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.