Thursday, 22 May 2014

Figure Review - S.H. MonsterArts Gigan (2004)

Toho's 2004 entry into the Godzilla series, "Godzilla: Final Wars" was Godzilla's last film shot at Toho Studios. Being the 50th Anniversary film, the studio and its director decided to go all-out with how they wanted to execute the film and give it an all-star Kaiju cast featuring many of Godzilla's monstrous foes (and allies), some not seen since the 1960s and 1970s. Among the many kaiju, such as Anguirus, King Caesar, and Hedorah, to return to the big screen was the alien cyborg, Gigan. Unfortunately, "Godzilla: Final Wars" isn't my favorite Godzilla film, nor is it the greatest of all Godzilla films, in my opinion. However, one of its definite highlights was Gigan. 

Gigan underwent a semi-massive revamp for his appearance in "Godzilla: Final Wars." The designers abandoned his green and golden yellow coloration in favor of a dark blue, red, and silver color scheme. Replacing the smooth green skin and golden Ghidorah-like scales is a more cybernetic texture with underlying wires and armor plating on top with metallic components here and there. Despite the complete redesign overhaul, Gigan remains true to its original form (most of the time) while on screen. The S.H. MonsterArts figure does a pretty good job at replicating the design into its sculpt.

The S.H. MonsterArts Gigan (2004) was released in mid-April of this year. Just now is it reaching North American markets along with the web exclusive S.H. MonsterArts Mothra. Gigan was the first standard released figure of a Toho Kaiju this year (with Godzilla 1995 (Birth), and Godzilla 2014 following in the coming months). The figure stands a little above seven inches tall, and is just about a foot long from the tip of its scythe-like hands to the spiked tail. As stated before, Tamashii Nations have done a good job at sculpting this figure. It faithfully manages to replicate the actual suit from the film. It also has bits of diecast metal implemented into the sculpt. Mostly in the feet to give the figure weight and balance.

The detail work on the MonsterArts Gigan is pretty spot-on. By far it is one of the most detailed figures in this line as far as skin texture and subtle aspects go. Take the head sculpt for example. The visor that stretches across Gigan's face is sculpted out of a translucent red plastic. Inside, there is a bubbly effect inside, giving it a textured effect and somewhat organic feel to Gigan. On top of that, the entire body is covered with meticulous detail in the layered skin, armor, and metallic plating. 

Gigan's articulation is something to be commended too. Gigan's design in "Godzilla: Final Wars" is much more leaner than most other giant monsters, so it opens up many possibilities for posing. But first, let's start from the head down. Gigan possesses the basic jaw articulation. Its neck is segmented in three areas: the head, middle of the neck, and just above its torso. This allows one to turn Gigan's head from side to side, push it down or up, and more. Its shoulder pads are also articulated as well to be adjusted accordingly when one moves the arms and shoulders.

Gigan has the usual shoulder ball joints at the shoulders, hinge joints at the elbows, and ball joints on its wrists. The figure has limited torso articulation due to the figure's buzz saw. However the saw can be moved outward in order to accommodate the figure being leaned forward. It's legs are on ball joints, and the gap between it and the lower body can be hidden via a flap of armor plating. However, when posing the figure dynamically, one can't help but leave open a little gap. The tail articulation for this figure is pretty impressive too, right up there with the S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla 2000 Millennium. Almost each section is articulated, but a word of caution: Be careful with the spikes. Make sure to not snap any of them by accident while fiddling with the tail. 

The back fins on Gigan are also articulated. They're all on hinge joints. The two outer fins move outwards while the center fin can be pushed back or forward. This is mainly for displaying Gigan in its flying form. Unfortunately I don't have a Tamashii Stand sturdy enough to hold up Gigan in a dynamic flying pose. Someday, maybe.

In the movie, Gigan undergoes an upgrade before the final battle where it teams up with Monster X against Godzilla, and ultimately Mothra too. What I love about the S.H. MonsterArts figure is that they supply alternate parts to transform Gigan into its upgraded form! An alternate, armored, neck piece, facial pincers, horn, and chainsaw hands (fully rotatable blades, by the way) are accompanied with the figure and can easily be swapped in. I wish I bought two Gigan figures so I could display one in its standard design while the other is in its upgraded form. These alternate parts make great accessories for this figure. Essentially you get two figures in one with Gigan!

All in all, the S.H. MonsterArts Gigan (2004) is another fantastic release by Tamashii Nations. Their figures have been getting far better with each release (as I've probably mentioned several times before in the past). Gigan's sleak design and accessories make it one of the most playable figures as far as their Godzilla line goes. I certainly hope they do more monsters from "Godzilla: Final Wars" and perhaps, have the entire movie roster someday. 

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