Holy guacamole! Did I ever find the weirdest action figures on the face of the Earth! Ladies and germs, I present to you; The Guardians: The Spirits of the Wild!
I found these bizarro figures in a weird little store in Bradley, Illinois called "5 Below" which basically only sells stuff for $5 and under. It was actually a pretty cool place and my wife and I went a little crazy in there. But scoring these human/animal hybrid action figure for a whopping $2 a piece has got to be my favorite score of that day.
The figures themselves boggle my mind. They're made by a company called Wild Republic, and I have to say that their packaging is really beautiful for a $2 toy. The figures appear to be original sculpts, somewhat sloppily molded and painted (but not too bad) and come with two accessories each; a shield and a... wait for it... a flag?!
No weapons at all for these Spirits of the Wild!
At first I thought they were supposed to be some sort of Native American thing (since I saw the bald eagle character first), but that wouldn't explain the tiger and rhino.
Clearly these are a concoction from an imaginative designer at some low-rent toy company trying to do the best they can with what they have to work with and as far as I'm concerned, they nailed it. These toys, as cheap as they are, are brimming with imagination and creativity.
They all have names; Chak, Zyng, Skal and Rykor, but sadly, I opened them all up before noting which name went with each character. D'oh!
They've all go this sort of Roman gladiator vibe to them, at least that's what their armor reminds me of, except for the tiger, who's clearly sporting some samurai-inspired duds.
Another interesting feature is their individual shields (complete with "gems" in the center) and their flags which sport different symbols for each animal/man.
I only wish there had been more characters in this line. And I totally wish I would have had these as a kid! Imagine the fun I could have had by adding these Dr. Moreau-ian warriors to my AD&D/Dragonriders of the Styx adventures!
I told you, it boggles the mind.