Toy Tribute: Godzilla GMK vs. Final Wars (Bandai Japan)

Many Godzilla fans look down upon the Millenium Series of movies (Godzilla 2000 through Godzilla: Final Wars). I can understand the disdain. Godzilla 2000 was a reboot, totally discarding the continuing storyline of the popular Heisei Series (Godzilla 1984 through Godzilla vs. Destroyer). Right when it was getting interesting too, with Godzilla melting down and Junior taking over as King of the Monsters. Still, I love the Millenium Series. Since the movies were largely independent of one another, Godzilla could be totally reinvented and redesigned for each movie. Naturally, that leads to debate over which Millenium Godzilla is the coolest. Here we let two of Bandai Japan's Godzilla vinyls duke it out: one from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (also known as GMK) and the other from Godzilla: Final Wars! Round one... fight!

Tale of the Tape

Left: GMK; Right: Final Wars.

GMK: Height - 8.5 inches, Length - 12.75 inches
Final Wars: Height - 9 inches, Length - 14 inches

Clearly, Final Wars has the advantage in height and length, but GMK is more massive with bulkier features. Check out more details in the pics below (the first two pics are of GMK, the second two are of Final Wars).

Different Godzillas can look very similar to the layman, so we'll have to break down each figure by body region to determine which is the coolest.

Cephalic Region

Left: GMK; Right: Final Wars.

GMK's countenance looks like that of a true meanie. It's the only Godzilla design that doesn't have irises, leaving his eyes blank with only ghostly white sclera. Add to that a snarly robust rostrum and massive neck and jaws, and you have a monster who means business. The head is a throwback to the creature's Godzillasaurus roots, with features that are both dinosaurian and crocodilian.

Final Wars Godzilla tones down that meanness with slighter and sharper features. The irises in Godzilla's eyes are back, but are orange among black sclera. The rostrum is thinner and tapers to a point, and the ears are much more pronounced. The Final Wars look is less "dinosaur" and more "Chinese dragon".

However, I always prefer dinosaurs to dragons (not to mention the fact that GMK's blank eyes are too cool for school), so the advantage goes to GMK.

Vertebral Plates and Tail

Left: GMK; Right: Final Wars.

The dorsal plates are similar between the two figures, but follow the general trend of both: GMK's spikes are bulky and rounded, while those of Final Wars are thinner and sharper. But the coloration is drastically different. The paint spray on the Final Wars spikes are significantly lighter than on GMK, which makes the spikes look like they're glowing right before Godzilla blasts his fire breath. That extra play potential gives Final Wars an advantage.

Left: GMK; Right: Final Wars.

GMK's tail is significantly shorter than the Final Wars tail. One of the hallmarks of a cool Godzilla design is an unreasonably long tail, so Final Wars wins this category.

Analysis of the Hands and Feet

Left: GMK; Right: Final Wars.

Here again in the hands we see the contrast between the more realistic dinosaurian design of GMK and the more fantastical dragon-esque design of Final Wars. GMK's hands have a stronger structure, with deeper grooves in the thick claws that imply a powerful grip. The hands of the Final Wars figure are thinner and less impressive.

Interestingly, the Final Wars feet break the dragon trend. Even though they lay flat, they're very similar to those of a theropod dinosaur like T-Rex. But again, they're somewhat dainty compared to the borderline grotesque feet and massive toe-claws of GMK. So, GMK gets the nod in this category.

Godzilla: Monster or Hero?

The different designs reflect the different characterizations of Godzilla in the two movies. In GMK, Godzilla was clearly a destructive monster, with the three "Guardian Monsters" (Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah) defending Japan against him. Godzilla's design is appropriately more monstrous, creepy, and powerful to denote this "bad guy" persona.

In Final Wars, Godzilla was more of a hero, saving the world from the exploits of aliens. Although Godzilla is far from the over-the-top "good guy" characterization common in the 70's movies, he's ultimately the defender of the Earth. His features may be less substantial than GMK's, but they're perfect for a hero.

In the end, Godzilla for me works best as a monster, not a hero. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and the vindictive Godzilla is nature's reaction to the nuclear follies of mankind. He's an unstoppable destructive force, not the Earth's champion. That ultimately makes GMK my pick as the winner of this match!

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.