The Godzilla merchandizing bonanza begins! This is going to be a great year for Godzilla nuts like me. Not only do we get a new movie (the first one in 10 years, no less) but we also get gobs of new Godzilla toys to go along with it! I heard that they've started showing up in stores so I thought a quick trip to Toys R Us might be fruitful. And it was! I didn’t get all the toys I wanted (in particular, the torso-sized Godzilla from Jakks Pacific was nowhere to be found) but I did manage to pick up Godzilla with Atomic Roar action!
There aren’t many toys in my collection that I adore more than my Godzilla figures. They’re mostly vinyl, which I’ve always thought was perfect for monster toys because it replicates the rubbery feel of monster skin while making the toys durable and playable. But I’ve been thinking that what my Godzilla collection really needs are action features.
Action features are basically collector kryptonite these days. Often, a figure's sculpt is distorted and its articulation is reduced to accommodate an action feature's internal mechanisms, and collectors just hate anything that messes with the sculpt and articulation. I’m sure I’ve complained about crappy action features plenty myself. But a well-designed action feature can make a toy so much more fun.
But… what the crap just happened to Godzilla’s mouth?! It opens to such an extreme degree that it almost looks like the atomic blast blew off the top of his head. I get why they did that: they needed the blast to be stored in the entire length of Godzilla’s body so when you fire it off, it will pop out of the body through the neck. But that plane of motion is perpendicular to the head… so, just have the top of the head flip up, right? I guess that’s the easiest solution, but they should have put his entire head on a hinge that would swivel up when he leaned over. That way, the mouth wouldn’t have to open so freakishly wide to accommodate the blast.
Although now that I think of it, this split-mouth feature would be great for King Kong fans to re-enact that scene in which Kong rips open the mouth of his theropod opponent.
The action feature does distort the head and neck sculpt a bit, and the sculpt isn't as sharp as I would like, but I think this dude looks really cool anyway. I love this new Godzilla design and it’s awesome to finally get one of these toys in my grimy hands so I can really sit down and analyze all the cool textures and details. I mean, check out the gills on the neck! And the scales on the arm! And the sauropodian feet! I can’t wait to see this dude in action.
As you might expect, articulation is limited with the only points of articulation being at the shoulders, legs, and (I guess) jaw. I don’t particularly care because first and foremost a Godzilla toy has to be able to bash and crash his way through an action figure display. This guy does the job pretty well, and his atomic blast adds a little more pizzaz to the party. That said, if you’re a fan of the MonsterArts figures, this probably isn’t the toy for you. The $35 you spend on this dude would be a big chunk of the cost of some MonsterArts figures.
Speaking of which, that’s a pretty steep price tag for today’s value-driven and kid-friendly action figure market. Sure, Atomic Roar Godzilla is pretty big, roughly the same size as the Deluxe Final Wars Godzilla. And sure, there are action features and sound effects that would understandably inflate the price. It’s just difficult for me to justify dropping 35 bucks on a mass-produced toy these days.
Atomic Roar Godzilla isn't for collectors looking for a hyper-detailed sculpt and crazy articulation. But this guy might be for you if you're looking for a cool Godzilla toy that can put your other figures in their place with a flame-blast action feature. I just wish he didn’t have to blow off his head in order to do so.