Anyone who has been following me very long will be familiar with one particular shot from Pacific Rim; a scene from the film’s (great) world-establishing montage, in which a kid puts toys of jaegers and kaiju on a toy shelf.
It’s the shot I always use when I’m talking about the movie, because I love it so much. But it’s also a shot that has frustrated me for most of a decade, because the toys I love most from it – those stylized, sofubi-esque figures that are front-and-center – are ones they never actually made so that I could buy them and put them on my own toy shelf.
Or so I thought. Recently, I learned that, in fact, they did make those toys, and not long after the film came out, to boot. In 2015, NECA released them as a convention exclusive – a long box with five soft vinyl figures; the two prominently featured in that shot, two others that you can see off to one side, and a fifth that, as far as I can tell, isn’t in the picture at all.
Better still, even though they were convention exclusives, you can still buy them – sometimes even at a reasonable price – on eBay. Which is where I picked up a set, because I have literally been wanting to put those toys on my shelf since 2013.
The figures are great – I mean look at them. But I think the thing that makes me love them the most is that they aren’t of the film’s main players. It would have been so easy, so tempting from a marketing standpoint, to make figures of the jaegers and kaiju that dominate the movie. But that wouldn’t have made sense in the shot in question, because that was part of the montage, meaning that these toys had to be earlier jaegers and kaiju. And they are.
From left to right, as I have them laid out up above, the kaiju are Hardship, Trespasser, and Karloff, while the jaegers are Romeo Blue and Horizon Brave. All of whom barely show up in the movie at all, and only during that aforementioned montage.
Like the montage itself, which is hands-down the best part of a movie that I love unabashedly, these toys are so great in part because they help to make what could have been a fairly simple world feel big and strange and lived-in. Plus, I just love having them to play with.