Saturday, January 24, 2009
Bandai 2008 "Decisive Battle! The Super 8 Ultra Brothers" vinyl kaiju assortment
King Gesura, King Goldoras, King Silvergon, Super Hipporit, and King Pandon
This year, as my Christmas Gift To Myself, I picked up this really cool set of 6" scale monster toys from the recent Tsuburaya production "Decisive Battle! The Super 8 Ultra Brothers" They are no disappointment. While a couple of these feel a little light in terms of weight and size, Bandai really pours it on with the sculpts and paint detail. A great feature article on the film itself can be found here
Each comes with the now familiar additional game card, which enables one to "Charge Up" a character in the Ultraman arcade game, and the standard tag, which has a uniformed layout featuring a group shot of the Ultra Brothers, film logo, and small photo of the particular kaiju it is attached to.
I had been admiring these guys for a few months before taking the plunge. The two that compelled me to do so were the keen redesigns for Gesura and, especially, Pandon. "King" Gesura (they are all Kings now) has an elongated tail and more pronounced detail, otherwise it probably isn't the most radical departure from the original design.
As for the being a toy, it's the smallest of the bunch, but again, the detail is what counts here, and frankly, it's nice to have a modern tooling of this classic character. King Pandon, on the other hand is nothing less than a total re-thinking of the original design.
Gone are the metallic robot limbs and abstract facial features, this guy is now a two headed dragon with beaks and claws! He looks like he could eat you, and that, as we all know, is the stuff a great Kaiju is made of.
King Goldoras gets the most points for heft and articulation, and King Silvergon is cool just for showing up, but the real suprise (for me) is how much I LOVE Super Hipporit.
This character is a testament to how far the suitmation technology in these movies has come. It's another creature that hasn't been revised TOO much, yet still manages to bring something new to the table. The proportions are streamlined and the detailing draws from the H.R.Giger school of weirdness, even if the color scheme is a dead giveaway that this is still Tsuburaya.
It's the tallest of the toys, and features some nice dry brush paint technique that lend to it's tactile qualities. The snout is articulated, too, in case you forgot that these are intended for kids of all ages.
Over all, Bandai's Decisive Battle! Super 8 Ultra Brothers kaiju assortment is a terrific addition to your kaiju collection, and can be purchased at a reasonable cost of fifteen dollars each or less. When you consider that this is a time when Japan has little to no interest in kaiju tv and films, it's a relief to see some brand new goods being made available. Also, and with that in mind, it's likely that these weren't made in the greatest quantities, so my bet is when the resurgence finally arrives, these toys will become highly sought after by the new crop of collectors. If I'm wrong, they're still really cool and lots of fun. Here's hoping Bandai continue to favor us with additional 6" scale vinyl kaiju for years to come.