Take a look at my newest 8Asians article: Was the G.I. Joe character known as Snake Eyes Asian?
Growing up there just weren’t a lot of Asians—let alone Asian Americans—on television or in the movies. And when there were, they were very rarely people I actually looked up to. However, when it came to my day-to-day playing, I was a G.I. Joe junkie. I watched the G.I. Joe cartoon religiously and spent hours upon hours playing with my action figures. I made up scenarios where the good guys always won.
My two favorite characters were Snake Eyes (right) and Storm Shadow (left). Snake Eyes was this bad ass guy in a black/dark blue uniform with a mask over his face. He had a big dog—a husky or a wolf—as a companion and never said a word. He knew martial arts and was the good guy’s ninja. Storm Shadow wore white and was the bad guy’s ninja. I don’t know this for a fact, but my memory seems to recall the two of them being mortal enemies—but take that with a grain of salt. I could have just made that up. In my play though, they were friends and both were always on the side of good.
I knew Storm Shadow was Asian. His backstory was that he was from Japan. And from what I could see of his face—since half of it was covered by a mask—was that he had “Asian eyes.” But Snake Eyes was totally different. Snake Eyes’ entire face was covered with a mask. So in my head, I always considered him Asian too.