Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Back when NECA first announced they were doing Godzilla figures, it was around the same time they making Pacific Rim figures. At that time, I was all about S.H. MonsterArts from Tamashii Nations since they were the only company that I knew who were making movie accurate figures of the Godzilla series. I even wanted Tamashii Nations to do Pacific Rim figures since their S.H. MonsterArts figures were flawless in my eyes. There was no way NECA could compete in that high of quality since their figures were reported to break a lot of the times. Then, NECA revealed their Godzilla 2014 figures.
When I saw pictures for both the 6 inch and 12 inch figures I was impressed. Sure, they were lower in quality, but the figures themselves looked awesome, especially the 12 inch figure, which it can roar and was the first figure to have a tail that are all ball joints in NECA's Godzilla line. My thought was if NECA could make figures like this for all of the other figures at a much cheaper price then I would switch over from the S.H. MonsterArts line to NECA in a heart beat. I expected each figure to get better over time. However, that did not seem to be the case at first.
They revealed more Godzilla figures such as 1994, 1984, Burning/95, NES, 54, GMK/2001, Shin/2016, and Reactor Glow Godzillas. When each of them were released I was being more and more let down except for the 1954 figure, which I consider as one of my favorite figures. For the rest of them, each release seemed like NECA just didn't try. They were either ugly and very inaccurate or it was a repaint/remolded version of a previous figure.
It was really frustrating because I knew NECA could've done better. When I look at their Pacific Rim figures NECA had a rough start, yet each release showed that little by little their figures were getting better. In fact, I like the Otachi figures more than the rest of the Pacific Rim figures NECA had put out since it is highly detailed and has loads of articulation. When I compare those with their Godzilla figures, however, NECA was not showing any improvements at all with Godzilla. They were lazily made and it just made NECA look like they just didn't care about Godzilla. Then in 2018, we figured out why we were not seeing improvements in the Godzilla figures.
In an interview with Toho Kingdom from July 2018 at San Diego Comic-Con, NECA's Director of Product Randy Falk was asked about the approval process from TOHO. Randy had this to say, "The approval process can always be challenging especially when everything has got to go through Japan. The bigger obstacle or challenge before was our relationships from the 2014 film up to very recently, Warner Bros. was acting as a license agent in between on behalf of TOHO. So everything would go through them, then to TOHO, and back to Warner Bros., and then back to us. So there was a lot of time lost in between. There was a lot of possibility of miscommunication for some concepts and ideas we presented to Warner Bros. maybe not being presented in the best way to TOHO where I think certain things we couldn't do before maybe we could do now. Because what has happened since the new year is that TOHO has taken control for licensing of everything on their own and in North America as well. So Warner Bros. is not an agent as of the end of 2017. So we are working directly with TOHO now, which wasn't the case before. I had a great meeting with them earlier today. I was with one of their representatives and they have been extremely helpful."
Just from this quote alone, this is where all of us learned that the reason why NECA was having a hard time stepping up their Godzilla figures. They were using Warner Bros. as their agent to get an approval from TOHO when NECA should be talking to TOHO directly. When TOHO took full control of the license for Godzilla, NECA had much more creative freedom than they had when going through Warner Bros. A lot of their ideas that were possibly shut down by Warner Bros. rather than TOHO. A few of these ideas were the Hannah Barbera Godzilla, Ghost Godzilla from the unmade Godzilla vs Ghost Godzilla film, and the Marvel Comics Godzilla. So as of 2018, NECA were allowed to do other monsters like Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah since Godzilla: King Of The Monsters was releasing the next year.
Then on February 2019, NECA presented more Godzilla figures including Mothra and Rodan. After five years of underwhelming Godzilla figures, the company really did a 180. Their figures were looking much better with each release. Even though I was not a big fan of Godzilla 2019, it was telling that they were putting in more effort this time around. They added more details on their figures, they finally replaced the bendable wire with a tail that were all ball joints, and they replaced the clam shell box with boxes that were more presentable with the movie's poster on the front. From when they released Godzilla 62 up to present day, NECA was on a role with their Godzilla figures.
I was disappointed that NECA did not do King Ghidorah like they promised. When NECA revealed their Godzilla: King Of The Monsters figures at New York Toy Fair on February 16th, 2019, many of us (including myself) really expressed our disappointment that they did not do a full roster and we wanted a reason for it. When they came out with a statement, NECA explained they were not doing it because it was too big and too expensive to sell. Their excuse was not very convincing. Their Xenomorph Queen figure from Aliens was 15" tall and 30" long and the selling price for the figure was around $120. The statement from NECA said King Ghidorah would have been priced around $150. While a little more expensive than their Xenomorph Queen figure, I think King Ghidorah could have sold just as well as the rest of their 2019 line like Mothra and Rodan even if the figure is larger than the other Godzilla figures. Over time, I got over it and moved on as there were other matters and events to attend to.
Following up after Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, they released Godzilla 1956 Poster version (which is the 1954 Godzilla painted green and pink), Godzilla 1962, Godzilla 2019 V2 and V3, Godzilla 1964, Mothra 2019 Poster version, and finally Godzilla 1989 and Godzilla 2003. All of them are really good figures despite four of them were repaints. Everything from 2019 up to now has made me happy and depressed at the same time. Happy because NECA was finally able to give Godzilla the necessary treatment he deserved since this line started and sad because the toy line is ending right when NECA was becoming good. Out of all of their releases, their Godzilla 1989 figure I feel is the closest to getting that S.H. MonsterArts quality. It's really that good of a figure in my opinion and I wanted to see NECA grow with this line with more figures like the Godzilla 89 figure. Overall, I can only say that this line has been a mixed bag, which is a shame. It can have been a whole lot better. Maybe in a couple years after Godzilla vs Kong released in theaters and PlayMates Toys released all of their GvK toys NECA could return to this line and continue where they left off. At least I hope they do.
What are your thoughts on NECA's Godzilla line as a whole? Do you think NECA did a good job or do you think they did a horrible job? Do you think NECA will revisit the Godzilla line? Leave a comment in the comments section on your thoughts on NECA's Godzilla toy line. Make sure to follow me on my Facebook, Twitter, and Minds pages to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.