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Back in April, when it seemed likely covid-19 would lead to the cancellation of G-FEST 2020, a discussion began among some friends of mine, which turned into the idea of creating an online Godzilla-themed convention. A few days later, we were in serious talks; and now, after much hard work, it is my sincere pleasure to announce Kaiju Masterclass — a free online event dedicated to informative discussions on kaiju eiga — is right around the corner!
Kaiju Masterclass will be held on October 2-4, 2020 — starting that Friday and lasting through Sunday. (A schedule is coming soon.) As mentioned above, the event is free to attend, with all panels streaming to the convention’s YouTube channel. Panels include original interviews with people who’ve worked on the Godzilla series — among the special guests are directors Shusuke Kaneko and Shinji Higuchi, suit maker Shinichi Wakasa, and GODZILLA (1998) composer David Arnold!
Also giving talks will be genre historians Steve Ryfle (the head organizer of this event), Ed Godziszewski, and Stuart Galbraith IV; kaiju set veteran Norman England, whose science fiction film The iDol is now available on Blu-ray; staff members behind the unmade TriStar Godzilla films; the daughters of Nick Adams and Henry G. Saperstein; and many others! A list of confirmed guests can be found here.
I myself will be involved in two panels. The first is a discussion with Akira Ifukube biographer Erik Homenick on Ifukube’s work in Children of Hiroshima (1952), Hiroshima (1953), and the original Godzilla (1954) — a nominal trilogy of post-occupation movies dealing with the subject of nuclear weapons and Japanese society. The second is a conversation with historians Steve Ryfle and Stuart Galbraith IV on the director Jun Fukuda.
Be sure to check out Kaiju Masterclass’s website and follow the convention on social media for updates.BY: Patrick GalvanNews // September 21, 2020
Author: Jake McDaniel| Banner: Dao Zang Moua
The waves around Okinawa Island danced and churned like a boiling pot, a paradox of calm and eeriness. As the waves lapped the rocky coast of the Japanese island, gulls and pelicans strayed from their nesting grounds to dive into the sea to capture the abundant fish that the sea was rich with. But only a few of the seabirds satisfied their bellies, as most returned home empty handed, unable to find food no matter how desperately they searched. For the seas surrounding Okinawa had mysteriously become silent in the past few days. The fish had simply ceased and the seas had become almost a dead zone, beautiful from above but lifeless when one breached the surface.
This was first noticed by the local fishermen of Okinawa, hardened men and women whose lives depended on the supposedly bountiful seas. As more and more ships returned home with barely anything of note, panic began to set in across the island. Local villages appealed to government offices for answers, begging to know why the fish had vanished. Scientists of all flavors were called in and offered theories, most blaming the event on global warming or overfishing. But of course, no conclusive evidence was reached and as the top minds of Japan continued to argue, the villages began to suffer, deprived both of their relied upon, hard fought incomes and indeed, food altogether. If the fish continued to not come, then they would be out of work and all they had strived for would simply vanish, in the blink of an eye.
So, they pressed on. Fishing vessels continued to go out, praying that the fish would return. One such ship lingered now, about six miles off the island, bouncing among the waves under the late afternoon sun.
The ship was a small vessel, well cared for but nothing impressive. Slathered on its side was the name Dancing Tiger, drawn in paint that was old and faded. Upon the ship, nestled on the side, was an old fisherman. He looked the part of a stereotypical man of the sea, his bald head hidden by a baseball cap, while a wool vest covered his lanky, wrinkled frame. Callused hands gripped his fishing rod, as the old man grimly cast it into the choppy surf for what felt like the hundredth time. He knew it was futile but there was a spark of hope each time he threw it. That this time he would get a bite. But, of course, he knew deep down it was hopeless. Yet to admit defeat went against his nature and more importantly, would say that his work was pointless. So he cast the line in the sea and sat upon a chair on the deck, sighing as he stroked his face’s stubble and began to wait.
“Beer, dad?” A younger man’s voice came from behind him. The old man looked up and saw a fresh faced man approaching him from the other side of the ship. His son was a tall man, with a healthy build that would be the envy of any athlete. He bore a chipper smile upon his handsome features as he approached his father, two glasses of cold beer in his grasp.
The old man sighed and raised a hand before shaking his head. “No thank you, Higa. I just want to focus.”
Higa frowned before he shrugged and said, “Alright, more for me I suppose…” The young man sat next to his father, uncorking one beer. He took a drink and smacked his lips. “Ah, that’s the stuff…”
The old man just grunted in response, continuing to stare at the sea. His son was his constant companion on these trips, lending his hand to the work and learning the family trade at the same time. He was a fine fisherman but not an expert and so, the old man handled the actual fishing while Higa did everything else, from driving the ship to manual labor. He was a dutiful son but the old man still worried about him, wondering if when he was gone, the boy would be good enough to inherit control over his life’s work.
“Anything biting?” Higa said, pulling the old man from his thoughts. The old man glowered and simply grunted:
“When was the last time you saw a fish shortage this bad?”
There was another moment of awkward silence, which Higa filled by taking a long sip of his beer. The old man just continued to stare at the sea, watching his line bob amongst the sloshing waves. He felt grim, staring out into that blue majesty, wondering if the depths below were truly lifeless.
“What do you think’s going to happen?” Higa spoke up again. The old man took a breath, beginning to be annoyed by his son’s chatter. He needed to think, to focus.
“I don’t know,” The old man growled, trying to make his frustration known. “Now be quiet. I’m trying to focus.”
“But Dad, you said there weren’t any fish. What’s to focus-”
“Just be quiet!” The old man snapped. Higa recoiled as if bitten, looking surprised. The old man waved his hand across the deck. “Just go and man the ship, alright? Check your Facebook or Twitter for all I care. I just need to be alone.”
Higa bit his lip. For a moment, father and son stared at each other. Then Higa sighed and nodded. He rose and left without a word, disappearing down the stairs into the bowels of the Dancing Tiger. The old man watched him go before turning back to the waves. He exhaled in relief and leaned back in his chair, letting the salty breeze caress his features.
He hadn’t meant to be so harsh. But he wasn’t in any mood to talk and Higa could be naively thickheaded unless one got the point across and more often than not, the old man had to be tough on him. He’d always been tough on his family, pushing them to work hard and he stood by that. The fish shortage was only proof that the world was growing harsher and it needed men to stand up to it, not children.
Grunting, the old man finally began to reel in his line. This was pointless. He’d been out here for hours and not a single bite. It was time to go back in.
As he did, however, there was suddenly a loud noise. It resembled the crash of a violent wave against the shore, all too familiar to the seasoned fisherman. He raised his eye, shielding his eyes from the sun as he scanned the waves. As he searched, he heard his son called:
“Whoa! Look at that, Dad! Is that a whale?”
There. The old man’s eyes widened as he spotted something in the distance. A hulking, giant rising up from the sea, a black shadow against the afternoon sun. Waves crashed around the monstrous thing as it rose taller and taller, until its form blocked the sun altogether and cast a giant shadow over their ship.
There was a crash. The old man turned. Higa had dropped his beer bottle. The young man’s eyes were as wide as saucers, his mouth agape as he stared up. The old man dropped his fishing line, as a violent wave smashed against his ship. The Dancing Tiger was tossed around like a toy amidst the waves, water spraying over the deck as it lolled sideways. The old man lost his footing, slipping on the slick deck and gave a cry of pain as he slammed hard against the floor. He tried to move forward but the ship rocked sideways and he felt his stomach drop as his beloved boat lolled, a great groan escaping it as the waves knocked it back and forth. His chair was cast off the deck, spinning off into the ocean, along with other stuff upon the deck. He lunged out, his nails scratching against the deck, desperately searching for his son.
He saw him, Higa, his arms wrapped around the guard rail for dear life. He was soaked and looked utterly terrified, another wave slamming violently against the ship’s underside. The old man reached out, trying to call for Higa, trying to reach him. But he had nothing to grab onto and the last thing he heard was Higa’s scream before he was violently ripped from the ship and fell.
The last thing he saw was the sun in the beautiful cloudless sky, Higa’s scream still ringing in his ears before he slammed into the sea. The water felt like concrete as the old man rammed into it at pitch black speed and something snapped with a wet crunch. Pain flooded the old man’s senses before a wave dragged him into the cold depths and he knew no more.
As the Dancing Tiger was torn apart by the churning sea, the shape that had caused its destruction finished its emergence. Water spilled off the creature’s bumpy hide, its red form contrasting against the crystal clear surf. It raised its long neck to the sky, its mouth curling back as the beast emitted a warbling roar that sounded like the mixture of an elephant’s trumpet and the cackle of a hyena. Its reptilian eyes moved over the sea, barely even noticing the human vessel it had smote with its breach before settling on Okinawa Island in the distance. The monster waved its bipedal arms and roared again before it began to stride across the sea, its titanic footfalls echoing across the ocean floor, its huge tail swishing behind its bulky form and generating more giant waves.
Titanic was an appropriate word for the creature. For that was its name, bestowed long ago upon it by humans. Titanosaurus. A relic of the age of dinosaurs, the creature had survived in the depths of the ocean for many years, feeding off other giants such as whales and squid. Content to be left alone, Titanosaurus’s peace was disturbed when a human scientist had found him.
Titanosaurus emitted another warbling noise as its mind twisted over the memories it half-remembered under the scientist’s control. It had done things, things against its very nature. Forced out of its natural habitat, it had been pushed into the world of humans and made to destroy. It remembered fire, it remembered violence, and most of all, it remembered pain. Titanosaurus’s entire body shuddered as it pooled over the memories again, thankful it had survived its time under the madman’s control. When it had been released, it had escaped back to the sea and returned to its domain, falling in and out of a comatose state as its many wounds slowly healed.
But although its wounds were reduced to old scars at this point, the dinosaurian kaiju true wounds, its mental ones, had ceased to fade. Despite its memories being a dark fog of nightmares, they still cut deep. And over time, as Titanosaurus tried in vain to return to its former life, the monster’s emotions had turned from fear to hatred. Hatred of the creatures that had tormented him, hurt him. Hatred toward humanity itself.
So, now Titanosaurus had emerged from the depths of the sea to enact its vengeance. It had followed its instincts and returned to the land it had unwillingly attacked years ago. Its grim gaze locked on the island and the prehistoric beast raised its great neck to the heavens, letting out a roar of vengeance to its former tormentors. A cry of revenge against not just the people of Japan but all humans. They would all suffer for what they had done to him.
The colossal dinosaur continued its solitary march toward Okinawa, enormous waves lapping at its bulky thighs. But as Titanosaurus trudged ever closer to its destination, it suddenly paused. Its lips curled as it stopped, the miniature tsunamis it had conjured in its wake calming. The ancient monster twisted about, its clawed fingers flexing, as it sensed something. Another presence…another presence like him.
There! Titanosaurus’s keen eyes, used to prowling the dark abysses of the sea, spotted another shape moving several yards away. The sea churned as something equally massive moved around him, glimpses of a giant shadow moving beneath the surface. Titanosaurus slammed its fists together before letting loose a warbling challenge! The dinosaur was not used to fighting but when pressed, it could be a fierce opponent. And now, it was eager to vent its rage on something, human or not.
The shape continued to circle for several minutes and Titanosaurus began to grow impatient. Emitting an annoyed screech, the dinosaur raised its arms in a challenge and dived forth! Chunks of the seabed were torn away by the beast’s toes as the mighty dinosaur crashed into the ocean, intending to tackle whatever circled him.
But the kaiju’s effort was for naught, as the monster burst downward and his claws tore harmlessly through the water. Snarling in rage, Titanosaurus twisted about in the water, searching for his unseen enemy.
Movement caught the dinosaur’s attention, behind him. Titanosaurus spun around, bubbles bursting from his nostrils as he let loose another roar, muffled now underwater. There, he saw his enemy, the creature that had dared interrupt his desire for vengeance.
It was another monster but the opposite, in many ways, to the lumbering Titanosaurus. This creature resembled a serpent, long and sleek, its scaly hide matching the color of the blue sea. It looked almost regal, tufts of hair and horns emerged from its snake-like head, as it opened its maw and hissed at the dinosaur. Two, small vestigial arms emerged from the serpent’s underbelly, grasping at the ocean floor, its coils swishing.
This was Manda, former deity of the underwater kingdom of Mu. Like Titanosaurus, Manda had suffered at the humans hands, when an expedition of humans had arrived and using their technology, had destroyed Mu. The great kingdom that had withstood the fall of countless civilizations had finally fallen at the hands of the savage surface dwellers and Manda, for the first time, had been unable to stop its destruction. It itself had barely survived and at first, had considered joining its city in the great beyond. But after what felt like eons lingering among Mu’s ruins, Manda had decided that it could not die, it could not rest, until the humans had paid for their hubris.
So now it had journeyed to the surface world and began a one monster war against mankind. It had begun with this island, taking it upon itself to frighten the fish that lingered in the coastal waters away. Like laying siege to a castle, it intended to starve Okinawa of its natural resource, slowly terrifying the humans until they were ripe for conquest. Then Manda would strike the killing blow, destroying each puny human settlement until they were all little more than ash. Mankind would pay, every last man, woman, and child. Manda would have no mercy for any of them, as they had no mercy for Mu.
But now, a challenger had arrived. Manda glowered at the disgusting Titanosaurus, hating the sight of the prehistoric relic. This thing dared to challenge its right of vengeance? To defile the memory of Mu further by taking Manda’s final act from it? No. It would not stand in his way. Manda would have its revenge and no mere dinosaur would oppose it. Mankind was Manda’s to destroy!
The two titans, fueled by mutual hatred, stared each other down. Titanosaurus’s claws flexed. Manda’s coiled form tensed. Then, without warning, they lunged for each other.
Titanosaurus’s powerful tail propelled it forward, the dinosaur slashing out. Manda was faster and almost glided past Titinosaurus’s blows. It sank its fangs into the saurian’s shoulder and ripped through a chunk of flesh. Titanosaurus bellowed in pain and swiped for Manda. But the guardian of Mu easily avoided the blow again, slithering backward.
Titanosaurus pressed forward, swimming after his opponent. The two chased each other through the waters, Manda’s graceful, almost dance-like movements easily outpacing Titanosaurus’s wrathful blows. Soon, the two swam to a rocky underwater canyon, Titanosaurus’s frustration growing with each missed swipe.
Manda hissed in glee, enjoying the dinosaur’s torment. The sea dragon then swam forward, the dragon’s serpentine body ramming headlong into Titanosaurus’s torso. Surprised, the dinosaur was knocked backward and crashed against the ocean floor, chunks of seabed exploding under its weight. Manda pressed the advantage, its long fangs sinking into Titanosaurus’s neck while its body began to coil around the dinosaur, ignoring the saurian’s flails.
Titanosaurus howled, its warble echoing across the ocean. The dinosaur’s fists pounded on Manda’s skull, but the sea dragon only tightened its hold. Its coils squeezed tighter and its fangs sank deeper into Titanosaurus’s neck. Blood flowed freely, bathing the scene around the two struggling giants crimson.
Titanosaurus began to feel its bones cracking under Manda’s tremendous weight. Snarling, it lunged up and grabbed Manda’s midsection. With tremendous effort, the dinosaur pulled Manda’s jaws off its throat, chunks of its own flesh being torn away. Manda screeched, flailing, before Titanosaurus swung it sideways and bashed Manda’s head to the sea floor.
Manda shrieked in pain, its head exploding in agony, its coils weakening around the dinosaur. Titanosaurus slammed Manda’s head down again, stunning the sea dragon enough for the dinosaur to stand up once again. With a mighty shake, Titanosaurus dislodged his enemy’s coils and freed himself from the guardian’s grasp.
Manda hissed in pain but was cut off as Titanosaurus rammed its head a third time against the rocky seafloor. Tasting blood, Manda thrashed violently, trying to escape but the dinosaur but Titanosaurus held tight.
Titanosaurus yanked Manda up, its claws tightening around the serpent. Manda began to struggle harder as the dinosaur began to strangle it, bubbles escaping its maw. Its tail slapped against the saurian’s legs but the blows were ineffective, barely noticed by the prehistoric titan. The saurian’s hold grew tighter and Manda felt its air begin cut off, splotches of black dancing in its eyes.
Enough, The guardian of Mu thought angrily. Its tail snaked upward and slammed against the back of Titanosaur’s head. The dinosaur gave a cry of surprise and for an instant, its grip weakened. Manda slithered free like an eel and swam upward, giving Titanosaurus another tail slap as it passed.
Titanosaurus shook itself and bellowed angrily before looking up, spotting its opponent fleeing. The mighty dinosaur roared, enraged that this creature was causing him such trouble. Pounding its arms together, it swished its mighty tail and pursued the serpent.
The two kaiju pursued each other for several moments, exchanging challenging hisses and bellows before they reached the surface. Manda breached first, its long form slamming free of the underwater world below. Titanosaurus followed not far behind, the mighty dinosaur bursting out of the violent surf yards away.
The primal survivor of the Mesozoic Era and the last guardian of Mu faced off amidst the surf. Such a spectacle was incredible, two veritable colossuses standing against one another, like forces of nature clashing. Titanosaurus reared up, shrieking, before striding through the waters, lunging for Manda.
The sea dragon dived, slipping between the dinosaur’s legs. Titanosaurus’s claws clapped together, striking naught but water. Manda then burst from behind the saurian, lunging upward and slamming itself into the dinosaur’s neck, teeth sinking into the wound it had already made. Titanosaurus shrieked, staggering, before Manda’s coils wrapped around its torso, binding the beast’s arms against its hide.
Titanosaurus staggered back and forth, Manda biting down, drinking the dinosaur’s blood. The saurian’s tail slapped against the ocean, but Manda’s grip was like steel and Titanosaurus could not break it, restrained as it was. Its teeth snapped ineffectively, feeling its enemy’s teeth sink deeper with each passing moment.
Titanosaurus screamed in rage. This creature dared to deny him his vengeance? It dared to stand against him? It dared to deny him what he sought for all that he suffered? Was all his pain to be for nothing at the hands of this snake?
No! No it wouldn’t be!
Titanosaurus swung his neck sideways, jerking Manda back and forth. The sea dragon held on but its teeth rocked about and came slightly loose. Titanosaurus then pushed off the ground and fell sideways, slamming Manda hard against the sea. Manda’s head was yanked free in a rush of blood and flesh, sending pain through Titanosaurus’s body but the dinosaur had suffered worse.
Before Manda could press its attack, Titanosaurus lunged forward and sank his own into the serpent’s snout. He bit down hard, his serrated fangs making short work of Manda’s nostrils. The sea dragon snarled in defiance and responded by tightening its coiled grip around the saurian. Titanosaurus’s pinned arms began to go numb with pain, his bones cracking under the strain. Titanosaurus merely narrowed its eyes and sank its teeth deeper into Manda’s snout.
The two monsters held onto each other, Manda squeezing, Titanosaurus biting, each increasing the pressure on the other. The sea raged around them as they struggled for dominance, each trying to make the other submit, each refusing to give in.
Finally, there came a loud crunch as one of Titanosaurus’s arms popped and snapped. The limb went numb and the saurian gave a muffled, warbling cry of pain but only increased its bite against Manda. Manda continued to squeeze, glaring eye to eye with the dinosaur, lips curling, coils tightening to break the dinosaurs’ second arm.
Then, suddenly, Titanosaurus let go. Surprised, Manda let out a squeal of pain as the sudden release caused it to fly backward. Its coils unwound, releasing their grip at the sudden shock and Titanosaurus’s remaining arm yanked itself free. The dinosaur’s arm swung and knocked Manda off, the sea dragon crashing back into the sea, mammoth waves splashing against Titanosaurus’s belly.
Manda hissed in rage, shaking itself as it recovered. It burst out of the ocean again, ready to renew its attack and finish the troublesome saurian. But as soon as it broke through the surface, it paused, surprised by what it saw.
Titanosaurus had turned around, tail aimed at Manda like a cannon. Manda’s momentary shock didn’t allow it to capitalize on this before Titanosaurus’s tail suddenly opened into a large, organic fan-like shape. With a powerful swing, the dinosaur swung its tail back and forth, the huge appendage sending enormous tufts of gale-force wind to assault Manda.
Manda screeched as it found itself buffeted by a hurricane. Winds tore at the sea, churning the ocean like a cauldron as whirlpools and enormous waves slammed into the sea dragon all ocean. The creature tried to fight, tried to push forward but the riptide was tremendous, even more than it could withstand. After mere moments of fruitless fighting, the winds yanked Manda backward and a wave yanked the sea dragon underwater, sending it spinning end over end until it slammed face first into the seabed, crushing chunks of abandoned reef and rock.
Manda tried to rise, its stubby limbs grasping at the rocks. But Titanosaurus’s enormous foot ploughed through the water, slamming down on Manda’s skull and pinning it down. Manda flailed, enraged, but it was trapped beneath Titanosaurus’s superior strength. Titanosaurus grinded his foot against Manda’s head before raising it and slamming it down. And again. And again. And again!
Each foot slam conjured a miniature earthshake, shockwaves ploughing through the ocean floor and reducing whole swaths of the abandoned ecosystem to dust. Soon, the water was a mix of black and red, dust and blood mixing together in a great cloud. Manda’s writhing grew weaker and weaker with each blow until at last, the sea dragon stopped moving.
Titanosaurus paused. The dinosaur’s nostrils flared, its broken arm dangling uselessly at its side, its neck oozing blood from its bite wounds. Slowly, the saurian removed its foot and reached down into the water with its remaining hand. It searched for a moment through the dust cloud before it founded Manda’s unmoving form. He pulled the serpent out of the ocean and examined it.
Manda’s body lolled in Titanosaurus’s grasp, the great guardian of Mu’s head barely recognizable anymore. The once beautiful creature’s head had been stomped until now it was a pulpy, splintered mess of brains and bone. Titanosaurus sniffed it before raising its head and giving a triumphant cry to the heavens. He had won! Manda was dead!
Titanosaurus carelessly dropped Manda’s corpse, sending it crashing to its watery grave. The dinosaur then looked at itself and grimaced. Its new wounds would take time to heal and although it had been victorious, it was angered to know that it could not attack Japan in this state. No, it must return to its home once again, to rest and recover.
Titanosaurus bellowed in rage, fixing Okinawa with a final, merciless glare before turning around and beginning its long trudge back home. Soon, the dinosaur had waded into deep waters many miles offshore and dived beneath the surface, disappearing into darkness once more. Calm came over the sea again, the afternoon sun glittering off the surface.
In the aftermath, a young man washed up on shore some hours later, barely alive but was recovered by some locals and sent to a hospital. It was Higa, who had been thrown from the ship but somehow had managed to survive, even as the two kaiju fought tooth and claw around him. He had been knocked unconscious at some point and could recall little of the encounter but he knew one thing: the monster that had come from the sea had killed his father. As he lay recovering in his bed, he stared out the window, which offered a perfect view of the sea. Most patients would be grateful for the view but Higa could only muster revulsion. He requested his curtains be shut. He would no longer bear to look at the sea, for it had taken his father from him. He knew what lay beneath now and it was something dark, something evil. The only emotions he could conjure now when he thought of the sea was hatred and a newfound desire…
A desire for revenge.
As for Manda’s corpse, it rotted in the depths, an undignified end for the proud deity. But it offered one final, ironic thing to the sea it had called home. Its massive body attracted thousands of fish from miles away and slowly, but surely, the seas around Okinawa began to return to life. Out of destruction was born new life, an optimistic future for Okinawa being renewed…K.W.C. // September 20, 2020
Way back in 2018, Toho announced plans to make a stronger focus on film investment outside Japan. This announcement was made on the back of three movies that Toho was investing in at the time. These were: Detective Pikachu (2019), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and an undated remake of the 2016 movie Your Name. The first two projects were with Legendary, while the third was with Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. Details are now starting to emerge on the Your Name live action remake. This article is a news roundup of information as it’s released on this project.
As part of the agreement, Toho will provide financing and handle distribution of the movie in Japan. Meanwhile Paramount will handle releasing the film in all other territories. (more…)News // September 19, 2020
When pre-production began on 1984’s The Return of Godzilla, director Koji Hashimoto gathered a team of experts to lend a sense of authenticity to his film. Like Ishiro Honda, under whom he’d worked in the ‘60s, Hashimoto approached his task seriously, wanting to show modern-day Japan responding to an extraordinary situation, and to keep the science fiction elements—fantastic as they were—somewhat in the realm of plausibility. To achieve this, a military analyst was hired to calculate the orbit of satellites equipped to carry nuclear weapons; a journalist provided feedback regarding media reactions; and after science fiction writer Ryuichi Kodama1 suggested using magnetism to lure Godzilla, geophysicist Hitoshi Takeuchi proposed a few locations where the monster could be trapped. The staff considered finales set at Mount Fuji and the Fossa Magna before ultimately deciding on Mount Mihara, the infamous stratovolcano of Izu Oshima Island.2
Exquisitely photographed and propelled by Reijiro Koroku’s outstanding score, the picture generates rightly earned sympathy when Godzilla—“that strangely innocent and tragic monster,” as so eloquently described in the film’s American re-edit—becomes trapped in the volcano and plunges into the molten rock below.3 At the time of the film’s release, director Hashimoto stated that a sequel was possible; though based on his exact verbiage, it would appear Toho had no concrete plans while the ‘84 film was in immediate circulation.4 This was the first Godzilla movie in nine years and the first to be marketed for general audiences since 1968’s Destroy All Monsters.5 Given that context, some speculated Godzilla would remain in Mount Mihara6: imprisoned on an island which, in centuries past, had been designated for banishing exiles. And inside a volcano with a long history related to death.BY: Patrick GalvanGeneral // September 17, 2020
Author: Joshua Strittmatter | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski
Janjira, Japan. 6:20 A.M.
The first hints of orange light began to peek above the mountainous landscape of Japan, slowly changing the light of the night sky from a blackish-brown to a dark blue. Morning was just on the horizon, and the very first bird call announced itself to the new dawn, singing the songs that welcomed a new day into existence. Minute by minute passed, and the slowly growing orange light peeking bit by bit over the mountains illuminated the silhouettes of tall, rectangle-shaped towers of steel, concrete and glass. An old city, long abandoned by its human creators, with the buildings now slowly being overtaken by moss and vines. Whereas fifteen years ago only one species dominated this concrete jungle, now countless different creatures called this place their home in their absence. As the sun’s light bathed the slowly brightening sky in a heavenly, almost otherworldly glow, more slumbering lifeforms began to awaken from their carefree rest and begin their usual activities. Birds of all different kinds began to crawl out of their nests and spread their wings as they took flight, soaring proudly to new perches to search for breakfast or gaze from the tallest buildings and scour their human-made habitat. Insects, arachnids, and millipedes alike began to emerge from their sleeping holes and crawl silently across their chosen territories, searching for whatever biological matter their species’ diet consisted of to sate their morning hunger. The sun was now halfway over the horizon, outlining Mt. Fuji like a shadow as its rays of light reflected off the clouds and turned them into an alien pink color. Morning was now here, and the entire abandoned city of Janjira came alive at its coming.
However, birds, bugs and small mammals weren’t the only organisms that heeded the silent call of the new dawn.
The water offshore began to bubble and foam in massive gouts, with a bright cerulean glow visible underneath. Something massive was about to show itself to the island country of Japan for the first time in over half a century, the ominous glow from the deep growing brighter and brighter as the entity got closer to the surface. Finally, the foaming gouts of seawater billowed high above the surface and burst apart, falling back into the sea as a reptilian monolith emerged from the froth with a long, deep growl that rattled the island for miles. All organisms with auditory receptors froze in terror as the bipedal dinosaur waded through the shallow water, shaking the earth with each footstep upon the underwater sandy coach, until finally the behemoth took a step onto dry land. Both his eyes and his rocky, maple leaf-shaped dorsal plates glowing with blue bioluminescence, Godzilla, King of the Monsters released a growling yawn as he flexed his claws and cracked his bones into place, taking a small moment to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and the warmth of the newborn glow of the morning sun. After a good thirty seconds, the 250 million-year-old Alpha Predator snorted before beginning to trudge along the shoreline, following it to where he needed to be. About half a mile up was his objective-the old power plant, formerly the man-made womb of a male of the MUTO species. Even after a few years, he could still barely smell the scent of his now dead nemesis.
But there were no MUTOs here-at least, he didn’t think so. Something else was amiss here, and the old power plant was the perfect place to wait before he pinpointed the exact location of whatever it was that drew him to this island for the first time in many years.
Finally taking a right and lumbering onto dry land, Godzilla trudged toward the old outpost, the smell of decaying radioactivity and MUTO flesh growing in his nostrils. But strangely, he couldn’t smell anything else. No peculiar scents of any other abnormal entities, just all the natural inhabitants of this old habitat. Now where could this unseen being be hiding?
Rearing his head back, the nuclear reptile curled his lips in a snarl and began to suck in a great breath of air through his bared teeth, filling his throat with it. If the unseen entity was slumbering somewhere hidden, somewhere that he himself couldn’t get to, maybe a battle cry would wake it up and draw it out.
His throat now filled with air, the Monster King snapped his head forward and let loose the godly roar that he had made famous, keeping it up for a good eight seconds before finally letting it fade to a low drone that for a moment seemed to echo on for an eternity.
Other than the many flocks of birds that now took flight in terror, there was no response. Eventually, everything went quiet once again, as if he had never made a noise to begin with. Seconds passed slower than they should have to the ancient leviathan as he waited, his peeled ears not picking up a single response. The land was tranquil once again… … …
The faint noise of rocks rolling, so faint they might not have even existed, somewhat startled Godzilla as his head snapped in the direction of the noise. More and more small rocks and chunks of dirt and earth began to roll down the slopes of Mount Fuji as the area began to rumble and quake. A toothy sneer crept across Godzilla’s lips. He knew it was not an ordinary earthquake. Something had heard his challenge and was about to answer it. Now THIS was what he had been waiting for!
Suddenly, the ground 300 meters away from the end of the mountain’s slope imploded, caving in to birth a massive hole in the earth, revealing part of an underground cave.
And within it, something began to force its way out of the subterranean realm.
Two leathery wings snapped in a V-shape out of the hole, pointed and scaly. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a MUTO. A loud cackle that rivaled Godzilla’s own roar ripped from the crater as another prehistoric form rose from the depths of the earth. The wings flapped powerfully as they soon revealed themselves to be attached to a bipedal pterosaur with flaming red skin. A beak filled with pointed teeth swallowed the remains of a rhinoceros-sized insect before opening to release another cackle, the beast’s two yellow eyes glaring angrily at the one who dared challenge it. A crown of three horns sat behind its bird-like head, giving the beast a rightfully regal appearance. Godzilla growled at this newcomer, his eyes narrowed into slits as they focused, his muscles tensing and readying for combat. Now he understood the sounds he had heard that had drawn him here. It must have been the awakening of this beast, and its feeding of its meal.
The giant Pteranodon cackled angrily, demanding this newcomer leave his territory immediately. Godzilla only roared in defiance, his pride eclipsed all other emotions in this moment. Regardless of whose territory it was, Godzilla was NEVER one to back off at the beckoning of another giant.
The Monster King could smell the high levels of radioactivity reeking off this new beast. While it was true that creatures from his time naturally used to feed off radiation, this creature’s radiation levels were WAY too high for it to be natural. Not to mention, the beast’s scent was identical to a species he still remembered to this day, a species he thought long extinct. One that flourished in the final stages of the age of the dinosaurs. Apparently, not only had said species survived, but this member in the present day had been exposed to man-made nuclear weapons and radioactive material that mutated it into a colossal beast like him, like the creatures he used to fight for a living back in his prime.
The fact that it was an unnatural mutant made it even more dangerous, so Godzilla knew that this fight might be even more challenging than he thought. Even the look in its eyes showed no fear whatsoever, and that made Godzilla slightly nervous. Back in his day when he announced his presence, a good deal of his foes would show the slightest hint of fear. And rightfully so. But this creature didn’t seem to care about his kingly status in the slightest. However dangerous this was going to be, this was a fight that needed to be done nonetheless. This mutation may very well be too strong in power for the planet to support, strong enough to offset the balance of life, and for that it had to be taken down.
Answering the nuclear titan’s roar with another battle cry, the mutated Pteranodon known as Rodan spread his wings and kicked off the ground, flying fearlessly toward this new threat to his territory. He didn’t want a fight, but it was clear that this beast had no intention of backing off from his mountain home. So, if it was a fight that it wanted, it was a fight it shall get.
With shocking speed that took the Permian king by surprise, Rodan flew straight at Godzilla. Before the Monster King could counter, the pterosaur slammed head-first into his chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him toppling to the ground. A reptilian snarl escaped Godzilla’s jaws as he snapped at Rodan, but he easily passed overhead. Screeching like a godly bird, the giant monster of the skies circled around for another go, the air itself seeming to warp behind him as he flew. Godzilla growled as he began to climb to his feet-only for Rodan to slam into the back of his neck from behind, flooring him once again. For the first time ever, Godzilla was the first to fall during a fight. Genuinely, he was both shocked and a little impressed. This foe was not only incredibly fast-faster than anything he had fought before-but also it was very physically powerful. It wasn’t often he met a foe with a weaker stature than his own capable of sending him crashing to the earth with a mere body slam. Even the male MUTO from a few years ago had needed to fully yank him by the shoulders just to pull him across a city away from its mate.
Godzilla decided to lay low this time, immediately picking up on his foe’s attack pattern. If he were to stand up, he would just get knocked down again. It was time to do the waiting game.
Rodan screeched as he flew in again, slashing Godzilla across the nape with his spiked chest, drawing a shower of sparks and pieces of scaly skin. Godzilla kept still, his belly pressed firmly against the ground. Noticing his foe had stopped moving, Rodan stopped to hover a few meters away, flapping his wings lightly to keep airborne. The irradiated Pteranodon blinked in slight confusion. Had his foe admitted defeat already? It clearly seemed to be in a bowed position, its head and neck resting on the ground in a submissive pose. But still, there was a problem-it was still in his territory, and Rodan wasn’t bent on sharing. He wanted this intruder out of here now, or else it might become his next meal.
Rodan screeched a warning to the radioactive dinosaur, and still it didn’t budge. It just lay there, frozen in place like a sleeping turtle, ignoring him. Now the pterosaur was pissed! Cackling a second time, Rodan began to fly toward the still behemoth-and suddenly screeched in surprise when Godzilla burst from the ground like a crocodile and tackled him to the ground, jaws crunching onto his left shoulder. A roar of outrage ripped from Rodan’s throat as Godzilla slammed him to the ground, kicking up large clouds of dust as he did so. The king of the skies tried to right himself, but Godzilla wouldn’t let him and stomped a foot down onto his stomach. Roaring in temporary victory at how the tables had turned, Godzilla began to kick and stomp onto the downed Rodan, eliciting cries of pain and frustration that echoed across the ghost city of Janjira, causing countless animals to hide in their homes in fear. The King of the Monsters roared in domination as he assailed the flying reptile, stomping and kicking him into the ground until he decided when it would be fatally wounded. But even despite the pterosaur’s smaller stature, his armored body held together without breaking once. To say Rodan felt no pain from being kicked in the stomach repeatedly would be false, but it was saying something that his body prevented Godzilla’s 90,000 metric-ton bulk from stomping a mud hole through his seemingly frail build.
As Rodan continued to shriek in defiance, Godzilla lifted his left foot over his chest, a killer look in his eye. Rodan just glared right back into those eyes, fear nonexistent. Godzilla didn’t know whether the pterodactyloid was either incredibly brave or unbelievably stupid to show no fear in the face of his executioner, but it didn’t matter. He seemed to be accepting his death, so Godzilla would give it to him. The nuclear giant slammed his foot down with all his might…
A sickening crack of flesh being pierced echoed in the air, and the King of the Monsters bellowed in agony and recoiled, blood flowing from the holes ripped into his foot. Rodan, his plan having worked, roared in fury as he flew to his feet and rushed his opponent, Godzilla’s blood now staining his chest spikes. The ancient saurian thrashed in confusion as Rodan latched himself to his shoulders, pecking and biting aggressively at his head and face. Blood flew into the air as his beak continuously stabbed into his flesh, and Godzilla fought to grab him-only for Rodan to surprise him by quickly letting go of his shoulders and flying around behind him, continuing to peck away at the back of his neck. The Monster King snapped ferociously behind him in a vain attempt to shake the pterosaur off, but Rodan hovered just out of reach before continuing his attack. Having regained the upper hand of the fight, Rodan released a dominating cackle and repeatedly slashed away at the rock-hard skin on Godzilla’s back with his talons.
But Godzilla was neither down nor out.
Rodan kept up his attack-then shrieked in surprise when something hard collided with his back, sending him flying forward and crashing to the ground. Flapping his wings, Rodan struggled to regain his footing, and as he looked behind him he realized that the cause of his current position had been the nuclear dinosaur’s long, segmented tail. Finally righting himself, Rodan stood up on two legs and turned as quickly as he could to face his opponent, and immediately was startled to see Godzilla charging him like a sumo wrestler. The King of the Monsters slammed head-on into the winged Kaiju, and this time he didn’t take any chances. Seizing Rodan by the throat with both hands, Godzilla began to throttle the mutated Pteranodon, who gagged and choked profusely in a helpless attempt to cry out from lack of air. Yellowish foam began to build in the flying reptile’s mouth as he began to run low on oxygen, but still the mighty Rodan refused to fall.
Flapping his wings as hard and fast as he could, Rodan kicked up a burst of hurricane-force winds point-blank at his captor, who soon began struggling to breathe himself due to the high pressure of wind blowing in his face. Rodan flapped faster, and soon the Monster King’s grip loosened.
And Rodan capitalized on the opportunity.
Lunging forward with a burst of energy, Rodan collided with the dazed alpha predator and plunged his beak into the left set of Godzilla’s gills.
His eyes suddenly widening with pain and shock, Godzilla bellowed in excruciating agony as he felt his own blood began to spill down his throat and into his lungs. Realizing the saurian was likely to retaliate heavily, Rodan kicked off the wounded predator and landed a good 300 meters away just as Godzilla attempted to lash out. His claws slashing nothing but empty air, Godzilla huffed and puffed as he took a moment to stare at his enemy.
This creature was a powerful fighter, far stronger than Godzilla ever thought possible. For the first time in many thousands of years, Godzilla had met a beast that was, from what he had seen, every bit his equal. He had to turn the tide back in his favor with a new plan of attack if he were to win this fight, otherwise there was a high chance he could lose not only his title, but also his life to this winged monstrosity. It was high time to bring out the big guns.
A deep crackle followed by repeated hums growing in volume rang in the air, as one by one Godzilla’s dorsal plates lit up like Christmas Trees, glowing with inner radiation. His formerly orange eyes lit up with neon blue light, signaling the coming of his signature attack, the one he had carried out the execution of so many foes with. Godzilla took in a breath of air, Rodan realizing the error of standing still in confusion too late before the Monster King opened his jaws and a concentrated blast of pure radiation flew into existence. The atomic beam struck Rodan’s upper torso, and the predatory pterosaur cackled in minor pain as the blast singed his armored flesh, digging his claws into the ground as the beam pushed him back a fair distance. The Permian predator kept his atomic breath going for a good eight seconds before temporarily ceasing fire, his spines still aglow.
Godzilla did not like what he was seeing.
Normally an opponent would reel in agony from an attack like that, but this creature’s armored skin was too thick for his breath to deal a serious injury that he needed right now. So far, a black splotch mark of charred skin on Rodan’s chest was all the attack had achieved: unless other body parts of the pterosaur were more vulnerable to such extremes, his most powerful weapon was more insult than injury. Rodan stared hard at Godzilla, pride and fury glinting in his yellow eyes. So, this beast had a ranged attack, did it?
Okay. Two could play that game.
His spines keeping their glow, Godzilla charged at Rodan. The Pteranodon took flight once again, beginning to fly in circles around the radioactive behemoth. Standing in the middle, Godzilla waited patiently, keeping his eyes fixed on the flying reptile like a bird of prey. His gaze never left Rodan, who continued to circle around him like a malevolent vulture.
Then, when Rodan was least expecting it, Godzilla suddenly fired a second time.
His aim was spot on and struck Rodan in the face. The force of the blast gave the monster of the skies a mild concussion, causing him to fall to the ground with a painful thud! Godzilla took the opportunity to unleash cerulean hell upon Rodan’s spiny back, and sure enough the pterosaur’s screeches of pain were a little more deafening this time. His skin must not have been as armored as it was on his torso.
The glow finally fading from his spines, Godzilla ceased fire. It would be a bit before his energy levels recharged to full power. His back and left side of his face burnt, Rodan shook his head as he regained his focus. He began to cackle and flap his wings, seemingly attempting to regain flight. But Godzilla wouldn’t let him, and immediately got low and charged at him. Rodan only smirked at this, ceasing his act.
His ploy had worked.
The horns on the back of his head began to glow and crackle with energy, and before Godzilla knew what hit him a purple beam of atomic radiation equal in power to his own burst from Rodan’s beak and struck his chest, searing his scales and eliciting a bellow of pain from the Alpha Predator. Rodan didn’t let up and continued to fire, the heat ray burning the flesh on Godzilla’s chest to molten slag. The King of the Monsters shifted himself best he could and presented his more armored back to take the brunt of the fiery assault, but that didn’t stop the pain. Ceasing fire, Rodan cackled at the old reptile before taking flight straight at him. Godzilla dug his feet into the ground to prevent himself being floored as Rodan smacked into him, piercing the burnt flesh with his beak due to its weakened state. Godzilla took advantage of his current position and swung around a full 180 degrees, smacking Rodan with his tail and sending him crashing down very close to the old power plant.
Godzilla rushed him, attempting to reach him before he took flight, but quickly Rodan turned around and flapped his wings together, creating a powerful sonic boom that forced the Monster King away in a shower of sparks. Spreading his wings once more, Rodan took to the skies above the ancient dinosaur, spewing a second Uranium Heat Beam that seared into Godzilla’s shoulder. The savior of San Francisco bellowed angrily at the mutant Pteranodon, and the only reply was another Uranium Beam striking the back of his neck. As Godzilla recoiled, Rodan preformed a dive bomb and struck him in the side, causing him to fall to one knee. Godzilla lashed with his tail, but Rodan veered away and back up into the air, spewing a fourth heat beam afterward. Fighting the pain, Godzilla let the potent radiation be absorbed into his system, giving him a much-needed boost of power. Rodan preformed another dive bomb, and Godzilla swung around with his tail-only to be met with a shock when, mere inches away from him, Rodan suddenly clapped his wings together and shot upward like a rocket, creating yet another sonic boom that ripped through Godzilla’s form.
That included his gills.
Godzilla now realized that this beast was toying with him, and with a loud roar of frustration he demanded the pterosaur come down and face him. The only response he got was Rodan diving downward before suddenly straightening himself and flying straight overhead the Monster King, slashing his skull with his chest spikes.
As Rodan tried to take back off, Godzilla snapped out a hand and grabbed hold of the pterosaur’s ankle. A surprised cackle left Rodan’s throat as Godzilla yanked him back, grabbing hold of his wings in his claws. Rodan screamed in rage as Godzilla dug his claws into the thin membranes, shredding them at the lower parts while he also chomped down on his neck. While Rodan’s neck was armored, it wasn’t enough to fully stop Godzilla’s teeth from piercing his flesh and drawing spurts of blood. Crying out in pain, Rodan was angrier than ever. Flapping his wings madly, Rodan thrashed like an enraged bird of prey, so much that even Godzilla was having a hard time keeping a firm grip on him. Clouds of dust were kicked up by the gusts of wind given off by the Pteranodon’s struggling, obscuring both monsters’ vision, but nevertheless Godzilla bit down harder.
In a mad act of fury and desperation, Rodan thrust his head back repeatedly with all the strength in his neck, jabbing his crown of horns into Godzilla’s neck. The Monster King groaned and released his grip at the attack, gagging a spurt of blood. But he was unprepared when Rodan thrust his head back once again, jabbing his horns into the saurian’s gills. A scream of pain echoed from the dinosaur’s jaws, and with a jerk of his head Rodan tore free and ripped himself out of Godzilla’s grasp afterward, flying a good distance away before landing, taking a moment to rest.
The mutated Pteranodon watched as the Permian apex predator heaved in pain from the previous attack, struggling to breathe properly with his bloodied, torn gills. And in that moment, Rodan understood. He now knew this creature’s major weak point, and he sought to exploit it. His eyes narrowing as a new plan entered his mind, Rodan put his rest on hold as he cackled at the King of the Monsters, who responded with a roar of his own.
Kicking off the earth, Rodan flew straight at Godzilla, who’s dorsal spines began to light up once more. Realizing what this meant, Rodan still continued to fly straight at the nuclear titan, who he guessed would be anticipating him to preform another type of surprise attack.
Godzilla, who was expecting the pterosaur to veer away at the last second and pull yet another fancy trick, was instead met with surprise when Rodan didn’t stop his course and slammed head-on into his chest, knocking him to the ground. Struggling quickly to his feet, Godzilla saw out of the corner of his eye Rodan preform another dive bomb from the side. His nuclear power fully charged, the Monster King snapped around and let loose an atomic blast that scorched the Pteranodon’s face, knocking him back with a roar of pain. Flying backward, Rodan repositioned himself mid-air before ascending higher above the nuclear giant, who fired off a second blast that continued to scorch his armored torso. Ignoring the minor pain, Rodan hovered for a moment before diving away when Godzilla started to aim the blast at his wings. His left wing suffering only a small tannish mark, the irradiated pterosaur dove down at Godzilla once again. Godzilla fired off a third blast, but the flying reptile was too fast and dodged it with ease before clapping his wings together as he passed Godzilla by, creating a shockwave that rippled through his right set of gills. Bellowing in pain and frustration, Godzilla spun around and fired off a fourth atomic ray that managed to minorly graze the pterosaur’s side. Rodan cackled almost mockingly before spewing a Uranium Heat Beam that struck the dinosaur’s chest, before suddenly moving it up to his left set of gills.
Reacting immediately, Godzilla brought his arms up to take the full, painful force of the assault-which left him open to attack when Rodan ceased fire and dove straight at him. This time, Godzilla smashed his tail into the ground and jumped at the pterodactyloid-only for him to preform a loop and smack his beak straight into his forehead, sending him falling back down to the earth with a thunderous boom!
As Godzilla groaned in pain and exhaustion, Rodan fired off another Uranium beam that seared yet again into his gills. Godzilla was beginning to have trouble breathing from the burnt slits, reduced to all but wheezing profusely as he struggled to take gulps of air. He tried to push himself off the ground, but with another blast to his side he was sent back down.
Even though a part of him knew there was no way to counter his enemy’s spamming, sheer determination and pride to not lose his crown kept the King of the Monsters going as he rose to his feet once again. Even if this was the day he met his match, he would still fight with every last breath until death finally overtook him. And, with 250 million years of life behind him, he roared in the face of death. He had lived this long, facing countless different horrors that plagued the planet. He would try whatever it took to see to it that this was not his last day on earth.
Godzilla bellowed as he rose to his feet, and almost immediately was met with a Uranium Beam to his face. Blindsided, the Monster King could only reel back before something immensely strong slammed right past him from the left, slashing his gills once again and drawing yet more blood. Rodan roared, his chest spikes stained with fresh blood of the Permian alpha, before proceeding to fire yet another beam. Beam after beam, dive bomb after dive bomb, shockwave after shockwave, Godzilla was all but helpless as Rodan trolled him for several minutes. But even in spite of the brutal assault he was undergoing, in spite of the horrible exhaustion that bit at every inch of his form, the King of the Monsters fought with every fiber of his being to keep fighting and standing no matter how many times he was knocked down.
Rodan fired off yet another beam that scorched Godzilla’s gills, and as Godzilla strained in unbearable agony he was caught off guard when the mutated Pteranodon swooped past him and sliced open his other set with his chest spines. As the king of the skies came back for another round, Godzilla kept his eyes trained on him every second in spite of his slowly draining strength, trying his best to keep a level head in his desperate state.
Suddenly, Rodan looped around and changed course, beginning to fly away. Godzilla blinked in surprise. The creature looked to be fleeing…yet there was no reason to be. Immediately, something felt very off about what was happening, and Godzilla braced himself for whatever deed the irradiated pterosaur was planning to carry out next.
It first started as a faint ringing sound, like a fighter jet flying at the speed of light. As the noise grew louder and louder, Godzilla’s eyes widened at what they saw. Rodan was coming at him from a distance, and he was coming in fast. Faster than he ever had before. From what it looked like, he was flying in a straight pattern, with no signs of slowing down. If that creature hit him with such a force, the results would be devastating. He braced himself, flexing his tail behind him as he prepared to swing it, remembering when the male MUTO had preformed a similar feat so long ago, and how he had slain him. How ironic it was, that here he was now, at his nemesis’ birthplace, now he himself in a more desperate state than ever as he prepared to let fate decide whether or not the tactic he used to kill his nemesis would work this time. Time seemed to slow as the Pteranodon neared. The nuclear giant had only one shot at this… … …
Rodan cackled as he began to near the old relic, who stood firm with a slight hunch, baring his teeth and glaring fearlessly. His own eyes narrowing, Rodan propelled himself at the fastest he had ever flown as he rapidly closed the gap between himself and the ancient predator. Closer and closer he drew, until he was right on top of him.
Godzilla’s nerves snapped, and he readied to swing-
-and another Uranium Beam shot from Rodan’s beak, striking Godzilla’s nose and burning his sinuses. With a roar that would’ve made the deepest cavities in the earth tremble, the Alpha Predator was helpless as Rodan collided into his upper torso at full, furious force.’
90,000 metric tons of monolithic flesh and prehistoric muscle were sent flying a full mile away before the King of the Monsters finally splashed down into the water, vanishing in a towering splash.
Flapping his wings and propelling himself backward, Rodan lost velocity as he finally landed upon the beach with a thud, letting loose a booming cackle of victory for all the entire island of Japan to hear. As his beak closed and stopped expelling his powerful cry, he continued to stand at the edge of the beach, waiting for any possible signs that the ancient leviathan might still be alive.
Ten minutes that seemed far too long, more akin to several hours, passed before a towering shape did slowly rise from the depths of the water.
Blood dripping from his hideous wounds, Godzilla stood up with a head hung low. Sheets of red poured from his nostrils and gills, his once proud stature now reduced to a broken imitation of its former self. The nuclear giant could not believe he was actually alive after such a powerful strike, but he did not know whether or not that would be the case for much longer. Once again, fate was a cruel adversary, and he would have to leave it to decide what happened next from here on out. His vision was blurry, his chest cavity ached savagely, his gills were torn and burnt to hell, his hearing was messy, even his legs still struggled to keep standing. Yet stand, he still did. Through his dazed ears he could just barely hear Rodan cackling at him in the distance, somewhere off at the beach. Was it a victory cry? Was it mockery? Was it a challenge? A threat? A warning to stay away? The ancient dinosaur did not know, nor did he care anymore. In his current state he couldn’t defeat the merciless mutant, and with that fact a part of him deep inside ached like never before. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he had lost a fight. More than likely not since his early youth days, back when giant beasts still stalked this land. When the world needed him, he had always answered its call, and he had always won.
For the first time in millions of centuries, he had failed.
Godzilla, his spirit dented by today’s battle, slowly began to turn away. He did not know har far he would make it before his strength faded, he did not know where he would end up, he did not know whether he would ever open his eyes and draw breath into his mighty form again after his eyes closed. Old age might just do him in this time, and if it did, Godzilla could only hope that another force in the world would take his place. All he could do now was journey as far as he could, and hope that fate would give him the strength to carry on like she had so many times over countless centuries of his existence. Only fate could decide.
And as if on cruel, sadistic cue, she answered.
Taking precise aim while standing at the beach, Rodan fired off a Uranium Heat Beam that didn’t miss its target-Godzilla’s left set of gills. As the beam continued to burn away, Godzilla, once the King of the Monsters, was too weak to block or move out of the way. With all the air left in his system, a loud roar 250 million years old vented from his gaping jaws, lasting a full eight seconds before, as all the control in his muscles numbed and his eyelids began to slide shut over the once proud orange orbs…
The old Alpha Predator fell forward with a splash, his legendary spines slowly sinking beneath the surface until finally they submerged completely beneath the ocean blue.
The King of the Monsters had disappeared.
A deep rumble echoing from his beak, Rodan flapped his wings as he slowly lifted off the earth, turning back toward Mt. Fuji. The ghost city of Janjira was quiet once again, the animals slowly beginning to reemerge from their hiding places as the victorious Kaiju flew away, rising higher and higher until finally he perched atop the peak of Mt. Fuji, gazing proudly over the gorgeous landscape. The old power plant was miraculously undamaged during the battle, but Rodan paid it no heed. This land was now his new home, his new kingdom, his new territory. After the defeated predator had paid no heeds to his warnings to leave, he had felled it, and he would do so to any other trespasser that would dare to challenge him for his hard-earned home.
Standing proudly over his dominion, Rodan released one last screech of triumph into the sky, letting the entire world know of his power and warning all who could hear it what would befall any others who challenged him for his new home. He would let the humans far away live out their lives on their side of the island, while he kept his. But if they decided to pay him a visit with the intention of toppling him, he wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest to put them in their place. Curling his wings forward, Rodan stepped into the center of the mountain as he nestled into an area soon to be his nesting ground. Today’s battle was a long and tiresome one, and he deserved a well-earned nap for its troubles. Laying his head down onto the cool snow and soft ashen earth, the Monster of the Skies slowly closed his eyes.
This morning had been his right to earn his territory, but tomorrow, at first sunrise, he would see to another, very special objective.
The defeat of Godzilla did not go unseen by the world. Citizens of Tokyo, Japan had glimpsed it far off in the distance, watching as his once godly form fell limply into the sea. Videos had been taken, satellite images and military video feeds captured, and thus the world reacted with shock and horror. Monarch was left astounded beyond belief. The occurrence was all over the news.
No one knew for the fate of the nuclear titan. Did he live? Had he been slain? Until he was found, until he showed his face in the future, no one would ever know.
Godzilla, King of the Monsters, had sunk below the vast depths of the very place of whence he came, vanished into the immeasurable abyss of the unknown.
Possibly never, on the face of the earth, to be seen again.
Winner: Rodan (Heisei)K.W.C. // September 10, 2020
Edits, additions and replacements. Toho’s large catalogue of films have sometimes been released untouched for the international markets, and other times have been hacked up almost beyond recognition. This article focuses on the rarely talked about musical component of this process, and looks to cite where music was inserted into a Toho film from an outside source when brought overseas. (more…)BY: Anthony RomeroGeneral // September 8, 2020
Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski
Osaka, Japan – Several months after the destruction of Infant Island
Rainbow beams seared into the asphalt as Mechagodzilla-2 dispatched of the JSDF’s artillery fire. Maser cannons and fighter jets were lost in a vast array of explosions, with many lives lost. Super Jikiro funneled its magnetic prowess through the blocky left hand, pulling in tanks and jeeps from the ground as they smashed into its hand. Those within were crushed by the tremendous pressure as more and more tanks and vehicles stacked into a tight metal sphere. As the field cleared of the JSDF’s weapons, aside from those destroyed by Mechagodzilla, Jikiro dropped the ball—which resounded with a loud thud upon impact. Humanity’s efforts were futile, for their forces had been spread thin. And with their enhanced upgrades endowed upon them since the destruction of Infant Island, humanity’s end would be inevitable.
Meanwhile, as many fled for their lives, a group of youths stood behind in the midst of the rampant chaos. Stealing desks from within the vacant school, they coordinated their efforts to recreate an ancient symbol, one thought to have called upon divine provenance in times of despair. The more they dedicated themselves, the faster the arrangement manifested itself in the form of a cross that seemingly emitted what resembled holy light. Even with all the death and destruction that surrounded them, they persevered and had faith this insane-brained plan would work.
Then Jikiro took notice.
The Garoga automaton scanned the ancient symbol and the puny insects that remained by the formation of school desks. What a pointless endeavor this was! For Jikiro would display that there was no hope to cling to when the Earth would fall into their hands! Its curved tail shone with a brilliant yellow light, its Gatling gun coursing with electricity as it aimed at the sign and the children. However, amidst the blazing evening sun, a shadow draped over the war machine. Jikiro’s sensors took notice of this, but it was far too late to react. With bursting winds following behind, the moth-like silhouette rammed into the mechanical heavyweight—grappling her multi-jointed legs atop Jikiro’s upper section and dragged the inorganic menace across the ruined streets with her incredible feat of strength. At the last moment, as she put distance between the alien fiend and the group of innocents, she released her hold and let Jikiro collapse onto the ground. The divine lepidopteran swooped around until she faced the alien threat, showing her true self that followed with a chirp.
The Mothra of the new millennium, protector of a new generation, and the heir of the olden Mothra!
With a loaded charge on standby, Jikiro unleashed its jagged Magnetic Ray from the barrels of its right hand. Yet with grace and elegance, the new Mothra avoided the lightning strands with relative ease. Before Jikiro could fire again, Mothra dive-bombed the techno-behemoth and sent the giant tumbling into an abandoned structure, crumbling under its sheer weight. Jikiro shifted through the rubble and tried to get back on its feet, but hurricane gales sudden overcame the mechanical titan that kept it pressed down against the ground. While it did not budge, the alien robot could not find the stable support it needed to get back up from Mothra’s powerful winds. The moth goddess kept up the attack, pelting the downed machine with the loose debris kicked up by the windstorm of her making.
The beautiful insect observed with her brilliant bulbous eyes and noticed the mechanized reptile concentrating on her with cold, lime green lenses. She abandoned Jikiro, narrowly avoiding the Space Beams that zipped past her. With a mechanical screech, Mechagodzilla shot another round of Space Beams at the angelic moth, which barely grazed her plated abdomen with a quick burst of sparks. She dove at the doppelganger, with wings outstretched and titled until she was sideways. Her wings dipped in between the space of the streets as she rushed past Mechagodzilla, tripping up the mechanical menace and dispersing an array of excess rubble from the violent gusts in her wake. The mechanoid reptile twisted his head, once again prepared to fire his Space Beams at the airborne moth. Before Mechagodzilla could fire, a spread of light bullets pelted at the guardian deity courtesy of Jikiro, and forced a pained shriek from the insect. Mechagodzilla didn’t let this chance go to waste as he fired another set of rainbow lasers, this time scoring a direct hit! Sparks and flames chipped at her armor as she elicited another agonizing screech. Although the youthful and vibrant Mothra kept her airlift, she knew this battle wasn’t going to be in her favor. Nevertheless, she had to fight—for the well being of the very planet she was born to protect!
Scanning with calculating eyes, Mechagodzilla squatted before his sole thrusters roared to life. With a powerful bound, the mechanical reptile took flight with a trail of smoke left in his path. He stiffened and straightened out his body, which ran parallel to the ground and face pointed forward. With an extra push from the rockets on his feet and tail tip, Mechagodzilla used his Unisot as a rudder in flight mode. He promptly began to pursue the target with the directive to clean up their unfinished business.
Mothra turned her head and noticed her pursuer closing the gap at an alarming rate. She banked a hard right, climbed into a nearby body of aerosol, and vanished from visible sight. As she broke through the other side, she was surprised that her mechanical foe performed the same stunt, almost like a mirror. Mechagodzilla unlocked his arms and brought them frontward, prepping them like blades. Both of them charged, ready to meet head-on.
With a thunderous clang, Mothra and Mechagodzilla passed each other in a brilliant spark of light as jointed feet and stiff arms clashed. The two descended in wide-angled turns to meet face-to-face for a second time, dropping beneath the clouds, and again their bodies collided in a shower of sparks as they zoomed by. Then it seemed as if they were arranging for another strike, Mothra clapped her wings and vanished into the thick stratus cloud. The airborne menace was quick to pursue, turning at a sharp angle and tore into the thick sheet of water vapor.
As the dark grey robot tried to scan for his target’s bio-metrics, he had difficulty sustaining flight within the cloud. The compressed water droplets and ice crystals incidentally paved way for troublesome turbulence. Little did he realize that Mothra, who also struggled with the thick vapor cloud, sidelined him from behind outside his visor’s peripheral. Grappling with her hooked claws onto the blunt spines that lined along Mechagodzilla’s back, Mothra pulled the mechanical menace, both of them spiraling through the fluffy sheet. With another tug, she steered down until they broke through the clouds—diving straight for the abandoned district of Osaka.
As they fell, Mothra felt a powerful jerk from the reptilian machine. Before she knew it, she was being hauled alongside Mechagodzilla by an unseen force. And it didn’t take her long to deduce the perpetrator behind it. Her compound eyes took heed of Jikiro, with its blocky left hand outstretched and the right Gatling gun hand outlining circular motions. Pulling back, Mothra abandoned Mechagodzilla as she left him under Jikiro’s magnetic influence. Then with a loud clang, Jikiro caught its mechanized ally and gently placed him back on his two feet.
Detaching from the blocky hand, both of them directed their attention to the moth guardian. Jikiro’s tail flashed and fired another Magnetic Ray as Mechagodzilla assisted with a round of rainbow-colored lasers. Mothra was quick, but not perfect. Torrential energy fire grazed and seared against her as she tried to close the distance. The scales suppressed the lethal damage when the projectiles singed her wings, but that did not stop their onslaught. As Mothra got closer, Mechagodzilla ceased firing and sat on his legs, supported by the tail, with the kneecaps aimed at the airborne target. In a burst, high pressure Homyu shells propelled out of his kneecaps and buried into the outermost layer of Mothra’s thorax. She elicited a cry as the shells drew blood, which evolved into a hideous shriek as the delayed explosion kicked in. The brief paralysis from the explosion gave the automatons the opportunity to unleash their payload on the guardian. Unable to resist the assault, Mothra was forced onto the asphalt and left at the invaders’ mercy.
Plumage of combustion and smoke rose from the many explosive shockwaves and fireballs that engulfed the fallen goddess. Not even a minute passed before all fell silent. Steam hissed from Mechagodzilla’s fingertips as his internal missile chamber replaced them with the new, more powerful revolver missiles. Jikiro’s four-pronged barrels sizzled with electricity, with the Magnetic Terror-Beast shrieking with delight. Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed with what would be considered anticipation as he set his fingers to finally obliterate their target.
Mothra would perish, and the world would lose hope.
Suddenly, their vision was compromised by silky string raining from the sky. The adhesive clung onto their metal frames, slowly building into thicker layers of webbing as the spray rained down on them. Jikiro flailed wildly, only to entangle itself more in the white mesh. Mechagodzilla kept his body movement restrained, only twisting his head to locate the source. Activity was detected, and the webbing had suddenly ceased, but there was no visible target in sight. With the buildings that stood in his way, the robot double of Godzilla could not get a fix on the target. Something he was quick to fix.
A quick tug and the chest compartment flipped open, tearing the silky strings attached to the upper torso with relative ease. Orange lightning flew from the glass bulb and effortlessly tore through the obstructions in front of him. As the structures crumbled and the dust settled, Mechagodzilla finally saw the target that dared interfere.
Its long, segmented, brown body called to mind a worm or a caterpillar, with a pair of soft blue beads for eyes attached to its face. Its muzzle twitched with uncertainty, as if it hadn’t anticipated in being found so quickly. The wormy creature released a quiet chirp, only to be promptly blasted by the orange bolt. As the durable larva was flung across the cityscape, Mechagodzilla moved toward his new target in slow strides. Their end would be inevitable.
For Jikiro, the webbing may have stopped, but the machine had been wrapped to the point of near immobility. While the automaton’s oddball physical structure ensured limited sight, as its head was located on the upper torso region, the net still proved problematic for its primary arsenal. Try as it might, the mighty war machine flailed about aimlessly. That was until a sharp pain in its synthetic circuitry alerted it of a hostile on the tip of its rounded tail. Jikiro could feel the extra weight that held its bulky, robotic tail down. Although it could still yank it around, it proved to be incredibly cumbersome to manage.
With muffled squeaks, the young Larva clung to the curved tail, fueled by determination. For every time Jikiro heaved its stunted tail, the Mothra Larva felt the brute force of being slammed against the pavement. Nevertheless, her resolve outweighed the pain that wracked her small body. However, despite being repeatedly smashed into the ground, it would not last forever. Electricity surged from the generator stored in Jikiro’s tail, shocking the mouth of the young Larva and finally forced her to release her bite. As the brown worm retreated into the abandoned streets, the mechanical giant tore through the web casing with a series of crooked bolts, which eventually freed Jikiro from its bind. It shook off the last of the sticky substance before turning to locate the intruder. Switching gears, Jikiro pointed its Gatling gun and fired several rounds of missiles, tearing through the structures to locate the target.
Buildings crumbled under the Terror-Beast’s missile barrage. Meanwhile, Jikiro pulled the metal framework into its blocky left hand, clearing the area from as much debris as possible. The more it pressed on, the greater the dust cloud became. Jikiro knew it would find it sooner than later; but what it didn’t expect was what came next. From the dusty clouds, the segmented worm leapt directly for Jikiro’s face! Her mandibles clamped into the machine’s blocky, rectangular mouth, holding on with everything she could muster. All the while, the Magnetic Terror-Beast thrashed about in a panic, trying to shove the small creature off it.
High pressure rounds bore into the worm-like insect as Mechagodzilla’s toes reloaded for the next round. The spinning missiles tore the exoskeleton and detonated, splitting the Larva’s natural armor with puss and yellow goop. The young Mothra shrieked from the excruciating agony, flopping over from the concussive aftershock. Her distress fell on deaf ears as Mechagodzilla loomed over her. Not a sound uttered from the machine other than the click, signifying that he reloaded.
Suddenly, a mighty and powerful cry alerted the ruthless automaton of his original objective. With nothing more than a simple twist of the head, Mechagodzilla’s green lenses locked onto the adult Mothra, who beelined straight for him. In a moment’s notice, the homing missiles burst from his toes, eliciting an anguished screech from the baby Mothra. This only provoked the mother Mothra even more as she cried out for her child. The closer she got, the more Mechagodzilla silently prepared his next attack. Instantaneously, high-powered explosive charges erupted from the ports in a wild stream of flames. With a clap of her wings, Mothra elevated above the searing fire, barely avoiding Mechagodzilla’s surprise attack. Though its range was limited, the stoic weapon continued to pour ammunition into the Desto-Fire, rotating his head and tilting his body to keep track of the moth deity’s path.
Enough was enough for Jikiro as it focused its concentration by pelting the infant worm with a barrage of light bullets. Plasma energies rained down on the Mothra Larva with a cavalcade of explosive sparks. Unable to brute force the pain, the youngling found herself releasing her mouthy grip and dropping to the ground. Without a second to waste, the mighty Garoga machine delivered a solid kick, hurling the brown caterpillar into the nearby Umeda Sky Building. With a jerky tug from its left hand, the magnetic influence pressured the metal framework to collapse in on itself, burying the Mothra Larva under thousands of tons of glass and metal, crushing her. Satisfied, Jikiro went ahead to assist his robotic ally against the true threat.
Mechagodzilla ceased discharge when his head clicked back into place, prioritizing from the maimed larva to the adult. As the heat had melted the webbing away, Mechagodzilla was granted his mobility, turning his body and firing Space Beams at the Earth guardian. Elegantly, she evaded the rainbow lasers and dove in headfirst. In truth, rage coursed through her body. But now wasn’t the time, she couldn’t lose sight of the important responsibility she had to uphold, for her mother’s sake, for her family.
Mechagodzilla’s stiff hands rotated, re-calibrating the revolver missiles he had yet to employ. The very weapon he had intended to finish off Mothra with would still fulfill their purpose. Both sets of fingers aimed and fired, converging on their primary target. A master of maneuverability and swiftness, Mothra zoomed past the lethal weapons and allowed them to slip by, not landing a scratch on her. The flames that propelled the revolver missiles fizzled out and began to fall in an arc. She accelerated and rammed her entire body mass into Mechagodzilla’s torso, relentlessly throwing the machine to the ground. Damages were sustained in its armored plating, dented from the extreme force applied. Mechagodzilla rose to his feet, undeterred from seeing this through to the end. Both locked eyes, examining each other closely to see who would pull the trigger.
The wait wasn’t long.
Mothra suddenly felt an explosive force against her back. Her chitin chipped away from the blast as her fur caught aflame. But it wasn’t done with her yet. Another round of the revolver missiles bombarded her, and more soon followed. Each repetitive strike whittled away the posterior of her natural armor, and each time eliciting a more agonizing shriek than the last. Once again, she found herself unable to sustain airborne flight as she was forced to the ground. While she tried to kick up winds to dampen the flames on her back, the metallic roar that came from behind informed Mothra all she needed to know.
Jikiro’s Gatling gun hissed with steam as the automaton clanked its two asymmetrical arms together. For Jikiro had used its magnetic influence to pull the revolver missiles to itself, sucking them into the crease of the blocky left hand and out the barrels of its right hand. Jikiro screeched with devilish glee, eager to finally see all this come to an end. Mechagodzilla’s stoic demeanor expressed nothing, only an artificial will to seek and destroy. Both aimed their artillery hands at the fallen Mothra, only to once again find their visions compromised with silky web.
The Magnetic Terror-Beast muttered and agitated cry. It knew in that moment the Larva it thought it had dispatched was still alive and kicking. Frustrated at their persistence, Jikiro prepared a Magnetic Ray, signaled by a flash from the tail, and turned to face the juvenile Mothra. As it threw the four-pronged barrels in front of itself, it discharged a streak of electric currents. At the last second, the segmented insect leapt over the beam, projecting to bite on Jikiro’s boxy head again. However, the mechanical giant swatted the bug with the blocky hand, ensuring the same tactic wouldn’t work twice.
The Mothra Larva knew she had to fight against the mechanical reptile, even if she had already sustained lethal injuries from the inorganic imposter. She knew her sister was fighting to protect their mother, much like she was. Each second, she felt her life energy drain away the more she bled out. But her youthful, determinable will would not break as she continuously spat out a long string of silk. Even as Mechagodzilla discharged explosive flames from the nose ports to counter her web, she saw her mother in the distance. Her back was still aflame, bodily fluids leaked from Jikiro’s attack. Their eyes locked, and they recalled the warmth and love of home… She witnessed her mother scurry on her legs, crumpling buildings under her fluttering wings to take flight. Her desperate plea evolved into lamenting shrills, begging Mechagodzilla to stop.
The Larva felt nauseous, her head spun around from excessive blood loss. She remained steadfast, even as her webbing vanished amidst Mechagodzilla’s lethal Desto-Fire. Her body was pressed down by her withering state; her blue eyes flickered in an attempt to persevere. Yet she knew what waited for her at the end. With his right hand, Mechagodzilla aimed his newly loaded revolver missiles at the grievously injured caterpillar.
Her mother screamed, accelerating as much as she could.
A simple rotation of the wrist, Mechagodzilla’s lime green eyes flashed.
Time slowed for the adult Mothra. She felt the gap between them widen tremendously, everything coming to an abrupt crawl. A sudden rush of memories of the recent-past came flooding in; how she migrated her people from the decimated Infant Island to the Bonin Islands, her rebirth into adulthood, the day she laid her egg and had twins, nurtured them to be strong Mothras for the next generation, how she promised to avenge those who had fallen before her… All that led to this very moment. With one final cry, she beseeched the metallic reptile to spare her child.
Mechagodzilla gave no response.
Her world shattered with a cacophonous boom. Sickening dread overwhelmed the imago Mothra as she saw the plume of explosive flames blossomed—and with it, chunks of brown chitin, yellow goop, and the ravaged body of her offspring, devoid of life. Her heart fell into the pits of despair, unable to process the reality that reflected off the sheen of her bulbous, compound eyes. She choked on her mourning cries, and golden glitter leaked from the tips of her majestic wings. Yet there was little time to grieve as her gentle blue eyes swirled into crimson wrath. She pushed her body and beelined directly for Mechagodzilla, who was already turning around to meet Mothra face to face. A trail of golden scales trickled from her wings, determined to exact her revenge upon her child’s killer.
Mechagodzilla barely had the chance to react as Mothra recklessly slammed her entire mass against his space titanium plating. The mechanical imposter tripped back, with a noticeable dent engraved in his upper chest. Mechagodzilla scanned the purple sky, whose sunlight had already dimmed beyond the horizon, only to find a set of angry red eyes peering into his artificial soul. The moth-shaped form descended upon him, her loose scales clung on his extraterrestrial armor. Vicious swipes from her talons scarred Mechagodzilla’s snout with sparks and scraping of the metal. From the metallic menace’s perspective, an electronic interference muffled with his directory, unable to properly access the weapons stored in his head region. So, he improvised.
With a subtle click, the hatch on his chest opened, prepared to use the Cross Attack Beam. But Mothra was quick to the draw, pulling her abdomen and shoved her blunt stinger into chest compartment, which housed the reddish bulb. Under its weight, Mothra grinded the weapon into dust, and even so continued to jab and dent Mechagodzilla’s armor with her incredible physical prowess. The machine’s control system went haywire, and shortly went limp thereafter. Lime green eyes faded, but even so, Mothra vented her sorrowful rage by raking the cybernetic corpse with her claws, dislocating the lower jaw and shredding the torso’s outer layer, only to reveal the inner circuitry… That was until she heard her other child’s cry. Abandoning the scrap heap, Mothra’s crimson eyes narrowed on Jikiro, the last of the invaders that had brought harm to her family.
Another brutal kick hurled the second larva into a row of buildings, bringing them down under her weight. As the Mothra Larva chirped in anguish, she heard the clanging of Jikiro’s footfalls coming ever closer. The abnormal automaton cheered with a synthetic screech, holding out the blocky left hand. Magnetic waves stretched beyond to the distant horizon nearly three miles away. Courtesy of its enhancements, it tugged at the outlying Tsutenkaku’s shimmering red hue against the waning twilight. The magnetic force rocked the steel tower, which leaned over from the tremendous strain that influenced it. Then, not by its own volition, Tsutenkaku was pulled from its foundation and plowed through many buildings without any signs of stopping. Jikiro’s powerful magnet trembled from the force applied, but continued nonetheless. In less than a minute, the 103-meter tall tower found itself affixed to the blocky hand with a resounding shockwave, one that the Mothra Larva could feel the breeze of.
For a moment, the Terror-Beast pulled its arm back and heaved the metal tower down like a sledgehammer. With quick thinking and intuition, the young Mothra rolled out of harm’s way, letting the structure slam into the asphalt with a destructive blast of wind and shrapnel. Even though she dodged it, the mere aftershock was enough to send the segmented worm crashing into another set of buildings nearby. Tsutenkaku’s reinforced steel frame had creaked and contorted, but Jikiro still had a use for it. Before it could try again, the Terror-Beast heard the angry shrills of a wrathful punisher from behind, diverting its attention. Jikiro saw the imago’s form plastered against a darkened sky, her eyes brimming with crimson hate. With an eerie war cry, Mothra dove down toward Jikiro, leaking a stream of gold scales in her wake.
The Magnetic Terror-Beast knew she was out of range to use the Tsutenkaku against her, so it accommodated with a brilliant, yellow flash from its curled tail. Aiming its Gatling gun, a wild burst of electrical fury surged from the four-pronged tips and zoomed toward the moth deity. Much like in the past, Mothra’s reflexes saved her from a direct hit, only grazing her armored chitin. The rest of the lightning blast came into contact with the glittery trail left behind, resulting in a fantastic and blinding series of explosions, a reaction unlike the previous Mothra that Jikiro recalled fighting.
Mothra continued her straightforward track, even when that put her in range of Jikiro’s new toy. The machine prepared an overhand, noticing that the divine moth made no effort to stray from her path. Before it could bring the full brunt of the tower onto the guardian, Mothra’s wings caught wind which dragged her to a stop, where she then followed up with a clap that dispersed a golden dust cloud. Golden scales swarmed the Garoga invader, searing into the machine’s armor plating. Perpetuated by the ensemble of Mothra’s divine wrath, Jikiro struggled to maintain footing. It wasn’t just a byproduct of the pain they brought; the Terror-Beast could detect several vital mechanisms within its body short circuiting, losing control over its functionality. It tried to bring up the Gatling gun, only for the spark within its tail-generator to die off; the magnetism that held the broken Tsutenkaku diminished, dropping the large structure to its side; and finally, Jikiro could feel itself collapse under its own weight as its eyes darkened. Even after the Magnetic Terror-Beast went limp, Mothra continued to pelt the mechanical monstrosity out of sheer rage.
A small chirp beckoned the adult Mothra’s attention. She cocked her head and saw her child. The pace of her flaps slowed as the scales that left her wings diminished, leaving only a lingering cloud over Jikiro’s fallen body. Her wrathful red eyes vanquished as they returned to their gentle blue, filled with sadness and regret. The mother Mothra slowly descended to the ground, unable to maintain air buoyancy from the guilt she carried in her heart. The Mothra Larva crawled up and rubbed her nuzzle against her mother’s. Both of them cried and mourned, filling the air with sorrow.
Mothra’s mission blinded her from what it meant to be a Mothra. To avenge was not the code of ethic, but to protect. Yet her pride got to her, and such a grievous mistake came at a cost. Ever since her birth, that arrogance seeped into her subconscious, even as she carried out her duty to the outside world. And it was one she hoped never to repeat again, for the sake of her last child and the generations that followed.
The Larva noticed imminent danger out of the corner of her eye and warned her mother with a high-pitched squeal. The imago Mothra didn’t hesitate for a second, raising her body off the ground to cover her child from what came next. The scales that remained suddenly combusted into a fiery plume, one that the mother Mothra took the full brunt of, consumed by flames.
Off in the distance, mechanical eyes glared at the billowing fire with indifference. Green lenses saw the remains of his former ally shatter into scattered limbs and pieces of armored shrapnel. But Mechagodzilla felt nothing of it; Jikiro was no longer a benefit to the cause. If it ensured the destruction of the Mothra lineage, then that would be more than enough. With a quick shot of Space Beams, Mechagodzilla had already set the golden cloud aflame… But the machine had calculative doubts that that was the true end of the Mothras. His eyes scanned his hands, detecting the particles leftover from Mothra’s rage-induced assault. They possessed reflective properties that induced powerful explosions, unlike that of the previous Mothra they had fought at Infant Island. Mechagodzilla tried to rotate his wrists, only for grinding screeches like nails on a chalkboard to emanate from the wrist joints as they struggled to spin efficiently. While his whole body had been peppered by the golden scales, his hands took most of the scales and left his arms virtually inoperable. Fortunately for the Simian mech, he didn’t need his arms for what he was about to do next.
Even though the base of his head initially creaked, it didn’t take long for his spinning head to break into place. Faster and faster, his head rotated until he dispatched cyan energy from his eyes, which enveloped him in a cylindrical barrier. Now it was a matter of waiting out to see if the two remaining Mothras survived or not…
Mechagodzilla’s spinning head came to a steady halt as the energized barrier became fully reinforced. Scanners observed the ruined city, more importantly the gigantic fireball where the Mothras were, to see if there were bio-signatures to be found. While it wasn’t immediately obvious at first, Mechagodzilla detected an immense spike of energy near the heart of the explosion.
Flames and smoke warped as a fiery body flew out of the blast. The imago Mothra, encased in a body of fire, shrieked one final war cry; she was prepared to finish this ordeal once and for all. Mechagodzilla had anticipated as much, but was ready to bring it all to an end. In the span of a few seconds, the flaming Mothra closed the gap.
Then, the moment of impact.
Burning red fire and brilliant cyan energies clashed against each other, sparking in a beautiful cavalcade of conflicting sparkles. Mothra’s body warped the permeable barrier, inching ever closer to Mechagodzilla’s body. Yet even with the fire coat, it did not suppress all the damage; the harder she pushed, the more she lost her outer shell and wings in a burst of smoke and vapor. She inched ever closer to his metal torso…
Unable to endure it for any longer, the flaming Mothra bounced back from the incredible force of the barrier, shedding her fiery fleece as she crashed onto the ruined city of Osaka. Her child rushed to her side, nudging her war-torn visage to wake up. Her eyes were dimming, which made the child anxious. The Larva took a glance at the mechanical threat that loomed ahead of them, dreadfully anticipating having to fight the robotic behemoth.
Much to her surprise, turned out there wasn’t a need to.
The Larva saw a cascade of sparks reacting from within Mechagodzilla’s protective casing. This led to a series of chain reactions, as one explosive scale ignited the next. For Mechagodzilla, the barrier became an inescapable prison, a coffin that cemented his fate. As more of the scales reacted, the more Mechagodzilla was consumed in a mammoth explosion. The cylindrical barrier warped and expanded, trying to contain the blast, and illuminated in a bright white light. But it was unable to contain all the energy within and popped from all the power. A flood of fire and shockwaves overtook the two Mothras and flung from away as the rest of the explosion manifested in a mushroom-shaped cloud. Soon enough, the thunderous roar of the blast quieted and left a raging fire in its wake. From the sky, shredded and charred pieces of Mechagodzilla rained down, marking the end of his reign of terror.
The Larva awoke from the unconscious and scanned her surroundings, having been separated from her mother during the explosion. She quickly found her in the outermost ring and rushed to her side. Much to her dismay, she remained unmoving. Her head and wings were shells of what they once were just moments ago. The Larva pleaded to the natural forces of the world not to take her mother away as well. To lose all she cherished was too heavy of a burden on her mortal soul…
The husk began to move. Dimmed eyes ignited in a brilliant blue light, reinvigorated with fresh life energy. The Larva squealed with a joyful surge as the mother cooed her child in assurance. Even with her damaged wings, the adult Mothra was still flight capable as she pushed herself off the ground. The two scoured the ruined Osaka until they found the last knot that needed to be tied before departing. They found the broken and mangled body of the fallen Mothra Larva, and now finally had the time to grieve. Mournful wails echoed across the battle-torn field, and those that heard it from a distance felt a deep-rooted sadness that accompanied it.
Hours passed, with the scenery influenced by the midnight darkness and the soft glow of moonlight. The raging fire that had once burned died down as well. As their grieving session came to a close, the living Larva sprayed a silken web over her sister’s corpse, encasing it in a cocoon. The mother Mothra had her strength restored and grabbed hold of her child with her spindly legs. With several, successive flaps of her wings, her and the Larva took off into the starry sky, returning to their new home at the Bonin Islands—where their people awaited them.
Before the flock of people would gather around in the morning to pay their respects, a messenger manifested from the sky. The minuscule, green-eyed moth gently landed atop the silken sarcophagus, cooing gently to the soul within. It was time to leave. The Fairy Mothra chirped as she lifted off, towing her grandchild’s soul with her into a world beyond the mortal coil, where they both could finally rest in peace.
Winner: Mothra (Millennium)K.W.C. // September 1, 2020
Updates have stalled for Godzilla: Defense Force, meaning the state of the current game will likely reflect the final state of the title. As a result, we are ready to present our last tier list for the mobile game, a much delayed Godzilla: Defense Force artifact tier list.
This is arguably the most important tier list. While all artifacts are beneficial, as they all boost attack by +25% and have an added effect, the game is setup so that players won’t get them all. This is because of the scaling costs, which make it harder and harder to get the next artifact. Consequently, players should expect to get 18-20 artifacts out of a total of 23. This means players need to prioritize their artifacts, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to invest in through upgrading. The sooner the player makes this decision the better, as investing in artifacts makes them more expensive to deconstruct to try and get a new one. This can be unfairly punishing as for example it can cost 5,000 X-nium to deconstruct a level 25 artifact.
(more…)BY: Anthony RomeroGeneral // August 25, 2020
In celebration of the recent Gamera: The Complete Collection box set on Blu-ray, contributor Jeremy Williams interviews James Flower. A producer at Arrow Films and project manager on the Gamera collection. Arrow has released a number of Toho films in the last decade, including The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, Dark Water, Pulse, the One Missed Call Trilogy and the Ringu Collection, one of Flower’s favorite Arrow Video titles from last year. (more…)Interviews // August 22, 2020
Author: Andrew Sudomerski | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski
Fight until the bitter end.
That was what Mothra thought as she evaded the merciless barrage from the mechanical invaders. It was more than just for herself; this sacred land was her home, her priestesses and worshippers were family, and most importantly was the egg she had fought so rigorously to protect. Even in her injured state, with a slashed wing and missing a leg from her encounter with Zilla, she flew with grace and elegance over the surface, then proceeded to clap her wings to gain elevation over the hundreds of missiles and light bullets.
Mechagodzilla remained stationary as endless finger missiles and shells burst from his fingertips, kneecaps, toes, neck, and mouth. Even if they missed Mothra, Mechagodzilla and his mechanical ally were here not just for the destruction of Mothra, but the demise of Infant Island. Thus, it was of no loss when the missiles missed their primary target. Fortunately for Mechagodzilla, Jikiro had his back. The Magnetic Terror-Beast kept aim with its right hand, a Gatling gun, which fired a spray of yellow bullets. The projectiles burst into sparks upon striking the Earth spirit’s fluffy thorax, which compelled her to cry out. Even so, the injury did not deter her.
As she closed the gap between her and her adversaries, Mothra fired twin orange beams from her antennae. Both individually blasted the robotic titans, which distracted Jikiro and simply made Mechagodzilla ceasefire. The lepidopteran deity flew over the mechanical duo and dragged a powerful gale in her wake. Jikiro simply anchored itself with its immense weight. Mechagodzilla stumbled back, but not before rotating his head 180 degrees. Red, calculating lenses projected Mothra’s distance relative to his own and fired a pair of Space Beams at her. The rainbow-colored lasers found their mark on her underbelly, eliciting a shriek from the moth goddess.
She maintained lift and banked a hard right, curving around to meet with her enemies once again. Mothra prepared her next strike in the form of glittery scales from her wings. Both Mechagodzilla and Jikiro stood their ground, but were quickly overwhelmed with her divinity. Golden powder-like scales washed over the mechanical fiends and scorched into their metal armor. The Godzilla doppelganger was quick to react as his head spun in place and generated a cyan cylinder from his eyes, which wrapped around his form. The small specks of light were neutralized, but there was nothing Mechagodzilla could do but wait. Jikiro, on the other hand, had no such luck. It tried to fire its light bullets, but the buffer layer dispersed the energy into jagged strings, which redirected back at Jikiro with searing pain. The Magnetic Terror-Beast tried again, this time indicated by a burst of light from its tail, as it fired a concentrated Magnetic Ray at Mothra. To no avail, as the diffused electrical energy bounced about in the golden cloud and returned to its sender in full force.
Energy wasn’t doing the trick, so Jikiro had to depend on old reliable. Shifting gears within its Gatling gun, Jikiro changed its ammunition. As it aimed its Gatling gun once more, Jikiro uttered a pained shriek with the continual burns seared into its body. With rapid succession, missiles shot out from the barrels, ripping through the golden cloud and embedded themselves into their target. Mothra’s shrill resounded across the battlefield as she was sent hurtling back, throwing her from the air to the ground accompanied by burning flames and shrapnel. Even if the scales left Jikiro weary, the war machine did not ceasefire until the particles faded from sight. When they did, Jikiro collapsed onto its knees and blocky left hand, still sizzling and barely keeping it together.
The Earth spirit was burdened by the wounds she sustained, but even worse was that she had fallen onto her back. She fluttered her wings wildly, kicking up a dust storm, each beat straining her body. But her bulbous, bright blue eyes informed her that she wasn’t going to make it. For she saw the cyan cylinder dissipated from the false Godzilla, who shifted into attack mode. Mechagodzilla’s chest compartment flipped opened, then all hell broke loose. Rainbow lasers, orange electric currents, yellow atomic flames, and space titanium-infused artillery fire poured from the mechanical behemoth, overwhelming the Infant Island deity in a blaze of relentless pain and agony. Any of Mothra’s anguished screeches were lost in the deafening booms that surrounded her.
Thick black smoke and heavy dust obscured the moth guardian’s being, but that did not stop Mechagodzilla’s onslaught. Although Jikiro could barely hear their opponent’s banshee wails, there were points where Mothra’s shrieks overpowered even that of the explosions—a direct hit! However, even Mechagodzilla came to a ceasefire, for the plumage was too immense to guarantee a solid shot. The automatons scanned and waited for any signs of life…
Mechagodzilla’s lenses caught an energy reading. It was a miniscule ball of light particles that danced around the mechanical behemoth’s eyes. Scanners identified it as a moth, no more than 30 centimeters in wingspan. Had this been a normal animal, there would have been no reason to hesitate. But it wasn’t. The energy spike it produced told Mechagodzilla otherwise. The tiny blue-eyed, bright yellow-bodied moth squeaked, as if warning him. Jikiro, even in its weakened state, also scanned the entity with curiosity; that was until the Terror-Beast peered over the dust cloud. With wild screeches, Jikiro alerted Mechagodzilla of the threat that loomed.
An anomalous holy light brimmed from where their target laid, and what came forth was nothing short of breathtaking. Numerous moths, far too many to individually account for. They were similar to the yellow-bodied one, their population blotted the sunlight with what may have been tens of thousands of tiny shadows.
The smoke cleared away and revealed the grievously injured Mothra, charred, bleeding, and missing an eye, but her wings lustrous and bright. Hundreds upon thousands of minute replicas manifested from tattered wings, swarming their benevolent creator. With a loud chirping war cry, Mothra issued the attack!
In an instant, all the yellow-bodied Fairy Mothras dove straight at the two mechanical giants, pelting them with their antenna lasers. Individually, one Fairy didn’t do much; but as a collective, they singed the armor that protected their circuitry. The swarm fluttered around the behemoths, throwing off their trajectory. That was until Mothra commanded them to disperse, in which she unloaded her antennae lasers unto the alien invaders. Both of them stumbled and collapsed into one another.
Not wasting a second, she flew directly at Mechagodzilla! With her enormous mass, she rammed into Mechagodzilla’s upper torso and latched her miniscule legs onto his frame. Without a second thought, energy funneled through her claws as she pumped Mechagodzilla full of her divine wrath. The metal doppelganger of the Monster King jittered and spastically twitched uncontrollably as retribution coursed through his circuitry, frying them. Mothra continued her ruthless assault by discharging lightning from her wings, pelting the space titanium alloy until it was charred black.
The downed Jikiro was pelted by the armada, but it carried out its orders by swiping and blasting the miniature Mothras into a flurry of golden powder. Light bullets scattered their energized carcasses, whilst magnetism pulled the minerals within the large boulders onto its magnetic hand, crushing the Fairy Mothras under its weight. The Garoga automaton switched gears and pulsated light from its tail, signaling a destructive discharge. A crooked bolt of lightning swathed the Fairy Mothras, incinerating their bodies down to atoms. It eased the load, but the army of moths continued valiantly with their given mission.
Even though Jikiro was weakened, the Garoga machine would not lie down and wait. Pushing itself to its feet and shaking off the laser fire, Jikiro’s tail pulsated with yellow light. Channeling its electric prowess, the automaton fired its Magnetic Ray at the adult Mothra, searing into her body as it shoved her off of Mechagodzilla. Her thorax oozed with grotesque puss, resulted from the attack delivered by Jikiro.
Even though he was saved by his ally, Mechagodzilla collapsed onto the ground, unable to operate its motor functions due to the damage inflicted on the Cybanek. The robot monster was left helpless, but Jikiro set out to complete what they were both here for; the destruction of Mothra and Infant Island. Try as he might, however, Jikiro couldn’t land a solid blow against the wounded veteran, each wave of light bullets only striking empty air as she maneuvered out of the way.
Higher and higher, the winged moth elevated into the sunlit sky, out of Jikiro’s line of fire. She beckoned her armada, and they complied with no hesitation. Immediately, they disengaged their targets and offered themselves to their maker, shining in brilliant spores. The more that merged with her, the more intense Mothra became as she was encased in a golden hue. She began to circle around, leaving a glittery trail in her wake.
Jikiro panicked, kicking his downed ally in an effort to get him back up. From the heat produced by Mothra’s assault, Mechagodzilla’s nostrils exhaled steam as a coolant. His flaring crimson eyes glared at his partner, at least until he heeded what Jikiro had to say. He detected a considerable spike of energy produced from their primary target. This was a danger for the both of them, and there were two immediate options at his disposal.
Mothra’s output of power informed Mechagodzilla’s decision making in taking the best course of action. His neck creaked from the scarred metal, but continued to swirl all the same. Faster and faster his head rotated, then deployed cyan energy from his eyes to construct the cylindrical barrier around his body. If this was the guardian’s last hurrah, then perhaps it was best to wait her out…
Jikiro pondered, leaving the stake of its artificial life in its own hands. Mechagodzilla was prepared to take the blow, and the divine moth nearly completed the inevitable spell she would cast. He had to think of something quick, or risk the slim chance of survival on luck… no, the machine refused to bow to such improbable odds. If it were to fulfill the execution of its orders, it would do so by its own ingenuity. It was then that an idea came to the machine. There were no other options to work with, not with more time. There were only seconds to spare—time it was unsure would be enough, but had to try nonetheless.
Pointing its blocky left arm to the sky, Jikiro twisted the magnets by a simple rotation of its wrists, and then circled its Gatling gun arm around as many times it could humanely do. Air was displaced by the force of his spinning arm, which strengthened its magnetic influence. Jikiro’s magnets discharged an inverse magnetic polarization; rather than attract, it would repel metal and disperse energy under the magnetic field it produced. But would it be enough to protect itself from what came next? This was Jikiro’s only shot.
A golden ring clamped together as the holy moth continued to forge the seal’s power. Within the empty space, the Symbol of Mothra manifested and illuminated ever so brightly. With a simple command, it made its descent with a massive boom.
Then, it struck.
A thunderous cavalcade resonated across the land as the last of Mothra’s might seared itself into the earth. Massive shockwaves spread through the foliage and broken rock. Even the natives had to hold onto whatever remained steadfast in the destructive wake. Jikiro’s magnetic waves dispelled some of the energy, casting it aside as the Earth does with the sun’s gamma rays. Even so, it wasn’t enough to completely withstand it, as the heat it produced melted its armor and pushed it further into the earth. Mechagodzilla only fared slightly better. The overwhelming energy warped the cylindrical shield from the immense force. So much so that even the mechanical menace dropped to one knee from the pressure being applied. Only a few seconds passed before the two were engulfed in a purifying light.
Like the sun, the Symbol of Mothra cast its light upon the darkness, signaling a chance for hope and prosperity. Just as quickly as it appeared, it faded. Scorched land was imprinted with the symbol, a sign of her divine power. The elder Mothra flew in to inspect the damages—to see if the invaders were still standing.
As she glided over, she saw the remnants of her foes. Mechagodzilla had collapsed onto his chest, whilst Jikiro was partially buried under scorched earth, with the rocks already like molten slag. It had seemed both were finally stopped, at long last. Nevertheless, Mothra continued her investigation and found herself hovering above Mechagodzilla’s carcass.
It was then the lifeless head creaked, twisting his head to meet Mothra eye to eye. Red lenses flared to life as the wicked machine fire a pair of rainbow lasers at point blank! The Infant Island goddess was flung back from the surprise attack, failing to even register the loss of her two front legs. As Mothra crashed, Mechagodzilla rose to his feet and reoriented himself. Meanwhile, Jikiro’s tomb began to vibrate.
With a theatrical display, the melted mineral crater exploded, revealing Jikiro in moderate condition. Swirling heat dispersed into the daylight sky, with only noticeable deformation in Jikiro’s armor. However, its left hand was lost, destroyed by the seal. So instead, Jikiro improvised with a sudden charge of electricity.
Mothra had nothing left to defend herself with. All of it had been expended in the fight, leaving her nothing left to hold onto… Except for hope for the future. One she knew she would not live to see. The mechanical duo shook the broken earth with every step they took, prepared to finish what they came here to do.
Jikiro approached her first, holding the Gatling gun out and spraying the fallen goddess with an electric burst. Disgusting crunches echoed as the energy tore through Mothra’s natural armor. Her cries resounded to all who could hear as she squirmed in absolute agony. The mechanical replica of Godzilla, meanwhile, prepared to unload all of his firepower. Jikiro backed off and allowed his Simian ally to eviscerate the corpse in a spectacular display. Her final cry was cut short as rainbow lasers, orange lightning, and many missiles and shells tore Mothra asunder, scattering her remains across this very island she was designed to protect. Now there was nothing that would stand in their way from accomplishing their goals.
The Magnetic Terror-Beast took heed of the fleeing natives and gifted them with a spread of light bullets from the right hand. They were incinerated in an instant. The light bullets evolved into a stream of electricity, eviscerating the flora, fauna, and villages that dwelled in the foliage. Mechagodzilla proceeded to assist his partner by carving the island with his Space Beams and Cross Attack Beam, utterly laying waste to the island until it became nothing more than smoldering ruins.
It was then that they noticed the mountainside Mothra had fought so rigorously to protect. They had to ensure that nothing could come from this. Both machines aimed their weaponry at the mountain itself, blasting it to kingdom come. The tumbling rocks further layered on top of Mothra’s domain, cementing the fate of Infant Island.
The bright sky turned pitch black from the rolling smoke, only the flames served as a dark marker in history. Their masters were content and were ordered to return to headquarters. Mechagodzilla’s soles roared to life as he took off by rocket boosters. Jikiro, however, had to do it the manual way by taking a dip into the water. The Magnetic Terror-Beast followed the fiery trail left behind Mechagodzilla’s wake. Soon enough, after the raging fires had extinguished, all fell silent.
Days passed, as those who were in the temple grounds of Mothra’s cavern were the only survivors from the merciless genocide, which only amounted to fifty individuals accounted for. They prayed fervently to the lone egg that stood perched among the rubble from the collapsed mountain. Even with the few they had, they performed ceremonial dances for the divine protection of their beloved moth god. The Cosmos sung the song of the Earth, clinging to hope for the future while wracked with grief.
And an answer was delivered.
The egg began to flash in a brilliant spectacle. All who worshipped fell back at its sight, even the twin priestesses. The shell cracked, and what emerged was her long awaited successor. The young larva screeched as she took her first breath in her life, defiant to let this be the end of the Mothra lineage and the wonderful wisdom of Infant Island. As she quieted down, the larva gazed upon her people, sensing the dread they all faced. She assured them with gentle chirps, that she would avenge her mother and those that defiled Infant Island’s beauty, for she was their last hope.
Winner: Mechagodzilla (Showa), JikiroK.W.C. // August 21, 2020