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Author: Matthew Williams | Banner: Matthew Williams
On one of the paradise beaches of Jamacia, a large group of Caribbean citizens were enjoying their time, swimming in the shallow waters and relaxing on the sands without a care in the world. One particular group were in the middle of a game of volleyball, caught up in the sport until one player struck the volleyball too hard, sending it flying all the way into the calm waters of the ocean.
As one of the players headed to the shallow waters to reclaim the ball, a long tentacle burst from the murky waters. The appendage wrapped its slimy frame around the unfortunate swimmer, coating him in the tar dripping from its suckers. The man yelled and thrashed in its constricting grip as he felt his skin sting on contact with the tar, as if it had some kind of corrosive effect. The screams of terror gradually pulled all attention to the sea where the man struggling for life arose in tandem with a monstrous goliath, resembling a brown squid. The Mutant Giant Squid crawled onto the sands as five more of its kind followed from behind, driven up from the depths in search of new feeding grounds. The horrifying cephalopods latched onto the fear frozen humans with their tar-covered tentacles and dragged them close, cocooning their prey in the corrosive black ooze.
While the Mutant Giant Squids feasted, one of the oversized cephalopods was separated from its relatives as it pursued its fleeing prey. As it began to close in on the fast female, the sand swayed and then erupted with activity. Beneath the glistening flakes of earth, a crimson hand snatched the squid, pulling the terrified creature into a maw filled with razor sharp teeth. The six squids, hearing the wailing cries of the doomed sea creature, turned their attention to the giant monster as it pulled its reptilian form out of the earth. A roar followed the lumbering reptiles’ arrival. The giant, brown creature stood on its hind legs, towering over the palm trees. It resembled a dinosaur, covered in a line of ridged plates of armor from neck to tail. But it was unlike any dinosaur the world had ever seen, as it also had some features from mammalian species. Two large, elephantine ears pointed forward to listen with acute accuracy to his surroundings, and a long, yellow nasal horn pulsed with a faint glow as it sniffed the air. The theropod had large talons on its four feet, designed to burrow deep in the ground like a mole, and its snout was dog-like in appearance. The monster that dared himself to steal the cephalopods’ kill was none other than the subterranean dinosaur, Baragon.
Before the Giant Mutant Squids could react to the giant, they watched the creature chew their fallen member. Massive jaws ripped apart squid flesh with ease, allowing the cephalopod to be swallowed whole in a single gulp.
Baragon could not hide the delight of the meal, the meat proved delicious, but the creature’s eyes widened as he tasted the tar, forcing him to regurgitate the chewed up mutant. It was the worst thing that Baragon had ever tasted. Noticing the remaining petrified squids, the horned beast stood on his hind legs and unleashed his magma heat ray on the hideous marine animals. The squids let out squeals of agony as their tar-covered bodies and their captured prey combusted into flames, burning them alive.
Baragon watched the squids wither and crackle, letting the fire do its job of cooking them to death. Just as the flames died away and the Mutant Giant Squids were now nothing more than burnt corpses, Baragon’s nostrils snorted upon the charred carcasses. While they smelled like burning tar, the dinosaur still bit into one of the squids, just to taste it. The flavor seemed better now that the tar was burned away, but the black ooze still lingered, causing Baragon to snarl in disgust but upon feeling the gurgle of his near empty gullet, the dinosaur moved forward to sate his hunger.
It was far from the worst meal he’d ever consumed…
After consuming four of the mutants, Baragon noticed something breach the ocean surface and slowly drift toward the shore. It was Gezora! But as Baragon got a closer look, he realized that the titanic cuttlefish wasn’t moving, lying face down in the water, and as the crimson dinosaur crawled into the shallow water to get a closer look, he noticed that some of the cuttlefish’s tentacles had been ripped off. Blood oozed out of the stumps and the cuttlefish’s beak, contaminating the water with its sapphire fluids. Just as the subterranean dinosaur was about to drag the corpse out of the ocean, licking his lips in anticipation, a wave crested over the horizon.
Rippling waves parted upon reaching shallow waters, revealing the bizarre Crustaceous Rex as it rose from the depths, uttering a mighty roar. Strolling upon the sand with thick tri-toed legs, C-Rex cast its shadow upon the stunned dinosaur and slurped one of Gezora’s tentacles down into its gullet. Easily eclipsing the rival beast’s height, the yellow deep sea abomination doubted Baragon would battle him over his kill, but as a weak bellow birthed from the dinosaur’s maw, white eyes locked on the crimson creature. C-Rex peered down at the either brave or stupid monster and decided to a show of force necessary. Baragon barely noticed the movement before C-Rex swung out with a clenched foot, clobbering the crimson creature across the skull. The dinosaur cried out as he fell into the ocean while C-Rex crawled onto land, spying the last of the deceased giant squids. Further prey to consume….
Baragon crawled back ashore, shaking its body like a dog exiting a pool. Orange eyes snapped to the squids, his kills, and from the pilfering of his prey an overwhelming urge to destroy filled the creature’s body. The brown dinosaur leaped in the air, tackling Crustaceous Rex from behind and pinning it to the ground, earning a screech of surprise from the deep sea anomaly. Razor sharp teeth clamped upon C-Rex’s monstrous right leg and then the beast ruthlessly shook. He thrashed his head side-to-side, trying to break through the tough carapace, but the crustacean’s other leg suddenly shot out and struck the big-eared beastie square in the forehead. Baragon released his grip in anguish and backed off, rubbing his battered head, while C-Rex staggered to its feet. Both monsters glared at one anther, intentions clear to any being that happened upon their standoff.
A minor skirmish over food was now personal, a fight to the death.
C-Rex proved quicker on the draw and lashed out with its four tentacles, wrapping them around Baragon’s body. The underground monster growled and tried to pull away, but Crustaceous Rex’s strength easily outmatched him as he dragged the shrieking subterranean monster toward him to deliver a kick in his gut. Watching Baragon flinch for a moment, C-Rex hesitated, deciding instead to launch the dinosaur in the air. A nearby cliffside ended the dinosaur’s flight. Tons of rocks began to fall onto the screeching Baragon, prompting him to spew forth his heat ray, first at the falling boulders, reducing them to fine dust, and then at C-Rex’s distant form. The sea behemoth hollered in anguish, stepping back before he charged forward, swaying its body side to side causing the sand to bounce.
Reptilian eyes widened as Baragon felt the charging’s bi-pedal squid’s weight ripple through silica and dirt. If he didn’t move, he’d be crushed in seconds! Yelping in terror, the beast of the underground started clawing into the sand, vanishing into the earth’s surface just as C-Rex smashed its bulk into the cliff.
Furious bellows quaked the beach. C-Rex showed no hesitation in voicing its rage at the smaller carnivore. It demanded the dinosaur’s return which the crimson beast happily granted.
Bursting from atop the cliff, an almost gleeful Baragon tackled C-Rex, pinning the creature of the deep back on the hot sand. Baragon howled and slammed his sharp claws down on the mutant’s back, but the crustacean’s armored hide proved too thick. With its opponent distracted in his efforts to break through its armor, Crustaceous Rex pushed itself up and bucked the dinosaur off its back.
Keeping the combat to his favor, Baragon parted his maw, washing his foe in fiery energies. Crustaceous Rex stumbled backward, groaning with unportrayable pain as the beam blackened its armored hide. As the stream of fire resided, Baragon took the opportunity to launch an attack at close-quarters and rushed toward his quarry. The marine mutant quickly countered the attack, latching its tentacles around the underground dinosaur’s neck and arms and swinging him off his feet, causing the brown reptile to roll across the sands with a surprised, pathetic sound. With the slimy limbs still coiling around his own, Baragon pushed himself up and stood on his hind legs, spewing another magma heat ray at C-Rex’s chest. The beam crackled loudly on contact, but it barely harmed the armor of the crustacean. Noting the failure, Baragon went for a simpler tactic and sank his sharp teeth deep into one of the constricting tentacles, tearing it off cleanly.
C-Rex screamed as the tentacle was torn away, though the severed appendage still clung to the dinosaur’s arm. Before the horned monster could tear off another tentacle, C-Rex instantly regurgitated a stream of hot tar all over Baragon’s face. The subterranean beast roared in a panic as ooze covered his eyes, blinding him, and he ceased his efforts to focus on removing the sticky, burning substance. C-Rex took the moment to lift a leg and swing it at Baragon, sending him crashing onto the sand. Its competitor was down, but its last attack had required all of its tar reserves, and it was now running on empty. Instead of continuing the fight, Crustaceous Rex turned and headed toward a town close by to search for any substitutes for its natural prey’s tar.
As the waves washed over Baragon’s face, the tar that coated the giant carnivore’s head lost its adhesion and slid off his scales. His vision cleared, allowing Baragon to crawl out of the water and shake his head. His vision was not perfect, making it hard for the reptile to determine his surroundings without concentrating. His ears waved frantically, detecting the cries of C-Rex in the distance. His rage returned tenfold as the creature’s actions replayed in his mind. With a ferocious roar, he began to dig, slipping under the sands without a trace.
C-Rex continued its search for more tar, crushing dozens of houses and buildings underfoot without notice. The citizens of the village ran as far away as they could from the chaos, but the undersea anomaly, even at the slow pace it took, was far quicker than they could ever run. Countless people couldn’t escape their fate as dozens of them were snatched up by the beast’s tentacles and tossed into Crustaceous Rex’s massive maw like popcorn. C-Rex’s destructive wrath came to a halt when he spotted several tanker trucks filled with tar parked in a construction site. The crustacean kaiju wasted no time, grasping one of the vehicles and brought it to its bizarre, flower-shaped mouth. As the tanker crumpled and split under the crustacean’s squeezing hold and the contents spurted into its mouth, C-Rex shrieked in glee and slammed its mouth down on the vehicle, sucking up all of the tar into its maw before swallowing it.
As Crustaceous Rex’s tentacles reached for another tanker truck, an orange beam impacted the vehicle and ignited its volatile load, causing the container to erupt in a small, but still violent explosion. C-Rex stepped back and shrieked in surprise, turning its head to spot the approaching Baragon rising from his tunnel. But just as the deep sea dweller was ready to engage his opponent for another fight, Baragon’s massive ears moved and covered most of his face. He couldn’t see anything with the ears blindfolding his eyes, but this would hopefully protect his face from any further damage. But even if he couldn’t see anything, he could still smell the pungent odor of the mutation.
Baragon reared up on his hind legs as C-Rex lunged, biting down on one of the fiend’s tentacles as it snapped toward his covered face. The crustacean slammed his foot down into his attacker’s chest in response with enough force to make him fall onto his armored back, though the tentacle in the dinosaur’s maw was torn away in turn. C-Rex let out a violent screech and began to pummel Baragon’s belly with his remaining tentacles, using the appendages like torturous whips to lacerate the softer scales on the burrower’s underside, earning shrieks of pure agony from the tormented creature. His horn flashed brightly as Baragon let loose his magma heat ray, blindly swinging his head from side-to-side in the hopes of striking his attacker. After several wild sweeps, the beam made contact with C-Rex’s chest, generating a burst of flames from the spot of contact and setting one of the beast’s tentacles ablaze. Screeching in agonized panic as the limb burned, C-Rex struck out with it, using the tentacle as a flaming whip to strike at Baragon’s ears. The thin skin had no resistance to the scorching flames, blackening and blistering on contact and driving a loud cry from the prehistoric monster.
C-Rex enjoyed its opponent’s screams as it continued to assault the dinosaur’s delicate ears. Its ignited tentacle switched targets, wrapping around Baragon’s neck and squeezing tight, slowly burning away the scaly skin. The flames against the soft flesh of his tentacles was agonizing to C-Rex, but using them to make its enemy share the same pain made it worth it. Foam began to pour out of the strangled Baragon’s jaws as the searing hot tentacle burned his tightened neck. He had no other choice but to unfold his burnt ears to spare them from further damage and spewed out his heat ray at the burning tentacle, cutting the limb in two. Crustaceous Rex snapped back and shrieked its pain, allowing Baragon to push up from the earth and breathe deeply, spitting foam from his teeth and dislodging the crustacean’s severed appendages with a few shakes of his head.
The carnivorous monster’s ears once again covered his face, far more gently this time as he let out a loud roar and leaped into the air. C-Rex ducked down as Baragon’s body went over him, squashing a row of houses. The reptile roared and thrashed in the wreckage as he slowly recovered, but C-Rex’s two remaining tentacles whipped the titan’s face before he reached his feet. The rust-colored monster ignored the assault and leaped into the air once more, aiming his face toward C-Rex’s own as its visage morphed into a shocked expression.
Baragon’s nasal horn pierced the creature’s right eye, and the yellow behemoth let loose an ear-piercing screech , trying to tear the dinosaur’s horn from its skull as fluids dripped from the mutilated socket. Baragon held onto the mutant’s head as he pulled his horn out of the punctured eye socket with a gut-wrenching sound that made even his indomitable stomach heave. Blood sprayed out of Crustaceous Rex’s empty eye socket as the creature screeched in agonizing pain. Grabbing Baragon with his tentacles, it pulled the assaulting monster away from its face and violently threw the dinosaur away.
C-Rex grunted heavily, suffering from the trauma of its combined injuries and struggling to keep standing. What had become a battle for dominance had turned into a fight for its life. It had to remove its adversary posthaste. The creature’s throat began to generate a sickening sound, ready to bathe Baragon in a stream of its regurgitated tar. The sound generated was far from subtle, and Baragon’s large ears, even in their damaged state and current function, could recognize what the noise was linked to. His head snapped in the direction of the volume, spitting out his heat ray before C-Rex’s tar could leave its maw.
A sickening wail followed.
Black ooze alit en masse, transforming into a raging fire inside the confines of the crustacean’s body. C-Rex attempts to scream possessed no oxygen to carry its monstrous voice, allowing only horrid gurgles to signal the creature’s agony. Quickly, the bi-pedal squid sprinted toward the beach, hoping to extinguish the raging inferno within.
Baragon’s ears unfolded as he sensed the mutation’s retreat, following after its quarry as it headed for the sea. The thought of letting C-Rex escape after its thievery and attack on him made the ancient predator’s blood boil. He would not stand for such a humiliating conclusion!
Just as the burning crustacean dipped into the shallow waters, Baragon let loose one final heat ray on the mutant’s smoldering armored back, breaking through the weakened material. Flammable tar ignited in a bright burst of light, ripping exoskeleton apart with ease. C-Rex’s upper body vanished inside the growing bloom of energy, its internal organs ripped apart in an instant as chunks of its burning flesh were blown across the landscape. What remained of C-Rex fell forward into the ocean, smoke billowing from the deep-sea carnivore’s ruptured carapace. Its landing churned up the waves, mixing it with its bizarre blood and the blazing tar that spilled from the creature’s mouth. It lay there, slowly cooking from the inside-out.
Baragon stepped over to C-Rex’s corpse and sniffed the beast. The smell of the thing had been repulsive, but as the flesh roasted, the disgust Baragon felt started to lose its potency. With a familiar gurgle of his stomach, Baragon fell victim to impulse and sunk his jaws into the mutant’s hide. Licking his blood coated lips, Baragon nearly smiled. It was the best thing he had ever tasted; he should do this more often! Perhaps when he finished off C-Rex’s body, he would try out his new method on the corpse of Gezora.
Not now, of course. He was tired and hungry, and had all the time in the world to rest and recover. It wasn’t like he was going to run out of food anytime soon…
Somewhere in a facility far from Jamacia, Cameron Winter watched the monitor as it displayed the live footage of Baragon roaring in triumph over the deceased Crustaceous Rex.
“How unfortunate,” Cameron Winters sighed, tilting his glasses. “C-Rex was able to kill Gezora, but to lose to Baragon of all monsters… what terrible luck.”
A voice chimed in from behind the mogul. “Sir, what will we do, now that our test of C-Rex’s capabilities is ruined?”
“Isn’t it obvious?,” Cameron stated with a flare of his hands and a haunting smile. “We will take control over Baragon. After all, if our monster was defeated, why not replace it with the one that killed it?”
Winner: Baragon (Showa)K.W.C. // October 21, 2021
Shortly after the turn of the century, Toho Music was on and off releasing CD soundtracks. From scores around director Akira Kurosawa to the expansive Godzilla Soundtrack Perfect line, a plethora of titles were issued. That is until 2013, when news and future releases stopped. A two disc set for The Last War (1961) would mark one of their final releases… but the torch would be passed. (more…)BY: Anthony RomeroNews // October 19, 2021
I bought the Godzilla Mint Can “Tokyo” (ゴジラ ミント缶) back in 2019 or so, figuring I could write a review of the little guy for some time… but I was never quite sure what to say about the thing. Unlike some of the more elaborate Godzilla foods from yesteryear (like the Valentine’s sweets), the Godzilla Mint Can is quite… normal, and the actual mints are thoroughly unremarkable. Not bad—they are serviceable mints and taste fine, but the main attraction to this product is the steel can itself, and what you can come up with to use it for after the mints are gone. (more…)Kaiju Kuisine // October 15, 2021
In April 2020, when covid-19 was shutting down conventions across the United States, I was asked to join a team of people organizing a rather exciting project. Led by genre historian Steve Ryfle, we undertook the task of putting together a free online convention dedicated to informative discussion on kaiju eiga. The result was Kaiju Masterclass, broadcast to YouTube on October 2-4, 2020, featuring a number of info-heavy panels as well as original interviews with directors (Shusuke Kaneko, Shinji Higuchi), composers (Michiru Oshima, David Arnold, Bear McCreary), suit maker Shinichi Wakasa, and more! The event remains something I’m extremely proud to have been a part of; and now it is my sincere pleasure to announce that a follow-up, Kaiju Masterclass II, is around the corner!
Like its predecessor, Kaiju Masterclass II—to be held November 5-7, 2021—will be free to watch via the convention’s YouTube channel. We’ve expanded our organizational team by four people (genre historian Ed Godziszewski; his wife Mariko; translator Amanda Whalen; and Matt Burkett, creator of the popular YouTube channel MONSTROSITIES: A Vlog of Tokusatsu) and assembled a list of guests that include writer/director Kazuki Omori, Millennium Godzilla suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa, sculptor Fuyuki Shinada, illustrator William Stout (one of the personnel behind Steve Miner’s unmade Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3-D), and Latitude Zero (1969) cast member Linda Haynes.
The event will also feature interviews/presentations with people who’ve written about the genre and about the Japanese film industry: authors Jasper Sharp, Mike Bogue, Kevin Derendorf, and John LeMay; Japan Times film critic Mark Schilling; and Norman England, who covered the makings of Gamera: Revenge of Iris (1999) and the Millennium Godzilla films for Fangoria—and who is now publishing a book about his set experiences, Behind the Kaiju Curtain: A Journey onto Japan’s Biggest Film Sets, to come out from Awai Books this November!
A complete list of guests and contributors is available on the convention’s website, and a schedule is forthcoming. However, there is one last marquee guest I’d like to mention….
It is with great excitement that Kaiju Masterclass II announces a forthcoming interview with none other than Reijiro Koroku, composer of 1984’s The Return of Godzilla! Koroku’s score for the ’84 film is often cited as one of the finest in the series; and as best as our research can tell, he’s never talked about the score with an English language platform. So we are incredibly honored to have him for Kaiju Masterclass year—and hope you’ll join us in learning about the time he wrote the music for Godzilla’s 30th anniversary comeback!
Be sure to check out Kaiju Masterclass’s website and to follow the convention on social media for updates.BY: Patrick GalvanNews // October 10, 2021
Author: Landon Soto | Banner: Matthew Williams
Monster Island. A place like no other, the landmass served as home to many of Earth’s famous monsters, hence the name. The large island was the center of an archipelago, nestled amidst clusters of smaller islands, inhabited by monsters that preferred the comfort of isolation, leaving Monster Island as the hub and home to the majority of the monstrous population.
The mighty Gorosaurus trudged along the grassy fields, passing a snoozing Baragon on his search for his favorite of the native prey. From his perch atop the towering mountainside, Varan the unbelievable watched Anguirus and Daigoro sunbathe on the warm, white sands that boarded the ocean. Rodan kept his distance, feasting greedily on the innards of a Kamacuras once foolish enough to challenge him. Gabara took a dip in the ocean to cool off, hot and exhausted from his cruel and petty activities from the morning. In spite of their nature as vicious beasts and terrible destroyers, the residents of Monster Island had a sense of humanity in their moments of relaxation. Like the humans, they wanted peace, not violence, but each of the giants would not hesitate to act in retaliation.
There was one monster that had trouble adjusting to his new home though. Up on one of the high cliffs overlooking the island, a giant humanoid sat, staring out to the horizon. The sun bathed the ‘man’ in its warmth, but he could not relax. The human team on Monster Island knew who this beast was, the famous monster of Doctor Frankenstein that took the name of his dead creator, and the story of his origins.
In 1965, Frankenstein rampaged through Hiroshima and fought with the first Baragon, confused but determined to save the humans that had showed him kindness. During their fight, the ground was torn asunder by an unexpected earthquake, and the two giants fell into the belly of the Earth. It was unknown if the Baragon survived, or if it possessed some relation to the second generation Baragon on the island, but there was no mistaking that Frankenstein was the same beast from 1965.
Frankenstein sat, pondering. He knew he didn’t quite belong, and struggled to find a place among the other monsters that populated the isle. He recalled attempting to kill the younger Baragon, acting on instinct and memories of the dinosaur’s image, but to his surprise, it showed fear over aggression in his presence, and all he remembered after that encounter was a mean kangaroo kick from the large, blue dinosaur. He was the closest thing to human on the island, which sparked up debate on whether he should stay, or be relocated to a more suitable facility. Either way, the goliath understood that if this was to be his new home, he would have to try to comply with the rules.
The troubled humanoid was broken out of his thoughts when he heard a rustling in the foliage behind him. Out from the dense plant life, a small, gray monster trotted up to the wild man. Frankenstein stared at him with interest, for he had yet to see this creature up close, hesitant to make direct contact with the others after the poor stunt he pulled with Baragon. But this young creature didn’t seem to be afraid like Baragon. Instead, he approached with apparent curiosity, perhaps just as eager to learn about Frankenstein as much as he wanted to know more about it.
Minilla cleared his throat and let out an immature version of his father’s famous roar, happily taking a seat next to the nervous hominid. Frankenstein held his ground and assessed the small monster, noting how confident and content it seemed in his presence. Slowly, his guard dropped and he began to finally relax, glad to find some hospitality after his rocky start on the island.
Frankenstein, who hadn’t quite learnt to communicate with other monsters himself, had a decent understanding of what others were trying to convey to him. He let out a gruff sound, like a bear, and nodded his head, accepting the infant’s company.
Minilla grinned, putting a clawed hand on Frankenstein as reassurance. The mountain man was surprised, for he did not expect a show of empathy like this from a creature so distant to himself. This little gray monster was the most human-like creature he had encountered, and now he sought more of his company. Minilla beamed up at the humanoid, and Frankenstein returned it with a toothy grin.
The mismatched pair relaxed on the ledge for hours, watching as the sky turned from blue and orange, and the sun dropped toward the horizon. Frankenstein wished that the moment could last forever. As the thought passed his mind, he was startled by a loud and commanding roar, echoing in the distance. He jumped and turned, letting out a started grunt and high on alert for whatever had made the call. But the little monster showed no fear of the terrifying call. Instead, he hopped to his feet and let out a sigh of disappointment, which caught the eye of Frankenstein.
Minilla looked up at Frankenstein with a less cheery expression, which earned a look of confusion across the mutated man’s features in return. He grabbed and tugged at the furs that clothed his naked form, looking not at Frankenstein, but out into the distance, toward the source of the call. The humanoid understood now.
It was a call of summons, demanding the presence of Minilla and Frankenstein both. Whoever ruled this land appeared to want to meet its mysterious new resident, and from the little monster’s urging, it was not an order to be ignored. Climbing up onto his feet, the primal human allowed Minilla to lead him on, and his new companion complied. He now knew what the call meant. He understood that he would have to prove himself soon.
The two walked through trees, valleys and bushes, higher and higher as the vegetation began to thin. On the slopes of the tallest mountain, as the pair exited the jungle, the thinning air took its toll, reducing their ability to take breath. For what seemed like hours, they trekked on up the steep path, until finally, the terrain flattened out into an open field. On the walls of the surrounding mountains, Frankenstein noticed the gathered denizens of Monster Island already waiting, watching their every move. Like him, they had answered the call, but it seemed that something else lay in store for him.
Minilla stopped and Frankenstein came to a halt behind him. Not a second later, the fierce, animalistic roar from before bellowed throughout the island. Minilla immediately ran to the source as it stepped into the valley from the opposite end, letting out a high, excited roar and hugging a bulging, toned leg of the king of the monsters himself, Godzilla.
Frankenstein took a long look at the ‘King of the Monsters’. His feet felt numb and frozen to the spot, blood running cold in the presence of this towering, terrifying monster. Godzilla was a bulky titan with charcoal black skin, big, ivory dorsal fins, and a long tail that seemed to shake the mountains whenever it smacked the ground. He was a creature, an entity, far outside the ability of the shivering human.
Godzilla eyed the new addition to Monster Island. His nostrils flared and he gritted his fangs, enraged by the creature’s resemblance to the humans that sought to bind or kill him, his family and his companions. However, it was humans that also gave the monsters a beautiful home, and even saved his life on rare occasions. He should not judge on appearances, and tempered his anger. Actions would be what determined the fate of Frankenstein, as was the law of the kingdom of monsters. The trial of combat.
The mighty saurian let out a low roar, calling out the fighters he had chosen to test the newcomer’s ability. From the valley’s entrance, three monsters emerged, one after the other; the spiked angilosaurus Anguirus, the first and most loyal of Godzilla’s friends, the irradiated pteranodon Rodan, Godzilla’s rival but trusted ally, and the adopted godzillasaurus Godzilla Junior, the eldest child and heir to the throne.
Frankenstein understood what was about to transpire, no matter of his choice on the matter. He stepped forward to stand a fair distance from the trio, accepting the terms of the trail. Without hesitation, Godzilla roared to the sky, summoning the first combatant forward. Anguirus took his place in the area, locking his eyes on Frankenstein as he assessed and prepared. He let out a sharp bark dragging his hand in the dirt, ready to charge. Frankenstein assumed his fighting stance, meeting the eyes of the spine-covered dinosaur in spite of his shaking nerves.
The spectators held their monstrous breathes, waiting to see who would strike first. They did not have to wait long.
Anguirus couldn’t contain his excitement and charged the humanoid, lowering his head with the hope to gore Frankenstein with his nasal horn. The humanoid titan reacted swiftly as he picked up a large boulder and threw it like a bowling ball at his charging adversary. Anguirus, unable to stop himself, was struck dead center on the top of his skull, sending spasms of agony pulsing through his nervous system. As he skidded across the ground, Frankenstein jumped out of his path before he came to a stop, growling deep from his chest as he brought a trembling paw to the throbbing bump protruding from his forehead.
Frankenstein saw the opportunity and took it. Quickly, he maneuvered around the dazed dinosaur, clutching Anguirus by the tail. Although he looked frail, Frankenstein possessed incredible strength of his own, and Anguirus was quick to discover this. With a surprised honk, the quadruped was dragged back and swung into the air, spinning faster and faster within the clutches of the modified man. But while his strength was great, Frankenstein was lacking in the stamina to harness it. Fatigue kicked in, and with a few last spins, he had to release his grip, sending Anguirus flying away with a shriek of terror. With a powerful crash, he slammed into the mountainside, vanishing within a thick cloud of grey dust.
The monster spectators cheered and growled at Frankenstein’s show of strength, which bolstered the hominid’s uncertain ego. He knew he had to gain their trust, and this seemed to be the best option. Focusing back on the mountain, he was met by the shape of Anguirus, snarling in anger and charging down the steep terrain. Frankenstein grabbed another boulder, but Anguirus had a way of dealing with that trick.
Charging head first again, Anguirus kept his eyes on the humanoid, barking as he came closer and closer. Like before, Frankenstein hurled the boulder across the ground, hoping lightning would strike twice in the same place. As the boulder barreled forward, Anguirus leapt into the air, curling his head toward his tail and tucking his limbs within to transform into a rolling ball of spikes. His new shape bounced on the ground, flying harmlessly over the rock, and right into the path of Frankenstein.
The mountain man tried to throw himself out of harm’s way, but his legs were caught by the rolling dinosaur, throwing the wild man into the air like a ragdoll. Anguirus rolled to a halt and uncurled from his ball, groaning and rubbing his aching neck. The new technique had much room for improvement, but he got what needed to be done. From behind him came the heavy thud of Frankenstein hitting the ground, turning around to witness as the winded titan dragged himself out of the dirt, coughing and spitting out the mud that clogged his mouth and gums. The exercise, unfortunately, distracted him from the imminent threat, as Anguirus slowly stalked closer to the distracted beast-man…
The air was knocked from Frankenstein’s lungs as Anguirus slammed his bulk upon the colossal man. Pinning the arms of his opponent down against the dirt with his toned claws, the horned beast opened his maw and clamped down onto the left shoulder of Frankenstein. The giant man howled in pain, his cries echoing across the battlefield.
Minilla chewed on his nails as he watched the intensifying battle. His knees trembled at the sight of Frankenstein hollering and bleeding across the landscape, unable to watch as his new friend was ripped apart in front of his eyes. He needed to do something. He had to stop this!
Godzilla’s deep voice halted his young son’s intentions. Meeting Minilla’s eyes, the King of the Monsters discovered any attempts to intervene with a warning growl, and the monster prince subsided immediately. Though Godzilla could partly understand the feelings of his youngest child, the rules of the challenge could not be ignored, even by their writer. Until one fell, the fighting would continue.
Blood flowed down Frankenstein’s shoulder as Anguirus shook his head violently, almost ripping the arm from the socket. With the beast’s ferocity, the limb would be torn off at this rate, unless the wild man intervened. He lashed out with his right hand, gritting his teeth against the pain flooding him and raked down the side of Anguirus’ face, catching the dinosaur’s left eye with his sharp, unclean fingernails. Anguirus’ jaws released their grip, yelping at the horrible, excruciating pain that flooded half of his vision. It gave Frankenstein the chance to ram a knee upward into the beast’s ribs, furthering the torment experienced by his adversary. With a load and shrill roar, Anguirus rolled off of Frankenstein and crashed upon his side, squirming and wheezing.
The titanic man immediately struggled up to his feet, covering the ravaged bite mark across his shoulder with a grunt of discomfort. Even with his advanced regenerative ability, it would take significant time to regain full use of the limb.
Anguirus struggled to rise onto his own four feet, snorting away the collected dust in his nostrils and shook away the cobwebs inside his skull. He charged toward the blurry shape of Frankenstein in spite of its disoriented senses. In response, Frankenstein sprinted forward and leaped over the dinosaur, planting his palms upon the spiny shell to vault over the stampeding giant. The sting of his injury surged across the feral titan’s shoulder as he touched the ground, directing an irritated groan from his lips, but with the regenerative cells kicking in now, it was no longer a concern at the moment. Frankenstein twisted around and held his hands up in his signature fighting stance as Anguirus turned around and snarled at the goliath.
The spiked monster knew that he needed another new strategy to overcome the challenger. He turned and barred his back to Frankenstein, bewildering the colossal man for the brief moment before he began to claw up the dirt beneath him. Anguirus’ toned leg muscles ripped up tons of earth with each stroke and kicked it away in the direction of Frankenstein, engulfing the giant’s form in plumes of heavy dust. He coughed and wheezed upon the clouds, swinging his arms frantically through watering vision in order to dispel the blinding veil.
It took several moments for enough of the dust to settle that he could see once again. Clapping down his arms, Frankenstein wiped his dirtied face clean with his forearm as best that he could, blinking away the last of the irritating particles. Once he could see clearly, he realized the intentions of his foe’s trick, for they had vanished from the battleground, with the obvious clue to their whereabouts a gigantic burrow, leading deep into the lightless depths of the earth.
Uprooting a tree, the human behemoth carefully stepped across the area, trying to feel the vibrations from Anguirus through the soles of his feet. The monster spectators held their breath, waiting for the next move to be made in anticipation. Anguirus’ strategy was smart, and Frankenstein would admit that, but unfortunately, the tenacious dinosaur had no knowledge of the primitive man’s history. The first Baragon had been a burrower just like him, and Frankenstein could recount that creature’s behavior in precise detail, letting him use those memories to construct a counter-strategy. A textbook case of brain over brawn.
The dirt beneath Frankenstein began to tremble, but the proto-Gargantua was prepared. He rolled out of the way, albeit awkwardly, landing with a hard thud on his rear. Anguirus exploded out of the dirt leaping upon and pinning the humanoid, snapping his jaws at the giant man in search of his face and throat. Frankenstein moved his head to avoid being mauled, thrusting his arm forward to stuff the uprooted tree into the maw of the rapid beast. Anguirus’ eyes bulged in surprise, primeval growls turning to muffled gags around the leaves and branches that clogged his maw. With his main weapon disabled, Frankenstein clamped the dinosaur’s mouth shut, pulling his own legs in to place his feet against the quadruped’s belly and, with excruciating effort, launched the ancient beast into the air.
Dirt and trees erupted into the air as Anguirus slammed into the earth, groaning in discomfort. It took a moment for the horned titan to rise up and gather himself, huffing clouds of steam from his nostrils. He spat out the tree lodged in his gums, picking at his teeth to dig out the branches and vines stuck between them.
Frankenstein ripped up a second, larger tree, hefting it with hands while he tested the weight and sturdiness, grunting in satisfaction. He raised and aimed it toward Anguirus with his extended arm as a challenge before firmly grasping it with both hands, the weapon pulled to his chest.
From Anguirus’ maw, saliva and plant matter splattered across the dry ground as he howled in fury. He charged the German beast and, with his powerful legs, leaped into the air. The dinosaur’s jaws opened wide, sharp teeth and drool glistening in the light of the sun as he flew forth at his target. The monster spectators leaned forward in anticipation and awe.
Time seemed to run at a crawl. Frankenstein swung his tree as hard as he could, and Anguirus snapped forward with teeth and claws. The clashing titans met face to face, determined to land their decisive blow against the other. There was a tense silence… followed by a sharp crack.
The ancient predator felt wood shatter into splinters against his cheek for a brief second before his face squished and his eyes slammed shut. Anguirus spun in the air for a brief moment before he skidded along the ground, carving a shallow trench in the land for several meters. He came to a stop, completely unconscious, head lolling to the side as the dazed monster’s tongue split across the grass. The broken top half of Frankenstein’s tree, broken off in the strike, impacted near Anguirus’ head, imbedded into the ground.
Frankenstein tossed the broken remains of his weapon aside. He slouched over, his chest heaving with deep breaths and sweat pooling upon his hairy brow. From around, the locals began to cheer and groan in their own trademark sounds, roaring in unison, slamming their tails on the ground, and stomping their feet. The titan has impressed them, and awakened a hunger to see more of his cunning and ferocity. The crowd grew longer in volume and their cheering intensified. They demanded an encore.
Godzilla silenced the crowd with his thunderous roar. At once, silence fell upon the valley, obeying the king’s command without resistance. A low purr of contentment rumbled from the throat of Godzilla before he motioned with a wave of his arm and a grunt for the next fighter to step forward. Junior, the eldest of the king’s spawn, stepped up to the challenge. His orange, fiery eyes stared down the humanoid and he issued a roar at the goliath, flexing his claws with audible pops of the loosened joints.
Frankenstein grunted, taking a battle stance. With the wound inflicted by Anguirus now healed over, on physical terms, he appeared fine, but the weight of fatigue was building on the colossal titan’s shoulders. He could win this battle as well, if he was quick and smart enough.
Junior charged Frankenstein and quickly closed the gap between himself and the giant man. The monster prince snapped his jaws at Frankenstein, but the humanoid evaded each attack, stepping backward frantically in wake of the green goliath’s advance. Acting on the spot, the mountain man swung his arm upward and his fist slammed into the underside of Junior’s jaw, jerking the young monster’s head upward sharply. Frankenstein swiftly acted again, throwing his left fist toward the temple of Godzilla Junior, impacting with so much force that the scales where he struck rippled like waves. Squealing in pain, Junior stumbled to the side, desperate for space away from his ferocious foe.
Frankenstein scanned the ground in search of the right tool. Grabbing a boulder half-buried in the earth, he tore it free and chucked it at the juvenile Godzilla, bouncing off the snout of Junior, who yelped in discomfort. He curled his head and neck to his chest, soothing the bruised bump tenderly with his hands and whimpered from the overbearing stinging sensation. In front of the dinosaur’s gaze, Frankenstein fell victim to the primeval urge to gloat and mock his adversary, hollering and raising both arms as he taunted the young heir and his suffering.
That was a mistake.
The monster prince grunted, lifting his head and barring twin pairs of fangs. His dorsal fins flashed vividly with a bright blue radiance, and blue vapors escaped from the corners of his snarling maw. Frankenstein paused, turning from offensive to defensive with the presence of the lights dancing along the back of Junior, watching with curiosity and caution, for a similar display was familiar within his sub-consciousness.
Junior opened his mouth and fired his lethal atomic ray. The blue blast of energy carved into the ground around Frankenstein, blasting waves of rock and soil across the wild titan’s front. Frankenstein howled in shock, stumbling backward at the surprise of the attack, using his forearms to cover himself from the pelting debris. He cried out, but clumps of dirt slammed into his open maw and clogged his crooked gums, silencing the cry almost as it started. Tears flowed down his cheeks from the tiny particles that irritated the giant’s eyes, struggling to clean them with equally filthy hands while he hacked and spat out the soil that clung to his pallet.
Out of the smoke and dust, Junior marched forth, releasing his battle cry. Frankenstein turned in the direction of his cry and spotted him through blurred vision, wiping the last few specks of earth clean from his eyes. With a clumsy start, he charged the juvenile monster, tackling into the monster prince, but struggled to push him down and wrestle him against the ground. Junior held strong and firm against the mutation’s strength. He clutched Frankenstein’s waist and broke the grasp upon, tossing the humanoid aside.
Frankenstein stumbled and fell upon his knee, scuffing it as he fell upon the roughed-up terrain. Once more, he would need to harness the intellect he was gifted with in order to match the raw power of the monster heir. He looked around for what may help, and in the corner of his right eye, he spotted an object he had grown familiar with. He grabbed the thick tree with both hands, tugging it loose with three strong pulls, wielding it as if it were the deadliest weapon to exist in history. Staring at the uprooted plant with narrowed orbs, Godzilla Junior found himself unimpressed with the strategy the beast man had chosen, and that was what Frankenstein wanted.
He lunged at the emerald saurian, closing in with great, wide bounds across the broken landscape. Before his rival could make his move, Frankenstein rammed his fist into Junior’s gut, forcing the prince to open his maw as the breath was knocked out of him. Capitalizing on the attack, he shoved the tree deep into Junior’s mouth, tangling its leaves and branches within the dinosaur’s tremendous fangs. It had worked with Anguirus, and here, the technique was just as effective. From afar, Godzilla winced at the sight of his own son, gagging on the tree’s thick canopy while he struggled to extract it.
While he was distracted, Frankenstein stepped behind. Wrapping his arms around the sub-adult godzillasaur, he managed to heft him off the ground in his clutches, albeit with a heavy strain. He huffed and puffed heavily, gritting his teeth hard against each other, fighting to maintain the strength to lift Junior high enough while he kicked and squirmed in the grasp of the giant. Summoning a final burst of energy, the fur-clothed Gargantua suddenly bent backward to the ground. Junior let out a muffled cry of alarm before he was slammed into the earth cranium-first, rattling every bone in the youngster’s head. His jaw snapped shut with a crunch, reducing the tree trunk to mere splinters, though the cost came at the loss of several fangs.
Crawling out from beneath the dazed prince, Frankenstein lunged onto the fallen Junior and began pummeling the juvenile. Godzilla Junior clawed at the humanoid as he spat out chunks of tree from his mouth, raking his talons down the soft flesh of Frankenstein’s forearm, splitting open the mountain man’s flesh with a horrifying yell in response. Junior’s tail lifted and slammed into the back of Frankenstein, forcing him to yelp in pain and slump off the prince. The young monster flipped over and rose upward, standing at full height, as Frankenstein did the same, clutching the regenerating slashes across his arm. Scanning the environment, he whipped up another scheme in his head, one that may result in victory this time…
He turned and bolted in the opposite direction, kicking a wave of dust into the face of the adopted heir as he spirited toward the steep slope of the valley’s wall. Junior quickly followed pursuit, but the emerald teen’s pursuit was hindered by the fine particles that clogged his eyes and nostrils, igniting fierce fits of sneezing as he tried to match the speed of Frankenstein. The humanoid made it to the slope first, and scaled its surface swiftly with no trouble. Godzilla Junior arrived only seconds later, spilling tears of irritation from the grooves of his scales, shaking his head with frustration in order to clear the clogging dust. As he tried to follow Frankenstein upward, his claws sank into the soft earth and slipped away, unable to find a grip. He shrieked angrily and clawed desperately at the ground in search of more firm earth, but to no avail. With every attempt, the monster prince simply slid back down to the bottom. He stepped back from the foot of the mountain and glared up its slopes at the humanoid high above, his spines flashing blue and his rage burning hot.
He had fallen into the trap, as Frankenstein predicted.
The mighty man grabbed a boulder and waited, holding it out of sight for the right moment to appear. Moments later, Junior opened his maw and let out a stream of blue atomic energy, prompting Frankenstein to throw the boulder at the same time. The ray and boulder collided only meters from the young reptile’s face, detonating in a small explosion of flames and dust that clouded Junior’s vision.
Junior was too surprised to react against the blast. He coughed and wheezed, squeezing his sensitive eyes shut for protection and blindly backpedaled. Engrossed in escaping the suffocating, blinding cloud, he forgot what was truly important.
Frankenstein leapt from his perch and extended his left elbow outward, connecting it with the blinded saurian’s forehead. The momentum toppled both titans over, slamming into the hard ground with a tremendous tremor.
The crowd awaited with baited breath for the results of the challenger’s stratagem. It took only moments for the victor to emerge, as a dark mass rose from the veil of dust. Stepping out into the light, wiping the accumulated dirt from his sleeves, Frankenstein limped over the unconscious body of Junior toward the center of the arena. Almost at once, the gathered monsters rumbled into a deafening chorus, shouting their praise and demanding for more. The tired Gargantua heard their calls, for it was the only thing that he would with the booming volume produced, letting out an exhausted sign. He had no wish for this brutality, and favored peace. But the second encore was inevitable as he looked to the final trail, waiting in the king’s shade.
Godzilla growled angrily toward the giant man. Not only had he managed to overcome his best friend, but his eldest son too? Silently, he shifted his gaze to Rodan, who returned the look, understanding the instruction without argument. This was the aspect of his life that he held no qualms in performing, feeling his blood pumping in anticipation for battle. No. For domination.
As Frankenstein watched his new foe prepare, he felt a surge of energy course through him, welcoming it gratefully, for he knew he would need it more than ever. In spite of his regenerative abilities, Frankenstein’s stamina was only finite, and with the back-to-back battles, it was running low. And to push the odds further against his favor was an adversary skilled in the element that the wild colossus held no power in. Could he compete with the power of the skies?
He tensed himself, ready to sprint toward Rodan on a moment’s notice. Before said moment could pass, with a beat of his wings, Rodan was already on the offensive, speeding toward Frankenstein like a bullet. Frankenstein’s eyes widened, only able to screech in shock as the pterodactyl suddenly became a blur. He couldn’t have expected such supernatural speed, and for that, he grew anxious.
Then, sharp talons suddenly pierced his shoulders and gripped tight. Frankenstein screeched in shock as he was lifted into the air through the flying creature’s impressive hidden strength. Higher and higher the pair rose, climbing into the thick vapor clouds that gathered overhead, leaving the committee of monsters and the lush green jungle far beneath them.
Instead, Frankenstein was left in awe at the beauty of the open sky. At this altitude, it was all but an alien environment to the eyes of a ground-dwelling creature like himself, a sight unforgettable in the memories of any living soul. As he appreciated the bright horizon, Rodan reminded the humanoid of the circumstances that he was now in. Jerking forward, at the same time, the radioactive pterosaur freed Frankenstein from his clutches, leaving him suspended in the air as he looked into the red predator’s cold eyes.
Hurtling toward the ground at an increasing speed, Frankenstein hollered as he approached the distant ground. Anything he could think of was useless here, for he lacked any mastery over the elements of air, leaving the mutated goliath doomed to his fate.
Except, no. Even as he fell at hundreds of kilometers per second, the resurrected creation of Doctor Frankenstein would not yield to the will of his opponent and continued to search for a solution. If he could not reach Rodan, then perhaps, he could make his attacker reach him.
In spite of his lack of experience and against the instincts of his terrified body, Frankenstein managed to twist himself around, presenting his back to the approaching ground, searching for the form of his adversary. To no surprise, Rodan was not far behind, diving down behind the freefalling titan in order to ensure his demise. When their gazes met, it seemed to ignite a wave of anger within the prehistoric kaiju, perhaps by Frankenstein’s ability to find some control in the domain that he claimed mastery of. The pterodactyl tucked his wings closer to increase velocity, growing closer and closer to his freefalling target so that he might rip them apart before they even touched the ground. Too blinded by his rage and bloodlust, the master of the skies made the mistake of approaching too quickly.
The armored reptile slammed into Frankenstein’s chest by complete accident. Taking the blunt of the impact with his skull, the pterosaur squawked dizzily in surprise, flailing uselessly in the air like a fish would out of the water. Frankenstein took advantage before Rodan could recover, wrapping his arms around the crimson monster’s neck and left wing to put him taut against the primal giant’s own body. Together, the pair wrested and thrashed, fighting for control while they spiraled down faster and faster.
The other monsters watched in suspense as the two fighters came ever closer to the ground. Rodan struggled to free himself from Frankenstein’s grasp in his restrained position. He refused to lose, not in his own domain, where he would forever be forced to live with the humiliation. The pterosaur’s panic brought a crooked grin across Frankenstein’s features, already relishing in the coming victory. Three victories in one day, back to back, would be an achievement few could contest, and sure to earn him his spot amongst the ranks of Monster Island, as well as the deserved respect from the indomitable King of the Monsters. In this moment, hurtling toward what appeared to be sudden death, the scientific wonder of the world felt more alive than ever, as if he found the power to conquer the whole world.
Ego. Confidence. Spirit. From his constrained position, Rodan could still read the abomination’s thoughts, plastered clear to see across the colossal man’s distorted features rippling in the wind. From his previous victories, the seed of pride had blossomed and taken over Frankenstein’s heart and mind. It reminded Rodan too much of himself before Godzilla’s power had tempered his wild ego. The sapling needed to be culled before it could bear fruit and cause problems not only for Monster Island, but Frankenstein himself.
The two were now moments from hitting the ground. With a sudden burst of energy and magnificent, rapid wing beats, Rodan broke free of the humanoid’s clutches. With another clap, he produced a sonic boom that knocked Frankenstein clear, whose eyes grew wide and howled in anger. Rodan avoided catastrophe as he pulled himself upward before hitting the ground, allowing him to perch atop a larger mountain. Frankenstein held no such fortune.
The humanoid slammed into the ground with a sickening thud, cracking the earth for yards with a thunderous tremor. The walls of the valley shook with the powerful vibration, spilling loose stone down their slopes into the valley basin, pelting the distressed monsters in their panic over the impact.
When the chaos settled and the dust cleared, Rodan looked down at the sprawled form of his opponent. Deep within his crater, Frankenstein lay slumped across the ground in a puddle of blood, no longer strong and mighty, but a shell of himself. He put up a good fight, but to Rodan, he was not yet on the level to challenge a creature such as him, and certainly no one like Godzilla. Still, he had not experienced such an intense battle for a long time, and had experienced the latent potential and power within the newcomer firsthand. He relished the opportunity for them to fight again someday.
Minilla ran up to Frankenstein and checked for a pulse. To his relief, the mountain man’s heart was beating, slowly but certainly, and his chest rose softly with breath. Groggily, Frankenstein turned his head to Minilla and cracked a smile, wincing in pain immediately. The agony was excruciating, only comparable to the pain he felt submerged in that volcano so many years ago.
The youngest son of Godzilla looked up to his father as he approached, looking down at the wild titan in judgment. From his sides, the awakened Anguirus and Godzilla Junior stepped up, stumbling and moaning, still feeling the injuries inflicted upon them. Stepping up, Minilla spread his arms and cried out to his father, begging him to let Frankenstein stay on the main island with them. Even if he had lost, he had found a friendship with him. The youngster refused to lose his newest companion so quickly. Godzilla glared down at his son, turned his gaze to Anguirus, Junior and Rodan in search of their own thoughts and feelings, and then looked back at Frankenstein, watching as he struggled to drag himself up, the air filled with the sound of bones snapping back into place.
The monster king’s warriors all nodded their heads. With their opinions recognized, Godzilla did the same with a low growl and turned away. Minya’s eyes lit up and he danced around in joy. The King of the Monsters had spoken. Frankenstein would be allowed to stay on the main island with his fellow monsters.
Minilla helped Frankenstein to his feet, supporting him as the damages sustained in the impact regenerated. Either could understand why Godzilla had allowed the abnormal monster to stay in spite of his loss, but there was no reason to complain. Minilla had a friend, and Frankenstein had a home, so to the concern of both, all was right with the world. Together, the bizarre duo walked off into the dense jungle of Monster Island for a much deserved rest, and Frankenstein hoped, after the events of today, it would be a while before he was demanded to do battle again.
Godzilla watched the other denizens head to their respective homes, along with Anguirus and Junior groggily looking for a place to relax. He would no doubt be questioned on his decision, accused of weakness in the face of his own son’s request, but that was not the cause. Godzilla didn’t need a victory to see the potential Frankenstein had as an ally, with his analytic mind and use of tools. It was not a test of just worthiness, but also talent and loyalty. For these three elements, Frankenstein had only passed the trial for two. In the future, Godzilla hoped to dispel the roots of pride that grew within the living throwback to mankind’s primeval past, and was interested to see what else the Gargantua could bring to the table, should an aggressor ever arrive to threaten the Earth again.
When the time came, he felt that he could rely on Frankenstein to do his part.
Winner: Rodan (Heisei)K.W.C. // October 10, 2021
For months in early 2020 I had been hearing rumors of a life-size Godzilla statue being built on Nijigen no Mori (ニジゲンノモリ – meaning: Two-Dimensional Forest) on the island of Awaji. That statue, according to those self-same reports, was going to be in the form of the now-familiar Shin Godzilla design and would, once finished, allow attendees to zip line down Godzilla’s throat while shooting off missiles or something. The attraction was dubbed Godzilla Interception Operation Awaji, and it sounded really fantastic, and of course, as any red-blooded Godzilla fan would be, I was very curious to see the attraction in person. (more…)General // October 6, 2021
Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Matthew Williams & Dao Zang Moua
The sound of an explosion boomed across the city. The terrified crowds looked up, seeking its source. Armed soldiers ceased corralling the masses, aiming their weapons upward at the skyline, anticipating resistance. Another boom filled the air, followed by a shrill, alien sound, as a column of fire rose up from a neighboring street. A jet raced overhead, its engine aflame as it just missed the buildings above the crowd. It spiraled downward, leaving a trail of thick, black smoke in its wake, and disappeared behind a row of houses in the distance. Seconds later, another pillar of fire arose.
At this point, any control that the military had on the situation was lost.
The people surged forward, shouting and screaming in panic as they shoved aside each other in their rush to escape. Where, they did not know. Like a horde of lemmings, they ran blindly onward. The soldiers around them did not attempt to regain control. Rather, they urged the crowd onward, knowing fully well what was coming. They had hoped to hinder its progress for much longer, to buy enough time for the people of Paris to escape before the more destructive weaponry was called in. Now, it was too late. No one was going to be spared.
Another wave of jets raced overhead, unloading bullets and missiles at an unseen target. Moments after starting their assault, it was ended by a wave of sapphire flames. Their remains fell to the streets below, crushing dozens of fleeing citizens. The alien scream sounded again, closer than before, and a crown of dirty green spikes emerged over the roofline. The soldiers on the streets opened fire on the creature as it appeared in its entirety. Their weapons failed to harm or deter it in the slightest, and the reaction it earned was one not of annoyance, as expected, but amusement. The crowd continued running, with only the brave daring to look behind them and glance upon the emerald devil.
Bemular smiled, blue flames flickering behind his lips. He peered over a line of houses from another street, his lanky arms digging into the tilework to support himself, looking over the fleeing masses with something akin to curiosity. But Bemular’s method of learning was cruel and heartless. He was deciding how he would kill the humans.
The decision took only a few more seconds, little time for the people to find shelter or predict the interstellar psychopath’s next move. Bemular’s maw opened wide, spewing an azure wave of heat into the street. Thousands of lives were incinerated instantly, followed by countless more as Bemular swept the stream upward, engulfing the rest of the street and several side roads in bright blue flames. Still firing, the frog-faced creature swung his head upward, taking off the roofs of multiple buildings, and targeted another formation of jets. His heat breath washed over the aircraft, melting them to slag mid-air. Three of the jets crashed into the city, adding to the devastation. The fourth collided with Bemular’s chest, erupting into a ball of flame. A hiss of pain escaped the reptile as the flames scorched his still healing chest wound. Bemular traced the edges of the slash marks, recalling his battle with the enormous walrus Maguma. The creature had given him more than a matching pair of scars. He had provided Bemular with an estimate of the Earth’s inhabitants. Bemular had smelt the stench of other massive monsters in the days between Maguma’s defeat and his arrival in Paris, but none had appeared so far. Did they fear his presence? Or did they consider him not enough of a threat to be worth their time? Bemular was ignorant to whatever the true reason was. The less resistance he encountered would make adding to his already high body count quicker and easier.
He advanced onward, assaulting more buildings and crowds of escapees with his heat wave and blasting his aerial attackers away with ease. He screeched loudly as he rammed his bulk into a particularly large cluster of buildings, bulldozing through the structures and reducing them to piles of rubble and clouds of dust. He then proceeded to stomp on the remains, grinding them to powder under his massive heels. In the middle of his rampage, another cry sounded from somewhere in the city. Bemular ceased his actions, snapping his head in the direction that the sound had come from. A cloud of dust was rising up from another section of the city, advancing toward his position. Flexing his claws, Bemular’s eyes narrowed as a serpentine beast emerged from the streets. Its emerald scales glistened in the sunlight, contrasted by the dark mane of fur adorning its back and the long whiskers at the tip of its snout. The serpent reached the base of the Eiffel Tower and started to wrap around the structure, its eyes never leaving Bemular’s form. Halfway up, Manda stopped and glared at Paris’ attacker, his deep roar booming from his fang-lined jaws.
Bemular gaped at the dragon, surprised and concerned by its appearance. There was no way that the beast had simply arrived here by luck. He was correct. Bemular was not the first creature from beyond Earth to threaten the home of humanity. Legendary destroyers, survivors of deceased worlds and heralds of great interplanetary empires had attempted to take Earth for themselves in the past. All these invasions had been repelled, through a combination of human genius and the might of its monstrous inhabitants. In one such plan of failed domination, a race from the same solar system as Earth had tried to turn the planet’s monsters against the humans. They were unsuccessful, and in an ironic twist, mankind used their own technology to command the monsters themselves. By the time Bemular had made his way to our solar system, the last alien sects in Earth had left long ago, or had been captured or killed. The races of the cosmos had seen Earth as an easy target, and paid heavily for their arrogance. With their failures, humanity was able to gain control of the things they once thought untamable.
They’d conquered monsters.
The two reptilian beasts stared down each other, Bemular’s lip twitching and claws flexing as Manda awaited the order to attack. Impatient, Bemular took a step toward the famous landmark. The moment his foot touched the ground, it erupted upward, blasting the mold green creature with earth and concrete. He stumbled backward, screaming in confusion. In the midst of the dirt shower, a form lay crouched low to the ground. It reared onto its hind legs as the earth settled, shaking its head and large ears free of collected dirt. The reptile’s nasal horn pulsed briefly with light as it bellowed fiercely, its feral eyes homing in on its alien target. Baragon lunged forward, smashing into Bemular’s chest head first. The reptilian criminal was launched backward, crashing into a residential structure and flattening it beneath his titanic size. He struggled back up, his head rolling in a daze. In his stunned state, an opportunity was seen for Manda, and he was given the order to engage. The sea dragon sprung from his perch, allowing a snarl to escape as he descended on Bemular. He lashed out with his tail, treating his entire body like a whip, and struck Bemular’s legs, sweeping them out from under him. Both reptiles fell, the latter screeching loudly and squirming helplessly. Manda moved in quickly, coiling his length around the spike-covered beast as carefully and quickly as possible. Bemular staggered up, shaking wildly as he tried to dislodge his serpentine captor. As the ancient, deity-like dragon began to squeeze, Baragon attacked again. His jaws found Bemular’s right shoulder and sunk his teeth in deep. Hot blood filled the prehistoric relic’s mouth, triggering Baragon’s primal instincts. He bit down harder, shaking his head roughly as he tried to tear off Bemular’s shoulder. Screaming aloud from pain and rage, Bemular willingly fell backward, surprising both his attackers. He slammed onto the pavement, the impact forcing his back spines into Manda’s flesh. The serpent howled and wiggled under the emerald fiend as blood gushed from his wounds and painted the road red. His coils loosened, allowing the dragon to crawl out from under Bemular. With one foe dispatched for now, Bemular directed his assault on Baragon, driving his feet into the reddish-brown dinosaur’s gut and kicking, throwing the beast off with a pained cry.
Scrambling to his feet, Bemular charged at Baragon. Still recovering from the last attack, Baragon was unable to react sufficiently as Bemular kicked the bulky reptile in the jaw. He was sent rolling down the street, roaring wildly, before he managed to flip himself onto his feet again. Bemular was already running toward him, but Baragon sprang into the air, ramming his forehead in Bemular’s. The extra-terrestrial stumbled back, allowing Baragon to attack again, spinning around and slamming his robust tail into the creature’s side. As the subterranean dinosaur stood upright and moved to strike Bemular with his front paws, his foe thrust his head forward, smashing it against Baragon’s own. The Earth-born reptile staggered back, moaning, as blood trickled from his cracked forehead. His nasal horn glowed brightly and he opened his jaws, spraying an orange-red beam of heat, but he had little time to aim prior to release. The ray shot over Bemular’s shoulder into the sky, but the emerald alien was still surprised by the quadruped’s attack. It could fire a ray similar to his. In light of his discovery, Bemular showed off his own heat-based ray. Unlike Baragon, his aim was true, the sheet of azure flames striking the back of the Cretaceous relic and driving from him an agonized howl. Bemular cackled, shaking his body with glee.
Leaping from behind a series of buildings, Manda intervened, sparing Baragon from further misery. He crashed into Bemular’s side, pushing the slender reptile into the structures on the other side of the street. The serpent god hissed, drowning out Bemular’s own, similar sound, and slapped the alien invader’s chest with his tail, forcing him back down the street, away from Baragon. Manda rushed forward, avoiding Bemular’s leg as it lashed out at him. He slithered around him, entrapping Bemular with his own body, then lunged and clamped his jaws onto the psychopath’s shoulder. Bemular howled as Manda’s bite aggregated the wound afflicted by Baragon, and he thrashed around, partly from the pain, and partly to try and free himself from Manda’s grip.
Unlike before, Manda focused on restraining Bemular, rather than try to crush him, allowing the recovered Baragon to rush in. The dinosaur thrust his head forward, driving his horn into Bemular’s torso. Bemular screeched and thrashed even harder, forcing Baragon’s horn deeper into his chest. He continued to struggle as Manda’s coils slowly tightened and Baragon shoved his weight against the emerald invader, both creature attempting to force Bemular to the ground, where he would be more vulnerable. Bemular would have none of that. After a few more seconds of shaking, one of his legs escaped from Manda’s grip, and he kicked out, planting his foot on Baragon’s stomach. He shoved the saurian away, his horn ripping free from his chest in the process. Bemular used the pain generated to fuel his attacks. He moved toward Baragon, lowing his body parallel to the ground and swinging his top half from side to side, using the bodies of himself and Manda as a giant club to batter poor Baragon. Strong muscles and sharp spines assaulted Baragon’s sides, bruising and cutting the dirt-coloured dinosaur’s flesh. He tried to attack back, but could not with Manda still wrapped around his quarry. His hesitation allowed Bemular to head-butt the reptile in the throat. Stumbling back, choking, Baragon spewed his heat beam wildly, scorching the pavement and buildings around him. A blast of heat struck Bemular’s torso, but it was Manda who felt the true sting of the attack. Releasing his hold on Bemular’s shoulder, the dragon roared in anguish. His coils loosened on instinct: a fatal mistake for the ancient ex-guardian. In his distracted state, he felt Bemular’s jaws close around his neck. Blood dripped from the evil creature’s lips as his teeth penetrated the snake’s hide. He swung his head around, tearing the dragon off of his body, and flung him into the narrow street.
Recovering quickly, Manda lunged at the taller monster once more, and was met by the murderer’s tail as he spun around, slapping the marine serpent across the head. He crashed into the structures lining the street’s sides and slumped to the ground, groaning slowly. Bemular moved to place his foot on the dragon, when Baragon’s roar came from behind. The monster criminal spun around to face his new opponent, the mole-like dinosaur rushing at him, upright, with his head lowered. The reptile charge was hindered by Bemular catching his head with his own. The two pushed against one another, aiming to get ground on their opponent. Slowly, the struggle was turning in Baragon’s favor, as Bemular began to slide backward under the eared reptile’s strength. A bright flash of blue suddenly engulfed the space between the two, and Baragon cried out as his legs stung with the burning pain of Bemular’s heat wave.
The alien psycho continued firing, pushing Baragon back and scorching the subterranean beast’s chest. His focus was drawn away from the saurian as a tail slammed into his back. Bemular ceasing firing and turned around, barely catching Manda’s jaws with his arms as the dragon leapt at his face. His strength was barely enough to keep Manda from biting his face off, but it waned fast, the dragon’s fanged cavern inching closer and closer with each second. Manda’s jaws were inches away from Bemular’s ugly visage when he saw the extra-terrestrial’s mouth morph into a sinister grim. The confused serpent had little time to understand his foe’s tactic before it was revealed. Unable to shut his mouth, Manda’s gullet was forced to accept Bemular sapphire flames. The dragon squirmed and squealed in agony as he tore his jaws free of Bemular’s grip, thrashing wildly in the street. Pushing on his advantage, Bemular pinned the sea snake under his clawed foot, sinking his talons into the smaller reptile’s flesh. His head shot down, jaws clamping down on Manda’s throat, and shook violently, then pulled away, taking with him a chunk of the emerald dragon’s flesh. Blood sprayed from Manda’s gaping wound, accompanied by his gurgling, dying sounds. Within seconds, the once-noble guardian’s eyes dimmed and his movements ceased, death overtaking him.
Bemular ran his tongue across his lips, tasting Manda’s sweet lifeblood. From down the street, Baragon watched on, horrified and sickened by what he was seeing. The creature remained motionless, waiting for the next command from his controllers. Before he could be given, Bemular turned to address him, his mismatched eyes both glaring down at the horned reptile with sinister intent. His jaws parted, unleashing his deadly heat beam. Acting on instinct, Baragon leapt up like a frog and soared through the air as the ground beneath him was bathed in blue flames. Snapping his head up, Bemular squealed in surprise as Baragon came down. The quadruped’s head smashed against his own, harder than the previous times, and the emerald reptile howled out. Several of the spikes lining his head were snapped off by the blow, and blood trickled from several of their stumps. Baragon was unrelenting in his attack, delivering a hard blow to Bemular’s face with his paw, sending the creature spinning. Bemular cried out dizzily, unable to stop himself. As he managed to stop himself, Baragon lunged in, slashing at the alien menace’s chest and gut. Each slice of his claws, perfectly suited for digging through hard rock, left deep gouges in Bemular’s flesh and evicted loud screams of agony from the creature.
As Baragon’s assault continued, Bemular managed to regain some of his wit and form a counterattack. His leg shot up, crashing knee-first into Baragon’s lower jaw. The strike managed to lift the reptile off his front legs, and he staggered back on her rear pair, roaring with pain. Moving to attack, Bemular was halted by Baragon’s heat ray, which crashed into and washed over the criminal’s injured chest. The interstellar reptile scowled, but did not scream to spare his already raw lungs, even as the heat burned and cauterized his wounds. To counteract the problem, he fired his own stream of heat waves, which slowly began to push back Baragon’s ray. Seeing both beams being forced toward him, Baragon increased the power of his own. The speed that his beam was forced back began to decrease, until both beams could not overpower the other.
For a few seconds, there was a stalemate. Then, the epicenter of the struggle exploded.
A blast of heat washed over the two monsters, blasting them back from each other. Buildings were annihilated by the sheer force, and plants from up to half a mile away were set aflame. In the aftermath, Baragon was the only one standing, or rather, crawling, in the charcoaled remains of the street. Amongst the blackened debris, Bemular lay sprawled on his back. Numerous burns adorned his skin. Fresh cuts oozed blood onto his battered form. Yet somehow, the monster managed to rise, albeit shakily. His head looked up as Baragon charged, bellowing loudly. The reddish saurian leapt forward, but Bemular stepped to the side, causing Baragon to miss his target. Before he could hit the ground, Baragon felt Bemular’s jaws clamp onto the nape of his neck as he passed. The taller monster spun around, using Baragon’s weight and momentum to hurl the ancient creature across the city. The world around Baragon was but a blur as he flew through the air at high speed, but one structure caught his attention as it loomed closer. He smashed into the Arc de Triomphe, crashing through the famous landmark with little resistance and crying aloud as he disappeared into a cloud of dust and debris.
Watching on with amusement, Bemular shrieked, his arms wiggling in excitement. As the dust cleared, Bemular searched for his foe’s fallen form. Instead, he found nothing but a pile of rubble surrounding a large, recently dug hole. He reared back, eyes widening with shock, realization, and horror. The ground violently shook, bursting upward only seconds later, leaving Bemular little time to repel the feral Baragon. He cried out as the smaller beast sank his teeth into his left leg and shook his head furiously, tearing into his flesh. Unable to continue standing, Bemular fell to the ground, screeching helplessly. Seizing the alien’s moment of vulnerability, Baragon pounced atop his foe, pinning Bemular beneath his weight as he snapped at his exposed throat. Bemular’s arms shot up, hands grabbing Baragon by the jaws and holding the beast back. He could feel the more muscular and powerful creature push against him, painfully forcing his arms back. Bemular tried to hold him off, but his small, skinny arms weren’t strong enough to compete with the dinosaur’s strength. That was not to say there were completely useless, however. Releasing Baragon, Bemular slashed at the reptile’s face with his claws with a ferocity that made up for the small gouges they made. With all the strength he could muster, Bemular drove his right hand in Baragon’s left socket, puncturing his eye and tearing it from its socket. Baragon, howling in agony, reared up, blood spurting from his destroyed socket. Bemular lashed out with his legs, forcing the injured quadruped back and rising. His heat beam struck the earth beneath Baragon, causing the beast to fall back into the hole he had emerged from. As he tumbled into the darkness, Bemular peered in, watching and relishing in the saurian’s misery.
After several moments, Baragon did not return. Bemular breathed a sigh of relief, assuming the worst was over. He turned away from the hole and started toward an undestroyed section of the city. After taking only a few more steps, a searing blast of heat engulfed his back. Bemular cried out, attempting, and failing, to reach his back and soothe it with his hands. Far behind, Baragon’s top half peaked out of the ground, letting out a sound like laughter. Catching on to the subterranean monster’s reappearance, Bemular spun around, firing his blue heat wave at the beast. With his now reduced vision, Baragon did not see the beam soon enough to dodge, and was subjected to its burning power. As he patted the flames from his head, Bemular rushed at him, determined to destroy the creature this time. He stomped on Baragon’s head, driving the beast below ground, and unleashed his heat breath again as the reptile disappeared into the darkness. The stream of fire lit up the darkness, but no sound of pain followed.
Slowly, Bemular looked around, staying as still as possible. Now that Baragon was using his burrowing ability to his advantage, the emerald reptile could now deploy a strategy to counter it. He knew how subterranean monsters hunted: he’d dealt with very similar creatures on other worlds. They tracked prey on the surface using their vibrations as sonar to guide them. If Bemular did not move, Baragon shouldn’t be able to find him, assuming the beast had poor memory.
After a few more seconds of waiting, the ground shook again. Baragon poked his body out of the earth not far from Bemular’s location. True to the extra-terrestrial’s theory, Baragon had been unable to properly track Bemular’s location, and while he had appeared close to the spiked creature, he was facing the wrong way!
Looking around in confusion, Baragon didn’t register Bemular’s footsteps until it was far too late. The slender reptile clamped his jaws around the back of Baragon’s neck and ripped him out of the ground with all his strength. The rust-coloured saurian crashed onto his back, flailing his limbs in a panic. Bemular moved in, smashing his foot into the horned reptile’s gut over and over and driving pained cries with each strike. He then took it one step further, stepping onto Baragon’s belly and jumping atop him like a trampoline. Baragon roared helplessly, then his cries turned to gurgles as Bemular stomped hard on his stomach. Noisily, Baragon vomited up the contents of his stomach, spraying bile and half-digested food across the streets. As he started to choke on his own vomit, Bemular scrunched up his face in disgust. He pressed his foot down on Baragon’s throat, closing off his windpipe. Baragon’s eye budged as his oxygen was cut off further. He thrashed around in a panic to try and throw his tormentor off, but Bemular refused his pleas. He only starred into the saurian’s eye, grinning a mad grin. Baragon’s face began to turn from reddish-brown to blue, and his eye rolled up in his socket as he frothed at the mouth. His struggles started to lessen, becoming weaker and weaker, until the creature went still. Through the saurian was most likely dead, Bemular wanted to make sure. His heat beam washed over Baragon’s face, burning his flesh severely. He concentrated his beam, refusing to cease firing until the stench of burning flesh was unbearable. As his flames ceased, Baragon’s face was revealed, now a burnt, horrific mess.
The reptile stepped off Baragon’s corpse, leaving a single foot on its chest to pin down his prize. Leaning down, he bit down on the deceased dinosaur’s shoulder and tore away a chunk of flesh, swallowing it in several messy bites. The taste of blood was made even sweeter with his victory over not only one, but two giants, and Bemular revealed in that rare accomplishment.
The military force was withdrawn completely. Bemular knew that they now feared his power after making short work of their lap dogs and delighted in his bolstered reputation. Of course, the humans would return with a new plan, and perhaps other monsters to challenge the otherworldly menace. Perhaps among them would be a challenge to finally put an end to his rampage of terror across the galaxy, but such thoughts were for the future. For now, Bemular was content to feed and rest, free to use the City of Love however he pleased.
Until he got bored, at least.
Winner: BemularK.W.C. // September 30, 2021
Back in the day when I more frequently reviewed Godzilla snack foods, one of my favorites was the Godzilla Gaufrette—a really tasty Neapolitan wafer sandwich with white cream between thin crackers. The Godzilla Mini Gaufre (ゴジラ ミニゴーフル) is very similar, with the biscuits this time more like waffles in shape, and the inside being strawberry flavored, and the sweets coming in collectible, reusable cans. This year, on a trip to the Osaka Godzilla Store, I picked up this trio of sweet confectionary goodness in order to review them for Toho Kingdom. And I have to say, these are some tasty cookies, with packaging not lacking in monster flare. (more…)Kaiju Kuisine // September 27, 2021
Yokai, a general term that indicates an entire class of supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore and mythology, have a long history of cinematic representations in Japanese film—most popularly in the west in Ghibli’s Spirited Away. For tokusatsu fans, on the other hand, one of the most enduring renditions has been the Yokai Monsters series of films from Daiei. Heavily influenced by Shigeru Mizuki and his Gegege no Kitaro franchise, the Yokai Daisenso films began as a trilogy of quirky and creepy films back in the 1960s. These movies were period pieces, something like jidaigeki/samurai films characterized by encounters with supernatural creatures and usually laced with humor. The wide variety of yokai that appeared in those films were created mostly through costumes and puppetry, and while those physical effects were rarely very convincing, the movies are exceedingly charming for those open to the workmanlike patchwork feel. One of my favorite yokai is the haunted umbrella, or kasa bakemono, and I am a proud owner of an adult-sized costume which has gotten great mileage at Halloween parties here in Japan. (more…)Movie Reviews // September 23, 2021