The biggest ninja figure ever made, this overside articulated monster is actually the villain figure for a matching figure of Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix from Commando. This one’s missing his sword and a belt, but it’s dirt cheap compared to what they’ve gone for previously.
These semi-rigid rubber shuriken are available from myriad shops in Japan, with soft foam target boards, too. If these were around in the 80s I’d have a few less scars from ill-advised teenage ninja missions in the woods of Massachusetts.
Of course, there’s a ton more great stuff out there, but I’m not going to enable my competition in an auction environment, so happy post-holiday hunting!
This 4″ porcelain windchime came from Japan, the seller not knowing how old but had it in her possession since the early 80s. However the design is old school enough, I have a feeling the same mold was used for decades and by myriad vendors. There’s no copyright date or manufacturer indicated anywhere, so this would fall into the wide category of unlicensed generic merch, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could by them still at Iga tourist village stalls.
It’s hard to make out, but the ninja is holding a secret scroll.
These are the sorts of non-descript products that are ‘everywhere’ and you think they’ll always be around. Until they’re NOT. These are the things that become rarer than rare. Check eBay for generic ninja merch from the 80s. You’ll see the non-property and bootleg stuff that sold off blankets in subways and at dirtmalls and swapmeets routinely outsell licensed mass market merch. You can find an old Storm Shadow figure anywhere, but try to find another one of these…
With the 80s craze came a lot of repurposed merchandise – stuff that for the previous decade’s boom had been sold as kung-fu gear now emblazoned with ninja logos. The above looks to have been a Chinese-esque design probably inspired by something David Carradine tossed around on network TV. But any 70s leftovers were given new life in the “ninja star” obsessed 80s.
The notion of shuriken pendants wasn’t exclusive to this company, either. In the dodgy swap meet, dirt mall, subway blanket, Chinatown video store realm you’d see full-size, razor sharp throwing stars with tiny holes hastily drilled into them somewhere to technically make them jewelry, not illegally sold weapons.
Now just what made a net a “Ninja Capture Net?” I don’t know, and I never this particular item, but I’m pretty certain it was some type of conventional fishing deal shinobi-fied for mail order. They made some pretty strong claims here about the net’s effectiveness. Not sure I’d trust something I mail-ordered for less than $15 against a “sword-weilding enemy.”
I also like their observation for item #704A – A black stick is invisible at night!
Nothing however, beats my all-time favorite piece of repurposed merchandise, the Ninja Boomerang.
There’s a line of ninja posters out there that may have originated in the craze era, but may also be a lot newer. Either way, they carry the spirit of the 80s mail order gear boom in every cheesy way one could hope for.
Weapons right out of a Chinatown video/cell phone accessory shop, fake office plants for environment, what’s not to love here? I’ve seen some of this line in stores recently, so even if they are vintage images, they’re still being reproduced by someone somewhere. Keep it up, whoever you are, you’re doing the lord’s work…
Is the guy on the left about to commit testicular seppuku or what? And I’m sorry, double boomerangs is so beyond awesome I cannot even deal!
Top Flite crafted this 48″ plastic kite during the 80s craze, but you can actually still buy vintage stock through an Indiana-based website here! And at only two for $10, you can afford to be like me and wrap one up in a tree, while keeping one to spare.
Love these illos!
While at the TopFlite site, check out the equally amazing commando paratrooper kite. Craze-era stock at 80s prices? You can’t go wrong this summer.
When punched-out and assembled, these 8″ cards produce nifty 6.5″ semi-articulated paper dolls. Looks like the transforming bird-themed super ninja has been portrayed by a third party artist working for the licensors, the art sits somewhere between the manga and television versions of the character design.
I especially love these villain cards, which are closer to the manga:
The Revenge of the Ninja OST is one of the finest pieces of action movie synth released in the 80s, if not the best. Nothing will inspire your fog-shrouded weapons chest power-up montage like the soaring Asian-y keyboards of prolific composer/musician Robert J. Walsh.
Walsh was responsible for all sorts of familiar soundtracks in the 80′s; the G.I. Joe, Transformers and JEM cartoons, exploitation classics like Leprechaun, and the definitive 80′s American ninja sound. A lot of what he did for ROTN was recycled for Ninja III: The Domination, and he certainly laid the audio template for subsequent synth-heavy genre entries.
For you youngsters… back in the day we used to buy these big ass Long Play Albums, and while wearing down their grooves by repeated playing, we’d stare for hours on end at the cover art, track listings and info on the back. This immersive soundtrack experience was largely lost when CDs took over and reduced music packaging to 5″ illegible squares, and in the MP3 age even that is extinct.
Best you can do now is play this YouTube video and stare at these scans of the 1983 vinyl release.
This score goes for a fortune among vinyl collectors, and never made it to CD or MP3… well, legit release MP3 at least. I don’t advocate illegal hosting or anything, but I’ve heard one can turn over a few stones and dig a little on this interweb thing and find some transfers from the original vinyl. Happy hunting…
And if, Mr. Walsh, you happen to read this, THANK YOU for the finest ninja ear candy ever recorded!