Friday, 22 March 2013

S.H. MonsterArts Speculations

Having read the article over at Import Monsters, I thought that I too should express my own speculations on the future of the S.H. MonsterArts figure line.

Over a year and four months have passed since this line began. Sure, it has had its ups and downs. While there were figures with high acclaim such as SpaceGodzilla, and figures with many critical flaws like King Ghidorah, it didn't deter many fans away from the line. Despite a few disappointments, many of us remain dedicated to this series of collectable figures. With the adult form of Destoroyah kick starting 2013's lineup of figures and King Kong (April), the Destoroyah Evolution Set (June), and Godzilla 1964 (July) all coming out, it leaves us to wonder and speculate on what we expect to be released later this year and beyond.

The release of the S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla 1964 in July marks the first time a Showa character is released into the line. With the immense popularity of that particular series of films, a whole new demographic of fans have set their sights on the line and are wanting more! My own personal speculation for the next Showa figure to be released is one that I share with my compatriots at Import Monsters, Mothra.

Mothra as she appeared in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
Mothra is the most logical choice to be released later this summer or fall. The release of the Godzilla 1964 is definitely indication that the big ole' moth is coming pretty soon. Since she is also a part of the infamous Toho Five (the five most popular monsters from Toho: Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, and MechaGodzilla), she would be a big seller amongst the fan base and even casual monster movie fans. Possible accessories for her could be a special display stand and base as well as possibly her egg and/or twin larvae.

Mothra's twin larvae from the climax of Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
While I am quite enthusastic about the immense possibilities for a Showa line of figures, I am aware that Bandai themselves play safe with whatever figures they release. They seem to market figures that deem most popular amongst the fans. At this point, two figures pretty much stand out as desirable possibilities. They are Titanosaurus, and Biollante.

Titanosaurus is perhaps one of the most popular monsters from the Godzilla series amongst western fans while Biollante is the first monster to battle Godzilla in the Heisei series of films, and is quite overlooked by many people due to its obscurity amongst the rest of Toho's more recognizable lineup. Unlike Titanosaurus, however, Biollante already has a prototype that was shown late last year. Despite the large fanbase demand for Biollante, the prototype was met by criticism due to its lack of screen accuracy. While stunningly detailed, the sculpt itself was a tad on the tall side, and did not have the same bulk nor proportions as to its film counterpart. Regardless, it has been speculated that because of this Biollante is back to the drawing board. Only time will tell if the big thorny rose would ever be released or end up in a perpetual purgatory with the MonsterArts Utsuno Ikusagami prototype amongst various others. If Biollante is to receive a release any time soon, I expect it to be towards the end of this year. As for Titanosaurus, Bluefin has shown interest based on the demand. Perhaps sooner or later we'll be seeing Dr. Mafune's mysterious sea monster in the lineup.

The S.H. MonsterArts Biollante prototype and an unknown Godzilla 1989 figure
At the moment, figures from the Millennium series of Godzilla films appear to be obsolete. They're demand is not as hefty as that for Showa figures. Regardless, many of us do hope that at least one figure be released from the Millennium series. Personally I hope that would be Godzilla 2000.

Godzilla 2000 is perhaps one of the more popular designs of the Big G for western fans due to the stateside theatrical release of Godzilla 2000 as well as the design's primary use in all three of Atari's Godzilla games: Godzilla: Destroy all Monsters Melee (2002), Godzilla: Save the Earth (2004), and Godzilla Unleashed (2007). Besides the Heisei design, Godzilla 2000 is perhaps the next most recognizable incarnation of Godzilla himself for fans in all generations. While I do not think a figure of Godzilla 2000 would be released any time soon, I am certain that Tamashii Nations will develop one in the long run.

Back to Showa! Like I said, the possibilities for Showa kaiju are immense! There is a lot to work with. While the following list may not be completely logical choices for releases, this is purely just some wishful thinking:

Rodan 1964
Rodan as he appeared in Ghidrah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)
Give us the Rodan that we all love! Rodan's 1964 design may be the most popular rendition of the terror of the skies right behind his original 1956 incarnation. Personally the '64 design is my absolute favorite version of the monster due to its very distinct look and charm. Since the Showa Rodan towers over Godzilla (unlike his Heisei counterpart) we can expect a 10 to 12 inch wingspan on a figure of him.

Sanda & Gaira
Sanda (right) and Gaira (left) from War of the Gargantuas (1969)

The chances of figures being made of these two in the S.H. MonsterArts line are very slim, but let's not think about that for a minute. War of the Gargantuas is considered a cult classic. The movie serves as an indirect sequel to Toho's 1965's monster flick, Frankenstein Conquers the World. The film also was as an inspiration for some well known Hollywood names such as Tim Burton and even Brad Pitt. Sanda and Gaira are among some of plethora of underused kaiju like Varan, the Yog trio (Gezora, Kameboas, and Ganimes), Baragon, and others. I am a fan of War of the Gargantuas and I do wish to see Sanda and Gaira receive figures in the MonsterArts line. Is it likely? No. But, let this man dream! 

King Ghidorah 1964
King Ghidorah as he appeared in Ghidrah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)
When was the last time that we got a decent Showa King Ghidorah figure from Bandai? Oh yeah, never! While the vinyl figures were good, they had their flaws whether it be scaling or wing sizes, and there are just too few of them. A Ghidorah '64 (or '68) release would be another logical move for Tamashii Nations. However, after the numerous cases of wing breakages amongst the Heisei Ghidorah figure, people may have cold feet about getting another one. However, Tamashii Nations has proven that they could create alternatives for wing joints. Fire Rodan, King Ghidorah '91, and Destoroyah each possess different mechanisms for how their wings work. The latter proved to be the better of the three with a ball joint allowing smooth and stable movement of the wings without any cause of alarm. If a Showa Ghidorah figure is to be made, Tamashii would have to focus on advertising the fact that its wings are on a new joint system different than their previous Ghidorah. If Tamashii successfully manages to redesign the way King Ghidorah's wings move, then they will definitely have a very popular figure on their hands. 

Jet Jaguar
Our favorite size shifting android from Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
Ok, who does not love Jet Jaguar? Sure he has cheesy written all over him, but this android represents a particular moment in the Godzilla series where it no longer serves adults, but primarily children. Despite this, fans of the Showa era of films can't deny that Jet Jaguar has become a cult favorite. Jet Jaguar's physique allows a potential figure to share the same points of articulation as figure from the Ultra-Act series would. Already there is a good amount of demand for a figure of Jet Jaguar in the MonsterArts line. His bright color scheme and his humanoid design definitely sets him apart from much of Toho's lineup and would stand out as a truly unique figure amongst ferocious looking monsters.

Varan 1958

Varan is another one of those underused yet highly popular monsters from the early years of giant monster movies in Japan. Like Titanosaurus, Varan is highly demanded for a figure in the S.H. MonsterArts line. One challenge to sculpting this figure I presume is how the membranes between his arms and legs would be sculpted. They expand when Varan takes flight, but an all-plastic figure would find that challenging unless sculptors use an innovation of how Destoroyah's wings work where the flaps are adjustable through various articulated points. It could potentially work.

Ok, enough with my wishlist of Showa figures. I could easily go on, but you guys get my point. The possibilities are vast. Overall, if any Showa kaiju are to be released after Godzilla 1964, I'd expect the following: Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Gigan, Anguirus, Titanosaurus, MechaGodzilla, and Hedorah. The last one is purely speculative. From what I've heard, Hedorah got high votes through a survey from Bluefin Distribution. It's possible entry into the MonsterArts line is to be noted. 

Anyways, that is it for my speculations on the future of the S.H. MonsterArts line. Take this article with a grain of salt, people. I do not speak for Tamashii Nations nor Bluefin Distribution. All this is just speculation and opinions. 

Thanks for reading. 


  1. I feel King Caesar will appear. Just as surely as the sun will rise in the West. :P ;) (haha let me stop) I feel it will. Though they will make the movie where Titano appeared (as a personal feeling, and that MG appeared in it also, so that movie list of characters will sell well and satisfy fans). King Caesar though I feel will be an exclusive. The downside to that (if there can be one) is that that would mean another Showa Goji. The feeling is...another Godzilla in the line.

    1. King Caesar would be a godsend! It'll perhaps be the only decent sculpt of the character to ever be produced by Bandai. I can see it being a web exclusive, but who knows. With Godzilla '64 releasing as a web exclusive, it makes one think of what figures will be exclusive or standard releases.

  2. Very interesting topic. I think Mothra is likely to be the next Showa figure to be released to complete the Godzilla VS Mothra set. Your guess of having two Mothra larvae as an accessory is a sweet idea that would be an automatic buy for me. Can you imagine if S.H. MonsterArts also made another set of Showa ver. tanks, maser cannons, and fighter air craft models to go with their retro line?

    The figures I'd love to see from the Showa era, though small, would be Anguirus, Varan, and Gorosaurus. Those reptiles were always fascinating to me. I would also love to see a Millenium Godzilla and Anguirus (very long shot) as well.

    1. As far as Millennium figures I do expect to see at least Godzilla 2000 as well as Kiryu, and Gigan. Who knows, they may end up releasing the entire lot. I'd personally love an entire GMK lineup as MonsterArts figures.

  3. I really would love them to make a Jet Jaguar. Loved him since I was a kid. I'd buy one for me and my son! Anyway it should be easy for them, they are very good at highly articulated action figures. I'll cross my fingers lol.

  4. ha ha... i need a poster of the two gargantuan retreating,one brother comforting the injured bro. ... because ... That is my sister & i in my minds eye... lol.. no shit.