King Ghidorah
Version Source
Company: Yamakatsu
Extras: None
Classification: Figure Reissue: No
Release: 1983 Height: 17 centimeters
Steve Johnson

Coming to us from all the way back in 1983, by way of Planet X, is Yamakatsu's take on King Ghidorah. It should go without saying that this will be the Showa representation of the kaiju, as it was the only version that existed when the figure was made. Right away, one can't help but notice that this is a less than...."regal" reproduction of the Terror from Space, but one that isn't without its charms.

Figure Comparison

Topping out around 6 1/2 inches, with a mere 5 3/4" wingspan, Ghidorah, like all the Yamakatsu vinyl figures, is noticeably smaller than his Bandai counterpart. Whether this is a plus or a minus is up to the collector; while I've always found larger figures more impressive, smaller ones have certainly become welcome in my collection as space increasingly becomes an issue.

Ghidoran is nicely detailed, with scales all over his body, rows of horizontal scales in the middle of each of his necks, with bumps, spikes, noses, hair and horns sculpted onto each face.

Close Up

The body is gold, as it should be, with black spray detail. I like the "veiny" look the back of Ghidorah's wings have been given, as well. The inside of Ghidorah's mouthes are red on the bottom, gold on the top. The teeth are gold, which is understandable when one notices how small the teeth actually are. Eyeballs are silver with black pupils. I don't know if this is a widespread issue, but, I must complain that one of the pupils on my Ghidorah "bleeds" into the bottom eyelid, leaving the eyeball looking somewhat bare, though its up in the air whether the figure was produced this way, or if 25+ years of paint wear attributed to it.

While on the subject of Ghidorah's faces....I'm not wild about them. Godzilla's arch-enemy ends up looking a bit, well, dopey here, with vacant expressions and rather horse-like mouthes. With that said, I do like the previously mentioned bumps and spines around the noses and above the eyelids, and the horns, crescent spines and hair you'd expect in a Showa Ghidorah are all here.

Bottom View

Even for the smaller size of the Yamakatsu line, King Ghidorah's wings are too small, in my opinion, for the body. The stumpy wings that would look more at home on a Dorat than the King of Terror give the figure an almost "SD" look usually reserved for "chibi" figures, rather than a 'full size' vinyl.

In an unusual move, only the middle neck is rotatable, with the outer two molded stationary to the torso. The wings rotate up and down, the two tails, molded as one piece as usual, swings from side to side, and the legs can move forward or back. A minor complaint, that's really more of a non-issue the more I think about it, is that the tail doesn't quite line up where it joins the torso, though this is only noticeable when viewing the figure from the side (and only slightly then), or if the figure is on its back.

Yamakatsu Figures

When compared to the other Yamakatsu figures, King Ghidorah's small stature becomes even more apparent. The Yamakatsu Godzilla is almost as tall as Ghidorah, whereas most Godzilla fans know the Three Headed Monster should tower over his atomic adversary. The quadrupedal Anguirus seems nearly half as tall as Ghidorah when placed before him.

For the collectors out there, King Ghidorah seems to be the priciest (and one of the rarest, along with Mechani-Kong) of the Yamakatsu line, sometimes hitting $100 on eBay,though at the time of this writing, there are two up for auction around $50 each, which just proves now more than ever that these figures are only worth what the individual is willing to pay. Like the other Yamakatsus, Ghidorah did not come with a tag, rather a Godzilla sticker on his right foot, though most of these stickers will be long gone on any figures you find for sale today. Though I was pleased with some of the small details in this sculpt, the key word is "small" in, everything about this figure is too small. All in all I find this toy rather unimpressive, and will be "awarding" it with two and a half stars. Its not terrible, but still a little bit of a letdown....though for the time it was produced, it is acceptable.

Rating: Star Rating