Written by Arlo Hansen
To those new to collecting and just getting into the S.H. MonsterArts line, these string of repaints and reissues is a godsend. However, to many veteran collectors, it is a dreadful experience and they yearn for something brand new and different. I am somewhere in the middle of these two groups. Sure the idea of repaints and reissues is quite boring, but it is interesting to see different takes on colorations for certain sculpts (I happen to like the appearance version of Godzilla 1964!)
However, I firmly believe that we'll be seeing repaints forever. This year feels like a hiatus for the MonsterArts line, and that in 2016 we'll be seeing many more brand NEW releases to coincide with Toho's upcoming Japanese Godzilla reboot. With that in mind, I have no doubts that we'll be treated to some neat figures next year. Question is, however, what will we be getting? There is no way of telling for sure at this point in time, but I have put together this list of some figures that I hope will be included into the line within the next year or beyond.
To commemorate the new film, a figure of the new Toho Godzilla is certainly in order! It would practically be a sin if we didn't see it before the end of next year. The only issue might be a rushed production much like the MonsterArts Godzilla 2014 in which it turned out not as accurate as its on-screen counterpart. However, with Bandai closer to Toho than they are with Warner Bros. and Legendary, an accurately sculpted and detailed Godzilla 2016 figure might just be possible within the next year or so along with any other monster(s) he will be battling.
#02 - GMK Roster
Possibly the best film in the Millennium series (1999 - 2004), the designs in Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all out Attack (2001) deserve MonsterArts figures of their own. It's certainly doable since three out of the four monsters in the film are a part of Toho's "Big Five," and will certainly sell well as standard releases. The only figure I see being a Tamashii Web Store exclusive in Japan might be Baragon. However, North American fans will welcome the little burrowing kaiju with open arms (or claws?)
#03 - Suit Accurate Godzilla 2000
So, why have we not yet got a movie accurate representation of the Godzilla 2000 suit in the S.H. MonsterArts line yet? It is an unusual case since the already released Godzilla 2000 Millennium figure is based on the concept art by Yuji Sakai for the film and not based on the suit by Sinichi Wakasa. All other Godzillas released up to that point have been faithful to their on-screen appearances. Funny enough, the figure is perhaps the most popular and most valuable figure in the S.H. MonsterArts line in general. Is the reason we got the concept version of Godzilla 2000 due to Sakai's pull with Bandai? Who knows. All I know is that Wakasa, himself, is hoping that we do get a suit-accurate version of the design someday.
#04 - MechaGodzilla 1974 and/or 1975
It's a shame that Bandai has not given collectors more Showa figures in the S.H. MonsterArts line. Godzilla 1964, originally released back in summer 2013, was to be a test to see if buyers would go for figures from that era. Apparently sales weren't that great - mainly because the mechanics of the figure made it look awkward, and also that Bandai chose to make Godzilla (and other potential Showa figures) shorter in height to differentiate them from the Heisei figures. Godzilla 1964 sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to every other figure in this line, but if more Showa figures were produced and released, it wouldn't look so bad. My best bet is that if the Showa line were ever to be revisited (not counting the upcoming Godzilla 1964 repaint,) we would see MechaGodzilla 1974 and/or 1975. MechaGodzilla is immensely popular in Japan and the Showa designs are nothing but classics. It's certainly possible.
#05 - Hedorah (1971)
The Smog Monster itself is another character than fans wish to see in the line. Appearance-wise, it does not look like it could achieve any dynamic poses, but still, Hedorah represents a shift in the Godzilla series and also presents a strong symbolic message not seen since the original 1954 Godzila. While a fully grown figure could be released standardly, a neat web exclusive add-on would be an "evolution set" that includes Hedorah's aquatic "tadpole" form, his initial land form, and flying form. It would be neat, but the likelihood of seeing such a release is limited - but that's why it's on my wish list!
#06 - Godzilla 1989
Ever since the release of the very first Toho Weapons pack (after the release of the first MonsterArts Godzilla,) and the release of Biollante in late 2013, fans have been almost literally begging Bandai to release a Godzilla 1989 figure to accompany those two releases. It would certainly complete the Godzilla vs. Biollante roster (with the exception of the rumored Rose Biollante.) Will the fan-base be heard once again (like with Biollante?) Who knows, but considering Bandai's knack of releasing different versions of Godzilla in the MonsterArts line as well as the fact that a non-articulated prototype was seen with Biollante at various conventions prior to that figure's release, it isn't too farfetched to think that we'll get one sooner or later.
#07 - Godzilla 2004 & Monster X
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) may not have been the perfect sendoff for Godzilla after 50 years, but it did give us many neat redesigns of classic monsters as well as a brand new one. It's pretty odd that Bandai released a MonsterArts Gigan 2004 without a Godzilla 2004 nor Monster X to accompany it. Godzilla 2004 is, apparently, a popular version of the monster in Japan. Monster X, though totally an unnecessary monster to begin with since (SPOILER ALERT) it's a primitive form of another King Ghidorah-like creature (aka Keizer Ghidorah,) its design is a unique one in the scope of the entire Godzilla series and would look great if paired with Gigan 2004. Though Monster X is not a likely choice for a figure, Godzilla 2004 has a sliver of a chance of being made in the future.
#08 - Gigan 1972
I know, I know, Kaiyodo already have us a super-articulated Showa Gigan figure in their SCI-FI Revoltech line, but really, how many of us think that figure is groundbreaking? The details may look nice, but there are too many gaps in the joints that it's hard not to not notice them! With Bandai's MonsterArts Gigan 2004 being such a hit with collectors, I feel that they would do Gigan 1972 justice if they ever decide to return to the Showa era.
#10 - Male & Female MUTOs
The decapitated head of the Female MUTO that will be accompanied with the upcoming MonsterArts Godzilla (2014) Spit Fire Ver. is a tease, in my opinion. How much of a chance is there that Bandai would release Male and Female MUTOs into the MonsterArts line? It is really hard to tell, to be frank. While the MUTOs are figures that deserve screen-accurate figures, and are also in demand by collectors, will Bandai be willing to produce such new and unrecognizable creatures into the MonsterArts line? It seems unlikely, but I still hold a faint sliver of hope that we will get them someday.
#11 - MORE GAMERA MONSTERS!
The only totally brand new figure we saw this year was Gamera 1996, released back in late January, which seems so distant now. However, with the Gamera license, Bandai has opened more possibilities for the S.H. MonsterArts line with the potentials for an in-scale super articulated Legion, Gyaos, or Irys from Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera film trilogy. However, why have we not seen anything? I am doubtful that Gamera had bad sales. It also turned out to be one of the best figures in the line, period. So what gives? Especially considering the fact that 2015 is Gamera's 50th anniversary, I was expecting more turtle meat this year. Still, I am hopeful that Gamera 1996 will not be the first and last of its kind in this line.
#11 - Other Licenses - Cloverfield, Pacific Rim, etc.
Only a few times has Bandai tackled western properties for the S.H. MonsterArts line with the first being Peter Jackson's version of King Kong in spring 2012, which was a decent figure, and then the Alien vs. Predator figures, which were a complete train wreck in my opinion! Their choices in North American properties have been very sour, and I think that MonsterArts does best when it sticks to giant monsters. With that in mind, the two big properties that fans hope to see Bandai tackle with MonsterArts are Pacific Rim (2013) and Cloverfield (2008.) The former has a whole plethora of monsters and mechs play with. Given that Bandai is releasing their UltraAct x S.H. Figuarts ULTRAMAN this July, it gives us the possibility of figure lines crossing over with each other. With that, it's possible to think that if any of the Jaegers were to be done by Bandai, they'd probably do a Soul of Chogokin x S.H. MonsterArts type of crossover. The Kaiju themselves could easily be purely MonsterArts figures. In regards to Cloverfield (2008) there was only one figure ever produced of the monster, and it was done in sheer limited numbers, by Hasbro in late 2008. It would certainly be nice if Bandai did their own figure of the monster for MonsterArts, but given how the film is hardly remembered nowadays, it's pretty unlikely, unless the long-rumored sequel is green-lit by Paramount Studios.
What monsters do you wish to see be made as S.H. MonsterArts figures? Share your lists in the comments section below!