Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: April O’Neil
No TMNT line would be complete without their link to the human world, April O’Neil. Since I collect April figures, there’s no way I would pass her up, but was she worth it?
Zombiepaper: April and her weapons are held inside of the plastic molding with a random combination of the plastic rubber bands and twist-ties. Otherwise, the packaging is exactly the same as the other toys in this line.
Sculpt and Deco
This April’s design is quite a bit different from past versions, not that any of them have really looked alike. She’s still the turtles’ red-headed human friend, but now instead of being a reporter or Baxter Stockman’s assistant, she’s a teenager like they are. I wasn’t sure about that at first, but now that I’ve been watching the show, it works fine. She has a yellow shirt with long black sleeves underneath and a white 5 on it. (Why not 6? That would’ve been a fun nod.) The yellow is kind of pale, so the printing doesn’t stand out well under most lighting. She wears black leggings under short jean shorts, blue socks, and gray boots. The outfit is less detailed than in the cartoon, lacking the stripes and other markings on both the shirt and socks. She also wears some brown tape around her wrists.
Zombiepaper: Maybe April’s shirt is a jersey number, like the NASCAR number “3” painted on vehicles in Zombieland. If so, “5” might stand for Joe DiMaggio. Also, the yellow is quite dull on my NN variant of April, but the printing is also quite dull.
Ah DiMaggio, good point.
April is one of the smallest figures in this line. She has big, chunky feet like everyone else, but the rest of her is pretty skinny. Seems like if you gave this toy to child they could rip the arms off pretty easily.
Zombiepaper: Oddly, April’s torso is roughly half the size of the Foot Soldier.
The head is the weakest part of the figure, in my opinion. I like the way she looks in the cartoon, but the toy’s round head, long neck, dopey look on her face… eugh.
Zombiepaper: Agreed. Not sure how the face could have looked more cartoon-accurate, but I’m glad overall the toy is not as awkward as it could have been. You know, exploitative makeup and eyeshadow everywhere.
I read about a variation in the figure. One version has darker hair than the other, and some other color differences. You can tell which version you have by finding a date code on the bottom of the paper insert and on the bottom of April’s right foot. NN#### for the darker hair, OB for the brighter hair.
Standing about 4 ¾” tall, April is about as tall as Donatello, and a bit taller than 1987 April and shorter than 2002 April.
Zombiepaper: The April O’Neil toy cannot hold a real life shinai.
April’s head can turn all the way around and look up and down a little; she has shoulders that allow her arms to move forward and back as well as out to the sides, hips that rotate and allow her legs to move forward or out to the side, as well as wrists and waist that rotate. Her shirt hangs over her shorts and is flexible, so it conforms to her waist as you turn it. I thought that was a nice touch. She has basically the same leg articulation as Shredder and the Foot Soldier, but since her joints are attached from above instead of the side, it allows her a better range of movement. Like the other non-turtle characters in the line, the lack of knee articulation is somewhat limiting though. I think her biggest issue is the lack of elbow articulation. As long, skinny, and straight as those arms are, they really need to be able to bend at the elbow. I noticed the peg holding the left hand onto the arm isn’t centered, leaving it looking a little strange depending on how you have the wrist turned.
INCLUDES NINJA ARSENAL!
Zombiepaper: April’s role as a kunoichi is still developing in the show, but we get some hints to the main weapon she uses in her ninjutsu: a bo staff with a unique cast. Donny’s Bo staff is slightly curved, more wide at the top, has more defined wood grain with a purple tint, whereas April’s Bo staff is straight and has a tan tint. The plastic tree April’s ninja arsenal comes on includes two kendo staples, the beginner’s shinai and advanced student’s bokken, two modernized shuriken with Splinter’s five-point sakura logo, a tonfa, and two smoke bombs. However, if you carefully remove the plastic holding the tonfa to the tree, carefully remove the plastic holding the shuriken to the tree, and leave the smoke bombs, you can have a custom weapon. Inspired by the kusarigama [chain-sickle] and the kusarifundo [chain-weight], I present the Kusari-tonfa. (Maybe the art would be formally called Tonfakusarishurikenjustu? The motions would look like this: Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3, Pic 4, Pic 5, with inspiration from this tonfa-jitsu instructional video. What? That isn’t catchy? How about Ton-ku-shu-jutsu?)
April’s bo looks an awful lot like 1987 Donatello’s bo. Just sayin’. Her left hand is open, so she can only hold things in her right, and she doesn’t really have the tightest grip in that one.
Zombiepaper: I was on the fence on whether I wanted to buy the whole TMNT toy line. I asked Collector what he thought of April, and he said “If you’re a fan of TMNT, you gotta have April.” Fair enough. I’m all in, now.
Like most of the non-turtle figures, she could use a little bit more articulation, but I like April’s design well enough. I just wish the head was better.
If you’d like to get one of these, it’s TMNT, so they sell them pretty much everywhere (Walmart, Kmart, Target, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Amazon, etc.). Good luck.