Ultraman Week continues as we take a look at an Ultraman figure from my youth. In fact he’s the first Ultraman figure I ever owned. I believe I got him for a birthday one year, along with Majamba and Gerukadon. They had battles together for YEARS! This toy was definitely a big part of my youth and a big part of why I love Ultraman so much.
Ultraman: Towards The Future
10 Inch Scale
Set your Wayback machines to 1992, when, DreamWorks, a subsidiary of Bandai, launched their toy line in conjunction with the launch of Ultraman: Towards The Future in the United States. DreamWorks had mostly targeted the American toy scene and had some success with stuff like Stompers cars. The Ultraman: Towards The Future line certainly showed promise (as did the show IMO) but outside of one official wave, consisting of six large 10 inch figures, a couple of vehicles and a city playset.
Jack Shindo and Stanely Haggard are members of the first manned expedition to Mars, and on the red planet find a giant slug-like monster, Goudes/Gudis. Suddenly the giant warrior, Ultraman, arrives and fights Gudis, but is knocked down for a period. Shindo is pinned by a rockslide and Haggard tries to escape in their ship but is blown and killed up by Gudis. It is then that Ultraman gets up, and when he is on the verge of victory Gudis changes into a virus and travels to Earth, where it mutates other creatures into monsters and awakens existing ones. Needing a human host to survive on Earth, Ultraman joins with Jack, allowing him to become the mighty alien when all seems lost. He joins UMA in order to help them battle the monsters.
I’ve had this guy since I was a kid, which goes to show you how much I liked him. In fact if you notice that he’s covered in scratches and damage, you’ll realize also that he got a lot of play time. Hey, I don’t just decide to devote a week to Ultraman for giggles, I’m a fan.
These came in large window boxes. I haven’t had that in decades, so I’ll spare you this boring section. Look at these nice pictures though…
Notice that there were two variants of Jack Shindo, blue and red. I don’t know which was more common… But I had a blue.
I don’t have Jack Shindo anymore. I haven’t seen him since “The Midnight Society” were exchanging fireside spooky stories on “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?”. For what it’s worth, I think the red looks more visually appealing, but the figures were small, about the size of a M.A.S.K. figure and slightly less articulated. Actually they reminded me a big more of Dino-Riders.
I did like the attempt to make the humans smaller than Ultraman. The Wikipedia article on this toy line erroneously mentions that the humans were “well out of scale with the other toys”, but that seems like a downright stupid statement. In order for Jack Shindo to be “in scale” he’d have to be the size of an ant. This was a nice compromise.
The best part about these figures, was the size. At 10 inches, they felt giant. Especially to little 8 year old fingers. The vinyl used on them is semi-soft but he’s got a bit more of a hard plastic feeling than most Bandai’s I get now. Bandai generally used harder vinyl back then, but rest assured he’s nearly indestructible.
Ultraman Great (as he’s known in Japan, he was just Ultraman in the US at the time) featured the unique element of his suit being made of spandex. The regular Ultraman costumes are sort of a faux leather, so his suit was tighter form fitting, but also lacked the distinctive fin running down his back. That makes this figure’s design sort of one off in that respect. The mold says 1990, but I don’t think these actually hit till 91 or 92, depending on what syndication package it was sold in.
Because of the large size, he’s not going to fit in with any of your old Bandai vinyls. He’s in good scale with the rest of the 10 inch guys, though. I used to think his eyes glowed in the dark, but I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.The paint work was solid though and he’s sculpted well. I like that he’s got a chop hand and a punch fist. You can get a lot of poses, despite his limited articulation.
Speaking of articulation, it’s all cuts here. He’s cut at the neck, shoulders, waist and legs. Since the waist cut isn’t round, you can’t really turn it much. There might even be a glue seal in there. I remember my Gerukadon broke in half when I did that. Not to worry, he was easily fixed. Ultraman does have a little movement at the waist, though, so I’m mentioning it.
Again, Wikipedia slams the articulation on this figure… But there haven’t been many Ultramans with good articulation. Sure, Ultra-Act Ultraman that I’m reviewing later this week makes this guy look like a glorified turd by comparison… But prior to it’s release, most Bandai vinyl Ultraman figures didn’t even have articulated legs!
For the time, he wasn’t articulated bad at all. Heck, that’s just as many points of articulation as Batman figures had. Dreamworks probably could have reused old Bandai vinyl molds, but instead made their own. That’s noteworthy in my view.
Jack Shindo came with a gun and Ultraman came with Jack Shindo. Huzzah!
I think these were like, $10 or something? Not bad I’ll tell you that. I hear they didn’t sell well and sat at K*B Toys for a while, but I don’t recall that. I mean, I remember seeing them at K*B, but not peg warming for years. I would have bought more if I’d saw them in the mid-1990’s.
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Jack Shindo, Gun
Value – 8
Overall – 7 out of 10
Despite being a product of his times, this is a good figure. He looks great on a display shelf and if you can find one in good condition, he’s not a bad pickup. The monsters from this line are good too, though they have tougher competition with the Bandai line. Obviously my version of Ultraman is in pretty crappy shape, but that’s okay because he’s just now reached the age where he can retire and the superior figure can now take his mantle. Thanks for the memories Dreamworks Ultraman! You’ve served me well!