"Super Deformed Series" Vinyl Figures (West Kenji, Japan, 2003) - PART ONE

Recently, an amazing unprecedented online auction was held, entitled VINYL CONFLICT, where in two days, almost 900 lots of Godzilla collectibles were sold.  They were all from the collection of the late Mark Livolsi, and not only was I fortunate enough to participate in this event, I also was fortunate enough to win four lots of items, many of which I will be sharing here in the coming days.  

Before we continue, if you have the chance, pick up the large, full-color, hardcover book that was published as a catalog for this event.  It serves as an invaluable guide to Godzilla collectibles on its own! You won't regret it.

Part of lot #678 was a series of four boxed vinyl figures from the "Super Deformed Series" made by West Kenji.  I had never heard of these, but I am extremely impressed by them.  They are around 5 inches tall, and come in ridiculously huge boxes.  Today, we will look at the first two:


Baragon is a favorite of my entire family, so I was pretty delighted to add another likeness of him to my collection.  Each box has a character silhouette in front of a fiery background, reminiscent of the opening of a vintage Ultraman series.

As I said, the boxes are enormous, but they do allow for maximum protection for the figure inside.

Figures also include a pedestal for them to stand upon.

They definitely spared no detail! Look at that!
This is easily my favorite of the bunch, but there are more great likenesses coming up!

Godzilla and Minilla 1969

These West Kenji folks did two things very right here.  Firstly, they spared us the hideous 1967 SON OF GODZILLA suit.  Secondly, they made Minya cute.  That's impossible, you say, Minya can't be cute! He will always look like Gary Coleman to us.  Behold:

Oh my! I just met you, West Kenji, and I already love you.

Next time, we will look at my other two figures from this series!


Gamera VHS Dealer Flyer with Ads (Celebrity Entertainment, 1987)

"Turtle Power is Coming!"
Let's turn our attention to Gamera for a moment! Here is a really cool 4-page flyer that would have been sent to retailers in 1987.  It was made by Celebrity Entertainment to promote two of their newest Gamera releases, GAMERA vs. GAOS and GAMERA vs. ZIGRA.  I like how the front looks like a boxing promotion, showing rounds "3 and 4" (nevermind that they are out of order, as they never released all 7 vintage Gamera movies anyhow).

Page 2 is a full-page look at GAOS, with such interesting hyperbolic text as "kamikaze charm" (ouch), "whose laser mouth is bat breath gone high-tech," and "the high-camp terror of GAMERA vs. GAOS." 

The films featured in this flyer would have been the "Sandy Frank" dubs, which collectors like me are used to calling the "Just For Kids" series (also distributed by Celebrity), although that logo appears nowhere in this artwork.  From my Ebay searching and Googling, I can only find GAMERA vs. BARUGON as coming out with both versions of the VHS box:  one that includes the "Just For Kids" logo, and one that does not.  Perhaps by the time GAOS and ZIGRA made it to market, all of Celebrity's Gamera movies were under the "Just For Kids" banner. I will have to keep watch in case any turn up.

Another oddity:  I have in my notes that what we know as the "Sandy Frank" dub of GAOS is, in reality, the 1960's Hong Kong dub.  I'd like to tell you which scholarly book or website gave me that factoid, but I have no citation, unfortunately.

"...from the land of the rising turtle." Say what?

Page 3 spotlights GAMERA vs. ZIGRA, and all I can think about is the small urchin in the film saying "I want a Coke!" It's clear that Celebrity is having fun with Gamera in these ads: "A talking shark from outer space sends Superturtle into orbit."

This would be an actual Sandy Frank dub, and a pretty bad one at that*.  Used in a quite famous MST3K, but then again all 5 of Celebrity's tapes were.

The back page repeats some of the text from the flyer, and gives the dealer a few reproducible ad slicks that they can use in their own ads or catalogs...or newsletters. You remember mail about VHS, don't you?
*I don't care; Sandy Frank brought BATTLE OF THE PLANETS to America, so he's tops in my book.


Godzilla Graduation Card (Contemporary Cards/Hallmark, 1987)

Here is one more cool vintage Godzilla card, this time a graduation card.  Once again using GODZILLA 1985 artwork (and why not? It was the latest film at the time). 

Inside, "Hope you left the school all in one piece!"...again, this is a card I wish I would have received, even though I graduated several years later.

On the back, another Toho copyright, saying 1987 this time.  

Are there more vintage Godzilla greeting cards out there to be found? I imagine so, and I am always on the hunt, so if any turn up, they will be featured here. Next time, a couple of not-so-vintage cards from the early 2000's.


Godzilla Greeting (Congratulations) Card (Ambassador, 1987)

The term "greeting card" is sort of a cliche, as in this case, the item in question is specifically a "Congratulations Card."  The design is very "1987," and features a photo of Godzilla attacking New York City from DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.

Inside (I had to add a black border, because the white card's edges were suddenly invisible on the screen), an off-centered message of "The whole town's talking about you!"....wait, is this a sarcastic card? I guess it could be.

Like the previous cards we have looked at, this one is official, and credits Toho. (Otherwise, as protective as Toho is, we would be sending Ambassador a card much like this one: "the whole town is talking about you.")


Godzilla Birthday Card (Hallmark, 1986)

Here is another great Godzilla-themed card, this time a birthday card.  I wish I had gotten this card back in the day! It is die-cut, and features a cool image from GODZILLA 1985, which makes sense, because the card came out in 1986.  What's more, it's not one of the overused, "cliche" images, like we saw in the last greeting card.

Inside is a birthday message, with the biggest word "SMASH!" done in a "samurai" font, because Japan, and, because it was 1986.

Here is the back. I have a couple more vintage cards to come! As always, see the Vintage American Godzilla Collectibles list on the left of the page to see them all.


PETSTER GODZILLA: The Owner's Manual and Training Guide (Axlon, 1987)

I am very happy to present the "Owner's Manual and Training Guide" for the Godzilla Petster! Available nowhere online, I was able to obtain a physical copy of my own, and I've scanned it for this blog! Enjoy!  To see the Godzilla Petster, see this post!


Bubble Blowing Godzilla (Imperial Toys, 1985)

Here is a vintage item that's been on my list for a while now, and finally one in a good box, with insert, came along.  This is the famous (and sometimes infamous) Bubble [hyphen needed] Blowing Godzilla, by the masters of the quick and cheap, Imperial Toys.  
It makes you wonder why the "Godzilla Saxophone" wasn't considered!
Basically, it's as simple as, you pour Godzilla's mouth full of bubbles, and go to town. He has a gauge on one side of his neck (seen in the first photo), so you know when to stop.

One thing I had no idea about:  Godzilla has googly eyes.  GOOGLY EYES!!!
Godzilla is somewhat posable.  The legs, arms, and even the tail move around (which is surprising because you would think the tail joint would be an opportunity for a big ol' leak).  The plastic is less than sturdy, however, and I was lucky to get a completely unused example.  I don't think he would hold up to city-stomping play.

Step 1: pour soap.  Step 2: blow lovely hand-drawn, airbrushed bubbles.
Imperial was nice enough to include a supply of bubbles (they made those too, of course, along with every Parachuting Army Man that you have ever seen), "Fun Size Miracle Bubbles" to be exact.  The seller had sealed them up, so I left them that way to avoid leaking soap.

And everything fits back into the box (except for Godzilla's dignity, since he is packed upside-down).  There is even a little shelf on the box insert where the bubbles sit.

Another vintage want crossed off my list!



Here's a super-cool item: crew patches that were specially made for the folks who worked on GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS! I bought these from a group that buys film props and production items in Hollywood.  Unfortunately, it appears that, as somebody was cutting off my second patch, they got a little carried away, and cut off the year!

I went through the MAKING OF hardcover book, looking for a photo of a crewperson wearing one of these, but couldn't find one.  Here is a photo from Pinterest:

Now I have to find a cool way to display my intact patch! And wallspace....it's at a premium these days.


Godzilla Monster Fun Straw (Trendmasters, 1994)

Here is an item that I didn't even know about back in the day (the Trendmasters day).  My suspicion is because it wasn't kept in the toy aisle, but in some sort of "housewares" or kitchen aisle.

It's the sort of fun collectible you might expect to see in Japan, rather than the US.  The card says "Help Godzilla Fend Off the Attacking Jet Fighter!" which encourages you to spin him around (and the jet too!) while you use the straw, which is nothing short of adorable.  I should point out that the sculpt of Godzilla used here is very dynamic, and was used nowhere else, to my knowledge.

The back of the card shows the beginning line-up of Godzilla toys that Trendmasters produced in 1994. 

Another part of a Godzilla toy made by Trendmasters was the included trading card.  The company was diligent to include one with nearly every single product, even if it wasn't an action figure and didn't quite match the item, as shown above.  These cards are prized by collectors, and rarely come up for sale.

A few of their non-action-figure products were known to include different possible trading cards from the series; in other words, you could collect a variant of the straw above, with a "Godzilla vs. Rodan" trading card (which does exist), and probably others too!

One thing that continues to amaze me about the Trendmasters line (and it's been just about long enough for the 90's to become desirable and nostalgic) was how large it was.  Like me, you probably remember a modest amount of figures, but then it dawns on you how many sizes they were available in, not to mention the variety of other products they produced...and occasionally, if you research the subject, you might discover one that you never knew about!



Here is the remainder of my KING OF THE MONSTERS items that have come in lately! As I mentioned in the last post, the commemorative IMAX Regal Theaters ticket had a code on the back, which allowed you to send off for a mail-away promotional 13 x 19" IMAX poster (by just paying shipping, which I think was 8 bucks).  I am happy to say the poster that arrived in a week not only came in a sturdy tube, but is also completely unique!
Next, here is most of an 8-page theatrical booklet that was available in Japanese theaters!
Here is the chirashi flyer for the film, also from Japanese theaters!
And finally, here are better photos of the Japanese flyer from last time, that showcases all of the monster portraits! Good stuff!