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Buyer Be Aware - Blue, Yellow, Red, AND Green? Fake Bandai Godzilla 2000 Theater Edition "Sample" Figures

By Richard Cox (2001)

Ever since the release in late 1999 of Godzilla 2000:Millennium, a rash of faked "prototypes" have hit the market purporting to be first shots of the theater-exclusive figure that accompanied the release of the film in Japan.

History

The story behind these fakes has been traced back at least as far as Super Festival in Tokyo last January (2000), where red and green examples were seen on sale at $500 each, with the seller claiming that the figures were Bandai "samples." This is the tale most often accompanying these fake prototypes; that they are Bandai sample figures for the G 2000 theater exclusive figure used to test different colors and paint schemes for the translucent figure. These "first shot/sample" figures supposedly also exist somewhere in the range of 20 examples.

Fake Burning Godzilla
Fake Burning G2K, from an eBay auction.
Used for purposes of review only.

There are, of course, many more than 20 of these figures out there, as can be attested to simply by the number of different colors that have shown up on the open market, including (but not limited to) red, green, yellow, blue, black, "burning" (??!) and even a gold/bronze one, all of which are translucent with glitter, and all custom dye jobs. Quite a variety for having only 20 produced. And they have quickly proliferated throughout the collecting community, first through dealers and shows, and now on eBay, where in the past seven months I personally have saved six separate auction pages where these things were being peddled as limited editions, prototypes, or samples. The most recent I've seen is the "Burning" version.

So, what's the proof that these figures aren't genuine? To start with, there's the sheer number of different colors and individual figures, which attests to the fact that there are more than 20 of the things.

Then there's the amount of information that various collectors have dug up that points to the figures' lack of authenticity. This information was provided by a fellow collector when researching for a possible purchase of one of the original green/red figures:

As of this time, I am NOT convinced that the Red & Green G2K toys are the real thing! It is possible, but from the information I gathered, it leads me to conclude they are not... So far, I've found nothing reliable to prove these Red & Green Godzilla toys are genuine.

Granted the Red & Green are "real" Bandai toys... But are they customized Bandai toys or were they indeed special limited productions produced by the Bandai Corp? It appears they are simply re-tinted customized theater version figures... If you look closely at photographs, you'll see the highlighted areas that are common in the theater figures.

Now, another well-known dealer from Japan informed me that the false Yellow G2K figure looks like a real production of Bandai and yet, knows of the person who customized it. The dealer told me you couldn't tell the difference and the theater figures are easy to customize (especially by someone with experience in vinyls). This Japan dealer also stated he's never seen any literature on the authenticity of the Red & Green Godzilla 2000 toys.

I don't know truly what to believe... I merely wanted you to be aware of all of these facts... If the Red & Green G2K toys are real and all of the information on them are confirmed, I will gladly pay $2000.00 for each of them!
Fake Yellow Godzilla
Fake Yellow G2K from an eBay auction. Used for purposes of review only.
Note that both the theater figure's peach paint and gold glitter can be viewed through the yellow dye job.

In July of '00 Jim Cirronella of Club Daikaiju spoke with Mr. Arai of Bandai Co. at the Asian Fantasy Film Expo specifically about the figures, and here is the response he received:

I asked Mr. Arai about this after the show because there were some translation problems during his question and answer session (of which I missed 95%, anyhow).

Mr. Arai stated that these figures are fakes. He said something to the extent that while it's always possible Bandai could make some test figures that he was not aware of, they would never produce as many as 20 samples. Even the special contest figures that Bandai has produced in the past for magazines like Terebi Kun have never amounted to more than a handful of figures.

Since the G2000 figures in question have glitter mixed in with the vinyl (which has prompted some people to speculate that these figures are simply recolored theater exclusive figures), we're going to ask Bandai's Mr. Yokokawa if *any* G2000 sample figures were produced with glitter mixed into the vinyl. He should be able to provide us with a definitive answer.

And so, finally, Bandai's Shinichi Yokokawa was consulted:

I met with Bandai's Shinichi Yokokawa while in Japan recently and we spoke about the red, green and yellow colored G2000 figures that have been the source of much debate recently. Yokokawa had one word to say about these figures (in English): "Fake." He also said that they never made more than a few samples of this figure. His original concept for the theater exclusive G2000 figure was a black vinyl body with white fins and bright orange mouth (depicting when Godzilla breathes radioactive fire), so there would be no reason for him to have ordered the different colored versions of this figure as we have seen become available.
Fake Red Godzilla
Fake Red G2K theater exclusive
courtesy of Terry Wade.

So, there's the definitive answer from someone who would definitely know if any of these so-called sample figures were, in fact, authentic. They are not.

How have the customized, fake sample figures been created?

In short, they are dyed Theater-Exclusive Godzilla 2000 figures. The process, which some have been led to believe would be difficult and prohibitive, is actually cheap and easy to accomplish once one has their hands on one of the 35,000 theater figures.

What are Bandai's legitimate G 2000 releases?

Bandai used their standard-sized mold for Godzilla 2000 (G-16) exactly seven times, most of which are detailed here. The only figure not pictured is a short-run translucent green figure released in japan, but this figure so closely resembles the fakes, one should be very careful in negotiating the purchase of one. The authenticity of any other "versions" of the Bandai G-16 figure should be called into question.

Giving credit where it's due, a good bit of this information is derived from conversations with Jim Cirronella, Les Daniels, Aaron Smith, and Terry Wade either via the GodzillaC mailing list or through personal e-mail.