This past week at “mike’s collection” I’ve hit a couple of small milestones. Firstly I posted my 250th post. This may not seem like a big deal to you but growing up as a comic book reader I’ve become accustomed to celebrating every small milestone. Comic companies just love to charge you an extra dollar for a hologram cover or an extra 5 pages in celebration of the comic’s 1 year anniversary, or the 50th issue, or the end of a storyline, or whatever. I try not to make a big deal of every milestone but I think 250 is quite impressive. That’s more blog posts then there are issues of Spawn and he’s been around for 20 years. The second milestone was I had my highest site views ever a couple of days ago. I don’t bother to bring it up every time but this past Wednesday I had 599 views. I still have no idea if that’s impressive or not as I’m still a blogging newbie but it seems good compared to the 7 views a day I was getting when I started this thing. Lara Croft still brings in the majority of my views, god bless Angelina Jolie and her bikini. Oddly enough my Barbapapa post from the other day has skyrocketed in views and has quickly become my 4th most viewed entry. Weird. You just never know what people are looking for.
So let’s celebrate these milestones by reviewing one of my favorite film stars: Godzilla. I’ve been holding off on reviewing this guy partly because I don’t have very many Godzilla toys and I didn’t want to review him to early and forget to say something about him and then not have another opportunity to do so. If I forget to talk about something in a Cobra Commander post I’ll just mention it when reviewing one of my dozens of other Cobra Commander figures. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze all my Godzilla thoughts into this entry but when I was deciding on a special toy to celebrate post number two-fifty this is the first guy that came to mind.
I wouldn’t exactly say I grew up on Godzilla because truth be told I think I may have only seen 2 or 3 of his films as a kid. I seem to recall seeing King Kong vs Godzilla as a child, probably a Mothra one and I think I caught Godzilla vs the Sea Monster on TV at one point. I most likely saw Godzilla 1985 as well but I couldn`t swear by any of these. I more or less grew up fascinated by the concept of Godzilla more than the actual films. I loved big movie monsters like the Kraken, the Rancor and even the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The thought of one of them stomping all over a city was just awesome. Doug and I played the game Rampage all the time on our Commodore 64 computer, where you play simultaneously as giant monsters and the goal is to destroy buildings and eat people. Repetitive but fun. I would`ve loved Godzilla movies, games and toys as a kid but they just weren`t that easy to find so I settled for knock-offs and imitations.
It really wasn`t until the release of the American-made Godzilla movie of 1998 that I truly got to indulge my Godzilla craving. G-fans tend to bash that movie a lot but there’s no denying that it was good for the brand. All the sudden my local Blockbuster had a standee up in their store with a bunch of re-releases of the old Godzilla movies available for sale on VHS to coincide with the new films theatrical release. I bought up all they had and was finally able to appreciate the “greatness” of those films. It was my first introduction to Gigan, Megalon, Jet Jaguar, and more. The American version I actually quite enjoyed even if it didn`t really feel like Godzilla. I know they were going for a more realistic approach, making Godzilla behave more animalistic but I prefer my Godzilla to part Super Hero/Villain/Wrestler.
After the release of American Godzilla movie the Japanese studio who created Godzilla in the first place, TOHO, began pumping out a new crop of Godzilla movies. I feel these films were Godzilla at his best. The production values had gone way up as did the storytelling and acting. The campy silliness of the old movies was gone and Godzilla was ferocious again; a force of nature as he was originally intended to be. The monsters were still all played by actors in rubber suits but very convincing suits. Godzilla himself had undergone a serious makeover, he was bigger and bulkier, his fins were bigger and spikier, and his face was meaner and more detailed. I really enjoyed this run of films which culminated with 2004’s Final Wars. I only wish there had been more continuity between them. Almost every film released during this time started a new continuity that didn’t acknowledge the past films.
Despite being around since the 50s and having over 20 films to his name, finding decent Godzilla product in North America is not an easy feat. I’m sure they’re drowning in rubber Godzillas in Japan but over here only a few characters have been released. Bandai is the company who holds the rights to the character over here and their releases are sparse. They put out a few toys to coincide with the release of Final Wars a few years ago. My pal Andrew was vacationing in the US and brought me back an 8 inch figure of retro Godzilla. It was a great gift but slightly overshadowed by the fact that he had bought himself massive 12 inch figures of modern Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. I love my little Godzilla but man was I jealous of those things. A couple of years later my comic shop Strange Adventures finally got those same figures in along with a third character, Gigan. I scooped up the three of them and now I’ve got my own little Monster Island (home of Godzilla) going on atop my bookshelves.
I’ll wrap this up by actually talking about the figure. This thing is awesome. It’s big enough that he’s daunting to almost all of my other action figures. While it’s far from the proper scale, having this guy attack my G.I. Joe headquarters still makes for an epic scene of destruction. The detailing is fantastic from the scales all over his body, to the spikes on his spine and even his cute little ears. The face has a great look of anger and pissed offy-ness that says that this guy is ready to rumble. My retro Godzilla almost appears to be smiling but not this guy, he means business. I love the dark tone of green they used on this figure, it’s almost black but it suits him perfectly. Other paint apps are minimal as they should be. I dig the orange eyes. He does have joints on his arms, legs, head and tail but he really isn’t able to move all that much. He can’t exactly be posed dynamically but the movements possible in the actual rubber suit were most likely similarly restrited. Honestly I wouldn’t care if this thing didn’t move at all. Like my old rubber dinosaurs or LJN wrestlers I’d have been happy with a solid hunk of plastic to stomp my other toys with. Long live the King of Monsters! 10 out of 10.