General summary of SH Monsterarts
Like all entertainment franchises, the Godzilla series has toys amongst its merchandise, which can range from cheap vinyl figures to exceptionally detailed yet expensive models. The first wave of Godzilla figures arrived in 1966 from Marusan and Bullmark with designs and coloring that at times varied greatly from how they looked in the movies. Bandai and Yakmakatsu followed with their own figures in 1983 that did begin to resemble the kaiju as they appeared in the actual movies. As technology advanced throughout the years, the figures resembled more and more their movie counterparts. As for the models, they too began to resemble their movie counterparts to an exceptional extent as technology and the skills to create such models advanced as well. Gradually in some quarters, some fans had expressed a desire to have figures that looked very much like their movie counterparts while being exceptionally poseable.
Prelude: The Revoltech Line:
The desire soon took an enormous step closer to reality for since 2009 the company Kaiyodo had been releasing a line of figures with exceptional articulation under the name of Revoltech. However, most were action figures from a variety of live action science fiction movies both American and Japanese, some of them were kaiju from mainly Japanese movies with the exception of the T-rex from Jurassic Park. The basis of the name of Revoltech comes from the revolver joints that all of the figures in the series utilize. This allows the figures to attain a wide range of movement that allows them to assume multiple poses while mostly maintaining good stability.
Surprisingly, the kaiju list for the Revoltech line did not include Godzilla himself and eventually the company would wind down releasing kaiju from the Toho lineup with the last release being the battleship Atragon in January 2012.
The introduction of a new figure line:
As Kaiyodo wound down the release of kaiju for the Revoltech line, someone else would step in to fulfill that role as news came in early 2011 that Bandai would release a new line of figures under its Tamashii Nations division, which releases exceptionally poseable figures from a variety of Japanese entertainment entities. The first release of photos of the figures planned to appear under the line raised attention due to the designs of the figures almost matching or surpassing the designs of the kaiju as they appeared in the movies.
To help in the design, production, and advertising of the figures, Bandai hired several key people from the production side of the Godzilla series to help. They included individuals such as legendary designer Yuji Sakai, monster suit designer Shinichi Wakasa, and Koichi Kawakita, SPFX director for the Heisei Godzilla series. In fact, for the first two figures of the line, Kawakita did a commercial for them while also working on a new book about the Heisei Godzilla series.
Unlike most of the previous kaiju in the Revoltech line, the kaiju in the SH MonsterArts line have their joints more integrated into the figure itself, which ensures that they are not very noticeable most of the time. On some of the figures, their coloring is of a darker tone in comparison to their movie counterparts, which at times enhanced the look of the figures. The initial releases of most of these figures came with accessories with a large portion of them representing the long-range weapons of the kaiju. On articulation, the SH MonsterArts figures are capable of conducting poses and movements that most of the monster suits (particularly the Heisei series) were incapable of doing. Sometimes though that proved an annoyance more than a blessing as it resulted in small complaints about several of the later figures not being a near seamless match with their movie counterparts that the earlier figures were. The summarization of the complaints would be of the focus more on articulation than design.
Alongside the release of the regular figures, Tamashii Nations has several figures that it sold online in limited production runs. While the first two on the web exclusive list are at times almost impossible to find, customers can find the remainder easily enough as several online stores in the US such as Bluefin are selling them as well.
Due to the method of their creation as well as catering to more serious fans of the series, the SH MonsterArts line has a high price tag. As of this writing, the SH MonsterArts versions of Battra and Mothra in their larvae forms are the next confirmed figures with a release date of June/July. Finally starting with King Kong, the SH MonsterArts line has branched out to new monsters and sci-fi creatures starting with the appearance of the Alien and Predator creatures from their respective series. The Alien Warrior arrived in Jan. 2014 while the Predator Wolf arrives in Feb. 2014. Both are from the Alien vs. Predator series and earlier incarnations of both creatures had previously appeared on Kaiyodo’s Revoltech line.
List of kaiju.
Godzilla: Released in Nov. 2011, the first figure in the SH Monsters line is based almost perfectly on the Godzilla suit used in GODZILLA vs. SPACE-GODZILLA. It has enough parts and articulation to set up Godzilla in his swimming pose. The first editions of the figure came with accessories to simulate Godzilla’s atomic ray. A second edition of the figure does not have the atomic ray effect pack. Price: 5,500 yen.
Mecha-Godzilla 93: Arriving in Dec. 2011, this figure is a near exact replication of the Mecha-Godzilla suit used in GODZILLA vs. MECHA-GODZILLA II although with a somewhat darker grey for overall coloring. For extras, Mecha-Godzilla only has the parts for the Mega-buster ray as well as parts to simulate the opening of its lower chest to fire the plasma grenade and to simulate Mecha-Godzilla in flight. Price: 6,500 yen.
Space-Godzilla: Released in March 2012 and using the design of the Space-Godzilla suit as a basis, the figure enhanced the look of Space-Godzilla in comparison to his movie appearance. He comes with parts to simulate the firing of his corona beam. Price: 6,500 yen.
Moguera: Appearing to the public in May 2012, Moguera is the next figure to arrive on the line. Moguera had previously appeared in the Revoltech line in his showa form whereas for here, he appears in his Heisei form. Like Mecha-Godzilla before it, the figure of Moguera is a near replication of the suit used in its movie appearance. Unlike the release of Mecha-Godzilla II, Moguera comes equipped with a wide variety of extras to simulate the spiral grenade missiles and the chest maser ray as well as parts to allow it to be in its flight mode. Price: 6,500 yen.
Fire Rodan: Released in July of 2012, it is one of the smaller figures in the line as well as one of the cheaper ones. Rodan had appeared previously in the Revoltech line in his Showa form. For here and due to the focus on the second Godzilla series, he is in his Heisei form. For extras, Fire Rodan has parts that are very compatible with both Godzilla (a brand new atomic ray accessory) and Mecha-Godzilla (its head with one eye poked out) as well as parts for his uranium heat beam and stands to simulate him in his flight mode as well as standing. With adjustments to the feet and tail, it can stand by itself if need be. Price: 3,500 yen.
King Ghidorah: King Ghidorah was next in line to appear on as a figure under SH MonsterArts, arriving in Sept. 2012. Based on Ghidorah’s heisei form, it is easily the tallest figure in the line along with being one of the most expensive. The figure has many parts to allow it to replicate the kaiju’s wild movements particularly its heads, tails, and wings. It had some controversy attached to it due to several parts not being up to standards set by the other figures, particularly around the wings. Its accessories are lighting effect parts to allow the monster’s three heads to fire its lightning beams. Price: 9,800 yen.
Godzilla (1995): Released in Nov. 2012, the figure had initially been part of the initial wave of figures introduced to the public. However, when Tamashii Nations received complaints about the SH MonsterArts Godzilla, they created a new sculpture with a focus towards poseability in comparison to its predecessor. Particularly for the dorsal fins, the figure makes use of translucent material to enhance the look of the figure. The extras consist of two maser tanks (a DAG-MB96 and a MBT-92 with missile launchers). Price: 6,800 yen.
Destroyah: Available to the public in Feb. 2013, the figure is based on Destroyah’s final form. It is one of the largest figures as well as a competitor for King Ghidorah in the most expensive figure category as far as the regular line is concerned. It comes in two sections, the main body and a tail to attach to the main body with the pincers on the tail capable of movement. It does not have any accessories. The design though while having some differences is very effective in displaying Destroyah’s demonic final form. Price: 12,000 yen.
King Kong: Arriving in April 2013, King Kong is the first non-Godzilla monster to appear in the SH MonsterArts line. This SH MonsterArts figure is based on the 2005 Peter Jackson version and comes with a small Ann Darrow figure grasped in one hand, four sets of regular hands, a log that can be put into one of those hands and three faces to represent the different expressions of King Kong. Unlike most of the SH MonsterArts figures, the information on the box for the figure is in English. Price: 5,500 yen.
Kiryu: Released in Sept. 2013, the SH MonsterArts figure based its design on how Kiryu looked as he appeared in GODZILLA x MECHA-GODZILLA. This is the first figure from the Millennium series to appear on SH MonsterArts. The figure’s capabilities include the fact that it can open its chest to reveal the absolute zero cannon as well as its thrusters that it uses in flight, parts for its arm masers, and its backpack shoulder missile launchers. There are two additional heads so one can switch out to the head that Kiryu uses when he goes into a berserk mode or when he is in repairs. Price: 9,800 yen.
Godzilla 2000: One of the latest figures in the line for 2013, it uses the concept design for the Millennium Godzilla suit for the figure’s design. It has the longest tail in any figure in the series as well as boasting advanced articulation as well as impressive detailing, particularly in the dorsal fins and teeth. The planned released date for this figure is set for Dec. 2013. Price: 7,560 yen.
Alien Warrior: With the exception of King Kong, nearly all of the SH MonsterArts figures thus far were from the Godzilla series. That will change in Jan. 2014 with the release of the SH MonsterArts Alien Warrior which is from the 2004 movie Alien vs. Predator. It comes with several accessories including interchangeable hands, an egg, a chestbuster, and display stand. Like several other figures in the present line, the Alien warrior made an appearance in the Kaiyodo Revoltech line in 2010. The expected release date is Jan. 2014. Price: 5,775 yen.
Predator Wolf: The SH MonsterArts Predator Wolf bases its design on the Predator Wolf that appeared in the 2007 movie Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. The SH MonsterArts Predator Wolf comes with a wide variety of accessories including interchangeable hands, heads, and mandibles as well as two spears, two whips, and a cylinder. As with the Alien Warrior, an earlier incarnation of the Predator appeared in Kaiyodo’s Revoltech line in 2011. The expected release date is Feb. 2014. Price: 6,090 yen
Gigan: The most recent release in the regular line of the SH MonsterArts is Gigan. Based on his appearance in the 50th anniversary movie Godziilla: Final Wars, the SH MonsterArts Gigan comes with two sets of claws for its arms along with two heads and is poseable enough to move parts around to display Gigan as he is flying. Price: 10,584 yen.
Toho SFX pack: The first of the web exclusives released under the SH MonsterArts line, it consists of three F-16s and three ASTOL-MB93 maser aircraft, ten tanks (five each of MBT-92s and MBAW-93s), Super X-2, and the atomic ray accessory in an orange color. Price: 2,415 yen.
Garuda: The second web exclusive release which came on the heels of the SH MonsterArts Mecha-Godzilla, it contains most of the parts one would need for Mecha-Godzilla to portray the cyborg unleashing its devastating firepower, including shock anchors, the maser ray effect, which is intended for use on the Garuda and parts to attach it to Mecha-Godzilla. There are also stands to allow Garuda to fly by itself. Price: 2,625 yen.
Little Godzilla: Released in Jun. 2012, the figure has its design from the suit used for Little Godzilla in GODZILLA vs. SPACE-GODZILLA and completes the kaiju roster for the movie. Extras include crystals to recreate the scene where Space-Godzilla traps Little Godzilla in a crystal prison for most of the movie. Price: 3,465 yen.
SH MonsterArts Godzilla Comic-Con explosion: For Comic-con 2012, Tamashii Nations would release an exclusive version of Godzilla in coloring that would show him about to blow up and take the world with him (similar to the situation in GODZILLA vs. DESTROYAH). It is essentially SH MonsterArts Godzilla but with red and orange coloring all over his body. It is available on US online retailers and websites if one knows where to look. As this had been an initial release at an American event, most of the information presented on the box for the figure is in English. Prices for this figure range from $75.00 to $100 or more.
Godzilla Junior: Available on Dec. 2012, the figure used the design of Godzilla Junior from GODZILLA vs. DESTROYAH. Like Little Godzilla and Fire Rodan, Godzilla Junior is one of the smaller figures in the line. It comes with two small helicopters. Price: 4,200 yen.
Destroyah Evolution Set: Available in July 2013, this release completes the roster for kaiju from GODZILLA vs. DESTROYAH. It consists of three figures, which are two aggregate Destroyahs and the flying Destroyah. One of the aggregate Destroyahs is for use with Godzilla Junior while the other is for use with Godilla 95. At least one of the two aggregate Destroyahs has the ability to extend its jaws. Price: 8,400 yen.
Godzilla 1964: Released on July 2013 and designed by Yuji Sakai, the figure’s design comes from the Mosu-Goji suit used for MOTHRA vs. GODZILLA. It is a web exclusive in Japan but actually a regular release in America. It has no accessories. Price: 6090 yen.
Biollante: The figure from GODZILLA vs. BIOLLANTE, which represents Biollante’s final form appeared to the public in November 2013. Biollante had been a potential possibility ever since the creators of the line unveiled prototypes in 2012. To assist in the design of the figure, the creators brought in Fuyuki Shinada, the creator of the Biollante model used in the movie to help. It is the most expensive and largest figure overall in the line. It has the ability to light up its lower stomach sections just like what Biollante did in the movie as well as four long vines. Price: 23,100 yen.
Battra: The flying insect kaiju from GODZILLA vs. MOTHRA: THE BATTLE FOR EARTH was the next kaiju in line for the online section of SH MonsterArts. Designed by Yuji Sakai, the figure has very articulated maw, wing, and leg areas. It comes with a stand to display Battra as he is flying. Its release date is Jan. 2014. Price: 6,300 yen.
Mothra: Coming on the heels of the release of SH MonsterArts Battra, the SH MonsterArts Mothra is one of the newest kaiju in the SH MonsterArts line. Based on the Heisei Mothra from Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth, its creator is Yuji Sakai who designed a large number of figures for the SH MonsterArts line. It comes with a display stand to show Mothra in flight. Mothra had already appeared as the Showa version of the kaiju in Kaiyodo’s Revoltech line. Its release date is in Apr. 2014. Price: 6,480 yen.
Mothra/Battra larvae set: With the release of Battra and Mothra in their adult forms, it seemed logical for their larvae forms to be next on the list of potential releases. In terms of confirmed accessories, the set focuses on Mothra with a display stand and a web spitting effect for use on the Mothra larvae. The release date for the figure set is Jun. 2014. Price: 10,800 yen.
Photos of some of the SH MonsterArts figures.
A SH MonsterArts figure as found on Amazon.
SH MonsterArts Commercials
2nd SH MonsterArts Commercial
Links dealing with SH Monsterarts
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