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GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

No, people making predictions, this isn't secretly going to be Jinx.

Just as the GI Joe Classified line seems to be sadly tipping into direct "same costume, but on a larger toy" updates, the Snake-Eyes movie at least managed to bring us one new character. We're not complaining that Scarlett and the Baroness were in the movie because, honestly, they barely were, and if you remember the comics history, Zartan and Firefly (and, like, every Cobra ninja who ever got a name) were kicking around the Arashikage compound while Snake-Eyes was training there, so the movie was definitely showing some restraint; it's just that as we've said so many times before, any property that doesn't innovate will stagnate, so kudos to Hasbro for making a toy of someone who wasn't a pre-existing character.

In the older stories, the Arashikage Clan was headquartered in a mountain compound, living like it was still the Edo peroid or something. In the Snake-Eyes movie, they've modernized somewhat, where they still live in a big ancestral palace, but it's in the middle of a city, and they use modern technology in their day-to-day lives. For instance, Akiko here is the clan's head of security, but that means she works with computers, not that it's her job to put the big wooden bar across the big wooden doors at night.

Akiko Nolastnami was played by Haruka Abe, who's probably not been in anything you'd recognize her from - but since 2018, she's been the speaking voice of (Monkey Boy's girlfriend) Noodle, from the Gorillaz. The likeness is decent, though the blush they've painted on her is too strong. Unlike some castmembers we could name, she doesn't look like any Harry Potter character.

With no previous character to be compared to, Akiko was free to wear whatever kind of costume the designers felt was best for her. Fittingly, since her role is positioned halfway between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, her outfit is both black and white. It's fashionable enough to pass as street wear, but stylized enough to work alongside all the GI Joe characters. It's hard to make out thanks to the dark colors, but she's wearing pants that are fitted below the knee, then flare out above them, with the extra material flopping down against the outside of the thigh. Are these supposed to be baggy jodhpurs or what? Her jacket is black, with layered white panels running over the shoulders and reaching lower in the front than in the back, and white down the outside of the sleeves. It's a nice design. Her high-heeled boots don't make a ton of sense, but her ornate hair bun is looking good.

She may not be a long-beloved character, but Akiko still gets just as much articulation as everyone else: a balljointead head, a hinge at the top of the neck and a balljoint at the bottom, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel/​hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed chest and waist, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. You may overlook one of the two torso joints at first, since they're both under different pieces of clothing, but they are there.

The figure comes with three accessories, but it's technically only one weapon. Distrustful of Snake-Eyes from the start, Akiko ended up fighting him as a test of his abilities. Her weapon of choice was a staff, bladed on both ends, and during the fight she revealed it could split in two to double her attacks. Smaller blades even popped out of the ends where the two used to be joined. Technically there should be little spikes sticking out around the base of the blades, but those aren't present here.

The movie suggests the Arashikage Clan has existing ties to the GI Joe team, so the stats on Akiko's packaging are styled like the good guys': she's got Security 4, Melee Weapons 3, Stealth 4, and Ninjutsu 4. Seems accurate. And it sets a good baseline for the character, who will hopefully show up again someday, adopted into the main continuity. A ninja-trained security expert? That's a cool combo with a lot of potential, and she deserves a future beyond one movie.

-- 03/04/22

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