4 Inch Scale
By 1971 the Japanese Monster craze was starting to die down. Although Godzilla did crank out five films during the 70’s, the golden goose was starting to lay bronze eggs at best. For Gamera, things were even harder and Daiei would find itself closer and closer to the brink of bankruptcy as Gamera had been milked just about dry. Gamera versus Zigra would be the last film in the series until Gamera: Guardian of the Universe in 1995, not counting of course, the abomination of stock footage known as 1980’s Gamera Super Monster.
Unlike most kaiju, Zigra is intelligent and capable of speech, presumably by telepathic means. He is an alien from an unknown planet that landed on earth via a small spaceship shell – the ship sports the same dorsal fins. For much of the first half of the film, he uses a captured human female as an extension of his will to infiltrate dry land.
Zigra was an interesting monster, with a fish-meets-bird design that made him a strange monster to look at. Daiei’s budget was pretty low, so Zigra didn’t look great, but the design was unique. Trendmasters was able to do something pretty epic with their Gamera toy line and that was to make Zigra look perhaps as he always should have, quite fierce.
The packaging is the same as we’ve seen before in this line, all the figures share the exact same packaging. There is a large photo of Gamera’s head from the film, Guardian of the Universe, but actual Gamera logo doesn’t appear anywhere but the plastic bubble. In a lot of ways the packaging mirrors Trendmasters’ Independence Day toy packages. Trendmasters had more black cards for their toys than probably any toy company ever.
The back of the package is the exact same as the one for Gamera. All the figures share the same card, with only the inner nameplate changing. Once again, the bio is terrific and fairly in-depth for the character, if not quite era accurate.
Unlike Gamera and Gyaos, Zigra had not appeared in any films during the Heisei era. This meant that Trendmasters was left with two possibilities. One, would be to release Zigra just as he had appeared in the film. Which in itself was pretty hokey for the time period. The other option and the one they actually went with, was to modernize the character and give us the “Heisei Zigra”, even if it had no film basis.
Everything on Zigra has been amped up. This is truly a beautiful redesign by Trendmasters. They didn’t try to turn Zigra into a toy, but simply made Zigra look as though he had been brought into the modern age. It’s like looking at vintage Gamera and modern Gamera… They really nailed it.
He has all of Zigra’s traits and colors. From the fins to the red eyes and pointy teeth, it’s all here. Zigra still looks like a bird-dolphin-goblin shark… But now he looks like a true monster, not a goofy guy in a suit. He’s still not the most exciting design in the world, but the depth of Trendmasters’ sculpting ability is really shining here.
The head sculpt does have a hole in it’s head for the missile and unfortunately, once again it leaves his head empty enough that you can see through it. As per the norm, this is the budget version without the electronics, but all the electronic compartments are still there. The good news here is that the actual electronic version of Zigra had a red button on it and here it’s absent. He looks great head to toe.
The design is well detailed, and the only real weak spot is that his head is two pieces glued together. That means up super close you can see a gap. It’s not as visible to the human eye, but clearly it’s a bit worse than a regular mold line.
The articulation is really, really good on Zigra, all things considered. He has a cut neck that allows full range of motion. That’s surprising considering he has that stupid rocket launcher built into his head.
Both arm fins have cuts as well as cuts at the legs and tail. That gives him plenty of movement, both for flying and ground attack poses. You can’t quite convert him to his “fish mode” that he had in the film, but you can pose him quite well for ground battles.
The tail’s positioning allows Zigra to pretty much stand at any angle. His feet are big hooks, as opposed to the “elf boots” of the real costume and that would make standing difficult, you’d think. But the way the tail sets, allows him to pretty much never fall over. Kudos Trendmasters.
Of all the goofy rocket launchers to come with these figures so far, Zigra’s is the best. It isn’t some odd color and instead of being a ray, it’s more of an additional horn. It fits in with the design well.
It’s listed as his paralysis beam, which in the film was more of a spider-silk type material, but it looks like an additional horn to me. It fits into the head quite well and doesn’t take away from the design when it’s in. It does stick out a bit in the back, but not enough to be much of an eye sore.
It seems to fire just by pushing it a bit and works pretty well. I can’t decide if I like him better with it in or out. Either way he looks pretty good, though.
Zigra is probably the most common of the Trendmasters figures. He’s relatively cheap when he shows up and nobody loves poor Zigra. I’m not sure why, he’s a frickin’ fantastic figure! Everything that Trendmasters did here is appropriate and well done. I think I prefer the bare bones version to the electronic version, though, because he doesn’t have that bright red button.
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Missile Head
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10
Trendmasters managed to do everything right with Zigra. Because they completely redesigned Zigra, this is hands down the best Zigra figure ever produced. I have no doubt in my mind that this is how Daiei envisioned Zigra to look when they first came up with the character. The Trendmasters’ design of Zigra is everything this Kaiju could ever hope to be. It’s a little plastic masterpiece in that sense and I doubt it will ever be topped, at least as it relates to this character.