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Titan Tech Godzilla

Godzilla vs. Kong: Monsterverse
by yo go re

Godzilla, maximize!

The monsters of ancient myths and legends are real and battle for dominance across the world! Humanity's efforts to co-exist with these titanic forces of nature is led by Monarch: a highly equipped organization of the bravest scientists, adventurers, and military specialists in the world. Now humanity enters a brave new era of discovery filled with unknown dangers.

If you're interested in seeing a Godzilla-style story from the point of view of an organization like Monarch, you should check out Kaiju Preservation Society: it's all about the humans who have to interact with giant monsters, and in a rarity for this sort of genre story, they don't pretend to have never heard of the inspiration: in their downtime they watch Godzilla and Pacific Rim. This has nothing to do with this review, it's just a really fun book, the literary equivalent of a catchy pop song. Consider this a review inside a review.

The 2014 Godzilla has a pretty distinctive profile that this toy captures well. We know he's some sort of dinosaur - a Northern Thicc Scaleyboi or a Heckin Chonkasaurus or whatever - but he's a little more hunched than the average Goji, with less of a differentiation between head and neck, and some truly big cankles. Really trying to stave off those nerds complaining about the square/cube law, huh? He was slightly redesigned for 2019's King of the Monsters, increasing the length of his toes so he no longer looks like he has perfectly round elephant feet, and making his back-plates look more like the classic Godzilliae than the simple spikes he had originally. The fins here are translucent blue, for whatever reason; the ones on his neck are solid and painted, so why not do the rest the same way?

The head is as blocky and squared off as we expect from this "Monsterverse" continuity's design. Obviously this Playmates figure isn't going to be as detailed and crisp as a NECA or SH Monsterarts release, but there is a lumpy "scale" texture that covers the entire body. All the big, visible screw holes on his right side are annoying, though. The body is nearly black, with blue light in the eyes, white teeth, and a pink tongue.

Just like the Batman to his Superman, Kong, Godzilla is light on articulation. The tail swivels, but only because it's packaged separately and you have to put it together; there's a cut at the neck, but no actual movement, so that's just an assembly point. The real joints are the shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles. Oh, and a hinged jaw! Always love that. Kong came with a big axe, but Godzilla doesn't even get any flame breath. Though as you know, the point of this toy isn't extreme poseability.

A slip of paper inside the package lists the steps to convert him: open both sides of the body, pull down the chest and flip the armor over, raise the spines, and turn the shoulder pieces out; close up the body, rotate the neck spines; lift the laps on the sides of his neck; pull out the spie on his right arm; turn the thigh panels, swivel the ankle armor, and pull out the shin blades; open the tail and fold the armor out.

Godzilla's transformation is not as drastic as Kong's was, nor as mechanical: he doesn't get sunglasses and an earpiece, nor a harness with the Monarch logo in the middle. Heck, the "cage" that wraps around his spinal ridges looks almost organic, like bones sprouted there for protection, a feeling that's reinforced by similar structures just beginning to grow from the back of his neck. What is he, evolving as fast as Darwin?

That's not to say none of his accoutrements are manufactured rather than natural. Even if you were to discount the cuved blades that pull out of his shins and left forearm (yes, only the left for some reason), he's still got little studded shoulder pads, a small piece of armor on his chest, and what appear to be missile launchers on his thighs. The piece that covers the distal part of his tail has another silver blade on it, this one capable of hinging down to either the left or the right - maybe is folds whichever way he's swinging his tail at any given moment? The things on either side of his shoulders seem like they could almost be roll bars or something, a rigid grill structure to protect his neck. Opening those flaps provides the only evidence of structures under the skin, something Kong had a lot of.

The overall design takes a lot of cues from an unreleased prototype called Mega Godzilla. N.B.: not Mechagodzilla, "Mega Godzilla." That one would have had the same kind of ribs over his backplates, very similar shoulder armor, and even identical bars around the neck (though there they would have been convex, not concave). There were other bits of armor with no parallels here, but there's no mistaking the similarities, even if Mega Godzilla's add-ons were red and Titan Tech Godzilla's are blue. That toy remains unreleased, but its legacy lives on here.

While you play with this Godzilla, one thing becomes readily apparent: someone absolutely had fun designing it. They went into work that day and just had a total blast making this toy. It's not a question of making the best sculpt or the most articulation, just pure enjoyment in the process of toymaking, and it comes through in the final product. You know how you can listen to somebody's voice and tell if they were smiling when they spoke or sang? You play with this thing, and you can feel the happiness coming off it, even diluted by the time needed for the manufacturing process. You can get screen-accurate toys anytime; how often can you get something that's both this wild and enjoyable? These "Titan Tech" figures are only available at Target in the US, and as far as we know, there are no plans to do similar releases of any other monsters, which is a shame: it's neat seeing inventiveness like this.

-- 10/25/22

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