Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: S.H.Monsterarts Gamera -1996 version-

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Gamera 2: Legion Shurai
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 14cm tall
Original Price: 9,504 Yen


S.H.Monsterarts Gamera's box is a bit big since they do fit something as bulky as him in there and that his accessories are a little big; as for the design, I believe the Godzilla series also utilizes the same style of having the box windows look like they've been torn by a monster. Nothing special around the sides of the box as one side features a shot of the great turtle while the other is... well, a cut shot lol. The back side is your usual product features that goes across different toylines as well.


Before I go into the main meat of Gamera's details, I'll focus on the elements of his head first, when I busted this guy out of the package, the first thing I noticed was that his eyes were too big; frankly speaking, it does affect Gamera's overall look and makes him a little less menacing than how he should be, the eyes really need to be little smaller and this figure rendition could've been perfect.

Similar to the revoltechs, you can open up Gamera's mouth and see a neat amount of details in there; the tongue is really molded in there very well as it really pops out and is easily identifiable thanks to the depth of the gap between the jaws and the tongue; nitpick number 2 is that some of the paint on his teeth are really messed up so yeah, I say, could've done better.

Now to the real meat of the details, much like how detailed the Alien Warrior from the same line was, Gamera's skin is amazingly sculpted to recreate that rough wrinkled look and feel that stays true to his G2 design. The joints are all hidden but of course, this comes with the cost of have more visual mold cuts but yeah, as you pose Gamera, there's little to none that breaks the mold by leaving in big gaps so that was pretty intuitive of the Monsterarts line.

G2 had Gamera grow spikes on on his elbow and I really like how they did it, much like his skin, the elbow spikes retain that ancient looking texture and top it off with the paint choice, it really looks great; the paint also extends to his monstrous nails as well as his "tusks" as seen in the teeth pic above.

As for his shell and plastron, now I really like how the shell turned out, it looks solid and there are some nice paint work going on in there. However for his plastron, I think it could've used more rough or rather more visible roughness similar to the Revoltech one, but again, just a minor nitpick.

One neat part about his plastron is that instead of swapping it out, you can open it up which is a feature that was only seen once in the Heisei trilogy, which was when Gamera used the Earth's energy and turn it into the ultimate plasma to, once and for all, defeat Legion. This feature does come with build flaw on mine as once I opened it up once, some of the hinges became loose, making it hard to keep his plastron closed properly.

For a size comparison, here he is next to Revoltech's rendition of the Gamera 2 movie design. The monsterarts has a really neat scale as he's almost twice as big as the revoltech.

Now despite officially advertised as 14cm, I believe he is much taller than that, as when standing next to another toku giant like Ultra-Act Dark Zagi, Gamera falls just a little shorter so 14cm is actually more of around 15-16cm.

Articulation Points:

Now given that my first two monsterarts are more humanoids than an actual kaiju, Gamera, being my third entry to my monsterarts collection, is actually my first real kaiju so, exactly how does Gamera fare in articulation, of course, you can't expect the same amount of articulation that Alien Warrior had.

Now the thing to note about Gamera is that in every cut you can see on his mold, there's bound to be some movement you can do there be it a very minor movement or a major one; that said, Gamera's head does have a decent range of motion, from looking completely up (perfect for his flight poses) and looking down to a decent degree.  You can also make him look sidewards thanks to a series of joints on the neck; this actually surprised me since I wasn't expecting Gamera to be able to do this much.

As for the arms, given that Gamera isn't a humanoid, you can raise his arms only to a 90 which also applies to to his sideward raise. Surprisingly, despite his mold and structure, you CAN indeed utilize a bicep swivel; additionally, his elbows can bend to 90 degrees as well. Finally, he does have a wrist swivel that you can utilize.

For his legs, you can raise it probably to around nearly 45 degrees since by default, you can't straighten up Gamera's legs, his side split is little to none but does have a thigh swivel to allow Gamera to kick baddies. His knees have little to none bend since they are already bended by default, but you can raise em' up a little bit and lastly, you can swivel in his ankles. 

Finally, as I've mentioned in the beginning of this section, each cut does have some movement in it so this is the magic to his poseable tail, which is pretty much a standard in Monsterarts I believe as this was also done in Alien Warrior.


For accessories, Gamera does come with with his Plasma breath, complete with a stand for it and a flaming ground base that the stand can peg into; there is a weird thing happening in here though, it is a base yes, but tamashii arm clamps fit loosely on the peghole it provides so if you want to do more dynamic breath effects, you'll just have to settle with the default tamashii base as the flame only works with the stands that this set comes with; speaking of stands, this set also comes with a big support stand that can be used in tandem with the remaining of Gamera's accessories; these are parts to convert your default Gamera to his non-spinning flight mode! In the form of an alternate lower torso as well as a pair of alternate flight arms, this allows you to recreat Gamera's flight mode as seen in the 2nd Heisei film.


Gamera possesses an amazing array of joints that's perfect for a Kaiju, and as such, he can pretty much do the things that he does in the film itself. From slashing with his claws to kicking, the friend of all children certainly is not a brick. 

Though I've complained that his eyes were a little too big, certain head tilts combined with the right angle in photography sessions turns his appearance into a very menacing one! The flight mode is definitely a good addition to Gamera and though there's not much you can do on his flight mode, Gamera can indeed move a bit even in this setup, he can even fire his plasma breath!

Now because of the scale difference, I've only made two shots of Monsterarts Gamera fighting the revoltech renditions of his movie nemesis. Additionally, using a tamashii stand does allow you to use his plasma breath to double as an effect for his ultimate plasma.

The remaining photos below are just for fun since I've pitted him against Dark Zagi for a giant versus giant showdown since Zagi is in a better scale with him.

Final Thoughts:

Monsterarts Gamera is definitely not without flaws and actually, comparing it to the revoltech one, there isn't much of a difference in terms of details, but detail wise aside, this is absolutely superior to the revoltech. However, the price point of S.H.Monsterarts Gamera is definitely not cheap like the Revoltech so you might want to ponder on that as well, but as Gamera fan, you definitely should pick this up! The quality on this one is really good and is pretty much the best articulated G2 Gamera to date. And, as usual, before I end my review, I got this great figure from Onegai Onii-chan, so do check them out for your japanese figure needs!

I give the friend of all children a friendly 4 out of 5!

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