GMK 2001 Bandai Standard Retrospective Review


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.  

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Ultra-Act Gomora Review

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Ultraman is undeniably the king of all Japanese heroes when it comes to Japanese Tokusatsu entertainment.  In Japan, Ultraman and all his various forms and his monstrous foes the Ultra Monsters are more widely recognized than Gamera or even Godzilla.  Making its television debut in 1966, Ultraman was created by Eiji Tsuburaya and his own special effects company Tsuburaya Productions.  This review will cover probably Ultraman’s most widely recognized arch nemesis and Ultra Monster known to fans as Gomora.  Ultra Monster Gomora made its debut appearance in the Ultraman tv series (1966-1967) in the episodes entitled “The Monster Prince: Part 1” and “The Monster Prince: Part 2”.  Scientists in the show along with the Science Patrol find a revived dinosaur on a remote island and successfully tranquilize it.  An airlift operation is concocted to bring the giant monster back to Osaka, Japan for a World Expo event.  The plan of course fails and the monster awakes prematurely and escapes.  Gomora eventually faces off against the military and Ultraman.  One of Ultraman’s strongest foes, Gomora actually wins the first time the two giants do battle.  Only with the cooperation of the military and science patrol does Ultraman ultimately prevail in a rematch.  Gomora has since made countless appearances in subsequent Ultraman tv series and movies, making him a very popular and recognizable Ultra Monster.  Ultra-Act Gomora can be considered Bandai/Tamashi Nations’s first attempt at making a highly articulated tokusatsu monster with extreme sculpt detail and articulation facilitated by ball joints.  Designed and manufactured by Bandai/Tamashi Nations, the Ultra-Act toyline can be considered the forefather of the SH MonsterArts toyline, pioneering much of the same figure design advancements and features seen in later Godzilla figures.  Is this figure worth your attention, time, and money?  You know the cue!  Hit the jump for more!


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Ultra-Act Ultraman "New Edition" Review

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From the land of light, for our sakes he has come, our Ultraman!  I’m sure everyone can guess where this is headed....  While not directly related to Godzilla, Ultraman is undeniably the king of all Japanese heroes when it comes to Japanese Tokusatsu entertainment.  In Japan, Ultraman and all his various forms and his Ultra Monsters co-stars are more widely recognized than Gamera or even Godzilla.  The Ultraman character and franchise’s origins can be traced back to Eiji Tsuburaya, the man largely responsible for revolutionizing Japanese special effects in the 1950s and 1960s.  Since Ultraman’s first appearance in 1966, countless television shows and movies have seen release in Japan, making the Ultraman character and his various incarnations insanely popular.  To put it simply Ultraman has always had one huge advantage over Godzilla and his other monstrous co-stars.  Television broadcasting.  Television is a much cheaper alternative for children, families and fans to become exposed to Tokusatsu monsters and heroes. 

As a result of its significant impact on Tokusatsu popculture in Japan, this will be but the start of many figure reviews that will see a gradual shift in attention from Godzilla to other Tokusatsu heroes.  The first will be Ultraman.  Designed and manufactured by Bandai/Tamashi Nations, the Ultra-Act toyline can be considered the forefather of the SH MonsterArts toyline, pioneering much of the same figure design advancements and features seen in later Godzilla figures.  Beginning in 2010, the Ultra-Act toyline is devoted to releasing Ultraman in its various incarnations and monsters that have appeared in the franchise.  Today I bring you a review covering Ultra-Act Ultraman “New Edition”.  This figure represents Ultraman’s first appearance in the original 1966 tv show “Ultraman”.  Ultra-Act Ultraman “New Edition” is actually a re-designed and improved version of the original Ultra-Act Ultraman figure released in 2010.  “New Edition” has been advertised as having an overhauled sculpt and newly designed joints and articulated body.  As my first Ultraman figure I won’t be holding back any punches.  Is this figure worth your attention, time, and money?  You know the cue!  Hit the jump for more!

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S.H. MonsterArts Retrospective 2011-2012


2012 was a very busy year for all of us what with work and our incessant procrastination over the coming of the Mayan Apocalypse!!! All kidding aside, this past year has been a great year for action figure collecting and in particular for fans and collectors of the SH MonsterArts toy line.  The SH MonsterArts toy line is one that prides itself in providing excellent sculpted, painted and articulated figures at a reasonable price.  Since its inception, the toy line has been fairly well received by collectors and fans.  So what happened during the last year and a half?  What made 2012 a particularly good year?  Which figures were a hit or a miss?  What can we look forward to in 2013?  Hit the jump to find out!

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S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla (1995) Review

DSC06902It’s been an incredible year for the SH MonsterArts toy line. Bandai and Tamashi Nations have truly outdone themselves with seven quality releases in 2012. Godzilla (1995) or what fans and collectors call Burning Godzilla is the last figure to be widely released in the SH MonsterArts toy line in 2012. SH MonsterArts Godzilla (1995) depicts the Heisei Godzilla in its last stage of life, making its first and only appearance in the 1995 film Godzilla vs. Destroyah. The movie features an enraged Godzilla that’s burning up from the inside out due to the creature’s over consumption of nuclear material, a result of Birth Island’s (home of Little Godzilla) radioactive composition and subsequent annihilation due to volcanic eruption. Apparently just like a nuclear reactor, if Godzilla consumes too much radioactive material/energy it causes his body to overheat and degenerate. Thus, Godzilla (1995), an immensely volatile, steaming hot, and extremely powerful monster was born. The Godzilla (1995) or Burning Godzilla design as it is known amongst fans is an amazingly popular suit design for Godzilla. Over the years, numerous figures have been released on the market to cash-in on this extremely popular Godzilla design.

With this new SH MonsterArts Godzilla (1995) figure, Bandai/Tamashi Nations is out to get your money again, releasing this monstrosity in the month of December, probably intent on capitalizing on grabbing the attention of Christmas shoppers. So is this burning version of Godzilla something that you might want to add to your collection?

Hit the jump to answer this burning question for yourself!

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S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla (Comic-Con Explosion) Review


San Diego Comic Con is known the world over as a festive celebration of everything geeky from comic books, to anime, videogames and sci-fi/fantasy movies. The event takes place every summer in San Diego, California and is the premiere event of its kind in North America, and perhaps the world. Every year the largest players in the film, videogame, and animation/comic book industry present sneak peeks of upcoming projects and products currently in development. As such, the event also plays host to the toy and collectible action figure industry as Hasbro, NECA, Sideshow Collectibles, Bandai and others usually have very elaborate displays set up on the convention floor. The summer of 2012 was a big year for Godzilla not only because of the official announcement of the new Legendary Pictures Godzilla movie, but also due to the North American release of Bandai/Tamashi Nation’s SH MonsterArts toy line. To celebrate and promote the release of the MonsterArts toy line Blue Fin USA, North American distributor of the SH MonsterArts toy line, decided to have Bandai/Tamashi Nations produce an exclusive figure for the event. Thus, the SDCC Comic Con Godzilla or officially called the SH MonsterArts Godzilla (Comic-Con Explosion) figure was born. Once sold only at this past summer’s San Diego Comic Con event, this figure is now widely available on and other US based online retailers. I got my own copy of the figure courtesy of our webmaster here at, Hesei. I’d like to thank Hesei for his gracious gesture, providing me with this figure to review and add to my collection. So is this figure worthy of being labeled as an exclusive? Is it a worthy addition to your own personal collection?

Lets find out together shall we?

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S.H. MonsterArts Little Godzilla Review


Hello everyone!  I’m back with another figure review detailing SH MonsterArts Little Godzilla.  Originally released as an web exclusive that could only be obtained by placing an order on the Bandai/Tamashi website, Little Godzilla has been made more widely available thanks to Blue Fin USA’s negotiations with Bandai to have extra figures produced and distributed in North America.  Like SH MonsterArts SpaceGodzilla I had little intention of getting Little Godzilla, as I never liked the monster design for the little tike.  In fact, I’ve held and still do hold a perception that Little Godzilla is a monster that should have never been created and used in the 1994 Heisei film Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla.  Ballooning to a monstrous 30 metres in height, Little Godzilla is the older and much cuter version of Baby Godzilla, the hatchling Godzillasaurus seen in the 1993 film Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla.  Little Godzilla’s appearance just never made sense in the Heisei era, especially when compared to the other more realistic monsters including Biollante, King Ghidorah and Destroyah.  It’s a monster that would probably feel more at home being included in a Saturday morning pre-school tv show.  Personal grudges aside, for the sake of  completing the SH MonsterArts reviews I’ve been doing for I got myself a copy of this little bugger from the website Toy  

So is Little Godzilla worth your attention, time and money?  Or is it an over expensive and underwhelming set to add to your personal collection?  Lets find out together shall we?

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S.H. MonsterArts SpaceGodzilla Review

DSC05618Hey guys!  I’m back again after a few weeks with a new review this time with SH MonsterArts Space Godzilla.  It’s odd that I never got this guy until now, considering that this figure is not a recent release at all.  In fact I believe it was released in late March of 2012.  I just never got around to adding Space Godzilla to my collection due to my lack of interest with the monster design. 

SpaceGodzilla hails from the 1994 movie Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.  As a Godzilla fan I was never too fond of the movie myself. The human characters featured in the movie were definitely among the weakest ever seen on screen in Godzilla’s then 40 year history. 

 To make matters worse, I thought the monster battles were definitely underwhelming as well due to subpar special effects.  While in theory SpaceGodzilla makes for a really cool doppelganger of an opponent for Godzilla, I just couldn’t wash away the bad memories after watching the movie.  Personal grudges aside, the SH MonsterArts SpaceGodzilla figure looks to be an amazing piece of work.  It has garnered high praise from many collectors, hailed as the best figure in the entire SH MonsterArts toyline.  So is the figure worth your money?  Is it able to convert this reviewer into a SpaceGodzilla fan? Read on to find out!


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Figma Giant Warrior Review

DSC05179Sachiel here with another comprehensive review, this time featuring the Figma Giant Warrior. I guess you must be wondering what is this ugly thing and what does it have to do with Godzilla?  Well to put it flatly it doesn’t have anything to do with Godzilla.  It does however, have a lot to do with the Japanese special effects industry, termed Tokusatsu, the same type of special effects that you see in Godzilla movies and other Japanese giant monster movies.  This figure was made to be sold at the Tokusatsu Exhibition that was held in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo this past summer and early fall.  A specially made short film dreamed up by Hideaki Anno (of Evangelion fame), entitled “Giant Warrior Descends on Tokyo” was also made to be screened at the museum exhibition.  The short film itself was actually a homage to the God Soldier monster featured in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa Valley of the Wind manga and film. 

 Figma Giant Warrior is an action figure rendition of the redesigned God Soldier depicted in the short film.  Instantly popular with exhibition attendees, the figure sold out within the first few weeks of the exhibition.  Luckily I got myself a copy through a very handy Japanese source I have.  Is this figure worthy of adding to your collection?  Hit the jump to find out!

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Kaiyodo Gashapon Giant Warrior Review

DSC04823Hi there.  Sachiel here back this time with a figure review that will cover a slightly different subject matter than the usual action figures I examine.  This time we’ll be taking a look at special mini figures that were sold at the recent Tokusatsu Exhibition in Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art.  The mini figures are sold in little Gashapon-style machines that accept loose change.  Sold for 700 yen each, these mini figures pack an incredible amount of detail.  Now I know what you might be thinking.  What the heck is a Giant Warrior?  Should I care?  Are these worth the effort to obtain?  Read on to find the answer.

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Tokusatsu Museum Exhibit Artbooks

DSC04826This review is a special one that focuses not on action figures but on books. The books in question are artbooks and also double as guidebooks to Hideaki Anno’s Special Effects Exhibition held in Tokyo this past summer. Usually sold at the event itself, I managed to obtain these books through a seller on Ebay a few weeks ago. Both books celebrate Japanese Tokusatsu special effects by showcasing the techniques and movie artifacts of the past that played such a integral role in bringing to life the Japanese monster movies of yesterday. At the helm of the short film project and museum exhibit is Hideaki Anno. Anno is by trade an animator and has worked on some of Japan’s most influential anime series, including Nadia Secret of Blue Water and the now famous Neon Genesis Evangelion tv series. At the moment he continues to work the Evangelion film series reboot, Rebuild of Evangelion, which by all accounts is actually infinitely more popular than anything Godzilla in Japan right now. Why are these books worth owning? Read on to find out!

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S.H. MonsterArts: Fire Rodan Review (Part 2)


Sachiel here with Part 2 of this highly anticipated Fire Rodan set review.  As I may have mentioned earlier Part 2 of this review will be covering the Godzilla and Mechagodzilla accessories that came with the figure.  The accessories being the extra Mechagodzilla head, Spiral heat beam and the plastic stands included in the set.  This particular review places less emphasis on talking about the accessories and more on the photos I took using the accessories that came with SH MonsterArts Fire Rodan.  I took this opportunity to take as many photos as I could and explored the possibilities available for display and play with the accessories included.  This article will also briefly touch upon a few aspects of the Fire Rodan figure that I didn’t cover before in Part 1.  So were these accessories worthy of including in the set?  Do they drastically improve the play/display value of your SH MonsterArts collection?  Read on to find out!

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