking function. The head and spine combo is really cool.
Viral can basically fit into any version of TMNT you want. She is in perfect scale with the vintage Ninja Turtles figures. She’s a bit smaller than the TMNT movie figures and slightly smaller than the NECA versions. Since the character has a bit of a shape shifter element to her, it makes her pretty adaptable for any line though.
Chances are you could use a couple of extra villains for any of your Turtles and Don, Mike, Leo and Raph won’t mind fighting a lady. Just ask Karai!
I paid a whopping $5 for this figure off of Ebay and that was including shipping. If you search around you can still get this figure for pretty cheap. It originally retailed for around $5-$6 and I think it’s a pretty exceptional value at that price point. It’s not a high end collectible, but a nearly indestructible rubbery kids toy.
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 5
Accessories – Whip, Staff, Scythe, Head
Value – 8
Overall – 6.5 out of 10
Viral is hardly the best figure around, even in comparison to other TMNT figures. However she’s a neat villain and the figure isn’t totally poorly executed. If you can pick her up for a full Lincoln or a little more, you can’t complain too much. I definitely like adding another rogue to the Ninja Turtle villain shelf and Viral turned out to be one of the best.
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