Over the last twenty years we’ve seen April O’ Neil as a scientist, a ninja, and even a TV news reporter, but we’ve never seen her like this: a hyperactive, athletic, teenage girl. Of all the characters in the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O’ Neil is certainly the one who appears to have been overhauled the most. But from a toy perspective, that might not be such a bad thing. April O’ Neil figures have always been a bit, well… underwhelming, so a major shake-up to that could definitely be a positive. I really liked the new Donatello action figure, but I was less than thrilled with the new toys of Splinter and the Foot Soldier. April O’ Neil ends up falling somewhere in-between those two ends of the spectrum…
I pretty much fell out of my chair when I saw the new April O’ Neil character design for the first time. Even after I found and purchased the action figure, it was pretty hard to get past just how different this April O’ Neil is from any we’ve seen before. But after having had time to mull it over… y’know, I kind of don’t mind this April O’ Neil. She looks young and fit and athletic, and full of a certain spunk that I really can’t remember having seen from April before. April has always been a tough sell to young boys, but if they play her character similar to Miko from Transformers Prime, I think she has a legitimate chance of being popular with young males this time out. And that’s a definite “Right”.
One thing I absolutely love about this toy is that, unlike several other figures in Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series 1, April comes with an entire rack of ninja weapons, just like the Turtles! She’s got a wooden sword, a kendo stick, a wooden tonfa, two dull training shurikens, and two smoke grenades. In addition to that, her main weapon (which doesn’t come on the rack) is a ninja training bo staff, so she can go one-on-one with Donatello! And how cool is it to get an action figure with a kendo stick?! Really, the weapons selection that April has is just magnificent and outright excellent. A beautiful job by Playmates Toys.
The paint on this figure is likewise fantastic. Of all the figures in this first series of 2012 TMNT figures, April O’ Neil has the most perfect paintwork. There’s not one stray line or dot of paint slop anywhere on her–she is absolutely pristine. I love the throwback of having April’s primary clothing color be yellow, and the (rather short) jeans make her look hip and trendy.
An area where April O’ Neil toys have often struggled is articulation. The token female in most years of TMNT toys, April has never been designed to be the most flexible or dynamic action figure. And that’s true this time out too–but while she’s not perfect, she’s at least pretty respectable. April has a ball-jointed head, double-jointed ball-joint shoulders, swivel forearms, swivel waist, and double-jointed ball-joint hips.
Now, there’s a lot that April can’t do with that kind of articulation (and I’ll discuss that shortly), but what she can do is a wicked high ninja kick. This is nowhere near the best or most articulated female figure I’ve ever bought–or even the best this year–but for an April O’ Neil figure, having double-jointed ball-joint shoulders and hips is a huge deal and definitely worth being happy about.
As much as I appreciate the ball-jointed shoulders and hips, April is really lacking in a lot of common points of articulation. I complained about the fact that the Foot Soldier wasn’t much of a ninja without having any joints below his hips, and April has the same flaw. In addition, while April has a stupendous arsenal of ninja weapons to wield, but there’s a limited amount she can do with those weapons with only one grasping hand and no elbow or wrist articulation. The swivel forearms are better than nothing, but if April is serious about becoming a ninja like the TMNT, she’s going to need more and better joints the next time Playmates does her as an action figure.
Overall: To be totally honest, I thought the first April O’ Neil figure from this new line was going to earn a ‘D’. I expected her to be terribly inflexible and lacking in accessories. She’s neither. April’s articulation scheme is nothing great, but it isn’t utterly awful either. She can deliver a mean high kick, and the assortment of weapons she comes packing is downright excellent. The April O’ Neil character design itself for the new series is growing on me more and more all the time, and the flawless paint applications on this figure really help me to appreciate April’s new look. If you like April O’ Neil, you could certainly do worse than this figure. Other than some lackluster articulation, this Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles April O’ Neil figure is one of the better April figures ever released, and deserving of a mild recommendation.