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July 25, 2011

The Greatest Majin

Filed under: Sanjeev,Toy Love — Sanjeev @ 10:29 pm

As usual, I have to start at the beginning

Most of the heads I roll with sorta know me as the local go-to guy for Godzilla trivia. No, not for any impressive honors or accolades I’ve earned…hell, I’m hardly the foremost expert in tokusatsu (though I certainly like to think I know my shit!). I sure love that scaly bastard and I ain’t shy about it, but I like to think I’m down with ALL daikaiju–the myriad giant monsters that fascinated me every Saturday morning on Creature Double Feature.

But what made CDF an extra-special experience for me was that it was one of the few times during the week my father and I would regularly spend together. He was a bit of a hard scifi nut, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to get down with the old-timey American scifi and various tokusatsu featured on the program.

Anyway, there was one particular series of movies that absolutely blew my fucking mind at that tender age–a kaiju offering so unlike the often-campy Godzilla and Gamera flicks I was used to. It started with AIP’s English-dubbed Majin, The Monster of Terror…where I saw a GOD in the form of a giant stone statue come to life after several men drove a giant steel pike into its forehead. This enraged god’s subsequent rampage climaxed with him pulling the pike from his forehead…and impaling the evil warlord with it. Fuck me. I think I was five years old. This was NO Godzilla dancing a jig after beating up an ambulatory pile of shit.

Keep in mind that I was (and am now) an atheist: see, my parents taught me all about Hindu mythology, and while I enjoyed hearing these stories from my people and learning about our customs and traditions, there was no expectation placed on me to believe in these deities. And my family had just moved to the (very Catholic) suburbs of the Bean, so my only experience of “God” was through these people I didn’t really understand yet.

So here was this depiction of god being a vengeful, deathless force of nature and justice…not some amorphous, benevolent dude who made people feel guilty for doing shit. Mind=blown.

Fast forward to last April. Over the past few years, folks like Jim M and Mark K–amorphous benevolent dudes, in their own right–have been shepherding my inexorable slide towards collecting vintage vinyl. I had been no stranger to Daimajin toys, but now it was time to go big or go home. I finally got me an original 1966 Marusan Daimajin figure.

And it is glorious.

The toy finally arrived a couple weeks ago…and with some rather curious timing, my old camera finally died last Friday. What you’re seeing are the very first shots from my brand new camera–and thankfully, the weather yesterday was quite agreeable…divine intervention, hmmm???

Anyway, the toy is stunning. I’m kinda glad I waited until I could fully appreciate the vintage aesthetic before picking this guy up. I know some people like more move-accurate sofubi…or just crazy-mint specimens of vintage pieces. This is neither. And I’m absolutely fine with that.

Granted, when he arrived, he was kinda grimy. No, I don’t mean he was about to steal forty bucks outta my wallet and sneak out a window–I mean, he had been well-loved over the decades and had picked up his fair share of dirt. Oh, and curiously, his legs were reversed (I’ve seen this before on other vintage specimens–funny how so few people thought to correct the awkward stance). I just disassembled the figure and took my time with some warm, soapy water and a soft-bristle toothbrush. A labor of love, no doubt.

The toy stands 9″ tall and is obviously made of blue vinyl with sparing silver and metallic green sprays. The paint rubs are numerous…but they don’t bother me in the slightest. It’s an old toy. It was played with by some child and appreciated enough to have been kept carefully in such nice shape for all these years. That weight of history is a big part of what makes vintage vinyl so special to me.

There are no cracks or other structural flaws with the vinyl. What’s interesting is that the sword hilt made of the same vinyl as the rest of the figure; on the hidden side is a simple plug that fits into a hole on the figure’s belt. The scabbard, however, is made of a very soft rubber. It’s simply glued on at the guard. I’m pretty sure that in the myriad reissues from M1 and Marusan, the whole sword is a single piece of vinyl.

Not too much more to say about this toy, so I’ll just leave you with a few more shots…

Hope you enjoyed the read and pics!

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