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May 13, 2009

Marusan Double Header

Filed under: Daily Money Shots,Matt Alt,Toy Love — matt @ 7:30 pm


Meet Gosura. You’ve probably never heard of him before. That’s because he doesn’t hail from any particular show. He’s all-original — or, well, he’s just original enough not to invite a lawsuit. He’s giant by soft vinyl standards — a good 12″ tall. He’s called Gosura (“Because the heads look like Gomora‘s,” laughed Marusan president Eiji Kaminaga when I asked him about it the other day.) A gift from Jim Maitland, it turns out I’ve met this kaiju before. Way before.

More than a decade ago, I first spotted this toy on the kitchen table of a certain New Jersey rare and vintage toy dealer. It was scuffed and damaged, but I still knew I’d never be able to purchase it from without mortgaging my soul. Some time after that, it was purchased by Jim, who apparently DID mortgage his soul and decided to try restoring it to its former glory. He hired a pal to repair the cracked horns on the noses, and enlisted the help of former Club Daikaiju head honcho Jim Cirronella to retouch the paint job. At some point during this long process, Roger Harkavy dropped by and checked things out. And then it went back to Jim Maitland, who by this point had acquired another, mint specimen. And some time after that, it flew back to Tokyo with Jim, who gave it to me based on nothing more than my having expressed wanting the toy in an idle chat years previously. Tokyo to New Jersey to Oregon to New Jersey to Oregon and back to Tokyo, four decades after it first popped out of the molds. What a tangled web we weave.

Back in the late Sixties/early Seventies, Marusan started making original kaiju characters for sale along with the regular licensed stuff. A lot of them were an homage to existing characters. Like King Gojira here (not to be confused with, y’know, another famous monster that has a similar name.) Others were totally original creations. There are three scales: the usual standard size, then this Giant size, which Gosura is in, and finally a SUPER Giant size, which is a little bit larger still. All of them are totally funky, bubbly, cheap-ass, hand-sculpted, gloriously old-school sofubi. And the more I handle them, the more they seem like long-forgotten pieces of folk art than toys.

Thanks again Jim!

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