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GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Wow, I hope making this figure wasn't too frightening for the GI Joe design team: a character with no G1 design to directly copy! You can just imagine them huddled around the office in those silver blankets given to marathon runners and trauma survivors after they made it through such a harrowing experience.

Easily the most successful new character created during Generation 2 (sorry, Dr. Link Talbot), Kamakura was introduced as Snake-Eyes' apprentice back when Devil's Due Publishing had the comic license. The filecards back then gave him a fun personal quirk, as they tended to do: since he spent all his time training with the Arasikage Clan's Silent Master, (explaining his Classified stats of Covert Ops 2, Bladed Weapons 3, Stealth 2, Ninjutsu 3) he tended to stay quiet, but if anyone got him talking, he would barely shut up. A regular chatterbox!

Since Hasbro's website still hasn't been updated since the line launched, we dont know if Kamakura is still the same as he used to be, but it's likely. His real identity is Sean Collins, (step)son of Wade Collins, an old friend of Stalker and Snake-Eyes. When Sean was thinking of joining the military, Wade suggested he write to Snake-Eyes to ask him what that life would be like. Now Snake-Eyes thinks of him as something like a godson, which is why he became the kid's mentor.

The last time we got a Kamakura figure was in the Retaliation movie line, and it was a repaint of that one Storm Shadow mold that got used for all the ninjas. Fittingly, this Kamakura uses the recent Storm Shadow torso, with all-new limbs. Well, "new" - the designers may not have been able to directly copy a G1 figure, but there was nothing stopping them from directly copying a G2 figure. That's innovation! Moving the brand forward! The 2003 Kamakura had armor plating on his shins, knees, the backs of his hands, and his left forearm; who wants to guess exactly what this one has?

Since Kamakura wears a full-face mask, it's perfectly within expectations that he'd reuse Storm Shadow's head. After all, isn't one masked head the same as the next? Well, no, apparently, because this is not the same head. It's missing the big seams over the top, and Boss Fight Studio's Fred Aczon has sculpted some truly delicate little wrinkles over the cheeks. Lovely work! We still get the raised and lowered hoods that Storm Shadow had, for more variety in his looks.

We also get an unmasked head, so Sean can show off his red hair. A thing we didn't mention while recounting his origin up above? His biological father, Fred Broca, was a member of the Crimson Guard; in fact, he was the template all the other "Fred Series" Siegies were based on; and since all the Freds had red hair, it would make sense Fred's son does as well. Wonder if you could put this head on the Crimson Guard figure? It should be showing up in stores soon, maybe we'll get to find out.

Other than the movie and Sigma 6 continuities, Kamakura's signature color has been green. This one keeps that the same, with a dark gi that has brighter hems on the sleeves and closure. The darkest sections of his suit are just grey, not full black, which helps them blend into the overall look rather than drawing attention. His checkerboard armor is silver, and the reason he only wears any on one forearm? It's so he can show off his Arashikage tattoo. C'mon, Sean, being protected is more important than making sure everybody around you knows your team.

The articulation is the same as always: balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/​hinge wrists, hinged chest, balljointed waist, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The hips are a little wobbly if you have them both pulled down, but that's not enough to keep him from standing securely or holding big poses.

Kamakura comes with more accessories than you might expect. And since he's in windowless packaging like Sgt. Slaughter, they're all inside a cardboard foot locker. He's got the same backpack and katanas as movie Storm Shadow; a knife, Uzi, and pistol (but no silencer) from Snake-Eyes; and the staff/swords from Akiko. So nothing new, but a nice selection of Arashikage gear. The tie for his belt is in with the accessories, too, so you'll need to plug that on when you open him.

This release was designed and directed by Leonard Panzica and Cory Cantelupe, who did a decent job of creating a new figure with a minimum of new pieces. And while a new costume design would have been preferable to "the old one, but bigger," there's at least a little credit to be given: of Kamakura's four Generation 2 figures, three of them used the same torso design; this, however, is an update of the one that was only used once. So it's a little bit rare, at least? Eh, we'll take it. But now that G2 has entered the chat, when can we get Barrel Roll, Blackout, and Bombshell?

-- 04/14/23

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