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  • An exclusive video interview with NECA Toys Production Manager Stefan Folkins. Conducted 7/19/2019 at San Diego Comic-Con.

    ***Note: My filming was not the best in this interview due to my gimbal acting weird. Also, there are a couple of spots where the audio sounds muffled. No real info was lost so no worries!***

    Interviews // July 21, 2019
  • Author: Landon Soto | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    Weeks had passed since the battle with King Ghidorah, the world blissfully unaware of the fact that it had been saved from the unknown threat. The unlikely duo that drove away the golden dragon had gone their own separate ways. They had unfinished business, after all.

    Goroshima Island; where it all began. The sun warmed the island as cool waves crashed against its shore. A familiar cream colored beast marched along the shore. Daigoro, the plush juvenile monster, stopped and stretched, feeling the warm sun rays on his soft skin.

    Daigoro listened to the waves as they crashed against the rocks. But the serenity was brought to an abrupt halt as he heard powerful footsteps slowly getting louder. The pudgy monster turned to face the source, not surprised by who was making them. In the distance, a bulky blue behemoth lumbered over the hills and onto the beach, growling in anticipation.

    Goliath, the blue star monster flexed his large hands. He had been waiting for this moment; no unnecessary distractions, or unwanted third wheels, just him and Daigoro, ready to settle the score once and for all.

    Daigoro trudged up to Goliath, nodding his head. He knew how much this meant to the blue giant and he didn’t want to disappoint. The bumpy hippo monster stretched out his paw for a friendly handshake, but Goliath snarled and swatted it away. A bit disheartened, Daigoro respected Goliath’s choice; the two didn’t waste another moment. Backing up, they stared each other down, waiting for the other to strike.

    Goliath, unable to contain himself, leapt forward, arms stretched out, wanting to pummel that irritating face of Daigoro’s. Daigoro easily sidestepped and rammed his left fist into Goliath’s gut, knocking the air out of the blue brute. The big blue space monster growled and elbowed Daigoro in the temple, staggering the plushy monster hero.

    The blue space monster swiftly turned and clubbed Daigoro’s head with his large fists, easily knocking over the younger fighter. Daigoro grunted and picked himself up, just in time to dodge two blue fists slamming into the sand, Goliath roared and turned again, swiping the beach with his tail, sand shooting into the air.

    Daigoro covered his eyes to try and block out the sand, which only left him open for another blue fist to strike his arms. The young hippo monster skid backward, putting down his arms, he charged at the blue rhino-like beast, jumping forward with his legs and landing a drop kick to Goliath’s head, toppling the horned monster.

    Seizing the opening, Daigoro leapt onto Goliath’s chest and began battering his face with clenched fists. Goliath roared in pain as each fist collided with his face, every strike felt like being pelted with boulders. Unknown to Daigoro, a blue tail smacked into his bumpy back, knocking him forward. Goliath immediately bit into Daigoro’s squishy stomach, forcing the hippo hero to squeal in pain. Feeling more pressure being applied by the second, Daigoro made his right hand look like scissors and poked Goliath in the eyes, receiving a howl of pain. The pained Goliath released his bite.

    Daigoro hopped off his blue foe, checking his stomach. Just a few teeth imprints, but the pain still radiated. Goliath snarled as he rolled onto his stomach and got up. His nasal horn crackled with energy as he turned to face Daigoro. The hippo monster knew what was coming.

    A bolt of lightning fired from the yellow nasal horn, striking the ground in front of Daigoro, forcing sand to shoot into the sky. Daigoro yelped in pain as another lightning bolt struck his toes, the plush hippo monster grunted and began rubbing his stomach, causing it to glow red.

    Goliath snarled, grabbing a seaside rock and hurling it at Daigoro. Unfazed, Daigoro closed his eyes and threw forth his right fist, causing the rock to shatter upon impact. Pieces of debris flew everywhere. Goliath grunted in shock but was instantly reminded of the fires dancing in Daigoro’s mouth as flames spewed forth. Goliath raised his chunky arms and tried to withstand the heat.

    The sand in the surrounding area slowly turned to glass as the flames raged on. Goliath roared as he was pushed back, his skin started to peel and blister. Daigoro stopped his assault and charged up to Goliath. The blue beast tried to swat Daigoro, but the smaller cream colored juvenile easily evaded each lazy swing. Daigoro rammed his shoulder into Goliath’s chest forcing the blue brute to stagger back. Daigoro reached for Goliath’s ankles and forcefully pulled on them, causing the star monster to shriek in surprise as his back slammed against the warm beach.

    Daigoro smirked and clutched Goliath’s tail; he slowly spun in place, dragging the blue behemoth around and slowly raised him up before finally letting go. Goliath groaned as he soared through the air, slamming into a rocky cliffside. The star monster spat out blood-soaked sand before propping himself up.

    Daigoro hopped up and down before jumping forward again, his fists outstretched. But before he could strike, he was hit head on with a lightning bolt, immediately dropping him to the ground. The chubby juvenile squirmed as he tried to fight back, clutching the sand as he struggled, but Goliath was already upon him. Stopping the lightning bolt, Goliath jumped into the air, laying himself out and letting gravity do the deed. The plush juvenile turned onto his back, eyes widening as he saw Goliath drop back down. The stellar monster body slammed Daigoro, easily knocking the wind out of him.

    Before Daigoro could get enough air, two blue meaty hands grasped his neck and began pumping him with electricity. Daigoro silently suffered as his body ached and twitched, foam spilled from his mouth as he choked on his spit.

    Goliath relished the sight of his opponent’s agony, unaware of the red glow beneath him.

    Sure enough, Goliath felt his hand get sweaty, making it easier for Daigoro to push them away. Goliath was surprised by the sudden resistance, but immediately understood what was happening as flames erupted from Daigoro’s maw. Boiling spit and searing foam flying everywhere forced Goliath off the tubby child monster, fumbling backward but still maintained some footing.

    Goliath stared in awe as Daigoro coughed and wheezed, struggling to stand. His neck was raw, tears ran down his face, but he put up his fists and groggily charged the stellar monster. Goliath roared and charged as well. Goliath spun around and tried to whip Daigoro, but the heroic monster grabbed yanked it again, but Goliath was ready. His horned crackled with energy before his body flashed a bright blue. Daigoro immediately let go as he felt electricity surge through him again. He dropped to one knee, but was determined to not fall.

    Goliath slowly turned and chuckled. His victory was almost at hand. However, Daigoro wasn’t out of the count yet. With all his remaining strength, Daigoro leapt forward again. Goliath raised his right arm in response to block the punch, but Daigoro wasn’t going for the punch. The whiskered juvenile put his power into one finger and swiped down on Goliath’s arm, the blue stellar monster suddenly howled in pain as he felt his bone crack, staggering backward as he tried to regain his composure.

    Goliath stared daggers into Daigoro. What kept him going? Surely, any other monster would crumble from his awesome power. Goliath grunted; he felt something different, a smidge of respect for his opponent. The blue brute shook his head and prepared his electrical horn again, ready to give Daigoro a swift end. But Daigoro clenched his fists as the air warped around him, flames escaping his mouth.

    Goliath snarled, he wasn’t about to make that same mistake twice. Goliath fired his lightning bolt, forcing the hippo monster to preemptively fire his heat ray. The two beams collided, struggling for dominance. Goliath poured every ounce of energy he could muster into the attack. Daigoro, although his legs were wobbly, remembered the cheers of the children. They gave him the confidence to defeat Goliath before, and he didn’t want to let them down this time. He remembered his father Mr. Saito, every other person who believed in him, and even his mother, who he vaguely remembered.

    The young monster squeezed every last ounce of fire power he had; Goliath poured every last drop of energy into his lightning bolt. Before either knew it, a flash of white light engulfed them both. As the light faded, two forms were left standing. Daigoro, the orphan turned hero; Goliath, the space monster, blinded by revenge. Both stood tall, before Goliath tipped over. His body met with the beaches warm embrace. Daigoro fell to one knee. It took minutes, though it felt like hours, before Daigoro tried to stand using a nearby rock as a crutch.

    Daigoro stood tall, raising his fist in air, like the wrestlers on the image box Mr. Saito showed him once. Slowly regaining his bearings, he knew he had won. He had made everyone proud, even if they weren’t here to see it.

    The plush juvenile was exhausted, hungry, and hurting. He looked over to Goliath, who was breathing heavily, barely conscious. Daigoro limped toward the blue brute, who groggily looked at him, before looking away. Daigoro cracked a smile and stretched out his hand again. Goliath stared back, and strained to lift his left arm, holding onto Daigoro’s hand. Daigoro grunted as Goliath fumbled to stand, but he managed. Once standing, the two stared each other down. Then Goliath turned and lumbered away, wanting to rest.

    He admitted defeat. He knew Daigoro could finish him off if he truly desired. The star monster hung his head in shame as he left the beach. The space monster was about to march over the hills, before feeling a pair of arms wrapped around him, stunned, the blue brute gazed down, seeing Daigoro give him a hug. He didn’t quite understand it, but he knew it was a sign of good sportsmanship.

    Goliath grunted and shooed the child away, barking at the cream colored hippo monster, not to get too chummy just because he bested him in battle. Daigoro nodded his head. He knew Goliath wouldn’t change in a day, but it was a start. Their rivalry was still ongoing, and they would continue to better themselves.

    As Goliath disappeared over the hills, Daigoro went back to his old resting spot, sitting down and appreciating the ocean view. Him and Goliath would clash again one day, but hopefully not for a long while. For now they would rest and enjoy the well earned peace and quiet.

    As Daigoro, prepared to lay back and relax, his stomach growled something fierce. That was definitely something he couldn’t defeat. Oh well, he could go for lunch right about now anyways.

    Winner: Daigoro

    K.W.C. // July 20, 2019
  • When I visited the Tokusatsu no DNA exhibit in Tokyo in January, I was happy to find a few more Godzilla snacks about which I could write reviews. The biggest package I picked up was the Godzilla Honey Pie. Let’s have our usual rundown!

    The package for this one, as with many Godzilla snacks, is pretty memorable. This time we have Godzilla from The Return of Godzilla (1984) prominently featured in the background, with the English text “Godzilla revives in Oshima Miharayama” (referring to the volcano into which the Big G plunged in that film), plus in romanized Japanese “makka ni utsukushiku sakihokoru izuoshima no Tsubaki ni miserarete godzilla ga miharayama kara fukkatsu!” If I am reading it right, the text roughly translates to something like “Godzilla, having been able to gaze upon the full beauty of the blossoming red camellias, revived from Mt. Mihara”—thus implying that the radioactive beastie was getting power from the flowers themselves. Given that the movie in which Godzilla is revived from Mihara was Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), the flower theme seems at least somewhat appropriate!

    Actually, upon inspecting the back of the box, I found out that the pies were apparently made from ingredients sourced from Oshima, where Mt. Mihara resides, so these are real Oshima Godzilla pies—maybe the monster was snacking on them while he rested in the volcano.

    What about those snacks and their flavor? Well, the box comes with 24 individually wrapped honey pies, all of them sporting the same glowering Godzilla visage. The word “pie” in this case refers to the same sort of “pie” that was sold in the Godzilla Pie box I reviewed a few years ago. This time, though, the pies are not black, but are rather white with honey flavoring. I actually really like them, as the flavor is pleasantly sweet, but the pie itself is not overly dry and tastes really nice with a flaky and enjoyable texture. The pies do fall apart easily, though, and are rather messy.

    Twenty-four pies is a bit much for me, so I shared the snacks with my friends on a recent visit to the USA, and they went over reasonably well. If you have a chance, I think these pies are worth a munch—much more so than some of the Godzilla-themed garbage I have eaten!

    Godzilla Honey Pie Review

    Kaiju Kuisine // July 19, 2019
  • “Everyone, deep in their hearts, is waiting for the end of the world to come.” – Haruko Murakami, 1Q84

    When the last dice has been cast, how will it all end? Humans have pondered this question since before we had words to speak. Will our doom be delivered to us in the form of a burning meteor? What if a terrible outbreak sentenced our collective species to an early grave? What if we destroyed ourselves in a nuclear holocaust? Some cultures believe Armageddon is preordained and the fate of destruction is the emergence of an eternal rebirth. Nobody knows for certain. Personally, I think the end will come on the golden wings of a three-headed space dragon.

    Monster Sightings: GHIDORAH is the third installment in a series of short films designed to make the viewer feel like they’re witnessing a kaiju attack firsthand. In this blog entry, I will be breaking down how key scenes were shot using a combination of stop motion, computer graphics, and compositing techniques. I have no compunction about keeping my techniques a secret; my goal is to help you make your dream monster movie a reality.

    If you’re just here to watch a fun little short, then please enjoy the show. If you’re an avid filmmaker or you’re curious about how I made this little flick, read on.

    Prep: Advice for Beginners

    Firstly, know your capabilities. Are you a beginner? If so, don’t sweat it. Start small. It’s nice dreaming about doing a ten-minute video or, Godzilla-willing, a dream feature length project. But every second of your idea will require considerable time and effort. So, I suggest you make your first project a ten-second video. Run a series of tests to make sure you have the basics down. Build up from there.

    To make your film, you need equipment. Chief among your tools of trade will be your camera. But not all cameras are equal. They vary in terms of quality and usefulness. To determine what camera is right for you, it’s good to do as much research on this subject as humanely possible. Most of us start on a shoestring budget, so you’ll need to choose your first camera wisely.

    Since the objective is to make a monster film, you’ll need to work with monsters. Don’t worry, they’re not as bad as you think. All the monsters I’ve worked with are humble and professional (except Rodan). Are you interested in doing stop motion? Great, consider investing in high-quality action figures with excellent articulation. S.H. MonsterArts, Revoltech, and NECA make superb figurines. If stop motion is not your thing, there are software programs that can help you design computer generated characters. Blender is a good place to start. Maybe you want to

    take things into your own hands by donning a rubber suit. I’ve done that and it’s fun/exhausting. Shop around. Touch base with any local costume shops. Consult local talent if you need help in designing a costume, or make your own monster suit. Doing the latter opens the doors to other possibilities. What if instead of designing your own Godzilla suit, you made a completely new monster.

    What about a film set? Find space. For my stop motion projects, I designed a green screen set. Other artists have more traditional sets full of miniatures and materials that are easily attainable. You can build a set yourself or buy one. Be prepared to improvise. If you want to add an element of ‘realism’ to your production, shoot on location. Find a city near you and make your day-off a filming day.

    Storyboard

    Storyboard

    Storyboarding is a godsend. Writing a script is essential, especially if you’re working with actors. But when it comes to planning VFX-heavy scenes? Storyboarding goes a long way in visualizing the story you want to tell. It not only shows you what your film could be, but what it might become.

    Now we get to one of the most underappreciated jobs in the film industry: editing. Once you have the right computer and video editing software, consider investing in Adobe After Effects (AAE). Adobe has a plan where for only $30 a month you have unlimited access to all their products. There are hundreds of tutorials that can help you master AAE and doing so would be in your best interests. It’s unimaginable how versatile AAE is. If you have money to spare, consider buying exclusive VFX content from Red Giant, ActionVFX, and Video Copilot.

    Stop Motion, VFX, and Ghidorah

    Green Screen Studio

    Green Screen Studio

    Composite shots are my forte. Incorporating stop motion characters into real world settings enhances the overall scope. If executed correctly, it can elevate any film regardless of its budget. Through trial and error, I’ve designed an effective green screen studio. Lighting the green screen and your subject is your top priority. For maximum efficiency, make sure you have overhead lighting. It does wonders. Speaking of lighting, fluorescent lights are the right way to

    go. Lighting equipment may not be cheap but they are a must-have for any and all green screen endeavors.

    Helpful tip: There is an app called Green Screener. If you don’t want to use a light meter, the Green Screener app makes for a fine replacement. I highly recommend it.

    Camera, Tripod, and Watch

    For video recordings, I use my iPhone X. Its camera capabilities are topnotch and the quality is easily comparable to camcorders that cost tens of thousands of dollars. I’ve used it to film weddings, tutorials, and interviews. For better results, I utilize the ProCamera app for maximum efficiency. When it comes to doing stop motion, it’s best to take photos in high-resolution. I’ll go into more detail on the nuts and bolts soon enough. One caveat about using your smartphone for video productions is how the focus might be offset by constant motion. Luckily, there are ways to counteract this.

    Tripod

    Tripod

    I cannot stress the importance of a good tripod. You want a multipurpose tripod that is simplistic, strong, flexible, and durable. Mine has a special little gadget designed to hold my iPhone X steady, with an adjustable top.

    If you’re doing stop motion, I’d strongly advise you to have a camera clicker. Pushing your recording device to take a still might shake or distort the camera, compromising your shot. This is why I use the ProCamera feature on my Apple Watch. With one push of the button, I have my shot, and I’m free to continue without missing a beat.

    Putty at Work

    Putty at Work

    Stop Motion and Working with Ghidorah

    Lights, camera, and—be patient. Hours of hard work and labor can result in only a few seconds of screen time. Commit to your vision and follow through with a can-do attitude, and you will create something stunning.

    My subject was S.H. MonsterArts’ King Ghidorah Special Color Version. Its attention to detail is magnificent and its articulation met my high expectations. During the pre-production phase, I researched different ways to utilize Ghidorah in the art of stop motion; however, I didn’t find anything useful. Fortunately, I developed techniques on my own that were effective and acquired the necessary materials that helped spur the process. I’m happy to share my findings with you.

    I used a Camera Tripod to hold Ghidorah up in a flight position. There are alternative ways to pull this off. Use your imagination. Ghidorah and the tripod were held in place by putty. It’s important to keep your subject as still as possible, so that when you move, say, their arms and legs, their entire body doesn’t shuffle out of place. During the editing phase, I keyed out the tripod using After Effects. When it comes to opening and closing mouths, I use a special little tool. ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ is a very apt saying when it comes to creating art.

    Ghidorah has dozens of articulation positions to shape. I used anywhere between six-to-twelve points of articulation (e.g., heads, wings, tails, mouths, etc.), and it came out rather well. See for yourself.

    Stop Motion

    Stop Motion

    VFX

    Everything at this point hinges on the editing phase. First, I merge ALL the images into one comp. Inside that comp is where we take care of the green screen. If I can’t incorporate Ghidorah into my footage then my efforts will be in vain. To chroma key out the green screen, Red Giant’s Smooth Cleaner and Primatte Keyer are excellent assets. If you don’t use Red Giant, don’t fret; After Effects has its own chroma key plug-ins. After removing the green background, my next job is to trim the images down (to two-frames per second should suffice, but there are exceptions depending on what looks right). If everything checks out, I’ll go about adjusting the lighting, color scheme, and brightness level of the subject before working out its position, size, and motion. If everything is not ok, I’ll go back to the very beginning and reshoot. It’s not fun having to do everything all over again but the ends do justify the means.

    For me personally, this is where the fun begins. In the scene we’ll be analyzing, Ghidorah is flying over a devastated city. The following screen captures will show the gradual process of mixing together our stop motion subject with the original footage and interlacing visual effects. Here we go!

    Original footage

    Original footage

    Sky has changed in order to further sell the sense of dread. Burn marks, building damage, and a humongous impact crater have been added

    Sky has changed in order to further sell the sense of dread. Burn marks, building damage, and a humongous impact crater have been added.

    The insertion of the asteroid and its eerie glow was a necessity. Various fire effects and embers were added to sell the apocalyptic feel.

    The insertion of the asteroid and its eerie glow was a necessity. Various fire effects and embers were added to sell the apocalyptic feel.

    A flash of lightning and a complementing crater glow adds a further feeling of depth and dread.

    A flash of lightning and a complementing crater glow adds a further feeling of depth and dread.

    Our star joins the scene at last. I’m happy to say Ghidorah reported for filming on time. He’s a professional!

    Our star joins the scene at last. I’m happy to say Ghidorah reported for filming on time. He’s a professional!

    Billowing smoke and falling ash joins the fray. The falling ash further sells the widespread destruction.

    Billowing smoke and falling ash joins the fray. The falling ash further sells the widespread destruction.

    In order to help blend KG and the apocalyptic environment together, various layers of smoke are added in conjunction with color palette tweaks.

    In order to help blend KG and the apocalyptic environment together, various layers of smoke are added in conjunction with color palette tweaks.

    Using Red Giant’s Particular plug-in, I’m able to whip up a dark storm that swirls around Ghidorah. ProductionCrate lightning effects, fractural noise glow, and wiggling the opacity of KG shadow on and off enhances the scene.

    Using Red Giant’s Particular plug-in, I’m able to whip up a dark storm that swirls around Ghidorah. ProductionCrate lightning effects, fractural noise glow, and wiggling the opacity of KG shadow on and off enhances the scene.

     

    Final Touches: Sound Design, Score, and Cuts

    Congratulations on completing the VFX phase. All your hard work is close to paying off. But the time has come to do something many filmmakers hate doing, and that’s leaving footage on the cutting room floor. I recommend showing your film to a group of trusted confidants, people whose opinions you take seriously. Their feedback has worth so long as it’s honest and constructive. If all they’re doing is telling you what you want to hear (e.g., massaging your ego), find a more neutral group to listen to. I’ve worked thousands of hours on numerous VFX sequences. And despite the amount of pride I have for my accomplishments, I will trim a scene or cut it out completely if it doesn’t belong. Be prepared to do this. The time to be objective is nigh. When your sound design work is completed, don’t be afraid to cut out anything else that hinders the movie. Follow through on your instincts. If it’s a problem that is preventable,

    prevent it. Filmmakers will always see their movies as being incomplete works of art. But you can do your future self a solid favor by cutting out things you know you’ll regret to see again someday.

    To sell the visuals, you need to make your film as much of an immersive experience as possible, and this can only be achieved through sound design and, if your film needs it, a rhythmic score to add feeling to the story. Whether you’re experienced or inexperienced in doing sound design, the first thing that matters is approaching it with an open mind. Since the beginning you’ve likely been imagining what your film will sound like. If the sound effects are as good as you imagined, then bring your plan to fruition. There is more to sound design than adding to the eyepopping visuals. Visual effects and sound design make wonderful companions. But sound is crucial in many other sectors. If your film has actors with speaking roles, the dialogue needs to be crisp and discernable.

    My film didn’t need a score because King Ghidorah’s actions and sound effects moved the story forward. In my personal opinion, Ghidorah’s unique sound functions as a score in itself. Regardless, I’ve used original scores in my projects before. And as much as I’d love to throw in a track from one of Akira Ifukube’s many classics, the truth is I don’t want my film to be taken down due to copyright infringement. That’s why I use companies like PremiumBeat. For $49, I’m free to use original songs for as many projects as I want.

    Good sound design is invaluable not just for the reasons we can think of, but for the reasons we can’t think of. You’ll never know how important sound design is to your work until you hear it bring your motion picture to life for the first time.

    Final Thoughts

    There are a growing number of talented filmmakers in the online kaiju community. We’re seeing a resurgence in studio monster movies that will inspire generations of new artists. It is a good time to be a Godzilla fan. We are now, more than ever, in a prime position to share our passion for the movies and characters we love. I’m having the time of my life making Godzilla movies.

    All else I have to say is welcome constructive feedback. Vow to grow as a filmmaker and storyteller. Connect with your audience. Take pride in what you do and you will go a long way. Thank you.

    Be Seeing You

    Be Seeing You

    General // July 16, 2019
  • A note from staff

    Now, here’s something a little different. Below is a translation of pages 48-49 from Space Magazine Uchusen Quarterly Vol.66 (1993). I thought it would be fun to showcase some stories from Japanese G-fans… Needless to say, they have their own share of creative – and sometimes absurd – tales to tell! As usual, very special thanks to Noah Oskow for the following translation!

    ~ Joshua S.

    ———————————————————————————————–

    Our Big Forecast for Godzilla, NEXT in USA!

    GvsMG” design staff are illustrating stories thought up by our readers!!

    Our magazine has been continuing to recruit the “Big Forecast NEXT Godzilla Story.” As the whole story of “GvsMG” has become more clear, we were shocked at how spot-on your predictions were (those who caught on from the “Spaceship Library Collection G vs MG Corner” were especially amazing!). Now then, with G-stories having been requested from our foreign edition simultaneously, our readers have been sending us interesting things that only they could have come up with, one after another. And specially for this one and only time, we’ve gone ahead and had the Kawakita Group design staff illustrate four of them.

     

    GODZILLA THE DINOMASTER

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Koichi Kabashima

    An American private research group has been attacked by Godzilla while investigating offshore oil fields. A nuclear submarine that had been patrolling the waters nearby receives the SOS call and attacks, but standing no chance, retreats. Godzilla gives chase, heading towards the mainland USA. After a huge battle takes place in LA, the US forces bring down Godzilla using a satellite cannon. Godzilla, who has fallen into a state of false death, is carried by the US forces to a secret military facility to be made into a cyborg. They mean to make Godzilla, who can withstand nuclear strikes, into the US military’s trump card for localized battles. Five years later, Godzilla receives applause from the masses thanks to his new role as the watchman of world peace, and it’s been decided that there be a military review set up in the waters off New York for the president to observe the cyborg monster. However, during those five years Godzilla’s great brain, which had been completely cut off from his spinal cord, has seen its functions shift to the second brain he possesses in his lower body.

    During the very height of the military inspection, Godzilla destroys his nerve switch with the use of violent interior radiation, and having regained control of this body, bathes the president in his atomic breath, and then emerges from the ocean unto Manhattan. With Godzilla having been outfitted with high-tech weapons, America is completely at a loss.

    GODZILLA THE DINOMASTER

    Aoi Kunio (青井邦夫)

    Aoi Kunio (あおい・くにお) 〇 Works as a mechanical designer for “New Astro Boy.” “UWW,” which was serialized in “Hobby Japan,” became quite the hot topic, bringing new ideas to the Ultra Mecha genre. Designed “Mother” and “Kids” for “G vs. K” as well as Hummer for “Ultraman G.”  Also currently contributing to the covers for Tokuma Shoten’s “Eight Eight Fleet Series” (Koshu Tani).

     

    GODZILLA vs. RUSKA

    Tokyo Prefecture

    Naoya Sato

    The mysterious giant life form Ruska is said to inhabit the seas off Bermuda. The creature uses its massively long tentacles to pull passenger vessels to the ocean floor and eat the humans within. Receiving a passenger ship distress call, a rescue team moves to the scene. Somehow, at the site of the event a number of Ruskas rush in to attack Godzilla. And yet, Godzilla is able to repulse them with ease, and he moves on to invade the Gulf of Mexico. Hit by a two-pronged strategy on land and by sea by the American military, Godzilla momentarily disappears from view, but he once again comes up on land in Mexico, advancing on America. In the midst of the turmoil, Mexicans are smuggling themselves into America. Godzilla pulverizes Dallas, and although he attempts to return to the sea via the Florida Peninsula, just at that time a Ruska even larger than Godzilla appears out of the ocean. In the previous fight it had been changed bodily via sucking on Godzilla’s blood, making it even more gigantic, and even more brutally violent. It has come to suck Godzilla’s blood once again. The battle between the two gigantic beasts begins to unfurl, leading the US armed forces HQ to decide to make use of their newest weapon, the freeze bomb.

    GODZILLA VS. RUSKA

    Shinji Nishikawa (西川伸司)

    Shinji Nishikawa (にしかわ・しんじ) 〇 Has been writing Godzilla manga since his doujinshi self-published era under the pen-name MASH (appearing under that same name in Vol. 39 of this same magazine). Among other things, he managed the final manuscript image of the design of Biollante.  In addition to his usual work on the Rinpu Shobo Encyclopedia Series, he established his reputation via super-deformed illustrations.

     

    PLANET OF GODZILLA

    Hiroshima Prefecture

    Masaaki Shindo

    In the near future, the Spaceship Mayflower, having departed on mankind’s first outer-space expedition, arrives at Planet G. That planet, with its hot temperature and humidity, is controlled by 5-meter tall dinosaur-like life forms. The crew of the ship are killed one-by-one. The sole survivor, ethnically Japanese Jeff Goto, explodes the reserve fuel, burning up the dinosaurs’ planet as he makes his escape. However, one dinosaur, mutated by exposure to atomic rays, has boarded the Mayflower. At the end of the the life and death struggle, Jeff manages to drive back the monster. Jeff, having returned to earth, has become a worldwide hero overnight, but one day, he notices that changes are occurring in his own body, and he begins to hide himself from others. A piece of organic material from a monster that had clung to the partially salvaged Mayflower has begun cell division, and while it absorbs the body of an attacked NASA employee, taking on a gigantic form just like the Thing, it begins to wreck destruction upon the city. At that time, standing in the way of the monster appears Jeff, who has been turned into Godzilla as a result of being covered in the spurt of a monster’s blood.

    PLANET OF GODZILLA

    Minoru Yoshida (吉田 穣)

    Minoru Yoshida (よしだ・みのる) 〇 Thanks to his participation alongside Mr. Aoi and others in the HJ Magazine “UWW,” managed the monster design for “Ultraman G.” Within the Godzilla Series, his name appeared on the final manuscript images for Battra (adult and larva), among other works. In addition to “B-CLUB” cover illustrations, he’s also actively engaged in creating illustrations for science magazines and pictorial books.

     

    GODZILLA CONQUERS THE WORLD

    Saitama Prefecture

    Teruhiko Sato

    Once again, Godzilla has appeared in Tokyo. The Japanese people are in danger! The United States of America, wishing for world peace and the happiness of humanity, dispatches the genius Professor Maximilian and the young Jim. Professor Max hatches a plan to use an anti-gravity missile to launch Godzilla into space. Just as he believes his strategy is about to pay off, Mount Fuji suddenly explodes in a massive eruption. Godzilla is sucked in through a rift in space-time created by the eruption. At this rate the entire history of mankind will be thrown into chaos at the hands of Godzilla! Professor Max and young Jim give chase after Godzilla in the time-boat they have emergency shipped from America. Around that same time, Godzilla is crushing Napoleon’s forces at Waterloo. The Professor and his young charge rush on, but Godzilla’s form suddenly disappears from view. It would appear that somehow the anti-gravity missile that stuck into Godzilla’s tail is affecting space-time. Godzilla appears in different eras, one after another. The Professor finally manages to remove the missile in the world of Jurassic Period.

    GODZILLA CONQUERS THE WORLD

    “Hurricane” Ryu Hariken (破李拳竜)

    Ryu Hariken (はりけん・りゅう ) 〇 We don’t believe we really need to introduce him to the readers of this magazine, but he’s a fighting manga artist and first-class fool for stuffed animals. Having worked on Heisei Ghidorah as well as Battra Larva, he’s now in charge of Baby Godzilla. He provides a large amount of image boards previous to filming within the Kawakita group. He fulfills an important role in reviewing the materials used for the images that actually go to film.

     

    How did you feel about all these? Weren’t any and all of them quite interesting as works that minimize the sorts of stereotypes Americans (?) might have towards Godzilla? Now that we’re done with this part, let’s go ahead and introduce a few more of our readers’ works.

    ・TriStar Pictures, fed up with the strictness of Toho’s checking, assassinate their Japanese counterparts. The embodiment of that persistent grudge, G, attacks Hollywood. The American side attempts to oppose him, but Irwin Allen and Bert I. Gordon’s blundering monster had no chance at rivaling Godzilla…

    Aichi Prefecture Koichi Irizawa

    ・“Godzilla vs. the Superhuman Ant”  Godzilla makes landfall in LA based on the scheming of North Korea and Iraq. While Japan is involved in disputes over peacekeeping operations, G encroaches on the Detroit nuclear power plant. At that time, G’s body floats into midair. “It’s that atomic power! The Superhuman Ant!” With the death of Superman, America must turn to the atomic ant, Superhuman Ant. By the president’s request, the Ant carries G to North Korea, thinking to destroy the Pyonyang Nuclear Reactor and to protect world peace. However, being told to next take Godzilla to Iraq, the Ant’s friendly feelings towards humans are all used up, and he sets out into space with Godzilla.

    Osaka Prefecture Naoya Tatsugami

    ・ “Godzilla vs. The Führer”  Izumi, a Japanese traveler, loses her way in an alternate-dimension America that became controlled by the Nazis following the World War. The Nazis capture Izumi, use her power as the queen of an underground kingdom that was destroyed in an ancient nuclear war to revive Godzilla, and plan to attack Izumi’s people’s world. However, the revived G destroys his controller, and he begins to attack the Nazis. The Nazi’s Bio-Monster Führer moves to attack G!

    Kyoto Prefecture Masahiro Muroyama

    ・ “Godzilla, what is this with you attempting to get farther in the world than me, I won’t forgive you! Uuuooooohhhh!!” Enlarged to a tremendous height of 100m by the power of pure rage, Eisaku Yoshida, working on instinct, moves towards the foot of Mount Fuji and clashes with Godzilla!

    Chiba Prefecture Kan Hasui

    Thanks for all your entries, everyone.

    Translations // July 13, 2019
  • A few months ago I had the great honor of interviewing costume-design legend Keizo Murase in the actual studio at which many of the classic Toho monsters were created. We had an amazing two-hour conversation ranging over kaiju history and covering dozens of stories, and I am looking forward to getting the video translated and posted for fans in the West to enjoy. Chris Mirjanhangir set up the interview in conjunction with Daisuke Sato, who was also the mastermind behind Howl from Beyond the Fog, a Kickstarter-funded tokusatsu short film set in ancient Japan and featuring a cast of puppets—and a film which will soon premiere at G-Fest! After interviewing Mr. Murase, I got to talking with Mr. Sato (who we also interviewed here on TK in the past), and he casually mentioned that he was the one who assembled the Godzilla costume in Godzilla Final Wars, which was designed by Shinichi Wakasa. I was flabbergasted and asked if it would be possible to interview Mr. Sato personally as well, and he graciously agreed. That interview took place on June 22, 2019.

    For now, I just want to give the highlights of that interview, and also invite any G-Fest attendees to go check out Howl from Beyond the Fog. Daisuke Sato is a super nice guy (and he speaks English!), so I hope his film will get a lot of attention at this year’s G-Fest.

    I met Mr. Sato at Burger Mania, one of the best hamburger restaurants in Tokyo (my recommendation) before moving to a nearby café so that I could audio-record more easily, given that Burger Mania was a bit noisy (unfortunately recording in the café may not have been much better, as my mic picked up way too much background noise). Nevertheless, we still had a nice time over tea and/or coffee chatting about Sato’s history of making monster costumes.  Our conversation went this way and that way, but Sato was really patient with my multitude of questions.

    Here I want to especially focus on Daisuke Sato’s experiences making Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and Gamera the Brave (2006), though he also worked on the sets for The Great Yokai War (2005), and worked on the TV show Gransazers (for which he made gloves for the human costumes, as well as cannons and legs for some of the robots), plus Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers (2006) and other monster-related projects, as well as Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 (2005), for which he made some of the prop firearms.

    Daisuke Sato got his start working on GMK while he was still a student at the now-defunct Tokyo Eizou Geijutsu Gakuin. His role on GMK was relatively small. He made a wall of life-size Godzilla scales which were used for a scene in which Godzilla emerges from the water and can briefly be glimpsed through the rush of liquid (Sato showed me the scene, but it was hard to catch his work). Sato was also the man behind the puppet in one shot in which Godzilla was under water. A puppet was utilized for that scene in particular shots, and Sato was the performer, turning Godzilla’s head threateningly!

    The other Godzilla film that Sato worked on was Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), on which he had a much larger role. Comparing the two films, Sato recalled that when shooting for GMK, the crew did about ten shots each day, but for GFW they did 16 shots every day (split into two shooting crews). However, according to Sato, GFW was the less stressful as they got off at six each day, but on GMK they might go much longer into the evening, which was exhausting.

    On Godzilla: Final Wars, Sato had an incredible opportunity: he was the man put in charge of assembling the suit designed by Shinichi Wakasa. This windfall did not just plop into his lap, though; Sato personally requested the duty from special make-up man Rikiya Soh, who granted his request. Sato was in charge of assembling three suits, which he did in three months. Those suits included the main suit, a heavier armored suit for scenes in which the monster was taking fire and explosions, and an action suit that was lighter and allowed the actor freer movement for active scenes.

    Sato also has memories of eating at the studio café with some of the actors and staff, and recalls that the actors playing the Xiliens would eat in full costume. (Unfortunately, apparently they did not stay in character while at lunch. Still, the image of Xiliens eating lunch together at a café is priceless.)

    Soon after GFW, Sato would then work on Gamera the Brave (2006), creating the front carapace of the main suit as well as a cheaper Zedus head created specifically to be destroyed in the climactic fight. The original Zedus head was quite expensive and detailed, and thus the second head was commissioned. Asked whether he felt any regret that his monster head had been destroyed, he said, no, since that was its purpose all along.

    Outside of creating parts of the costumes for Gamera and Zedus, Sato was also in charge of costume maintenance, fixing any wear and tear that the costumes might take in the course of filming. However, at least one time damage to one of the suits came not from on-screen monster action, but from an unexpected source: Sato himself! One day, Sato was exhausted after a long day and was trying to load up the costume of the older Gamera that appears in the flashback at the beginning of the movie. Due to his fatigue, Sato accidentally let the costume fall and smash against the floor, damaging the monster. This was before they had shot any of the scenes featuring the beast! Luckily, Sato was skilled enough to fix the costume himself, albeit perhaps with a bit of egg on his face.

    Sato also made performance suits of Ultraman for promotional events related to the 2005 film Ultraman in which he built up the musculature first and then added armor over the top. Sato disparaged these suits in our interview, though, claiming that due to his lack of talent they were heavier than they should have been. These would not be the only promotional suits Sato would make, however, as he would go on to create more hero suits for Gotochi Hero.

    Sato’s most recent project is the ambitious Howl from Beyond the Fog, which was successfully Kickstarted some time ago in November 2017, and on which he worked beside monster effects legend Keizo Murase, who created so many of the classic Toho monster costumes of old. Howl from Beyond the Fog was partially inspired by Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn (upon which Sato also created a fan film years ago, which was later tragically lost due to a hard drive crash). However, unlike The Fog HornHowl from Beyond the Fog takes place in ancient Japan. The main characters are a young boy named Izana and a beautiful blind woman named Takiri, who shares a bond with the monster of the film, an equally blind (and in this case, aged) monster called Nebula. (The monster was originally named Amenosagiri, after the Japanese myth, but a child asking about the monster’s name at a convention in France inspired Sato to change the name to something simpler. Nebula has the classic kaiju name aesthetic, ending in “la”, but also sports a double-meaning, since the word “nebula” comes from a Latin term for “fog.)

    Howl from Beyond the Fog is a story done completely in puppets so that Sato could have more control over the shoot and was influenced by a puppet TV dramatization of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms made in the early 1980s (when asked, Sato admitted he had never watched the more recent Thunderbolt Fantasy, and thus was not influenced by that series). According to Sato, almost all the shots are composite shots, and when asked what was most difficult in making the movie, he said “everything!” Still, despite all the hardships, it seemed obvious Sato was excited about the movie, and he said his favorite scene was when Nebula destroys the town.

    When I asked Sato if he has a message for fans of tokusatsu, he spoke about how while mainstream movies have moved on to CGI, independent films can still do the more traditional suitmation effects, and he hopes that both kinds of films can be made in the future (if I understood him correctly—my recording is hard to hear, with too much background noise).

    I was hoping there would be a chance to get my hands on the movie on DVD or Blu-Ray, but as of this time the DVD/Blu-Ray will only be available to Kickstarter backers. In the future there may be more opportunities to see the film, but for now fans will have to be content to watch the movie at conventions such as G-Fest and the Atami Kaiju Movie Festival in November, 2019.

    If you are attending either festival, please consider giving the movie a view. The story is a celebration of classic tokusatsu with a unique aesthetic and a fantastic pedigree. I am so envious because I wish I could go to G-Fest and see the film myself!

    Daisuke Sato Interview Photo

    Interviews // July 12, 2019
  • Author: KeSean Johnson | Banner: Landon Soto

    Glimmering, beautiful lights lit up the overcrowded city. The land itself was full of excited life. Yet, during another dazzling night in Las Vegas, there was only one word that could describe the events occurring at that very moment: Chaos.

    Terrified, citizens ran as fast they could and screamed their loudest. Vehicles honked their horns continuously as people ran in their way of driving. Gamblers in nearby casinos rushed themselves to gain the luxurious money they believed they so well deserved. The entirety of Sin City was in a state of panic.

    The night sky was suddenly filled with airborne monstrosities. The reason why they converged on Las Vegas was unknown. All four kaiju flapped their gargantuan wings in order to stay afloat. They glared into one another’s eyes with shady intentions. The first was a creation of an ancient civilization who then went corrupt and attacked the world. It possessed navy blue flesh with shades of beige. Its bat-like wings and disturbing facial structure were definitely something to be afraid of. This creature was dubbed the “Shadow of Evil”. The second was the Lord of the Skies himself. An ancient predator who ruled the skies of the Earth. A lava red covered his body. Long veins were visible on his saurian wings. This menace only cared for dominance. The third was a majestic moth who’s only purpose was to protect. Soft, white fur with orange stripes consumed her frame while patterns of red, yellow, & black made up her wings. She was the “good”, but for every good was the bad. That “bad” took the armored form of the insect’s “brother”. A product of the Earth itself that became a vengeful demon. Black armor covered his body while crimson orbs protruded out of his abdomen. Lightning-like shapes of red filled half of his menacing wings.

    The bloodthirsty Gyaos, the speedy Rodan, the guardian Mothra, and the vengeful Battra were ready to begin a dogfight that’d be one for the history books.

    A quick burst of a sonic beam shattered the stare off and broke the silence. The monsters went into a frenzy. Crackling heat charged within Rodan’s three horns and the pteranodon vomited his uranium heat beam at every monster in sight, releasing pained chirps and shrieks from each of them. Mothra returned the favor and fired her pink colored antenna beams at the prehistoric menace. Battra blasted Rodan as well with his concentrated prism beams. The radioactive creature echoed out a bellowing cry of agony as tiny bits of burnt flesh fell from his body. Gyaos swooped in on Mothra and sank its sharp talons into her thorax, blood spilling from her new wounds. The guardian insect cried out in chitters of agony. When the Gyaos demon went for his next attack, Battra soared by and tackled him off of his sibling. The angered moth threw the Gyaos bird aside and blasted it in the back with his prism beams. Gyaos disturbingly shrieked in pain all while losing control of his flight. He needed to recuperate.

    A spiraling beam of radiated power carved into Battra’s abdomen, catching him off guard and forcing a deep roar of agony to escape his mandible. Rodan flapped his mighty wings and began to peck at the armored insect. Its long beak bashed into his skull over and over. Small, flurries of sparks erupted as he bashed his cranium. Rodan was unrelenting. In a sudden flash, Battra blasted the pteranodon point-blank in the chest, sending him hurtling backward to recover. Mothra closed in on Battra’s location. When the furry moth flew over him, strands of gold lightning fired from her majestic wings and zapped her sibling all over. Battra twitched in pain and screeched continuously as his body was being electrocuted with no remorse. To speed up the process, Mothra shed golden scales from her wings, which singed and nearly paralyzed Battra’s nerves. Out of the blue, Rodan struck Mothra in her right wing with his magenta-hued blast made of uranium heat. The guardian moth chirped in sudden agony and seized her assault on Battra, letting him free.

    Rodan dashed under her thorax and bit down onto one of her fluffy legs. The pteranodon spun in circles to dizzy the giant bug and succeeded in smashing her against her own sibling. The moth pair spiraled out of control but didn’t fall from the sky, they were only dazed from the rough impact. The Hyper Gyaos returned to battle, shrieking in horror before latching onto Rodan’s back and pecked at his skull. Now he had a taste of his own medicine. Rodan chirped in stinging irritation, trying his hardest to dislodge the savage bird. Mothra flew in and smacked the reptilian vulture with her left wing, causing it to swiftly, scurry away as it was disoriented. Two beams fired from her antenna and carved into Rodan’s flesh. The radiated beast angrily turned around and spammed his uranium heat beams onto the Infant Island Goddess. Mothra backpedaled from the scalding blasts, but fired off more antenna beams at the pteranodon. Battra soared through the battling duo and whacked them both with his dark wings.

    He sent prism beams of plasma into Mothra’s thorax to scorch her fur and more into Rodan to do the same to his flesh. When he turned about 80 degrees to his right, the vicious Gyaos spat its energy beam composed of focused sound. The sonic ray shot through Battra’s left wing like tissue paper and shred a good chunk of it from the edge of the appendage. Battra’s lowered screeches of anguish escaped his mandible as he slowly fell from the night sky. His wings were still usable, so the armored moth carefully landed on top of a residential hotel to rest. Gyaos swooped down with its brilliant speed to go for the final blow, but Rodan used his excellent quickness to block off the bird and blasted it with his spiraling atomic ray. The flesh on Gyaos’ chest was cooked. With several hurricane flaps, Battra was back in the sky and grasped Rodan with his insect feet. Electrical surges zapped the pteranodon and burnt his skin. Battra flapped his wings as fast as he could and flew at his top speed. The vengeful moth released Rodan and let the prehistoric flyer to collide into the infamous Stratosphere building. With screaming tourists at the very top, the needle structure collapsed because of the force of Rodan’s collision. Both the building and the monster crashed to the ground below in a destructive manner.

    The horrible Gyaos focused sound into his vile maw. With a terrifying shriek, the reptilian vulture released a sonic beam at Mothra. The devastating ray hacked her left antenna off of her head. Another quick burst of sonic energy and the beam carved a hole into the middle of her left wing. Mothra spun backward, agonizing chirps of anguish coming out of her brown mandible. Battra zoomed in on the Gyaos and held it captive as he singed its nasty flesh with his energy touch. Battra thought to himself, screw it why not? The armored insect bellowed chirps at Mothra. He was speaking to her in a language only they would know. Mothra listened to her younger sibling’s commands. Echoing out an angelic chirp, the guardian moth shed more golden scales from her massive wings. Battra tossed the helpless Gyaos into the pile of scales. Gyaos horribly shrieked in nerve-stabbing anguish. Once trapped, there was no escape. The flaps of its bat-like wings became slower and harder as its limbs painfully tightened. Mothra sent strands of electrifying lightning into the trapped bird to scar it even worse. A remorseless Battra fired countless prism beams into the scale payload. The purple energy rays dashed around in different angles until carving into the paralyzed Gyaos one by one. A deadly combination of prism beams, lightning, and paralyzing scales were all too much for the zombie-like reptile.

    After about two minutes of unrelenting assault, the moth duo seized firing. The scales dissipated and a putrid stench rose into the air as the fried carcass of the Hyper Gyaos plummeted from the sky. The overcooked creature smashed into the surface below with a rumbling thud. Both Mothra and Battra released their respective cries of triumph to fill the night sky. They gazed into each other’s bulbous eyes and turned around to go their separate ways. As they flew away from one another, Battra wickedly twitched his head and clawed feet. He tried to control himself, but he couldn’t. The urge of vengeance was all that mattered most. Battra swiftly spun around and soared toward the exiting Mothra. He quickly flew above her and past her. A brilliant flash of orange energy consumed his form, zaps of electricity releasing. When the blinding flash faded, Battra plummeted fast in his larval form! The angry caterpillar smashed perfectly into Mothra’s body and sent her falling as well. The aching bug let forth a loud, chirping cry.

    As quick as a speeding rocket, the monsters smashed into the streets below. A powerful shockwave of dust violently erupted. Battra completely crushed Mothra underneath his armored frame which broke his fall. The guardian moth was deep in an impact crater they’d created. Parts of her exoskeleton shattered beneath her fur. She painfully flapped her beautiful wings, saddening chirps of distress releasing from her mandible. Her baby blue eyes dimmed on and off like dying light-bulbs. All she ever wanted was to protect the Earth at all costs. She never wanted it to end like this, not by her own relative. Battra slithered off her demolished body. What kind of pitiful creature actually wanted to protect humans?! She was no sister to him. Only an arch-rival who got lucky in defeating him more than 12,000 years ago. That was payback for what she did to him. Another flash of orange illumination covered Battra’s body and the menacing insect was back in his imago stage. Battra flapped his evil wings to increase his altitude.

    As he glared at his “sister” with disgust, the sounds of sonic zooming cluttered his ear holes. An atomic blast of scorching fury struck the top of his thorax. Rodan was back! Before Battra could even make his move, Rodan soared directly above him. The sharp spikes all over his torso scrapped Battra’s back ferociously. A blue flash shined and a series of singing sparks showered everywhere. The infuriated demon bellowed in agony as he began to plummet once again. Battra horribly crashed into a huge casino with greedy gamblers running around inside. Radioactive energies crackled within Rodan’s horns as they glowed with burning essence. The pteranodon vomited the ultimate barrage of uranium heat beams. The spiraling blasts of atomic properties smashed into Battra’s fallen form and the decimated rubble around him. With no remorse, Rodan unleashed blast, after blast, after blast until everything below him went up in sizzling flames. Singing fumes rose into the night sky. He couldn’t see anything beneath the destruction. There was no sign of Battra.

    The glorious smell of awesome victory filled the nostrils in his beak. His opponents should have never counted out the quick trickster that Rodan was. With his three enemies down for the count, the radiated pteranodon dashed off into the dark horizon where the Moon was full, letting out that last mocking bellow.

    It was all about dominance, and Rodan was dominant.

    Winner: Rodan (Heisei)

    K.W.C. // July 11, 2019
  • Author: Zeb Dennis| Banner: Dao Zang Moua

    It was night as the moon shined over Tokyo. But the city was in chaos as King Kong was attacking the metropolis. People were running for their lives as King Kong destroyed everything around him. Kong was smashing buildings, stepping on vehicles, and killing people. The Japanese Self Defense Force had sent in tanks, helicopters, and Type 88 SSMs to destroy the giant gorilla or force him to leave Japan; however, the weapons and the soldiers within them met their end, they were no match for the legendary beast. The only thing the weapons did to the giant ape was trigger him into a berserk state.

    But why was King Kong here in Tokyo?

    As King Kong continued his destruction in Tokyo, policemen, firemen, and soldiers were helping civilians evacuate the city. The scream of a woman caught the ape king’s attention, causing the beast to see a woman looking through a window in a nearby structure. The brown gorilla took a peek, wanting to examine the woman. He got a closer look and saw that she did not meet his standards of beauty, so Kong thrust his enormous hand into the room, ripping out the chunk of the building and sent woman plummeting to her doom. With a powerful heave, he pushed against the looming skyscraper and sent it falling to where it crushed fleeing refugees, upping the casualties and body count tenfold.

    King Kong looked around, still seeking to find a place to call home, until he heard a familiar screech. It registered that it was not made by any living creature. He turned to see his mechanical double, Mechani-Kong, marching through Tokyo and heading toward him. The metal ape stopped at a distance, holding its arms up and screamed a digital roar at the living gorilla. King Kong’s brows narrowed, angry to see his old enemy. Drumming his chest with his fists, he roared back at the robotic primate.

    Within his hidden lair in the North Pole, Dr. Who sat at his desk with his computer in front of him. On the monitor, Dr. Who saw King Kong and Tokyo through the cameras inside Mechani-Kong’s optical sensors.

    “Kong, if I had known you would be this much trouble to catch, I would have sent Mechani-Kong to Mondo Island, instead of relying on that fool,” the doctor commented.

    Dr. Who had hired a game hunter to capture King Kong, so the evil scientist could use the giant ape once again to mine for Element X. In spite of his success, knocking out the colossal ape with a non-lethal knockout gas, Kong broke free and took revenge against his captives. However, he was aimlessly drifting somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and the closest island to swim to was Japan. By the time Kong reached Tokyo Harbor, the JSDF was already prepared to drive him back. In the wake of the bounty hunter’s failure, Dr. Who found out the primate had escaped, and thus sent Mechani-Kong in pursuit.

    Just as Kong and his mechanical rival were about to start another one of their scuffles, they heard the sound of jets above them with a looming shadow overhead. The two gorillas looked up, witnessing two Shirasagis descend with a mechanized dragon tethered by two sets of cables. A robotic force made from the skeleton of the first Godzilla that devastated Tokyo in 1954, constructed by the JSDF to protect Japan from the second Godzilla and any other threat crawling out of the woodwork. The Shirasagi jets planted Kiryu into the wreckage left by Kong, firmly holding its own weight due to its mass, unhooking their cables from the cyborg titan.

    Piloting within the Mechagodzilla was the beautiful Akane Yashiro. While the female pilot came here to fight King Kong, she was surprised to see his robot counterpart was here as well. From what Akane had heard, Mechani-Kong was an enemy of King Kong that was created by some mad scientist, and had caused trouble for Tokyo in the past. Akane couldn’t help but wonder if Mechani-Kong’s creator had something do with King Kong being in Tokyo. Either way, she knew both these gorillas needed to be taken down.

    “Let’s show these monkeys what a real robot can do,” Akane said to Kiryu.

    The Mechagodzilla responded to Akane by letting out a digital roar.

    King Kong’s animal senses was telling him that this newcomer was a threat to him. The primate could see it was like Mechani-Kong, but at the same time, had the appearance of his other enemy, Godzilla. Whatever this new enemy was, King Kong wasn’t going to back down from it.

    “So the Japanese Self Defense Force had sent their Mechagodzilla to interfere with my capture of Kong. No matter. This will only show the world how superior my Mechani-Kong is,” Dr. Who proclaimed as he glared at Kiryu on his computer. The evil scientist grabbed a microphone that allowed him to communicate with Mechani-Kong. “Mechani-Kong, destroy Kiryu, and complete your mission of bringing me Kong.”

    Mechani-Kong let out a roar as it obeyed its master.

    Before the three giants could start their battle, they heard a large roar that echoed across the city. King Kong, Kiryu, and Mechani-Kong looked at where the roar had come from. The three saw something far away, but it was heading toward them. However, Akane and King Kong recognized the roar as it belonged to Godzilla, but yet there was something different about it.

    As the forth monster got closer, Akane and King Kong got a clear view of it, and both were shocked as they saw it wasn’t Godzilla. Well, not the Mutant Godzilla anyway. This monster happened to be the Ancient Godzilla.

    Akane had heard about this Godzilla before. Where the first two Godzillas were once Godzillasaurs that were mutated by radioactivity, this ‘elder’ Godzilla was an ancient creature that had existed in a time before the dinosaurs. According to scientists, they believed the species of the Ancient Godzilla were ancestors of the Godzillasaurus family, which would explain why the Mutant and Ancient Godzillas were so similar. But unlike the Mutant Godzilla that caused destruction, the Ancient Godzilla was a symbol of nature that protects the balance of the planet from danger. One of the good monsters like Daigoro, Frankenstein, Gomora, King Caesar, Mothra, and Sanda.

    However, Akane had seen footage of the Elder Godzilla causing damage in Hawaii and San Francisco while hunting for the MUTOs. This Godzilla was a loose cannon like Gamera. While the giant turtle defended the Earth, he caused mass destruction to cities and brought death to people just to kill the Shadow of Evil. In Akane’s mind, the Ancient Godzilla was a threat to humanity like the mutant one. A monster that needed to be destroyed.

    Godzilla stopped at a far distance from King Kong, Kiryu, and Mechani-Kong. There was anger in Godzilla’s eyes as he looked at King Kong. The same thing was said for King Kong as his blood boiled at the site of this Godzilla.

    Dr. Who could see the angry looks that Godzilla and King Kong were giving each other. “Hmm… There seems to be bad blood between these two.”

    Unfortunately, Dr. Who was right. The reason why Godzilla came to Tokyo was because he sensed King Kong was there, as their species were natural-born enemies. Before, Godzilla had always thought the species of the giant gorillas had went extinct along with the rest of his kind. But like Godzilla himself, King Kong was the last member of his species that had survived for eons. Even though this was the first time the Ancient Godzilla and King Kong had met in this era, it was in their instinct to hate and to kill each other. It was why King Kong hated the Mutant Godzilla, as he saw the radioactive dinosaur as a shadow of his species’ true enemy.

    While Godzilla kept his focus on King Kong, he noticed the two silver giants. Godzilla could see that one of them looked like King Kong, while the other one looked similar to his species. Even though Godzilla knew these were man made machines, he couldn’t help but feel there was something more about the one that was like his kind. It was as if Godzilla was sensing that the robot was another one of his species, or at least one of his descendants. The King of the Monsters didn’t know how something like that was even possible.

    Unknown to the Ancient Godzilla, the spirit of the First Mutant Godzilla was inside Kiryu as the bones of the dinosaur were built inside the Mechagodzilla.

    Godzilla inhaled deeply before he let out a loud roar at the three giants that seemed to go on for an eternity. While Kiryu and Mechani-Kong showed no emotions to the roar, Akane stayed brave. However, she couldn’t help but feel a chill up her spine. As for King Kong, the only thing Godzilla’s loud roar did to him was build up his rage. Kong let out his own roar and beat down on his chest before he came charging at Godzilla.

    The fins on Godzilla’s back glowed blue as he opened his mouth and fired his atomic ray at the incoming gorilla. But King Kong ducked under the ray, and as he got closer to Godzilla, he punched the ancient beast below the jaw, shutting off the beam. Godzilla roared in pain and anger. Godzilla stopped another of Kong’s punches by grabbing onto his arms. Then, the alpha predator slammed his head into Kong’s skull, causing the great ape to cry in pain. Godzilla used his foot to kick King Kong in the stomach and knocked the giant gorilla down to his back.

    “Mechani-Kong! I need Kong alive! Don’t let Godzilla kill him!” Dr. Who ordered his creation.

    After Godzilla kicked King Kong to the side and made the primate roll across the ground, Mechani-Kong got behind the ancient reptile. The metal gorilla grabbed one of its grenades on his belt and threw it at Godzilla. As the grenade hit against Godzilla’s back, it exploded, causing the ancient creature to roar in pain. Godzilla turned around and fired his atomic ray at Mechani-Kong. The robot ape let out a digital roar as the atomic ray slammed against its chest and knocked the machine down to the ground.

    Before Godzilla could make another attack on Mechani-Kong, he felt something grab onto his tail. Godzilla turned his head to see King Kong yanking on the appendage. Godzilla’s eyes narrowed in anger and he used the strength in his tail to swing King Kong to the left and made the giant primate roll across the ground, until he crashed into a building. While Godzilla was looking at Kong, Mechani-Kong came in and punched the monster king in the side of his face. Godzilla roared angry as he turned to Mechani-Kong and used his jaws to bite in between the robot’s head and right arm. The monster’s teeth sliced through the ape’s armor, creating sparks within the behemoth’s jaws. Mechani-Kong used its left hand to grab Godzilla’s neck and hammered down on top of the monster’s head with the other, trying to get itself free of the kaiju’s grasp.

    “Time to show them what you can do, Kiryu,” Akane commented aloud as the Mechagodzilla fired the payload of its two shoulder launchers. King Kong got up and was going to attack Godzilla and Mechani-Kong, until the rockets exploded against all three of them. Godzilla and King Kong cried out in pain, while Mechani-Kong ended up falling to the ground, letting loose a muffled, sonic cry. Godzilla turned to face Kiryu and fired his atomic ray at the Mechagodzilla. Kiryu let out a digital cry as the beam slammed against his chest and pushed him backward. Akane held on as the cockpit shook due to the beam attack. After Godzilla ended his ray, Kong came in charging at Kiryu. Before Akane had time to react, Kong’s body slammed against Kiryu, and the two slammed into the ground with a climatic boom.

    Godzilla snarled in contempt, contemplating his next move until Mechani-Kong lunged atop his backside. Mechani-Kong wrapped its left arm around Godzilla’s neck and hammered away at the monster’s head with his mechanical fists. Godzilla roared as he tried to shake Mechani-Kong off him, but the robot refused to relinquish its grip. After grabbing Mechani-Kong’s left arm, Godzilla flipped the robot off his body and slammed the machine down to the ground on its back. Mechani-Kong sensors refocused merely to discover Godzilla’s foot descending on its head. With his processors assessing the danger of letting the strike hit, Mechani-Kong focused all of its power on rolling out of the way, allowing Godzilla’s foot to hit the ground instead.

    Kiryu was down on his back, while King Kong was sitting on top of him. The Eighth Wonder of the World was hammering his fists down on Kiryu’s chest.

    “Get off of us, you damn dirty ape!” Akane yelled as she made Kiryu hold his hands to King Kong’s chest and unleash a barrage of his wrist’s laser cannons. King Kong roared in pain as the yellow lasers exploded against his chest, which forced him off and away from the metal monster.

    After Kiryu got back up to his feet, he unloaded another set of rockets at the giant primate, lighting the cityscape aflame. King Kong roared in pain as fire washed across his body from every direction. The ape came in charging and wrapped his arms around Kiryu, pinning the cyborg’s arms to his body. Kiryu roared as he felt bones slowly cracking from King Kong’s strength. Akane knew Kiryu was taking damage as sparks flew out of the walls of the cockpit, but how could she break free?

    The electric blade? No, it would strengthen Kong. The Maser could do the same. Maybe, offense wasn’t what she needed. Soon Akane came up with an idea as she extended the thrusters in Kiryu’s legs.

    The boosters across Kiryu’s body all lit up in unison. The Mechagodzilla burst into the sky with a thunderous echo, King Kong still holding onto him with eyes wide with shock. The mighty living god roared in confusion as both titans were launched into the sky. The ape kept his grip tight on the robot monster, refusing to release him and fall to his doom. Kiryu finally stopped as he reached the highest altitude he could attain.

    “You’re going down!” Akane yelled at Kong as she launched missiles from the sides and back of the rocket pack. However, all the missiles went past King Kong, which made the ape wonder why Kiryu would miss him, since he was so close to the robot. King Kong got his answer as they turned around and exploded against the gorilla’s back. King Kong roared into the heavens, letting go of Kiryu from the sheer agony, falling toward the city. Akane watched in awe the beast struggle on its fall before crashing through a skyscraper.

    Godzilla and Mechani-Kong’s bodies slammed against each other, but the robot gorilla soon found itself being pushed backward by the ancient beast. Mechani-Kong tried to stop itself from moving, but no matter how hard it tried, Godzilla kept on pushing. Mechani-Kong’s feet was tearing up the roads and knocking away vehicles. Finally, Mechani-Kong’s eyes flashed, unleashing bright lights right into Godzilla’s eyes. The predator let out a roar as the lights blinded him. He ceased pushing Mechani-Kong as he covered his eyes. Even after Mechani-Kong turned off the lights, Godzilla was having trouble seeing straight as spots appeared before his vision.

    Taking this opportunity, Mechani-Kong began punching Godzilla like a punching bag. Godzilla roared in pain as he tried to back away from Mechani-Kong, but the ancient monster couldn’t escape the metal fists as the robot gorilla moved forward and kept on punching away at the giant reptile. Mechani-Kong grabbed Godzilla by the head, and slammed its metal head against the monster’s forehead.

    Before Mechani-Kong could attack Godzilla some more, Kiryu came flying down from the sky, and dive-bombed the robot ape and ancient reptile down to the ground. Kiryu flew back up in the sky, and turned around to look down at the downed duo. As Godzilla’s vision cleared up, he and Mechani-Kong stood back up and looked up at Kiryu. The Mechagodzilla used the rocket pack to fire rockets down at the King of the Monsters and the creation of Dr. Who. Godzilla and Mechani-Kong let out roars as the rockets rained down upon them, causing explosions against their bodies and setting the landscape ablaze.

    Mechani-Kong used his right hand to grab two grenades and throw them at Kiryu. The Mechagodzilla let out a digital cry as the grenades exploded against his body, but the robot clone managed to stay up in the sky. Kiryu returned the favor by firing more rockets down upon Godzilla and Mechani-Kong, but before the rockets could reach their targets, Godzilla fired his atomic ray up at the bombs and destroyed all of them with one shot. The atomic ray didn’t stop there and crashed into Kiryu. The force and power of the beam was so strong that it knocked the Mechagodzilla out of the sky. Akane yelled as Kiryu crashed down to the ground at a far distance from Godzilla and Mechani-Kong.

    Mechani-Kong let out a digital roar as it marched toward Kiryu to attack him. but Godzilla had other plans as he fired his atomic ray at Mechani-Kong’s back, knocking the robot gorilla down. Sensing no further threat from the machine, Godzilla headed for Kiryu and went past Mechani-Kong, his tail smashing the back of the metal ape’s head.

    By the time Kiryu got up, Godzilla used his jaws to bite into the robot’s neck. Kiryu roared as sparks ignited within Godzilla’s maw.

    “You want to fight dirty?” Akane growled.

    A large blade burst out of Kiryu’s right wrist gauntlet and stabbed Godzilla in the abdomen, causing the Monster King to let go of the Mechagodzilla’s neck as he roared in pain. Kiryu discharged electricity through the blade, engulfing both in a storm of electrical bolts.

    Mechani-Kong was getting up to join the fight between the Godzilla’s, until King Kong jumped on its back and knocked the robot back to the ground. King Kong bellowed in contempt of his mechanical doppelganger and hammered his fists down on Mechani-Kong’s back. Under a barrage of thunderous blows, the machine ape performed a pushup and swung his right arm back to hit King Kong’s head, knocking the gorilla off the robot. After Mechani-Kong got up, he began stomping his right foot down on Kong’s chest, causing the Eighth Wonder of the World to roar in pain. Kong finally grabbed Mechani-Kong’s foot and rolled his body to the right, dragging the artificial ape to the ground.

    As Godzilla was electrocuted by Kiryu, the Monster King reached out and grabbed the blade. As he pulled it out of his stomach, Godzilla held onto the blade as it still discharged electricity through his body, and brought it up close to Kiryu’s face. Godzilla used his hand to break the blade like a twig, which ended the electric attack. Akane was so shocked by what happened to the blade, she didn’t react in time as Godzilla fired a powerful atomic ray that blew Kiryu away, and sent the Mechagodzilla sliding across the ground.

    King Kong was knocked backward by Mechani-Kong, his back slamming against a building. Mechani-Kong came in charging at King Kong and was going to punch him. But King Kong jumped out of the way, and Mechani-Kong punched the building instead, with its arm going inside of it. After Mechani-Kong got its arm out of the building, it came charging at King Kong again.

    This time, King Kong and Mechani-Kong locked their hands against one another, the earth beneath their heels shattering from the immense force. Mechani-Kong swung its leg up and kicked King Kong in the stomach, breaking the hand lock as King Kong’s maw swung open, all the air venting from his lungs in a violent burst. Mechani-Kong swung its arm to hit King Kong, but the Eighth Wonder of the World grabbed the metal limb and swung the robot down to the ground onto its back. King Kong got down on Mechani-Kong and beat away at the machine, until the robot punched the giant animal off his body.

    Both King Kong and Mechani-Kong got up and moved away from each other. Mechani-Kong grabbed a grenade and threw it at King Kong, which exploded against his chest, causing the living monster to cry out in pain. As Mechani-Kong marched toward King Kong, the Eighth Wonder bent down to grab the machine by its legs and flipped his doppelganger over to the ground. Kong turned around to attack Mechani-Kong, but the robot got up quickly and wrapped its arm around Kong’s arm and wrist. The primate roared as Mechani-Kong gave him a crushing bear hug. Kong tried to free himself, but couldn’t break the robot’s hold. So King Kong reached down and grabbed one of Mechani-Kong’s grenades and dropped it down on the robot’s foot. It exploded, making the machine loose its balance and let go of the gorilla. Now free, King Kong punched Mechani-Kong in the face, knocking the robot backward.

    Kiryu opened his maw and unleashed a concentrated blast of his Maser cannons, but to Akane’s shock, Godzilla countered with his own blast. The atomic ray pieced through the maser with ease, engulfing Kiryu in a vale of smoke and fire. Godzilla roared in victory, turning his attention away until missiles rained down upon his position again. As the smoke faded, Godzilla gazed back to discover Kiryu, and if he could see through its damaged armor, he would discover the confident smirk of Akane.

    “You wanna dance? Let’s dance!”

    Akane activated all six of Kiryu’s main rocket boosters. Godzilla cried in surprise, but caught the flying robot, sliding backward from the immense amount of force. Building after building fell as Godzilla rocketed through it, until a large enough pile finally halted Kiryu’s charge. With a roar, Godzilla slammed the MechaGodzilla down upon the ground and grabbed its tail. With a mighty heave, Kiryu carved through an entire city block until resting in a pile of rubble.

    After Mechani-Kong punched Kong across the face, the Eighth Wonder bent down to grab the machine by its wrist. Before Mechani-Kong could counter, King Kong slammed its doppelganger head first through a building, its going wide as it discovered Kiryu’s buried form on the opposite side. The might ape took a few steps back merely for a roar to capture his attention.

    Godzilla and King Kong looked at each other, noting that the other had beaten their mechanical doppelgangers. Now it was time for the Kings to settle their ancient rivalry.

    Kong beat down on his chest before he came charging at Godzilla. The King of the Monsters roared as he lumbered forth as well. After Kong went past Kiryu and Mechani-Kong, he and Godzilla slammed their bodies against each other. Godzilla used his right hand to grab King Kong’s right arm, while the ape repeated the action with his free hand. The two kings tried to get their arms free as well as push their bodies against each other to overpower their rival, but sheer willpower ensured no monster gave an inch.

    Godzilla got his arm free and used both his hands to push Kong away. Then the Monster King turned around and used his tail to hit Kong in the chest. The blow sent the ape sliding along the ground on his back. Kong got back to his feet in an instant and made a run toward Godzilla. Then the gorilla body slammed Godzilla and pushed the alpha predator against a nearby building. Kong grabbed Godzilla by his neck and right arm and threw the Monster King down onto his chest. The primate bent down to grab the back of Godzilla’s head and began to slam the reptile’s face into the ground, creating an impression of the Monster King’s face with every earth shattering strike.

    Kiryu and Mechani-Kong gradually arose from their early graves merely to discover the other. Without losing a second, each charged toward the other. The robotic creatures locked their hands against one another, trying to push each other to the ground. Mechani-Kong broke the hand-lock to punch Kiryu in the chest. The Mechagodzilla returned the favor, swiping its claws across Mechani-Kong’s chest. Then Kiryu turned around to swing his tail to hit Mechani-Kong, only for the robot primate to duck under it. As Kiryu turned around, Mechani-Kong swung its left hand to punch the Mechagodzilla, only for the metal reptile to block it with his right arm. However, Mechani-Kong was able to use its right hand to punch Kiryu so hard that it knocked the robot dinosaur backward. Mechani-Kong came rushing at Kiryu, but the robot reptile swung his tail and hit the metal Kong, which sent the silver ape crashing into a building.

    “It’s time to put this tin can on ice,” Akane stated as she activated the Absolute Zero Cannon.

    Kiryu’s chest opened up and three yellow bolts of energy appeared. After Mechani-Kong got up, he saw the bolts morph into a bright, blue orb of light. Dr. Who watched on his computer as the blue orb grew bigger, radiating a blue aura around the Mechagodzilla’s chest. The evil scientist was worried now, remembering the test footage of the chilling results of the Absolute Zero Canon.

    Dr. Who yelled into the microphone, “Mechani-Kong! Don’t let Kiryu fire that weapon!”

    Mechani-Kong grabbed two grenades and threw them at Kiryu. As the grenades hit Kiryu’s opened chest, the bombs exploded, causing the Mechagodzilla to roar, as the blue orb disappeared.

    On Akane’s monitor, a message appeared, describing the damage sustained to the Absolute Zero Cannon.

    Akane gritted her teeth. “You may have stopped the Absolute Zero Cannon, but you still won’t beat Kiryu!”

    After Kiryu closed his chest, the cyborg unleashed a bust of his wrist laser cannons at Mechani-Kong. The silver Kong roared as the yellow lasers exploded against his body. After that, Kiryu bent down, fire engulfing everything behind it as the rocket pack launched off his back and at Mechani-Kong. But before the rocket pack could reach its target, Mechani-Kong dodged out of the way allowing it to fly out of sight.

    Godzilla and King Kong angrily growled at the other as both caught their respective breaths. The King of the Monsters ceased his bellows when a gradual hiss neared his location. Before either could react, their battleground ignited into a blaze which consumed them both, launching a monstrous plume of fire straight into the air.

    As Dr. Who watched Mechani-Kong fight Kiryu, he looked at the bottom right hand corner of his computer to see the loading bar. During the four-way battle, Dr. Who had been hatching another scheme. The evil scientist smiled as the bar reached 100%.

    Mechani-Kong roared as it was pushed back by the cyborg’s Maser cannons, but without warning Kiryu ceased its attack. Akane scrambled to correct the error, cursing under her breath as she tried to access the control panel.

    “What? Why did you stop, Kiryu?” Akane asked as she tried to get Kiryu to fire again. “What’s going on?”

    Suddenly, the screen on Akane’s monitor changed, showing Dr. Who himself. “I’m sorry my dear, but I’m afraid you’re no longer in control of your Mechagodzilla.”

    At first Akane was shocked, but anger quickly morphed into rage. “Who are you?!”

    “I’m am the genius behind Mechani-Kong. I am Dr. Who!” he proclaimed.

    “Funny, I thought you were British?”

    “Very funny,” Dr. Who growled sarcastically.

    “What have you done to Kiryu?” Akane asked.

    “It is simple, my dear. I have planted a virus into Kiryu’s system. Your Mechagodzilla is now my weapon, and it will only obey me as his new master,” Dr. Who explained with confidence.

    Akane was mixed with shock and anger. “I don’t know how you did it, but I will find some way to free Kiryu of your control.”

    “You are welcome to try. But until then, enjoy the ride.” With those words, the screen changed, showing Mechani-Kong once again.

    Dr. Who, now able to talk to Kiryu with the microphone he used to communicate with Mechani-Kong, spoke to the metal saurian. “Kiryu, this is your new master. Your orders are to help Mechani-Kong to fight both Godzilla and King Kong. You can kill Godzilla, but I want Kong alive.”

    Kiryu let loose a metallic roar in obedience to his new master.

    Kong swung his right arm to punch Godzilla in the face, but the alpha predator dodged and bit into the ape’s arm. Kong roared in pain and anger as Godzilla’s teeth cut into his arm. The Eighth Wonder of the World grabbed Godzilla by his neck and was able to push the reptile down to the ground. After getting his arm free, Kong sat on top of Godzilla and grabbed hold of the Monster King’s jaws. Godzilla grabbed Kong’s arm, trying to get his jaws free, but the primate began to slowly pull them apart; however, Godzilla was doing his best to keep his mouth from breaking. Kong kept on trying to pull Godzilla’s jaws apart, until he saw a blue light building up inside the Monster King’s mouth. Before Kong could react, Godzilla fired his atomic ray, not only burning the gorilla’s fingers, but hitting the ape in the chest and knocking him off the alpha predator.

    Godzilla licked his teeth as he arose and roared at the fallen, smoking ape of its foolish move. Godzilla readied to finish the battle until two grenades came flying through the air, each hitting a side of the monsters and exploding against the two giants. The two ancient giants roared in pain and turned to where the grenades had come from. Far away from the duo stood Mechani-Kong and Kiryu, standing side-by-side. The living monsters were surprised to see the two metal giants had teamed up. Kiryu pointed his arms at the two monsters, firing his wrist mounted laser cannons at them. Godzilla and Kong roared in pain as the scorching blasts exploded against their chests.

    Kong jumped at the pair through the barrage and smashed his fists into the robot’s chests, knocking them backward. Kiryu rushed at Kong to punch the ape, but the Eighth Wonder was fast enough grab the metal arm. After Kong turned around and swung Kiryu down to the ground, Mechani-Kong grabbed the primate’s shoulders from behind. While Mechani-Kong was holding Kong still, Kiryu got up to attack the living ape. However, Kong used his left foot to kick Kiryu away, before swinging his arms back and knocking Mechani-Kong away. Kiryu swung out to punch Kong, only for the gorilla to block it with his hand. The Mechagodzilla tried to complete the task with his other fist, but King Kong ducked under it, rushing behind Kiryu and slamming both fists into the robot dinosaur’s back, knocking the machine away from him.

    Mechani-Kong tried to punch Kong, only to be blocked like Kiryu had been by the ape’s palm. However, Mechani-Kong was able to use his other fist to punch Kong in the face, punching the ape to the ground. As he stood, Kong found himself surrounded, with Mechani-Kong in front of him and Kiryu behind him. Kong turned around to attack the metal Godzilla as Kiryu turned around and used his tail to hit the island god in the chest, sending him tumbling toward Mechani-Kong. The robot ape punched Kong in the face so hard that it sent the gorilla flying toward Kiryu again. The Mechagodzilla punched Kong’s chest, which knocked the primate away, sending him rolling across the ground, away from the metal monsters.

    Inside Kiryu’s cockpit, Akane was working on the control panel, trying to get the Mechagodzilla to obey her again. But no matter what she did, Kiryu wouldn’t follow her orders. Suddenly, Akane felt the entire mech shudder as Kong rammed his shoulder into the cyborg’s back, knocking the Mechagodzilla to the ground. Tired of the ape’s insolence, Kiryu fired its Maser cannon at the primate. Kong roared as the beams pushed him away from Kiryu. But then he felt himself getting stronger as his body absorbed the electric attack.

    Akane looked at her monitor, her eyes going wide with worry. “Kiryu, stop! You’re only making him stronger!”

    But it was too late.

    Kong pushed his way through the beams as he marched toward Kiryu. When he got close enough, he threw a punch at Kiryu’s chest. As soon as his fist made contact, yellow electricity appeared from his hand that sent an electric shock through the Mechagodzilla’s system. Kiryu turned off the Maser cannons as he let out a roar and was knocked backward.

    Kong looked to his hand, watching golden bolts course across his fingers. His hand exploded in power as he closed it into a fist, ready to smash all who stood in his way.

    Kiryu came at King Kong and grabbed the ape’s shoulder. King Kong grabbed Kiryu’s arms and sent electricity surging through the Mechagodzilla’s limbs. Since Kiryu was made of metal, the electricity was easily conducted across his body, electrocuting his system. Kiryu roared and pulled his arms free from the ape’s grip. This gave Kong an idea. The ape wrapped his arms around Kiryu and sent electricity from his hands coursing through the Mechagodzilla’s body. Kiryu roared as his circuits were fried and tried to break free, but Kong’s grip was too strong. Akane yelled as sparks flew across the cockpit. As Kong pumped more electricity into Kiryu, the robot’s yellow eyes went dark. Akane looked around to see everything in the cockpit powering down as Kiryu went offline. After Kong let go of Kiryu, the Mechagodzilla ended up falling to the ground. King Kong beat down on his chest and let out a victory roar over the defeat of one of his three opponents.

    Godzilla and Mechani-Kong rushed toward one another. Mechani-Kong jumped up at Godzilla and hammered down on the Monster King’s head with its fist, knocking the reptile down to the ground. The metal primate grabbed Godzilla’s neck and pulled the lizard back up, punching Godzilla twice in the face, before a third punch knocked the ancient beast back to the ground. Godzilla looked to see he was near a construction site, and there he saw a tower crane. The ancient monster grabbed the crane while he was getting up, tearing it from its foundation. Mechani-Kong was about to attack Godzilla until the King of the Monsters swung the crane across the robot’s face. Godzilla swung the crane again, the crude weapon breaking apart after hitting Mechani-Kong’s face again, but it was enough to make the mechanical monster fall onto its hands.

    Mechani-Kong saw two buses near him, and grabbed each of them while getting itself back up. With the bus in its right hand, Mechani-Kong punched Godzilla in the face. It followed up by slamming the buses into both sides of Godzilla’s head, causing the monster to roar in pain, while the vehicles fell apart in the robot’s hands. Mechani-Kong kicked Godzilla in the stomach, before it grabbed the Monster King by the neck and threw the reptile to the ground.

    Before Mechani-Kong could attack Godzilla some more, Kong grabbed the machine from behind, surging electricity from his hands into the robot’s body. Mechani-Kong roared as it sensed its circuits getting electrocuted. Kong hoisted Mechani-Kong over his head and threw the metal ape into a building. As Godzilla tried to get up, King Kong grabbed the lizard’s tail and sent electricity through it. Godzilla roared in pain as the crackling power surged through his form. While still sending electricity through the tail, King Kong began to spin Godzilla around, thanks to his charged-up strength. After picking up momentum, the god ape let go of Godzilla, sending the alpha predator crashing to the ground.

    After Godzilla got up, he looked angrily at King Kong as he remembered the giant ape species’ ability to absorb electricity. Godzilla looked past Kong to see Kiryu on the ground, not moving. There was no doubt to Godzilla that Kong had been charged-up from Kiryu’s electric attacks.

    Kong beat his chest before he came charging at Godzilla. As Godzilla and King Kong’s bodies slammed against each other, the Eighth Wonder discharged electricity from his hands; however, Godzilla did his best to hold his ground against the empowered ape.

    After Mechani-Kong got up, it noticed Godzilla and Kong standing in front of a very large building. This gave Mechani-Kong an idea. The silver ape used its hands to grab four grenades and threw them at the building. After Godzilla pushed Kong down, the grenades exploded against the building. Kong looked up in time to see the upper part of the building coming down. The giant gorilla rolled away, but Godzilla wasn’t as lucky as the top of the building fell on top of him, burying him in rubble.

    When Kong got up, he noticed Mechani-Kong, and went charging at his doppelganger. But Mechani-Kong was ready for King Kong, as the robot used the light bulb on top of its head to emit the hypnotic light. Kong stopped in front of Mechani-Kong as he saw the flashing light. Remembering what it had done to him, Kong tried to look away from it, but it was too late. King Kong couldn’t take his eyes off the hypnotic light. He could not fight it any longer, falling into a hypnotic state.

    Dr. Who smiled as he saw King Kong was now his slave. “At last, Kong is mine.” But Dr. Who’s victory was cut short as he heard the sound of rubble moving from his computer. King Kong and Mechani-Kong looked to see Godzilla bursting out of the rubble. Godzilla let out a roar and looked around for his enemies, only to be surprised to see Kong and Mechani-Kong standing next to each other, instead of fighting one another.

    “That foolish Godzilla doesn’t know when to give up. It’s too bad the hypnotic light only works on Kong. Otherwise Godzilla would be my slave as well,” Dr. Who grumbled. Then the evil scientist thought of something. “If Mechani-Kong and Kong killed Godzilla, then the world would fear me.” He hurriedly grabbed the microphone.

    Mechani-Kong opened his mouth, which revealed speakers in it. “Kong, this is your master speaking. I want to you and Mechani-Kong to beat Godzilla to death,” Dr. Who commanded through the speakers.

    King Kong roared as he obeyed Dr. Who.

    Mechani-Kong and Kong went charging at Godzilla. After Godzilla pulled himself out of the rubble, he fired an atomic ray. The beam stopped Mechani-Kong in his tracks, but Kong kept on charging. As the distance was closed Kong grabbed on Godzilla’s left arm restraining it as he bit into the limb. Godzilla roared and punched Kong in the face, getting his left arm free from the humanoid’s mouth. Before Godzilla knew what happened, Mechani-Kong punched him in the face. Joined by Kong, the primate duo turned Godzilla’s body and slammed his back against a building. Kong used his fingernails to scratch the left side of Godzilla’s face. Godzilla opened his mouth to fire his atomic ray, but Mechani-Kong grabbed Godzilla’s jaws and forced them shut, stopping the ancient beast from firing the beam. The Monster King lashed out in response, catching Kong’s head and slammed the ape’s skull against Mechani-Kong’s head. After Mechani-Kong fell down, Godzilla grabbed Kong by his waist, picked him up and threw him to the ground. Kong tried to get up, but Godzilla stomped down on the primate’s chest. However, Kong grabbed Godzilla’s right leg and sent electricity into the limb. Godzilla roared in pain before Mechani-Kong punched him and knocked him off Kong.

    Back inside Kiryu, Akane did everything she could to get the Mechagodzilla back online. “Come on, Kiryu! You’re going to let some crazy guy and an overgrown monkey get the best of us?!” Akane yelled as she slammed her fist on the control panel.

    After Godzilla stumbled back, Mechani-Kong was on one side of the Monster King, hammering his metal fists on him, while Kong was on the other side, punching the lizard with electrically-charged strikes. Godzilla was in too much pain to formulate a counter-attack, letting out an agonized cry.

    While Kiryu was still in his powered-down state, Godzilla’s roar echoed in his mind. Memories of the First Mutant Godzilla echoed within Kiryu’s computer brain. Memories of living peacefully in the ocean, attacking Tokyo, and being killed by the Oxygen Destroyer.

    Kiryu’s eyes lit up, their color changed from yellow to red. Inside the cockpit, all the power came back on, but before Akane could do anything, she felt Kiryu getting up on his own.

    After Kiryu got back up, he saw Mechani-Kong and King Kong holding Godzilla by his head and feet. Both primates threw the Monster King, sending him rolling across the ground. The Mechagodzilla let out a loud, Godzilla-like roar at the two gorillas. Akane was shocked when she heard the roar, and knew it could be only one thing: Kiryu’s Godzilla side had been awoken.

    King Kong and Mechani-Kong heard the roar as well, and turned around to see Kiryu was back up. Kiryu activated his four remaining boosters and came flying toward the two gorillas. Before Kong and Mechani-Kong could do anything, Kiryu flew in between them with his arms hitting their faces, knocking them down.

    Dr. Who was shocked by Kiryu’s actions, and grabbed the microphone. “Kiryu, what are you doing?! Kong and Mechani-Kong are on your side! Stop attacking them!” Unfortunately for Dr. Who, Kiryu was acting on his own, as his Godzilla side had overridden the mad scientist’s computer virus.

    Kiryu grabbed hold of Kong’s and Mechani-Kong’s feet and carried the two gorillas up in the air. The Mechagodzilla spun the ape duo around before he let go of them, sending the apes crashing to the ground together.

    Kiryu landed next to Godzilla, who was still lying on the ground. Godzilla looked up at Kiryu, waiting for the metal giant to attack him. But to Godzilla and Akane’s surprise, Kiryu grabbed the ancient creature’s arm and pulled the monster back onto his feet. Godzilla wondered why Kiryu would help him back up. Godzilla got his answer as Kiryu roared. At first, Godzilla was shocked as the machine made a roar that was similar to the one his species used. But not only that, but due to Kiryu’s Godzilla side, the Monster King could sense the robot was indeed a descendant of his species. Godzilla understood what Kiryu said, and roared back at him.

    “Kiryu, what’s going on?” Akane asked.

    On Akane’s monitor, words appeared on the screen: ‘Two Godzillas are better than one’.

    After Kong and Mechani-Kong got up, they saw Godzilla and Kiryu were standing together. The two Kongs could see that the two Godzillas had teamed up as well. Godzilla fired his atomic ray at Kong, while Kiryu fired his Maser cannons at Mechani-Kong. The two primates roared as they are struck by the beams. Kiryu flew up and grabbed onto Godzilla’s hands, and carried the ancient beast toward the two primates. As the two apes recovered from the beams, each of them got hit in the face by one of Godzilla’s feet and were knocked down.

    Kiryu landed Godzilla and himself at a far distance from the gorillas. King Kong shakily got up and came running toward the two Godzillas. Godzilla roared as he raced toward Kong. As the two monsters closed the distance to one another, King Kong pulled back his left hand to punch Godzilla. However, Godzilla bent down and went past Kong, with his hard, sharp fins cutting across the primate’s left arm. Kong roared in pain as he stumbled to a stop, clutching his wounded arm. He could hardly move his arm as it was cut badly, blood pouring out of the deep wound.

    With their backs facing each other, Godzilla jumped backward, his fins cutting into Kong’s back and knocking the gorilla to the ground. Godzilla began to slam his tail up and down on the primate’s back, right where the cuts were. Kong howled in pain and turned his back to the ground. The humanoid managed to grab Godzilla’s tail and sent electricity surging through it. Godzilla screamed, but began to spin around with Kong still holding and electrocuting his tail. Kong couldn’t hold on to Godzilla’s tail for long, and was sent rolling across the ground when he lost his grip.

    When he pushed himself up, Kong noticed a bus near him. Godzilla marched toward Kong to attack him. But Kong stood up and pushed the bus into Godzilla’s mouth. He strained to push the bus deeper down Godzilla’s throat, but the Monster King kicked the Eighth Wonder in the stomach and knocked him backward. Godzilla fired his atomic ray, which launched the bus out of his mouth. The bus flew like a shooting star and exploded against Kong’s chest.

    Kong roared in pain and anger as he came rushing toward Godzilla, and was going to punch the lizard in the face. However, Godzilla opened his mouth and bit down on Kong’s hand. The gorilla roared in pain and sent electricity from his hand into Godzilla’s mouth. Even though the inside of Godzilla’s mouth was electrocuted, the King of the Monsters did his best to ignore the shocks. Godzilla’s fins glowed blue as he opened his mouth and fired an atomic ray with Kong’s hand still in his mouth. Kong roared as the nuclear blast not only scorched his hand, but the rest of his arm.

    The ape pulled his hand out of Godzilla’s mouth and backed away from the atomic ray to save his arm. As the burst of atomic fire died, he looked at his arm and saw it didn’t get too badly burnt. But what shocked Kong the most was that his right hand was burned to a crisp from taking most of the atomic ray. He tried to move his burned fingers, but they wouldn’t respond. Not only that, Kong was feeling a burning pain coming from the hand. With his left arm cut up, and now his right hand badly burned, Kong couldn’t use either of his upper limbs to fight.

    Meanwhile, Kiryu and Mechani-Kong were fighting each other. Kiryu swung his right hand at Mechani-Kong, only for the robot Kong to block it with its left hand. However, Kiryu used his free hand to scratch across the robot ape’s chest, sending sparks flying, and knocking the humanoid machine backward. Kiryu spun around and smashed his tail across Mechani-Kong’s chest, forcing the silver gorilla further back. Mechani-Kong rushed at Kiryu and punched the Mechagodzilla in the chest, driving the cyborg backward. The metal Kong rushed at Kiryu again, but the metal lizard dodged out of its way. Mechani-Kong turned to Kiryu to kick him, only to be blocked by the Mechagodzilla’s left arm. Kiryu rammed his shoulder into Mechani-Kong, knocking the other machine backward and spun around to use his tail to knock Mechani-Kong back even further.

    Mechani-Kong removed a grenade from its belt. But before Mechani-Kong could throw the grenade, Kiryu fired the Maser cannons. The electrical beams hit Mechani-Kong’s right hand and coursed through his arm. Mechani-Kong roared as it sensed the circuits in its arm fry. Unknown to Mechani-Kong, the grenade was being charged up by the electricity, and before it knew it, the bomb exploded in its hand. Mechani-Kong roared from the explosion and looked at its arm to see its hand was gone. Wires were sticking out, along with sparks flying out where Mechani-Kong’s hand used to be.

    This gave Kiryu an idea. The Mechagodzilla fired the Maser cannons at Mechani-Kong again, this time at the grenade belt. They struck the belt, along with sending electricity all through Mechani-Kong’s body. With the grenades taking on most of the Maser cannons’ power, they began to go off. Soon Mechani-Kong was engulfed in a large explosion. Fire and smoke went up in the sky, while metal, oil, and wires rained down. Mechani-Kong’s head hit the ground and rolled next to Kiryu’s foot. Lifting his foot, the metallic dragon crushed Mechani-Kong’s head, along with the hypnotic light, under his heel

    On Dr. Who’s computer, the screen went black displaying the message ‘Signal lost’.

    “Damn them!” Dr. Who yelled as he slammed his fist on his desk.

    Kong was down on his back with Godzilla’s foot on his chest. But then King Kong was snapped out of his hypnotic state, thanks to the hypnotic light being destroyed. King Kong found himself in shock: one minute, he was going to fight Mechani-Kong, then the next, he found himself on the ground with Godzilla pinning him down. Kong tried to use his arms to get Godzilla off him, but as soon as he moved his upper limbs, he felt pain coursing through them. The Eighth Wonder of the World was horrified to see his left arm cut up, and his right hand badly burned.

    Godzilla held his breath before he let out an atomic ray pointed at Kong’s face. His ancient rival roared as the blue beam burnt into his face. The giant ape tried to move his body and use his legs to push himself free, but Godzilla’s foot was holding him in place. The flesh on Kong’s face began to burn away by the heat of the beam. His eyeballs dried up before they were burned away. It seemed like forever as Godzilla kept on firing his atomic ray. After Godzilla noticed King Kong was no longer moving, he stopped firing the beam. He looked over Kong’s lifeless body, the gorilla’s head nothing more than a burned skull. With the last of his natural-born enemy dead, Godzilla roared in victory as he proved his species superior to the giant gorillas.

    The Monster King noticed the sky was no longer dark, the sun rising up with its light shining on the battlefield.

    Godzilla looked for Mechani-Kong, only to find the robot’s crushed head on the ground next to Kiryu, who was looking back at the ancient creature. Now that the gorillas were gone, Godzilla wondered if he and Kiryu would start fighting each other again. Godzilla got his answer as he saw Kiryu powering down, due to the Mechagodzilla running out of energy. The King of the Monsters knew the battle was over. Since the Mechagodzilla did become an ally in the end, Godzilla no longer saw the machine as an enemy, and no reason for him to destroy the robot.

    Not knowing if Kiryu could hear him, Godzilla went ahead and let out a roar, telling the Mechagodzilla, “Thanks”. Godzilla turned away from Kiryu and began to leave Tokyo.

    The hatch on the left side of Kiryu’s neck opened up as Akane got out of the giant robot and stood on the Mechagodzilla’s shoulder. Akane watched Godzilla leaving the city as he headed back to the ocean. The beautiful woman couldn’t help but cross her arms and smile.

    “Maybe you’re not so bad after all,” Akane whispered.

    Winner: Godzilla (Legendary), Kiryu

    K.W.C. // June 30, 2019
  • An interview with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019) actor Justice Smith, who played Tim Goodman in the film. Conducted by phone on May 3rd, 2019, and transcribed by Jeremy Williams.

     

    Justice Smith: Hey Chris, how’s it going?

     

    Chris Mirjahangir: Hey, congratulations on breaking the video game curse for films. This is the best one I’ve ever seen.

    Smith: Oh wow, that’s so good to hear, thank you, man.

     

    Mirjahangir: I’m someone who only has a shadow of knowledge of Pokemon. So it’s something I can enjoy.

    Smith: Alright, because that’s what we wanted, that’s awesome.

     

    Mirjahangir: You’re a big Pokemon fan?

    Smith: Yeah, I’m a big Pokemon fan. I have all the original cards, I had the games, the video games. I had Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Crystal. I watched the anime, I was a huge fan and it had an impact on me and my childhood.

     

    Mirjahangir: Do you keep current and watch the current ones they put out?

    Smith: I haven’t seen the current ones, no, I stopped after like generation three. But I do play Pokemon Go now and I plan on getting the new Pokemon Sword and Shield when it comes out on the Switch. Just cuz, I’m… It’s kind of consumed my life now that it’s a part of my career. So it’s kind of like made me get back into it.

     

    Mirjahangir: Pokemon Go I think was the one that was responsible for people losing weight.

    Smith: Yeah. I mean, yeah, they’re still doing it. I still see people, like grown men too, like out about fighting at the gyms and stuff.

     

    Mirjahangir: We got a park nearby where a whole bunch of them would be, right. And I looked around and there are people with strollers like almost walking into a pond.

    Smith: *laughs* Yeah.

     

    Mirjahangir: But you’re also like an anime fan as well right, do you have any favorites?

    Smith: Yeah I love Death Note, I love this one anime Darker than Black, I really like Devilman Crybaby. I like… Those are really dark ones. I like the Miyazaki films as well.

     

    Mirjahangir: What about Dragon Ball?

    Smith: My older brother was into Dragon Ball. Um, so I tried to get into it, but I never was never into it. But I did like playing the Dragon Ball games. I also like One Piece, I was a fan of.

     

    Mirjahangir: Assassination Classroom was good, I heard.

    Smith: Oh, I haven’t seen that one yet, I’ve heard that one is good, too.

     

    Mirjahangir: So back to the movie, you have a lot of dialogue with Ryan Reynolds. You know ‘cuz you have to kind of have to bounce off to match for the animations of Pikachu. What was that process like?

    Smith: So, we had like a week of rehearsals before we started shooting where we found our dynamic. And he wore a motion capture helmet. And kind of just went throughout the whole script, and changed what wasn’t working, and did all this stuff. And then Ryan went away to go record in a booth. And I had to remember what he did and recreate my side of that, um, on set. But the short time I actually did get to work with him was… I mean, just the nicest dude, hilarious and it was cool to see that he’s not just funny on camera. He’s just like that, he just likes to make people laugh and he’s really authentic, too, which is refreshing.

     

    Mirjahangir: When filming scenes with Pikachu, how did you keep your eye line correct and get your reaction time perfect?

    Smith: We had a reader that we casted, who would improvise with me and say Ryan’s lines. And then Matt would kind of help us keep timing and also help us keep it loose. And then Ryan, once we shot everything, would go back and dub Pikachu’s voice and make sure it was in line with what I had shot on the day. So it was just both of us collaborating to make it seem like we were in the same room.

     

    Mirjahangir: So this is like the start I guess of an expanded universe, are you signed on for more or?

    Smith: I mean I would love for there to be a sequel, you know there’s eight hundred and seven Pokemon I believe. So we definitely have a lot of content. *laughs*

     

    Mirjahangir: Yeah, were there ones you wanted to see in, but they didn’t make it?

    Smith: I mean without spoiling which Pokemon are in the movie and which ones or not, yes, the short answer is yes.

     

    Mirjahangir: Are there ones you’re gonna try and push for if there is a sequel?

    Smith: Yeah, I’ll try to get the ones I want in the sequel.

     

    Mirjahangir: Yeah, I saw a little bit of Paper Towns. You had like a scene where you were singing the Pokemon theme song. Did you even have to memorize it?

    Smith: Yeah.

     

    Mirjahangir: Or was it just burned into your brain.

    Smith: Well it was burned into my brain and also, funny enough, that song was originally supposed to be Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” But we had to cut it and we had to change it to a different song, and as cast, we were trying to come up with what song we should sing. And I suggested the Pokemon theme song, and that’s the song we ended up doing in the movie. And then here I am years later, leading the first live action Pokemon movie. Which is a crazy coincidence.

     

    Mirjahangir: Did you audition for this or did they call directly, how did it work?

    Smith: Well, I had a meeting with Rob and he kind of showed me his vision for the film, and then they flew me out to London to audition. There were other people they were considering as well. But as soon as I saw his vision, I just knew that I had to be a part of it.

    Interviews // June 28, 2019
  • The latest Godzilla movie, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, has now spent four weekends at the box office. As we are now well past any normal grace period for avoiding spoilers, the staff of Toho Kingdom is giving their full thoughts on the latest movie. As expected, stuff will not be held back, so if you haven’t seen the film and are still looking to avoid spoilers, this article isn’t for you. So without further ado, the staff’s impressions after seeing the film.

     

    Nicholas Driscoll
    I was excited to see GKOTM. I went out of my way to go see it in IMAX on the Friday the film was released in Shinjuku with a nearly full theater because I wanted to get the audience buzz and excitement (unfortunately, there wasn’t much). I had along with me a homemade Godzilla hat my mom had made for me. I had read the graphic novel, listened to the soundtrack, and even started reading the novel version. I was primed for a good time.

    But much to my shock, I did not have a good time. Quite the opposite. Please understand, I usually like crazy and silly monster movies. I even liked Rampage and Pacific Rim: Uprising, and I thought Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) was a lot of fun. The reviews for GKOTM were bad, but I still figured I would just have a good time with the movie.

    Yet when all was said and done I hated this movie–and I have never hated a Godzilla movie before. Certainly I didn’t hate the film because it had lots of monster scenes–I love monsters. Certainly not because I thought it needed more human scenes–it had plenty. But from start to finish I felt like the movie was undermining its own tension, that despite sometimes fantastic effects the film felt slipshod and rushed, that nothing really seemed to gel. I don’t say this to make anyone angry, but just… that’s how the film felt to me.

    Sure, one can complain about the human characters, how Kyle Chandler’s character always seemed to know exactly what to do (I figured he was still receiving tomorrow’s newspaper today), how ineffectual the military was even against a small group of terrorists, the groan worthy lines, or the way that the characters often say or do things that make no sense, etc, etc. I liked the conceit of having the family drama in the middle of the monster attack, but it is VERY hard to understand or buy into a character who, after losing her child, decides it’s a good idea to destroy all of civilization and allow for the deaths of millions and billions of people. And whose daughter initially goes along with this plan (she admittedly didn’t fully understand the plan, but she had a general idea of how giant monsters would be released to change the world, and it’s made clearer in the novel). And then we are just supposed to accept when she and her daughter think, oh, maybe killing millions of people might NOT be the best way to handle their personal emotional problems. But I often felt like there were many plot elements that just were barely put together, not just the characters, but events and monsters as well. I could go on and on.

    Even the monster action felt uninteresting to me. King Ghidorah looks cool… but he runs away from his first fight, and is losing the second until Godzilla gets hit by the Oxygen Destroyer, which is now just a green bomb for some reason. Over and over again, almost every time KG is about to attack, another monster appears to stop him at the last moment. It becomes like a bad drinking game, and happened so often that I was waiting for it to happen. KG is our big bad, but he comes across as a big wuss! Godzilla, meanwhile, is “killed,” but not really, and in his nearly-dead state he swims far away to a regeneration room to heal. Our heroes find him there, and decide to nuke him to charge him up faster (you know… the same method they were using to KILL Godzilla and the MUTOs in the previous film is now used to bring Godzilla back to life), and even though drones are conked out just by approaching Godzilla due to the high radiation, an old man (the least capable person on the whole ship for the mission) volunteers to go alone with barely a peep of protest, then handily manages to deliver the missile payload instead, and he feels good enough even after taking off his mask right next to Godzilla that he has the energy to caress the monster’s face instead of instantly dying. To me, Serizawa’s sacrifice just felt forced and ridiculous. (I was hoping he would emerge from the explosion as a giant monster ala a certain Dreamcast video game, but alas.)

    And the last fight… wasn’t interesting to me. The fight tended to be quick snippets rather than a sustained battle sequence. It felt like a string of money shots interspersed with humans yelling and carrying on rather than a fight building upon itself. Also, the monsters just kept developing new powers whenever they needed them, with little build up. KG has the power to regenerate, but we don’t really see him use it during the fight. Mothra fights Rodan and suddenly has a giant stinger that she uses to kill Rodan… who then comes back to life to grovel at Godzilla’s feet later anyway, further undermining the stakes of the battle because monsters can just resurrect at will. KG suddenly in one really short scene has the ability to suck energy out of Godzilla, and nearly sucks him dry somehow. Godzilla, after nearly getting sucked dry, suddenly goes thermonuclear and implodes, but is completely fine afterwards and enjoys a nice KG-brand cigar. For what it’s worth, it is implied in the film that Godzilla’s transformation into fire Godzilla is facilitated by Mothra’s death, though this, too, follows the same problem as above—a monster conveniently manifesting just the power it needs in just one scene to make things work out. It’s a total deus ex machina move, made all the more confusing because the movie already set up fire Godzilla via the effects of the Serizawa bomb underwater and the fact that the image of fire Godzilla hearkens back (for fans) to Godzilla dying in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). It’s confusing and, to me, poorly done, and it all felt like flash and bang without any real excitement or tension. It also kind of feels like Hollywood saying, “our Godzilla is better than yours because he can survive the Oxygen Destroyer AND blowing himself up—and he is bigger than Shin Godzilla, too, so there!” (I have read the novelization, which makes a lot of aspects of the plot clearer… but the novel makes no explicit connection between Mothra’s demise and Godzilla going Super Saiyan.)

    The King of the Monsters

    The King of the Monsters

    I left the theater confused and shocked at how much I disliked the film. Upon reflection, there were things I liked, such as the references to the original Rodan (1956) and the music and the monster designs (especially Rodan), and particular scenes, such as Mothra webbing Ghidorah. I liked seeing the extra Titans, though I wish there had been more of them. But as for the movie as a whole, I left feeling like it was a huge missed opportunity. I wished that the action could have more real tension and excitement and build-up. I wished that the story could’ve had more clever twists and fewer (to me) lousy one-liners. To me, the whole affair came across as a slapped-together monstrosity with a heavy sprinkling of what seemed to me almost ironic, haphazard fan-service.

    And I say all this with great regret because I absolutely wanted to enjoy the film and embrace it like so many fans have apparently done. But I just couldn’t do it. Even though I have found many of the “dumbest” Godzilla movies in the past were also my favorites, and they often had similarly nonsensical plots. But for me, they also had a straightforward charm that this film lacked. I mean, I enjoyed the anime trilogy more than I did GKOTM.

    I don’t say any of this to discount your opinion if you loved the movie. If you did, that’s great. And I really want to thank the director and the makers of the film for all their hard work, and I really wish them all the best. I don’t want to write this to be hateful or anything of the sort. These were just my impressions, my honest emotional reaction. They could change upon further viewings.

    Maybe someday I can revisit the movie and just enjoy it for what it is, but for whatever reason, this time I just couldn’t. To those who could, I am glad you did, but… I just didn’t, for the reasons listed above and others. It’s tough to say it, but at least after one viewing, I have to give GKOTM a big thumbs down.

     

    Chris Mirjahangir

    My impressions?

    Well…

    Godzilla King of the Monsters Trailer Quotes

    Still from a TV spot

    I’m not sure how much I can elaborate on that quote in the lower left corner without over explaining.

     

    Andrew Sudomerski

    From director Michael Dougherty comes the anticipated Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the long awaited sequel to Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) and connected to Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island (2017) in the greater universe of films known as the MonsterVerse. So how does it hold up?

    In my first and only viewing, combined with the weeks that have passed since then, I find myself mixed about it. I’ll be one to fully admit that the trailer hype may have set up something of a false expectation to what the film actually is. Even with that in mind, it doesn’t mean that the film should be excused for its flaws, no matter how much fan service is thrown in.

    Aside from false expectations, it still feels like it’s missing something. To me, all the right ingredients are in place that could rival that of an Avengers movie in terms of scope and scale. I feel, at least for the theatrical edit, it boiled down to sloppy execution. The breakneck pace combined with the human-focused sequences in the middle of the monster action I think are two of the biggest sins that hamper the spectacle it’s trying to go for. And the contrivance of the human story just to get the ball rolling or to act as set pieces for action sequences takes away any tension it could have had. While I didn’t mind our leads playing the Russell family, some aspects to their character and character arcs could’ve been handled much better for a truly emotional story about a broken family in the aftermath of discovering monsters.

    The fan service I think is also a major contributor here… Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty I’m truly appreciative of. The score from Bear McCreary is utterly gorgeous and to hear the Godzilla and Mothra themes modernized is truly a treat in of itself. Even the reinvention of the Burning Godzilla concept in the form of Fire Godzilla is also a surprise return, let alone in an American production. Kudos to the team for that. But I feel the excessive amount of the fan service hinders it as well and all could’ve been either removed or replaced with something that doesn’t need to be explicitly stated. The Oxygen Destroyer I think is a prime example of what I mean, only being haphazardly used as a one-time plot device to render Godzilla useless with none of the build up to justify its spot there.

    As a whole, I still got a nice bit of enjoyment out of the film. Even if it’s a little bit forced, I think Dr. Serizawa’s sacrifice was one of the more emotional moments of the film. But a lot of it is undercut by the pacing and the editing (sans the Serizawa scene, which I felt was handled really well), and leaves much to be desired. My only hope is for the alleged Director’s Cut that has 40-something minutes of footage could clear up the issues I have currently.

    And now, for the kick of the curb and for perspective’s sake, this is my personal ranking between all stories in the MonsterVerse canon, so that’ll include the comics.

    1. Kong: Skull Island (2017)
    2. Godzilla (2014)
    3. Skull Island: The Birth of Kong (2017)
    4. Godzilla: Aftershock (2019)
    5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
    6. Godzilla Awakening (2014)

    Going off that list, it becomes abundantly clear I find KOTM to be the weakest of the MonsterVerse movies. It’s a bit of a shame, because I want to have good reason to place it higher. But compared to the two movies that came before, despite their flaws, they’re still much better constructed movies; even the comic book tie-ins (for the most part) told more structured and coherent stories.

    And who knows? Maybe a second viewing of KOTM may change my stance on it. As it currently stands, I’m mixed about this long-awaited sequel and hope the next entry doesn’t disappoint. I await with mild curiosity how Adam Wingard and crew handle the even more anticipated crossover event.

    Mixed

     

    Noah Percival

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a dream come true. Seeing Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah on the big screen in a new film is something I’d been dreaming about since 2004 and in some ways never expected to see.

    So seeing these old friends onscreen was terrific but what about the film itself? I have some issues with it. I loved the human cast although I thought some characters were poorly used in particular Dr. Vivian Graham. Many people have mentioned that the story isn’t particularly new or deep. It’s nowhere near as deep or nuanced as Gojira 1954 or GMK. However is that a bad thing? I agree the story could have used more depth but I don’t think a Godzilla film that errs on the side of pure entertainment more than a deep philosophical approach is a bad thing. This is what makes Godzilla such an enduring icon. He can be many things and his movies can be infinitely diverse in tone. Looking at KOTM in that perspective does the film work? ABSOLUTELY! This movie is the closest Godzilla movie to match the energy and soul of the classic Showa films like Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) or Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) more so than the last attempt to do so with Godzilla Final Wars. The greatest achievement of Godzilla 2014 was making its version of Godzilla FEEL like the Godzilla character we know and love. KOTM only improves on Legendary’s success as Godzilla’s power is only matched by his personality. The film makers knew that Godzilla isn’t a monster but a CHARACTER and they treat him as such. KOTM also revitalizes the characters of King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan like never before. So much personality has been reintroduced to these characters that I loved so much. Rodan is a truly frightening sight in mid air and his volcanic entrance was amazing. I was afraid that the lack of her two priestesses would remove the humanity and hope of Mothra as a character but I couldn’t be more wrong. The fact she has become so popular across the internet from Facebook posts to fan art or memes is testament to her character and appearance in the film. King Ghidorah is perfectly terrifying in a way unseen in any Godzilla film since Invasion of Astro-Monster. His is truly an apocalyptic presence in the film. The choice to have a separate motion capture actor for each head was inspired and gave him a new depth of character never seen in the character before.

    The visuals are breath taking. The scope of the fights and destruction are beyond what I expected from the film going in and I couldn’t have enjoyed them more. The visuals are only matched by the sound design and soundtrack. To hear the classic Ifukube themes on the big screen in an American production was beautiful and moving. McCreary’s original score work is just as good blending these themes in with his own original compositions in a perfect mix.

    While not ground breaking I thought the human cast and characters were more than serviceable. I enjoyed just about every performance and each character regardless of their depth or lack thereof.

    As a Godzilla fan I truly feel blessed to be alive now. It’s hard for me to think of a better time for the Godzilla character. For those who wanted more from KOTM’s story or something new from this movie can enjoy the Anime Trilogy for creating something never seen before with the character. If you want more political subtext in your Godzilla films then Shin Godzilla is one of the greatest examples of Godzilla as political commentary. If you were disappointed in Shin Godzilla (2016) or The Anime Trilogy for their lack of action then you have King of The Monsters to turn too. Each new Godzilla releases complements the last by taking separate directions for the character. I believe that Godzilla King of the Monsters is on the way to being one of my favorite Godzilla movies and a wonderful introduction for the main stream audiences to this tremendous character.

     

    Thomas Fairchild

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is a thermonuclear-sized gift to monster cinema. The monsters may be the stars, but we are the beneficiaries of their cataclysmic feuds. Generally, monsters are portrayed as being mindless forces of destruction, meant only to challenge the humans caught in their wake. It is nice to see that trope elegantly subverted here; in this film, monster and human are equal.

    Mothra vs. Rodan

    Mothra vs. Rodan

    Godzilla has never been better. The aesthetics of his design evoke a delicate balance of power, savagery, and grace, casting him as a majestic god while simultaneously humanizing him. This film and its predecessor rekindled my long-lost appreciation for Godzilla as a good guy; I loved Godzilla’s hero journey in this story. Mothra is truly a divine monster, and every scene she’s in is awe-inspiring. Give this Mothra a solo movie. Rodan is nearly perfect, with a design that could very well be my favorite. I loved his molten feather-like scales and how sparks of ember shot out of his wings whenever he took flight. My single regret is they didn’t let him keep his classic roar. Out of all of the monsters, King Ghidorah arguably benefits the most. Despite being Godzilla’s archenemy and one of the most dangerous kaiju around, Ghidorah has never scared me — until now, that is. Each Ghidorah has a unique personality that makes every scene he’s in memorable. I must say, the part where he regenerated one of his severed heads like the hydra of old? Yeah, I’m still picking my jaw up from the floor.

    Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) are compelling, each bringing dignity to their respective roles. Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) was endearing, and I hope she continues to evolve as a person in future installments. In a film teeming with amazing scenes, Serizawa’s heartfelt goodbye to Godzilla is without question my favorite. For me, it’s an inspiring scene. Serizawa, while holding his father’s watch from Hiroshima, faces his inner demons by turning the very same weapon that has haunted his people for generations into a life-saving instrument. Beautiful.

    Unfortunately, some of the human characters were generic, namely the human antagonist: Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga). Her genocidal plan—delivered in an excruciatingly long villainous monologue—and the onus placed on us to sympathize with her plight made it all but impossible for me to forgive her, which is a shame because Vera is an outstanding actress. Some of the humor felt forced and was unnecessary (i.e., “I record everything, man,” and “Gonorrhea?” was eye-rolling). Ultimately, more time spent on developing the principal human cast would have significantly benefited the film. Monster scenes are great, but compelling human drama in these kinds-of-films is a necessity. No story has ever suffered for giving us relatable human characters to follow.

    All good films have a music composer orchestrating the emotional journey of its characters. Bear McCreary’s soundtrack awakened the emotional Titan within. Bear’s homages to the legendary works of Akira Ifukube and Yuji Koseki brought a smile to my face. Every time Godzilla’s iconic theme boomed, I felt like I was discovering Godzilla for the first time. Bear’s rendition of Mothra’s Song was perfect. It’s a beautiful melody to listen to by itself. I thought the beatings of the drums juxtaposed with Godzilla leading his human allies into battle was beyond impressive. Who wouldn’t follow Godzilla into battle? Just make sure you let him go first.

    Michael Dougherty is no stranger to directing creature features (e.g., Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus). Here, his Godzilla-loving credentials are on full display. There are a few discrepancies I have with the film, like how I think Emma’s villainous monologue speech should’ve been left on the cutting room floor, or how the Oxygen Destroyer was shoehorned in as a convenient plot device. Don’t get me wrong; it was a cool scene and, as a fan, I was smiling ear-to-ear. However, when you incorporate the Oxygen Destroyer for only a few minutes, it comes across as a missed opportunity. Nitpicks aside, I’m satisfied with what Mike and his crew set out to achieve, and I hope he returns to the kaiju genre.

    At the end of the day I cared about the characters—both human and monster alike—and I know I’ll be enjoying Godzilla: King of the Monsters for many years to come. Long live the King!

     

    Tyler Trieschock

    With what I would consider one of the best trailers of 2018, Godzilla: King of the Monsters finally roared into theaters in May of 2019. After waiting nearly 2 weeks to see it with a friend, I can definitively say Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a mixed bag that I enjoyed. A collection of some jaw-dropping set pieces that barely overcomes elements as endearing as nails on a chalkboard.

    To get the worst out of the way, the family in the film begin as sympathetic characters, but by its end, I wished for Ghidorah to disintegrate them all where they stood. Not to say their acting is atrocious, as all give solid performances, but Kyle Chandler as Mark Russell, Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell and Vera Farmiga as Emma Russell can’t overcome one opponent in the film, the script. Motivations change on a dime, characters are looked to for advice even though experts fill every square inch of the screen and every moment the family appeared I felt myself despising the movie more and more. Aaron Taylor Johnson’s character of Ford Brody in Godzilla may have proven dull, but I did not actively wish for his death by the film’s conclusion by comparison. The other side characters proved more engaging with Charles Dance as Alan Jonah and Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa being my personal highlights, the latter receiving a wonderful sendoff scene with Godzilla.

    Speaking of Godzilla, wow does he shine in this movie whenever he appears. Mothra, Ghidorah and Rodan have also never come to life in such a spectacular fashion with Rodan’s awakening in particular stealing the movie for me. Whether its Mothra illuminating the horizon or Ghidorah battling Rodan high above the clouds, these moments put a genuine smile on my face in the theater and are easily the highlights of the film. I’d even argue some of the action is the best in the three movies of the Legendary series, but for every peak that the film achieves, the characters take you to a valley you wish went undiscovered.

    King Ghidorah

    King Ghidorah in Mexico

    I could nitpick other elements like the unexplained use of the Oxygen Destroyer, or praise certain details like Ghidorah’s personalities or McCarthy’s fantastic score, but what I’m left with at the end of the day is a film at odds with itself. A film I’d praise and tear apart in the same sentence. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Yes, and its easily superior to the Anime Trilogy or Shin Godzilla, but for someone who wanted a film to stand side by side with the classics of Godzilla, I can say what we got is a flawed, good Godzilla movie, just not a great one.

     

    Marcus Gwin

    If you had told me that one day I would watch two Godzilla movies back to back, and Godzilla 2014 was the one I enjoyed more, I would’ve said “Ohhhhhhhhh no…”
    Yes, as someone who didn’t like Godzilla 2014, I was hoping that this would be a step up, but to my shock Godzilla 2014 is better on every level. The special effects in Godzilla King of the Monsters are nothing short of underwhelming, the animation is terrible, and worst of all the story is awful. While there may not be as many plot holes as in Godzilla 2014, it more than easily makes up for it with terrible dialogue, nonsensical logic, and a complete lack of understanding towards any aspect of science, natural or otherwise. The film simply has no idea of what animals are actually like, and the behavior exhibited by the Kaiju is distinctly non animalistic. Seriously, Godzilla 1998 does a much better job portraying Godzilla as a real animal.
    There are also many things i didn’t like on a more subjective note as well. For example, “Titans” is the most awful way of referring to Kaiju throughout any film that needs a term for the monsters. It just sounds pretentious and stupid the way they say it. Also, what if we wanted to bring Titanosaurus into the monsterverse? This term would make all the more awkward.
    Suffice to say, Godzilla KOTM is a failure on every cinematic level, and competes with Godzilla Planet Eater for the position of worst film in the entire franchise from an objective standpoint.

    Anthony Romero

    Having enjoyed the cinematic entries in the MonsterVerse to date, my anticipation and excitement for this latest film was pretty high after the 2018 Comic Con trailer. Many months later, those expectations were brought back down to earth as the review embargo lifted and the movie took a critical thumping. So I went into the theater with excitement, but with expectations I thought were in line for what I was about to see.

    Sadly the movie didn’t meet those lower expectations, and instead was a film I would give 2 or 2.5 stars out of 5 to. In fact, I found the latest MonsterVerse entry much more forgettable than anticipated, although not nearly to the degree that the Anime trilogy suffers from. I think my biggest complaint with the production was just a lack of highlights. I loved King Ghidorah carrying Godzilla into the sky and also the brief moment when Mothra and Godzilla teamed up against King Ghidorah… but that’s kind of it. Sadly there just isn’t a lot of moments where I go: “oh yeah, I want to see that again”. This is in contrast to the earlier films, where I was thrilled by the build up the first time Godzilla used his atomic ray in 2014 or the tense sequence on the bridge with the MUTO. Similarly in Kong: Skull Island (2017), the final battle itself was packed with great moments. I was not expecting this lack of highlights at all, as the trailer did a great job at showcasing Rodan’s arrival from the volcano or King Ghidorah emerging from the clouds, yet in the final product these sequences just didn’t carry the same gravitas. Not sure if that’s pacing or just general editing, but I wasn’t wowed like I was expecting to be.

    As for the human cast… couldn’t care less for them. When Emma Russell unveils her big plan to let the titans rule the earth, returning it to glory, I was ready for the film to develop her as the villain. Instead? She heel turns pretty much immediately to regret her actions due to her daughter and, it would seem, not thinking the plan all the way through. It’s the kind of turn of events that gives the viewer new found respect for Emmy Kano from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), whose badly handled confusion over the Futurians’ plan was at least executed better than this. Speaking of poorly executed, the death of Vivienne Graham was a joke, and it felt like someone looked over the film and said “crap, we kind of glossed over this… let’s throw her face on a computer monitor and note she is deceased just so it’s clear she is dead.”

    Overall, I don’t want to dive too much into the film, as to avoid a full review, but I can say this did temper my excitement for Godzilla vs. Kong a bit… hopefully the trailers for that turn things around. On the plus side, at least Rodan lived to see another day… which did bring a smile to my face, even if it was in a role that sees him more as a lackey.

    Mixed

     

    Have your own impressions related to the film? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

    General // June 25, 2019