Book: Godzilla Giant Monster Battle Picture Book

 

Godzilla Giant Monster Battle Picture Book


Japanese Book Title

ゴジラ だいかいじゅう バトルずかん
[Godzilla Daikaiju Batoru Zukan]

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Japanese
Non-fiction
2016
Kodansha
25
9784063446524

Preview:

Page 9 - Page 11 - Page 19 - Page 23 - Back Cover

Book

Review

By: Dakota Holbrough (submission)

What an eye-catching cover! A lively collage of various kaiju from different eras placed under a chipper blue sky. It's certainly one of the more upbeat and colorful looking covers for a Godzilla book, which is made all the more amusing thanks Shin Godzilla, one of the darkest incarnations of the character yet, as the centre piece. I actually enjoy the cover, and can see it appealing very much to kids who are interested in learning more about Godzilla and pals, and that's exactly what this book sets out to do: provide an easy-to-grasp introduction to the character of Godzilla and a plethora of other Kaiju. Is it the best book for that subject? Not really, but it sure is cute.

The book starts off with some coverage (four pages in total) for the film Godzilla Resurgence (2016), aka Shin Godzilla. This part is sadly the weakest content the book has to offer. While the photos are nice and big, they are simply enlarged screenshots from the film's first trailer, which gives some of the photos an unattractive blurred appearance. If you're like me, you've viewed that trailer countless times before and after the film was released, and that can cause the photos offered in this book to evoke a strong feeling of deja vu for fans. Thankfully, the book picks up a bit of steam immediately after, as it briefly showcases Godzilla's various forms throughout the series courtesy of some very nice profile shots of some of the suits. The shot for FinalGoji from Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) in particular gets a very clear and rare profile, which can be seen here.

The coverage on Godzilla himself is rather brief, but the book greatly makes up for it with the following pages all focusing on the various kaiju that have appeared in the films. (Limited to only the Godzilla films. Despite Mothra Leo's awkward appearance on the front cover, there is no reference to the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy inside the book.) Most of the Kaiju get one page each, but four of the more iconic ones (namely Mothra, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla and Rodan), get special treatment. Those four kaiju each get a two-page "splash panel" of sorts, with one large image taking up two pages and several smaller photos of the monsters from different eras scattered throughout. The same comic book-like text found on the cover is also splashed around the pages, similar to Shogaukan's "Movie" series books. Smaller photos scattered around the splash-panels showcase the kaiju from the Showa, Heisei and Millennium eras. One interesting thing to note, though, is that the book only dedicates a very small and boxed portion to Anguirus on one of Rodan's pages. Perhaps this is due to how often the two have been ally's to Godzilla in the past.

And then... the book stops. It doesn't really come to any sort of conclusive image or concluding words, it just ends with an admittedly great page focusing on the 2001 incarnation of Baragon locked in battle with Sokogeki-Goji from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). It's an oddly abrupt ending, but then again, this doesn't really seem like the kind of book that warrants a grand send-off like some of the other publications of this sort tend to offer.

This, to me, is an introductory book into the world of Godzilla for younger fans who might be interested in the series. It's also worth mentioning that this volume is presented in a hard-cover board-book format, which helps make it especially accessible for all ages. There's plenty of beautiful photos of various kaiju to satisfy older fans too, and while there are better options out there, I can't see any fan who picks this up feeling like their money was wasted. A perfectly serviceable compendium.