Godzilla 1989 aka "Kou Kyou Kyoku Godzilla" is something new to the S.H. MonsterArts line because of the light, sound and music features added to the figure. It's still a S.H. MonsterArts release but also, its own thing. It's almost a spinoff of sorts for the line it seems. I should point out that the figure I've got for review seems to be a bit of a dud and isn't as nice as some figures I've seen in other reviews.
This is one of the tallest Godzillas in the S.H. MonsterArts line (the largest goes to Shin Godzilla) and, due to the eletronics inside, the figure has a nice center weight to it. The sculpt itself is beautiful and while it does have the usual gaps in the thigh area, and arms as well, they can be partially hidden by the "skin flap" bit in the upper thigh.
In terms of the figure's head, it looks fierce and is a sight to behold. It does a nice job of capturing the feline-like look of this version, although does increase the size of the teeth in contrast to how they appeared in the film. All in all, Godzilla looks every bit as mean and majestic as he did in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)... if you're not totally up close, but more on that later.
Godzilla can move, but just not all that much. Articulation doesn't seem to be very important with this figure but since it's mainly about the light, sound, and music, it's a given. One main thing to note as that while his head can move up and down, the manual states that you shouldn't turn the head from side-to-side very much since it can damage the inner workings of the beam light effect. The jaw can open up just enough to get a look inside and it's not much of a space.
His hands can turn 360 degrees and that seems to be the most rotation you can get out of the figure. The legs can move to the side and back slightly and same with the arms. You get a little bit of movement below the knee but it's not very much. The arms can move inward and up and down as well. Finally, the tail has a lot of articluation in it and it goes to close to the tip of the tail. The tail can pop off at times but it's easy to reattach.
There are no physical, external accessories with this release. Instead, Godzilla's accessories this time come in the form of the light, sound and music feature. By pushing down on a backplate up by the neck (see attached), you can hear about four randomized different roars, foot steps, two music tracks from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). The tracks are: "Godzilla Title Theme", which playes to completion, and "Godzilla and the Destruction of Osaka" which fades out. To play the music, hold down on the backplate for about two seconds. To end it, hold down again for another two seconds. Also, while the music is playing, you can keep pressing the backplate to mix in sound effects with the light up beam effect.
The light up beam effect has three versions: A) The backplates flash and then the mouth does the light up beam effect, B) The backplates flash, then light up and the mouth lights up but then goes a little longer in duration, and finally C) the backplates light up, then stay lit up, while the mouth beam effet lights up. The mouth beam effect also has the beam sound effect as well. After pressing the backplate quickly three times, it'll do the backplate/beam effect. To do it again, you have to cycle through the roars again and it seems to cycle through versions A-C and it repeats. To accuratley see how the effect is intended, do it in complete darkness. It looks pretty cool in person. The mouth beam effect isn't as cool as the backplates and it looks like Tamashii was trying to emulate this poster from Godzilla vs. Biollante.
The paint on this figure is one of my biggest gripes. In my time reviewing these releases, I've never seen a more confusing paint job. To start with, both sides of the claws and toes have different paint approaches. On the right side, the claws and toenails are a nice dirty yellow mixed with a greenish fade. On the left side, it's the opposite for both the claws and toenails as they have a clean paint job on them with no fade at all. I don't know how that could have happened. Did the figure have two people painting each side and they decided to go with their own take on how it should look? This difference in the paint job between the claws can be seen in the image to the right.
Another oddity is the few paint blotches found on the figure in places where they make no sense. I understand if there's a blotch near the teeth or the claws but these blotches have no business being where they are. For example, there's a white paint blotch on the outer portion of the right side of Godzilla's thigh. On the underside of the tail, there's also a red paint blotch (no idea why and it's not even the same color as the paint in the mouth) and a couple of other white paint blotches as well. Now, they are smaller blotches and some of the finer details such as the teeth look nice with the dirrty yellow color and it's a pretty clean paint job.
Finally, the thing that bugs me the most are the eyes. I've never seen this on any other figure that's been reviewed-those have all been perfect. For whatever reason, I've got the only cross-eyed figure. They're not even painted on, they're stickers.
The backplates are translucent for the light up feature but do have a mix of white and grey. Continuing on down the tail, the paint gets a tad sloppy but nothing too bad. It's an OK job.
Godzilla 1989 will run approx $200 and it's tough to say if it's worth the price. Without the extra height and the light up feature, it seems like it would be a $70 figure. But, with extra features (and most likely music/sound effect rights) the price goes up. Godzilla 1989 has been wanted by fans of the line ever since a prototype was shown off a few of years ago and it's nice to see him in the line. To give a score for this figure is tough since I've never seen one like mine out there in other reviews or heard of anyone who owned the figure to have the problems I have which, again, means I got a dud and I feel I have to be fair. So, to rate this particular figure, I'm going with 3/5. For the real versions that I've seen out there, 4/5. Score: 3/5 Other "real" versions of this figure: 4/5
***As a bonus, I've added scans of the instruction manual***