Bandai America was present at Toy Fair 2013, so I’ve been keeping my eyes open for new figures that might be relevant to this weblog’s subject matter: namely, Godzilla and Power Rangers (and I guess Ben 10, though that franchise is unfortunately outside of my personal area of expertise). Despite a massive hullabaloo about the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers, the merchandise that’s been displayed so far for Power Rangers Megaforce is by and large disposable, ugly, and worst of all, based on Goseiger (the highlight was a couple of Zyuranger Figuarts that we’d already seen elsewhere). That leaves the Godzilla lines, which is normally not a huge area of excitement for me.
You see, Bandai Creation has a line of 6.5-7″ Godzilla toys that are roughly analogous to the Japanese Bandai’s Godzilla Island/Movie Monster series, only sort of worse. I do like a few of the American figures (their Rainbow Mothra rivals the Japanese version of the figure, their Mechagodzilla is wonky in a way that makes it look dynamic, and I like their Hedorah figure because it looks more like a big amorphous blob), but for the most part the Japanese toys make these lines redundant. They also have a tendency to reissue the same sculpts over and over with different paint and/or transparent plastic or glitter (granted, Bandai of Japan pulls that nonsense for its exclusive releases), making it thoroughly uninteresting. But not this year.
Two figures that they’ve unveiled have proven interesting, since they’re not exactly fan favorites, but that’s just what catches my attention about them. First, King Caesar:
This looks really nice, much more so than the clumsy Godzilla Island release; I dare say it may be the most intriguing depiction of the character ever to grace this scale or pricepoint. Next up is Little Godzilla:
Little Godzilla has NEVER been done in this scale before; the closest was one for the 8″ scale when he first appeared in a movie, and this looks a lot better than that one. The reason is obvious: For the most part, people hate Little Godzilla, and point to him as the one of the big drawbacks in the already deeply flawed Godzilla vs Space Godzilla. The MonsterArts toy of the character was a webshop exclusive in Japan, indicating that he’s still not much of a seller over there, and there’s no nostalgia for the character in the west, since the movie he was in never played in cinemas here and missed the Saturday TV matinee boom. So the decision for Bandai America to flood Wal-Mart shelves with Little Godzillas is sort of crazy-pants, but I absolutely applaud them for taking a risk on something different, and intend to snatch one of them up at earliest opportunity.
Speaking of something different, how about those Tokyo Vinyls?
The Godzilla and Mechagodzilla are already available, but the Ghidorah for this ultra-stylized line of squat-but-not-quite-SD caricatures is new hotness. The Minilla figure, on the other hand… I just have to do my best Plinkett “What’s wrong with your faaaaaaaaace?!” These both are $11 a pop, which seems funny since Ghidorah is so much bigger than Minilla.
There are a few actual SDs, too. The Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Gigan look quite standard, but I’m digging the designs for the monsters that haven’t quite standardized the chibi-fying process:
That Destroyer is adorable, and the I love the curled up pose for Mothra, since Japanese toys universally have her laying flat on her stomach. Looks like the pack of six 2″ figures is $20, $7 for a two-pack, or $4 each. Of course, what kind of collector wouldn’t just get ’em all?