It's been a long time since I've added anything new to this Daikaiju
section. Don't know why, but I recently decided to check in on the
current state of the 12"/30-cm Daikaiju world... and ended up
with this guy.
Although Alien Zarab was released years ago, its higher price
as a mail-order exclusive was off-putting when I first saw it; however,
it hasn't gotten any cheaper over time, so I finally pressed the
The rubber suit is similar to the Jamila
doll, so poseability is about the same: Very limited. Although
it's a relatively thin rubber skin, the inner plastic RAH figure's
articulation isn't robust enough to hold torso twist or sitting
poses. The arms, elbows, hips, and knees can be posed, but not at
Unlike the other releases which use "flipper" hands (undetailed
paddles) inside rubber gloves, this guy comes with 2 pairs of traditional
solid PVC hands on a plug-in peg with a single wrist hinge. The
alternate pair of hands let him carry the ultra futuristic translation
device (bottom pic).
While the episode wouldn't win any awards, it was one of the better
Ultraman episodes. Zarabu Seijin turns out to be a duplicitous alien
claiming to be our friendly brother among the stars, while trying
to turn sentiment against Ultraman and the Science Patrol by transforming
into a city-smashing imitation Ultraman (with evil slanty eyes).
The penalty for this kind of bad behavior is to be left as a charbroiled,
smoldering carcass amidst the rubble of the buildings you've crushed.
One helluva cleanup job for the humans.
Having seen some of the recent Tsuburaya Ultra-series shows (like
Ultraman Ginga), I feel a little embarrassed to admit to being an
Ultra-series fan, unless it's qualified by the '60s-era tag.
Sure, those old shows are cheesy with dodgy effects and abrupt endings,
but they have a kind of naïve sincerity that I find endearing.
I think it's one of those "you-had-to-be-there" things, like the
Beatles' first albums in stereo.
Looking back, I think it shows more than just an evolution of
media technology, but also reflects many other changes in the world:
The evolution of marketing, audience targeting, and the change in
generations and attitudes as well. Today's Ultraman shows are strictly
kid's stuff, shamelessly crafted to sell Bandai's toy figures. The
technology's much more advanced and the shows reflect current attitudes,
perspectives, and fads, but the appeal of the show is narrowly focused
on children. It's almost painful for adults to watch (speaking for
myself): Tsuburaya understandably draws upon their iconic kaijus
of the past... then exploits them as shills. (Speaking as a grumpy
The '60s shows had a broader appeal, perhaps because TV was a
relatively new medium, targeting the family audience. To its credit,
in recent years Tsuburaya did try to appeal to an older audience
with the dark Ultraseven X, but I suspect that it learned
a lesson from that experiment. This year's Ultraman X doesn't
channel that dark Ultraseven X vibe, and continues the blatant
shilling of Bandai toys. Granted, it's fun to see some of the old
monsters again, done up with glitzy modern special effects, but
the episodes have a soulless feel, like empty calories.
The merchandise also tells a story about the evolution of this
niche interest. During the '60s when the original shows aired, toys
were intended for children, from very young to those of model-building
age. Bandai, Marusan, and many other manufacturers stepped in to
serve the market spawned by "Kaiju mania". As the baby
boomer market revealed itself and adult toy collecting became more
mainstream, the higher price-point nostalgia industry sprung up
for adult collectors. Some collectors are interested in realistic
representations of the heroes and monsters in the shows they watched
as kids. This detail and fidelity was found garage kits and resin
statues, but most recently in X-Plus' vinyl figure releases. Some
collectors are interested in the colorful, stylized Bullmark-style
vinyls and tin toys that are reminiscent of toys they owned when
they were kids. Both command high prices, beyond what most parents
would be willing to pay for children's toys. Bandai's original soft
vinyls remain a popular and affordable staple of adult collectors
and kids who like the series. Bandai has been exploring the middle
ground with their good-looking, highly-articulated 6.25" Ultra-Act
figures which, though aimed at adult collectors, are a more affordable
and "fun" alternative to X-Plus' offerings.
Medicom's 12" line seems moribund in comparison, with few
new releases and very little collector's "buzz" on forums.
Medicom's RAH stuff was considered high/over-priced in its heyday
but with prices of everything rising, nowadays their prices may
seem almost reasonable, or unremarkable in comparison. True, some
after-market prices on eBay leapfrog into absurdly high ($300+)
and obscenely high ($1000+) territory. Today, there are more "used/opened
box" and fewer "new" listings, but prices seem to
For me, the big shocker was seeing the prices of X-Plus' Ultra
series stuff on eBay. Many are priced in absurdly high and some
in obscenely high territory. Most don't sell at those prices, but
occasionally, an obsessed collector will bite. I hadn't paid much
attention to X-Plus before because they were usually smaller format
(20-cm) figures, with only an occasional 30-cm resin release.
Being an upscale alternative to the Bandai vinyl figures, it's
not surprising that X-Plus would command the devotion of adult collectors.
They put out a lot of Ultra series variety, with outstanding
detail and quality. Their limited release/preorder production seems
designed for this. Consequently, their after-market prices reflect
this, making some Medicom eBay listings seem like smart-shopper
bargains in comparison.
I wish I could say that about my purchase of Zarabu Seijin, but
"brain-dead idjit collector" is probably a more apt characterization.
Still, to the collector there's no such thing as "overpriced": It's
not about the price of a pound of plastic, it's about what a person
is willing to pay for something they want. Opportunities to purchase
a 12" Medicom Alien Zarab don't pop up every day.