Category Archives: Godzilla

Cool Swag I Forgot I Had: Imperial Godzilla

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I’m in a Godzilla mood. Maybe it’s the new Legendary Pictures Godzilla movie on the way, or maybe the slew of new S.H. Monsterarts figures currently being released by Bandai Japan, but I’m just in a Kaiju state of mind. Actually, I think I know what it is. While digging through my parents’ shed the other day I stumbled upon something wonderful.

For some reason unbeknownst to mankind, parents, both mine and many other kids’, had this rule I refer to as “The Culling”. The idea was basically that if a child refused to clean their room, or failed to complete the task by a pre-determined time, the parents would enter the room with a big black garbage bag and “clean it for them”. The idea, if I understand correctly, was to teach kids that if the toys were valued at all they wouldn’t just be left lying around. Unfortunately I was a very messy kid and I never really learned that lesson, so many of my favorite childhood toys were lost in these culls.

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Somehow, due to either voodoo or luck, one of my favorite toys survived all those years of action figure prosecution. While identical pieces bought off eBay, from comic stores, or garage sales have helped me fill the gaps in my collection left by The Culling, this Imperial Toys Godzilla remains one of, if not THE single, oldest toys in my personal collection.

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Normally this is where I would start talking about Imperial Toys, or how they ended up producing toys of Godzilla, King Kong, or why they boxed them together with the Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, but truth be told I don’t really care about the collectability of this toy. What stands out to me is that I got it in 1985 or ’86 back when I was 3 or 4 and somehow I’ve been able to keep it all this time. It hasn’t always been in the spotlight, and hell, there were plenty of times I thought I lost it, but somehow Godzilla has endured.

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It’s amazing how much history one toy can have. I remember when my parents first bought him for me from a Child World (do you remember those stores?) and it was instantly the coolest toy I owned. I almost immediately lost his tail at my grandmother’s house one summer just to find it a year later at a family Barbeque. He used to take trips to my cousin’s place where my brother and I would fight over who’s “dragon” was better (my brother owned some 2-headed thing) and the left side of Godzilla’s head still bears the scar from a surgery I forced my father to perform on him when I randomly decided his head was uneven and needed to be fixed (yep, even at 4 years old I was customizing things).

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I remember the countless number of pictures I drew of this toy- every Godzilla picture I did, in fact, used this guy as a reference point for what Godzilla looked like. In fact, I recognized this figure as “the one true Godzilla” so much that I was convinced for the better part of my childhood that Godzilla had a silver chest just like the toy, and I never understood why the movies “couldn’t get it right.” Maybe that’s why the 1968-1972 “SoshingekiGoji” design is my favorite Godzilla suit- this toy has a pretty good likeness for what it was (minus the silver chest and bizarre “Joker lips”, of course). I don’t think Imperial was shooting for a screen-accurate Godzilla when they produced this toy, but they gave us one of the most influential Godzilla designs 80’s kids would get for years and it matched up well enough with what was in the movies that we knew exactly who it was supposed to be.

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I don’t know if I love this toy because it’s Godzilla, or if I love Godzilla because of this toy, but I know my life-long love of the King of the Monsters had to start somewhere, and this is a good place to start. I don’t know what the future holds for ImperiGoji here, but for now he has taken his rightful place in the toy room, and I can’t imagine anything that could de-throne him as King of my collection.

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A figure fit for a King- Jakks Pacific Giant Size Godzilla

 

I was wandering around my local Toys R Us today looking for Walking Dead and Marvel minimates (I’m convinced they don’t really exist) when I found something far more eye-catching. And by “eye-catching” I of course mean “absolutely freaking MASSIVE”. $50 later I headed home with this guy.wpid-IMAG1943-1.jpg

I’ve loved Godzilla since I was a little kid and I first saw “Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster” with my brother on some Saturday Matinee TV showing. There’s just something about a giant atomic super monster that really amps me up. Now if you, dear reader, are anything like me, you’ve been eagerly awaiting Legendary’s new take on the Big-G which hits theaters a week before my birthday this year (just in time for his 60th anniversary) and you’ve been loving the “returning to his roots” look of the million-year-old celebrity.  Unlike the 1998 Columbia outing, Godzilla is instantly recognizable in this US version, and I’ve been dying to get a good figure of him. Unfortunately the gimmicky Bandai toys released just weren’t doing it for me, and the early proto shots from NECA seemed a little off too. I don’t need crazy amounts of articulation from a Godzilla toy, I just need a big hulking monster. Enter Jakks Pacific.

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Standing just under two feet tall, and coming in at an astonishing 44″ long (from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail) Jakks certainly filled the “big hulking” part of my requirement. Most of my Godzilla toys are in a 6″ or 12″ form (primarily from Bandai’s Japanese vinyl figures) so I knew this guy wasn’t going to fit in with that collection, but it was just way too cool to pass on. In fact, I can’t think of anywhere that this toy is going to fit in, I mean just look at the size of this guy!

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The sculpt is okay for such a large toy, obviously it’s not museum quality with its detail but for $50 it works well. The face is great and the eyes really pop. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves here, but let me just say that I really like the look of the toy. Two minor complaints here would be that when his mouth is closed (he has an articulated jaw) the big guy has a bit of an overbite, and that the gills on his neck are very under-represented in the sculpt. Is it a huge problem or a deal breaker? Far from it, but it would have been nice if they could have worked those pieces better, especially the gills since adding them to the design was a huge deal in the fan community.

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Having never really seen a full, clear photo of Godzilla in the film I can’t really compare it to the source, but it looks good to me. The end of the tail is boney and whip-like, and the feet are those funny little stumps, so all the bits and pieces we’ve seen in the trailers and posters seem to properly represented here. The fins on his spine could stand to be a bit larger, but again, I don’t know if they are screen accurate so I won’t get hung- up on it. As far as an accurate color scheme, well, again, we haven’t been given much to go on but it looks good to me. The eyes are a golden color and face has some good detailing work on the teeth and the tongue, but otherwise this beast is primarily a dark, dark gray with a slight greenish-brown spray. Like I said before, I have no clue how accurate it is, but I like it.

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The big guy is articulated at the jaw, neck, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles, and he has 2 swivel cuts on his tail plus a ‘flex” point to recreate a tail swiping action. Unless Godzilla plans on jumping over the Brooklyn Bridge or breaking out into Kaiju Karate in the new film, I think that this minimal articulation is just fine.  He’s got a good mix of stiff plastic and a more-rubbery feel (specifically along the spine, head, and tail) and I really am happy with the quality of the construction.

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Now I feel I need to point out that there are signs throughout the toy that indicate the King was supposed to have an electronic sound feature, but for reasons unknown they were cut. Maybe it was driving the cost up too much? Possibly didn’t fit weight regulations? Who knows. But if you look closely you can see sound slats in Godzilla’s belly and a filled-in battery compartment where the tail connects. Taking the figure as it is, I love this toy, however now that I know he COULD have roared at my cat, I wish there was a way they could have kept that in.

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In the end I feel that Jakks did a top-notch job putting together a tremendous toy, and I think it’s well worth the $49.99 price tag it has at Toys R Us. If the Bandai toys are too gimmicky for you, you aren’t quite sold on the NECA design, or are just looking for an enormous Godzilla toy to scare off intruders, I think this is just what you need. I have no clue where I’m going to keep this guy, but I guess in typical Godzilla fashion, he’s just going to go wherever it is he wants.