Presenting G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes Temple Guardian from the yet to be released G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Wave 6 line. When I first spied this particular figure on a toy convention coverage by ToyNewsInc. I thought this was a variation of Storm Shadow. But apparently it's not. It's Snake Eyes Temple Guardian. But he is a re-paint of the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary Storm Shadow (from the Resolute series) that came with Wave 8 Comic Book pack along with Tunnel Rat - that I have somewhere in storage. Snake Eyes Temple Guardian is slated for international release on April 30. I chanced upon this particular figure on the black-market (Probably smuggled) as a set and Snake Eyes Temple Guardian cost me PhP 700 and will be available on April 30 on Amazon for US$ 11.95.
The differences are initially cosmetic as can be seen here courtesy of a photo from the G.I. Joe wikia. Snake Eyes Temple Guardian retains the un-removable - but loose (the chest armor is not molded but a separate piece that cannot be removed). However while the design has been made far more intricate, it looks like someone took chalk and doodled on him. There were probably better methods to assemble this armor - especially in light of the blister pack's artwork.
Snake Eyes Temple Guardian blister card reads "Snake Eyes is proficient in 12 different unarmed fighting systems including Karate, Kung-Fu and Jujitsu, and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons. He has received extensive training in mountaineering and underwater demolitions: jungle, desert and arctic survival; and some forms of holistic medicine. He was trained by the Arishikage Ninja Clan, the same clan that trained his sworn enemy Storm Shadow, the Cobra Ninja mercenary. He wears special ninja warrior armor to defend a training temple that has come under attack by Cobra Ninjas." The funny part about his blister pack is that it lists Snake Eyes Temple Guardian's equipment which includes, among other things, an "Alternate Head." When did G.I. Joe Blister cards stop being serious and start listing "Alternate Heads" as issued military hardware? Also the infamous "Alternate Head" is reminiscent of the G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Wave 3 Snake Eyes alternate head - Hasbro must have had a surplus of Resolute Storm Shadows and "Alternate Heads"
Humor aside, the largest difference between the original Resolute Storm Shadow and the Snake Eyes Temple Guardian is the addition of an optional scarf - which makes him look a lot like Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hayabusa. Here's Snake Eyes Temple Guardian with the head-gear options available to him thanks to his "Alternate Head" and scarf - note, the only head gear he cannot wear with the scarf is the Samurai Helmet (Which is kinda funny as well - why does a Ninja have a Samurai Helmet?):
Aside from the Samurai Mask, Snake Eyes Temple Guardian also has a fighting mask and - another "I don't know why?" - a Fencing mask - which is strange because Snake Eyes does not Fence.
The bad news is that since Snake Eyes Temple Guardian is built upon the Cobra Resolute Storm Shadow's older body, articulation is not as high as some of the newer G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra figures such as the Cobra Shadow Tracker, but it still looks good thanks to the multitude of accessories which include a Kusari Kama:
Snake Eyes Temple Guardian figure naturally comes with a pair of "Hand-forged" Steel Ninjato short-swords with sheathes that can be attached to his back
Snake Eyes Temple Guardian's last weapon accessory is a pair of hook-swords, listed in his blister pack as a pair of Ninja Axes.
All in all Snake Eyes Temple Guardian is a nice figure, but there are better G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra figures out in the market now and this particular figure reeks of too much "re-issue." Personally I would have loved to have seen a figure where all the armor is optional and whose articulation would put the Cobra Shadow Tracker to shame. My earnest hope is that Hasbro would re-call this figure and re-issue it in the future as a better figure than what this is that is more deserving of the current generation of collectors whose demand for detail is what is enthralling us to collect.
The good news is, that this figure is almost perfect for all of those who would like to make a Ryu Hayabusa custom figure.