It's been quite a long time since my last SH MonsterArts figure purchase, and even longer since one really got me excited! I think the last all-new figure I purchased was Gamera, and I was honestly a little disappointed by that release. So, I didn't plan on picking up Bandai's 2001 version until I'd seen some reviews of the figure. He looked so terrific in those reviews that I decided to jump back into the MonsterArts line and pick him up - and boy am I glad I did!
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! is my favorite Godzilla movie. This wasn't always the case. I grew up in the '70s, so my Godzilla had giant puppy-dog eyes, danced and acted like a Tokyo-defending superhero. I must have watched Godzilla vs. Megalon about a billion times and a kid. Through grown-up eyes, those films honestly lost a bit of their luster. When I started getting re-acquainted with Godzilla a couple of years ago, I gave Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! (herein to be abbreviated as GMK) a try, and I really hated it. This wasn't my Godzilla: he looked so different, came across as wicked to the core, and really trounced the other monsters he faced quite handily. A second watch and it started to grow on me. The story was good - it took itself pretty seriously, characters were well-developed and I really started to appreciate just how powerful and unstoppable a force of nature Godzilla was. And man was his look starting to grow on me! This is a nasty-looking version of Godzilla. The suit design was powerful and menacing, with tremendous feet and a boxy, rectangular jaw. The white, pupil-less eyes are frightening, but it's the level of personality the suit had around these eyes that really completes the look. This Godzilla can pull his lips up into a sneer, blink his eyelids and knit his thick, angular brows into an angry scowl. It's a level of expression that only the Legendary 2014 version was able to match with CGI (the level of unbridled anger released in that first real roaring shot at the airport in that movie still gives me chills). In short, I love the movie this figure is based on, and I love the look of this particular Godzilla suit more than any other (GMK Godzilla is one of only 3 X-Plus Godzillas I own, the other two being the 2014 and 1964 versions).
S.H. MonsterArts therefore had a pretty tall order in my eyes to do this figure justice. I'm so glad to say that they absolutely did so, capturing everything about him that I love. Opening this figure brought me all of the joy and excitement that I'm looking for in this hobby, with no regrets whatsoever.
Godzilla 2001 (GMK) is big, even in relation to other Godzillas in the MonsterArts line. He's beautifully sculpted - in fact, the sculpt is my favorite aspect of the figure. The head and face are particular high points. GMK Godzilla looks better with his jaws open than closed (there's too much of an overbite with the jaws clenched for my personal taste), and he has plenty of detail, even down to the interior of the mouth. The articulation is plentiful, as usual, with GMK Godzilla able to move in ways that he could not in the actual film. I'm not into extreme poses, so I have not encountered the issues that other reviewers have reported with joints popping apart or pieces coming loose. I was able to capture a look (several, in fact) that I really like on the shelf with minimal effort.
The paint complements the sculpt perfectly. The base body color is spot-on, with subtle airbrushing to highlight the spines and claws. Nothing is heavy-handed or distracting. There's a little bit of slop - I've got a stray paint mark on one spine - and the only part of the figure with any paint issue are the teeth, which could have used a touch more care. They aren't nearly as bad as the 2014 version's were, but I may have to touch them up, anyway. The eyes, in particular, are gorgeously done.
Disappointingly, GMK Godzilla does not come with any accessories. I knew this going in, but I really wish he would have come with something. I'm pretty sure we won't be seeing any other figures based on this film, so a little unarticulated Baragon would have been sweet. Not to mention the Satsuma submarine, one of those drill-missile launching vehicles, his devastating atomic breath or his beating heart from the end of the film. At $83 plus shipping, this guy is really pushing it, which is part of the reason I waited a bit to pick him up, and why I haven't ordered Godzilla 1954 yet (for another $77 and no accessories). But it really is a beautiful figure. Right now, GMK Godzilla is the star of my SHMA collection, right up there with Millennium Godzilla, Hesei Godzilla and Burning Godzilla as the best of the bunch. I'm looking forward to NECA's version, just to see how they handle this version of the big guy, but I can honestly say I'm totally happy and satisfied with what Bandai's given me here.