BLIND MASTER v.1 (2013)
Today is a big day here at Mike’s Collection; it’s our 2 year anniversary. I started this blog 2 years ago as a way to share my love of collecting action figures with the world. My collecting has ramped up the past few years and it seemed a real shame to be buying so many awesome new figures only to open them up, stick them on a shelf and be done with it. Most of my friends aren’t into toy collecting so I had no one to share my joy with. I was also suffering from writer’s block at the time and my screenplay had come to a standstill. I thought starting a daily blog reviewing action figures would get my creative juices flowing and provide me with an opportunity to show off my collection to other people who were passionate about these little plastic men. I would say that’s it’s been a rousing success. I’ve since completed 2 screenplays, started a novel and have reviewed more than 500 action figures. The first year I managed to maintain my pace of a review a day but things have slowed this second year. At times I admit this blog can feel like a chore but I force myself to get back to it every few days if I catch myself slacking. I’ve only scratched the surface of my collection so you can count on many more reviews from me in the future so please keep visiting the site. I appreciate all the comments and I encourage you to keep leaving them.
I had planned on reviewing something special for this “event” but unfortunately I don’t really have time to pick out something and snap the necessary pictures. Anchor Man 2 debuts tonight and Vanessa and I are heading out shortly to see it and grab dinner. I fear that if I wait until after the movie to write a review it might not get posted until after midnight and it’s important to me to post something today on the actual anniversary. So I’ve opted to review the Blind Master as he was slated to be reviewed in the next few days anyway. I already have the pictures taken so it’s a review that I should be able to get posted fairly quickly before heading out for the evening. Besides, all of my toys are special in their own way. This figure may not have flashing lights or electronic sounds but it’s s till a damn cool figure. The first figure I ever reviewed on this site was nothing special either; Kobra Khan from the 2002 Master’s of the Universe line. I just randomly picked him from my shelf and started writing.
Those early reviews consisted of only one picture that I would swipe from the internet. I didn’t even have my own camera at the time. Vanessa bought me one for my birthday about a month after I started this blog and I’ve been subjecting you to my horrible photography ever since.
So let’s talk about the Blind Master. He is one of several members of the fictional Arashikage ninja clan from the G.I. Joe mythology. Readers of Marvel’s 1980s Joe comic first learned of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow’s shared origin in issue 26. It was hinted at in the famous silent issue (issue 21) when it was revealed that they both had the same forearm tattoo. Issue 26 introduced the Hard Master and the Soft Master who ran the dojo where Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow got their ninja training. We learned that Zartan killed the Hard Master and that Storm Shadow actually joined Cobra not because he was a bad guy but to find his master’s killer.
The Blind Master wasn’t introduced until issue 59. He was running his own dojo in America where he was training Storm Shadow’s cousin Jinx. He too was later murdered by Zartan.
The various masters all served a purpose in the comic books but they weren’t featured in the cartoon series and ultimately didn’t have major roles to play in the 80s mythology. However the Arashikage clan has been given the spotlight once again in both the comics published by IDW and the G.I. Joe movies.
The first G.I. Joe movie, Rise of Cobra, altered Snake Eyes and Storm Shadows origin slightly from the comic book version. The pair met and trained at the dojo as children as opposed to young men, they were portrayed as straight up rivals instead of friends, and they made it seem that Storm Shadow clearly murdered the Hard Master himself in a fit of jealousy. The makers of the second film tried their best to clean up the inconsistencies and streamline the movie origin with the comic origin. I’m sure the revelation that it was actually Zartan who killed the Hard Master was slightly confusing to film goers who weren’t familiar with the comic story as it seemed kind of shoe horned into the film. The theatrical cut of Retaliation suffered a fair bit from trying to squeeze too much story into a short amount of time.
The extended cut expanded on the ninja story line quite a bit giving both Jinx and the Blind Master more to do. If you’ve only seen the theatrical cut I would understand if you thought Rza sucked and seemed miscast but I encourage you to watch the extended version. Rza is still cheesy but his dialogue is at least spoken by him on screen instead of being used as voiceover only. I actually really liked Rza’s choice to go over the top. Clearly he was emulating those old Kung-Fu movies that he and the other members of the Wu-Tang Clan are known to be so fond of. I kind of loved his portrayal of the Blind Master and enjoy it more with each subsequent viewing.
This figure is the first ever Blind Master figure and it is awesome. The likeness is astounding. I think it looks absolutely great. I love the grayed out pupils, the scar across the face, and the thick beard. The figure’s articulation is limited by his jacket but he isn’t the kind of character that needs to do much moving around; he remained rather rigid in the film. The body is made up of existing parts but it looks great and makes for a cohesive new figure.
The toy really shines in the accessory department. He’s got a bow staff with a secret blade inside, a mask, a bladed circle thing on a string, a sword, and a really cool hat. The hat has multiple hidden blades that can be extended and it can be used as a throwing weapon or a shield. These accessories were not seen in the film but they’re straight out of a 70s kung-fu flick. I wish I could say more but I gotta go check out some Anchor Man 2. Thanks for reading. 9 out of 10.