Godzilla might be dead at the movies (at least for now) but Godzilla collecting has some new life breathed into it thanks to Bandai's S.H. Monsterarts line. I'm more of a vinyl collector on a budget, so I haven't plunged head-long into this borderline prohibitively expensive line just yet. I did score a basic Godzilla a while back and it's certainly an impressive figure. Unfortunately, the prices of the others have been just north of what I consider reasonable for a toy, so I've abstainted... that is, until I saw this Godzilla Junior for the low, low price of $50! Zoinks! Does Junior live up to the cost? Let's take a look!
You might remember Junior from 1995's Godzilla vs. Destroyah, the last movie of the Heisei saga. He's a more mature version of the baby Godzilla with which you're probably more familiar. I always thought his streamlined theropod-esque look was pretty groovy, and it would have been interesting to see how a Godzilla like this would play out as the star of his own movie. Unfortunately, my collection has been Junior-less until now, so I was excited to fill that hole with this Monsterarts figure.
That is, until I opened the box. Oh, it's a nice figure, mind you. The sculpt and paint apps look fantastic, and this toy might even look better than that weird half-sized puppet that the fully matured Destroyah threw around in the movie. The articulation offers a spectacular range of movement that allow Junior to strike poses that look like he popped right off the celluloid. The articulation points might fragment the sculpt into arthropod-like segments that are even more distracting than those of the Monsterarts Godzilla, but I can live with that.
What I can't live with is what you get for your money. I didn't even think about scale when I bought him, but in the movie, Junior is about half the size of Papa Godzilla. This figure maintains the proper scale, which is great, but that means that you get a Godzilla that's roughly the size of a Star Wars figure. For half a Benjamin. Keep in mind the basic Godzilla costs $65 and is double the size. Even taking import costs into account, Junior should be a $35 toy at most.
I suppose that would be okay if you get some sizable accessories along with him, but he only comes with two itty-bitty helicopters (presumably the G-Force and news copters from the movie). Larger and cooler accessories, like the Super-X3 or mini-figures of the smaller forms of Destroyah, would have gone a long way to help justify the price.
Overall, this is a great figure that is just way too expensive. I'm looking at Junior wondering what my $50 bought, and it's obvious that it's not much. I'm more of a vinyl kaiju collector anyway. The vinyl figures are so much more fun and toy-like whereas this is clearly a collector's item meant to live out its existence permanently confined to a display shelf. Godzilla vinyls can also be cost-prohibitive, but I could have picked up a vintage vinyl Junior for less than the money I spent on this Monsterarts figure. I'm not sure if this will be my last Monsterarts figure, especially since the upcoming Godzilla 1964 looks all kinds of cool. But for now, I'll concentrate my money on vinyls where it matters most.