Series: POP! Movies
Few movie monsters are as iconic as Godzilla. Debuting in the 1954 Japanese film ゴジラ(Gojira), he has since gone on to star in dozens of movies, becoming emblematic of an entire genre of films – and in some ways, of Japan – in the process.
There have been countless items of Godzilla merchandise released over the decades; Funko is just the latest in a long line of licensors to take a crack at him. They’ve done so in two styles – a Mystery Mini, which I’ll hopefully take a look at in the next few days, and a 6” Funko POP which is the subject of today’s review.
As you might expect, a character that’s existed for seven decades has had some changes in appearance over the years. The differences – with the exception of the American versions from 1998 and 2014 – are not always obvious to my eyes. They largely seem to be oriented keeping his look fresh and moving with the special effects technology of the day, rather than allowing it to be limited to a 1950s. That said, judging by the box art, this POP does appear to be based on Godzilla’s first incarnation. The back of the box depicts him picking a train up from the ground; it obviously looks a little dated to modern eyes, but would have been undeniably impressive in its heyday. Perhaps most importantly, it gives a great sense of just how big this guy is!
There are currently four versions of this POP doing the rounds. Two of them are convention exclusives – the Ghost (i.e. glow in the dark) and Black & White versions. A few of these have shown up in some Australian retailers, like Zing. But they seem to have long since sold out, so expect to pay an extortionate price on eBay for them.
There’s also a Burning Godzilla, who I believe is based on a scene from one of the 1980s films, and the plain regular version which we’re looking at here today. Curiously, the Burning Godzilla seems to cost substantially more than the regular version. It doesn’t seem to be an exclusive, and I believe it’s exactly the same sculpt, so I’m not sure on the rationale behind this. Limited edition, sign of impending price rise or simple aberration? Hopefully the third option.
There are still relatively few 6” POPs doing the rounds, so they are always an interesting novelty. This is one of only two I own, the other being Thanos. Sculpting, if not 100% accurate to the 1954 incarnation of the character (and let’s be honest, it’s not meant to be), is quite impressive. He’s got a very avocado-esque look to his skin, both in texture and colour. The face is rendered in cutesy fashion while still having a hint of looming menace, reinforced by his chubby little hands with chubby little talons. It captures the essence of Godzilla’s pseudo-dinosaur look quite well. Anyone who’s vaguely familiar with the character should recognise who this is meant to be, and find it appropriately endearing. The main shame is that Funko didn’t include some kind of city skyline in the box for him to lurk over/totally destroy.
Paint is mostly fine, but there’s still room for improvement. The gums and teeth are a little sloppy, giving a somewhat Joker-esque look to his mouth. The silver spines on his back are the main area likely to be problematic. Painted silver, coverage can be a bit uneven and the green shows through a little too much. Of course, you can’t check his back in the box; you can only check the face.
Unusually, Godzilla is totally static – he doesn’t even have the token neck articulation. Any potential movement is blocked by a large back spine, glued in right where head meets neck. This isn’t a big drama for me – after all, though I would disagree with OAFE’s assessment that POPs are not toys, they’re certainly not action figures and I don’t buy them with that expectation.
Godzilla is a good POP, not simply because he’s an awesome character, but also because he’s a good entry level POP. Nowadays there are so many different POPs available across so many different licenses (which is a good problem to have, mind you) it can be difficult to know where to start! Godzilla is a fun POP for those who are fans of the franchise – but you don’t need to be a diehard fan of the character to justify picking him up either.
Overall? Godzilla comes highly recommended if you can find him – the usual retailers I frequent either seem to have not got him or just sold out crazy fast. But don’t pay silly money on the aftermarket, because he’s a big enough that he’ll hopefully get a wider release/re-release in the near future.