Review > Gamera, Guardian of the Universe (Revoltech, Kaiyodo)

While I grew up on WLVI-56’s Creature Double Feature, I don’t remember seeing any Gamera films until I saw this VHS tape at the local video store (remember video stores? that’s where you saw awesome-but-misleading covers like this). Though my heart would always belong to Godzilla, I enjoyed checking out the Gamera films and all his bizarro opponents. The weirdest by far was Gurion, the giant knife-headed lizard-dog, but the flatiron-pated bird Gyaos was cool too.

Gamera is really neat!

From his creation in the mid-1960s until the 1990s, Gamera was mostly known to Western fans as a hokey rip-off of Godzilla, and was famously the subject of five episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The Gamera films starred children  (whom Gamera usually befriended) but oddly enough they were also filled with spurting blood. Bodily dismemberment was a frequent occurrence, especially in Gamera vs. Guiron, and Gyaos ate a number of people in his various appearances.

Gamera was resurrected by Japanese director Shusuke Kaneko in 1995’s Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. It’s an incredibly entertaining film that blew away almost everything Toho had been doing in the “Heisei era” of Godzilla films. The effects were great, but more importantly, the film had engaging characters, decent performances, and an intriguing story that added some much-needed mythos to the Gamera world. Kaneko followed it up with two more Gamera films, Gamera: Attack of the Legion and Gamera: Revenge of Iris, and each was better than the last. (Kaneko also directed Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, arguably the best of the Millennium-era Godzilla films.)

He is filled with turtle meat!

Gamera had a few Japanese Bandai vinyl figures in the 1990s (based on both his Showa and Heisei appearances) and Trendmasters made a line of Gamera toys in 1995. It’s only recently that Japanese toy company Kaiyodo got into the act with their super-articulated Revoltech line. In addition to this figure, which is based on his Guardian of the Universe appearance, Kaiyodo has also made a Heisei Gyaos, Showa Gamera and Gyaos, and Gamera and Legion from Attack of Legion. (On a side note, you can read reviews of all these figures over at Infinite Hollywood).

Gamera’s appearance changed in each of the three Heisei films. As the series progressed, he looked less and less like his Showa incarnation and much more spiky and badass. This figure is of Gamera as he appeared in the first film, Guardian of the Universe.

Since this is a Japanese toy, the packaging is extremely collector-friendly. It features a cover that opens to reveal the figure and all its parts. It’s easy to remove the figure and return it to the packaging. There’s a ton of text that means nothing to me because I can’t read Japanese, but I suppose if I did it would be awesome.

The sculpting is top-notch, especially for the size. That’s no surprise when it comes to Japanese products, but it’s worth mentioning. I have no complaints in the sculpt department. The paints are very well-applied too, especially for this scale.

We are eating Gam-er-a!

One thing to be aware of is this figure is small. Very small. As you can see from the scale pic, it’s even shorter than a 3 3/4″ figure. A lot of people find that disturbing small for what is supposed to be a giant kaiju, and as someone who grew up on the 8″ Bandai Godzilla vinyls, I get where you’re coming from. This guy is going to run you at least $40, and that’s a lot for a figure this small.

So, what do you get for your money?

Ready for a night on the town. Literally "on" the town.

  • Four interchangeable hands (open and fists)
  • Jet exhausts
  • An interchangeable pelvis to fit the rocket exhaust
  • A fire blast
  • A nametag (in Japanese)
  • A weird orange box and an orange coin, their usefulness obscure. I guess you can put the hands in the orange box if you wanted to.
Once I got over the size and started messing around with him, he really started to grow on me. For those unfamiliar with Revoltech, they’re somewhat like Stikfas or Glyos in that they have a universal joint system; almost all the points of articulation consist of a special ratcheted ball joint that plugs in to the sculpted body part. This definitely breaks up the sculpt of the figure a bit, but it also means he’s heavily articulated.
He basically has ball joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and three in his tail. His jaw actually has a Revoltech joint as well, though it really only needs to open and close. He’s also got one inside his torso attached to his pelvis, but its range is obviously pretty limited due to the inner shell. Each hand has a swivel at the wrist and a hinge (non-Revoltech joints).
Since all Revoltech joints are ratcheted, they hold their positions very tightly.

You will believe a giant turtle can fly

The accessories are a lot of fun. You can swap his legs to put him into a blast-off mode, or stick the fire-blast in his mouth so he can toast Gyaos or U.S. Agent or whomever.  The fire-blast is translucent, which it gives it a nice touch. The jets have a kind of matte spray to them that is very effective. My only wish is that the set had come with some in-flight jets as well for flying poses.

The small size and the high price point keeps it from a five-star rating–even for an import, this is an expensive gewgaw. But overall, I really like this figure–enough that I went ahead and bought a Gyaos for him to fight. And I want even more. I’ve decided to skip the Legion Gamera (and Legion) and wait for the fully-badass Iris Gamera (assuming Kaiyodo makes it), but I suspect I’ll cave on at least a few of the Showa Godzilla Revoltechs that have been made.

11110

Where to Buy:

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
15 Comments »

Comments now closed (15)

  • Cool figure Poe!

    (I knew what video cover would be in the link before I even clicked it.)

    Very nice figure and I love the wealth of accessories. I only have one Revoltech (don't even remember the name of the figure- it was a bargain buy at BBTS or something) but it had very fragile joints. Any problems with this guy in that repect?

    Also, are you able to remove his head and limbs so you can have him all tucked up in his shell?

    I'm not a huge giant monsters fan and the size of the figure is definitely a little underwhelming to me, but this guy would be a blast with some micro machines. I like the fire/ jet attachments and wish more toys incorporated them.

    • I haven't tried it, but yes, you can pop off every limb to make it look like he's tucked into his shell. Without the "spinning flame" accessories though, it's not really that exciting. The 1967 version comes with the spinning flames.

      As for fragile joints, I've heard that's a problem with Revoltech, but Gamera seems really solid. I'm sure Newton Gimmick will chime in with more once he reads this.

    • I've never really had any Revoltech joints seem overly fragile to me, but I have had my fair share of issues with the Revoltech joints before. Either being difficult to work with or just plain poorly functional. However, I haven't had that issue with this figure or any of the Gamera Revoltechs. They seem to work really quite well. Because they don't get stuck or anything like I've had other Revoltechs do, you don't have to worry about breaking them.

      Also his hands aren't on Revoltech joints, which is great if you've ever had one of those figures where it's nearly impossible to change the hands because they're on Revoltech's revolver joint.

  • The orange box is a standard Revoltech thing; it's for storing small accessories. Sadly, the figures I've got tend to have mostly accessories that don't fit in the box. It's good for hands and usually faceplates, though.

    The coin is a Japan-only redemption thing; you can save up coins and mail them in to Kaiyodo for other Revoltech figures and/or stuff like a pair of pliers designed to make taking the joints out easier (for part swapping).

  • Anyone else find it kind of funny that a figure of a giant city-stomping turtle monster is only capable of being in-scale with the smallest popular scale and that is only if if you take him as being the same size as a Teenage Ninja Turtle in comparison to 1:18 adult humans?

    • Yeah. But I shudder to think how much he'd cost at 8", much less 12" or 18".

      There are plenty of bigger vinyls, though, if size is what matters to you.

      • I imagine anything bigger than it is now and they just send Anthony Head straight to you and have him take some organs.

        I just thought it was rather a funny coincidence from your comparison picture, being that they're both mutant turtles of a sort.

        Great review, by the way.

  • Yay! Poe got a Revoltech! Glad you enjoyed him, but even I have to admit I was surprised how small he was!

  • Is it safe to say that Poe has moved on from the MOTUC to Godzilla?

    Hate this transitional period where whatever toy line you are in to, your reviews go up a notch and makes me want to obtain the figures, that I soon end up regretting, like when I bought He-man and his gang and Skeletor and his minions and well now there are just rotting away in a box.

    I guess thats what happens when you read this site daily and become part of the POEple.

    • Well, you don't have to follow my own fads…just because I don't like He-Man doesn't mean you don't have to anymore 🙂

      What do you like? Maybe I should try it the other way around for once…

      • Please believe I'm a tool and do whatever you tell me to do Lord Vader.

        j/k but in all seriousness I like when you get excited about a new toy-line because although there are multiple blog review sites, nothing compares to an excited High Raven Review by you. I really don't mind it either because it opens up my eyes to other wise line I wouldn't even give a second look at i.e. those OMFG. My close-mindedness is opened up wide from your fads and I accept that.

  • I love that you mention wlvi and the creature double feature, we used to get wlvi here in portland until we got our own cable channels. The creature double feature brings me back.

  • Is Revoltech shrinking? All of mine are 6" on the dot (they look small for 6" because most 6" toys add a half an inch).

    • Nope. The Revoltech Gamera line skews smaller for some reason. Possibly because the bigger characters like Legion are so massive that if they were sclaed to 6 inches, they'd be too big to produce… But that's just speculation on my part.

  • As a kid I would glue myself to the tv on Saturdays for the Creature Double-Feature On WLVI 56. I grew up out on Cape Cod and these were some of the best worst movies ever. Thanks for the childhood flashback Poe!!! Oh..and the figure looks awesome to 😉