Monday, May 8, 2017

Review - NECA Shin Godzilla (2016)

After 2014's Godzilla revitalization, the massive monster has been back at the forefront of big-name creature features, just like the good ole' days. NECA, known for their work with countless pop culture licenses (including Friday the Thirteenth, Gremlins, Aliens and more), have become a major name in the modern Godzilla merchandise scene; producing eight unique incarnations of the beast in their 'Classics' line alone, along with various knick knacks and one-off items.

Following the American theatrical release of 2016's Shin Godzilla, NECA took the logical step of unveiling their own model of the film's brand new design; a twisted, strikingly dark take on Godzilla unlike any interpretation previously seen. Currently hitting retailers, he'll cost you around $20.

Sculpt - 4/5


ShinGoji is a design almost explicitly crafted to be difficult to simplify; jagged, deformed, even unabashedly ugly in some considerations. NECA's sculpt has managed to capture this offbeat look very well; no doubt thanks to previous experience with similarly mutilated characters, such as Freddy Kruger. Covered from scraggly head to protruding toe in folds, tears, cuts, lumps, and an encyclopedia of scar-like afflictions, Shin looks immediately stunning for the sheer variety of textures and details (yes, such as growing spines, extra toes and jutting teeth) adorning the figure. Easily NECA's most impressive work, intricacy wise, since their coveted Godzilla 2014 figure.

However, that is not to say the sculpt is entirely accurate. There are some missteps; with varying degrees of importance, when it comes to the overall inflection of the sculpt itself. The dorsal spines grow far too large, the tail seems a tad short, and there's something going on with the length of the face; all arguably minor issues, but ones that can change how the design leaves an impact.

Articulation - 5/5


This can be a tough category to define, especially as - in my reviewing opinion - it can be entirely swayed by the nature of a toy line, or company. I consider S.H. Monsterarts within their own realm, NECA within it's own, and so forth.

Considering NECA's usual pattern of Godzilla articulation, Shin not only meets the standard, but manages to step above expectations. With 20 points, you can really pose him however you'd like, while keeping a 'natural' flow to the sculpt. This can be extremely hard to achieve, particularly with a design as reality-based as this. Each joint has a great range of motion, none feeling at all restricted. I particularly adore the extremely tiny points within the scrawny arms, as well as the interestingly engineered jaw; a strive for accuracy that could have easily been ignored, but makes the figure all the more quality.

My only qualm is with the tail. Made entirely of a light rubber, it doesn't seem to fit into the joint at the base of the tail; falling out very, very easily. This can be solved by, of course, standing it correctly on any surface, but it's flimsy.

Paint - 5/5


Shin's paint has been a recurring issue for companies, unsure of how to manage his mix of deep blacks and bloody, vein-esque reds. Some companies have tried a base color of red with a black wash, such as SHMA... and have received terrible results. Others have decided instead to mold the entire toy in black, with minimal red applications, such as Bandai... acceptable, but cheap. NECA is luckily among the few who have recreated the tough look to a tee. Covered in red highlights, never missing or overflowing any particular spots, as well as accentuating aspects such as the tail's tip or the spine's surfaces. Again, similar detail work with past figures surely played into perfecting this.

The dirty colors of tooth and nail, the grimy inner mouth, the minuscule - yet centered! - pupils - all look excellent. There's hardly any way to ask for more.

Fun Factor - 4.5/5 

This Godzilla isn't exactly one that you'd find drop kicking Chainsaw Chickens, or death-kissing evil spiders; he's stiff, he's uncomfortable, and he's as unearthly as a creature such as himself ought to be. There are many poses available to create, but admittedly, few fit the character quite as well as a relatively static stance or one pulled straight from the film. Regardless, as a figure, there's a lot one can do, and he looks consistently on model while contorting every which way. Some joints are a bit less sightly than others, and he does have some weight distribution issues thanks to the look itself, but overall I'd say he's fine for play as well as creative posing.

Overall - 4.5/5


Though off in some aspects - distorted features being the key issue - NECA's Shin is easily the best articulated offering of the design to date. Excellent paint, fun articulation, and (bar some qualms) a striking sculpt; he even rivals the 2014 figure, only being beaten by some accuracy points. I'd choose this as the 'must-have' ShinGoji toy; he's cheap, he's widely available, and he'll look just as impressive next to your Bandai vinyls as he will your SHMAs. Not perfect, but very impressive work.

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