Enter… and enter… and enter… no, this time we’re serious! Enter the Nightbird.

Nightbird shouldn’t be a thing. Well, I guess that came off a little more rude than I was expecting. Rather, she was always a thing but somehow became much more because… well, sometimes the fandom can be weird and other times the fandom can be just downright creepy.

We first meet the female robot ninja in the aptly named G1 episode, Enter the Nightbird.Nightbird Introduction

Despite not being sentient, we know she is a she because her creator, Dr. Fujiyama “the Famous Scientist”, tells us so — more on Dr. “Bad Life Choices” later. When Megatron shows a certain level of affection for the ninja robot, it was taken by some as a strange romantic/sexual connection rather than the very obvious thing that it was.Nightbird Megatron Starscream

“Oh look, I could replace Starscream with a far more battle-capable robot ninja who is silent and won’t question my orders.”

Megatron makes the decision to steal Nightbird and give her a little Cybertronian upgrade courtesy of Bombshell and his “triple power booster”.Nightbird Megatron Bombshell

She proves herself to be quite adept, laying Autobots out left and right and even sneaking into their base to steal the plot device of the week, the World Energy Chip, which “itemizes the world’s energy supplies”. Right.

Out of apparent jealousy (or perhaps just a general fear of unemployment) Starscream waits until Nightbird is rather successfully battling off the Autobots and shoots her in the back. He then flies off gloating while, on Megatron’s command, all of the Decepticons take off after him, leaving Nightbird collapsed in Optimus Prime’s arms.

“Decepticons, after him! I want that traitor’s steel hide!”

Sounds more like a military commander who’s angry that he lost a valuable asset, rather than someone that lost their one shot at love. Oh, Megatron, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.Nightbird Megatron

Speaking of assets, early on Dr. “I’ve built a female ninja robot to assist mankind” Fujiyama takes great pains to explain that, yes, she is a ninja, but she is not built for “battle or assassination”. Among her mankind-benefiting toolset are:

  • Nunchaku
  • Sai
  • Sawblades formed from her hands
  • Shurikens (so many shurikens)
  • Beam saber (complete with Star Wars lightsaber sound effects)
  • Ninjitsu and martial arts fighting skills

The other scientists at his presentation are clearly not buying it in the least, but further discussion is cut short by the appearance of the Deceptions.

After all is said and done, and Megatron has gone off to pout and abuse Starscream to make himself feel better, Nightbird is returned to the good Dr. Fujiyama. Optimus declares her to be, “deprogrammed and neutralized”, however, as her creepy metal coffin slides closed her eyes glow and she scowls menacingly.Nightbird is pissed

Gah! So, wait, did Bombshell’s meddling render her sentient somehow? The next time we see Nightbird is… never. She never comes back. They never make good on that final scene. We’ll never know if, much like his first response to the Dinobots, Optimus Prime has consigned yet another thinking, feeling creature to be buried alive.

Nightbird would inspire a number of appearances after that. She would appear in 3H’s Wreckers comic as a legion of hell-bent drones with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed colour schemes that leads to the facepalm-inducing remarkably fan-wanky death of Daniel Witwicky and Wheelie.Nightbird 3H Wreckers

She would also appear as the apparent tailpipe-kicking star of a movie appropriately titled “Enter the Nightbird” showing in a cinema in Dreamwave’s Transformers Generation One series.Nightbird Dreamwave

It would be a decade later that she would show up again; this time as a 2014 event in the Android and Apple card-based battle game Transformer Legends. Once again sporting a familiar title, the event pretty much follows the plot of the G1 episode.Nightbird TF Legends

Then around the middle of the year, we heard about a trio of girl-bots being released in TakaraTomy’s coincidentally also named Transformers Legends toyline. LG15 “Nightbird Shadow” would become the first Nightbird toy released. As a retool of the Generations Arcee mold, she is nothing less than amazing.Nightbird Robot

Even with the enlarged backpack that facilitates her newly acquired ability to transform, she still perfectly evokes her G1 appearance with great attention to detail. Her headsculpt matches the cartoon but looking closely you can see that it’s not the dead, emotionless eyes of Nightbird at the beginning of the episode. It is the scowling, angry eyes at the end of the episode.Nightbird Head

Following in the footsteps of her appearance in G1 she comes with weapons aplenty. Both of the guns and swords that Arcee comes with as well as two new sai, all of which can be stored in robot mode.Nightbird Pose

The one flaw in the figure is that it is based on the running change of the mold that has open hands and a protrusion at the base of the hand. The protrusion increases stability but means that most of her weapons can’t be properly fit in her hands.Nightbird Gun Hand

The new sai included mitigate this by having the handle taper slightly at the end.Nightbird Sai Handles

Luckily, Nightbird was always shown to use the traditional ninja weapons, which do not include blasters.Nightbird Sais

Pretty sure she’ll be able to do just fine with her sai and swords.Nightbird Swords

For the most part, her alt mode looks like Arcee in silver and black, though with a slightly different front end formed by her differently molded chest piece.Nightbird Alt

Not that this is a bad thing at all. It’s a great alt mode and looks good in silver and black. Her alt can be festooned with weapons for slicey-stabby-shooty-car mode.Nightbird Alt Weapons

I’m not even going to pretend to understand the TakaraTomy Transformers Legends universe detailed in the mini-comics packed in with toy releases. After reading the TFWiki articles about the universe in general and Nightbird Shadow’s part in it specifically, I can’t really explain what’s happened/happening just that it’s all a dream… or maybe not?Nightbird Legends Comic

All that aside, I can not recommend this toy enough. While it would be phenomenal, the chances of her or her fellow Decepticon girl-bot Slipstream — who I also picked up and who will certainly be appearing in a post of her own very soon — showing up at retail in North Amerca is pretty slim. It is really rare that I will shell out full import prices, but this time I did so gladly and am delighted.Nightbird Pose 2'Til All Are Mine.

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