Some of the lines that are the most fun to work on, are those to which you feel a personal connection, and in turn inspire creativity when the time is right. This brand and this toy are the direct result of true licensor partnership, a deep connection to the company and such inspired creativity. Toy Stories Chapter 24: Godzilla! (the movie) Shout outs to Daizo Uehara, Kelly Gilmore & Julian Montoya!
I think that just about everyone who works on Godzilla is in some way thankful for the experience. That’s perhaps why early on at my time at Bandai I went rogue and re-upped the agreement on the classic property. I almost got in trouble for that, but it was only “almost.”
My argument was simply that Godzilla and Bandai belonged together, and that was hard to argue against. Later on, committing to the movie property was quite a bit easier, thanks to true partnership from Warner Bros Consumer Products, especially Kelly Gilmore and Julian Montoya, serving up a deal that provided us the opportunity to recover from the financial disastrous (though creatively triumphant) Thundercats line. For the movie, we had a challenge, as we really wanted Godzilla to breathe fire, and Spin Master already had a cool (though a bit subtle) fire-breathing feature in their Dragon line. Knowing my appreciation for over-the-top action features, R&D VP Daizo Uehara delivered the goods big time with Atomic Roar Godzilla! The light-up shaft of blue “fire” was completely hidden inside Godzilla’s body, and shot out with a roar when you pressed him into a horizontal position. That amazing “gimmick” was Daizo’s parting gift to Bandai and me, as he was headed off to Hasbro. And believe it or not, Godzilla was Bandai’s most profitable line in the US that year!