Even with only half of the brothers available so far, it’s clear that Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the best action figures based off the classic animation yet. The secret’s in the soft shell.

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It may seem puzzling that an action figure company would release only two of the four turtles at a time, saving Raphael and party dude Michelangelo for a later date, but with the folks at Bluefin are offering the Japanese imports at $60 or so a pop through Amazon, perhaps a staggered release is best. I’m fine as long as Donatello makes first cut, and would you look at that.

Box Turtles.

S.H. Figuarts (Simple Style, Heroic Action) are a far cry from the sort of toys you see on shelves in the states. Each figure in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line features unparalleled articulation, a bunch of extra bits and some very cool special features to help them rise above the rest.

Both Donatello and Leonardo come with eight different fists, two different heads, their signature weapons and a special accessory—Donnie has a slice, and Leo gets a manhole cover.

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There is another piece of plastic in each box that helps implement one of the series’ more clever ideas. Rather than have a permanent molded piece to act as a weapon sheath, both turtles feature a removable belt section that can be swapped out for a smooth version.

Removable bo holder.
Taking off the smooth belt piece.

In another smart move meant to keep small parts from getting lost, each head treatment has a peg in the back for the bandanna tie.

The two figures are ridiculously poseable, especially for turtles with shells on their backs and chests. This is thanks to a combination of two special features. One is a special ball-within-a-ball shoulder joint, with extended construction to help clear the shell.

The other is that only the back half of the shell is rigid. They’ve got a soft, pliant underbelly that allows for more dynamic movement and posing. Neat!

Also, feet!

The bendy toes are sturdy enough for the figures to stand on, so those looking to get into some serious ninja business will be very pleased.

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Me, I’m more about the hijinks.

All that’s missing are a couple more brothers, maybe one that’s all about partying, and another that’s cool but rude. I look forward to collecting the whole set once Bluefin has them.

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I leave you with a couple of super close-ups of those turtle mugs. Right click and open in a new window for the best results.