Bandai Tamashii Nations - S.H.MonsterArts 10th Anniversary
October 15, 2021
Interview by The Articulations Series
Daiki Fukaura, Senior Brand Manager of Tamashii Nations
THE ARTICULATION SERIES (TAS): Can you believe that S.H.MonsterArts is coming up on its 10th year anniversary this November? To date, the line consists of 80+ releases, mostly Godzilla but also includes other monsters like Alien, Predator, Kong, Gamera, and recently Monster Hunter. Fans are eagerly looking forward to what Tamashii Nations has in store. It’s been a little over a year since we last spoke, happy to have you back and provide some insight into the present and future of the S.H.MonsterArts line! Before we dive into questions about the lines present and future, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the last 10 years. How did the idea of S.H.MonsterArts come about?
FUKAURA: From the success of our signature brand S.H.Figuarts, we wanted to use articulation and other gimmicks for Monsters. It was decided to start with the iconic Godzilla franchise and has since expanded with several other famous Monster characters.
TAS: Were there any challenges with S.H.MonsterArts in the past 10 years?
FUKAURA: Our aim is to produce high quality figures to satisfy our fans. We continue to work hard as a team to achieve it, however, there’s always challenges for us with improving sculpture and articulation engineering, on the technical side of things. We hope you continue to look forward to what comes next!
TAS: In the Tamashii Nations Quality video that was produced, many recognizable characters are featured in the creative process. S.H.MonsterArts are noticeably absent-- are they created differently from S.H.Figuarts?
FUKAURA: The creation process of S.H.MonsterArts is no different. Like our other brands, they are produced at the same level of quality with what’s seen in the video. S.H.MonsterArts are equally an important brand and the selected brands in the video were chosen to make it easier to understand the process for new fans.
TAS: Now on to the present! As you know, Tamashii holds many events throughout the year and unveils new products. Due to the pandemic, it’s been a treat to experience these events online so that everyone worldwide can enjoy them. When things eventually go back to normal, are there plans to continue the online experience along with a physical attendance?
FUKAURA: We do eventually want to meet and show the fans our new products at physical events as well. Hopefully that day will come soon. We’ll continue to have more online experiences, so please check TAMASHII NATIONS.COM for more details.
TAS: These events generally tease and unveil a handful of figures, which is exciting for fans. For lines like Kamen Rider, Dragon Ball, and Gundam, you can generally count on 3-7 new figures. When it comes to S.H.MonsterArts, we usually see about 1 or 2 new pieces accompanied with recent releases. Back in the line’s beginning, 2012 & 2013, more prototypes were unveiled at once. What’s changed?
FUKAURA: In the beginning, timing was a critical phase in that we wanted to show the depth of S.H.MonsterArts and what it could produce. Due to its success, we’re now in the phase where we select Monsters and continue to improve the quality. Rest assured, this is not a sign that we’re going to limit the line up. Please wait, we have more big projects coming to S.H.MonsterArts.
TAS: Let's talk about the newest edition to the S.H.MonsterArts line, Monster Hunter. We’ve now seen 3 releases, Nargacuga, Rathalos, and Zinogre. While there’s nothing announced at the moment, we wanted to get a temperature check. How has the line’s reception been and are there plans to continue it?
FUKAURA: The line is a success and we have received good reactions/feedback from the game’s fans. We’re still planning for more, so please check TAMASHII NATIONS.COM for more news.
TAS: Recent official product surveys have suggested Tamashii Nations is looking into other franchises for the S.H.MonsterArts line… Any hints on what to expect or are they just testing the waters for now?
FUKAURA: Good question. Yes, we’re now researching more possibilities for S.H.MonsterArts. We would like to hear more from the fans, so please let us know through our official product surveys.
TAS: We also noticed for the first time, these product surveys targeted certain SHOWA era monsters for possible commercialization like Gigan, Hedorah, King Ghidorah,and Anguirus… Can fans finally look forward to more from this era in the line?
FUKAURA: Again, good question. Yes, there is a strong demand for that era and we hope to give you updates on that soon!
TAS: Bluefin Brands recently campaigned on social media to gauge interest in the commercialization of Tristar’s infamous Godzilla (1998). Is this something Tamashii Nations are aware of and possibly considering?
FUKAURA: I wouldn’t say it is infamous anymore and the responses reflected positive feedback. This is on our (long) list too and would be considered when to be scheduled with all other Monsters in mind.
TAS: Last year we talked about a possible 2.0 King Ghidorah S.H.MonsterArts figure. After a long wait, a special color version has been announced! It’s really cool to see this Ghidorah rendered with the traditional gold coloration. Fans want to know, was there ever any discussion to update the sculpt, similar to Spiral Studios 2019 Ghidorah, or include new accessories like alternate wings, beam effects or a dedicated flight stand?
FUKAURA: Thank you for your patience and this happened because of our fan’s voice, including you! That being said, please understand, we have more to improve and it will be a long wait; we could plan to re-sculpt past S.H.MonsterArts, not only King Ghidorah (2019), but I can’t say any confirmation at this point... S.H.MonsterArts is evolving everyday so I hope we could bring news in the future.
TAS: Are there any plans to incorporate the Godzilla brand with DYNACTION or even IMAGINATION WORKS (known for seamless joint construction)?
FUKAURA: Good question but hard to answer... I’ll say there is a possibility... Each brand has a different concept and we’re looking for any opportunity that fits. Monsters could be one of the choices and we would appreciate it if fans could give feedback on this.
TAS: Some of the fans have prepared some questions as well:
- Felipe S: Are there plans to do direct reissues of old figures for new collectors? (Not including repaints).
- FUKAURA: Depends on market demand but yes, there is a possibility. This will be decided from our plans for new releases so I hope we could give you good news soon!
- Rahul G: Does Tamashii Nations have any plans, hopes, or interests to continue to make more concept S.H.MonsterArts figures, similar to the already released Yuji Saki Godzilla 2000 or the Tamashii MIX Poster Mechagodzilla?
- FUKAURA: Yes, that was a successful project so we’re looking forward to more opportunities.
- James W: I would love to know more about the process of selecting which monsters/characters to produce for the S.H.MonsterArts series. It seems that ‘Godzilla’ is a character that can be produced in almost any variation with relative ease but other Kaiju (even classic Godzilla-related characters) are tougher to green light?
- FUKAURA: We’re trying our best to release as many Monsters as possible. We’re trying to expand the fan base of S.H.MonsterArts through entry Monsters (like iconic classics) so that the market will be ready to accept more selections of Monsters than today.
- Paul H: I would like to know about the possibility of future dedicated accessory sets like we’ve seen in the past. Can we get some more accessories like beam effects and vehicles for the Godzilla line?
- FUKAURA: Thank you and your feedback is very helpful to understand the demand. We’re open to those ideas and we may consider releasing those items to have more play value.
TAS: Thanks for answering those questions, the fans really appreciate it! Of all the S.H.MonsterArts releases, what’s your favorite?
FUKAURA: I’ll choose Mechagodzilla (1974)! The design is super cool for all time!!!
TAS: Can you give any hints about what's in store for the future of the S.H.MonsterArts line? Are there any celebration plans for this coming November? Anything else you would like to say to the fans?
FUKAURA: First of all, we appreciate the fans who continue to support S.H.MonsterArts. Your support is what allowed S.H.MonsterArts to make it to 10 years and now a long running brand. We will have special plans to celebrate, so please check out TAMASHII NATIONS.COM for more details when the time comes!!! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the show [Tamashii Nations Online 2021] soon and please note that your voice and feedback is helping us a lot! Please continue to give us any feedback if you have opportunity through our official surveys, social media, etc. Please be safe and enjoy S.H.MonsterArts! Thank you!!!
TAS: Thank you for your time and responses!
For more information on current S.H.MonsterArts preorders:
• S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla Ultima
• S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla (2021) Reissue
• S.H.MonsterArts Kong (2021) Reissue
• S.H.MonsterArts Mechagodzilla (2021)
• S.H.MonsterArts King Ghidorah (2019) Special Color Ver.
Bandai Tamashii Nations and Bluefin Brands Social Media: