It’s always a challenge to think of what to do on April 1st for Toho Kingdom, and April Fools’ day 2019 was no exception. As the years go on, we try not to repeat ourselves… too much. We’ve done concepts more than once, like blanketing the site with fake ads has been done a couple of times. That said, we do try to keep things a little fresh.

Now when it came to this year’s April Fools, I really didn’t have a concept. Chris Mirjahangir on the site’s staff was spit balling a few ideas, while also noting the remarkability of this year: it marks the 20th anniversary of Toho Kingdom. On that note, Jack Jordan on the staff suggested we roll it back: “to make the site resemble its first incarnation in some way? Some sort of ‘the site crashed, now we’re back to zero’ moment?”

It was a novel idea we hadn’t tried before, and one that could pay off as the site had gone through a number of face-lifts over the two decades. So it got the green light from me and I started to work on it.

Taking the site back circa 1999… 2003

I initially planned to roll the site all the way back to its rough beginnings… however, while I have a lot of backups of Toho Kingdom, I have nothing that predates the past ten years. So this would have to be done from scratch. The plan was to roll out a splash screen with a counter on it and then drop viewers into a framed version of the site, which is the earliest version I can recall.

This concept was scrapped for one important reason: I don’t think many people recall what the site was like way back then. We didn’t really kick our viewership into high gear until Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was in production and the forums launched, giving us a chance to make a name for ourselves. At that point we went through pretty quick revisions compared to how things are done now, with no site design lasting longer than a year up until the 2004 design that became the mainstay appearance of the site for 11 (!?) years.

2005 Site Design

The “popular” 2004 site design, as it appeared in 2005

Now the genesis for that design was launched on February 3rd, 2003. I say genesis as although it was different it contained the same exact header (although with a Toho logo inside that we can’t use anymore… for legal reasons) and did contain a purple navigation area to the left. The updates banner was also the same, although didn’t rotate characters as it would on later versions. For those curious on the origins of that banner, it’s actually the globe at the start of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) during the retro segment.

So it was decided to roll with this version of the site instead for the April Fools joke, hoping we would catch visitors who have been with us long enough that they would get a nostalgic reaction to seeing it. As for this 2003 design, one of the trademark elements, in memory for me, were the annoying roll over buttons on the navigation. When scrolled over, the text would transition from white to black and a cheesy outer glow effect would appear.

Rollover Effects

The rollover effects in question

I loathed this design as, at the time, connection speeds weren’t the fastest and this caused ample load time just to create this effect. In my memory, this was with us for a long time… however, it was actually only up for around 11 months and went through a couple of different versions of those roll over buttons before they were retired for actual text with scroll over effects.

As visitors who came to the site on April Fools will note, all the links were updated to reflect the current pages on the site… and if clicked the appearance would revert to its modern design. The page counter was also added to the design. By 2003 the counter was actually removed, but felt like such a relic of these older web days that I wanted to include it as a further hint what was happening for those who might be visiting but only knew us for the current design.

Listed updates

With the design done, the next question was what was the messaging? I had considered using Jack’s concept of the site crashing and we had to go back to step one. In retrospect, that probably would have been better. Instead, I just recycled, word for word, older updates from this time. As mentioned, I don’t have any backups of the site that are ancient. However, thanks to the Wayback Machine, I could visit older versions of the site. In doing so, I grabbed text from older updates (horrible grammar and all) and placed them on the site with the 2003 date on them… although with the month and date adjusted for March.

I’ll post below what we shared on the site at that time, and yes we were god damn machines back then in terms of the amount of work that would be put into the site in a single day:

March 31, 2003 11:56 PM

  • Heh heh… well it would appear that took longer than I thought. My original projection for this was one night, then two, then three… you get the picture. Anyway it is finally done. Toho Kingdom got a huge face lift, as did many of its sections. Its hard to imagine how much different the Toho Kingdom looks after this one (although along time coming) update. There were tons of things changed along the way, the list below hardly does the changes made to the site justice.
    Oh also the GCN Covers Section has not been deleted, it can be found here. It’s future is just currently in limbo as I doubt I will ever make another one.
  • Got rid of a lot of combatants from the T.M.W.F. section, and as a result lost a couple of matches. If people were curious they were all done by me quite some time ago (pre-1999) so not much of a loss. Anyway the new roster has less repetition, will make for more even matches, and heck we might actually get to some kind of championship with it now someday.
  • Redesigned the look of the movie bios in the Movie List
  • Redesigned the look of the lost films in the Lost Projects
  • Added Bloodthirsty Eyes (1971) Bio to the Movie List
  • Updated Godzilla vs. GhostGodzilla in the Lost Projects
  • Updated Godzilla 2000 (ver. 1) in the Lost Projects
  • Updated Godzilla 2000 (ver. 2) in the Lost Projects
  • Updated Godzilla, Angilas, Varan: Giant Monsters All Out Attack in the Lost Projects
  • Updated Article 2: Subtitled vs. Dubbed in the Articles Section
  • Updated Article 3: Tooth and Claw in the Articles Section
  • Updated Article 4: Millennium Series Continuity in the Articles Section
  • Updated Match 2: King Kong vs. SpaceGodzilla in the T.M.W.F.
  • Changed the picture of Magma from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Changed the picture of Mechagodzilla from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Changed the picture of Dorats from the Heisei Series in the Monster Bios
  • Changed the picture of Dimention Tide from the Millennium Series in the Aliens & SDF Section
  • Changed the picture of King Ghidorah (God) in the D20 Section
  • Changed the picture of Planet X (Arena) in the T.M.W.F.
  • Moved Green Monkey from the Millennium Series to Aliens & SDF Section
    -Anthony Romero
  • Added a description to Daigoro from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Added a description to Goliath from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Added a description to Daigoro’s Mother from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Added a description to Markalite Cannon from the Showa Series in the Aliens & SDF Section
    -James Webster
  • Added SpaceGodzilla (God) to the D20 Section
  • Added Corona Domain to the D20 Section
  • Added Big Bang (Spell) to the D20 Section
  • Added Corona Bolt (Spell) to the D20 Section
  • Added Corona Storm (Spell) to the D20 Section
  • Added Wall of Lightning (Spell) to the D20 Section
  • Updated Terror Domain in the D20 Section 
    -Forrest Freund

March 27, 2003 2:35 PM

  • Well the Toho Kingdom is now on a countdown for a overhaul… The plan is to get rid of the frames, a idea that I have been thinking about since before December rolled around, but haven’t had the “courage” to do it. This will be a time consumsing project, and for all I know I might not go through with it in the end, but I will keep everyone updated.
  • Added Type 74 Tank to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
  • Added AH-1S to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
    -Anthony Romero

March 26, 2003 11:38 PM

  • Let me tell you I have been bingeing in Toho goodness all weekend! ^_^ Samurai 1, High and Low, Kwaidan. Watched all of them for the first time, awesome, awesome, awesome! So I am pumped let me tell you. Well atleast I was until I walked down to my car and found my passenger window smashed in, and my CD player ripped out… That kind of killed the good mood if ya know what I mean. Anyway I felt the need to reevaluate the current scores I gave in my reviews. Kind of looked back, and saw that the bar needed to be raised after watching even more of Toho’s films such as those I mentioned, Yojimbo, Onmyoji and others.
  • Added Godzilla 2 to the Lost Projects
  • Updated the Search function on the site, it now includes the new pages, and I changed it to include some of the more common alter names (example minilla)
    -Anthony Romero

March 25, 2003 11:47 PM

  • Tried out a new type of scoring system for the update of Hypnosis, will probably add it to others soon
  • Added Lady of the Snow from the Showa Series to the Aliens & SDF Section
  • Added a description to Lady of the Snow from the Showa Series in the Monster Bios
  • Updated Hypnosis (1999) Bio in the Movie List
  • Changed the picture of “Green Monkey” from the Millennium Series in the Aliens & SDF Section
    -Anthony Romero

March 24, 2003 11:59 PM

  • Ok, need some help trying to determine how to get the medals in Godzilla Eternal Struggle. Supposedly there is a 5th level in the game, and getting a medal in each level is the logically way to unlock it since just beating the game doesn’t open it. Anyway there is a huge trial and error process to try and figure out what triggers the medals for the different levels. Obtaining medals seems to be connected with the amount of destruction, either how much you cause (Godzilla) or how much you prevent (G-Force), in each level. If anyone else has this game and would be able to send in there figures for obtaining medals I would be very appreciative as then I can test it out myself and try to narrow down what the exact %’s are needed for each level.
  • Added Demons from the Millennium Series to the Monster Bios
  • Added Mysterians’ Universe Ship from the Showa Series to the Aliens & SDF Section
  • Added Markalite GYRO from the Showa Series to the Aliens & SDF Section
  • Added a review to Godzilla Millennium (1999) in the Movie List
  • Added a description to Demons from the Millennium Series in the Monster Bios
    -Anthony Romero

March 23, 2003 11:50 PM

  • Added King Ghidorah to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
  • Added Gigan to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
  • Added SpaceGodzilla to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
    -Anthony Romero & James Webster
  • Added Enemies: UN-Playable Kajiu section to Godzilla Eternal Struggle in the Video Game Section
    -Anthony Romero

March 22, 2003 2:46 AM

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •