Friday, November 22, 2013

GI Joe Manimals: Slythor

From a distant universe, where life evolved over a complex series of alien and reptile mutations, come the body-changing Manimals.  As if they weren't hostile enough in their "normal" form, when provoked, these monsters mutate into the meanest bounty hunters this side of the Milky Way!

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5448_zps001c7072.jpg

The Manimals were intended to be the next phase of the "Lunartix Empire Star Brigade" figures.  Six figures were planned for late 1994, but the G.I. Joe line was canceled before these figures were released to retail.  However in 2001, three of the Manimals were released with new color schemes as Kay Bee store exclusives.  Even the exclusivity of these figures couldn't help them sell and they quickly ended up in the clearance bins for just a few bucks each.

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5449_zpseb7b473e.jpg

When I had a larger collection of G.I. Joe toys, I owned Warwolf and Iguanus.  Slythor never showed up in the clearance bins in my area, but when I came across this carded sample for a few bucks I couldn't resist - despite not having the other Manimals any longer.

Towards the end of the original A Real American Hero line, Hasbro introduced the sub-series into the line called Star Brigade.  Cobra wasn't the major opposing faction, replaced with by the Lunartix Empire's cast of aliens such as Carcass, Lobotomaxx and Predacon.  The Manimals are bigger than your standard 3 3/4" figures.  There were a total of 12 figures planned to be released in 1994-1995.  I always wondered why these three were chosen for release at Kay Bee as some of the other unreleased Manimal designs are far superior.  For a better look at these, check out YoJoe's unproduced section.

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5450_zpsa402f6e7.jpg

I kinda dig the whole Manimal concept and the story behind them, but I can see why these toys failed to capture the attention of G.I. Joe collectors.  By 1993, Joe collectors had put up with a lot of weird stuff.  D.E.F., Eco Warriors, Street Fighter II had all been crammed down their throats.  Then G.I. Joe is taken further from their military roots and shot into space as a part of the Star Brigade.  Throw in a heavy sci-fi layer and I can see why the original G.I. Joe line ended.  It's really a shame though as Hasbro did have some pretty cool plans after all of this sci-fi stuff.

As you can see from the above pictures, the artwork used for these Manimals is quite nice.  Unfortunately that is the best part of the toy.  Once you open the figure, you will probably wish you left it sealed.

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Right off the bat you'll notice that Slythor is green versus his orange-ish character art.  I'm not sure a different colored plastic would really make much of a difference however.  I like the beefy build of the figure, kind of reminds me of how a Visionaries figure was built.  What I don't like is the goofy looking head.

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5454_zps2bf77205.jpg

I can only guess the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the time helped influence the design of this head sculpt.  If you doubted before, are you now starting to see why these figures were ultimately a failure?

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5455_zps24e8c961.jpg

Most of the Manimals shared the same "transformation" sequence in that their chests would lift up, revealing their alternate alien form.  Slythor is obviously some sort of reptilian creature.  If you look inside his chest cavity you can see his spine and ribs molded into the back.  The reptile head is, uhm, interesting.  Perhaps if it better matched the package art I'd like it better.  After all, where did his lower jaw go?!

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5456_zps9c2b2b67.jpg

There are two points of articulation on the reptile head that does allow you to display the figure in a few different poses.  However you can see the stupid "humanoid" head doesn't really fold back just sits there.

Manimals Slythor photo 100_5457_zps096a8b13.jpg

Slythor comes with two weapons and while they look cool, it's hard to get any good poses of him wielding either weapon.  He has the bicep swivel and hinged elbow joints, but his forearms are solid.  He really needs wrist joints because without them he really can't aim his weapons all that well.  Then again he has bone spears protruding from his wrists so why does he even need guns?

For some strange reason I still want to get all three of these Manimals sealed on card to display on my wall alongside my MOSC Cobra collection.  I know they are silly/stupid looking, but they represent the end of the first toy line I was all about as a kid.  That said I really can't recommend these Manimal toys unless you are like me and like the odd stuff.  Even then, I'm not pulling the trigger again on these guys unless I can find them on the cheap


  1. Two things come to mind when looking at this:
    1) My eyes!!!!!!
    2) The '90's. When everything had to be xtreme.

    That being said, I have never heard of the Manimals. If nothing else, they're a fascinating bit of history.

  2. This think looks like too much fun.

  3. This is a super crossover. Bold and fun...I am sure this toy if given to kid of this generation of 4 to 6 still find it cool due to the feature.

  4. Very cool! Hope to find these someday.