REVIEW: Bandai SDCC 2012 Exclusive S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla (Comic-Con Explosion)
Radioactive "Big G" Crushes the Competition...
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Bandai has been putting out awesome Godzilla toys for a very long time, most notably the ultra-popular vinyl figure line capturing the greatest kaiju from the entire film catalogue. Last year, though, the Japanese toy giant unleashed what’s probably the coolest development in Godzilla in recent memory: S.H. MonsterArts. This line brings Godzilla and the other kaiju in 6 inch scale figures with unprecedented articulation and sculpted detail. Thus far there have been four releases (Godzilla, Space Godzilla, Moguera, and Mechagodzilla) with several more announced and on the way. At San Diego Comic-Con this year the Bluefin booth (Bandai’s American distributor) offered a unique exclusive that really “blew up” the place: Godzilla (Comic-Con Explosion)!
While to the untrained eye he may appear never to have changed, there have actually been a lot of different versions of Godzilla throughout his 58 year career. The standard S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla is based on the “MogeGoji” special effects suit as it appeared in several films, notably 1994’s Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla. The Comic-Con Explosion figure is an orange-hued version of the standard Big G figure with a fantastic use of translucent materials and paint effects, plus a very cool box.
All of the MonsterArts figures come in cool window boxes, and this Godzilla is no different. To celebrate its primary color and exclusive status, the box is dominated by orange/red graphics on a dark background. The front panel features an enormous Godzilla head next to the window through which you can see the figure. Below the window is the figure’s name, and in the bottom-right corner are the requisite company logos and the Comic-Con “eye.” Godzilla peeks through one side panel while on the other the front image wraps around. The top of the box has another window, this one “breaking through” the packaging background image and repeating the figure’s name, twice.
The back of the box has a striking image of Godzilla attacking Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center complete with a crowd of innocent bystanders fleeing the carnage. On the back are also bios for the illustrator/character designer Yasushi Torisawa and sculptor Yuji Sakai.
If you decide to open up your Comic-Con Explosion Godzilla, and you really should, you’ll find the figure held snugly in a plastic tray. Godzilla reuses the sculpt of the original figure, but is comprised of primarily translucent orange materials. At just over 6 inches tall, the kaiju fits in well with most of the medium-sized vinyl figures, and of course the other MonsterArts members. With ABS, PVC, and POM materials, Godzilla is sturdy with a nice heft.
Sculpted by the great Yuji Sakai, Godzilla is incredibly detailed and accurate to the MogeGoji suit. The entire body is covered in a complex, reptilian texture that trends to ridges and spines at the monster’s extremities. The great body has the familiar bottom-heavy shape with skin folds at the hips and legs, and wicked claws tip fingers and toes. Massive bony plates line Godzilla’s back, fading to spines at the head and tail. That appendage features a long series of segments for articulation purposes, but it ends up looking really cool anyway. Godzilla’s face has a very expressive sculpt with wide open eyes and a slight snarl that looks great with the fearsome jaws open or closed.
While most Godzillas are generally black, gray, or green hues, this one is obviously unique with its bright orange. As you look closer you’ll see a range of colors with a deeper orange at the body core and a lighter one at the extremities. Godzilla’s claws and back spines are bright yellow while his eyes are a vivid orange. The darkest color on the figure is the red of his tongue, visible when the mouth is open to the greatest degree. The subtle variations and range of colors beyond a basic orange really make the figure look great (especially in person), and not like a solid color block of plastic. If you’re a Godzilla fan and haven’t seen one of these up close you should really find one.
Other than their amazing sculpts, the other major innovation in the S.H. MonsterArts line are the figures’ incredible articulation. Historically most Godzilla figures have had very little to no articulation, but not so here. With an advertised 29 points of articulation this kaiju is highly poseable, within the limits of the shape of its body, of course. Godzilla has joints at the jaw, two in the neck, three in each arm, three per leg, waist, and a full panoply at the segments within the tail. The most effective joints are those in the neck, arms, and tail. He’s easily posed as menacing, calm, furious, screaming, biting, swatting, dancing, or even swimming! The legs are poseable as well, but again because of their thickness and shape (and the figure’s weight) there’s a limit to what they can do.
As with many of the items offered at this year’s Comic-Con, the “Explosion” Godzilla made for an ideal exclusive - it’s very cool and something for the hardcore fans, not everyone. Godzilla and kaiju lovers are going to need this guy for their collections, especially those with previously released S.H. MonsterArts. The figure sold for $55 at the convention, though it will be higher priced on the secondary market. There is some indication that this Godzilla will be available on Amazon (while a toy seller has a couple in stock there’s a preorder from Amazon directly for $75). Good luck getting yours and complete your Godzilla collection!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Bluefin