MEDICOM/HYPER HOBBY'S SEABOZU FROM ULTRAMAN

 

08/25/15- As usual, there's the name thing. The box says "Seabozu", but many spell it as "Seaboz", even though it's pronounced like "Sheboz" or "Shiboz" (include the final syllable, and it's "Shebozu" or "Shibozu"). That's relevant for Internet searches.

This one's like the invisible Medicom RAH Ultra series release that no one knew about; information about it (in English) is hard to come by. I believe it was available as a mail-order purchase around 2009, and years ago, for a relatively brief period of time, I recall seeing a few eBay listings. This is billed as a Hyper Hobby Exclusive and only mentions that it's produced and manufactured by Medicom in tiny print on the back of the box; it doesn't even appear in the product list of Medicom's website. Nevertheless, it clearly fits within Medicom's 12" line of RAH Ultra series dolls.

This guy's pretty unique. Most of Medicom's RAH Ultra series products have been Ultra heroes (most recently, their Project BM Bandai-Medicom collaborations) and their human partners, rubber-suited aliens (Baltan, Dada, Mephiras, Zetton, Zarabu, Metoron, Pegassa, Gatsu, Jamila), and a robot (King Joe). This guy is a rubber-suit monster with a tail, of which Medicom has produced very few (Kanegon and Garamon from Ultra-Q). Seabozu is the most reptilian that they've produced to date, other than their old "Combat Joe" Godzillas. I don't believe they'll ever get around to doing any of the Ultra series reptilian monsters with big tails like Neronga, Gabora, Red King or Gomora. I'm grateful that Billiken and CCP have produced similarly scaled vinyl versions to fill that void.

Like most other RAH releases, this one has an articulated RAH 301 figure inside the flexible monster suit. The suit is more complicated than usual and appears to have three different components: The soft rubber base suit casting, the slightly more rigid dimensional PVC bones that are glued to it, and the even more rigid bony head and jaw, which have simple hinge articulation. The hands are separate PVC castings that have rotation articulation. The soft rubber base is sculpted with bone detail and is a white casting, with the black painted between the bones.

In the pics below, it looks like the ribcage and lower torso might be separate pieces (as many hard plastic figures are constructed to give torso articulation), but it's a single rubber casting, sculpted to look that way.

Medicom Hyper Hobby Seabozu from Ultraman

You shouldn't expect much poseability in these rubber-suited dolls. However, this one is slightly better than average because of the loose suit fit. Even though the RAH 301 armature has tight joints, this could be improved with an even tighter metal armature; a tighter ankle joint would be an especially valuable improvement since this doll is relatively heavy and the weight is balanced only on its two legs/ankles because the tail is so short and flexible. If you don't want it to fall over, a stand is a good idea. Although the box says a stand is included, mine didn't include one (but not a big deal because stands are easy to come by).

This is a wonderfully iconic monster design. Although it's a bit fanciful and improbable (a skeleton on the outside?), it fits the storyline of episode 35 ("Monster Cemetary") perfectly. By this time in the series, Ultraman had killed quite a few monsters, and most episodes had followed the same basic formula: Monster appears, destroys stuff, must be killed. Only a few episodes (#23 Jamila and #12 Dodongo, for example) had explored remorse about killing them, since the monsters weren't really to blame for their clash with civilization. This episode is fully devoted to the concept: Man's technology unwittingly yanks monster from the solitude of the Monster Cemetary in space, monster does what monsters do on Earth, but wants to return to the solitude of the Monster Cemetary. Ultraman/Science Patrol obliges in a more humane way (they don't kill him) by furnishing him with an Ultraman-painted rocket for his journey. It's an unusual episode in that it gives the monster an opportunity to "act", to show recognizable human emotions through body language and sound.

It's a great story and an entertaining episode, but it did open the doors for improbable concepts... a weird thing to say for a show about aliens and monsters! It sets up the idea that monsters can be brought back even after being blown to smithereens without relying on the more grounded-in-reality reproductive explanation ("it was representative of a species").

It's one of the things that I don't like about the Ultraman X/Ginga series and the "Spark" dolls. Vanquishing a monster doesn't kill it, but turns it into a portable toy (suspiciously, like a Bandai toy) that can be reanimated when needed by technical wizardry, like dropping freeze-dried Sea Monkeys into water (a bad example but sounds cool). I guess it gives the monster design$ a tremendous Return On Investment and shields children from the trauma of thinking about the eternal real consequences of death, much like the concept of "Heaven". However, snatching a creature from the tranquillity of Heaven to do a job is actually antithetical to the premise of the Sheboz episode. Maybe that's just a quaint notion though, considering what digital technology allows us to do with deceased actors (and what the future will bring with autonomous AI)? Maybe someday we'll be able to summon grandpa with his spark doll to mow the lawn?

The Ultraman-painted rocket is included, although it's a simple and lightweight ABS plastic toy that's easily knocked over. They didn't put much thought into its potential since it screams to have been turned into a heavier, more substantial display stand.

That just about wraps up my binge of Medicom's RAH Ultra series stuff; I don't believe that they'll be doing any monsters in the future (but I'd love for them to prove me wrong). The only one I didn't get was Kanegon. He's not a daikaiju and doesn't fit in with the rest. (If you've watched the episode, you'll know what I'm talking about.) The Billiken model is a perfectly good rendition and gets his own display space.

It's an interesting predicament; if I want anything more, I can't just buy it. I'll probably have to make it.

 

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