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Tokka & Rahzar

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
by yo go re

Stupid infants need the most attention!

While the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie hewed mostly to the Mirage comics, the producers wanted a sequel right away, and they wanted it to be more like the cartoon - including Bebop and Rocksteady. Unclear ownership rights (and Peter Laird's opposition) made that a non-starter, so a new pair of henchbeasts were created instead: Tokka and Rahzar.

Tokka's big, bad and ugly. And what's more - beware of his beastly brainless baby bite! Using stolen Retromutagen Ooze, ol' Shredhead created this genetic junior to combat the Green Teens. Like any good sinister son, Tokka will do anything to please Shredder and become a full grown member of the Foot Clan. That's right! Tokka's still growing! And every time this spiked-shelled sea turtle sees the Turtles, it makes him seasick. His bulgin' baby body doesn't permit him to seek out the Turtles in the sewers. (He once got stuck in a manhole as the Turtles teased 'n tickled his sewer-soaked soles.) So Tokka takes to the streets, tearing down telephone poles with his mutant friend, Rahzar. But Tokka's a real retaliatin' reptile! Grippin' his sinister scimitar and choppin' chuks, Tokka's a terrorizin' tyke who's trapped in his terrible twos! Now the Turtles are up against on celluloid sicko who snaps!

Although Jim Henson was no fan of the first movie, the Creature Shop returned to do the suits for the second. Tokka was designed by Nigel Booth, who later created the make-up for Khal Drogo. Sorry, "for Ka D'Argo." Common mistake. Based on an alligator snapping turtle, Tokka instantly looks more dangerous than the Boys do: he's larger, has large claws on his fingers and toes, and his shell is covered in sharp spikes. Like, literally sharp: they're semi-flexible PVC on the toy, but they're still sharp enough to hurt your hands just by holding him; 81 of the dang things, with 11 more on his shoulders! Jason Frailey has sculpted the rings on the scutes and all the little wrinkles on the skin, plus even the dirty cloth wraps that are tied around Tokka's inexplicable ninja-pads.

There's something about Tokka's eyes that makes him look more like a Muppet than the Turtles did - like if Gonzo and Kermit had a baby. This effect is only compounded by the articulated facial features: yes, like Crash Bandicoot, Tokka has articulated eyebrows; tiny little balljoints that let you get some variable expressions out of him. His mouth opens as well, and the tip of his beak is hinged for some reason, and then there's all the usual stuff you expect: balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, double-swivel/hinge elbows, s/h wrists, balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-s/h knees, and s/h ankles.

One bumbling goon isn't enough - you know they've got to come in pairs! So here's Tokka's best buddy, Rahzar.

Rahzar was once in the city zoo, until his master, Shredder, rescued him, oozed him - and turned him into one wailin' wolf... without a license! This ravaging rover won't roll over and play dead until the Turtles are sewer soup! Rahzar's a trained top-notch Turtle tracker who can smell a shelled hero from here to eternity. He's just not house-broken. So be careful after he downs a dozen donuts, especially the ooze-filled kind!

Sucking up the sweet 'n sweaty sewer scent near their junkyard playground, Rahzar tosses a scrap engine block and plays catch with his friend, Tokka, for fun. And when playtime's over, Rahzar takes up the Foot fight against the Turtles. The tasty Teens better beware of Rahzar's rippin', razor-sharp paws. One pounce and the Turtles will be turned and torn into tender tummy tidbits. And when Rahzar returns to his roost, Shredder rewards him with a beef-basted beast biscuit.

Since wolves lack as much natural protection as turtles have, Rahzar wers a lot more clothing. And since they hang out in a junkyard, most of it is made out of car parts: a classic car's grille as a chestplate (held on by real chains criss-crossing his back), thigh and forearm coverings fashioned from split-open tires, etc. His fur is fully sculpted beneath all that, and like Tokka, he has filthy cloth tied around his wrists and knees. Unlike Tokka, he also wears a loincloth. Two loincloths. And underwear! I guess it's easier for audiences to accept an invisible chelonian penis than an invisible canine penis, so Rahzar needs to be put in a diaper, let everyone begin wondering where his wolf-wang went.

When Playmates made a Rahzar toy in their TMNT line, it had undergone a few stylistic changes. This one is much truer to the movie... unfortunately. The Rahzar suit was created by Ray Scott, who also worked on Super Shredder, but for some reason he opted not to make it look like a wolf at all. It's more like a diseased orangutan. Or a brown Grinch. He has a huge lower jaw and a nose halfway up his snout instead of at the end. What the heck! There are no articulated eyebrows here, just an opening jaw. The other joints are similar to Tokka's, though the longer neck means he has an extra balljoint there.

Both figures have two alternate sets of hands, shaped to hold accessories of various sizes. They don't have the same silly stuff the Playmates toys came with, rather opting for things that were actually in the movie. Things like half a wooden pylon or a length of metal pipe. Oh, and Rahzar's shield, that's a fun inclusion. That appears to be made from an oversized hubcap or something, and has stiff straps on the back to attach it (loosely) to his arm. They only connect on one side, not both, so they look broken at first glance; but don't you worry, they hold the piece in place just as they should. The log has holes in the back to accommodate claws, and the pipe is made from a very soft material - considering it's the weapon Rahzar used to demonstrate his strength (and the hardness of Tokka's head), you have to wonder if the original plan was for it to be a bendy piece. As it is, it bends, it just doesn't stay that way.

There's a bright green canister of Techno Global Research Industries mutagen ooze, and a pink cardboard box from "Simply Donuts." Eight doughnuts fit inside: seven of them that are molded as a single lump, and an eighth that's by itself and torn open to reveal the anti-mutagen ice cube inside. And, because part of making this movie more cartoony meant having the final battle involve a burping contest, there's a fire extinguisher. (It makes sense in context.) ((Sort of.))

TMNT II: Secret of the Ooze is definitely a goofier movie than the first, but Tokka and Rahzar are undeniably an iconic part of the Turtles' history. They had figures in the old '90s line, but neither of those were as good as what NECA's made today. This set was the first NECA was able to sell directly by itself as an exclusive; they opened prorders for a full week at the beginning of August this year, giving everyone plenty of time to get in if they wanted to. This was also their chance to prove to their partners that online sales were a viable option, if they were run right, so the success or failure of this set had ramifications beyond just the two mutants it contains. The case mine was mailed in says it's #9,014 of 11,810, which may give us an idea of how many sets were made. Even if the movie has aged pretty badly, these are good toys.

-- 12/17/20

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