Gee Okamoto has been the main force behind the X-Plus line of Godzilla and Ultraman vinyl figures for the past 17 years. His work has culminated into the modern line of ultra-realistic figures (post 2009) which so many collectors love and are now so addicted to.
He has graciously agreed to spend some time for an interview with Kaiju Addicts to let us know what in the works at X-Plus as well as a taste of what’s to come in the not too distant future.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Diamond Comic Distributors visited Tokyo last week hoping to finalize plans for the Godzilla figures to be sold in North America. Did the meeting go well?
GEE OKAMOTO (X-PLUS): Yes, it did. Currently there won’t be any more changes in the current plan, basically.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Can you tell us anything about which Godzilla figures DCD will carry?
GEE OKAMOTO: Only that they will come from the Toho 30 series.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Is it possible that the North American (Diamond) versions of some of the figures will be different? E.g. a Godzilla 2014 in Roaring Pose, or a Godzilla 1984 with closed mouth?
GEE OKAMOTO: We are planning to go ahead with the same figures which were released in Japan. However, I am examining the possibility of different versions.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Bluefin Distribution will distribute the Toho Large Monster Series Biollante and Ghidorah. There was often trouble with the Ghidorah boxes since the figures would break while shipping. Has the box been modified to prevent this?
GEE OKAMOTO: Yes, of course. The packaging has been revised. A release date has not yet been decided.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Is it possible that Bluefin will distribute more reissues from the Large Monster Series? Even the smaller figures closer to 25cm?
GEE OKAMOTO: It’s possible because the license permits it. As I understand it, as of now, DCD is licensed for 1/6 scale which would include the Toho 30cm Series. BlueFin is licensed for 1/8 Scale figures, which includes the Large Monster Series.[ Gee goes on to explain that the 1/6 scaling applies to the size of the suit actor which would fit inside the figure, not the figure itself. ]
KAIJU ADDICTS: X-Plus will soon release the Toho Large Monster Series Total Advance Complementary Set Vol. 1. (Manda and Mothra). Will there be more sets to complete a DAM line-up? Can you tell us more?
GEE OKAMOTO: I want to keep an open mind and consider things. I will wait for ideas from Kaiju Addicts. (laugh)[ Vol. 2 with Baragon and a mini Flying Varan has since been announced. ]
KAIJU ADDICTS: You made a Large Monster Series Godzilla 1995 and then almost immediately after that, a Destoroyah. Can we expect more Heisei figures to come out soon?
GEE OKAMOTO: I will start making plans for a Heisei Mechagodzilla next year. I am also interested in a Heisei King Ghidorah, but that would be more costly, so we’ll see.
KAIJU ADDICTS: There have been many 2-figure sets coming out lately. There was a Godzilla 1966 and Ebirah set. A Mothra Imago 1964 and Godzilla 1964 set. And most recently, a Biollante and Godzilla 1989 set. Are there plans for more re-issue sets in the future? Maybe a Large Monster Series Godzilla 1971 and Hedorah Landing Stage set?
GEE OKAMOTO: Of course, I would like to think so. I like the idea of putting out a color set of Gigantis The Fire Monster.[ He is referring to the Toho Large Monster Series Godzilla 1955 and Anguirus 1955.]
KAIJU ADDICTS: Collectors everywhere want a Female MUTO figure. But, so far, a company has not stepped up to make one. Are you interested in making a Toho 30cm Series Female MUTO?
GEE OKAMOTO: Of course, I am interested. But, I am considering it carefully because the MUTO’s are not very popular in Japan. An X-Plus MUTO release may be slightly difficult.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Do you still want to make figures of kaiju from Pacific Rim?
GEE OKAMOTO: I am already developing a Razorback (sic.) figure and a Knifehead figure. They will be in the Large Monster Series, but their size will be substantial, about 1/350 scale. These will be releases for Japan only.[ I’m not familiar with a PR Kaiju called Razorback. It’s possible that he is referring to Leatherback. Arlo Hansen from The Kaiju Planet has told me that the production team had different names for the PR kaiju, so “Razorback” may actually be something else. We’ll have to wait and see. ]
KAIJU ADDICTS: Do you want to make an X-Plus figure of Shin Godzilla 2016?
GEE OKAMOTO: We weren’t able to obtain any significant details on this design yet. If we do get any advance information on it, it would come only slightly earlier than it would for the public. Either way, if we do plan to make a Shin Godzilla, it would come well after the movie is released. We need to be motivated to start development for this figure and that can only come after we see the movie.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Do you have plans to make figures based on the newly designed CGI Kaiju from the new Ultraman TV series coming out in July 2016?
GEE OKAMOTO: No, I’m sorry. There are currently no plans for that at the moment.
KAIJU ADDICTS: The Large Monster Series Gesura has been announced. This is the last kaiju to complete the X-Plus line-up of original Ultraman kaiju. What will happen next for original Ultraman 1966-1967? Will you make more Reborn versions?
GEE OKAMOTO: There are a lot of figures I’d like to make Reborn versions of. However, there are also a lot of other kaiju which we haven’t made at all yet. I will proceed with both and try to keep a balance between the two.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Collectors often say they would like X-Plus to make vehicles from the movies that are in scale with the figures. The Xilian Saucer or Super X for example. Did you ever consider making these?
GEE OKAMOTO: I’ve never considered that, but it does sound interesting. I do like dioramas. I will keep an open mind concerning this in the future.
KAIJU ADDICTS: X-Plus made a flying Mothra Imago 1961 and a flying Mothra 1964. Do you want to make any other kaiju like Rodan, Hedorah, Battra or Megaguirus in a flying pose?
GEE OKAMOTO: I often consider making Rodan in a flying pose. As for Hedorah, we have already made a small one [ as a Ric Boy extra]. I will consider this more in the future.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Kaiju like GMK Baragon 2001 and Fire Rodan are smaller kaiju. Is this preventing them from being made into figures?
GEE OKAMOTO: No, not at all. We’ve examined the possibility of both of them many times. But we never seem to get to the development stage with them.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Do you have any ideas for the next Gigantic Series figure?
GEE OKAMOTO: I want to make a Gigantic Series Godzilla 1954, Godzilla 1962 and Godzilla 1989. At some point, I’d also like to make something from Ultraman.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Is X-Plus going to make a Dogora figure?
GEE OKAMOTO: I hope so!
KAIJU ADDICTS: Will X-Plus ever make a King Kong 1962, King Kong 1967 or Mecha Kong figure?
GEE OKAMOTO: I love Kong very, very, very much! However, the license is difficult to get. I’m very disappointed by this.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Do you bring your work home with you and collect X-Plus? If so, how big is your collection?
GEE OKAMOTO: I love them all. But, the Japanese house is not so big. I cannot fit all of them. It would be great if I could gather all of the things I’ve helped to create for X-Plus for the past 17 years. That includes the Ray Harryhausen figures and the X-Plus ALIEN cookie jar! (laugh)
I am sorry if my answers were short and simple. Thank you and your readers for your continued support!