With over 65 years of history, Godzilla has left his impression in all forms of media and collectibles. The very first licensed Godzilla toy was a gun and target game for 1955’s Godzilla Raids Again. However, the popularity of Godzilla toys surged in the mid-60s, when Murasan began to release vinyl figures of Toho’s iconic kaiju. Since then, Toho and toy companies have teamed up to produced hundreds of toys of the Japanese terror.
Godzilla’s merchandise spans from highly detailed and articulated figures to the simplest of candy toys. While some have included motorized and light-up features, others require vast imagination to bring to life. Still, the kaiju’s popularity has kept his merchandise in strong demand.
With a plethora of merchandise to comb through, landing on the top 10 toys is no small feat. Some toys have exquisite detail to make it look like the figure jumped straight off the screen. Meanwhile, others have history and nostalgia on their side. So, let us check out the 10 greatest toys that featured Toho’s Godzilla and his fellow kaiju.
While board games and model kits did contribute to Toho’s realization that Godzilla was marketing gold, this list will not include any of them. Likewise, despite their popularity, there will be no garage kits.
Presenting, the 10 most magnificent Godzilla toys of all time!
10. Mattel’s Shogun Warriors: Godzilla (1978)
In the late 70s, America had a problem. While Godzilla was hitting an all-time high in popularity with the children, thanks in part to the camp fest that was Godzilla vs. Megalon, the American toy isles were vacant of any merchandise outside of Aurora’s model kit.
Luckily, Mattel’s company president for the time, Arthur Spear, secured the rights to redistribute modified Popy Jumbo Machinder toys for the American consumer. However, when Mattel turned its attention to bringing over a Godzilla design, they found that their design team would not be able to manufacture the toy before the Christmas season. In the interest of releasing a Godzilla action figure in 1978, since Hanna-Barbara’s Godzilla cartoon was debuting that year, Mattel teamed up with the Japanese toy company Bandai to sculpt and design their Shogun Warriors Godzilla. Thus, this figure is not only one of America’s first Godzilla toys, but also the reason that Bandai began the production of Godzilla toys.
Mattel’s Shogun Warriors Godzilla stands at 19 and a half inches tall, and its body is a moss green color. The toy rolled on wheels found on its feet. It also featured two mechanical gimmicks, a tongue that would flick out to mimic flames and a launching fist.
Open-box Shogun Warriors Godzilla’s easily sell for over four hundred dollars on sites like eBay.
9. Bullmark’s Gigan (Red/Green) (1972)
Bullmark was a Japanese toy company that formed in 1969 after the fall of Marusan, who also had made Godzilla merchandise. The company built its reputation on the popularity of its soft vinyl figures of kaiju, like Gigan. These vinyl figures came in three size ranges: mini (3-4”), standard (8-9”), and giant (around 12”). They also had brightly colored special variations of their vinyl toys released in Hawaii and the American west coast.
While Bullmark produced over a dozen of Toho’s kaiju in their vinyl toy line, none look as eye-catching as Gigan. They released this figure in the same year as the cyborg lizard-chicken’s debut, Godzilla vs. Gigan, in 1972. There are two distinctive color variations of this toy, Blue with red and green with red; however, the coloring techniques supply a diverse kaleidoscope of variations available to hunt down.
These toys were immensely popular, so, depending on the quality of the paint job, fans can collect these figures for below $50.
8. Bullmark’s Die Cast Mechagodzilla (1975)
By the time that 1973 came around, the toy market shifted, so Bullmark began to see drops in their sales of vinyl figures. Thus, they began the production of die-cast toys to boost their sales numbers, leading to the creation of the Zinclon line of diecast toys. Mechagodzilla became an immensely popular addition to this line in 1975. Notably, Bullmark’s co-founder Saburo Ishizuki expressed that they were not able to keep up with the demand for this toy.
Bullmark designed their Mechagodzilla to appear robotic, like its namesake. It also came with 6 points of action: a moving mouth, firing hands, a chest projectile, knee and waist missiles, and a moving tail. The diecast Mechagodzilla stands at four and a half inches tall.
The legacy of Bullmark’s die-cast did not die with the closing of the company in 1977. For, Popy modified the Bullmark figure to produce their own diecast Mechagodzilla, GA-93, in 1978. Popy’s version had a few visual distinctions, like a black band that spelled out Mechagodzilla in its midsection.
Unboxed complete toys of Bullmark’s die-cast Mechagodzilla have sold on eBay for well over a hundred dollars.
7. NECA’s Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989 (Bile Attack) (2020)
Only in this last decade has NECA entered and then dropped out of the Godzilla toy production game. NECA’s toy line began in 2014 along with Legendary Picture’s Godzilla film. For the following years, they expanded their line to include figures of Godzilla suits throughout his film career. Unfortunately, NECA lost its license to produce Godzilla toys in 2020. However, the company is still producing kaiju toys since they can still manufacture King Kong toys.
Fans have often touted the NECA Godzilla toy line as the cheaper choice to Bandai’s MonsterArts line. The figures are much more versatile and posable than Bandai’s standard Godzilla vinyl toys, they only sold for $29.99. Meanwhile, MonsterArts toys rarely drop below $60.
One of the final Godzilla toys that NECA released was a special color variant of the 1989 Godzilla suit featured in Godzilla vs. Biollante. The “Bile Attack” version sported a special green paint that reflected the moment that Biollante covered Godzilla with bile in the movie. While NECA had released an original 1989 Godzilla without the special paint job earlier that year, the special color variant also included a spiral flame breath.
Since these toys are still new, they still sell for around their original selling price. However, that does not take away from the beautiful mold of 1989’s Godzilla suit.
6. Mattel’s World’s Greatest Monsters: Rodan (1980)
After the success of their Shogun Warriors Godzilla, Mattel investigated adding another popular Toho kaiju to their toy line. While he is a part of the Shogun Warriors line, Mattel released Rodan in 1980 under his own tagline: World’s Greatest Monsters. This action figure stands over a foot tall and has over three feet wide wingspan, making it an easy match for the corresponding Godzilla figure. Notably, this figure used rubber bands to create the action movements for its feet and flapping wings, which activate through rubber bands and three finger holes on his back. Meanwhile, Rodan “roared” via a clicking noise that occurred when his mouth opened and closed.
Since this Rodan figure appeals to collectors of kaiju, Godzilla, and Shogun Warriors, he is a very desirable figure on the collector’s market. Compounding to his rarity and collectability is the fact that Mattel only released him to the US market. So, collectors around the world seek him out. Lastly, since his wings were made of vinyl, cracks often form even with untouched figures.
Due to the rarity of this figure, it is common for an open-box damaged figure to go over three hundred dollars. However, collectors should expect to pay over a thousand dollars to get their hands on this figure.
5. Bandai’s Godzilla vs. Destroyah Super Final Premium Godzilla (1995)
When it comes to Godzilla toys, one company will inevitably pop up from the woodwork: Bandai. Bandai Japan began the production of their line of Godzilla toys in 1983. While their standard Godzilla figures stand at 8 inches tall and regularly have only four points of articulation, they gained popularity in the Godzilla collecting market for their detail and movie-accurate appearances. So, no list would be complete without a Bandai figure on it, especially when it comes to one of the largest Godzilla toys ever produced.
In celebration of Godzilla’s death during 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Bandai released a theater exclusive Premium Godzilla that stood over 24” tall and was 49” long. While Bandai produced a similarly sized Godzilla in 1994, Bandai used translucent red and orange vinyl to mold this meltdown Godzilla. Most importantly, Bandai only released 4000 copies of this toy, with each figure coming with a plate under its left foot that marks its production number.
Due to this figure’s rarity, expect to pay well over six hundred dollars to add one of them to your collection.
4. Sentinel’s Riobot NERV Anti-G Weapon Shiryu Prototype Unit 01 (Evangelion vs. Godzilla) (2017)
Toho’s most lucrative Godzilla crossover is not Godzilla vs. Kong. Instead, another crossover and swept through Godzilla’s merchandise ever since Hideaki Anno, the director of one of Japan’s most prolific anime properties, Neon Genesis Evangelion, signed on to direct a Godzilla movie in 2015. Furthering the furor for a crossover between Evangelion and Godzilla, the composer of Evangelion’s music, Shirou Sagisu, also worked on Shin Godzilla. Thus, multiple fans of both series noticed the similarity between the music. The natural progression of fans’ thirst for a brawl between the Eva Units and Godzilla led up to the official release of the Evangelion vs. Godzilla 4-D in 2019 at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
Crossover merchandise began popping up in 2016 and has continued to this day. Most toys featured in this crossover are recolors of Godzilla or Kiryu (Mechagodzilla 2003) that sport the iconic purple, orange, and green color scheme of Eva Unit-01. There are also variants of Kiryu in Eva Unit-02’s red and orange color scheme. However, the limits of crossover toys do not stop at recolors.
Sentinel Toys produced one of the most unique takes on the crossover with the release of their Riobot NERV Anti-G Weapon Shiryu Prototype Unit 01. Yoji Shinkawa set to combine elements of the Evangelion series with Godzilla to reimagine Kiryu as if NERV had designed the mech. Thus, they produced a unique toy for fans of both series.
If you are lucky, you might be able to snag a copy of this figure for under five hundred dollars.
3. Takara’s Combat Joe: Costume Set (1984)
The suit actors that bring Godzilla’s personality to life on the silver screen are a crucial, yet often unsung, part of the films. Outside of Haruo Nakajima, who donned Godzilla suits in 12 films, few of the suit actors are known. So, it is rare to find a toy that represents the art that brings Godzilla to life.
Meanwhile, Takara’s Combat Joe line also has a notorious slot in toy history. This toy line formed after Takara licensed Hasbro’s G.I. Joe line in 1971 for production in Japan. For the most part, the line featured war-inspired figures. However, Takara also found success by creating costumes based on popular tv shows and movies. This line may also sound familiar because it is a predecessor for another famous toy line, Transformers.
When Godzilla returned to theaters in 1984, Takara decided to release a Godzilla suit for their Combat Joe line. Takara made this suit from the rubber similar to the type that Toho uses to make the suits for the films, aside from the hard plastic tail and spines. This suit also included a zipper for the toy actor to slip into the suit. Meanwhile, the 12” Joe sports a bandana, which is like the bandana that Haruo Nakajima was known to wear. Thus, Combat Joe’s Costume Godzilla is a welcome addition to any fan’s collection.
This figure has sold for over $200 on eBay.
2. Bandai’s S.H. MonsterArts: Destroyah Special Color Version (2017)
Bandai Japan had seen remarkable success with their vinyl Godzilla figures for decades. However, they also began to see success after the 2008 launch of their toy lines aimed at adult collectors under the Tamashii Nations banner. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Bandai turned their attention to create a line of Godzilla toys for the lucrative pockets of adult collectors. In 2011, Tamashii Nations announced a new subline, the MonsterArts, with the goal to produce hyper-articulated figures for the adult Godzilla collector, though a few other franchises have had their monsters featured in the line.
S.H. Monsterarts debuted Destroyah to the line in 2013. Destroyah stands at 8 inches tall and has a wingspan of 15 inches. While he is a bulky figure, Bandai did not skimp out on the articulation, even the wings have joints that allow posing. The articulation is so extensive that Bandai has released special stop-motion films to simulate scenes from Godzilla vs. Destroyah.
However, the original release did not come with any accessories. Meanwhile, the second release of the figure in 2017 made several notable changes to the paint scheme as well as included a small battalion of vehicles. Overall, the paint scheme for the special color version portrays a more film-accurate depiction of the kaiju as well as yellow eyes. Thus, the superior version of this figure is the 2017 special color variant.
Unboxed S.H. Monsterarts Destroyahs have sold for over $350 bucks; however, if you are looking for a boxed figure, do not be surprised to see a price over $450.
Special mention: Imperial’s Godzilla – 5”, 7”, 15” (1985)
For an American child of the ‘80s, this was the Godzilla toy. While this toy is not screen accurate, articulate, or colorful, it was the Godzilla toy that US stores carried during the time. Thus, it is instantly recognizable to the fans that grew up during that time. This toy is even visible in the background of shots from Rosanne. As such, this toy deserves a special nod of recognition, if nothing less.
1. Bandai’s S.H. MonsterArts: Godzilla (2016) Awakening Version (2017)
In 2016, Toho released Shin Godzilla to the Japanese cinemas and made a huge splash with Godzilla fans. Before this movie, Godzilla had remained consistent in his design aesthetic, certain Zilla’s aside. While there had been small departures from the norm, like 1999’s jagged dorsal fins and green skin, the powers and form remained relatively untouched. Shin Godzilla broke away from this mold by presenting an evolving Godzilla.
Mid-way through the film, Hideaki Anno’s take on Godzilla surprised audiences with a scene that displayed the full might of his monster. While Godzilla fans were accustomed to Godzilla’s blue-white heat flame, which has occasionally been a red spiral, no other Godzilla concentrated the heat of his breath to produce a purple laser of destruction. Then, the creature increased its destructive potential by releasing those lasers through its dorsal spines and tail.
With the image of Godzilla’s awakening burned into the viewers of Shin Godzilla, the demand is high for figures that call back to this scene. S.H. Monsterarts did not disappoint when they released their figure of the fourth, awakening form of Shin Godzilla. This figure includes multiple heads and mouths in addition to both a flame spout and laser beams. Bandai took care to give their Shin Godzilla an amazing ab crunch to help fans recreate the scenes from the film.
Do not be surprised to spend over $350 to add this figure to your collection.
Toho has seen immense success with their Godzilla merchandise over the decades. With their Godzilla store going strong in Shinjuku Tokyo, do not expect the toy production to slow down. All types of collectors can find the toy that will fit their style of toy.
Did your favorite Godzilla toys make it to this list? Perhaps, you might be looking forward to seeing the thighs that just will not quit!
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Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!