The Metallic Mad Shogun Mauler
Released in 1994
There are few figures in this line that exude a sense of sheer power more than Shoate. This massive, dinosaur samurai is a major threat to the Turtles, and while he may be considered a bad guy, he’s much more honorable than you might think. While the portrait on the back of the packaging for this figure kind of overinflates just how tough Shoate is, I would much rather refer to the original Mirage comic books when talking about this figure as Playmates kind of sells him short. While Shoate never had any media appearances outside of the old comics and the Playmates toy line, he made a huge impression upon me while reading his one adventure that placed him in opposition with the Turtles.
Back in 1992, in the forty sixth issue of the Mirage TMNT comics, Shoate (known in the books as “Chote”) made his debut as a samurai that is honor bound to a nameless warlord who, for lack of a better word, is evil. Yes, Shoate/Chote is considered one of the primary villains of the two-part story arc that he makes his only appearance in, but the fact that he works for an evil man (a man that will remain nameless because it’s a great reveal that means a lot to old school TMNT comics fans) is a point of pride for reptilian samurai warrior. As he puts it, he lives his life by the code of the Bushido. What better way is there to prove loyalty than to serve a righteous man? That core belief is what makes Shoate/Chote an incredibly layered character with more going on upstairs than you may realize. He is a decent person, or at least he isn’t evil, that does bad things. Sure, he’s no hero, but he has a belief that he stands by. Unfortunately, we never got to see if Shoate/Chote ever redeemed himself as he never appeared in another comic or any form of media whatsoever since his1992 debut.
So moving onto the figure itself, Shoate is a seriously dangerous looking bad guy for the Turtles to fight. The sheer size of this guy is unparalleled; while he’s not the tallest figure, not even the Super Shredder is a can match the bulk of this figure. He captures his comic book counterpart very well in terms of his sculpt and I really do appreciate that Playmates knew a good design when they saw one and didn’t muck with it at all outside of the height of the actual figure, which stands eye to eye to pretty much all of the bad guys in the line, which was probably a way to keep costs down, thus ensuring this figure would sell.
But to be fair, this is another rare figure from the Turtle’s history of action figures. From what I have read about this guy though, unlike Scratch, the root cause of his rarity was due to low production numbers. Apparently, there just weren’t that many Shoate figures released which, I can kind of understand why. Shoate was released in 1994, and by that time, Playmates was shipping variant figures of the Turtles and few others almost exclusively. And by 1994, the animated series that (arguably) started everything had begun its penultimate season. As sad and possibly unthinkable as it may be to consider now, the Turtle’s popularity was on the wane due to competition from the likes of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. To me, Shoate marks the beginning of the end for the first wave of Turtles mania. By the ninth season of the animated series, the Turtles weren’t even fighting Shredder and Krang, they had moved on to other villains. And how fitting is it that Shoate is the last non-variant figure to be released in the original Playmates toy line, as directly following his appearance in the Mirage comic books, seeing as how Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird would begin their last story arc under the Mirage banner as a writing team. In a funny way, Shoate is the one Turtles villain that beats the Turtles as an era ends whenever he shows his scaly hide. So if you see Shoate, baton down the hatches, because he’s the one bad guy to do what Shredder cannot: End the Turtles.
Turtle Trivia: Shoate/Chote was a creation of TMNT comics’ writer and artist Michael Dooney, who also had intended to place him in his own comic titled Gizmo, but this unfortunately never came to be.
*Shoate appeared in the Shogun Ninja TMNT variant line of figures in 1994.