SAMURAI WARRIOR  
  Code Name: BUDO  
 

1988 was pretty much the year G.I. Joe went mental. Encouraged by their successes, Hasbro decided to start putting out G.I. Joe figures for any theme they could think of. Perhaps there was some sort of office pool for coming up with the most mental one that could actually get approved and released – hence this was the year of the baseball player Joe, the cat-handling Joe, the Ant-Man Joe, the swamp-skiing Joe and, of course, the Samurai Joe.

You thought the Samurai were all wiped out at the end of that Tom Cruise film, don’t you? Well, you were wrong, because the last samurai is, in fact, Kyle A. Jesse from Sacramento, and he’s joined the Joes. Completely plausible. It’s also worth noting that while the real Samurai largely abandoned swords as a primary weapon long before the end, this guy only carries swords – just what you want when you’re pinned down by a squad of Vipers, right?

And this chap really is done to the – wait for it, wait for it, it's worth it – hilt. He’s just a samurai at three and three-quarter inch scale. The “brings his day job clothes” idea works if you’re ex-USN or SWAT; it even works if you’ve just turned up in a football shirt, at least you’re on the right damn century. Surely the only way Budo is actually going to work is if the Cobra he’s attacking freaks out, believing himself to have been transported back to feudal Japan? And I can’t see that working more than a few times, even on Cobra troops.

Budo isn’t even particularly well-executed. The figure isn’t dynamic enough to pull off many awesome samurai poses – he can’t even really get two hands on his sword. The helmet fits in place via locking onto a Mohican Budo has thoughtfully cultivated in the middle of his head, and tends to pop off and slide around with little encouragement. The backpack which can take additional swords is competently done at least, though having a rifle or something slung on there for the many, many combat situations that can’t be solved with a sword come along might have been helpful, however. If you need a G.I. Joe samurai, Budo’s the man for the job. But think about that first – are you ever likely to need a G.I. Joe samurai? No, you’re not, are you?

G.I. Joe Budo
G.I. Joe Budo
G.I. Joe Budo
G.I. Joe Budo