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WilyKat & WilyKit

by yo go re

Often when a toy company is making a smaller figure, they'll include some large accessory to take up space in the packaging. Sometimes that's fine; other times? Not so much.

WilyKat is a trickster who uses deception to overcome the fiercest of foes and to play jokes on friends. WilyKit may be the smallest ThunderCat, but her flute's hypnotic melody can entrance even the biggest opponents.

Bandai is selling these figures separately, which seems like a shameless cash-grab to us. They're small enough (2⅞" max) that they could have shared a single blister with no problems, and they only ever function as a duo. "Hey, remember that one time when WilyKit ran off and did something without WilyKat around" is a thing no one has ever said. Plus, between the two of them, they only have six points of articulation - swivels at the shoulders and necks - so it's not like the budget went into molding lots of different pieces.

Like the rest of the new Thundercats, the Thunderkittens' outfits are inspired by the '80s versions, without being direct updates. WilyKat used to wear a brown and orange tunic, while now he wears the same thing, he also wears a black shirt and pants beneath it, and has a utility belt and bandolier over all that. He wears a single brown glove on his left hand, and has a big bracelet on his right wrist.

Like Lion-O, he's missing some paint, but it doesn't seem to be a mistake - it's more like the Panthro's case, where it was done to cut costs. The tan trim around his neck is meant to continue down the front and around the bottom edge, while the darker brown seen on his right sleeve should go down the side of his torso, but that app was skipped entirely.

When they first showed up in the new cartoon, WK and WK were wearing outfits that looked like tattered versions of the old costumes, but then they stole a trunk full of clothes from Lizardmen who were looting a ruined home. See, rather than running in the same circles as Lion-O and the rest, they're orphaned beggars - the new cast is a lot more diverse than the originals.

WilyKit wears purple and pink - a more feminine combination than her brother's earthtones. She has a skirt with utility belt, and a crop top with one sleeve. There's a ring on her left bicep, and some kind of pseudo-glove on her right hand. What is that thing? It doesn't cover her hand at all, but it's too big (and cloth-y) to be a bracelet. Like WilyKat, she goes barefoot, but still wears what amount to a cross between boots and legwarmers.

The facial sculpts are very nice. WilyKit has a rathr plain look, but WilyKat is sculpted with a small smirk that really suits him. The edges between the colors on their faces are etched in, as well: it probably would have been okay without the sculpted line, but it's clearer this way. The eyes are simply painted on, but they're placed well.

Like Tygra, WilyKat appears to have Wolverine hair. But according to the show's creators, that's not the case: those are his ears. Seriously! Furry, furry ears. And the same is true for WilyKit, so yes, she actually pulls her ears back into that little ponytail/topknot thing. It's part of the Thunderan society's bigotry: they have a caste system, and Thunderans who are born with more animalistic features - like tails, for instance - are considered less evolved. That's part of why the Thunderkittens have to fend for themselves; nobody wants them.

Both figures get nice accessories. WilyKit has her flute (which doubles as a weapon) and WilyKat has his flink (which can double as a musical instrument). A flink, by the way, is a kind of grappling hook/claw on the end of a wire. The figure gets two of them, for some reason, when he's only ever had one on the show. It's designed so the figure can even hold it with the spool in his palm.

In order to justify selling the Thunderkittens separately, Bandai has given each of them one large accessory: an updated version of the '80s spaceboards - basically surfboards that work in the air. They're not anything that's been used in the new cartoon, so their inclusion here is stupid. If they are going to be important later, then save them for later; release the twins together now, and put them out with the boards in a later series. WilyKat's board is blue, and WilyKit's is orange - otherwise they're identical. The sides pop open to reveal blasters, and a button on the front end slides forward to split the top of the board for no clear reason.

If WilyKat and WilyKit had been sold together in a single blister pack, we'd happily tell you they were worth buying - yes, despite the incomplete paint apps and the sub-par articulation, just because getting the two of them would have been enough to warrant a purchase. But as it is, you have to pay twice as much as you should to get them, because Bandai is fobbing off one lackluster accessory two times. If you want the twins, this is the only way to get them - at least until the 6" versions come out next year. In a single two-pack.

-- 12/17/11

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