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Mortal Kombat X
by yo go re

Who'd win in a fight between this guy and Thor?

Raiden is the eternal God of Thunder, protector of Earthrealm. After the second defeat of Shinnok, he ascended to the status of Elder God.

Elder God? Like, "Elder God" Elder God? Are we going to have to keep Raiden asleep, lest he rouse from his slumber and flay our minds? Iä! Iä! Raiden fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Raiden Earthrealm wgah-nagl fhtagn! Raiden is one of only three characters to appear in every Mortal Kombat game (and you can probably guess who the other two are). Anyway, since he's a god from our reality, that's why he's our assigned protector. There are 18 different realms, including Earthrealm, Netherrealm, Outworld, etc., and one can only conquer another if they lose the tournament 10 times in a row.

Based on Lo Pan's servants, The Three Storms, in Big Trouble in Little China, Raiden's defining trait is his big sugegasa hat. It's removable for this figure, revealing the tight skullcap he wears beneath it. His face is the only part of his head that's exposed. The hat has a ring inside designed to fit precisely around his skull and hold it in place.

In the original game, Raiden was just wearing white pajamas, but Mortal Kombat II added a blue smock over that. That's been the general pattern ever since, but since this toy is based on Mortal Kombat X, the details are much more complex. His vestment has raised edges, and a complex sculpted storm pattern on his shoulders and down the front and back of his loincloth. There's armor strapped to his forearms and the backs of his hands, plus his shins and the tops of his feet. He's wearing sandals over socks, because he's incredibly old. His belt is a big rope, tied in a knot on the left hip.

Normally we'd discuss the paint at this point, but this figure doesn't have any. At SDCC 2015, Mezco released an exclusive version of Raiden done entirely in glow-in-the-dark plastic. Jazwares did the same thing in 2011 with "Lightning Fury Raiden," but that was white plastic with some lightning streaks painted on the surface - this is the yellowy-green plastic, and has no additional details. The glow is decent, and GitD toys are always kind of cool. This figure, like the 2011 version, was available through Toys Я Us, meaning it's not very hard to find. There's also an Entertainment Earth exclusive with clear legs to make him look like he's teleporting.

The articulation is quite pleasant. Raiden has a balljointed head; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists; a balljointed waist; balljointed hips; swivel thighs; swivel/hinged knees; and balljointed ankles. All the joints move easily, and hold their poses well. This is much better than any previous companies' Mortal Kombat toys have gotten!

Beyond the hat, Raiden's accessories mainly comprise alternate hands. He has a pair that are gesturing, a pair that are completely flat and have the fingers splayed, and a pair that have lightning shooting off the fingertips and the palms. There's also a ball of lightning that can plug into the right gripping hand. On the normal release, the lightning pieces are translucent blue, but here everything is the same GitD green as the rest of the body.

Mezco is making good Mortal Kombat figures, so Raiden is a nice offering, even if he doesn't get any kind of paint apps at all. There might have been something more clever than straight glowing green plastics, but right now we can't think of what that would be.

-- 08/24/16

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