TOP -> 2014/7/24 BULLMARK type GODZILLA (Green) by M1GO, BULLMARK GODZILLA (J-tail Purple) by M1GO Release information
Releasing New Godzilla at C.J.MART exclusively in sofubi format!
TM & (C) Toho Co., Ltd. (C) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
[Ordering term] From July 24th (Thu) 2014 0:00 to Aug 31st (Sun) 2014 23:59
We interviewd Mr.Nishimura who created BULLMARK GODZILLA.
――Tell us your motive to try developed in new monster sofubi?

"In the late 80's,I was collecting sofubi toys and materials of special effect goods and opened a shop called M1GO. I was also selling old toys in the events such as WF. I wanted to make the products as well, so I was making a garage kit initially but productivity of garage kit was very poor because you would have to duplicate on your own. That was the reason I decided to make a sofubi."

――Your feeling went toward the Sofubi gradually?

"I noticed that many monsters were missing without being released in time of MARUSAN. The production schedule that did not stick chase for the weekly broadcasting and they had selected in preference to basic monster such as Godzilla in "Ultra Q" and "Ultraman" .I think,therefore, humanoid monster Kemuru people, Mammoth Flower, Cicada man and Lagon were not chosen.

In the time of "Ultra Seven" they have also made human-type alien because those were the main monsters ... but. I became obsessed with the missing numbers and I decided my goal to be "to have filled in the missing number". I took a license of Tsuburaya Productions through the BILLIKEN SHOKAI and made Kemuru people as the first monster. The reason I chose it was I simply liked it. Chain of distress is followed up to the present from there (laughs)"

――How you feel now for trying develop in new monster sofubi? It must be tough such as molding.

"I learned that it is not a thing that can be easily. It is not just making things realistic. The reproduction of the deformation degree of BULLMARK and MARUSAN would change if the sculptor has too much his own sensitivity. It required not just technique, but "LOVE" to MARUSAN and BULLMARK as well as your original experience. For molding production, I did watch carefully and copy the original sofubi monster and try remade many times until it succeeded."

――By the way, how long did it take to complete prototype of Kemuru people?

"About half a year. There was a staff who had good techniques in M1GO. Because he was in the shop all times, we discussed about molding production always "

――How did you do about the production?

"After the prototype was complete, I let the factory for the production included coloring and waxing. However coloring in first finishing product was not acceptable. Therefore I started to spray on my own. I copied balance of molding colors and spray from original sofubi monster."
――This is the 60th anniversary of GODZILLA this year, please tell us about your feelings to DODZILLA.

"In real time, it was" Ultra Q ", but the character of Godzilla was a monster in the original experience that has been seen from earlier, and the first monster I fell in love. GODZILLA is so well known that even people who do not know anything about monsters can recognize him. The first movie I saw in the theater was "King Kong vs. GODZILLA" and I thought King Kong was a bit different from the King Kong of the United States, a great movement of humor was expressed only by wearing full-body costume. The movie was release once a year such as summer break or New Year. For me, it was something like commemorative event and check the magazine in advance. I was so so exited.

The face of GODZILLA's changed in each movie and was also fresh. But the question had remained in juvenile mind a little (laughs). It was a weekly television broadcast when it came to "Ultra Q ". The once a week broadcasting cycle was a great fun. I was a kid buying monster picture book or sofubi and plastic models. Then, I graduated the monsters. When I was in college, l reunited with sofubi at BILLIKEN SHOKAI and I started M1GO."

――It was your starting point in a sense! The new movie will be released on 60th anniversary of "Godzilla" !

"I could not wait for the new "GODZILLA" movie and I have already seen it in Hawaii. It was nicely finished like a truly American style"
――Please tell us about BULLMARK type GODZILLA.

"Sofubi Monster culture of Japan has been accepted from overseas collectors. When I thought about this edition, it was OK to release M1GO original product. But the name of BULLMARK and MARUSAN are hugely popularity even in abroad, therefore I chose the BULLMARK type GODZILLA which previously reproduced with the authorization of BULLMARK.

BULLMARK and MARUSAN produced new great products such as MECHAGODZILLA and MEGALO in BULLMARK time and I always had a question why they did not remake GODZILLA which is a main character. That was the reason I made reproduction of GODZILLA.

At that time, they just put a scarf around GODZILLA in order to make JIRASU in tin toys or plastic models and mini-sofubis, so I reversed it and took off the scarf from JIRASU to fabricate BULLMARK type GODZILLA.

That makes also overseas fans delighted as BULLMARK type GODZILLA. In the coloring, somehow GODZILLA is mostly in green overseas, therefore I chose green, I guess it because GODZILLA was green in the PR poster when the first movie was released in America.

Then, plastic package of the toy maker, Aurora was also green. Comics released in the 70s were also all green. So GODZILLA has been green in Americans. And I think green has been a color for children to rejoice in foreign countries. I used the color green that is used in BULLMARK."

――You were aware of overseas in the coloring. How about "J tail"?

" J tail "is the form of a tail from the first period of MARUSAN, so If you were sofubi monster fan, you may be wondering why? But there is a reason.

When I previously made the new mold of GODZILLA, I used "J tail" mold from the first period of MARUSAN as base. The reason why I used MARUSAN instead of BULLMARK was that there was a mistake of wrong license notation in the sole of BULLMARK mold. That is how it became " BULLMARK J-tail GODZILLA"

The "J tail", because the curve is tight, the air bubbles are entering the joint part of the tail during the process of molding. Then, the tail was going to fall gradually in several stages. However, there is a charm in the "J tail" as was the case of plastic model in MARUSAN period. I decided to go with "J-tail" because the air bubbles can be avoid with today's technology.

――I see! So that is why the "J tail" in BULLMARK. What about the color?

"The original molding of sofubi GODZILLA was based on the plastic model in purple which released abroad earlier than Japan by Aurora. It is usually lighter purple for sofubi in Japan but this dark purple is a homage to the first GODZILLA product born in the United States.
――Please give a message to the sofubi fans at the end.

I am very happy that it becomes easy to buying monster sofubi in overseas countries which is a traditional toy culture of Japan. I think this is the first time since BULLMARK exported to the United States mainland and Hawaii in the 70s. It is an opportunity for more people are interested in sofubi monsters. If you look at toy information magazines of Japan, various sofubi toys has been released, and you can also use internet to collect sofubi goods. I want people to enjoy the colorfulness as well as a unique Japanese coloring sufubi as from BULLMARK and MARUSAN."

Established by Yuji Nishimura in late '80, started as an antique toy shop & garage kit manufacturer. Began developing new sofubi monsters called MARUSAN-BULLMARK type in 1991. His passion for modeling and spray-work which to be applied manually one by one by him received strong support from fans at home and abroad. Pioneer of the sofubi manufacturer to reproduce MARUSAN and BULLMARK today. He is also a global collector of special effects materials and special effects prop, including "GODZILLA". and involved as a resource cooperation for the special effects exhibitions or the books related with "GODZILLA" and "Ultra".
Yuji Nishimura(M1GO President)
We interviewed Mr.Ishizuki who produced BULLMARK GODZILLA.
――Please tell us the story of the development on the sofubi monsters.

"When we released a plastic model monster such as GODZILLA from MARUSAN store in 1964, sales was explosive and could not keep up with the production. And "Ultra Q" was going to start from January 1966, so we planned to produce sofubi along with plastic model. The texture of sofubi is soft unlike metal toys and images of sofubi was safe not broken easily. We thought "If the plastic models were selling, the monsters in other material would sell too!." Moreover the production cost of sofubi was cheap.

The sofubi toys back then were mostly cute animal and milk drink dolls, the animal sofubi was selling particularly well. When I saw the monster design first, I thought "This is great!" although there was a little problem on molding, I could relatively make form freely.

――Were there any difficulties in the development?

"Problem No. 1 was the size. Personally, I thought relatively the larger size was better. The impression of monster is big, and when we previously sold sofubi doll (the cloth hug me doll) of about the size of 40 cm~ 30 cm, they were selling well. I had a feeling that the size should be big enough for a child to hold than grasped easily.

And I told the sculptor about my thoughts of the size and it became a standard size as a result. (standard size height approx 23 cm for sofubi monster) When I saw the clay prototype as first time, I wonder "It might have been little too big." But It was just about right size when it came to the finished product. It was not a theory, but a product of chance."

――And so that was released.

"Time of sale, I was chilled because no wholesaler did not give us the order.(laughs) Character toys at the time was mostly cute characters or an ally of justice such as Astro Boy and Gigantoras appearing in NHK. People disliked the scary monsters.

――But the plastic model monster had been selling well?

"At that time, wholesaler of plastic model and toy was separated, so they did not know what kind of toys and plastic models are selling each other. I remember that the first day, I return to the office from wholesalers with huge disappointment. In the second day, I was able to collect the minimum order lot from the wholesaler I had long term business relationship.

Because nobody was expecting this product would be sold, we only made 600 pieces of each 6 styles. Delivery to the wholesale dealers were ―But the plastic model monster had been selling well? "At that time, wholesaler of plastic model and toy was separated, so they did not know what kind of toys and plastic models are selling each other. I remember that the first day, I return to the office from wholesalers with huge disappointment. In the second day, I was able to collect the minimum order lot from the wholesaler I had long term business relationship.

Because nobody was expecting this product would be sold, we only made 600 pieces of each 6 styles. Delivery to the wholesale dealers were completed in the morning because of the very small orders. But miracle happened! About noon of the delivery day, the phone starts ringing and wholesale dealers asked us "When would be the next delivery?" "Sofubi monster were all sold out", they said.

Back then, retailers were coming to purchase goods the wholesale district of Kuramae. They know the most popular item by daily contact with children. I think that large number of "I want a monster!" children had flocked every day to shop because the monster popularity exploded by "Ultra Q" broadcasting began in January. The timing was good and after that it was a history.

――You made the first monster boom. By the way, how did you pick the monster at the time? 

I chose the standard monsters which has a tail such as GODZILLA. GOMESU、PEGIRA、GORO、BAGOSU、GARAMON、KANEGON from "Ultra Q". (NAMEGON was released later) I did not pick the other monsters such as MONGURA and GOGA because they were to quiet. I did not pick the humanoid monsters such as LAGON and KEMURUJIN. There were many standard monsters in new broadcasting of"Ultraman" so we had prepared in April and May.
――First of all, why have they become deformed like that?

"It was the time back then the toys should be cute. Basically sculptors in MARUSAN store were plastic model specialists, so they tend to make too realistic. I thought that it should not be too realistic in the case of sofubi.

When I was looking for the right person as sculptor, I notes the guy making molding of cute sofubi animals as well as crockery in Nagoya. His molding was good even through my amateur eyes and in fact sofubi animals made from his prototype ??was selling well. Crockery has an impression of soft texture and I thought the quality of cuteness he had in his work will work.

――Did you ask him something specifically in the molding?

No,I trusted his sense of cuteness. Since it was his first time to work on monsters, we checked for a molding at the factory and only thing I told him was not to go too far from monster design."

――It was all about a sense of Sculptor's in Nagoya?

"It was so. We took an advantage of the sense of the sculptor's. Then the prototype was completed and what I saw was a lot better than I expected.

――How long did it take for the completion of the prototype?

"About 2 weeks. It took him more time than usual because I ask him more detail than sofubi animals. He brought the prototype for confirmation to Tokyo because we worried about breakage by sending it. It took him about 5-6 hours to come to Tokyo from Nagoya Then we checked the prototype in the factory and fixed it. Completion soon became faster as he got used it and supervision of TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS also went smoothly.

――How do you feel about that molding of such deformation has continued up to now?

"Recently, I was told by the person who work in planning and development div, for a toy company that "the softness of the" detail is great!" on BULLMARK sofubi. I think it is rare in the toy history to continue to be loved for such a long time. Thanks to the very first prototype. We had other great sculptor for hero figures later on, but the sculptor from Nagoya was the best in monster figure. It matched texture of sofbi and very carefully molded. He has passed a way already and it is very unfortunate that his work got cut off since there is no disciple to continue it. There was also a trial and error at the first time, but I was very lucky about the size of sufubi and having a great sculptor."
――Please tell us about those two types of GODZILLA will be released this time. Starting with "J tail".

GODZILLA(J- tail) was the first GODZILLA sofubi. as I said before, the plastic model of GODZILLA was sold very well, so the molding was made all based on the plastic model. The sculptor was not the one from Nagoya. In BULLMARK period, I had produced a new giant size GODZILLA but because the standard size had a quality of toyness and there was an impression that plastic models was selling well, we released it as original style of MARUSAN store period. "J-tail" was very difficult to molding therefore we gradually change it to normal tail."

――Please comment to BULLMARK type GODZILLA next.

This was produced based on the JIRASU of BULLMARK by M1GO. The molding was not by the sculptor from Nagoya. He was from Tokyo and he was good as well."

――Do you have any thoughts about "GODZILLA" was celebrating the 60th anniversary this year?

When the first GODZILLA movie was released in 1954, I wanted see the movie in the movie theater. But I could not go because I was very busy working back then. That is my memory. I am hoping that the monster would be more popular because of this new GODZILLA.
――Message to all sofubi fans

"GODZILLA" has strong popularity in foreign countries, therefore the suit actor, Haruo Nakajima's autograph session would still be held sometimes. Tin made GODZILLA which was released from MARUSAN store was also fairly high ratings. Sofubi monster, known to fans as MARUSAN-BULLMARK type has different quality from realistic things, so I want you to double-check by all means at this opportunity and I hope that GODZILLA fans in foreign countries would realize the difference.

BULLMARK Ltd. was established by Mr.Kotaro Ishida, Mr.Yutaka Shibata and Mr.Saburo Ishizuki in 1969. Initially, they took over the mold from MARUSAN store (1923 -1968/name changed to MARUZAN corporation in 1967) which three people were enrolled previously and released monster toys such as sofubi monster.
Play an important role in the second monster boom in the early 70's. Then, start one after another to develop the new sofubi monsters. They had bankruptcy in 1977 but brand remained with Mr.Ishizuki. Mr.Ishizuki has established new BULLMARK Ltd. in 2008 and releasing the monster toys enthusiastically.
Sabro Ishizuki(BULLMARK President)
Text・Interviewer KANOU ISHIZAKA