Well we’re finally wrapping up Japanese Monster Week and although it was a lot of fun, it didn’t quite reach the epic heights I had hoped. I ended up not even getting around to reviewing four figures that I had wanted, but I’ll review them on the site another time I suppose. Technically the week ended yesterday, but one of the main reasons for doing Japanese Monster Week was to review this Chogokin Gamera figure.


You may remember me referencing the Kaneko Gamera movies earlier in the week at the pinnacle of all Kaiju film. This is very true and in 2006 when Daiei no longer made Gamera and the new company Kadokawa Pictures which owns Gamera and all former Daiei properties decided to make a new Gamera movie it was met with much fanfare. This was to be the 40th Anniversary of Gamera and many fans were excited to see what would happen in the next chapter of the Gamera saga…


But all that excited interest soon turned to fanboy outrage when it was revealed that this wouldn’t be Gamera IV or V (if you count the fan film) and would instead be a homage to the older Gamera movies. This meant Gamera would once again relate to children. OH NO RETURN OF THE KENNIES! Kadokawa Pictures also redesigned Gamera and the fans crapped all over the movie. Well, at least until they saw it and even then some fans begrudged it despite the fact that Gamera The Brave (Or Little Braves, depending on where you see it) is indeed a fine Gamera film. One of the best even. Because most people ignored this movie, the Chogokin Gamera from the film hasn’t gotten a lot of love, but it is currently (at least until the Revoltech Gamera is released.) most articulated Gamera around. So is this toy awesome or not quite good enough?

Packaging:
You’re getting a massive review here because the packaging and figure inside is so elaborate. This isn’t some cheap Bandai vinyl with no packaging, this is a wonderful Chogokin figure with tons of accessories and extras.


The box is pretty big and well made. It has a couple of pictures of the figure on it, with a few different poses as well as the inner egg shown off. As well as some Japanese text.


The back shows off a variety of the different forms you can put this Gamera into. He’s like a transformer! Only he doesn’t really do any transforming. You might want to check this picture out because I never put him into several of these forms.


Inside is a styrofoam box with two sides to it. One side opens to reveal some of Gamera’s pieces and parts. The other side opens to reveal the rest, as well as the mini “baby Gamera” figure and egg.


There is also a set of instructions on the inside. As you can see there is plenty of awesome stuff in this package. It’s a well done box and everything is neatly protected inside. Kudos Bandai.

Articulation:
Chogokin figures are typically super articulated. Especially for the genre of Kaiju, so you have to put this figure together. Chogokin also means metal parts. Gamera’s shell is entirely made of metal. Which means this thing has some serious heft to it. Not so much that it’s unplayable, but enough that you feel like your getting your money’s worth.


I included a scale show with an XBox 360 controller to give you an idea just how big this thing is. Gamera’s shell is about the size of a real turtle shell. In the movie Gamera starts out as a real turtle and grows to gigantic proportions over time. There shell here is loaded with detail and looks like a real turtle shell.


Next you have to connect the head, arms feet and hands. Each piece is separate but that gives you a good breakdown of the articulation. It’s quite a lot especially if you’re used to the regular Bandai vinyl figures.


Gamera has a ball jointed tail with limited movement, rotating swivel legs, clicky hinge joint knees, ball jointed feet, swivel semi-ball jointed shoulders, swivel arm battle grip, hinged elbows, swivel semi ball wrists. Up top he has a swivel semi ball jointed neck with additional up and down movement. One of Gamera’s three, yes THREE different heads has an articulated jaw. That’s my favorite head as it allows a ton of poses with the mouth.


Sculpt:
Although Gamera or “Toto” as he was referred to in the film a few times, looks quite different than traditional Gamera, it’s clear this is Gamera. He reminds me a lot of the classic Gamera but he’s done in a brown and yellow scheme instead of the regular green. His eyes have a bit of an anime look to them, which a lot of people took issue with but this was done to make him look slightly friendlier. If you repainted the eyes to look evil, this figure would look evil. It’s amazing how much the eyes can make the difference.


There is just so much detail in this figure I really don’t know where to start. The articulation is really weaved in almost seamlessly and the only areas that this is really shown is the cuts and at the ball joints on the feet. It’s really well done and makes me wish for more articulated Kaiju.


The shell is probably the most impressive. The inner part just looks amazing and the outer shell as I said looks so realistic it could pass for a real turtle shell.


I honestly can’t find a single thing wrong with this sculpt. It looks identical to the on screen counterpart.


Dude, no fair.


The added poseability really ups the fun ante as now you’re finally able to depict some epic battles between Gamera and the Gyaos.


The size and scale are just about perfect. Gamera comes in at a little over 6 inches and fits in perfectly with your other Bandai vinyl figures.



The paint work is truly top notch. This is painted way better than any Bandai vinyl. He looks just amazing and they spared no expense on multiple washes, highlights and tones. You can tell a lot of work was put into coloring this guy. This is one of the better painted figures I’ve seen in some time, quite honestly. It’s hard to recognize a lot of the work done on the paint because of the dull colors unless you have this in hand.


This is just an amazing version of this design of Gamera and is to date, the best Gamera figure ever made. Even if it’s not the best design of gamera.

Accessories:
Usually when I go over a Kaiju figure, there is no accessories to speak of. All week I haven’t had anything in this section. The Chogokin Gamera changes all that. This guy has more accessories than he knows what to do with.


First he has a sleeping or “dead” head. This can be used to replicate Gamera as he appeared during a portion of the film when the Japanese Government captured him. This could also be used as a crawling or flying head if you wished.



Next we have an open mouth head. Now the regular head with the articulated jaw will let you open his mouth pretty wide, so why this head? Well it’s REALLY wide. This I assume could be used for biting or blowing fire.


He also comes with a battle damaged hand. This is scene specific from when Zedus blasts through Gamera’s hand with his tongue. Brutal stuff.


Then we have “baby Gamera” which in the film was played by an actual baby turtle. This looks exactly like it did in the film and if you put this in an aquarium people would probably think this is a real miniature turtle.


Also included is a plastic egg that you can put the baby turtle in.


If that wasn’t enough, the shell also can be swapped into a “broken” shell to simulate Gamera hatching.


Gamera’s egg came in this strange little space rock in the movie and this is here as well. The detail on this thing is out of this world. Reminds me of the little things they had in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.


Gamera also has extra legs, feet and a tail for his crawling/dead/sick version that I didn’t bother to take pictures of. Seriously I’m at like 35 pictures, deal with it.

Additional Notes:
This is really an amazing figure. So is the movie. It’s such a shame that this figure and the movie didn’t get a better reception. I realize that the Kaneko trilogy set the bar so high, but these movies can’t be held down because of it.


This is a great figure.

Value:
Originally these retailed for $89-99 bucks. You can now find them for around $60 and it’s definitely worth it for that price. It’s not cheap by any means, but it definitely is much more worth the pricetag than many of the expensive Bandai vinyls.


If you want to get one Gamera figure, honestly this one should be it. I think if you took this figure and put a quick green dry brush over it you could make this look a lot more like classic Gamera as well. At some point I may buy a second one and attempt that.


Eww Gyaos puke!

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Two Extra Heads, Battle Damaged Hand, Baby Gamera, Two Shells, Shell Holder, Shell Stand, Extra Tail, Extra Arms, Extra Legs
Value – 9
Overall – 10 out of 10


How can I not give this a perfect rating? It’s not that much more expensive than a lot of vinyl figure, it has a great film accurate design, it’s super poseable and is loaded down with extras. It’s everything you could want in a Kaiju figure.


“Whatchu talking bout Gyaos?”

This figure just keeps on giving as far as I’m concerned. Thanks for checking out Japanese Monster Week all week! This has just been a brief highlight of some of the awesome parts of Kaiju and you can always count on InfiniteHollywood.com to have even more Godzilla/Gamera/Whatever else content in the future.


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