X-Plus 25cm Godzilla 2016 Review (Shin Godzilla)

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IMG 6191cThe X-Plus Shin Godzilla figure came out around January 2017 in Japan. It sold for about $150. There is both a standard version and an exclusive Ric Boy version. The standard version is charcoal black with red at the seams. The Ric Boy version is purple in some spots rather than red. It’s head has purple, and so does its neck and its spikes. Also, the Ric Boy comes with two heads: one with the mouth mostly closed, and one with the mouth wide open.

We tried our own customization of the figure by placing an LED flashlight inside, and it made the red seams of the figure glow a really cool dark red color. The tail comes off, and the figure is hollow, so we got the flashlight inside by removing the tail. The effect works especially well since the figure is made of a red plastic with the charcoal black painted on top. So putting a light inside makes the red plastic glow through the cracks in the black paint.

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NECA Shin Godzilla Figure

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The NECA Shin Godzilla 6 inch figure was released in May, 2017. It retails for about $24 and should be sold in most ToysRUs stores, as well as some comic book stores. This is the first and only Shin Godzilla figure sold in the U.S. All other Shin Godzilla figures were sold in Japan.

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S.H. MonsterArts Shin Godzilla 2016 Figure Review

SHMA ShinG01S.H. MonsterArts Shin Godzilla figure was released in Japan in November 2016. It sold out extremely quickly, originally costing around $100. People are now paying from $200 to over $300 for it on ebay from second hand sellers. It was only sold in Japan, so some U.S. buyers, who expected it would also be sold in the U.S., were caught off guard.

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Godzilla 2001 NECA and S.H. MonsterArts Review & Comparison

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In 2016, both NECA and S.H. MonsterArts released figures of Godzilla 2001, from the movie "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack", or GMK for short. Both figures have their merits, and this is a good opportunity to more generally compare and contrast the NECA Godzilla figures to the S.H. MonsterArts figures.

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Bandai USA King Caesar Review

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It has been many years since Bandai stopped producing Godzilla vinyl figures in Japan. In the US, however, Godzilla vinyls continue to thrive through various toy lines released by Bandai USA (formerly Bandai Creation), including 6.5-inch scale figures with clear glitter variants (Fusion series); play sets; deluxe, twelve-inch figures; and more artistic series like the new Tokyo Vinyl and Chibi lines.

The Godzilla series, which is still not listed on Bandai's website, is only carried at certain stores such as ToysRus and KMart. Various comic shops and many online retailers sometimes carry this line as well, but often at rates higher than the MSRP. Earlier releases in the line were frowned upon by collectors who preferred the more detailed figures from Bandai Japan. However,for the price and the fact that Godzilla figures are being released domestically, Bandai USA's line of toys is actually quite a treat. Typically, Bandai would play it safe by releasing popular charcters, but this year, Wave 7 has a special treat: a brand new King Caesar sculpt, marking the line's eleventh anniversary, since 2002. 

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S.H. MonsterArts Destoroyah Review

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Over the decades Godzilla has done battle with a whole plethora of man-made weapons and monstrous foes.  The deadliest of all was the Oxygen Destroyer, a man-made weapon developed by the late Dr. Serizawa-it was used only once in 1954 to destroy the first Godzilla.  When the weapon was deployed in Tokyo Bay it converted oxygen molecules in the water into a corrosive element producing horrific results.  Any unfortunate living organism that happened to be nearby was instantly dissolved by the effects of the Oxygen Destroyer.  Not even Godzilla was be able to withstand the effects of this new super weapon, as the monster was destroyed from the inside out, dissolving flesh, bone and everything else in between.  Efforts to find Godzilla’s corpse proved futile as Dr. Serizawa’s weapon of mass destruction utterly destroyed the monster leaving no trace behind.  42 years later, the Oxygen Destroyer’s effects would have repercussions on the present in the new super monster Destoroyah, first appearing in the 1995 film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.  As the theory goes, microscopic Precambrian creatures that lay dormant under Tokyo Bay were exposed to the energy released by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954.  After awakening they gradually mutated and evolved over the course of 42 years eventually wrecking havoc in Tokyo’s water supply and local aquariums killing fish and other organisms.  Eventually the mutated microscopic creatures evolved into car sized and later building sized crustaceans.  After battling the Japanese Self Defense Forces and Godzilla Junior, the creatures assembled into their final evolved form, Destoroyah, the living Oxygen Destroyer!  Officially known as Destoroyah or amongst fans as Destroyah (Adult/Final Form), the monster is a demon of a beast, with its imposing height, red colouration, horns, armor, elongated tail,and bat-like wings.  Bandai and Tamashi Nations released its SH MonsterArts Destoroyah in late February 2013 as a regular release.  The figure is massive and remains one of the largest figures to have seen release under the SH MonsterArts toy line.  Now that I have the figure in my hands is Destoroyah as cool and imposing as he was in the film?  Or is it large paper weight of a monster that should be avoided like the plague?  Hit the jump to find out!

 

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S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla Junior Review

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Godzilla’s son finally grows up!  The realization of Godzilla’s son or offspring on the big screen is nothing new as audiences were first introduced to Minilla during the Showa era in the 1960s.  Afterwards we got introduced to Baby Godzilla and then Little Godzilla during the Heisei era.  However, all versions of the character have for better or for worse, placed a much larger emphasis on being small and cute rather than being fierce and deadly like the big G himself.  The arrival of Godzilla Junior from the 1995 film Godzilla vs Destroyah finally broke that trend.  Previous films in the 1990s Heisei series had introduced the audience to Baby Godzilla and Little Godzilla.  Both monster designs were decidedly on the cute side, especially Little Godzilla.  In the final Heisei film Godzilla vs Destroyah, Little Godzilla for whatever reason due to exposure to radiation from his surrogate father and the radioactive environment on Birth Island, mutates into a 40 metre tall fierce looking Godzilla teenager.  This older son of Godzilla definitely meant business and even knew how to use a smaller version of his father’s atomic heat ray.  Bandai and Tamashi Nations released its SH MonsterArts Godzilla Junior figure in late December 2012 as an online web exclusive in Japan and the rest of Asia.  Blue Fin USA later released the figure as a regular release in late January and February of 2013.  Now that I have the figure in my hands is this little green lizard as cool as he was in the film?  Or is he a letdown of a figure that goes way beyond simple teenager issues?  Hit the jump for more!

 

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Ultra-Act Red King Review

DSC08175He’s strong!  He’s big!  He’s ugly! And he likes to chuck rocks!  He’s Red King!  Over the course of the Ultraman franchise’s long history there’s only been a handful of Ultra Monsters that have stood out above the hundreds of other kaiju that have done battle with Ultraman over the years.  One of them happens to be Red King.  Red King made his first small screen television debut in an episode of Ultraman (1966) entitled “The Violent Monster Region”.   Since then he’s appeared in several other episodes from the original television show that ran from 1966-1967.  Over the years Ultra Monster Red King has made numerous other appearances in other Ultraman tv shows including:  Ultraman 80, Ultraman Max, Ultraman Mebius, and Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle.  While popular and very recognizable, when it comes to fighting Red King is somewhat of a dumb brutish loser.  Despite his immense strength and penchant for throwing rocks at his enemies, in almost all of his television appearances, Red King has lost against his foes.  In short, Red King is pretty much your lovable, dumb, muscular brute of a monster, sharing similar traits with other brutish characters like “The Rhino” from Spiderman or “Beebop and Rocksteady” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Bandai and Tamashi Nation’s Ultra-Act toy line has thus far been primarily concerned with designing and releasing articulated versions of the Ultraman characters.  While humanoid characters are nice to have I’ve always preferred monster characters when it comes to the Japanese Tokusatsu genre.  Thankfully after a year long hiatus from releasing any new Ultra Monsters into the toy line, Bandai and Tamashi Nations finally relented and released Ultra-Act Red King to the pleasure of both fans and collectors.  Is this new entry in the Ultra-Act toy line a winner?  Or is it a failure of a figure that deserves to be ignored?  Hit the jump for more!

 

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Ultra-Act Ultraman Gaia V2 Review

DSC07786Ultraman Gaia was Tsuburaya Production’s 13th entry in the Ultra Series.  Released between 1998-1999, the story takes place in an alternate universe, totally separate from the world of the Showa series (Ultraman, 80s Ultraman), Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna.  The Ultraman Gaia tv series sets itself apart from previous Ultra series productions by introducing the concept of a tag team of Ultra characters in the form of Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Agul. Initially the two Ultramen are at odds with each other because of different ideologies.  Ultraman Gaia believes in saving earth and humanity from the evil cosmic entity. Conversely Ultraman Agul believes in saving the planet and the natural life that inhabits it, going so far as to sacrifice humanity for the greater good.  As Ultraman Agul often brings collateral damage on urban areas, a point of contention is realized between the two Ultras.  Ultraman Gaia simply can’t agree with Ultraman Agul that saving the planet involves human sacrifices.  Eventually the two Ultras reconcile their differences and join forces to fight the evil cosmic entity that threatens humanity and earth itself with a constant onslaught of monsters. Ultra-Act Ultraman Gaia V2 initially released in October 2011, is an earlier entry in Bandai and Tamashi Nation’s Ultra Act toy line.  The V2 stands for Version 2 as Ultraman Gaia receives a powered upgrade that changes his body for the better half-way into the series.  Since this figure was released earlier, it was not designed with the same standards as Ultra-Act Ultraman “New Edition” released later in July 2012.  Ultra-Act Ultraman Gaia V2 is the second articulated Ultraman figure to join my collection.  Is this figure worth your attention, time, and money?  You know the cue!  Hit the jump for more!

 

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GMK 2001 Bandai Standard Retrospective Review

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The year 2001 ushered in a new Godzilla movie from Toho Studios, entitlted Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah:  All Out Monsters Attack.  Known as GMK amongst Godzilla fans, the film proved to be Godzilla’s most controversial return to the silverscreen in decades.  Director Shusuke Kaneko, infamous for his work on the Gamera films (Guardian of the Universe, Advent of Legion, and Revenge of Iris) collectively known as the Heisei Gamera Trilogy (1995-1999), envisioned a film that starred a Godzilla returning from the grave imbued with the supernatural powers of the countless souls lost in the Asia-Pacific region during WWII.  As such the monster’s look would be decidedly “evil”, almost demonic looking with prominent white eyes and pupils.  Instead of doing battle with Mothra and King Ghidorah, the film was originally planned to have Godzilla face-off against monster adversaries Anguirus, Varan, and Baragon.  Toho Studios believed that these monsters wouldn’t sell as well with audiences as they were all quadruped reptiles that looked rather uninspiring.  The studio reasoned as well that aside from Anguirus very little of the film-going public would recognize Varan and Baragon.  A compromise was eventually made and King Ghidorah and Mothra, both extremely popular monsters, would replace Varan and Anguirus.  Of the original 3 adversarial monsters only Baragon would remain.  

At the time, Bandai was busy prepping for the obligatory release of new Godzilla figures to tie in with the new film.  For years Bandai had produced vinyl figures in the 6 inch scale.  6 long years had passed since Bandai had last released 8 inch scale standard figures.  As a result, collectors were very surprised to see the release of new GMK Bandai Standard 8 inch figures a few weeks before the theatrical release of GMK.  Bandai’s 8 inch scale GMK figures were a spectacular return to form as the brand new sculpts perfectly replicated the monster suits and stage props used in the film.  This article is a retrospective review looking back at the GMK 8 inch scale vinyl figures that saw release by Bandai in late 2001.  

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Ultra-Act Gomora Review

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Ultraman is undeniably the king of all Japanese heroes when it comes to Japanese Tokusatsu entertainment.  In Japan, Ultraman and all his various forms and his monstrous foes the Ultra Monsters are more widely recognized than Gamera or even Godzilla.  Making its television debut in 1966, Ultraman was created by Eiji Tsuburaya and his own special effects company Tsuburaya Productions.  This review will cover probably Ultraman’s most widely recognized arch nemesis and Ultra Monster known to fans as Gomora.  Ultra Monster Gomora made its debut appearance in the Ultraman tv series (1966-1967) in the episodes entitled “The Monster Prince: Part 1” and “The Monster Prince: Part 2”.  Scientists in the show along with the Science Patrol find a revived dinosaur on a remote island and successfully tranquilize it.  An airlift operation is concocted to bring the giant monster back to Osaka, Japan for a World Expo event.  The plan of course fails and the monster awakes prematurely and escapes.  Gomora eventually faces off against the military and Ultraman.  One of Ultraman’s strongest foes, Gomora actually wins the first time the two giants do battle.  Only with the cooperation of the military and science patrol does Ultraman ultimately prevail in a rematch.  Gomora has since made countless appearances in subsequent Ultraman tv series and movies, making him a very popular and recognizable Ultra Monster.  Ultra-Act Gomora can be considered Bandai/Tamashi Nations’s first attempt at making a highly articulated tokusatsu monster with extreme sculpt detail and articulation facilitated by ball joints.  Designed and manufactured by Bandai/Tamashi Nations, the Ultra-Act toyline can be considered the forefather of the SH MonsterArts toyline, pioneering much of the same figure design advancements and features seen in later Godzilla figures.  Is this figure worth your attention, time, and money?  You know the cue!  Hit the jump for more!

 

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Ultra-Act Ultraman "New Edition" Review

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From the land of light, for our sakes he has come, our Ultraman!  I’m sure everyone can guess where this is headed....  While not directly related to Godzilla, Ultraman is undeniably the king of all Japanese heroes when it comes to Japanese Tokusatsu entertainment.  In Japan, Ultraman and all his various forms and his Ultra Monsters co-stars are more widely recognized than Gamera or even Godzilla.  The Ultraman character and franchise’s origins can be traced back to Eiji Tsuburaya, the man largely responsible for revolutionizing Japanese special effects in the 1950s and 1960s.  Since Ultraman’s first appearance in 1966, countless television shows and movies have seen release in Japan, making the Ultraman character and his various incarnations insanely popular.  To put it simply Ultraman has always had one huge advantage over Godzilla and his other monstrous co-stars.  Television broadcasting.  Television is a much cheaper alternative for children, families and fans to become exposed to Tokusatsu monsters and heroes. 

As a result of its significant impact on Tokusatsu popculture in Japan, this will be but the start of many figure reviews that will see a gradual shift in attention from Godzilla to other Tokusatsu heroes.  The first will be Ultraman.  Designed and manufactured by Bandai/Tamashi Nations, the Ultra-Act toyline can be considered the forefather of the SH MonsterArts toyline, pioneering much of the same figure design advancements and features seen in later Godzilla figures.  Beginning in 2010, the Ultra-Act toyline is devoted to releasing Ultraman in its various incarnations and monsters that have appeared in the franchise.  Today I bring you a review covering Ultra-Act Ultraman “New Edition”.  This figure represents Ultraman’s first appearance in the original 1966 tv show “Ultraman”.  Ultra-Act Ultraman “New Edition” is actually a re-designed and improved version of the original Ultra-Act Ultraman figure released in 2010.  “New Edition” has been advertised as having an overhauled sculpt and newly designed joints and articulated body.  As my first Ultraman figure I won’t be holding back any punches.  Is this figure worth your attention, time, and money?  You know the cue!  Hit the jump for more!

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