Sunday, April 21, 2013

Toy Review: Bandai Ultra Monsters Zetton and Dada

Today's review features a couple vintage Japanese monster characters (or kaiju).  The toys themselves aren't vintage, having been released in 2008, but the television show they come from is.  Ultraman was a show first aired in 1966 in Japan, and later shown in the United States.  The show featured the Science Patrol, a high-tech (for the time) group of agents dedicated to the purpose of protecting the earth from invaders and investigating strange circumstances.  Shin Hayata, one of the group's members, is accidentally killed in a crash with Ultraman's spaceship during the first episode.  Before Hayata's life fully expires, Ultraman fuses his life force with Hayata, giving him the power to transform himself into Ultraman.  After this point, whenever the Science Patrol is overwhelmed by circumstances beyond their abilities, Hayata (unbeknownst to the rest of the team) becomes Ultraman and defeats the monster of the week.

Fans of Ultraman and the various subsequent shows have long been fans of the weird and wacky kaiju featured each week.  Zetton and Dada were two such from the original Ultraman show.  These two toys were recently gifted to me on my birthday by my supercool brother and his likewise supercool wife.

Firstly, we have Zetton, a beetle-like monster who is supposed to be the most powerful of Ultraman's many enemies.  The toy is between six and seven inches tall, and made of painted hollow vinyl.  Such toys have been around for quite a long time (see my other reviews of Godzilla's Gang toys), and Zetton is just a modern take.  Zetton's "head" includes eye-like and antenna-like sensory organs that give him a form of sonar/radar.  The two yellow bulbs on his chest are supposed to act like compound eyes.

Zetton is a great example of the lengths the show's designers went to in order to create a truly alien creature costume.  That is, outside of the fact that it still had to fit over an actor, and therefore conform to a human shape.

I quite like Zetton's floppy clown loafers.

His back is devoid of much in the way of color.

Like many other vinyl kaiju toys, Zetton has little articulation - just some rotation at the shoulders and neck.


Another fairly monochromatic monster, Dada was a sort of scout for a potential alien invasion force, capturing humans to experiment on.  In the show he can display three different faces, though the toy has only the one.  Believe it or not, this is pretty much Dada's best-looking of the three.

Fancy hairdo, there, Dada.

Dada's costume isn't really black and white, as the lighter color is more of a cream or pale tan.

Dada's got better than average articulation for a vinyl toy.  The head can swivel, as can the waist and arms.  "Would you care to dance, Ultraman?"

Better watch out or he might kiss you.

"Look, Dada, all of this will be yours someday."  OK, with such limited movement, sometimes you just have to be a bit creative about how you use it.  Still, these guys are a lot of fun, and really are toys that small children (such as my granddaughter) can play with.  A great birthday gift!


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