Getting Real with DefoReal and Ultra 5000 Figures
Author: Edward L. Holland
Special Thanks to X-Plus, John Ruffin, Sam Torres, Andrew Wong, and Vince Elliott
For kaiju collectors, X-Plus’ DefoReal and PLEX Corporation’s Ultra 5000 Mega Monster series figures cannot be beat for their price, size, and amazing detail, making them sought after by tokusatsu aficionados across the globe. DefoReals are compact and have distorted proportions compared to their standard and gigantic counterparts. However, there is no compromise on their craftsmanship which include superbly detailed heads.
Whether it is Toho Studios’ kaiju, Tsuburaya and Toei heroes, or Ray Harryhausen beasts, most DefoReals come in two versions. You can usually pick one up during its general release or as limited Shonen RIC edition directly from X-Plus. Shonen Ric editions are quite popular with a host of light-up features, variant paint schemes, and bonus items.
From casual fans to industry professionals many fans are enticed by this series. Designer John Ruffin mentioned, “Their great paint applications, detailed sculpts and perfect size are just some of the reasons that I love them.”
The public’s continual passion towards them has led to the creation of web pages, YouTube channels, and Instagram handles that feature the kawaii icons in self-made dioramas reminiscent of scenes from the cherished films.
In just under four years, DefoReal has taken a hold of the fan community while current opportunities to purchase them in-person are rare, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
X-Plus collectors expect high standards of quality and realism and DefoReal delivers this in super-deformed (SD) spades, at a less expensive price. The intricate heads, found on their gigantic series are reinterpreted and placed onto shrunken, equally detailed bodies. When asked about the line, super Godzilla collector Andrew Wong responded, “This series is probably my favorite of all their lines. I own 32 DefoReals and I think they are a great combination of super realism mixed in with the SD concept.”
X-Plus’ Kazuma Matsubara explains the increasing positive reaction to their products. “People respond with their compliments about the figures often and we listen to our customers and will continue to release kaiju.” Regarding the Ultra 5000 Mega Monster series from PLEX Matsubara mentioned, “We have received favorable comments from customers about the size and price of these figures compared to our large monster series.”
The more affordable and colorful creatures from the M78 world of Ultraman are patterned in the style of Bandai early 80s soft vinyl (sofubi) and come replete with attached, monster statistics cards.
Distributed online by X-Plus’ Shonen-RIC and Premium Bandai, PLEX offers popular kaiju in updated treatments, most which have never existed in such a format. Their construction incorporates a softer, PVC vinyl with impressive sculpts.
These hybrid vinyls combine the best of both worlds from X-Plus and Bandai, including an 8-inch version of Monster Fish Muruchi, released in 2020 from 1971’s RETURN OF ULTRAMAN Episode 33: THE MONSTER TAMER AND THE BOY.
These harder to find figures are usually swept away by fans via pre-orders and because of their similarity to their larger X-Plus cousins they are perfect companion pieces to any tokusatsu collection.
When shelf space is a premium and your budget prevents you from dropping buckets of yen on a large X-Plus or vintage vinyl piece, pick up a DefoReal and an Ultra 5000 Mega Monster from PLEX. For the latest updates from X-Plus, check out their North American site in English.
Edward L. Holland is a photojournalist, a recipient of a community service award from the cabinet office of the Government of Japan, and a longtime contributor to SciFi Japan.