12/6/19

Godzilla Against Mothra (Action Figure, NECA, 2019)

Is it possible that NECA has gotten even better? I'm no NECA shill, and I'm not one of those sites that gets free figures to review, either. When something's crappy, I am pretty forthcoming about it.  But the newest Godzilla figure from NECA has again beaten its more expensive Bandai counterpart.

And we just got the KK vs. GODZILLA suit this year! Can we just keep going, chronologically?
Not long ago, NECA abandoned their "blister pack" packaging for their Godzilla line, in favor of boxes. The genius of it is, not only is the original Japanese movie poster art is on the front, but you can re-pack the figure when you are done with it! The old packaging was a little unwieldy, and of course required that you completely destroy it.  Going forward, reissues will all be in this format--which is both good and bad, because the most eager of us scarfed these up in the old packages....also, in some cases, they are including the "Atomic Breath Effect" piece, where it originally wasn't included, like the 1954 Godzilla, for example.

Just LOOK at the backdrop that's included! Oh--as the kids say--"the FEELS!"
So yes, the box is amazing, but how is the figure itself? Well, it's astounding, and here goes:


The likeness is fantastic. The articulation matches previous figures, as does the tail, but--and I think I said this last time--they have done a glorious job making the tip of the tail more blunt, as is accurate. The figures now come with a small instruction sheet recommending that you now use hot water to assemble the tail! (I think I first saw this with the KK vs. G figure as well.)



Now, the eyes are obviously more yellow than Bandai's, and it's a matter or personal preference, but I don't think they look bad. In the film they come off as pale yellow, maybe...again, it's an eye of the beholder thing (ouch, I didn't even mean to do that).

I always like to compare these figures to other figures or vinyls, and unfortunately, my SH Monsterarts 1964 Godzilla is at the front of a glass case that loads from the back, and I just can't get my hands on him for this review...but here is Bandai's "glamour shot":


As you can see, a lovely figure, tons of detail too...but quite a bit more than 20 bucks!  One of the biggest drawbacks is, it's basically a 5" scale figure.  I am pretty sure this was done because all the other figures they had done by the time of its release were all more modern Godzilla suits, which were representations of Godzilla that were supposed to be much taller.  Not so with the NECA 1964 though, he is fully as tall as the other Godzillas in the line.

With what's been announced, we are up to 20 action figures in this line now, so I think it's time I start a checklist page, which you'll be able to access from the left-hand menu once it's done!


10/19/19

Meanwhile, on the Death Star...





10/4/19

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

Here are the rest of the very interesting vinyl figures that I recently added to my collection, continuing from where we left off last time!

Godzilla 1962

This figure should have been a home run.  This Godzilla is a favorite design for many people, but it's probably my least favorite of the group! Let's take a look.

This figure was obviously bought at one of those "big box" stores...
The KING KONG vs GODZILLA suit is one of the most unique Godzilla suits.  Bulky and frog-like, he is much beloved.  However, something doesn't gel for me here in this representation.  

I've always said that the style of "Super Deformed" involves simplifying the design of the character, yet utilizing the exact, correct amount of detail:  neither more nor less than is required to get the idea across.  Japan is overflowing with folks who are masters at this, and I think that's what bothers me here:  maybe too much was crammed into this figure, and it doesn't work!
Compare him to the "1969" Godzilla we saw last time, to illustrate my point about the definition of "Super Deformed."

Gigan

Gigan is one of those kaiju designs that has endeared itself to me more and more with each passing year.  He's a good example of a 70's monster done right.  

And, unlike our previous candidate, he translates well to this style, and is posed in an action stance.

This figure is a huge winner.  Someone you'd want to hug....if you wouldn't get bisected vertically while doing so.

I researched these vinyls after I received them, and read that they were pretty valuable...but I can't part with them, and I hope these two posts have shown you why!

9/19/19

"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

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!

9/12/19

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).

"CAN A VAMPIRE SUPERBAT PUT THE BITE ON SUPERTURTLE?" Why are you shouting?
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.

9/6/19

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.

9/3/19

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.")

8/29/19

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.




8/22/19

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!