Great Monster Series Godzilla 1984

9.6.2022

Here is the first in my new series called If Toys Could Talk. 1984 was another Godzilla toy boom. After a nine year hibernation, Godzilla made his return to Tokyo and the big screen on December 15. A wave of toys swept Japan and reached America’s shores, where I would find them on the shelves of Rocketships & Accessories. There I discovered the first line of Godzilla soft vinyl figures, the Godzilla Collection, by Japanese toy manufacture Bandai. Except for garage kits, they were the most accurate representation of Godzilla figures I had ever seen. These and future Bandai figures became highly collectible and sought after. They became the feature and foundation of most fan collections well into the new millennium. In 1984, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning I could be found at my favorite shop buying the next Bandai I could afford. My first three Bandai figure were MechaGodzilla 1974, followed by Godzilla 1964 and Godzilla 1962. Then to go along with my Godzilla 1984 books, I added the The Godzilla Collection No. 47 Godzilla ’84 figure (バンダイ 『グレートモンスターシリーズ GODZILLA’84(84年度版ゴジラ)』).

Bandai The Godzilla Collection Godzilla 1984

In those days, I was not a fan of the new Godzilla and movie. I love the books but not the figure. It was smaller the others and it looked like the Cybot Godzilla, which I despised. I’ve changed so much since then. Now, I love the movie and this figure! What happened between now and then? Nostalgia and a growing appreciation for the meaning of Godzilla and all that went into the production of the film. Godzilla’s design was a bit strange. The Cybot didn’t match the suit and its motion was to robotic. Dr. Pepper over did it. There’s not much action and Godzilla fell into a volcano at the end. But when I look back, it was a great return for Godzilla. As I immerse myself in the events and experience again those deep feelings of joy from those days, I can’t escape this Godzilla. I’m collecting everything I can about that year. There was so much more going on that I realized and so many more collectibles that I missed out on. When my eyes fall on this beloved figure, I’m grateful to have experienced those days.

A picture and brief mention of the Bandai Godzilla 1984
(Source: 怪獣玩具日記 ソフビと怪獣の おはなしです)

Today, my interests have turned toward the men and women and the immediate context from which Godzilla 1984 was released. The books I bought are filling in holes in my knowledge and memories. The prototype for this figure was created by Hayami Hitoshi, whose name I did not notice and could not read was written on the backside of the tag (原型 速水仁司). Mr Hayami is legendary modeler responsible for many prototypes used for Bandai vinyl figures and model kits. His early work was chronicled and featured in 3-D Monster Catalogue (3D怪獣全集) that was a book in my Godzilla Bible. I discovered that the mold for this figure was broken which lead to a smaller production run than planned.1 The sculpt appears to be based on the Cybot Godzilla featured on the tag. However, Mr. Hayami may have only had access to an earlier model for Godzilla’s design. This figure is unique in scale, only 6 inches compared to the 9-inch figures in this line.

Front: ゴジラ The Godzilla Collection Bandai ホビー事業部 Hobby Division | ©東宝•東宝映像 Toho • Toho Pictures; Back: ゴジラ’84 (84年度版ゴジラ Godzilla 84 version) 武器 放射能をふくむ熱線 Weapon Heat rays containing radioactivity, 体重 5万トン weight 50,000 tons, 体長 80メートル body length 80 meters | Godzilla ’84 Collection 47 | 原型 速水仁司 Prototype Hayami Hitoshi

Today, my interests have turned toward the men and women and the immediate context from which Godzilla 1984 was released. The books I bought are filling in holes in my knowledge and memories. The prototype for this figure was created by Hayami Hitoshi, whose name I did not notice and could not read was written on the backside of the tag. Mr Hayami is legendary modeler responsible for many prototypes used for Bandai vinyl figures and model kits. His early work was chronicled and featured in 3-D Monster Catalog that was a book in my Godzilla Bible.

bandai-godzilla-1984-feet-marks

Foot stamps: Right foot: Bandai 1984 Japan; Left foot: 東宝•東宝映像 ゴジラ Toho • Toho Pictures Godzilla

I learned that the mold for this figure was broken which lead to a smaller production run than planned.1 The sculpt appears to be based on the Cybot Godzilla featured on the tag. Recently on Twitter, I asked Mr. Hayami, “Was the prototype of Bandai’s Godzilla 84 figure based on Cybot or an early model?” He replied,「このフィギュア原型のベースは右の雛型(MAQUETTE)です。製作を依頼された時にはまだサイボットも着ぐるみも出来てなかったので、この雛型の写真が資料として送られて来ました。尻尾が貧弱なのが雛型の特徴です」”The base of this figure prototype is the model (MAQUETTE) on the right. When I was asked to make it, neither the Cybot nor the costume had been made yet, so I was sent a photo of this template as a material. A characteristic feature of the model is that the tail is weak.” (It was such a great honor to briefly speak with him.)

godzilla84-maquette

Godzilla 1984 maquette that formed the base of Mr Hayami’s prototype (Source: The Great Godzilla Encyclopedia (大ゴジラ図鑑, p 158).

This 6-inch figure has so much character. Godzilla’s open mouth and expression capture Godzilla’s movie presence well. The new Godzilla’s eyes were focused unlike that of the original. The Cybot was created for close up shots and showed off Godzilla’s personality, physical details and the new technologies Toho used to bring him to life. I love the contours of the body and the detail in the hands and knuckles. The dorsal fins on the Bandai figures were exceptional and the best among any Godzilla vinyl figures since the 60s. Bandai added articulation in the arms, lands and tail, just enough for kids to play. Godzilla is painted dark grey unlike the green used for the Godzilla 62 and 62 figures. The silver spray highlights the details. Such a wonderful figure from a magical time.