Raiden is possibly the only character in the Mortal Kombat games to have a definite heroic disposition, since his goal is to thwart Shao Khan’s plans for dominating the Earthrealm. The character was inspired by the Three Storms, the evil enforcers from the John Carpenter film Big Trouble in Little China, a movie that borrowed and adjusted rather liberally elements of Chinese folklore.
Jazwares included Raiden as one of the first characters in their 4-inch scale action figures, but the end result feels kind of rushed and not very satisfying. Even though Raiden’s attire is very similar to that of the Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Baraka in that it consists on a tabard worn over loose pieces of clothing, the execution is rather unimpressive.
The white uniform is sculpted to portray some looseness, but the folds don’t quite convey the illusion of muscle underneath and the lack of texturing produces an extremely plain appearance. The tabard also lacks texturing, but the creases are somewhat more realistic although not quite enough to overpower the thick paint application it got.
But what really hurts Raiden is the head sculpture. Underneath his removable conical straw hat, Raiden has a very mediocre head sculpt. There is no hair and no ears because Raiden seems to wear a skintight hood leaving just the face uncovered. The facial features are utterly unremarkable, and in fact the face looks as if had been carved out of an unyielding material, instead of sculpted in wax. On the other hand, the straw hat itself has a very nice texture on top.
• Ball jointed neck.
• Pegged hinge shoulders.
• Pegged hinge elbows.
• Swivel wrists.
• Floating torso.
• Pegged hinge hips.
• Pegged hinge knees.
• Pegged hinge ankles.
Again, the character design proves to be Raiden’s greatest foe. The shoulder pads prevent Raiden from lifting his arms upward, and the sculpted greaves basically block the ankles from bending forward. Add that the thighs are too bulky to allow for poses where both feet are planted firmly on the ground and the prospect of squeezing some dynamic poses from Raiden starts to become very frustrating. Also, on my figure it seems that the neck post doesn’t go into the head exactly vertical, so my Thunder God slants his neck as if he had torticollis whenever he’s looking forward.
Raiden’s color palette isn’t very exciting, but the paint application doesn’t help his cause either because there is hardly any costume element that doesn’t have register issues. The tabard has wavy edges and paint rubs, and the fasteners on the armor pieces are almost invariably a few millimeters off where they should be. The face is especially disappointing, because the paint is laid so thick that it is difficult to make out if there is any redeeming quality to the sculpture, and the vacant white eyes just seem unfinished.
Besides the hat, Raiden comes with no accessories whatsoever, and that is fine because the hands are sculpted into balled fists, although, to his favor I will say that there are a number of accessories from other action figure lines that work reasonably well on him. Unfortunately that’s about the only good thing I have to say about this Jazwares offering, and also the only reason why I am giving it a score symbolically above average.
Errex Score: 55/100