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Godzilla Collecting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

or What the heck is a C9 MIB Marmit Vinyl Paradise King-Goji anyway?

Version 3.00
Created By Richard Cox (kinggoji@clubtokyo.org)
Maintained By Richard Cox

Where can I find the Godzilla Collecting FAQ?

The most current version of the FAQ is on the Web at <http://www.clubtokyo.org>. A link and message is posted to the ClubTokyoC mailing list when warranted.

Any changes or additions should be directed to Richard Cox (kinggoji@clubtokyo.org).

Mirror copy locations include:

Translations Available:

The Godzilla Collecting FAQ :: Contents

[1.1] Terminology

[1.1.1] Genre Terminology and Definitions [ + ]
[1.1.2] Collecting Terminology and Definitions [ + ]

[1.2] A Short History of Godzilla Collecting

The release of Godzilla (Gojira) in 1954 brought with it the first of the Godzilla collectibles, in the form of the theatrical poster. Of course, posters followed with subsequent re-releases, both in Japan and abroad, as well as with forthcoming movies.

The first non-theatrical merchandise was a gun game that coincided with the release of the second Godzilla film in 1955, and also heralded a moratorium on Godzilla collectibles for most of the next decade. Finally, in 1963 and 64 the ball got rolling again with Ideal's Godzilla game and the well known Aurora model kit. With the astounding success of these toys, the first Japanese toymaker took notice, and Marusan issued the first of their Godzilla vinyls in 1966. The rest, as they say, is history.

[1.2.1] Posters and Theater-Related Merchandise [ + ]
[1.2.2] Toys

Ah, toys. For many a collector toys, specifically vinyl figures, form the backbone of their Godzilla collections. As stated previously, the first Godzilla toy was actually produced in the U.S., and was a shooting game. From that point there really weren't any toys of note issued (barring model kits) until the Marusan Company, in 1964, issued their Godzilla model kit, and followed it up in 1966 with the first ever Godzilla vinyl figures. The rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, limiting the scope of Godzilla toys to just the vinyl figures, as popular as they are, is to ignore a wide variety of other neat stuff out there, from die-cast toys to tin toys, games, and both candy and capsule toys, to name only a few.

[1.2.2.1] Vintage vinyl figures (1954-1982) [ - ]

Arguably the most collected pieces of Godzilla memorabilia are the various lines of vinyl figures. The dividing mark of 1982-3 between what I'm calling "vintage" and "modern" is my own, but I feel that it is a valid breaking point, for it was in 1983 that Yamakatsu and Bandai both first entered the vinyl figure market, causing changes in the face of vinyl Godzilla figures that continues to this day.

Insofar as the vintage figures, the landscape is dominated by the Bullmark line, which is considered by many vintage collectors to be the finest and most varied line of Godzilla toys ever created. They even appear in a Godzilla movie (Godzilla v Hedorah). In any case, all of the vintage figures bear two things in common; a highly stylized design and a usually unrealistic, brightly colored paint scheme. One can safely say that the Marusan and Bullmark lines are, historically, the most important of any Godzilla toy series.

[1.2.2.1.1] Marusan

The first Marusan vinyl figure, and as a matter of fact the first ever Godzilla vinyl figure, appeared in 1966, a year in which six different variations of Godzilla-related Marusans were ultimately issued. Unfortunately, the last of the Marusan figures would be released the very next year, as declining sales across lines were forcing the company into closing, which would ultimately come across in 1969/70. Luckily for us collectors, that very same year Bullmark bought Marusan's molds and took up the line until 1975.

In 1998 a series of reissues began appearing under the Marusan name, but I personally am uncertain as to if they have their origins in the same company.

[1.2.2.1.2] Bullmark

In 1969/70, Bullmark got the license from Marusan to do the Toho Kaiju. From this point until the mid-late 1970s, Bullmark released a wide variety of vinyl toys, in four different sizes, including a number of Marusan reissues, albeit with different paint schemes. Many Bullmark vinyl figures come in multiple paint variations as well. Unfortunately, with the decrease in quality of the Godzilla series, so waned interest in the related merchandise, including toys, and Bullmark ceased production in 1975.

[1.2.2.1.3] Popy

In 1978 the Popy company acquired the Godzilla license and made their go at vinyl figures. However, while both the Marusan and Bullmark releases were very similar in style, Popy went in a new direction. Gone was the cartoony sculpting and bright colors, replaced by more serious features and darker colors. However, overall the figures remained highly stylized in comparison to their suitmation counterparts, and the colors themselves were still those of the rainbow. An example would be one of two variations of Baragon, presented in red and green.

[1.2.2.1.4] Mattel

As significant as some of the releases were, the line was shortlived and production had ceased by 1980. There weren't to be any more significant vinyl toy issues in Japan until 1983 and the emergence of the modern toy lines with the first Yamakatsu and Bandai offerings.

The figures in the set are all actually toys released originally by Popy, and distributed with some variations by Mattel in the States. Of the seven companion figures in the series, it is interesting to note that none of them are actually Godzilla foes, but instead various Ultra Kaiju.

Also in 1978 Mattel issued what is probably one of the most well known Godzilla toy in the U.S., the large Shogun Warriors Godzilla, with that flame tongue and shooting fist, following it up in 1979 with the "World's Greatest Monsters" Rodan, a figure, ironically enough, that is more highly sought after in Japan then in the U.S.

[1.2.2.2] Modern vinyl figures (1983-Present) [ + ]
[1.2.2.3] Candy and Capsule Toys [ + ]
[1.2.2.4] Miscellaneous [ + ]
[1.2.3] Model Kits [ + ]
[1.2.4] Miscellaneous

In addition to the above, a veritable plethora of other types of collectibles have been issued over the years, and to attempt to list them all would be an overwhelming task. However, some of the key areas would include prototypes and props, recordings, books, videos, laserdisc sets, household items, trading cards, and original artwork.

[1.3] Where can I learn more about Godzilla toys and collectibles? [ + ]

[1.4] Is there a way to "check out" a person before purchasing items advertised on the Internet? [ + ]

[1.5] Can I detach the tags from my Bandai figures without affecting their value?

In a word, yes. Both the cardboard and earlier plastic tags can be easily reattached using the appropriate gun and plastic hanger, readily available at any office supply store. Be careful, however, to reattach the tag in it's original hole instead of punching a new one through the vinyl. This WILL affect the value of the piece.

When buying figures with loose tags, be aware that many tags look generic and similar to one another, barring two things; the character's name in Japanese and a serial number specific to that figure. It is not unheard of to get the wrong tag loose with a toy (or, one assumes, the wrong tag reattached to a figure). See also [1.9].

[1.6] What's the difference between a candy and capsule toy?

See [1.2.2.3] for detailed information. Shortly, "capsule" toys are just that; small figures, generally 1-4 inches in height, available in vending machines, while candy toys tend to come boxed, either individually or in sets, with a packet of candy and sometimes a trading card or other extras.

[1.7] Who is "Jiras", and why does he look like Godzilla?

Jiras (spellings vary slightly) was a foe from the original Ultraman series (episode 10) based upon a Godzilla suit. The Mosu-Goji suit was modified for the series simply by adding a frill around the neck. Which I will point out that Ultraman rips off, in one of the more violent memories from my childhood...

[1.8] For that matter who is Gomess?

Godzilla was recycled in the first episode of ULTRA Q as Gomess. Godzilla, Gigan and Ghidorah were all used in Toho's ZONE FIGHTER series.

[1.9] What are those numbers on the bar code of a Bandai figure tag / box?

The serial numbers, also known as stock numbers, of a Bandai figure are unique to each toy, thus can be used in order to be sure of getting a correct tag with a figure, which could otherwise be a problem for those earlier figures whose tags bear no distinguishing characteristics not in Japanese. The serial number is located on the tag of the figure, above the barcode. The earliest figures, instead of a serial number, had a Collection Number.

The serial numbers are, for the most part, a series of three strings of numbers separated by dashes. The first string, 205020, is carried by all Bandai Godzilla figures (as well as other Bandai series figures) with a serial number; the second, and most important, is individual to each figure. The third string denotes the original price of the vinyl toy in Yen.

[1.10] Was a Trendmasters 10 Inch Biollante figure ever produced?

There was one produced, albeit in limited quantities, and only overseas. The 10" Biollante was never released in the United States.

[1.11] Did Bandai issue any "Sample" figures of their G2K Theater Exclusive?

In a word, no. Many different fake prototypes of this figure have shown up both on eBay and from various dealers. Each and every one of these are custom dye jobs and are not prototypes, limited editions, first shots, or whatever else you've heard. For more information, check out this article.

[1.12] What was the Toho Video Fan Club?

This club was run by Toho itself, and often offered exclusive vinyl figures and other collectibles. Toho sanctioned which figures were offered for sale through the club's newsletter.

The Godzilla Collecting FAQ :: References and Credits

The below books, people, and web sites have been consulted in the creation of this FAQ:

Club Tokyo :: Kaiju Collectibles Reference Database (http://www.clubtokyo.org/), by Richard Cox and Michael Johnson

Godzilla Tohotopia (http://www.students.bucknell.edu/mlockwod/), by Mark Lockwood; web site currently unavailable

John Parkinson

Recent changes :