Always plotting, always gurgling, Krang just might be my favorite cartoon villain of all time. It's hard to avoid giving such nods to more championed baddies like Megatron and Cobra Commander, but in the end, I just can't look at this sopping mess of pink gray matter (yes) and rank it below the first number of the number alphabet. Teamed with the evil Shredder, Krang's unforgettable role as foil for the Ninja Turtles made him a solid candidate for Catholicism's new God if the old one ever went out of style.
Few cartoons had quite the level of synergy with their accompanying line of toys than TMNT, so kids who liked Krang had just one thing on their mind: getting his action figure. For whatever reason, this was no easy task in my city. The toys were popular and certain characters were tough finds, but Krang was different -- to my friends and I, the figure was a complete myth. None of us had ever seen a Krang dolly, so despite all of the pretty catalog pictures, we were positive that the toy was merely an urban legend. Something they mentioned simply to create a suspicious buzz. A Krang buzz. For months -- literally -- I ransacked the TMNT section of any toy store I could find, sometimes going as far as ripping open the not-so-hidden shipping boxes to search for Krang within a "fresh batch." Never had much luck. I can't imagine that Krang's figure was the top seller of the series, so I assume he was shortpacked amongst the 55,000 Donatellos.
As was usually the climax of such juvenile and obsessive hunts for toys, I eventually found a Krang. I'd collected everything Playmates put out for the line up to that point, but this Krang figure...this guy was different. The small, plastic creature connected with me in ways people wax about when detailing their dream romances. I was well past the point of animism, but Krang didn't feel like a "toy." He seemed more alive, more understanding. Actually, that's bullshit. He was just the first brain-shaped action figure I'd ever owned, and I couldn't get over how wonderfully brain-shaped he was. I kept all of my TMNT stuff in one corner of my room, each figure nicely posed with their six dozen plastic ninja weapons and cutout bio cards. Krang? Krang shared a bedside manor. Wasn't sexual or anything, I just wanted the stupid alien near me at all times.
Krang arrived in a transport walker with a plastic gun -- adequate for a brain stripped of its body -- but there was one thing that always felt off about the figure. The problem was clear from the getgo, and fans tried to overlook it, but we couldn't keep our mouths shut forever. On the first few episodes of the cartoon, Krang was indeed without a body. Usually negotiating himself around the Technodrome using what appeared to be a frisbee with a couple of Pine Box Derby wheels tacked on, the action figure's transport accessory seemed like a real coup in the beginning. Of course, one of the driving storylines that made TMNT's first season so successful was Krang's constant pleas for Shredder to build him "a new body."
I've already reviewed the episode where Krang finally got his shell, and it was a doozy. A series that gained notoriety for having cartoon turtles eat pizza exploded into an action packed dynasty featuring rock creatures in army helmets from distant dimensions trying to aim the firing chambers of their 200 pound machine guns at a giant talking rat. In the midst of the insanity was Krang, newly fitted into an 8' bald robot wearing sunglasses and red panties. The brainy beast controlled his new Car Person Thing from within its belly. On that day, every kid in America climbed to the top of their parents' roofs to shout "what the fuck" as loud as they possibly could. We couldn't understand why Krang's body looked the way it did, but if that's the way it had to be...fine. Just give us a toy version of that absolutely ridiculous robot body and we'll call it even. Without further ado, here's the coolest Ninja Turtles figure that isn't Fugitoid or that rare version of April where she looked like Hector Camacho: Krang's. Android. Body.
Krang's Android Body™ hit the stores in 1991. Nearly triple the height of most TMNT figures, the toy was also more expensive -- 16.99. This put it on the same availability level as most of the line's vehicles and smaller playsets. Kids weren't going to land themselves a Krang body through some casual pleas or begging -- we really had to crank it up for this one. If it took a child three crying fits to get one of the normal figures, they were looking at repeating the performance at least nine times. Still, tears are tears, but barring some unforeseen incident with an aggressive dog, Krang's body would last forever.
Amazingly, I don't get the impression that the plastic majesty was ever a top seller. If I had to guess, the fact that Krang's Android Body™ wasn't featured alongside all of the other characters on the figures' cardbacks really hurt his reach. After all, it was those very same cardbacks that turned what was previously a normal, healthy boy's life into an endless, gritty mission to find "Mondo Gecko." For me, just seeing Krang's body in stores was a shock in of itself. It took me a while to actually buy it -- for a few months, I just lived off the residual high that came from knowing it existed.
Now, before I open that box, know this: Krang's Android Body isn't a toy I'm mentioning because of its terrific play value or whatever else. Like Modulok, it's just one of those things that are good to have around. I don't actually play with any of this crap I review, save for the intents of photographing and whatnot. I just like having it all over the place. I've replaced vases with Krangs, fruit bowls with Stormtroopers. It's all for the decor, see. Plus, Krang's body costs less than a Hummel.
Whether you like TMNT or not, you've gotta admit: Krang's Android Body would look great on your mantle. If you don't have a mantle...there's no time like the present.
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This blurb, printed on each box, helped kids better understand why death was a better option than not owning this toy. And you thought I went overboard with adjectives? Playmates' Krang blurb is a new kind of tough sell -- I leave the experience not only wanting to buy Krang's Android Body, but somehow everything else on the planet as well. Proctor & Gamble wish they could get copy like this.
Sadly, no "official" bio card is included. All of the regular figures had 'em, including the original Krang. If you've only ever bought the body-enhanced version, I'll sum up the story: "EVIL BRAIN FROM DIMENSION X SOULFULLY SLITHERS SOUTHWARD TO THE TERRIBLE TERROR-TRUCK KNOWN AS THE TECHNODROME. KRANG KAREFULLY KOOPERATES WITH THE SINISTER, SHAMROCK SHREDDER IN A QUEST TO DESTROY THE TUBULAR, TERRIFIC, TOTALLY TKNOCKING TEENAGE TMUTANT TNINJA TURTLES." To the left, picture a doodle of Krang burping.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...
I am without words. I am completely without words. You've looked, you've seen. What can one say? "Perfect" has finally found it's accompanying photo for Webster's Illustrated Children's Dictionary Volume Pa-Ph. I can't find the words, so here are my emotions in picture form.
See the star on the lower right? That there's a wishin' star.
To truly comprehend the mystical powers of Krang's Android Body, we've gotta break it down. The head is a chief feature. See that little tuning fork thing coming out of its skull? Playmates calls it a "rotating brainwave radar." Indeed, you can spin it around to any position you like -- even straightforward, making Krang's body look like a punker. The sunglasses look not unlike the kind that would come free with a Burger King Kids Meal, while the lips are carved in an almost jack o' lantern fashion. Considering the head's overall shape, Krang's body is the easiest TMNT character bust to forge from a simple mound of mashed potatoes. The shiny silver shoulderpads help Krang blend into a crowd.
I'll never understand why Krang designed his body to look like it never exercised. The pitiful legs are also made of soft plastic -- aside from just making the figure look cheap, they also hurt Krang's balance quite a bit. I had to maneuver the legs into a mid-ski position just to get the guy standing under his own power. It sucks...poor Krang never looks completely content with where I place him. On the upside, even the guy's shins have all sorts of cyborg enhancements. And the skin has Frankenstein stitching! It so needed that!
Course, when a figure contains a removable, monster brain in a little cave within its belly, that's where all eyes are gonna go. The entire worth of Krang's Android Body™ lies in its stomach. There we find a glory so glorious it's really more of a superglory.
Controlling the robot from its hollowed out stomach, it's the Krang we've always known. It's the exact same figure used in the original...almost. The original batch had a bit more detail -- blue veins and such. The all-pink edition found here is a little less mind-blowing, but well compensated for by being tucked away in a robot pro-wrestler from Planet Rock N' Roll. The figure nestles snugly inside the chamber, protected by a see-thru window and a mirrored backing that gives off the impression that there's actually a few Krangs hiding inside. There's not. Just one Krang. Still more than we really deserve.
One of the strongest points of Playmates' collection was how similar the figures looked to their cartoon counterparts. With a few exceptions, the toys looked precisely as we saw them on the show. If you had Krang's Android Body, you owned a television star. The sculpt was right, the colors were right -- only thing missing were those neat little joystick thingies Krang fiddled with using his tentacles. If the toy had those, I'd take this thing to Vegas right here right now.
The whole brain-stomach bit is one of the most creative character traits I've ever seen. Strip some demon dude of his body, make him a creepy little brain, shove him inside King Kong Bundy Meets Rosie. As in the Jetsons' maid, not the lesbian. Nearly every character in TMNT lore was conceptually interesting -- we had everything from alien brains to mutated crocodiles who spoke with Cajun accents.
The only piece of Krang-related paperwork in the box was this sheet, detailing the placement of his stickers. I mention this only because they're positively the smallest bunch of stickers I've ever seen. I had no idea people were capable of making stickers this small. I won't complain about it as they're mostly inconsequential, but I really prefer my toy stickers being large enough to double as envelope sealers when I run out of wax during Christmastime. If this was December, Playmates would owe me an explanation.
Also -- check out that first picture of Krang's body. Take off the arms, legs and head. Doesn't it look like a kidney? Krang's body is a kidney!
The story of how Krang received his body was retold in an obscure TMNT coloring book, "The Shredder Gets Splintered." It basically repeats the tale of the similarly-named cartoon episode, but it feels so much different playing out in print. The Turtles all looked famished -- in particular, Leonardo's face was quite sunken. Krang himself looked more bulbous and out of control than usual, while Shredder decided to stop wearing his cape so the artists wouldn't have to draw it anymore. Here's a few of the more crucial pages -- you can click on any of the thumbnails to see 'em full-sized...
These four pages appeared nearly contiguously in the book, and it's amazing how Krang went from having no body to having a body that grew as tall as a skyscraper in such a short time. I never understood why the Krang-brain grew along with the more open-source Krang-body, but on a show where a rat and a couple of turtles could find four sets of ninja bandanas and elbowpads down in the sewer, there's no sense counting the plot oversights.
Krang's Android Body™ was worth four "pizza points," which kids could cut off the boxes, save 'em up, and send 'em off for fabulous prizes. The above scans are of the included "pizza point premium catalog," detailing the wares. Click on the pics to make 'em bigger. Most of the stuff were just school supplies and paper room decorations, but a few things were more interesting -- look closely and you'll find a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beachtowel, with the description reading "prepare for dunesday." Comedy and convenience go hand in hand.
The items weren't free, mind you. Kids used a combination of pizza points and their parents' money to get all the loot. The beachtowel, for example, required ten pizza points and 15.75. They really bled us dry with this shit.
Getting back on track, Krang's Android Body™ is enough to justify the entire TMNT fad. The world needed something like this. We needed something like this. Later, a smaller version of the toy (with a smaller version of the brain) was sold alongside all of the normal action figures -- I much prefer the big one, because size matters. Ironically enough, the scaled down version of Krang's Android Body now fetches much higher prices than what we've reviewed today. Can't think of a reason -- either it's really rare or people are stupid. Now that our little story draws near its close, I find myself unwilling to let go. I'm not done Kranging. It's so hard to stop. There's nothing left to say about the toy, so I guess we'll have to do another Krang craft. Get your glue, you!
So, you want a Krang-shaped Jell-O mold, do you? Whoa-K, we can do it!
YOU WILL NEED: Red or pink-colored Jell-O gelatin. Water! And a brain-shaped gelatin mold, the likes of which are only sold near Halloween. Print this page and file for October.
Do the normal Jell-O things. Water, boil it. Gelatin, pour it. Colder water, stir it in. Mix and blend. Blend and mix. Miblenxd. When you are done, fill the brain. All the way up, now! Using half the brain would be, appropriately, very stupid of you. Hacksaw Jim Duggan says "ho."
If you don't leave the gelatin in the fridge to settle overnight, it'll come out looking like this. But just picture how great it'd look if the gelatin was left to settle overnight, instead of the twenty minutes allowed for the beast shown above. Olives work well as eyes. Tentacles can be added by obtaining magic seeds that grow carrots that are not only bendable, but also completely pink.
When prepared correctly, Krang-shaped Jell-O mo-lds can turn any party from passably entertaining to hot momma pass me some candy brain! As Krang says: "Don't just host. Host to the most."
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