Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bandai: Standard 8" Godzilla 1991 Korean Figure Review

#2 in my top 10 Kaiju figures of 2011 is believe it or not: Bandai's standard 8" Godzilla 1991 made from KOREA!

Bandai: Standard 8" Godzilla 1991 Korean

Okay, some of you are probably wondering why did I pick this or what's the difference from the one made in Japan? Although Godzilla's looks are the same as Godzilla 1991 from Japan, there are a good amount of differences that makes this figure stand out to me.

The Mystery:  According to my sources, Bandai had some of their figures made from Korea (offshoring) from late 80s to early 90s, perhaps to save some money in operating expenses. Godzilla 1991 was manufactured in Japan and Korea around the same time. The bottom of this figure's foot is stamped "Bandai 1991 Made in Korea."

Figuring out how this toy was sold is a big mystery to most collectors. Was this version sold individually with tags like other Godzilla figures, or was he included in a blister pack with Godzillasaurus? With these questions raised, some collectors believed that Godzilla '91 Korean is just a knock off toy. There are some knock off Godzilla figures manufactured in other countries, but those toys would never have Bandai's name stamped on them. Godzilla '91 Korean does have Bandai's trademarked name, the year it was manufactured, and where the toy was made. A few weeks ago, I found a great discovery that will hopefully squash any rumor that this toy is a knock off. According to this website from Japan:, Godzilla '91 Korean was manufactured in 1991, but wasn't released to the market until April 1992. There was also a tag attached to the back of Godzilla's neck that had the same artwork of "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah" and sticker similar to the tags on the Japanese version. The only difference is: the bottom of tag says, "1991 printed in Japan." In other words, this figure had a tag similar to the Japanese version, but with a modified copyright right print. Those pictures (provided by the blue link above) proves beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Korean version is authentic and not a fake.

The Figure:  Aside from the familiar looks, there are some differences that makes this toy unique. This version was molded from black vinyl instead of the typical dark charcoal gray. There are also more silver highlights on the fingers, chest, and toes. The eyes are colored orange instead of red and the teeth look more ivory than yellow. My favorite part on this figure is Godzilla's glossy touch. Sparkle sparkle! The toy gorgeously shines when it is under a light. However, the only downside to this toy (which doesn't bother me at all) is Godzilla (Korean) barely stands as tall as the Japanese version.

Articulation:  The head, arms, legs barely move because the toy is made from hard vinyl. Forcing articulation may break the toy.

Comparison:  As mentioned before, Godzilla Korean version is slightly shorter than the Japanese version. However, the Korean version does stand out more in color. Which one do you prefer?

Left: Godzilla '91 Japan.  Right: Godzilla '91 Korea

Final Thoughts:  In my opinion, Godzilla 1991 Korean version has a great appeal that far exceeds the Japanese version. Even though Godzilla's body color isn't usually black with silver highlights, I still think the color combinations worked well with this toy. Furthermore, this figure is always a pleasure to look at despite the lack of pose ability. I wonder what kind of poses a Godzilla figure collector expects from these toys? Remember, this figure is vintage and aren't meant to be played with by younger kids. In closing, I encourage everyone to enjoy this piece of art!


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