The Standard Bandai Godzilla 91
With the release of the Toho film "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah" in 1991, Bandai produced vinyl figures of the kaiju that appeared in the film. This would be the first time Bandai would produced toys of Godzilla and other monsters tied into a film and has been a yearly process ever since. Bandai's version of Godzilla 91 has to this day been one of the most popular vinyl versions of Godzilla ever produced by Bandai. To this day, Bandai's Godzilla 91 has not been reissued or scaled down as part of the Movie Monster Series. Yet, there are different versions of the Bandai Godzilla 91 that not too many collectors are aware of. This article is a special look at trying to solve the mysteries of the Bandai Godzilla 91 figures. If you can provide any answers not found in this article, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bandai Godzilla 91 stands just over 8.5 inches tall and is 9.5 inches long. The vinyl is a light black with touches of silver spray found on the chest, claws, toe nails, spines, and begins to fade going up the top side of the tail to the end. The teeth have somewhat of a light brownish paint, while the eyes appear to be painted orange. The toy has Japanese writing on the left foot with katakana of "Godzilla" and the right foot says "Bandai 1991 Japan". The tag is a single card that pictures artwork of "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah" theater poster. The Toho license sticker is gold and pictures a silhouette of Godzilla and says "Godzilla" in english on the bottom. It also says "Bandai 1991 Made In Japan" on the bottom of the tag. The Bandai Godzilla 91 figure sold in Japan for 1,600 yen, roughly under $16 American dollars.
Tag for Godzilla 91
Most collectors are aware that there are two different style tags for the Bandai Godzilla 91 figure. There are perforated and non-perforated tags. Tags that are perforated will allow you to easily pull apart the bottom portion of the tag. The back of the bottom part of the tag has katakana of "Godzilla" and can be used as a nameplate to be placed in front of Godzilla. It is unclear which version of the tagged figure was released first or if both versions were released simultaneously. Unfortunately, I don't have a non-perforated sample to compare with the perforated sample I do have, to see if the figures have any size or paint differences.
Godzilla 91/Godzillasaurus Two Pack
1993 saw Bandai reissue Godzilla 91 in an unusal way. Paired with the Bandai Godzillasaurus figure, which wasn't produced in 1991, but finally released in 1993, found Godzilla 91 as part of the first ever blister pack known as the Bandai Godzilla 91/Godzillasaurus Two Pack.
The figures were placed on a card secured in a plastic enclosure. The Toho license sticker is gold and pictures a silhouette of Godzilla and says "Godzilla" in english on the bottom. This two pack has been regarded as one of the rarest Godzilla items produced by Bandai, since kids would have to open the packaging to play with the toys. To find a two pack in mint condition is almost impossible as many samples seen have found the corners of the card bent, the plastic enclosure cracked and damaged, even the hang support found at the top of the card damaged.
There has been mentioned that there are paint and size differences when comparing both figures from the Two Pack, to the Standard versions sold with tags. Unfortunately, I don't have samples from the Two Pack to compare. The best way to tell the difference when finding a tagless figure of Godzilla 91 and Godzillasaurus is to see if the figure has a tag hole. If no tag hole is present, it's most likely from the Two Pack.
I have recently learned there is another variation of Bandai's Godzilla 91 that is somewhat of a mystery. It appears there is a version of Godzilla 91 made in Korea. It is unknown when this figure was produced. A tagged sampled has been found were it says "Bandai 1991 Printed In Japan" on the bottom portion of the tag instead of "Bandai 1991 Made In Japan". On the bottom of the figure's right foot, it says "Made in Korea" not over, but below where "Japan" use to be, yet still says "Bandai 1991". The writing on the left foot of the Korean version is identical to the Japanese version. The Korean figure is a more darker black vinyl and the silver spray is more thick, especially on the feet and along the top of the tail when compared to the Japanese version.
Comparision of the Japan & Korea Godzilla 91
There is a size difference when comparing the two figures. the Korean Godzilla 91 stands below 8.5 inches and has a smaller body size when compared. The end of the tail of the Korean Godzilla is not lifted as high as the Japanese version. The Korean figure appears more glossier than the Japanese figure as well.
Close up of the Japanese and Korean Godzilla 91
Another noticable difference is the paint used on the face of Godzilla 91. While the Japanese version has orange eyes and light brownish teeth, the Korean version has a light yellowish ivory for the teeth and eyes.
Talks with other collectors suggest the Korean version may be the one used for the Bandai Godzilla 91/Godzillasaurus Two Pack. Yet, the Korean Godzilla 91 has been found with a tag and pictures shows the eyes of the Godzilla 91 found in the Two Pack are painted the same manner as the Japanese version.
It has also been mentioned by collectors that the Korean version may simply be a Bootleg. Yet Bootlegs are never found with tags and markings such as "Bandai" is routinly removed from the bottom of the feet. It is known that China has been making Godzilla figures for Bandai for a few years now and does say "Made In China" on the tags and the feet of the toys. So it can be possible Bandai had Korea make Godzilla 91 figures. I do find it interesting on the Korean sample I have that I can't locate a tag hole anywhere on the figure.
Hopefully, I can come by more samples to futher explain the mysteries surrounding Bandai's Godzilla 91 figure in the near future.
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