Review > Godzilla 1964 (S.H.MonsterArts, Tamashii Nations)

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As I’ve frequently mentioned on this site, I’ve behaved somewhat oddly in regard to my S.H.MonsterArts collection. I have always, always been an opener – an immediate opener (although sometimes I’ll hold off if I need to take pics for a review). But despite owning every single S.H.MonsterArts toy in existence, up to and including the subject of this review, I have only opened three (again, including this one) so far.

I’m really not sure why I waited so long to open them. Am I becoming a (horrors!) mint-on-card collector? No, I didn’t even have them on display, so that wasn’t it. Part of me wondered, am I getting tired of toys? It’s possible, but I don’t think that’s it either. I have other toys I open right away.

Part of the truth, I think, is that I just wasn’t really into the monster designs. With the exception of Godzilla 1985, I’m not really a fan of the Heisei era of Godzilla films. They were made in the 1990s and with few exceptions, they weren’t imported over here until the late 1990s when the American abomination of a film came out. By the time I watched the Heisei movies, I’d already grown nostalgic about the “Showa” era of Godzilla films (the 1950s through the 1970s). Also, I just didn’t enjoy the Heisei films – I found them rather dull affairs, with little of the fantasy and skill that went into the early Showa era.

So while I was very excited by the prospect of “super-articulated Godzilla figures,” I think I held off opening them because I was waiting for Tamashii Nations (the collector arm of Bandai that produces these figures) to get to the Showa era, at which point I would decide to either integrate my Heisei collection with the new Showa monsters, or just sell them off and focus on the Showa era.

Well, the Showa S.H.MonsterArts figure is finally here. Unfortunately, I found it very disappointing.

To say I was anticipating this figure is an understatement. I thought this figure would replace G1 Grimlock as my favorite toy of all time. That was probably always unlikely to happen – nothing can match a childhood memory of a beloved toy – but I had reason to believe it would become one of my prized possessions. Instead, it has me rethinking my interest in S.H.MonsterArts entirely.

This figure is based on Godzilla as he appeared in 1964′s Mothra vs. Godzilla. It’s known among fans as the “MosuGoji” suit (“Mosura” being the Japanese spelling of Mothra, and “Goji” being a shortened version of “Gojira,” the Japanese spelling of Godzilla). It’s my third-favorite suit after the one from King Kong vs. Godzilla and the one from Terror of Mechagodzilla.

Design & Sculpt: The problem is not the sculpting. The sculpt, by veteran monster sculptor Yuji Sakai, is nothing short of amazing. It’s highly accurate to the film. The head seemed a little small to me at first, but after looking at a bunch of photos from different angles, I think Sakai did his research. There are tiny details on this figure that surpass anything seen on the 6″ or even the 8″ Godzilla vinyls. It is, quite simply, a beautiful sculpt.

The problem is the size. Up to now, most of the S.H.MonsterArts figures have been scaled to a six-inch Godzilla. The Godzilla from the first release, “MogeGoji,” who appeared in 1994′s Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla, was supposed to represent a creature that was 100 meters tall. The Showa-era Godzilla (in the films) was supposed to be half that size. So a MosuGoji that was properly scaled to the existing MogeGoji would have been about three inches tall. That’s ridiculously small, of course, but also there was no reason to do that. Since the Heisei and Showa eras are different continuities, there is no need to scale them to one another (Bandai never did that with their vinyls, for example).

But while G’64 isn’t three inches tall, he’s still disappointingly small. With his head raised as high as it will go, he’s five and a half inches tall. That might not seem like much, but trust me when I say that when you hold MosuGoji in one hand and MogeGoji in the other, MosuGoji feels like a Marvel Universe figure while MogeGoji feels like a Marvel Legends figure.

Why did they make the toy this small? I don’t know. But it is a big disappointment to me. I should have known it was coming; plenty of comparison photos came out ahead of time, and the height was listed on all the sales pages. But I just didn’t understand how small it really was until I held it in my hand.

One last thing: I was never an Ultraman fan, but when I started collecting S.H.MonsterArts, I got excited about the prospect of putting a Showa-era Godzilla next to a Showa-era Ultraman. And so I got totally into Ultraman, watching the original show, collecting some of the Ultra-Act figures in anticipation of mixing them up with my S.H.MonsterArts.

Well, as you can see from the photo below, Ultraman, who’s supposed to be 40 meters tall, absolutely towers over the supposedly 50-meter Godzilla.

This picture is both hilarious and makes me sad.

This picture is both hilarious and makes me sad.

Fortunately, I also hadn’t opened many of my Ultra-Acts either, and many of them have increased in value enough that I should be able to make my money back at least.

Plastic & Paint: The figure is molded in a flat charcoal black paint, and it both looks great and has a fantastic, rough texture to the touch. The paint work is excellent – subtle and well-applied, with all the right color choices (to my eye, anyway).

On a side note, the eyes are interesting. They actually have a translucent covering. I’m not sure why this was done, but it’s neat.

Articulation: Like all S.H.MonsterArts figures, Godzilla is heavily articulated. A complete list of the articulation points would be difficult to compile (and describe, since some of them are oddly engineered), so I’ll just discuss the general movement.

There’s a lot of movement in the neck and head. He can look up, down, and from side to side, and both the head and the base of the neck are ball joints with plenty of motion. The arms a bit more restricted at the shoulder, but they move well on ball joints at the elbows, and the hands are ball-and-socket joints.

The back of the figure has a very noticeable gap between the spines on the back where the waist articulation is; some collectors are so annoyed by that they find it a dealbreaker, although it doesn’t bother me nearly that much. The torso itself is a ball joint with a surprising range of motion; between the torso and the neck, Godzilla can bend over surprisingly far.

The most controversial joints are the odd triangular ones on the flanks. These appear to be designed to allow Godzilla to swing his legs out – to do the splits, basically. While a cool idea, I’m a bit puzzled by it, for two reasons. One, Godzilla doesn’t do the splits, especially this particular incarnation. And two, the feet are very limited in articulation, so a wide-legged stance doesn’t really work.

Speaking of the feet, I found them the most disappointing part of the articulation. There’s a ball joint for the ankle and a ball joint in the middle of the foot itself. The real problem is the ankle articulation; it’s extremely restricted, and both feet have a hard time moving back and forth. The left foot in particular is stuck in a permanent “foot forward” pose, meaning you can’t get the back of the left foot to lay flush against the ground without pushing the leg forward. The right foot has a lot more give, for whatever reason.

Finally, G’64 has an extremely well-articulated tail, with fifteen separate ball-jointed segments. It’s a very well-articulated figure, but while already reeling from the disappointment of the size, I found myself distracted by the limitations of the left foot.

Accessories: None at all. While arguably another disappointment, particularly compared to earlier releases, if the figure had been larger I probably wouldn’t have made much of a deal about this.

Quality Control: Unless my figure’s difficult-to-move left foot is unusual, there are no QC issues. The figure does tend to pop apart a bit – the tail might come off, or one of the hands – but they pop right back on the ball joint easily. This is a common aspect of Japanese action figures.

Overall: You might be thinking, “Poe, if you had all that information about the size and so forth ahead of time, you really should have seen this coming,” and you’re absolutely right. But somehow it just didn’t register with me. Maybe it was willful ignorance.

This figure costs in the range of $65. I rarely take price into account in my reviews because the money I spend on something usually doesn’t affect my opinion of that item. It’s not because I’m rich – far from it – it’s just not something I think about. Once I have the figure, it’s paid for and the money is gone, so why dwell on it?

My point is, this figure could have cost me $100 or $5; either way, I’d still be disappointed with it. I’m sure many readers find this an odd mindset. Of course, the value question is definitely something on which your mileage may vary. I suspect many of you would not want to spend $65+ on a figure this small. In fact, I suspect many would not want to spend $65 if it had been six inches tall, or even eight or twelve inches tall.

In any event, I find myself thoroughly bummed. One intriguing thing that happens when an “obsession bubble” like this gets popped is the sudden clarity about what I’ve been doing. Why did I buy a figure of the Peter Jackson Kong? I kind of hate that movie, and I certainly don’t find its giant-regular-gorilla Kong very interesting. Why did I get Godzilla Junior? Or Little Godzilla? I have zero interest in those characters.

For someone who fully understands what they’re getting, this is a good, even a great figure. I’ve tried to review it from that perspective. The sculpt is excellent and the figure is very well articulated (even if some of that articulation isn’t very useful). But for me, it’s severely disappointing. The idea that any future Showa monsters will be scaled to this figure is another bummer. I just don’t like toys this small (unless the character is supposed to be small, which Godzilla is obviously not). I find myself wondering, how tall with the Godzilla 2000 figure be?

I’ve learned a few lessons from this. It was clearly a mistake to start buying S.H.MonsterArts characters I wasn’t really interested in (and it was definitely a mistake to buy the Ultra-Act stuff) in anticipation of a toy that might not even have been made. And then, when it was made, it proved disappointing. As I move forward with my collecting, I will try to take a wiser approach, avoiding the all-in mentality. (Note to self: go light on the prequel characters with Star Wars Black 6″. You will regret those later.)

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Comments now closed (29)

  • Bummer! I’ve stayed away from this line because of the scale/price. I’ve never spent that much on a single figure before & probably won’t! I do want the 60s bandai vinyl godzilla… he’s $12!
    I only own one figurarts & it’s classic megaman. He disappointed tons of people because he’s about 5 inches tall, which worked out great for me because I was able to get him for $25 from amazon!

  • …If you're interested in getting rid of your Little Godzilla, I'd be glad to take him off of your hands- I have no interest in him character-wise but I love him as a design. He's like what would happen if the Pokemon team designed Godzilla, in the most adorable way.

  • That's exactly the approach I've been taking for about two years now, when I realized (I was always broke!) that I was buying a whole bunch of stuff I actually had no affinity for in the MOTUC line. That lead me to skip all MonsterArts figures released thus far, whilst waiting for the subject of your review. Now I too am bummed. I hadn't even bothered to check out any specs, because I assumed that there was no way Tamashii would release such a small Godzilla figure. Utterly disappointing.

    To further mirror your thoughts, & perhaps to further intice you, I'm cherry-picking the 6" SWB line, I.E., I did not buy Dath Maul (I loathe ALL prequels), & boy, so far, so good!

  • The price is definitely an issue when these toys are shrinking and coming with less and less. Like, I complain about MOTUC prices… But $65?

  • I'm really, really sorry this let you down – I know how much you were looking forward to it.

    He didn't strike me as any less smaller than the other Godzillas when I saw him at SDCC but of course they had him by himself. The comparison photos above really are shocking in his size. I know what you mean about the 'price not mattering' but in cases like this I think it should rightly affect the overall impression, especially when there's no real reason for his diminutive nature.

    It's curious that he'd be in-scale at 3 inches with the other figures. Do you foresee or would you be interested in a multipack of smaller, in-scale Showa monsters similar to that new Destroyah Evolutions pack?

    • No, that wouldn't interest me. I don't like small toys, e.g., 3.75" action figures. I don't mind small toys that are in-scale with larger toys, – for example, the Four Horsemen's Timekeepers, or Gleek. But for a line of Showa Godzilla figures, I expect them to be the same size as the "main" figures.

      And again, there's no reason at all to make the Showa monsters in-scale with the Heisei ones. They're completely different universes and never once crossed over in any way. Bandai has made a crap-ton of vinyls, Showa and Heisei (and Millennium), and they're all either 6" or 8" tall, depending on the line.

  • Not exactly the same thing, but a little over a year ago I got REALLY into GI Joe around the time they were doing their critically acclaimed Pursuit of Cobra line. I hadn’t collected the franchise in close to a decade (I’d bought a bunch of the collector oriented 12″ figures as an investment — terrible idea) but I had hundreds of the little ones as a kid.

    Anyhow, I started buying up the Pursuit of Cobra / 30th Anniversary line like crazy, before I’d even opened one. Finally after spending about $400 give or take, I opened up a handful of them.

    I knew they were 3.75″ figures when I read about them. I knew they were 3.75″ figures when I bought them. I knew they were 3.75″ when I started to open them.

    It took me about a half dozen opened up (fortunately the less expensive ones) for me to realize I no longer fancy 3.75″ figures. They don’t (to me anyway) display well. They’re just too small.

    So now they’re all in a tub in my shed. I’m debating unloading them on eBay (I’ve been selling off a lot of my older collection there and fortunately I can probably recoup my money if not make a little profit off them).

    But yeah, I can sympathize with obsessive excitement transitioning into disappointment. It’s a real kick in the junk BUT it made me a wiser collector. So that’s a plus.

    But yeah, bummer Poe. My condolences.

    • We both learned the same lesson, I think – open and play with a few toys before you get totally into a line. It was nearly a year and a half before I opened my first S.H.MonsterArts figure.

      Although again, if the G'64 had been the same size/heft as the G'94, I don't think it would have been nearly as disappointing.

    • I love the original G.I. Joes but what I hate about the 2007 onwards figures much like Star Wars is that they have put in too much articulation in them and the sculpt and playability of the figures have suffered for it.

    • Hyena, that was my impression of the small Joes, too, at least initially; I was coming off a long and passionate Sigma 6 obsession, and the roughly 4-inch 25th Anniversary figures were the most counterintuitive, awkward, unpleasant toys I'd ever handled.

      However, I was moving overseas, and Sigma 6 toys are too big for luggage, so I reluctantly bought a buttload of Rise of Cobra figures to take overseas with me… and with them as my only option, I spent some time with them and started mixing and matching parts and accessories, and now they're my default; my Sigmas are still important to me, but they mostly stand on their shelf, untouched.

      You might want to take those few you opened and play around with them some more; they might grow on you.

      • The thing I realized (for me anyway) is that to get a real display value out of the little Joes, you really have to rely on the vehicles (the only thing that survived on display for any length of time was a Cobra Fury carrying about a half dozen POC Alley Vipers) and THAT, let me tell you, is a daunting proposition when it comes to money and, more importantly, space. Display space has become a big issue for me– I have ML, MOTUC, DCUC, and Transformers all competing for the same territory and I could just feel that I didn't love the new Joes enough to put them into that fight. :-p

        Not to mention the three different Dutches and a classic Predator sitting unopened that I'm wondering why I bought, lol. Amazing figures no doubt, but where to put them?

  • This was a fascinating review, Poe. I am amused at the fact that I felt sort of quietly devastated that these figures didn't work out like you'd expected.

    I window-shopped it for about a year and then saved up and sold some stuff and finally bought the Hot Toys Resident Evil Alice figure (still not sure why I wanted it so much, since I have never seen the movie or played the games; it just captured my interest somehow).

    Luckily I got it for a song, 'cause I pretty strongly disliked it, right from the start. The magnetized hair attachment never aligned with the scalp properly, the rubbery material on the neck attracted lint and such, and I was generally left with the impression that Hot Toys figures, while magnificent on many levels, are also ridiculously overrated and overpriced; the one I wanted most a few years ago was Hellboy, and now they're all drying out and fading. Imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a toy that is ruined a few years later?!?

    Incidentally, as you may remember I was tentatively interested in the S.H. MonsterArts Kong. However, I saw him at a store in Universal Studios, and wow, he's tiny. I wanted him as a monster for my Joes, but if I posed him alongside my Joes he'd look less like a monster and more like a… well, a gorilla. Why did I sell my Mezco Kong?!?

    Anyhoo, great essay, but I'm sorry this didn't pan out for you. Can it be expected that, for all your newfound caution, Star Wars Black will be the primary focus of the blog for the coming months?

    • Well, I've got the SDCC Boba Fett set and I'll review the first series. We'll have to see how much I like them. They look promising, but who knows how I'll feel once I start playing around with them. Right now I'm wary of everything!

      At least I know exactly how tall they are :)

  • Poe your disappoint reminds me of us all. I think we've all bought a toy that didn't live up to our expectations especially if said toy is from a beloved character or franchise. I remember being obsessed with Robotech/Misleads especially the Cyclone/Misleads bikes. Some years back I wanted to buy the vintage toy but it was too expensive. Eventually newer updated ones were produced. They too had the higher pricetag but I always wanted one. I got the Stick/Scott bike. At first I was overjoyed, but as I played with it I realized it was too small for the price I paid. Not to mention the transformation was not so much of a transformation but more of a snap apart and reassemble in different form. Not only that but the toy cannot even stand on its own without the stand. Pretty much a bust. In the end I would have been happier buying the more expensive vintage toy or even buying an Alpha fighter that actually transformed. One day I hope an actual Cyclone/Misleads that transforms and is fun to play with will be made.

  • Is he in scale with the old godzilla revoltech kaiju?i do believe The Ultra Act line are the tallest 6 inch scale figures bandai has.

    • I actually had a theory that the small size may have been sort of an apology to the collectors of the Revoltechs that they didn't let Kaiyodo make a Showa Godzilla. But he's still just a little tall to be in scale with those.

  • I have a sneaking suspicion that Bandai is trying to cater to the fans who already started their Toho collection with Revoltech's Sci-Fi line. While I do think Bandai will eventually make all the kaiju from every era, it seems they are intentionally skipping the Showa figures Revoltech covered so far. It also explains why this version of Goji is a bit smaller, allowing him to fit in better with his Revol brethren.

    Personally, I don't mind the Showa figures being a bit smaller as it adds a nice distinction. I wouldn't want them to be in scale, because that would be too tiny and very difficult to pose fighting each other (especially Kong).

    You should pick up some Showa vinyls though! Articulation isn't great, but they're a nice size and always visually fun.

    • Oh, I've got plenty of Showa vinyls. My last Godzilla obsession started in '04 when I found these. I grew up on the vinyls – had the first and second Bandai vinyls back in the early '80s thanks to an awesome local toy shop called Mr. Big Toyland. It was importing Japanese toys really early on.

      It's weird, somehow G'64 just manages to cross the barrier to where he's too small for me. He's still a really good figure, hence the 4/5-star rating.

  • Wow…so tiny. Scale is the main issue I've stayed away from this line. I like my monsters big!

  • I was super excited for this, glad I waited and didn't preorder. The S.H.MonsterArts stuff was smaller than the Bandai vinyls but seemed to fit in ok with most of them. This Goji is just way, way too small. Generally I like my giant robots to be made of die cast metal, and my monsters to be… well, giant. I felt the same way about the Toho Revoltech stuff too, though- great sculpt and movement. Shame.

    I was really hoping these would fit in with the vinyl stuff, and that way you could display the two lines together. You could spend the big bucks on super-articulated versions of your favorite monsters, and just fill out the ranks with the cheaper vinyls. I can't see them doing "everyone" like they have with the vinyls, mostly due to dubious legal nature of some of the characters, so why would I want to switch scales?

    Honestly I still don't get why Bandai Creation doesn't just do a straight re-issue of G'62, G'64, and G'84 from the Memorial Box. That G'62 alone would be a tiny vinyl ATM machine here is the US. Those are the three most recognizable Godzillas in the USA among older folks, and fans have been asking for a regular, non-exclusive release of these designs for over twenty years. Showa Rodan and Showa Mothra would be really welcome in BC vinyl or S.H.MonsterArts flavors, too. See? Showa anything!

  • That's too bad. I'll probably pick up '64 Godzilla but I can't see myself picking up mush Showa stuff after that anyway. Maybe a Jet Jaguar, but I'm sure that's a longshot anyway.

  • Sorry to hear you're disappointed. I know THIS is the one you've been waiting for all this time.

    The comparison pic with MOTUC He-Man is really telling how small this guy is.

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  • This review was total Garbage.
    you'd have been just has Disappointed with MosuGoji if he had been $5 or $100?
    the Scale is the most troubling to you? seriously? this figure is ULTRA Possible, fantastically made.. but because he was maybe an inch smaller than the Burning Godzilla (at most) your giving it a bad review? it showed me a Lot when you posed him next to that Masters of the Universe Trash.
    thats the kind of collector you are.. you buy that MOTUC Garbage
    and the other people who read this review and said (oh well *** now im not gonna buy him cause YOU didnt like him)… followers to the very bitter end.
    dont buy him, more for the rest of us TRUE Fans. stick with that Matty Collector Garbage. keep giving that terrible company your money instead.ew was total Garbage.