Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review: S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004

Introduction:  In 1972, the Godzilla franchise saw the introduction of one of the Monster King's most bizarre and memorable foes: The space cyborg Gigan!  An abomination formed by combining mechanical parts with an organic creature, the one-eyed beast positively bristled with deadly blades and sported a deadly chest mounted buzzsaw.  Teaming up with popular franchise villain King Ghidorah, he fought in a memorable tag team battle against heroic monsters Godzilla and Anguirus (In 1972's Godzilla vs. Gigan).  The following year, Gigan returned to battle Godzilla and the robot Jet Jaguar alongside a new partner:  The insectile god of the Seatopians, Megalon (in 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon)!  Gigan would appear once more to battle Tokusatsu hero Zone Fighter before vanishing for over three decades.

Despite being a popular monster, Gigan was to have a 31 year absence.  It wasn't until 2004, that Toho decided to bring Gigan back for their 50th anniversary Godzilla film, Godzilla:  Final Wars.  Millennium Gigan received a sleek new look and a brand new arsenal of weapons including a cluster beam, grappling hooks, and double bladed chainsaw hands!

Whether or not Millennium Gigan lived up to the Showa version's legacy is being debated to this day.  However, the design itself certainly struck a chord with some fans.  It was apparently popular enough that Bandai/Tamashii decided to produce a Gigan 2004 figure for their super articulated S.H. Monsterarts line.  So, how did it turn out? Read on and find out!!

Package (5/5):  S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004's package, like the monster himself, is primarily blue.  "Tears"and "slashes" all over the front and sides serve as a creative way to display the figure within.  Severe red lettering bordered by white state the creature's name.  Several logos adorn the front including a 60th Anniversary icon, the Bandai and Tamashii logos, Gigan's copyright icon, and a golden image of the 1962 Godzilla that says "2014".  A large graphic depicting the figure crossing its claws in front of its face decorates the front right of the box...

...While the side depicts a head on close up of the monster's face.
The back of the box shows several display options including Upgrade mode and flying mode.

The final side contains three slashes and the monster's name

It's a great box, and the colors and images represent the contained figure well.  But enough about the package...

Sculpt (4.5/5):  S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004 has a superb sculpt, marred somewhat by a rather significant flaw:  The sculpt is not 100% accurate to the suit.  

Looking at a comparison photo, it's easy to spot the differences:  The teeth, the forehead horn, and the mandibles are all somewhat enlarged and exaggerated.  Instead of ruining the look, however, this lends the face sculpt an almost sneering quality.  This reflects Gigan's villainous nature, and injects a great deal of personality into the overall appearance.  Exaggerations such as these are present throughout the entire figure, and it's clear that the sculpt in general is leaning toward the stylized end of the spectrum.


The design aesthetic for Gigan's main body leans toward the biomechanical, much like the ferocious xenomorphs from the Alien franchise.  His "skin" is grooved and covered in what can be assumed are wires.  Bolts and rivets adorn these parts, making it difficult to discern where the flesh ends and the mechanisms begin.  Gigan's chest structure is reminiscent of a ribcage, and it gives him a somewhat skeletal appearance.  His arms and legs have what appears to be a layer of thick armored scutes.  The level of detail on these biomechanical parts is simply amazing, as is to be expected from this line.

Gigan's trio of sail-like wings look great, too.  Hard, bony structures rise out of his back, tapering off into sharp, curved spines at the tips.  Connecting these structures is a red membrane, with plenty of sculpted wrinkles added for realism. 

One neat detail is the row of bolts at the base of the outer wings.  These bolts apparently connect them to Gigan's body, which enhances the illusion of a "stitched-together" organism.  Overall, the wings are beautifully done, and look rather majestic when spread out.

  No less detailed are Gigan's mechanical parts, and plenty of sharp, blade-like appendages and weapons adorn his body.


Gigan's signature chest saw is fierce looking and extremely sharp.  When the saw is outside of the body cavity, the tracks between blades are revealed.  It's a cool extra detail.


Gigan 2004's distinctly angular hook hands are captured beautifully, with rivets, bolts and grappling hooks in all the right places.  They cause him to appear threatening no matter what pose he's in!

Gigan's knees are covered in rather elaborate spiked armor plating.  The plates are arranged in three layers, one on top of the other.  Three spikes adorn the top layer, with the large center one having grooves cut into it.  This makes it appear like a star from the front.

Gigan's feet consist of die cast toes and layered armor.  The toes themselves are die cast, and each heel sports a large circular object on each side (most likely some sort of large bolt).  On the back of each foot there is a metallic spike, no doubt meant to resemble a dewclaw.

Gigan's tail is a perfect example of the sort of sculpting genius that makes this line stand out in general.  From just below the triple wings to about 2/3 of the way down his tail, Gigan sports a series of overlapping, spike-topped angular armor plates.  One sharp spikey protrusion sits at the lower edge of each plate.  They start out thin at the base and flair out into an almost spear-like tip.  They appear quite deadly, and are actually very sharp! 

The tail terminates in a series of metal segments, and ultimately ends into a sort of five pronged thagomizer-like weapon.  It's rather impressive looking and truly makes Gigan seem like a sort of living weapon.

Paint (4.25/5):  The paint work on Gigan is up to the usual excellent S.H. Monsterarts standard...  with a few notable exceptions.  The main body is molded/painted in various shades of blue, with darker blue being applied to add depth.  The various metal bolts on Gigan are decorated expertly despite their small size.

Unfortunately not all the paint work is immaculate.  There are instances of unpainted details in areas such as the base of the wings.  They're small, but it's definitely noticeable under close inspection.

Gigan's teeth are fine for the most part.  However, there are instances of slop and even an entire unpainted tooth.  Again, you have to look very closely to see it, but it's definitely there.

The metallic parts (such as the claws and tail armor) are silver with a darker grey shading applied.  This adds a sense of realism to these sections, as they appear to be reflecting light. 
All in all the paint Work on S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004 is pretty impressive, despite a few rather disappointing missteps.
Articulation (5/5):  The articulation on S.H. Monsterarts Gigan is simply unbelievable.  The (literal) breakdown is as follows:

 WARNING:  If you're not interested in a painstaking analysis of this figure's articulation, skip to the end of this section.  

Starting with the head, he sports swiveling mandibles, a hinged jaw, and a double ball jointed stalk at the very top of the neck. 

A swiveling, free-floating sheath hides this joint, and there is a hinged piece of plated and spiked armor sitting atop a second solid segment in the middle of the neck.  This piece is in turn attached by a double ball jointed stalk to the base of the neck, which is adorned by another hinged plate.  This incredibly complex system of neck joints (seven in total!!!) allows for very natural and seamless motion, with an impressive range.

Gigan’s shoulders are plates that are connected to the main body via ball joints.  This allows the arms to move around freely.  Speaking of the arms, they’re nearly as complicated as the neck.

Plugging into the main body on a ball joint/swivel combination joint, an elbow sheath hides a double hinge joint, which in turn connects to the forearm via a ball joint.  Yet another ball joint connects either the default hooks or the alternate chainsaw accessory to the forearm (a total of six joints!)  There are also swivel joints between the shoulder and elbow, but I don’t recommend using those, as they’re rather tight. 

Gigan sports three sail-like wings.  The two outer wings are hinged at top and bottom.  The inner wing is more complicated, as it is made up of three different sections.  The first section connects to Gigan’s upper back via a hinge joint.  The middle section is attached to the first on a sliding track.  The last section is attached to the middle in much the same way. 

These joints allow middle wing to hinge backward to adjust for flying mode. 

Gigan’s trademark chest mounted buzz saw is present and attaches to the upper torso via a ball joint.  The torso itself is attached to the lower body by a double post ball joint.  Actual ab crunch motion is somewhat limited, though this is somewhat remedied by the buzz saw’s ability to hinge inward.

Moving on to the legs, Gigan’s hips are attached by a ball joint to an inner double hinge.  The hinge is capped by die cast for increased durability.  A sheath hides this joint rather well, and the transition between pelvis and hip is smooth and natural looking.  The sheaths are obviously a cosmetic choice, since they actually impede the joints’ motion a bit.  Gigan’s knees are similar in execution his elbows, as they are comprised of a double hinge/ball joint combination.  The outer knee itself is merely a hollow sheath, with a hinged armor piece attached. 

Half way down the figure’s lower leg is an interesting surprise;  A mid calf double ball jointed post!  This allows the figure to adjust so that the feet are flat.  It greatly aids in balance, and allows Gigan to stand in poses that solid, jointless calves would not.  A second double ball post attaches the lower leg to the very interesting feet.

Gigan’s feet are divided into four sections.  The toes are large die cast pieces which plug into the main foot via a single ball joint.  Between the main foot and the  toe section are two sheaths.  These sheaths resemble armor plating, and allow the foot to have a great, natural looking toe bend along with a great range of motion. 

Finally we come to the most impressively articulated part of S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004:  The tail.  It starts at the lower back where it’s attached via a double ball jointed post.  A large, ball jointed armored plate covers the lower back/ upper tail transition.  The rest of the tail is set up like most S.H. Monsterarts figures: a series of solid sections are connected by double ball jointed posts and hidden by hollow sheaths.  The tail terminates in several tiny double ball jointed sections.  It would be fairly standard fair if not for one important difference:  The majority of the larger tail sections have an intricate series of overlaying hard plastic plating!  Since the plating is attached to every section, it looks extremely cool when the tail is posed.

S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004 comes with a few interesting accessories with articulation of their own.  Most notable in this category is the alternate armored neck.  While not as articulated as the normal neck, it still sports two double ball jointed post connections and a hinged layer of armor.  Another accessory, the alternate double chainsaw hands, have soft rubber saw blades that rotate when (gently) pulled.
Overall, S.H. Monsterarts is a marvel of action figure joint technology.  Its extremely innovative articulation allows it to be posed in a multitude of different ways.  As far as poseability goes it’s one of the best (if not THE best) in the line!

Accessories (4/5):  S.H. Monsterarts Gigan comes with all the parts necessary to transform him into "Upgraded" mode.  Included accessories are a longer serrated horn, two serrated alternate mandibles, an armored neck piece, and two double chainsawed alternated hand parts. 

The largest and most prominent of the accessories are obviously the double chainsaw hands.  They are nicely sculpted and detailed, with the same metallic "weathering" present on these as on other parts (such as the tail).  Each saw blade contains a surprise feature as well:  The soft rubber blades can be manually rotated!!  It's a neat little extra detail that enhances the experience of posing the figure.

The alternate head parts (as with the rest of the figure) are a bit on the stylized side, with their unique details and size being somewhat exaggerated.  That being said they certainly are distinct, with tiny details on the menacing serrated edges.

S.H. Monsterarts Gigan's alternate armored neck is beautifully detailed, with knobs, spikes and ridges in all the right places.  The aforementioned weathering effect enhances the illusion of metal, and the neck itself is surprisingly articulated.
Aside from the default and "Upgrade" modes, a third Gigan mode is possible:  Gigan from the 2007 Wii game, Godzilla Unleashed!  To make Unleashed Gigan, you simply have to swap the normal neck with the alternate armored neck.  And with the incredible number of joints and the excellent range of motion, you can recreate your favorite moves from the game!


WATCH OUT!!  S.H. Monsterarts Gigan 2004 has a few things to watch out for. One is the spikes on his tail. They're made of hard plastic, and while it does have some give, they seem as if too much strain could potentially snap them off! Be extremely careful when posing the tail joints!

Another thing you have to watch out for is the overall sharpness of the figure...  Especially in the large chest saw and the various spikes covering Gigan's body.  As the package entails, these figures are not for children!!

Overall (4.75/5):  Despite not being 100% suit accurate (and feel free to knock an entire point off the final score if you're an absolute stickler for accuracy), S.H. Monsterarts is an EXCELLENT figure.  It's extremely articulated, amazingly detailed, and unbelievably versatile.  I can't even begin to describe the fun I've had posing this thing and swapping out the parts.  If you're a Gigan 2004 fan, a Godzilla: Final Wars fan, a kaiju fan, or a fan of biomechanical abominations in general, I give this figure my highest recommendation!  

 And now for something completely different...



  1. Excellent review! I wasn't sure about this figure, but now I'll buy it for sure.
    P.S. the final comics were AWESOME.

    Just an answer: who is the best between Kiryu and Gigan? I can buy just one of them at the moment, but I'm very undecided....

  2. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! Kiryu and Gigan have different things going for them. If your main concern is screen accuracy, Kiryu is definitely the winner there. If you're looking for a multitude of display options then Gigan comes out way on top. Aside from the chest Gigan is more articulated and has greater range in his joints. They're just about tied for accessories.

    My personal favorite of the two is Gigan. I can't objectively say he's the best though since it depends on what you're looking for.

  3. Great review!

    I'm interested, what buildings are those in the Gigan pics?

  4. Thanks! And those are Monsterpocalypse buildings.