Godzilla may be King of the Monsters, but when it comes to good Kaiju movies Gamera is actually the king. To be fair most of Gamera’s 60’s-80’s movies are absolutely terrible, so if we’re doing mean, median and mode, Godzilla would probably win… But if we’re doing a straight count of awesome Japanese monster movies, Gamera wins for the acclaimed Shusuke Kaneko Gamera Trilogy. Kaneko created three films that connected directly to one another that is the epitome of everything Kaiju.


Prior to Kaneko getting ahold of Gamera, he really didn’t have a arch villain. However if you had to choose one, it was probably Gyaos as he appeared in his own title film “Gamera versus Gyaos” as well as a silver “Space” Gyaos which appeared in “Gamera versus Guiron”. There was also some appearances of Gyaos throughout stock footage.

In 1995 Kaneko re-envisioned the Gyaos and Gamera. Gyaos was now a creation of the lost city of Atlantis to control pollution. The Gyaos were a genetic mutation and they were also a-sexual and as a result began to breed out of control and destroyed Atlantis… Not before they created Gamera to defend them however. Through the course of the next three films Gamera would do battle with Gyaos time and time again.

Now Gyaos was no longer one entity, but a entire race who was constantly locked in mortal combat with Gamera. Another idea that Kaneko introduced in these films was the evolution of the creatures. Both Gamera and Gyaos go through different evolving states, as such that brings us to today’s review, the “Hyper Gyaos” from Gamera III: Revenge of Iris.

Packaging:
I mentioned earlier this week about how Japanese vinyl figures usually don’t have a package. That’s the case here. It has the infamous “tag”. These tags are the only packaging that come on these figures in Japan. The tag is a very important piece of the figure. Without the tag, the figure is considered less valuable.


It’s a pretty crazy idea that you’d keep a tag on the figure, but I suppose it’s no crazier than keeping a figure inside it’s package to retain it’s value. Seriously, what’s up with that? The same basic rules apply to tags as they would packages. A figure with it’s tag removed is worth significantly less than one with it’s tag in tact. If the tag has been cut but is still with the figure, then it’s worth a tad more but not much. Similar to how a figure with it’s packaging but out of it, is worth a bit more than a loose figure.


For whatever reason, Hyper Gyaos really isn’t a very rare figure. So if you have one of these guys, don’t feel bad clipping the tag off. I’ve left one with the tag off and one with it on to give you an idea of the different looks. The tag itself is quite nice with a great picture of the Hyper Gyaos on it. These tags are pretty neat and they’re certainly less cumbersome than keeping all that excess packaging.


Articulation:
Bandai’s vinyl figures really aren’t known for their articulation. This would be a perfect example of that. Gyaos is articulated only at the legs. The nice part about the legs is that he’s able to put them fully backward to simulate flight. Given the design of the character, you can see why he doesn’t have much articulation. A neck cut wouldn’t have hurt though.


Sculpt:
For being one of the more attainable Bandai Kaiju figures, this guy is a real beaut. The original 60’s Gyaos was a large, clunky Rodan looking creature. The 1995 redesign made it more of a bird style Kaiju but it still seemed a bit chunky. The Hyper Gyaos was perhaps the best designed of them all. It was more streamlined but retained all the core elements.


This figure is a brilliant reproduction of that. The skin is just laced with tons of little detail and the big leathery wings have tons of veins and little hairs on them. It’s really some of the best detail work Bandai has done on a figure. The wingspan is impressive and the winds aren’t one solid piece, but rather one piece folded in two so that it’s got some air in between the two sides. This gives it an authentic wing feel.


Back when I was growing up we had pterodactyls and brontosaurs’ but nowadays they have new fancy scientific names. Regardless, Gyaos has always been a design mixing a bat with a pterodactyl and that’s very obvious here. The one area where this guy really separates from his dinosaur counterpart is the odd shape of his head.


Gyaos head is shaped a bit like a diamond drill bit. It’s a really unique look that helps separate this guy from the pack. The head is well done here and although the Hype Gyaos had a smaller head than the 95′ and Showa versions, it’s definitely his same iconic look.


The tail area is also pretty unique with an extra fin on it’s tail. I have to wonder if actual pterosaurs didn’t have one of these as it would certainly help with directional flying. Then again Titanosaurus also had one and he didn’t fly at all. Maybe I shouldn’t look to Kaiju for my dinosaur knowledge.


Finally we come the paint, the best part of this figure. Bandai doesn’t always do a good job on painting their figures. Gamera from Gamera III as an example has a pretty wonky paint scheme. Yet Gyaos here is painted perfectly and represents a high point in Bandai’s vinyl painting skills. His wings are spray painted a soft gray color, while he’s cast in a really dark purple. Throughout his body is a impressive reddish paint wash that highlights some of the subtle details on the sculpt. It’s a real knockout.

Accessories:
As per the norm, these guys don’t come with anything.

Additional Notes:
A lot of folks shun the Gamera franchise as they think it’s all those stupid movies they saw on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The Kaneko Gamera franchise is a mind blowing movie experience and it’s the only set of movies that freaking Roger Ebert actually said he liked. This Gyaos figure is a great piece of that trilogy and he’s a must have for Kaiju and Gamera fans.


Plus he looks pretty cool fighting your Bandai Godzillas!

Value:
Despite being one of the better Bandai vinyls out there, he’s actually pretty cheap. You can track this figure down in all the usual locations and will probably pay about $11-$13 for him. He’s easily worth $15 even without much articulation. He’s just a really solid sculpt of an awesome creature who’s stomped on Japan almost as many times as anyone else.


Doing the pimp lean.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 4
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Nothing
Value – 9
Overall – 8 out of 10

There’s really nothing to fault this guy with. A few more points of articulation would be good, but until the Revoltech Gyaos proves to us that articulation in this design can work, this guy is the best Gyaos around. He’d make a perfect addition to anyone’s toy shelf.


A battle for Atlantis? Trippy.

Keep checking in for more Japanese Monster Week all week! I’ve even got some more updates coming later today.

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