2004 Red Ninja Viper

The Red Ninja, ever since it’s first appearance in G.I. Joe #21, has been on fandom’s radar as a potential figure for the G.I. Joe line. The late 90s and early 2000s were littered with yellowed Storm Shadows painted red as “Red Ninja”. So when the 1984 Storm Shadow mold was recreated, Hasbro threw the collectors a bone, and in the Toys R Us 6 pack, provided two Red Ninja Vipers.


For the most part, when Hasbro released ARAH molds in the 2000s, the plastic quality was high, and most issues came about as the line was dying down, and no one at Hasbro understood how to properly sculpt a neck post, killing a bunch of Comic Pack figures in the process. The Red Ninja Viper was an anomaly, in that he’s brittle, cracks easily and feels kind of hollow. I don’t know why, but he feels as fragile as any figure who happens to have GPS.

The Red Ninja (I’m going to drop the “Viper”, much to the dismay of A-Man!) is a solidly designed figure, since it’s just Storm Shadow version 1, but what separated this figure from other Red Ninjas, be it Satan, The Black Major’s or a 1996 experimentation with gloss paint, is that he’s grimy, has long sleeves, rather than having flesh hands and forearms, and the highlights are not done the typical way you’d expect to see them. There’s two different colours of paint wipes (Black on the red parts, green on the black parts) and a very nice brown leather colouring on the straps. Quality aside, it’s actually a very nice looking figure.

The paint wipes, which hadn’t been seen in 3 or 4 years were an odd choice on this figure, as they didn’t really add much to the figures, were an out of date idea, and the rumour was originally they weren’t supposed to have them, and that one of the “powers that be” demanded them. Either way, this is a figure that was decried for them at the time, but now that there’s a much closer to the original idea, by the Black Major out there, this figure’s reputation should be soothed a bit, except I don’t think ANYBODY cares about this figure.

Red Ninjas

The TRU 6 pack definitely had some faults, especially the terrible selection of weapons, but nowadays the 1984 Storm Shadow accessory compliment is quite easily obtainable, so that can solve that issue. The fact it had two of this figure was a good thing, as it allowed fans to obtain multiples very easily, something Hasbro was loathe to do, pre-2004.

Red Ninjas are a famous aspect in G.I. Joe, even if the whole ninja concept wound up being driven into the ground, they were a factor in one of the more famous comic issues, and they’ve got a Storm Shadow association. To me, they’re nothing more than Storm Shadow’s personal henchmen, and are really the only ninjas in my G.I. Joe universe other than Storm Shadow and Ninja Ku.




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3 Responses to 2004 Red Ninja Viper

  1. A-Man says:

    I’m so dismayed right now. Things were going poorly enough and now dismay.

    The original Red Ninja was strange repaint of DICE and came with the Ninja Raider Battle Axe. The same year, I think, they made a 12″ Hall of Fame outfit that was Storm Shadow’s outfit in red but was intended for the good guys. I think it had a file card saying the Joes defeated the red ninajs and made their own red ninjas? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUDGE? (Yojoe’s page on said item is quite poor.) It also didn’t include shoes, but did include Snake-Eyes’ mask in black…overall it was a better look than a repainted Dice.

    It takes years of training to become a ninja, I’d wager. But Cobra has an endless supply of them in the comics, though…according to Hama himself, the first red ninjas we see weren’t Arashikage rogues like the later ones. They just shopped at the same store. Then later I guess Slice and Dice were part of their clan, then Firefly brainwashed them…and they later joined Cobra anyway. I have no idea why they keep fighting Snake-Eyes, as its pure suicide. There’d be no sane ninjas on Earth who Cobra could hire to fight Snake Eyes. Cobra is not known for attracting mentally stable types, though.

    Enough about that. Yeah, I had to return a 6 pack to TRU due to a broken shoulder on a Red Ninja Viper. I wonder why they had that problem.

  2. Mike T says:

    The poor quality of this set was only overshadowed by the awful accessory choices. Since we had to wait more than a decade for Black Major to do what Hasbro should have been able to accomplish without even trying, this figure’s existence was made all the more maddening. I didn’t like him back in 2004 and don’t really care for him now…even though I still have several from days of hoarding TRU packs.

  3. Pingback: 2016 Blue Storm Shadow (The Black Major) | Attica Gazette

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