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  • 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.

    In 2014, a label called Cinema-kan burst onto the scene. Their initial offering for Toho was small, with a trilogy of “Science Fiction Movie World” compilations. These were faithful releases to CD of older LP compilations. The company wasn’t done, though, and branched out in 2015 to the more obscure with their next Toho release: one for the Bloodthirsty trilogy. The CD compilation collected music from Toho’s three 1970’s vampire films, but was only a hint of what was to come. In 2016 the company released six full soundtracks for Toho films, moving away from compilations. These ranged from previously released scores like Half Human (1955) to unreleased material like Kill! (1968). As of the start of 2019, the company has issued 19 separate releases related to Toho. As a result, the company has thrust themselves on the radar of Japanese soundtrack collectors, proving to release from a variety of genres along with several titles that have never seen full releases before.

    This article is a news roundup tracking these releases as they are announced, or as major details are made available. Much of this is announced over the company’s Twitter handle, which is frequently updated.

    October 24th update

    Cinema-kan continues to release science fiction films related to Toho. First up is a heavy weight in the form of the popular Gamera films from the 1990’s. This includes Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999), which were all composed by Kow Otani.

    Heisei Gamera Trilogy Original Soundtracks

    Heisei Gamera Trilogy Original Soundtracks

    Being released as the “Heisei Gamera Trilogy Original Soundtracks” (平成ガメラ三部作 オリジナル・サウンドトラック), details are scarce except that it’s a three disc set. Hopefully it matches or surpasses what was available in the long out of print Gamera: 1995-1999 Ultimate Sound Tracks set by Tokuma. The upcoming Cinema-kan set will be released on November 20th, 2019.

    The next bit of news is another title, although further out, as Cinema-kan announced it will be releasing the soundtrack to The Legend of the White Serpent (1956). No additional information has been noted at this time, except that it will be released on December 18th, 2019.

    April 17th update

    We are days away from the release of the scores for Gorath (1962) and Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974), each of which will be a two disc set. Cover artwork has also been released for the two titles, seen below.

    Gorath and Prophecies of Nostradamus

    Cover art for Gorath (left) and Prophecies of Nostradamus (right)

    Although both have been issued on CD before, this will mark the first time the complete mono score will be made available for the 1962 disaster movie. Previously the stereo version was released in 1995 by SLC, and has been out of print for over two decades. The two disc set will also contain “trailer music”, which was absent on the SLC release, and other outtakes, which were previously available.

    For the 1974 disaster movie, this two disc set will combine the complete mono score alongside the commercial stereo record that was created for the movie. This record version, created at a time when people were still adopting stereo over mono equipment at home, was sold on providing a stereo experience of the themes created by composer Isao Tomita. The Cinema-kan release looks to over both, covering material that was previously released by VAP alongside the stereo content found inside the Toho SFX Champion Festival box set.

    In addition to these two impending sets, Cinema-kan has announced two more Toho releases. The first is for the movie Mount Hakkoda (1977), directed by Shiro Moritani. This release is a two disc set, featuring the lengthy score composed by Yasushi Akutagawa for the almost three hour movie. The other announcement was for an LP record release of The War of the Gargantuas (1966). This takes some of the material from Cinema-kan’s CD Frankenstein’s Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira – Original Soundtrack set and presents it on a double sided LP.

    February 20th update

    The Imperial NavyToday marks the day Cinema-kan issues their 20th release around Toho. That score is for the The Imperial Navy (1981). Created by composer Katsuhisa Hattori, father of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) composer Takayuki Hattori, themes from the score were most recently available in Toho Music’s ambitious Toho War Movies Soundtrack Collection. That, however, only included five tracks from the movie, leaving much of the score unreleased.

    Cinema-kan, though, is issuing a two disc set for the early 1980’s film. Touting it as including 94 tracks, with everything from unused material to stereo sources, the set appears to include a wealth of material around the production.

    The good news for Toho fans, though, is not just what’s coming out today but also what is on the horizon. To that point, Cinema-kan has also announced their next two Toho releases, both of which arrive on April 24th, 2019. One is for Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974), which promises to include not just the original mono score but also stereo material that was created for commercial releases.

    The other announced soundtrack is for Gorath (1962). This is of particular note as Toho Music once hinted at releasing this themselves before they stopped doing soundtracks. Cinema-kan is carrying that torch, though. Similar to how Toho Music did earlier releases, this will be a two disc set for the 1962 movie. Included will be both the original stereo and mono scores, along with touted bonus material as well.

    News // October 24, 2019
  • Wondering who the best allies are in the mobile game Godzilla: Defense Force? Looking for a Godzilla: Defense Force ally tier list? We break down the most formidable allies in the game, helping players decide where to spend their Moonstones.

    Introduced in version 2.1.1 of the game, the allies are supporters that can help the player hold off the defending monsters and Xilien forces. The allies themselves are a slice of Toho history, harking from work as diverse as The Mysterians (1957) to Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Now the usefulness of allies is based on circumstance. Some allies will be more useful at other parts of the game than others. Furthermore, while only one ally can be equipped to an area at a time, there is nothing stopping the player from changing allies as needed. In fact, the player will likely use as many as 3-5 different allies during a run. Based on this, we have broken the 14 allies in the game into tiers. This is a total of six tiers in total, from S to F, with the first three tiers being the most important. Without further ado, the list.

    S Tier

    S Tier: Mysterian, Shobijin ’64 and Shobijin ’04

     

    Mysterian/Shobijin ’64

    Attack with DPS x0.5% for the number of cards owned (+0.5% for each additional level)
    Damage 1% of enemy HP every 16 seconds (+1% for each additional level)

    or
    Attack with DPS x2% for the number of artifacts owned (+2% for each additional level)
    Damage 1% of enemy HP every 16 seconds (+1% for each additional level)

    These two allies are similar enough that they are interchangeable. Of the two, the Mysterian is better as he deals more damage due to the current number of cards in the game versus number of artifacts. However, while they both pack a punch in their attacks, it’s their ability to take out a chunk of the target’s total health that allows them to stand out. This can be key in the late game, both for monster waves that would otherwise take too long or dealing with a strong boss. In the case of the latter, they an also help grind out upgrades when progress seems slow. Essentially if you ever find yourself in a place where you’re getting more money from a Weak Point hit than a relief package, this ally can have the same effect and generate a lot of cash from their ability and the flat % it deals.

    Pros

    • Best way to deal with late game monster waves
    • Great source of income on tough bosses
    • Good in all scenarios

    Cons

    • Require reaching level 5 and beyond before they become very useful

     

    Shobijin ’04

    Attack with 20% of DPS (+20% for each additional level)
    Max City G-Cell +1

    Adding an extra G-Cell, the Shobijin ’04 is the most efficient way to lay down three ★★★★ cards at a time. The end game is all about these combos as well due to the way damage stacks. Godzilla ’67 + Keizer Ghidorah + Godzilla ’03 is a favorite card combo of this ally. Through pausing the game, such as clicking city mission menu, the player can regenerate the nine G-Cells and fire again with more ★★★★ cards, such as Godzilla ’00 + Destoroyah (Perfect Type) + Godzilla ’01.

    Pros

    • Optimal method for laying down three ★★★★ cards at a time
    • Best option for the Kaiju Dungeon where you can’t pause the game to regenerate G-Cells
    • Good at level 1 as their ability is not level dependent

    Cons

    • Only useful in scenarios where you need to play a lot of cards
    A Tier

    A Tier: Shobijin ’61 and Shobijin ’66

    Shobijin ’61

    Attack with 20% of DPS (+20% for each additional level)
    City G-Cell Production Speed Increases 10% (+10% each additional level)

    What’s better: playing cards faster or having an extra G-Cell? Arguments could be made for both and there are times when the player will prefer one over the other. So why is there a tier difference between them? A couple of reasons for this. One is that the extra G-Cell is optimal for the Kaiju Dungeon. Second is that even though it’s much faster to use the Shobijin ’61, it’s safer to wait the extra time for Shobijin ’04 and being able to play three cards at once. This is because it avoids times where you accidentally fumble and have the cards run a few seconds without a full combo in play.

    Pros

    • The quickest method to play cards

    Cons

    • Only useful in scenarios where you need to play a lot of cards

     

    Shobijin ’66

    Attack with 20% of DPS (+20% for each additional level)
    Produce coins worth 100% of Shobijin DPS every 16 seconds (+100% each additional level)

    When you first get the Shobijin ’66 their ability to generate income to upgrade units feels minimal. 20% of the city DPS is really not much money at all. However, after investing Moonstones and leveling them up they start to really shine. 500% of city DPS as money? Nice. …but what about maxing them out and producing 2000% of the city DPS as money? This ally really shines for speeding up the early stages of a run, rushing through parts of the game you can easily beat and not only that but set you up to do the next location in the run faster with money stored up.

    Pros

    • Fastest way to speed through the early stages in a run

    Cons

    • Require reaching level 5 and beyond before they become very useful

     

    B Tier

    B Tier: Shobijin ’03 and Kilaaks

    Shobijin ’03/Kilaaks

    Attack with 20% of DPS (+20% for each additional level)
    Produce 1 Moonstone every 180 seconds (+1 Moonstone at level 5 and level 10)
    or
    Attack with 50% of DPS (+50% for each additional level)
    Produce 1 Moonstone every 180 seconds (+1 Moonstone at level 10)

    Allies max out at level 10. This takes 24,055 Moonstones to bring them from level 1 to level 10. For players wanting to speed this process up, the Shobijin ’03 and Kilaaks are there to help. Their ability produces 1-3 Moonstones every three minutes. As the player progresses during their runs, the best time to unleash these is during the return visit to a location after stalling out on the Moon. For example, using them for stages 80-300ish on Tokyo up until the enemies get tough, and you switch to a combo of the Mysterian and the G-cell ally of your choice to take out the waves and bosses.

    As for which Moonstone ally is better, it depends. From level 1-4, the Kilaaks are better. They generate the same amount of Moonstones and deal more damage. From level 5-10, the Shobijin ’03 pull ahead as they produce more Moonstones, which is more valuable than additional damage for how they are used.

    Pros

    • Good way to squeeze a few more Moonstones from your run
    • Can start mining Moonstones at level 1

    Cons

    • Since civilians carry over from time traveling now, the rarity of Moonstones has greatly decreased
    • Three minutes is a long time to wait… and many times you will have the meter at 70-80% full and need to switch allies

     

    C Tier

    C Tier: Minilla

    Minilla

    Attack with 50% of DPS (+50% for each additional level)
    Attack with 150% of DPS every 12 seconds (+50% for each additional level)

    When it comes to damage, Minilla is at the top of the allies. While if you have every card in the game the Elias and Mysterian can deal higher regular damage, the standard 50% level will generally deal more damage for most players. Every 12 seconds, he can also hit the opponents for 150%-600%. This places him above other allies that focus on damage. …however, it’s not nearly enough to overcome allies with more diverse abilities, like helping play more cards or knocking off a percentage of the total health. The real negative is in almost every scenario there is a better ally. Early stages of a run? Use an ally that generates more money to help not just on this location but the next. Up against a tough boss? Use an ally that helps play more cards. Trying to take on tough monster waves? Use an ally that knocks off a percentage of the total health. Sadly there just really isn’t a need for damage only allies.

    Pros

    • DPS king for allies

    Cons

    • Damage only allies aren’t very useful compared to alternatives

     

    D Tier

    T Tier: Elias ’96, Black Hole Planet 3 Alien and Empress of Mu

    Elias ’96/Black Hole Planet 3 Alien

    Attack with DPS x0.5% for the number of cards owned (+0.5% for each additional level)
    Attack with 120% of DPS every 12 seconds (+20% for each additional level)
    or
    Attack with DPS x2% for the number of artifacts owned (+2% for each additional level)
    Attack with 120% of DPS every 12 seconds (+20% for each additional level)

    …did I mention there wasn’t really a need for damage only allies? Given that statement, it’s probably not surprising to find the Elias and the Black Hole Planet 3 Alien in the D tier, since they can’t compare with Minilla’s damage output. Sadly, neither is a really appealing option, although of the two the Elias packs a greater punch.

    Pros

    • None

    Cons

    • Damage only allies aren’t very useful compared to alternatives

     

    Empress of Mu

    Attack with 50% of DPS (+50% for each additional level)
    Produce coins worth 5% of DPS every 16 seconds (+5% each additional level)

    Poor Empress of Mu. Design wise, she looks really cool, but she will forever live in the shadow of the Shobijin ’66. To put the two in perspective, with the relation between their damage and money output, at level one the Empress of Mu generates 2.5% of the city DPS as coins while at level ten the ally generates 250% of the city DPS as coins. In contrast, the Shobijin ’66 at level one generates 20% of the city DPS as coins while at level ten they generate 2,000% of the city DPS as coins. The two just don’t compare well. The damage boost of the Empress of Mu is not even close to offsetting the amazing money generation of the Shobijin ’66.

    Pros

    • None

    Cons

    • Generates way too little money, especially compared to the Shobijin ’66

     

    F Tier

    F Tier: Dorat, Emperor Antonio and Cosmos ’92

     

    Dorat/Emperor Antonio/Cosmos ’92

    Attack with 50% of DPS (+50% for each additional level)
    Reduce base Production Speed by 0.4 seconds every 12 seconds (+0.2 seconds each additional level)
    or
    Attack with 50% of DPS (+50% for each additional level)
    Reduce base Production Speed by 0.1 seconds every 12 seconds (+0.1 seconds each additional level)
    or
    Attack with 20% of DPS (+20% for each additional level)
    Reduce base Production Speed by 0.6 seconds every 12 seconds (+0.1 seconds each additional level)

    Rounding out the tier list are the three production speed allies. Reading the description of their ability, it sounds like every 12 seconds the production counters should by slashed or run out. While this gives the mental image of a parade of troops coming out every 12 seconds, the ability doesn’t seem to work this way in practice. Furthermore, when doing a test of the Cosmos at level 8, dropping the production speed by 1.3 seconds, their ability accounted for less than a 40% DPS difference versus other allies. What does this mean? This means they are directly inferior to the DPS focused allies in the C and D tiers.

    Pros

    • None

    Cons

    • The worst of the bunch, with the Cosmos at the very bottom

     

    General // September 16, 2019
  • Trailers for past films are surprisingly enjoyable. A window into yesteryear in how the movie was marketed, while sometimes having Easter Eggs with scenes that only appear in the trailer, as is the case for Son of Godzilla (1967) and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). Now the music found inside trailers is an aspect of their own. As is the case for Toho trailers, in particular those for the kaiju genre, many will recognize the music from past films, with Akira Ifukube‘s work being particularly prevalent for the Godzilla series. Sometimes Toho is a bit more unorthodox in their choices, such as an early advert for King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) that featured music from The Hidden Fortress (1958). However, sometimes the music is totally alien… feeling like it didn’t come from another Toho movie at all. In fact, this became a growing trend in the 1990’s and beyond, as the company leaned toward using library music from outside sources.

    This is the focus of the article: identifying outside music in Toho trailers. This can include content from production music libraries or other movie sources. Essentially the only criteria is that the music has to not appear in a Toho film. To best elaborate, trailers will be shown when possible along with linking to the library source material or failing that a place where one can listen or buy the piece of music. The trailers themselves will be coming from Toho’s source, for optimal compliance.

    The article is very much a work in progress, with credit due to Terasawa and G-Matt for their assistance. A thread on this topic can be found here on the forums.

    Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

    Trailers: Main
    Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
    Source: A Night on Bare Mountain

    Many of the Showa era trailers from Toho utilize music from their own film library. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) is an exception, though. The kaiju genre entry looks toward a classical source, selecting Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. The song, made famous by Walt Disney’s Fantasia, plays prominently at the start of the trailer. Now this particular composition appears to be the 1962 recording done by René Leibowitz as he conducts the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which he titled “A Night on Bare Mountain”.

    This exact version was also used for the Conflagration (1975) trailer.

     

    Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

    Trailers: Early teasers
    Composer: Frederic Talgorn
    Source: The Attack Begins

    From the De Wolfe Library, composer Frederic Talgorn’s became a centerpiece of the early adverts for the 2001 movie. This includes both the earliest teaser, which features stock footage, and also the second teaser, which uses very early special effects shots such as the source material for what would end up being Godzilla and King Ghidorah’s underwater battle.

    This theme was also used in a trailer for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).

     

    Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

    Trailers: Main
    Composer: “Immediate Music”
    Source: Redrum

    While it might not have been the first, 2004 marks a period where Toho seems to have turned their back on the De Wolfe Library they had utilized heavily in favor of the themes coming from the label Immediate Music, who is less forth coming on composer details. Solidifying that transition was the heavy use of the Redrum theme in the trailers for the 2004 Godzilla film, heard in the trailer above at the 39 second mark.

    General // August 15, 2019
  • How common are “Godzilla rolls” on a Japanese restaurant menu? I plan to find out, searching across San Francisco for any and all Godzilla food items in restaurants. I’ll be excluding Godzila Sushi, which is really a mecca to the character and fully deserved its own article. As expected, these will be unlicensed items from these establishments. For each I will talk about the restaurant, the food item and anything else of note. Luckily there isn’t a “Godzilla roll archetype”, the same way there is for a “California roll” or a “Philadelphia roll”, so it should be a new experience each time.

    Kushi Tsuru

    Kushi Tsuru

    Restaurant Exterior

    May 19th, 2019 – Found inside Japan Town, a decent place in itself to pick up some occasional Toho merchandise, comes Kushi Tsuru. This establishment is nestled right among the restaurant row inside the mall, with a ton of options to choose from for food. Despite the direct competition, as there are a lot of restaurants all close to each other that serve Japanese food, the places tend to be moderately busy on the weekends. Unfortunately, Kushi Tsuru is on the pricer side but also the only restaurant, at the time of writing this, that features a Godzilla roll in Japan Town.

    Kushi Tsuru

    Godzilla roll

    At $13.25, this Godzilla roll isn’t a cheap option. It does, though, offer a lot of seafood in the form of generous pieces of fish chopped and placed on top. The selection of fish range from tuna, white tuna and salmon while a stray, large piece of avocado will also be present. Inside the roll one finds cucumber and shrimp, which has been fried tempura style. The rice on the roll is abnormally hard, although despite this the rolls will sometimes fall apart, the fate of two of mine. As for the overall taste, it’s on the mild side, but will likely appeal to seafood lovers with deeper pockets.

    Kiki Japanese Restaurant

    Kiki Japanese Restaurant

    Restaurant Exterior

    April 26th, 2019 – Referred to locally as Kiki’s by some, and at one time was called Kiki Teriyaki Sushi before a minor name change, this 1269 9th Ave establishment strikes a balance between “hole in the wall” and family restaurant. The crooked doors and windows allow the place to stand out, while the interior, for many years, felt lackluster. They recently, though, did a remodel that greatly helped the place look a little more upscale

    Kiki Japanese Restaurant

    Left: May 2018 – Right: April 2019

    Now a couple things to note here. First is that the place gets its name from Hayao Miyazaki‘s 1989 movie Kiki’s Delivery Service, which was released by Toei. This inspiration is obvious inside, with a lot of official artwork hanged from Miyazaki’s movies. Oddly, though, these are three movies featured heavily:

    One will notice that they aren’t heavily promoting the movie which it gets its namesake, which is odd, but also that none of the recent movies are promoted. The reason for the latter, though, is the age of the place. I’m not sure the exact age, but it does predate 2005, meaning that Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) likely wasn’t even out yet.

    Kiki Japanese Restaurant

    Godzilla Roll

    Anyway onto the Godzilla roll. Priced at $6.75, it’s described on the menu as:

    Spicy tuna tempura topped with house special wasabi sauce

    The dish has some positives, like the tuna has an excellent aftertaste. The roll itself is also warm when received, which I enjoyed, and the tempura batter is on the lighter side. However… you have to like wasabi to enjoy this, and that’s likely going to cater to a very small audience. The reason is the “special wasabi sauce”, which is like a mayo mixed with wasabi. Sadly, the wasabi taste is very overpowering, masking much of the rest of the flavor. Consequently, only recommended to those who like wasabi. Also mark this as roll #2 with a mixture of red and green in the roll.

    Sakesan Sushi & Bistro

    Sakesan Sushi & Bistro

    Restaurant Exterior

    April 21st, 2019 – Located on 626 Clement Street, one finds this fairly nice establishment. Seating inside is a mixture, with an area dedicated for taking off your shoes and sitting around a small table. Alternatively, you can sit at a high table with your shoes on. Like many Japanese restaurants, this place features an open kitchen area. As the name might imply, there is a strong emphasis on drinks at this place. It has a nice long menu, and does serve some good sake.

    Now this place also has a happy hour that runs from 4pm to 6pm each day. That’s probably inconvenient on the weekdays, but can work out on the weekends. As a bonus, the happy hour menu includes an item called the “Godzilla Roll”. Priced at $8 on the regular menu, the item is $6 on this menu.

    Godzilla Roll at Sakesan Sushi & Bistro

    Godzilla Roll at Sakesan Sushi & Bistro

    It’s described as a:

    Fried salmon roll with green onion & spicy sauce on top
    (regular menu uses the word tempura instead of fried)

    The regular menu mentions it takes about 20-25 minutes to prepare, due to frying, although the happy hour menu fails to note the waiting time. Appearance wise, it looks good. There is a mixture of teriyaki sauce and a very mild sriracha-like sauce poured on top. There is a healthy dose of green onions as well, giving it a nice, diverse array of colors. Not sure the red and greens are what inspired the Godzilla name or not, but it looks appetizing. In terms of taste, the salmon flavor is very strong through out. Now one of my general complaints with fried sushi is it gets to be too heavy tasting, although this dish escapes that. The batter is on the lighter side, so while it is fried it’s not overpowering. All in all, there are better sushi items on the menu, but this one is appealing.

    Kaiju Kuisine // May 21, 2019
  • 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

    General // April 1, 2019
  • When famed director Akira Kurosawa took to the stage in 1989 to accept an Honorary Academy Award, in many ways he did so to correct some of the past wrongs of the academy itself. Being one of the most influential directors of all time, Kurosawa was amazingly only nominated by the academy once over his very long career. So, in 1989, directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were selected to call out his contributions through the honorary category.

    This wouldn’t be the last time that a famous director from Japan would achieve this award, as in 2014 Hayao Miyazaki picked up an Honorary Academy Award of his own. Likewise to Kurosawa, Miyazaki never received an Academy Award before… but his films did.

    This article is coming right after the 91st Academy Award winners have been announced: an event that did include the Japanese movies Mirai (2018) and Shoplifters, although this was not released by Toho. To that point, we are going to take a trip down memory lane, examining all of the past Toho films that were nominated by the academy. These will be in chronological order of the Academy Awards themselves. If the film or person won the award, it will be noted, although more often they were just nominated.

    1955

    Best Foreign Language Film: Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954) – WON

    1956

    Best Production Design: So Matsuyama for Seven Samurai (1954)
    Best Costume Design: Kohei Ezaki for Seven Samurai (1954)

    1961

    Best Costume Design: Yoshiro Muraki for Yojimbo (1961)

    1965

    Best Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara for The Woman in the Dunes (1964)
    Best Foreign Language Film: The Woman in the Dunes (1964)

    Kwaidan (1965)

    Kwaidan (1965)

    1966

    Best Foreign Language Film: Kwaidan (1965)

    1971

    Best Foreign Language Film: Dodes’kaden (1970)

    1975

    Best Foreign Language Film: Sandakan No. 8 (1974)

    1980

    Best Production Design: Yoshiro Muraki for Kagemusha (1980)
    Best Foreign Language Film: Kagemusha (1980)

    Ran (1985)

    Ran (1985)

    1985

    Best Director: Akira Kurosawa for Ran (1985)
    Best Production Design: Yoshiro Muraki and Shinobu Muraki for Ran (1985)
    Best Costume Design: Emi Wada for Ran (1985) – WON

    2002

    Best Animated Feature: Spirited Away (2001) – WON

    2005

    Best Animated Feature: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

    2013

    Best Animated Feature: The Wind Rises (2013)

    The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

    The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

    2014

    Best Animated Feature: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

    2015

    Best Animated Feature: When Marnie Was There (2014)

    2016

    Best Animated Feature: The Red Turtle (2016)

    2019

    Best Animated Feature: Mirai (2018)

     

    For a bit of trivia, Yoshiro Muraki has secured the largest number of nominations of anyone from Japan by the academy with four nominations, as beyond the listed Toho titles he was also nominated for his work on the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! in 1970. Also, the first Japanese movie to not just be nominated but actually receive an Oscar was Daiei studios’ Rashomon in 1951.

    As another side note, this list is not to be confused with the Japanese Academy Awards. This is a separate event, done by a different academy found inside Japan. That said, perhaps an article for a different day will cover which Toho films and staff have been honored through those awards.

    General // February 25, 2019
  • Edits, additions and replacements. Toho’s large catalogue of films have sometimes been released untouched for the international markets, and other times have been hacked up almost beyond recognition. This article focuses on the rarely talked about musical component of this process, and looks to cite where music was inserted into a Toho film from an outside source when brought overseas.

    Note that entries are not complete. Meaning just because a film is listed doesn’t mean all overseas film music is represented in that entry at this time. This article is a work in progress. If you have information on a Toho film and the original music not listed here, please feel free to mention it in the comment section. The more details that you can provide, the better it will assist us in getting it added.

     


    Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

    Kronos SoundtrackWhen Paul Schriebman re-edited Godzilla Raids Again as Gigantis the Fire Monster for its US release, much of Masaru Sato‘s score was replaced with music from various American B movies of the 1950’s. Many of these cues originated from the 1957 giant robot film Kronos, and were composed by Paul Sawtell and Ben Shefter. The theme song for the omonimous robot is frequently heard in Gigantis the Fire Monster, underscoring most of the battle between the creatures.

    The score for Kronos was released in its entirety in 1984 as an LP (CLP-1001) by Cacophonic. The tracks as they appear in the film are:

    #1 The “Main Title” serving this very same function in Gigantis the Fire Monster
    #15 “Power Resources”, when Godzilla and Anguirus are first spotted on Iwato Island, and during Dr. Yamane’s lecture about the “Fire monsters”. The cue then fades to:
    #16 “Attack on Kronos”, which pops up just as stock footage from Godzilla (1954) does
    #19 “The Bomb Part 2”, when Godzilla makes his landing on Osaka
    #21 “Kronos on Rampage”, as Godzilla and Anguirus finish their battle
    #22 “Kronos Attacked”, for the prologue scenes and later when Kobayashi’s engine goes out of order

    The soundtrack for Kronos was later re-released on CD in 2012, as a 2-CD set that also featured The Cosmic Man by Monstrous Movie Music. The set was called Kronos/The Cosmic Man (MMM-1963/1964).

    The Kronos/The Cosmic Man set can be purchased here.

    Additional information and clarification provided by Ethan

     


    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

    Everyone Has a Story: The Songs of Adryan RussPrepping the movie for its US release under the title Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster, Continental did some fairly substantial editing to the film. This included removing scenes from the movie, about 8 minutes in total, and shifting around the order of events in the film. For example, King Ghidorah shows up fairly late in the American cut.

    During this process, Continental also inserted some stock music in the movie. While several themes were inserted, two of the more notable are by composer Trevor Duncan. These tracks are both called “Smouldering Fury”, denoted as (a) and (b). In terms of their use in the US version:

    • Smouldering Fury (a): replaces Akira Ifukube‘s “The Kurobe Valley” theme in the film while they are hiking toward the meteor
    • Smouldering Fury (b): played when an injured Malmess attempts to assassinate the princess

    A digital version of Smouldering Fury (a) can be purchased here. Likewise, a digital version of Smouldering Fury (b) can be purchased here.

     


    The War of the Gargantuas (1966)

    The War of the GargantuasReadied for its 1970 release in the United States, several changes were made to The War of the Gargantuas. This included the addition of unused footage, filmed as part of the original production and often containing expanded scenes of destruction. The musical score was also altered, including the addition of some of Akira Ifukube‘s themes from Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965).

    However, Ifukube’s famous “Operation L March” theme was also removed from the American version of the film, replaced with a combination of reusing Gaira’s theme and also a stock cue. This stock cue, from APM music, is composer Philip Green’s “Terror Hunt”, a popular track in several other monster movies released before and after the US version of The War of the Gargantuas. Other uses include the 1965 The Legend of Blood Mountain, the 1971 Zaat and the TV show SpongeBob SquarePants. One of the earliest uses of the theme was way back in 1957, for the movie The Incredible Petrified World.

    Unfortunately, a retail version is unknown to be available at this time.

     


    Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)

    Everyone Has a Story: The Songs of Adryan RussWhen AIP picked up the rights to the 1971 movie Godzilla vs. Hedorah, they opted to produce their own version for the US market. Retitled Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, this version of the movie was more or less faithful to the original with minor changes committed. One of the more glaring alterations, especially compared to the International version, is the addition of a new song: “Save the Earth”. Replacing Mari Keiko’s “Give Back the Sun!”, although using the same background music, the new piece was created by artist Adryan Russ with lyric writing help from Guy Hemric. Much like “Give Back the Sun!”, it is used three times in the film: the introduction, at the nightclub and after Hedorah is defeated. Unlike its Japanese counterpart, there is only one version and no male chorus alternate as was used at the end of the film.

    In terms of release, the song can be found as an easter egg on the CD Everyone Has a Story: The Songs of Adryan Russ (LMLCD-133).

    Everyone Has a Story: The Songs of Adryan Russ CD can be purchased here.

     


    The Return of Godzilla (1984)

    Def-Con 4For Godzilla’s return to the big screen, New World Pictures opted to go create a version of the film that harked back to the Americanization of the original Godzilla (1954) as Godzilla King of the Monsters. This new version of The Return of Godzilla, titled Godzilla 1985, also underwent heavy editing. Scenes were added and removed, and to supplement this new music was also added.

    For the task of fleshing out the musical score, New World Pictures turned to composer Christopher Young, who in his later years would score productions such as Spider-man 3. Rather than conducting new music, they opted to use Young’s haunting score for the Canadian movie Def-Con 4. This soundtrack was also made available in 1990 on CD by Intrada (MAF-7010D), although is rare to come by today.

    In terms of execution, thankfully composer Reijiro Koroku‘s music was left mostly unscathed for the sequences that were left in the movie. The “new” music instead was used to replace the end song, fill in silence, and to accompany new scenes. Below is a complete rundown of these changes, which use the track titles from the CD release:

    • During the scene where Steven Martin uncovers his eyes and a small dragon idol is seen the theme “Ghost Planet” is used
    • “A Message from Home” is heard when reporter Goro Maki is looking through the Yahata Maru before finding the first victim of the Shockirus
    • Leading up to Godzilla’s attack on the Soviet submarine, the “Armageddon” theme is heard
    • “I Can’t Go On” is heard during the rigging of Mt. Mihara
    • “The Juggernaut” is then used for the evacuation scenes before Godzilla arrives in Tokyo
    • After the button is pressed for the nuclear missile, the theme “Defense Condition” is used
    • As Hiroshi Okumura attempts to get into the rescue helicopter, a theme from Def-Con 4 is used when Howe runs into a camp of cannibals in the forest [unreleased theme]
    • The end credits got a new musical sequence that edits together the High Rise Tension, Super-X and Self Defense Force themes from the film with Young’s “The Liberation of Fort Liswell”

     

    The Def-Con 4 soundtrack can be purchased here.

    Additional information and clarification provided by Ethan and Baradagi

     


    Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)

    Godzilla 2000When TriStar went to release Godzilla 2000 in theaters, they did a substantial edit to the original movie. This included a bit of trimming and enhancing the audio, giving a more robust surround sound. Beyond just simple dubbing, new sound effects were also utilized, with a lot of emphasis placed on the movie’s sound.

    Probably not surprisingly, this extended toward work on the soundtrack as well. Some of composer Takayuki Hattori‘s themes were removed. This included in favor of inserting more of Akira Ifukube‘s music, used for the first appearance of Orga and also an encore performance of the Godzilla theme during the end credits.

    The movie also featured original music, though, composed by J.Peter Robinson. This was inserted in numerous points including:

    • While Yuji Sinoda is riding his motor bike on the beach
    • As the tanks mobilize to attack Godzilla
    • While the CCI rockets are lifted
    • During the evacuation scenes after the Millennian UFO lands
    • For part of the segment involving the Bomb Blasts
    • When Yuki Ichinose turns the car around to go back for Sinoda
    • Much of the battle music for Godzilla vs. Orga
    • When Godzilla is blasting Tokyo before the credits, which features a synthesized version of the Godzilla theme

    Some of the original tracks were released on a promotional CD in Europe, pictured above. They were bundled with tracks from GODZILLA (1998).

     


    Ponyo (2008)

    PonyoWhen Disney released Ponyo in the Western Market, they chose to capitalize on the successes of their pop stars Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers by casting their younger siblings, Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas, in the film. Due to the original version featuring a song sung by the leads, Disney translated the lyrics to English and had their leads sing the song using the same backing, not unlike Godzilla vs. Hedorah‘s “Save the Earth”. Disney also created a remix of the song with some different lyrics, which follows the dubbed version of the song in their version of the film’s end credits. Both Disney’s version and the remix are included in a single available for purchase on iTunes.

    For the movie’s Italian release in 2009, this song was also redone by distributor Lucky Red. Like the US version, this song replaces the Japanese lyrics with ones in Italian by the leads for this dubbed version. Also like the one created by Disney, this song was uploaded to iTunes for resale.

    The Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas versions of the songs can be purchased here.

    Additional information and clarification provided by Daniel Short

    This article was first published on September 23, 2010.

    General // January 4, 2019
  • The fandom is known to seek out the original versions of Toho’s films when at all possible, and for good reason. American distributors sometimes cut scenes, alter music and even add sequences to movies.

    The Return of Godzilla (1984) faced a similar treatment when it was brought over to the US as Godzilla 1985 by New World Pictures. However, while fans are quick to turn their nose up at the version for its “young general, evil Soviets, Dr. Pepper vending machine” ways, the American version did a lot of things right. Now I’m not defending Godzilla 1985 as the better version, it’s not. The US version added some awfully pointless scenes, but I feel it should be recognized for the many positive changes that were done.

    Many things were altered about the 1984 movie, some more respectful than others, and some did improve the film. Below is a list of some of the greatest alterations New World Pictures did when preparing The Return of Godzilla for the US market, in order of enjoyment.

    Less “Foreigner” Dialogue

    7 Things Godzilla 1985 Did Better: Less “Foreigner” Dialogue

    “This is no time to be discussing PRINCipals…”

    Bad acting from non-Japanese actors is a norm for a lot of the Godzilla franchise. The Showa films used to address this by dubbing over most of them, even though the caliber of actors like Nick Adams and Russ Tamblyn was high and their performances great. The Return of Godzilla started a new trend of leaving the original actors’ dialogue in.

    While the performances are better in this film than the ones that would follow, there is still cringe worthy moments. Oddly, the US version elects not to dub these over and keeps the original performances. Thankfully, though, Godzilla 1985 instead removes a lot of these lines. This does have a negative by-product though on a few of the scenes that employee them. The best example is the Soviet submarine sequence, which has a lot of the lines cut. This includes axing the cheesy nuclear “conflicto” line. However, the removal gets to the point where the scene feels very brisk, totally removing the tension the sequence was going for.

    On the scale of changes, this one does some good along with the bad.

    Making Tokyo Actually Seem Evacuated

    7 Things Godzilla 1985: Making Tokyo Actually Seem Evacuated

    This is a pet peeve of mine, but in The Return of Godzilla Tokyo never feels like it’s actually evacuated. The film makes an effort to show daytime evacuation scenes as notice is given that Godzilla is heading toward Tokyo… and then night falls and the city still seems packed with people. This includes footage of a bustling shopping district that reacts to Godzilla almost on top of them. In fact, it feels like most of Tokyo kind of ignored the evacuation notification.

    New World Pictures addresses this by using the shopping district shot without the crowds below and two other major contributions to make it feel like Tokyo actually made more of an effort to evacuate.

    The first is the removal of a crowd scene that happens after Godzilla collapses from fighting the Super-X. This occurs almost immediately after Godzilla falls over, making it feel like there were throngs of people, in running distance, of Godzilla while he was attacking Tokyo’s downtown area. I mean this isn’t just a handful of people who might have struggled to evacuate, this is a regular flash mob that shows up on cue and is held back by police in riot gear who are also immediately on the scene (Godzilla has quite the entourage). All of these scenes were wisely removed.

    The next contribution is through the ordering of scenes. When the Japanese government announces that the Russian nuke has been launched at Tokyo, we get shots of them announcing this to crowds and footage of citizens rushing into subways. It gets a smirk: shouldn’t these people already be evacuated? New World instead takes this footage and places it just BEFORE Godzilla arrives. This is much better, making it feel like the final stages of the evacuation rather than a second attempt to evacuate the people who must not have listened the first time.

    Cutting Bad Effects

    7 Things Godzilla 1985: Cutting Bad Effects

    While special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano was at the top of his game for the 1984 film, the production does exhibit the Japanese norm of being uneven in its effects. It’s rare for any Tokusatsu (Japanese special effects films) to not exhibit this, often having at least one below par or cringe worthy effect. This is largely due to the tight schedule that most Japanese productions are created under. The Return of Godzilla has a few, and thankfully these were cut from the US version.

    First up is the Shockirus attack, which is much longer in the Japanese version. Godzilla 1985 cuts a little too much here, but it does remove the greatest offending point: the part where the prop jumps onto actor Ken Tanaka’s back. It’s totally unconvincing as it dangles part on the actor, part off, being held by the actor. This segment is not only better left forgotten, but also doesn’t make sense in the story, as Tanaka’s character Goro Maki turns around and the Shockirus that was on his back is suddenly across the room (!?) and then jumps on his chest.

    The other offending special effects shots are numerous, but are all related to the “real size” Godzilla foot prop. Sadly, the prop is not only unconvincing but also just doesn’t match how the foot looks in other scenes. Given the budget probably spent on these scenes, one can sympathize with director Nakano wanting to keep them in, but they aren’t particularly exciting on their own and the film benefits from their removal.

    Trimmed Super-X vs. Godzilla Battle

    Things Godzilla 1985 Did Better: Trimmed Super-X vs. Godzilla Battle

    In the original version, Godzilla seems very lethargic at some points. The worst offender of this is during his initial battle with the Super-X.

    For the battle, Godzilla stands around for long spans of time before and when he is first confronted by the Super-X. This includes standing in place as the ship approaches, before the ship starts to fire its flares, during the flares, and even after being injected by the cadmium missiles. Other than roaring, his only response is a belated atomic ray AFTER Godzilla is having issues breathing from the cadmium… and Godzilla continues to stand, off on a small monitor, while the prime minister and his staff go over the likely scenario of the nuke that the Soviets just launched. FINALLY the movie cuts back and Godzilla collapses into a building, as the cadmium begins to affect him. The editing structure is painful, and oddly de-emphasizes Godzilla during what should be a key sequence.

    The US edit is much more concise, with faster pacing that doesn’t make it seem like Godzilla is just sitting there perplexed for what feels like an hour while the Super-X does it’s thing. The editing makes Godzilla feel more appropriately hostile, as his first response is to attempt to blast the craft with his ray, which has no impact thanks to the ship’s shielding. The Super-X then responds in turn with the flares and cadmium missiles, which cause Godzilla to topple over without the needless minutes of him standing in place. It’s an infinitely more engaging turn of events than what happens in the original cut.

    The second battle after Godzilla awakes is good in both versions, although even here the US version makes a wise cut of a long scene as Godzilla waits for the Super-X to emerge from behind a building.

    Epilogue

    7 Things Godzilla 1985: Epilogue

    While most of the improvements to the film can be chalked up to editing choices, and most of the negatives associated with the added scenes, this alteration does buck that trend. As Godzilla ascends into the volcano, Raymond Burr’s Steve Martin gives a heartfelt speech about the monster:

    Nature has a way sometimes of reminding man of just how small he is. She occasionally throws up terrible offspring’s of our pride and carelessness to remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake, or a Godzilla. The reckless ambitions of man are often dwarfed by their dangerous consequences. For now, Godzilla, that strangely innocent and tragic monster, has gone to earth. Whether he returns or not, or is never again seen by human eyes, the things he has taught us… remain…

    While much of the dialogue for the new film leaves some to be desired, the overly poetic closure feels on point. Burr’s delivery is also impeccable, giving some new closing meat to the film during a sequence that was otherwise dialogue-less.

    Removed Songs

    7 Things Godzilla 1985: Removed Songs

    The Return of Godzilla features two songs, both of which were removed when New World Pictures edited the film. The first is “Good-bye Sweetheart Godzilla” and the second is the “Godzilla: Theme of Love”. If those song titles sound out of place for the more gothic 1984 film, it’s because they are.

    The first song is actually done by the main actress of the film, Yasuko Sawaguchi. It’s heard on the radio during the opening on the small leisure boat before it finds the Yahata Maru. It really cuts through the mood, being way too happy and poppy, as its placed between the fishing ship struggling the night before and the upcoming sequence of the Shockirus. If the original film crew placed the song there as a moment of humor, it missed the mark and feels more like Toho was looking for some place to just cram and promote Sawaguchi’s musical career.

    The second song is better, but also unneeded. It’s located during the movie’s credits, as Godzilla is trapped in the volcano. Done by The Star Sisters, the song is actually in English and has the singers saying: “Good-bye now Godzilla, good-bye now Godzilla, until then… take care now Godzilla, take care now Godzilla my old friend… Sayonara ‘til we meet again.” Yes there was a saddened relief felt by the characters as Godzilla was falling into the volcano, but the lyrics of the song feel totally out of place. It would fit much better as a finisher on one of the 1970’s films, as opposed to one where Godzilla returned to his evil roots.

    For the record, I don’t dislike either song, but feel neither fits with the 1984 Godzilla film.

    Added Music by Christopher Young

    7 Things Godzilla 1985: Added Music by Christopher Young

    *drum roll* …and the greatest achievement from Godzilla 1985 is the added music. Original composer Reijiro Koroku did a phenomenal job on the movie’s score. It’s one of the better in the franchise, and the dark, moody music fits the gothic motif of the production perfectly.

    The fault of the music is not in the themes themselves, which are incredible, but rather than the sequences that lack them. Realizing this, New World Pictures tapped the musical work of composer Christopher Young to fill in the blank sequences. While Young is a very prolific composer now, having scored films like Spider-Man 3 and The Rum Diary, he was relatively new to the industry back in the mid-1980’s. The source of the music is actually the score for Def-Con 4, which was released in the US just five months prior.

    Young’s score not only fits well with Koroku’s music, but was brilliant in its own right, and likely would have been very obscure if not for its use in the Godzilla film. The added themes from Young greatly improved certain, previously music-less sequences. The best examples include the eerie search through the Yahata Maru, the Soviet Submarine scenes before Godzilla attacks and the high rise evacuation by helicopter. The new end credits also utilized a new suite of music that nicely mixed Koroku’s music with Young’s to great effect.

    As a side note, a lot of the musical score for Def-Con 4 can be found on an old 1990 Intrada CD release that we have reviewed on the site.

    Agree or disagree with this list? Feel free to list your own things Godzilla 1985 did better than The Return of Godzilla in the comments below.

    General // November 30, 2018
  • Living proof that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, comes a collection of films, done outside of Japan, which were heavily influenced by Toho produced, and distributed, movies. As expected, Akira Kurosawa‘s movies are easily the most influential films to have come out of Toho, or Japan for that matter, and their impact is reflected below. However, in more recent years, there has been a outreach to pay homage to other films to have gone through Toho by different directors. As a general note, GODZILLA (1998) and Godzilla (2014) are not listed in this section due to the more direct involvement with Toho and the utilization of Toho copyrighted characters.

    The Magnificent Seven (1960)

    Magnificent Seven

    John Sturges’ western picture about seven gunfighters who are hired to protect a Mexican village from their bandit oppressors. The film is the first, of many, to take their own swing at Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) while moving the story to a western setting, which would become a popular trend in adapting Kurosawa’s work. The film does credit its source material, though, listing: “This picture is based on the Japanese film Seven Samurai, Toho Company, Ltd.” The Magnificent Seven starred Yul Brynner in Takashi Shimura‘s role, and has Horst Buchholz playing a hybrid of Toshiro Mifune‘s role and Isao Kimura’s role. The film was followed up in 1966 with Return of the Magnificent Seven.

    InfluenceSeven Samurai (1954)

    Star Wars (1977)

    Star Wars

    Without question, the most famous film which was inspired from a Toho movie. George Lucas’ Star Wars follows the basic principles of The Hidden Fortress (1958). The movie is told from the perspective of two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO who are obviously playing out the roles of the two thieves in The Hidden Fortress, with the first twenty minutes of Star Wars being remarkably similar to the same scenes in Kurosawa’s 1958 film. Star Wars shares numerous similar plot points with its inspiration as well, including Obi-Wan (playing Mifune’s role, more or less) attempting to escort the princess to safety. Star Wars is a rather large deviation from the source material, though, with numerous twists and characters added in. The film was followed up in 1980 with The Empire Strikes Back.

    InfluenceThe Hidden Fortress (1958)

    Last Man Standing (1996)

    Last Man Standing

    This mid 1990’s offering by Walter Hill is a different take on Kurosawa’s masterpiece Yojimbo (1961). The Bruce Willis vehicle moves the story to a western setting with a mercenary getting caught between the conflict of local Italian and Irish gangs. This film is a little more faithful to the source, Dashiell Hammett’s The Red Harvest, than Kurosawa was, but still borrows more from Kurosawa’s movie than anything else. The film has Bruce Willis in Mifune’s role and Christopher Walken in Tatsuya Nakadai‘s role.

    InfluenceYojimbo (1961)

    The Ring (2002)

    The Ring

    Gore Verbinski’s remake of the 1998 film Ring. Like its Japanese counterpart, The Ring focuses on a cursed tape which will kill those who watch it seven days later. The film is, more or less, a direct remake with several scenes added in to explain the origin of the film’s antagonist, Samara (instead of Sadako) in this version, adding a lot of back story that wasn’t in the 1998 offering. The film was followed up in 2005 by The Ring Two, which is directed by Hideo Nakata, the director behind the original 1998 film.

    InfluenceRing (1998)

    Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

    Kill Bill: Volume 1

    Quentin Tarantino’s largely different take on the 1973 film Lady Snowblood, which was released in a two volume series. It would be unfair to credit Lady Snowblood full heartily for Kill Bill, as the series is really a homage to so many different sources; however, it would not be unfair to credit the 1973 film as the prime inspiration. To put it bluntly, Kill Bill merges the role of Yuki Shurayuki and her mother into one, and adds one member to the roster of murderers. Kill Bill still keeps the chapter story approach, along with several shots (such as when the murders are peering down at the defeated Mother/Bride) and keeps the main title theme of Lady Snowblood (Flower of Carnage by Masaaki Hirao). The film was followed up in 2004 with Kill Bill: Volume 2.

    InfluenceLady Snowblood (1973)

    Shall We Dance? (2004)

    Shall We Dance?

    A remake of the 1996 movie of the same name, Shall We Dance?. Produced by Miramax, the same company which had released the original Japanese production in the United States in 1997, the film took the overall story and made it a vehicle for stars Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. Although with a similar plot, the new movie focuses more on the supporting cast than the original did.

    InfluenceShall We Dance? (1996)

    Dark Water (2005)

    Dark Water

    Staring Jennifer Connelly, the film is a reimagining of the original 2002 production Dark Water. The movie is one of the more faithful remakes of a Japanese production committed to a Toho film, although still adds and removes sequences that in turn separates it from the original.

    Unlike other horror remakes, the movie keeps the grim ending of the original source with only minor changes.

    InfluenceDark Water (2002)

    Pulse (2006)

    Pulse

    Following the wave of Japanese horror remakes, this production adapts Pulse (2001) for the US market. Although with a similar plot, the movie is 30 minutes shorter than the original and takes a vastly different approach to the material wherein trying to elaborate on the strange occurrences rather than falling back on a sense of mystery that the 2001 feature did.

    The film was followed up in 2008 by Pulse 2: Afterlife.

    InfluencePulse (2001)

    One Missed Call (2008)

    One Missed Call

    A remake of the 2003 film One Missed Call, which is faithful to the overall plot but adds new sequences and a totally different ending. This particular “influence” is an interesting scenario as the original 2003 movie was actually made with hopes that it would be remade in the United States, as there was a “remake me” fervor in the Japanese horror genre after The Ring‘s success. In the end, it took five years and the original production studio Kadokawa working with Warner Bros themselves to get the remake they wanted.

    InfluenceOne Missed Call (2003)

    The Magnificent Seven (2016)

    The Magnificent Seven

    A remake of a remake. The 2016 production took John Sturges’ original 1960 film, which transplanted Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai (1954) in a western setting, and updates the premise with more choreographed action and a more racially diverse cast.

    While the Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt vehicle owes more to Sturges’ film than Kurosawa’s, the 2016 production does right by crediting the writing talent behind the 1954 samurai epic.

    InfluenceSeven Samurai (1954)

     

    Uncredited or Unauthorized Influences

    Not all films are forthcoming with their influence, or sometimes even source material. Below are entries that are influenced by Toho films but are not officially credited. Some of these are up for debate, others, like A Fistful of Dollars where lawsuits are involved, are more clear despite the lack of source citing.

    A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

    A Fistful of Dollars

    The most famous incident of an uncredited influence. Sergio Leone’s first entry in his “Dollars Trilogy” is an Italian remake of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) starring Clint Eastwood in Toshiro Mifune‘s role. The film is set in the old west with the “Man With No Name”, the story’s mercenary protagonist, going up against two rival gangs, who he pits against each other. The film keeps the slightly humorist approach to the story, that was a trademark of Kurosawa’s film. Released just three years after the Mifune vehicle, the production caught the attention of Kurosawa who famously stated it was “a fine movie, but it was MY movie”. Toho intervened at this point with a lawsuit, and the filmmakers settled out of court.

    The film was followed up in 1965 with For a Few Dollars More.

    InfluenceYojimbo (1961)

    Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

    Battle Beyond the Stars

    Roger Corman, who will appear again on this list, set out to capitalize on the ongoing science fiction craze by crafting what was called “The Magnificent Seven in space”. While the movie, at least from the cast, cites influence from John Sturges’ 1960 production, Kurosawa’s original Seven Samurai (1954) is never given similar credit. The similarities to the 1960 Western are sometimes overt, especially with the casting of Robert Vaughn who appears in both.

    In terms of plot, the story covers a young man attempting to search the galaxy for defenders to help him protect his planet from an invader called Sador the Malmori. Ultimately, a band of warriors is assembled, although much like the 1954 and 1960 productions they are met with heavy casualties and sacrifices in their quest.

    InfluenceSeven Samurai (1954)

    The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

    The Warrior and the Sorceress

    Produced in the 1980’s, this production attempts to adapt the story of Yojimbo (1961) in a sword and sorcery setting. Although drastically more outlandish than its inspiration, the remake lifts numerous segments wholesale from the original besides the fact that the basic plots are virtually identical.

    While the film never fairly credits itself as a remake, star David Carradine freely admits it. In fact, in his book Spirit of Shaolin he recounts a conversation with executive producer Roger Corman. The incident involves Carradine countering a claim that it was “like” Yojimbo (1961) with a response that “it’s not like Yojimbo… it is Yojimbo.” Humorously, Corman diffused the conversation citing that Kurosawa’s film was influenced by Dashiel Hammet’s Red Harvest and this prevented Toho from suing other films like A Fistful of Dollars… seemingly unaware that Toho had actually sued those filmmakers.

    InfluenceYojimbo (1961)

    A Bug’s Life (1998)

    A Bug's Life

    The Disney/Pixar production’s influence from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai(1954) is almost something of an in-joke now, although no one on the production side has ever referenced the connection. The movie places ants in the role of the peasants, with a group of grasshoppers as the film’s bandit antagonists. This time around, a group of eight circus performers are hired to get rid of the colony of bandits.

    The Seven Samurai (1954) influence on the film was picked up early, with release date reviews such as this one from the Chicago Tribune noting it. The in-joke part comes from director John Landis’ reaction to the film in respects to his own ¡Three Amigos! movie, bringing it up several times until he erupted in a 2011 interview: “They completely ripped it off! The first Pixar movie about the ants, A Bug’s Life, took the same plot.”. The irony being that the ¡Three Amigos! is a bit of a parody of The Magnificent Seven. Ultimately, A Bug’s Life owes more to the 1954 and 1960 films rather than Landis’ production, with the exception of the element of the circus performers not realizing the real danger they have signed up for.

    InfluenceSeven Samurai (1954)

    This article was first published on August 19th, 2004.

    General // November 5, 2018
  • Wondering if there is an after the credits scene in Kong: Skull Island? Many blockbuster franchises, from the Marvel cinematic universe to entries in the Fast & Furious series, boast a sequence at the end of the film that often ties into future entries. That said, and anyone who recently watched Logan can attest, it can be frustrating to sit through the entire credits only to be greeted with no such scene. So does the latest Kong movie offer something after the credits?

    Is There an After Credits Scene in Kong: Skull Island?The answer: yes

    Not only is that answer a resounding yes, but it’s a scene that genre fans will have to see. This scene should not be confused with the home video footage of John C. Reilly’s Hank Marlow, which happens at the start of and during the credits. This sequence happens after the credits are completely finished.

    Due to the magnitude of the scene, it’s recommended to not have it spoiled before watching it. That said, those looking for spoilers can find them further down the page.

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    So while Godzilla (2014) had no after credits stinger, Kong does in a major way. While fans can enjoy the music of Captain America: Civil War composer Henry Jackman, observant viewers can see a credit for Toho and the use of the Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan characters. This citation does indeed link to the after credits sequence.

    The scene starts with Tom Hiddleston’s James Conrad and Brie Larson’s Mason Weaver being integrated by unseen figures at a Monarch facility. The frustrated pair talk about Skull Island and possible revelations to the Russians. They are interrupted by the appearance of Monarch staff, as Corey Hawkins’ Houston Brooks and Tian Jing’s San arrive to inform them that Skull Island was not an anomaly.

    They begin talking of other monster sightings, cueing both a stock image from the 2014 Godzilla film of the nuclear explosion before showing cave drawing pictures. These pictures depict, separately, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan. An additional painting depicts Godzilla battling King Ghidorah.

    Other monsters do exist, and as the movie fades to black the Godzilla roar is heard.

    As a result of this sequence, the movie teases the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters film.

    General // March 11, 2017
  • IDW Publishing had a long run releasing Godzilla comics. In fact, over the five year run, the Godzilla comics had one of the company’s largest success stories with the breakaway performance of Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1. With the character selling well in the format and with a track record of data available, this report measures how the King of the Monsters has been faring in various issues on the market since IDW took the reigns.

    To do this, data has been compiled from using sales estimates provided by Diamond Comics Distributors, the largest comic distributor in the United States. Estimates are given on a monthly basis, meaning that most of the data here reflects when a comic was initially ordered or if it saw a lot of orders and sales in a past month to merit a readjustment.

    Best Sellers Data

    This first series of data presents the sales in order of copies estimated to be sold. Please note the data reflects primarily issues sold to retailers, such as comic book shops.

    While the ongoing series has generally sold better than its mini-series counterparts, the ongoing also has the lowest sellers on the list as well. Overall, the two have held up pretty well in contrast to each other. For reference, the top selling mini-series comic is Godzilla in Hell #1.

    1. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1 – 69,662
    2. Godzilla in Hell #1 – 15,388
    3. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #4 – 14,890
    4. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #3 – 14,588
    5. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #2 – 14,492
    6. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #5 – 14,232
    7. Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #1 – 13,292
    8. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #6 -12,525
    9. Godzilla in Hell #4 – 12,408
    10. Godzilla in Hell #3 – 12,332
    11. Godzilla in Hell #5 – 12,023
    12. Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #2 – 12,018
    13. Godzilla #1 – 11,993
    14. Godzilla Cataclysm #1 – 11,868
    15. Godzilla in Hell #2 – 11,278
    16. Godzilla Oblivion #2 – 11,192
    17. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #7 – 11,141
    18. Godzilla The Half-Century War #1 – 11,010
    19. Godzilla Oblivion #1 – 10,750
    20. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #8 – 10,638
    21. Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #3 – 10,526
    22. Godzilla Legends #1 – 10,330
    23. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #9 – 9,879
    24. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #1 – 9,813
    25. Godzilla #2 – 9,756
    26. Godzilla The Half-Century War #3 – 9,709
    27. Godzilla The Half-Century War #2 – 9,453
    28. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #10 – 9,294
    29. Godzilla #3 – 9,282
    30. Godzilla Oblivion #3 – 9,208
    31. Godzilla The Half-Century War #4 – 9,090
    32. Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #4 – 9,061
    33. Godzilla The Half-Century War #5 – 8,884
    34. Godzilla Rage Across Time #3 – 8,872
    35. Godzilla Rage Across Time #2 – 8,859
    36. Godzilla Cataclysm #2 – 8,859
    37. Godzilla #4 – 8,767
    38. Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #5 – 8,725
    39. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #11 – 8,677
    40. Godzilla Cataclysm #3 – 8,624
    41. Godzilla #5 – 8,596
    42. Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #12 – 8,508
    43. Godzilla Rage Across Time #4 – 8,500
    44. Godzilla Legends #2 – 8,465
    45. Godzilla Oblivion #5 – 8,407
    46. Godzilla #6 – 8,128
    47. Godzilla Legends #3 – 8,013
    48. Godzilla Cataclysm #4 – 7,981
    49. Godzilla Rage Across Time #5 – 7,950
    50. Godzilla Cataclysm #5 – 7,892
    51. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #12 – 7,890
    52. Godzilla #7 – 7,689
    53. Godzilla #8 – 7,623
    54. Godzilla Legends #5 – 7,498
    55. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #2 – 7,483
    56. Godzilla Legends #4 – 7,454
    57. Godzilla #9 – 7,194
    58. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #16 – 7,181
    59. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #17 – 7,167
    60. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #15 – 7,156
    61. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #14 – 7,144
    62. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #3 – 7,080
    63. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #18 – 7,065
    64. Godzilla #10 – 6,992
    65. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #13 – 6,980
    66. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #19 – 6,964
    67. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #5 – 6,920
    68. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #11 – 6,917
    69. Godzilla #11 – 6,905
    70. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #4 – 6,820
    71. Godzilla #12 – 6,782
    72. Godzilla Rage Across Time #1 – 6,758
    73. Godzilla #13 – 6,741
    74. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #25 – 6,707
    75. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #21 – 6,694
    76. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #10 – 6,677
    77. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #6 – 6,653
    78. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #20 – 6,588
    79. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #7 – 6,587
    80. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #9 – 6,531
    81. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #8 – 6,530
    82. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #22 – 6,447
    83. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #23 – 6,407
    84. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #24 – 6,384

    Historical Sales Data

    Below is sales data organized by its month. It gives an overall idea of trends. It should be noted that this list only shows sales for a particular month if the comic sold enough to place it among one of the top 300 selling issues for that period.

    Due to the front loaded nature of comic sales, the Godzilla issues rarely trended more than one month, but there are a few exceptions.

    March 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1 – 58,879

    April 2011 
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #2 – 14,492
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1 – 10,783

    May 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #3 – 14,588

    June 2011
    Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #1 – 13,292
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #4 – 7,570

    July 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #5 – 13,750
    Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #2 – 11,611
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #4 – 7,320

    August 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #6 -12,524
    Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #3 – 10,525

    September 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #7 – 11,141
    Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #4 – 9,061

    October 2011
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #8 – 10,637
    Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #5 – 8,725

    November 2011 
    Godzilla Legends #1 – 10,329
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #9 – 9,878

    December 2011 
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #10 – 9,294
    Godzilla Legends #2 – 8,465

    January 2012
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #11 – 8,677
    Godzilla Legends #3 – 8,013

    February 2012
    Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #12 – 8,508
    Godzilla Legends #4 – 7,454

    March 2012
    Godzilla Legends #5 – 7,454

    May 2012
    Godzilla #1 – 11,993

    June 2012
    Godzilla #2 – 9,756

    July 2012
    Godzilla #3 – 9,282

    August 2012
    Godzilla The Half-Century War #1 – 11,010
    Godzilla #4 – 8,767

    September 2012
    Godzilla The Half-Century War #2 – 9,453
    Godzilla #5 – 8,596

    October 2012
    Godzilla The Half-Century War #3 – 9,709
    Godzilla #6 – 8,128

    November 2012
    Godzilla #7 – 7,689

    December 2012
    Godzilla The Half-Century War #4 – 9,090

    January 2013
    Godzilla #8 – 7,623
    Godzilla #9 – 7,194

    February 2013
    Godzilla #10 – 6,992

    April 2013
    Godzilla The Half-Century War #5 – 8,884
    Godzilla #11 – 6,905

    May 2013
    Godzilla #12 – 6,782

    June 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #1 – 9,813

    July 2013
    Godzilla #13 – 6,741

    August 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #2 – 7,483
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #3 – 7,080

    September 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #4 – 6,820

    October 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #5 – 6,920

    November 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #6 – 6,653

    December 2013
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #7 – 6,587

    January 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #8 – 6,530

    February 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #9 – 6,531

    March 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #10 – 6,677

    April 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #11 – 6,917

    May 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #12 – 7,890

    June 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #13 – 6,980

    July 2014
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #14 – 7,144

    August 2014
    Godzilla Cataclysm #1 – 11,868
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #15 – 7,156

    September 2014
    Godzilla Cataclysm #2 – 8,859
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #16 – 7,181

    October 2014
    Godzilla Cataclysm #3 – 8,624
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #17 – 7,167

    November 2014
    Godzilla Cataclysm #4 – 7,981
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #18 – 7,065

    December 2014
    Godzilla Cataclysm #5 – 7,892
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #19 – 6,964

    January 2015
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #20 – 6,588

    March 2015
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #21 – 6,694
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #22 – 6,447

    April 2015
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #23 – 6,407

    May 2015
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #24 – 6,384

    July 2015
    Godzilla in Hell #1 – 15,388
    Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #25 – 6,707

    August 2015
    Godzilla in Hell #2 – 11,278

    September 2015
    Godzilla in Hell #3 – 12,332

    October 2015
    Godzilla in Hell #4 – 12,408

    November 2015
    Godzilla in Hell #5 – 12,023

    March 2016
    Godzilla Oblivion #1 – 10,750

    April 2016
    Godzilla Oblivion #2 – 11,192

    May 2016
    Godzilla Oblivion #3 – 9,208

    June 2016
    Godzilla Oblivion #4 – 9,766

    July 2016
    Godzilla Oblivion #5 – 8,407

    August 2016
    Godzilla Rage Across Time #1 – 6,758

    October 2016
    Godzilla Rage Across Time #2 – 8,859
    Godzilla Rage Across Time #3 – 8,872

    November 2016
    Godzilla Rage Across Time #4 – 8,500
    Godzilla Rage Across Time #5 – 7,950

    Surprised by any of the results? Sound off in the comments below about the IDW Publishing Godzilla comic sales data.

    This article was first published on February 17. 2012.

    General // December 21, 2016
  • Released in 2016 from August 24th to November 23rd, IDW Publishing issued a new comic mini series on the King of the Monsters. Titled Godzilla Rage Across Time, the series placed Godzilla or related kaiju in different eras across time. From feudal Japan to the time of the dinosaurs, the various comics mixed up the kaiju action with new settings thanks to the across history approach of the comic run.

    This article showcases the previews that were provided to Toho Kingdom from IDW Publishing. Click on an image to expand to the full page view.

    Godzilla Rage Across Time #1

    Released August 24th, 2016

    Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview

    Godzilla Rage Across Time #2

    Released October 5th, 2016.

    Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview

    Godzilla Rage Across Time #3

    Released October 19th, 2016.

    Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview

    Godzilla Rage Across Time #4

    November 16th, 2016.

    Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview

    Godzilla Rage Across Time #5

    Released November 23rd, 2016.

    Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview Godzilla Rage Across Time Preview

    Note that the release schedule for this series was abnormal. In particular how soon the last issue was released after #4. However, this is one of the benefits of having completely different creatives teams, both in terms of the writing and art staff, attached to each issue.

    News // November 23, 2016
  • IDW Publishing continues with another mini-series related to the King of the Monsters. Released in 2016 from March 30th to July 27th, this current comic run, called Godzilla Oblivion, is by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brian Churilla. The plot is about inter-dimensional travel, as the characters venture to a world ruled by giant monsters who have largely decimated the human population there.

    This article highlights the previews which were provided to Toho Kingdom from IDW Publishing. Click on an image to expand to the full page view.

    Godzilla Oblivion #1

    Released March 30th, 2016.

       

    Godzilla Oblivion #2

    Released on April 20th, 2016.

       

    Godzilla Oblivion #3

    Released May 25th, 2016.

       

    Godzilla Oblivion #4

    Released June 22nd, 2016.

       

    Godzilla Oblivion #5

    Released July 27th, 2016.

       

     

    News // July 27, 2016
  • This year has brought a lot of change to the site, and that trend is continuing. I had planned to revamp the forums for a few weeks at this point, removing all of the old code and basically starting from scratch, although of course keeping the database intact (so all threads, users, and more was still there). It wasn’t an easy choice, there were a lot of modifications made to the code over 13 years and many I would not be able to reproduce myself.

    However, it had been a frequent request and after some recent performance issues, I realized it was time to bite the bullet rather than keep it going. To update the forum required about 3 hours of downtime, which would be used to update the database for the forums (this doesn’t factor in the weekend prior I spent working on it in pre-production). While I originally figured this would just be a normal update, it kind of dawned on me that I had nothing planned for April Fools.

    So I decided to merge the two. Throw together an April Fools’ Day 2016 prank that the forums were closing while using the downtime to update to the new forum architecture.Before getting into the prank, though, I would like to bid farewell to the old forums first. They had a lengthy run from 2003 to 2016, although the database was wiped during a site transition… the code on the forums itself remained.

    Forums Farewell

    In saying goodbye, I would like to take a look at the old forum styles, which I had quite an affection toward. These were one of many elements that we simply could not take with us toward the new forum architecture. As some know, I hate throwing things away when it comes to web properties, so below is a bit of an archive of what the old styles looked like, how many used them and my thoughts. I sadly don’t know the exact dates of when they came out, only that the last one was in 2010. Because of that, I will order them based on popularity as of March 29th, 2016. Images can be clicked to expand them.

    Gotengo (Purple) ~ 1,371 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    This theme enjoyed a pretty healthy run as the default theme, which gives it a user base edge. Personally, though? This one was my favorite and the one I used. It shared the most with the original forum design, back before styles were introduced, but updated it for a slightly more modern take. The colors were a bit unique and your eyes gravitated to the orange, which was perfect since that’s where the board title or thread name would be found. The light purple was also the closest to the main site colors of the lot.

     

    Mecha-King Ghidorah (Blue) ~ 626 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    The second most popular style, and with a devoted following. When the new boards were taken down, this was by far the most requested style to return. I do vividly recall struggling to design something around King Ghidorah, and ended up going for one on the mechanized form after realizing how perfectly he fit in the header area. The blue design was also pretty attractive, and I really don’t know why I gravitated toward multiple blue styles when the main site is more of a dark purple.

     

    Godzilla Fire (Dark Black) ~ 510 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    In retrospect, it’s kind of surprising that the forums only had one true dark/black style. Consequently, it’s not too surprising to see this style rise through the ranks, being the only game in town. The inspiration for this style is actually based on the Kirin Fire (“Godzilla Coffee”). The ad campaign featured baseball player Hideki Matsui, who was nicknamed Godzilla and also appeared in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), and Godzilla himself (circa the Kiryu era design). If you have never seen the commercial, take a watch here, you might be surprised how faithful the design for this style was for something so obscure.

     

    Godzilla (Dark Blue) ~ 345 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    I was always shocked when this board, which used to be at the top, started to sink over the years. Even though my favorite was the Gotengo one, I tended to identify the board with this look the most. Because I was pretty pleased with the design, I also set it as the default board when someone wasn’t logged in. Visually, I loved the slow fade of the Heisei Godzilla head in the header. The radioactive icons haven’t aged that well, though, but otherwise an appealing design.

     

    20th Century Boys (Classic) ~ 31 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    There was a small but vocal group that really wanted the original forum style to return, which was abandoned once more colorful styles were added. The group got their wish with a style that harked back to that 2003 design, even with the same Xilien UFO icons. The header image was retooled, though, and the theme based off a nostalgia angle harking to 20th Century Boys (2008). This was my least favorite style, but it did what it set out to do: replicate the original look.

     

    Bloodthirsty (Black) ~ 30 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    God bless the 30 mavericks who choose this theme. I do recall this being the last of the themes I designed, and also being discouraged at the lack of use it got as it can be quite time consuming to create a style. A few switched it on for Halloween, but it never really got much use. The actual theme is based on the 1970’s vampire films in what is called the Bloodthirsty trilogy. The films are: Vampire Doll (1970), Lake of Dracula (1971) and Evil of Dracula (1974). I absolutely love Vampire Doll (1970), and the design had most in common with this film with both the house in the background and the title character with the blade. However, the roses were an element owed to Evil of Dracula (1974).

     

    Pokémon (Orange) ~ 7 users

    Lost Toho Kingdom Styles

    …And at the bottom of the heap we find the site’s only anime style, which was based on the Pokémon films. The actual Pokémon selection was based on the 3rd generation, Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance, which appeared in films such as Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker (2003). The actual design kind of reminded me of old school Macs. It was never really popular, although I do remember it for being Miles Imhoff’s style of choice for the forums.

    April Fools’ Day 2016

    So back to the topic at hand, as mentioned I did not plan an April Fools joke for this year. That’s not too shocking, as in years past I would lean on Miles or ask something to come from the K.W.C. crew to see if they could fill the void. However, felt that the K.W.C. angle was tried too recently, so racked my brain to come up with something as a gap filler.

    The eventual resolution was to just say the forums were closing.

    As previously mentioned, it was going to take a bit to update the database to the new architecture, and so the timing was right to take advantage of it. Now my normal mantra for April Fools jokes is that I want them to occur only within the period that falls on April Fools, I told some other members of the staff and they wanted to drum up a minor storm on the forums to sell the idea more. I gave it my okay, and one of the actions was Derzerb’s resignation, as seen below.

    April Fools' Day 2016: Resignation

    With that in place, I crafted a fairly long message to go up on the main site while the boards would be disabled, allowing for the database update to occur in the background. While there was no truth to the message in regards to the forums being closed, there was a degree of real reflection to it. Mostly that the forums are an area where the staff isn’t really given much kudos. However, as said in the message, it’s understandable as it’s user generated content, although it does hurt the ol’ motivation for it at times.

    Anyway, for reference, below is the original message that was posted on the front of the site:

    After a lot of thought, I have decided to close down the forums as sort of a “contingency plan”. This wasn’t an easy choice. The forums have been with us for a long time, since 2003. In many ways, it is part of what defines the website. However, it has been kind of a thankless component of the website as well, and you can’t really blame that mentality. By nature, it’s user generated content. When I updated the monster bios, Baragon’s in particular, I got a lot of praise for that. While I don’t seek praise, it does help drive my motivation around the website.

    The forums have never really offered that. People expect it to work, and again I don’t blame others as I would have the same approach on other forums as well. However, the forums are old. It’s 13 years now and that’s 13 years of code. Code that has accumulated over time and with the departure of Miles Imhoff, it’s something that I’m not familiar enough with to “fix”. So the forums have lamented a bit. My free time is not what it once was and I will attest that nothing bums me out more than working a long day in the office only to check my phone afterwards to read emails calling me out for a lack of involvement in the forum or for current events there that I need to fix.

    It’s hard. It’s draining. I don’t like to close things down, as the site’s blog section will show as that has become a catch all area for abandoned ideas in the past, but the forums are something that I have decided it’s finally time to close this chapter of the site’s history. A recent exodus there as well made this choice somewhat easier too.

    I do deeply want to thank everyone who has participated there over the years and the admins and moderators who have helped as well. It’s all been much appreciated. I’m still deciding what to do with them, leaning toward archiving it all and linking toward it in the blog section, but right now I have just disabled it.

    General // April 5, 2016
  • Every year Toho is involved in numerous films, not to mention a large archive they have created during the “Golden Age” of Japanese cinema. This presents quite a catalog to review, and initially we at the Toho Kingdom opened our doors to user submitted reviews to help fill some of the void. That policy shifted with age, though, and it has been years since Toho Kingdom has accepted submissions from movie reviews. This blog will explain the policy change and also feature an archive of older user submitted reviews.

    History of Movie Review Submissions

    As some might know, at one time user submitted reviews were a big part of Toho Kingdom. It’s a process that actually led to the hiring of Miles Imhoff, who cut his teeth first on these reviews. Without realizing it, the user submitted reviews turned out to be a good way to vet talent.

    Unfortunately, after years of use, this aspect started to get long in the tooth. The work involved was time consuming: editing reviews and asking for changes if it wasn’t deemed up to standard. This was especially true after a user was discovered plagiarizing reviews from other sources. This added a whole new layer where all submitted work needed to be checked against this.

    Despite the labor involved, the real nail in the coffin was just a change in where I wanted the site to go. If you wanted a quick user review, IMDB has you covered. I wanted the reviews on Toho Kingdom to have a different pedigree. For readers to start to understand how a reviewer works and build a relationship with them. For example, maybe someone is closer in view point to Patrick Galvan’s analysis of films versus my own. Basically, I see value in starting to identify with the reviewer and for this to add a layer of importance to the review. …either that or the reader just might enjoy the humor that Nicholas Driscoll infuses in his work. To that point, the site has some really great reviewers right now as well, with Nicholas, Alexander Smith and, of course, Patrick. It’s a lineup where you have some great analysis of both popular and obscure material. It’s what I envisioned the reviews should be and with that strong backbone I no longer saw the need for the user reviews.

    The Closure of Movie Review Submissions

    Archived Toho Kingdom Movie Review Submissions

    This decision was made years ago, but just yesterday the user submitted reviews were finally removed from the review section. That said, I’m a fan of keeping everything. So even though we no longer accept submitted movie reviews, I’m not deleting any of the old ones. If you want to read any of them, that were submitted between 2005 and 2011, feel free to scroll below for a trip down memory lane:

    Published Movie Reviewer Score
    10-23-2011
     Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster [Continental]
    Destroyer
    4.0
    09-24-2011
     Godzilla: Final Wars
    Destroyer
    4.5
    09-01-2011
     Destroy All Monsters [International]
    Destroyer
    3.5
    09-01-2011
     Invasion of Astro-Monster [Maron Films]
    Destroyer
    4.0
    08-21-2011
     Akira
    Evan Brehany
    4.0
    06-27-2011
     Onmyoji
    Evan Brehany
    4.0
    02-07-2011
     Godzilla vs. Gigan
    King Caesar
    2.5
    12-27-2010
     Godzilla vs. Mothra
    Godzillawolf
    3.5
    12-16-2010
     Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
    Paul Sell
    4.0
    10-26-2010
     Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
    Godzillawolf
    4.5
    09-19-2010
     Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
    Godzillawolf
    3.0
    05-06-2010  Bye-Bye Jupiter (Sayonara Jupiter) DaikaijuSokogeki! 4.0
    04-14-2010
     Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah [Tristar]
    Godzillawolf
    3.5
    02-14-2010
     Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
    Godzillawolf
    4.5
    11-04-2009
     Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
    Godzillawolf
    4.0
    10-22-2009
     Terror of Mechagodzilla
    Ethan Reed
    3.5
    10-22-2009
     Godzilla, Mothra, & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack
    Godzillawolf
    4.5
    08-13-2009
     Godzilla vs. Biollante
    Godzillawolf
    4.0
    07-23-2009
     Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
    Adam Striker
    4.0
    07-22-2009
     Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
    Ethan Reed
    3.0
    11-29-2008
     One Missed Call 2
    Pat Atwell
    3.0
    07-03-2008
     One Missed Call
    Pat Atwell
    4.0
    12-21-2007
     Terror of Mechagodzilla
    AnguirusGuy
    3.0
    10-24-2006  Pulse (Kairo) Hank Xavier 4.5
    09-18-2006  Rebirth of Mothra Donny Winter 3.5
    08-28-2006  The Spiral (Rasen) Hank Xavier 2.0
    08-25-2006  Ikiru Chaos 5.0
    08-22-2006  Godzilla (Godzilla, King of the Monsters) Cow 4.0
    08-10-2006  The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985) Hank Xavier 4.5
    08-09-2006  Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla Chaos 1.5
    07-28-2006  Godzilla vs. Megalon Hank Xavier 2.5
    07-16-2006  Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II Hank Xavier 3.5
    05-27-2006  Ring (Ringu) Hank Xavier 4.0
    05-22-2006  Ikiru Athean 4.5
    04-03-2006  Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Tim85 2.5
    03-24-2006  Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack Tim85 4.5
    03-17-2006  Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Godzilla X Mechagodzilla) Tim85 3.5
    03-04-2006  Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. Tim85 3.5
    02-25-2006  Godzilla: Final Wars Tim85 3.0
    02-18-2006  Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Tim85 4.5
    02-11-2006  Rodan [DCA] Tim85 4.0
    02-02-2006  Spirited Away DaikaijuSokogeki! 5.0
    09-13-2005  Son of Godzilla Spinzilla 3.5
    06-06-2005  Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (Gamera vs. Legion) THE GODZILLA 5.0
    05-11-2005  Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris THE GODZILLA 5.0
    05-07-2005  Godzilla Raids Again [Warner Bros.] THE GODZILLA 3.0
    04-25-2005  Godzilla (Godzilla, King of the Monsters) gvsgdude89 4.5

     

    General // February 23, 2016
  • 17 years… that feels like a millennia in “web years”. It’s also how old the site is turning this year. The year was 1999. It was an interesting time in the fandom. Websites on Godzilla were a dime a dozen, many using the same pictures over and over again. The same low-quality roars were also cycled everywhere. It was an age of spinning gifs and website counters. The time period was also a year after GODZILLA (1998) came out and just as Godzilla 2000: Millennium(1999) was almost on our doorstep. So the “GINO” hate was strong, and the interest in a relaunch in Godzilla high.

    It was during this era that Toho Kingdom was born, created by a high school freshman version of myself. I could never picture myself today embarking for the first time on this journey, but my younger self was outgoing (and certainly with ample free time). While the site was maintained solely by myself for three years, it started to expand to a team of people. A project this big, this vast needed a team.

    That team materialized, was shaped and evolved over a decade.

    Now while present day me has been a manager for some years now, college-aged me was new to this whole concept. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a stellar team. Still, at the end of the day, I was a poor boss who never adequately praised efforts.

    Today, I promote based on contributions. This led to Miles Imhoff being our vice president for many years and Chris Mirjahangir as our current executive director. Those types of promotions will continue and the site will also continue to single out at least someone each year to praise, as I have done in the past with Miles and did in 2015 for Tyler Trieschock.

    Those are today’s practices, though, and nothing even remotely similar existed for much of the site’s long history. So today I want to make some amends. This is a longtime Toho Kingdom staff appreciation session to honor those who deserved it but might not have gotten proper kudos. This is both current staff and past staff members. I’m keeping this to just staff who joined before 2008 as well. So you won’t find, for example, Joshua Sudomerski or Patrick Galvan on this list even though they are examples of two rock stars who I admire and feel grateful to have on our team. I’m also skipping past our upper management. I could write essays on the contributions of Miles or Chris, but this piece is aimed toward those who likely never got their deserved praise.

    So, without further ado:

    Longtime Staff Appreciation
    (in order of start date)

    James Webster

    James was one of the very first staff members the site ever had. Unlike many of the staff, James did not have one particular area of expertise. His contributions were diverse and widespread. From bios, to translating, to scanning images, to K.W.C. matches and even Video Games… James contributed a bit of everything.

    While it’s easy to take for granted some aspects of the site, it was really early on that sections like the Video Games materialized. They have always been overly obsessive, dripping with detail that you just won’t find anywhere else on these games. That decision for this detail oriented approach was a collaboration between myself and James that let the section blossom.

    At the time, James was very much a vice president-level role in his contributions to the site. He really helped to form a wealth of content in the early years that we started.

    Thomas Fairchild

    Thomas gets the honor of being our longest running staff member. Having joined back in 2003, this year will mark his 13th on the site staff.

    While Thomas has contributed in several areas, his exemplary work was always due to his incredible writing talents. One doesn’t read the K.W.C. match Bagan vs. Everyone from beginning to end without realizing this is something special. Something epic and different.

    Over the years I have come to depend on Thomas for turning in really memorable work. His skills as a writer are remarkable. One of the highest praises I can give is that Thomas never repeats himself. While you come to depend on a well written piece from him, you never feel like any of his work is repeating the same beats. He is a dynamic writer whose work is never short of compelling.

    Nicholas Driscoll

    Next year will be Nicholas’ 10th on the site staff. Articulate and very well spoken, nothing less can be said other than Nicholas’ work is truly unique. How else could one describe the painstakingly researched, fascinatingly in-depth Many Loves of Godzilla article? While his movie reviews turn heads, from newer to older releases, the most praise I tend to hear and concur with is for his book reviews.

    Now for most, book collecting is a rather obscure hobby for the fandom. Toy collectors? Countless. Movie collectors? Numerous. Comic collectors? A fair share. Soundtrack collectors? A passionate but small group. Book collectors? Now we have gone to a real small niche of the community. Regardless, Nicholas has taken a small sector of the fandom and made it interesting for all.

    I’m not sure how many other children of the 1980’s might be reading this, but Nicholas’ open letter to Ian Thorne in his Godzillareview left me with a flood of emotions. I’m grateful that I’m not alone in my love of Nicholas’ book reviews either, as nothing made me happier then when we recently hired Marcus Gwin who shared similar feelings for Nicholas’ work.

    Christian Salabert

    Christian was the site’s second hire of 2007, a banner year for new employees.

    I have known Christian for many, many years at this stage. At one time, Christian, myself, Thomas, “Z2K”, “Kedzuel” and Matt Frank (of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth fame now) would frequent MSN back in the day. So when Christian joined the site it was a natural fit.

    While Christian had been envisioned to simply contribute to the K.W.C. section, he instead laid the foundation for a total rehaul to that portion of the site. The banners and the diverse pool of writers were something done directly under his leadership over that section. This required an incredible amount of work to coordinate and finalize, setting in place a structure that would not only add banners to new matches but also all previous ones as well.

    While Thomas had already started to contribute to this section, it was Christian who transformed what was once an archaic portion of the site, using static images of the monsters, into something lively; something that has become a flagship portion of the site. Christian worked to create an intital network of writers and created the forums’ K.W.C. section to help best shape these efforts. Without this work, it’s likely the K.W.C. would have lamented as a hidden subsection, like the D20 area did at one point, rather than one of the pinnacles of the site as it is today.

    General // February 5, 2016
  • 2003… This was the year the website underwent a major redesign. The new design introduced the now trademark purple hue and also had a, for the time, modern aesthetic. That layout included a banner area up top and a navigation menu to the left. A look that was fairly popular on major sites of the time.

    It replaced an archaic design that was technically the second iteration of the site. That design lasted from, I want to say, 2000 to 2002. The look included a splash image of Godzilla followed by a layout that was heavy on frames. Yes frames, that web design element that was all the rage in the 1990’s and has since been deemed “obsolete” by some random Wikipedia editor, although I don’t argue with their verdict. It included a website counter as well, and really all it needed was spinning gifs and a guest book to be a website that would have made Strong Bad proud.

    The 2003 Design

    The web moved fast then, arguably faster than it does today, and designs evolved quickly. By the time the third design rolled out, it replaced something that was already looking ancient by web standards. The look of the 2003 website proved popular, far more popular than I had anticipated. While I was never proud of the previous designs, this one, seen below, had me very pleased with the final product.

    Redesigning Toho Kingdom 2003

    While elements of the design continued to evolve, like I humorously amazed my younger self by learning rudimentary CSS and replacing the images in the navigation area with text, the general look and feel stayed static.

    I wish I knew the exact date the design rolled out. According to the Wayback Machine, the layout was already present by January 30th of 2003. Since this is January 19th of 2016, I will assume that was an almost 13 year run for the design. You can chalk that up to either being impressive or lazy on my part, or both (impressively lazy?).

    Eventually a desire started to burn to replace it, a desire for redesigning Toho Kingdom. I was admittedly stubborn at first. It wasn’t until I had to start giving personal contacts a disclaimer, that the site was designed quite a while ago, that it was impossible to ignore that the layout was long in the tooth. I became resigned to this fact for most of the current decade. This especially became hard when it got to the point where I designed web elements for a living, having worked in product marketing for some years… yet owning a website that looked out of touch.

    A change was needed. I knew I wanted something different, but only had rough concepts.

    Redesigning Toho Kingdom

    In early 2015, I finally told myself it was time to design a new site. Even if I didn’t have all the skills needed to execute it everything I wanted, the only way it would ever get off the ground is by taking that first leap.

    The official new look was finished and mocked up on February 6th, 2015. It included three separate designs based on the resolution viewing it. This included a 1662+ pixel resolution design, 1661-1340 pixel resolution design and a below 1340 pixel resolution design. While I had not intended for the site to be mobile friendly, something for another day, I did plan for this to be *more* mobile friendly than the previous design.

    The 1662+ pixel resolution design is seen below.

    Redesigning Toho Kingdom 2016
    It required a culling of a few sections, but not content. Anything removed in the design, like the box office or posters, would just be found in the movie bios instead. It also offered a built-in search feature, aiming to make using the gigantic site (11,949 pages and counting) easier for those looking to find that one piece of content.

    Developing the New Design

    At the time, I was in discussions with someone for whom it sounded like I could work with on the project to see it realized. This would have been someone outside of the site staff brought on to work on the project. I was excited, although in retrospect was asking too much of someone without realizing it.

    Uncharacteristically optimistic, I felt the launch of the new design was around the corner. I was so confident, in fact, that I designed an ad around it. In 2015, I was approached by ACE (All Comics Evaluated) to be paid for an article on Godzilla comics. A late part of the agreement included that an ad for Toho Kingdom could be included. With the magazine that I was to be featured in hitting new stands in May of that year, it seemed like the timing was right for an early teasing of the new site.

    Below is the ad I designed for this.

    Redesigning Toho Kingdom Unused Promo
    The ad never appeared in the final magazine, I assume because of a mishap with the ad copy deadline. I did not press the matters, though, as it was becoming apparent that the new site was nowhere near completion. I had over estimated the other person’s interest. so callously assuming they were on board for the long haul. Ignoring the burden this would have placed on them.

    …and so the design lamented. Sitting on a hard drive while updates as normal continued on Toho Kingdom. In the back of my head I knew that someday this would become reality, although when I was not sure. I started to prepare things like it would be coming, removing the box office section and making other needed changes.

    While I approached a few others with the proposal to work on this design with me, no one took me up on the offer. It was a lot to ask.

    Finally I decided that if this was going to be done, then I needed to hire someone to work on a contract basis for this project. With a budget in mind, I began an interview process and eventually found my candidate. They did much of the leg work going from the designs, although feedback, testing and QA were my contributions at the early juncture.

    Launch

    Eventually we had a finished product and testing began on January 17th, 2016. There were problems… but nothing unexpected. The site is quite old and realizes a lot of different designs. The Monster Bios are totally different from DVD reviews, for example. Many clashes were created, and I was working as the lead with the person I hired as back up to offer advice. It was a collaborative environment that I was thankful for. Even if the process lasted a good 10 hours, the goal was realized.

    So after years, I’m happy with the design again. There is a lot more work to be done… but I’m happy and glad that finally others are able to see the work that had been nothing more than concepts for so long.

    Redesigning Toho Kingdom Mobile

    General // January 19, 2016
  • This is a lofty goal of compiling 34 of the top Toho soundtracks. Why 34? Because I’m feeling random. The rankings aren’t based on a particular CD or LP release, but rather the entire music that surrounds the film. To make the list I actually made a top 65 and then removed 31 of them to prevent any soundtracks from slipping in that might not be worthy.

    Soundtracks are ranked based on their enjoyment as a standalone experience. Music, especially soundtracks when you start to build an association with the final product, can be hard to rate. Musical scores tend to mean different things for different people, especially when nostalgia seeps in. That said, even a bad film can have an incredible score, and this list does host movies that are so-so where the composers poured their soul into the soundtrack to earn it a rightful spot here.

    The list includes soundtracks from Toho produced films, Toho owned movies, films based on Toho’s characters and also Japanese productions that Toho released. Basically the normal suspects of contents included on the site.

     

    #34 Zatoichi’s Conspiracy

    This 1973 entry in the Zatoichi series, the last to go through Toho, is a tour de force from maestro Akira Ifukube.

    The soundtrack is surprisingly soothing, giving Ifukube a chance to hone in on a softer approach to his cues. The score still boasts a bit of the composer’s bombastic tendencies, though, such as with “Shinbei’s Final Moment”. Its strength, however, is found in those more peaceful melodies. Chief among them are the oddly beautiful themes centered around Zatoichi and Omiyo.

    It’s a wonderful body of work and, sadly, often overlooked when discussions of the composer’s best material is brought up.

     

    #33 Ultraman: The Adventure Begins

    This 1989 score by Shinsuke Kazato is slightly dated and often over the top… and utterly enjoyable as a stand alone experience because of it.

    The soundtrack to the animated film boasts several themes just over flowing with energy, such as the big band style “The Flying Angels” and “Ultra Force: The Choosen Three”. The score is unabashed at times, and all the better for it, offering up an infectious level of energy from its themes.

    While the score is at its best when it’s offering up a big band style or dated tunes, the soundtrack does boast some range and that includes some nice vocal work (although not from the opening song…) to add some variety.

     

    #32 Haunted School 3

    Composer Kow Otani turns in one of his better performances for this 1997 children’s horror film.

    The movie has a wide variety of themes to its claim, ranging from the uplifting and energetic “To Love Shakashaka” to the chorus powered and more serious “Main Title”.

    The score is consistent in quality, and shows a nice mix of orchestration with only a little bit of synth work, unlike some of the composer’s later material which became very synth heavy. All the same, it does feature the composer’s trademark “whale-like sound” that was also heard in scores like Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999) and Pyrokinesis (2000).

    Haunted School 3

     

    #31 GODZILLA

    You are going to see quite a few live action kaiju films on this list. Part of that is I believe the subject matter lends itself well to action motifs, which hold up well to stand alone experiences.

    On that note, what better way to start off than with a controversial pick through David Arnold’s score for GODZILLA. Soundtracks are often judged unfairly based on their subject matter. Given the infamy of the first American Godzilla film, it’s not hard to imagine many fans who have turned their nose up at the score.

    Thankfully, due to being finally released in commercial form in 2007 and a couple times there after as well, Arnold’s soundtrack is finally getting some of the positive recognition it deserves and missed out on back in the 1990’s. Simply put, while some themes match the more carefree tone of the production, others are great action pieces that stand wonderfully on their own. “Godzilla vs the Submarine” is one such example, and a stellar battle theme that really ramps up the energy.

     

    #30 Godzilla vs. Mothra

    Like above, this soundtrack tends to get unfairly overlooked. This is likely because the film isn’t known as a popular entry among fans, despite doing phenomenal business at the box office.

    While the Godzilla theme certainly sounded better in both the film that proceeded and followed it, the musical work for Mothra set a new standard. “The Birth of Adult Mothra” is a great soothing interpretation of Mothra’s song, while the chorus led “Ending” is fantastic.

    Thankfully the score is not a simple retread of Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), with Battra getting a very fearsome and commanding theme that does great to contrast with both Godzilla’s and Mothra’s in the movie.

    Godzilla vs. Mothra

     

    #29 Villain

    Composer Joe Hisaishi, who will appear a number of times on this list, does a fantastic job with this score to the conflicting 2010 movie Villain.

    Piano dominated, the soundtrack is both beautiful while evoking a sense of unease, matching well with the story that focuses on a murderer and the devotion received from his new girlfriend despite this. “Faith” and “Twilight” are wonderful themes, some of the better piano work I have heard on a soundtrack. Meanwhile, other themes like “Uneasiness” and “To Hate” bring an almost horror vibe to the proceedings.

    As it is, the only real downfall of the score is that it’s a little on the short side, leaving the listener wanting more.

    Villain

     

    #28 The Samurai I Loved

    Taro Iwashiro’s sweeping score for The Samurai I Loved is a joy to listen to.

    When it comes to soothing melodies, it’s hard to best Iwashiro. The composer has mastered string instruments, allowing him to invoke both an epic sense while never being overzealous in his execution.

    While this soundtrack is fairly one note, with only the “Deadly Blade” infusing a bit of energy into the score, the other themes are just so relaxing that the soundtrack is definitely an enjoyable body of work from start to finish.

     

    #27 Rebirth of Mothra II

    While Rebirth of Mothra II was the weakest of the three films in that series, it also had the best soundtrack.

    Unlike the scores before and after it, composer Toshiyuki Watanabe showed a surprising level of variety in his themes for this 1997 film. The new monster, Dagahra, has a nice sinister theme to go with him, and stands out from the rest of the score because of this, having one of the more reoccurring themes here. The rest of the score, though, does a good job of balancing both a sense of adventure and wonderment to match the plot surrounding the kids.

    The score makes for an overall engaging, sometimes whimsical listening experience.

     

    #26 Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

    Michiru Oshima‘s final score in the Godzilla franchise, and this time utilizing the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo.

    For this score, Oshima continues to show a wide range of theme diversity in her material. For example, the stellar “Main Title” theme is a wonderful cue that makes a solid impact as it’s not utilized again for the course of the film.

    Mothra is also given a new theme for the movie, which is both soothing with a sense of regality behind it, fitting the character like a glove. Ultimately, though, the show stopper of the score is the great battle music, heard in tracks like “Tokyo Tower Collapses”.

     

    #25 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

    Composer Masaru Sato hit a career high with this 1974 entry in the Godzilla franchise, and Sato’s last in the series. While the composer had a lot of high pedigree films among his resume, including many Akira Kurosawa movies, the 20th anniversary Godzilla film really allowed the composer to tap into his best talent: his love for big band music.

    The soundtrack offers a surprising level of variety, although given the mix of both mythical and the robotic in the story perhaps this shouldn’t be so shocking. Still, the composer really brings the house down for themes like “Godzilla vs. Anguirus”, bringing a sense of energy and uniqueness that’s hard to top.

    Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

     

    #24 Hell’s Gate Island

    Toho’s Kosuke Kindaichi series has been pretty prolific on both LP and CD. While the musical quality of the franchise as a whole varies, this 1977 entry is a highlight.

    The first film in the series composed by Shinichi Tanabe, who would score the next two movies as well, adds a distinctively 1970’s vibe to the proceedings. The end result is an odd mix of whimsical and soothing, given the subject matter is the investigation of a series of murders. As far as dated 1970’s music goes, though, this entry is nirvana and it’s easy to see why it has been released on CD so many times.

    As a side note, this movie features both a movie edit and an album. I will attest to this score getting inflated thanks to the album version, which is phenomenal in contrast to the merely “good” movie edit.

    Hell's Gate Island

     

    #23 The Gransazers

    When selecting the composer for the 2003 show The Gransazers, the first entry in what would be a three year run for the “Star God” franchise, Naruto regular Yasuharu Takanashi was selected.

    Takanashi ended up being an inspired choice, infusing the material with a delicious sense of contemporary style. His love for guitars really helped the production mask the smaller orchestrations, giving a great sense of energy to the TV show. Tracks like “The Gransazers Theme” are the variety that you can listen to over and over again.

    The program also featured some solid songs from U-Ya Asaoka and Abe Asami, opening and closing out the show.

    The Gransazers

     

    #22 Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris

    The highly memorable finale to director Shusuke Kaneko‘s Gamera series. Composed by Kow Otani, the score loses some of the more uplifting music heard earlier in the franchise in favor a darker approach which matches the subject matter.

    The end result is a more serious and foreboding body of work. This is best symbolized in the motif for Iris, seen in tracks like “The Birth”, which walk a fine line between soothing with a slight sense of dread.

    Due to the darker subject matter, the infrequent use of the heroic Gamera theme, heard in themes like ” Kyoto in Flames”, does wonders to contrast and makes Gamera feel even more alone in the film.

     

    #21 Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

    Akira Ifukube was on a roll in the 1960’s. As the kaiju craze in Japan hit a fever pitch, so did Ifukube’s ability to masterfully craft themes that encompassed both the action and also sense of might of the giant monsters.

    The 1964 score to Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is one of thosee moments of the composer at his finest. The battle royale picture features a host of excellent action pieces. While the Godzilla theme was toned down from its amazing use in Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), it’s made up for by an incredible Rodan theme, which is adapted from the earlier theme created for Varan.

    The show stopper here, though, is the music surrounding the title character: King Ghidorah. The “Main Title” is excellent as is “The Fury of the Gravity Beam” which encompass such a sense of power that is generally hard to capture in music.

     

    #20 Battle in Outer Space

    In perhaps a controversial view point, I give credit to the best representation of a theme rather than its origins. For Akira Ifukube, who continued to evolve his themes over his career, that can create a hurdle for early scores.

    Battle in Outer Space is a bit of an anomaly. While a lot of the themes got featured in off screen use, like his Symphonic Fantasia, they missed out on getting heavily reworked in other films. There’s a lot of amazing themes here too, like the wonderful “Starry Sky” or “The Magnificence of the Base”, that stand up pretty well to his later work. The fact that Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) utilized this score so heavily when picking stock music is also a pretty good testament to its staying power.

     

    #19 Mothra vs. Godzilla

    Who can forget that first time they heard the ‘new’ Godzilla theme. While previously utilized in both the original Godzilla (1954) and King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), it was this 1964 entry that really pioneered the lasting interpretation of it.

    The soundtrack itself is an interesting mix of action pieces and soothing melodies, which lines up well with the differing nature of its title characters. Despite not being the original composer for the Mothra character, Akira Ifukube‘s work on themes like the beautiful “Sacred Springs” have forever been associated with the kaiju now. The action pieces offer a lot of enjoyment from this score as well. There are great themes for “Godzilla vs. the Tank Corps” and “Electrical Discharge Strike” which add a lot of energy to Godzilla’s conflicts with the military.

     

    #18 K-20: Legend of the Mask

    Naoki Sato crafted a wonderful, energetic score for this period adventure piece.

    The main title piece, “K-20”, wonderfully encompasses a sense of heroism through a very upbeat melody. Other themes, like “1949”, give off a sense of a 19th century Batman, capturing the bygone era that the film takes place in. In terms of pure energy, though, it’s hard to best the short “Trick” track, which definitely builds the action sentiments of the production.

    The score is generally solid from start to finish. It does have a few over the top themes, similar to the composer’s work on the “Always” series, but the cues work here.

     

    #17 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

    As alluded to, I firmly believe that the best of Akira Ifukube‘s work is toward the end of his career. Either due to a refinement of his skills, or more likely just being able to take a moment to breath rather than having to quickly move from one score to the next as he did during the Showa era, the composer’s later day scores are his most enjoyable.

    This 1991 score, the first from Ifukube after coming out of self retirement, is a great return to form for the composer. It suffers a little from being largely based on his past themes, but succeeds in often adapting those pieces into more engaging cues thanks to a combination of stereo versus mono and larger orchestration.

    While the score as a whole is pretty solid, the stand out work is the fast paced theme for the MOTHER ship, “UFO in Flight”, and the improved themes for Godzilla and King Ghidorah, the latter of which had some of the battle music from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) woven in to extend it.

     

    #16 Spirited Away

    Joe Hisaishi‘s score to this 2001 box office phenomenon is immensely satisfying, although overshadowed a bit by the other amazing scores he conducted for Hayao Miyazaki.

    While the soundtrack is consistently strong from start to finish, it’s best done when it’s trying to be soothing. The main title, ” One Summer’s Day…”, is one such example playing to Hisaishi’s strength with piano composition. In fact, the piano work is really what elevates the material from a good soundtrack to a great one. The star player in that sense is the wonderful “The Sixth Station” theme, which really transports the listener to that unknowing feeling that the main character is experiencing while perfectly capturing a slightly morbid sense of the passing of time.

     

    #15 Godzilla vs. Biollante

    Composed by Koichi Sugiyama, best known at this time and today for his work on the Dragon Questvideo games, the soundtrack took a different approach to the character from his peers leading up to the 1989 film. The end result is a great mix of action, soothing pieces and even some exotic motifs such as those for “The Saradia Republic”.

    What elevates the soundtrack, though, is some infusion of Akira Ifukube‘s music into the material. In particular, the themes created for Ostinato were added in. The end result nicely ramps up the sense of action in the film. The editing for the pieces is also creative, in particular the main title theme which is a wonderful mixture of Sugiyama’s Cell theme with Ifukube’s Godzilla theme.

    I feel it should be noted that the score has its critics. In particular those who loathe “Bio Wars” with a fiery passion. If you are one those, you can take comfort in the fact that the film is my favorite of all time and bias might have been at play here.

    Godzilla vs. Biollante

     

    #14 Spring Snow

    The soundtrack for Spring Snow is one of those rare examples of a score that gets better with each listen. I feel it’s a great representation of why soundtracks are so enjoyable, as the lack of vocals lend to the material a surprising amount of staying power without feeling overwhelmed by the repetition of it all.

    In this case, it’s hard for me to think of a more soothing body of work than composer Taro Iwashiro’s Spring Snow. It’s regal and majestic, creating a score that you just want to get lost in. I typically listen to music while I go to sleep, and generally mix things up frequently. Spring Snow must have broken some sort of record, though, for being locked in my CD player for 10 months straight. The full orchestrations lend themselves so effortlessly to a desire for dreams.

     

    #13 Steamboy

    Scored by Steve Jablonsky, best known for his work on Michael Bay’s Transformers series, comes a earnest soundtrack for the 2004 animated film Steamboy.

    The end result shows a good deal of range, offering a few whimsical themes to go with its steampunk settings. A lot of score does pack a sense of energy too, which helps on the stand alone side. Other tracks like “Ray’s Theme” sound much more majestic, and the closest this soundtrack gets toward the approach Jablonsky utilized on Transformers. All said and done, though, the movie’s best asset on the musical side is actually a track called “The Chase”, which is a very rousing action piece.

     

    #12 Porco Rosso

    Feel in the mode for a light-hearted adventure?

    Joe Hisaishi has you covered with this almost whimsical score for the 1992 production of a human turned pig and his high flying escapades after World War I. The soundtrack is fun, striking a light tone from the composer. One can only assume that Hisaishi had a bit of fun with this score, as the feeling is contagious from the listener.

    It does break the care-free course of the soundtrack for a couple of themes, though. One of them is “Crazy / Flight”, which is actually because it was originally created for another 1992 release that same year. The theme is wonderful, though, and makes for a perfect addition to the soundtrack.

     

    #11 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

    ‘Dat main title…

    While this 1993 score does feature repetition, the Godzilla theme, the Rodan theme, the Baby Godzilla theme and the new Mechagodzilla theme are all incredible. The energy that three of those themes pack in each note is powerful, while the Baby Godzilla theme is a soothing melody that works well to counter balance the other material.

    While Akira Ifukube is still going back to the well of his past scores for inspiration, the end results are far more diverse from their source material than the earlier 1990’s work. The blood pumping main title for example is a totally re-energized version of the Operation “One Million Volts” theme from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and the Mechani-Kong theme from King Kong Escapes (1967). In fact, it’s quite impressive that the composer was able to take a previously “good to okay” theme and transform it into one of the best of his career.

     

    #10 The Return of Godzilla

    When Toho rebooted the Godzilla franchise to its 1954 roots, they hired a new composer to craft a score that stood out from its peers. The result was not only a career high for Reijiro Koroku, but an incredibly unique soundtrack for the Godzilla series as it gave the 1984 production a Gothic overtone.

    The soundtrack kicks off from the first theme, swelling for the Main Title before kicking up the underlining dread. While the soundtrack does include a few well done marches, like the Super-X theme and “The Search for the Enemy Begins”, it’s ultimately the more sinister music in the film that has endeared fans to the score for decades. It’s touching send off for the character in “Godzilla Falls into Mt. Mihara” also made for a good finale, as audiences would bid farewell to the King of the Monsters until his triumphant return five years later.

    The Return of Godzilla

     

    #9 Super Atragon

    Super Atragon the movie? Not so hot. Super Atragon the soundtrack? Phenomenal.

    This is one of those key instances where Masamichi Amano was able to craft a soundtrack which immensely surpassed the quality of the film it was attached to. While there are some nice soothing melodies, it’s the marches and action pieces that draw the most attention. Stuff like “Launch of the Water Dragon” and “Ra vs. Liberty” are great themes, and the latter is especially impressive as it’s a 6 minute piece that keeps a diverse approach through out.

    The score is one of those instances where the actual orchestration happened outside of the Japan. For this production, the Poland National Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra was utilized. The robust orchestra adds a lot to the material, giving it a gravitas that far exceeds what one would expect from an OVA (direct to video animated film).

     

    #8 Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

    Akira Ifukube‘s final score, and the maestro goes out with a bang.

    Offering way more variety than a normal soundtrack by Ifukube, the score hits a range of emotions. The composer is on point here as well, with even short themes like “Fear of the Oxygen Destroyer” being a show stopper.

    Godzilla vs. Destoroyah borrows from past scores, as the composer had been for years, but really breaths new life into the material. The “End Title” feels like a perfect send off for the composer, being a rousing theme that adapts several past cues. Meanwhile, tracks like “Requiem” are simply perfection, to the point it’s hard not to think of a better death theme for the King of the Monsters or not to feel the swelling emotion behind the track.

     

    #7 Princess Mononoke

    “Whoa…”

    That about sums up my first experience with the score for Princess Mononoke when I saw the film in theaters. Joe Hisaishi is a wonderfully diverse composer. Warm, playful and lighthearted can be used to sum up several scores in his long resume.

    This 1997 score feels like a more adult-facing extension of his work, encompassing a sense of majesty in its opening title and at other times having action based themes with an underlining sense of dread. The soundtrack fires on all cylinders as well, boasting a range of unique themes while tying the material together with one reoccurring cue motif heard in the main title to make the score feel like it flows together.

     

    #6 Always: Sunset on Third Street 2

    Three films in the “Always” series, three soundtracks. Of the trilogy, Naoki Sato’s score for the second is far and away the best.

    It reuses a number of themes from the first film, and works to refine them. The orchestration is tighter and generally more majestic, to the point it’s hard to go back to the score for the first movie as this just does the material so much better. While the score is still over the top at times, as is the film it’s based on, it’s a bit more refrained in its appraoch than the other soundtracks in the series. Meanwhile, themes like the “Opening Title” and “Dancer” are simply beautiful. Truly breathtaking and some of the best themes to appear in Toho’s large library of movies.

    …of course, it also helps that the score opens with the Godzilla theme, giving a great bit of diversity to an already A+ soundtrack.

     

    #5 Godzilla vs. Gigan

    ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    Putting Godzilla vs. Gigan on a top soundtrack list is like entering a cheat code in a video game. Outside of a ho-hum final song, the score is all stock music of Akira Ifukube‘s earlier work. It feels like a compilation, grabbing music from 11 different productions ranging from 1959 to 1970 and slapping them into a new soundtrack.

    …and the end result is incredible. One of the weaknesses of a lot of early Ifukube work is the lack of variety within the score. Due to the tight production schedules, many themes were used over and over again in soundtracks. By culling from 11 different scores, the monotony is removed. Themes from Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), Destroy All Monsters (1968) and more benefit greatly from this. The themes are edited well too, with “Vicious Attack of the Space Monsters” being one example where it transitions into the “Fury of the Gravity Beams” at just the right moment to give it a boost of energy.

     

    #4 Howl’s Moving Castle

    Joe Hisaishi‘s finest hour. The 2004 production boasts a playful and light hearted score at times. Others, it’s a soothing, waltz-like approach to the subject matter.

    “Wandering Sophie”, a four minute long track, is a clear highlight from the score, evoking a range of emotions while maintaining a sense of continuity through the theme. The soundtrack is enjoyable from start to finish, and shows a nice range to the material that boasts a wealth of standout cues.

    As a side note, this soundtrack also boasts the best image album (scoring round based on storyboards) of Hisaishi’s career. While the image album is very similar to the themes found in the final product, they are much more realized at this stage that other image albums and work as a nice extension to the movie’s soundtrack.

     

    #3 Prophecies of Nostradamus

    I have an odd relationship with Prophecies of Nostradamus. I first saw the US version, The Last Days of Planet Earth, as a kid and hated it. I considered it one of Toho’s worst. That view has certainly changed over the years, and now hold it up as one of Toho’s most memorable productions.

    While my view of the film changed, my view of the soundtrack did not. Even from first viewing I fell for composer Isao Tomita‘s synthesized, experimental soundtrack. The haunting “Main Title”, a perfect melding of synth work with a full orchestra, is just one of those things you never forget. While Tomita’s career has both hits and misses, this 1974 soundtrack is indisputably a highlight and one of the most enjoyable and different scores to come from Toho.

     

    #2 Space Battleship Yamato

    Composer Naoki Sato gives it his all for the live action take of Space Battleship Yamato, and ends up with a body of work that is far better than the film that utilizes it.

    The soundtrack is heart pumping, featuring solid action themes that occur during the space battles seen in the movie. Tracks like the drum heavy “Fire the Wave Motion Gun” and the march-like “Faith” are wonderfully engaging. The score also boasts some light chorus work to give it just the right amount of diversity and really bring out a sense of pedigree to the whole production.

     

    #1 Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

    Ranking at the top spot, Michiru Oshima pulls out all the breaks for the 2002 Godzilla film. Performed by the Moscow International Symphonic Orchestra, the score really comes alive, sounding more robust and matching the epic scale of the battles on the big screen.

    While Godzilla’s and Kiryu’s themes are used frequently, the score is varied in its hits, branching out with fantastic themes like “Running Wild”, “Intense Fighting” and the beautifully done “Ominous Memories” that plays while footage of Mothra and Gaira is seen.

    The score is a treat from start to finish, and a highlight of the Godzilla franchise.

    General // November 23, 2015
  • Another comic mini-series from IDW Publishing. This time the company takes the King of the Monsters in an unseen direction: literally to hell. This concept, with issues released from July 15th to November 18th in 2015, featured a variety of creative talent working on the titles. What’s more, the series took an interesting turn of of having three of the five issues written and drawn by the same person. From James Stokoe, who helmed the Godzilla: The Half-Century War series, to Dave Watcher the comic run had a lot of creative talent that handled both plot and visual elements.

    This news report showcases the previews of the dynamic series that were provided to Toho Kingdom from IDW Publishing. Click on an image to expand to the full page view.

    Godzilla in Hell #1

    Released July 15th, 2015.

       

    Godzilla in Hell #2

    Released August 26th, 2015.

       

    Godzilla in Hell #3

    Released September 30th, 2015.

        

    Godzilla in Hell #4

    Released October 21st, 2015.

      

    Godzilla in Hell #5

    Released November 18th, 2015.

        

    News // November 18, 2015
  • IDW Publishing continues their ongoing Godzilla comic saga with Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. This series lasted for 25 issues, from June 25th, 2013, to July 8th, 2015. This is actually a record for a comic series based on the King of the Monsters, besting the 24 issue run that Marvel comics achieved with the character back in the 1970’s. The long series also featured a host of Toho monsters, including some surprises at the time like Zilla and the Gargantuas: Sanda and Gaira. While the creative team shifted a little, most of the issues were done by writer Chris Mowry, who wrote the Hedorah vs. Mechagodzilla issue of Godzilla Legends #4, and artist Matt Frank, who did art duties on the Anguirus vs. Destoroyah issue of Godzilla Legends #1.

    This news report is a roundup of the previews for this long series that were provided to Toho Kingdom from IDW Publishing. Click on an image to expand to the full page view.

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #1

    Released June 25th, 2013.

         

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #2

    Released August 6th, 2013.

    [preview pending]

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #3

    Released August 28th, 2013.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #4

    Released September 24th, 2013.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #5

    Released October 30th, 2013.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #6

    Released November 27th, 2013.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #7

    Released December 17th, 2013.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #8

    Released January 29th, 2014.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #9

    Released February 19th,2014.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #10

    Released March 26th, 2014.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #11

    Released April 23rd, 2014.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #12

    Released May 28th, 2014.

          

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #13

    Released June 24th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #14

    Released July 24th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #15

    Released August 27th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #16

    Released September 24th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #17

    Released October 22nd, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #18

    Released November 26th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #19

    Released December 17th, 2014.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #20

    Released January 28th, 2015.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #21

    Released March 4th, 2015.

       

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #22

    Released March 25th, 2015.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #23

    Released April 22nd, 2015.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #24

    Released May 27th, 2015.

        

    Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #25

    Released July 8th, 2015.

       

    The series was first announced in March of 2013. It included the addition of a lot of new monsters to the comic run with the inclusion of  Biollante, Gorosaurus, Moguera, Zilla and Varan as confirmed picks when the news broke.

    Series editor Bobby Curnow left a message about the series on the Toho Kingdom forums around this time:

    “First off, Godzilla fans seem PSYCHED and that’s great to hear. We’ll need your enthusiasm, and support. Here’s why:

    Chris and Matt are well-respected (beloved?) in G-fan circles. But here’s an important thing: they are virtual unknowns in the greater comic book community. If you’re a comic book shop owner, (i.e., the person responsible for ORDERING comics) you’re probably not going to recognize their names. Every other Godzilla book has been helmed by established comics pros. So this book is going to be a big unknown, and a gamble for many of the people ordering the books. So how well it will do is in question.

    That’s the main reason you haven’t seen longer stories from Chris and Matt before now. In terms of sales, it’s a very risky proposition. I’ve spent the better part of a year trying to convince folks here at IDW that they can pull it off. And I sincerely believe they WILL. This book is going to be tons of fun.

    But here’s the thing: We’ll need YOUR support like never before. This is a Godzilla book by fans, for fans. It will be up to you guys to support this book. It’s really important that you tell your local comic book shop directly to ORDER THIS book! Tell them specifically that YOU want to buy a copy (or three!). Spread the word to anyone you know who digs Godzilla— or just fun monster stories in general. We’ll provide ordering codes as time goes on, but for right now, just spreading the word is VERY important!

    It’s awesome that everyone is excited, you SHOULD be! But at the same time, don’t take this book for granted. Don’t assume your comic book shop will have it! This series will last as long as the numbers support it. It’s in the readers hands!”

    Below is the cover for the first issue, by Matt Frank along with the original press release in full.

    Terrifying New Monsters Rise in…
    GODZILLA: RULERS OF EARTH!

    San Diego, CA (March 13, 2013) – Following Duane Swierczynski and Simon Gane’s run on Godzilla, the fan-favorite creative team of writer Chris Mowry and artist Matt Frank have returned with a new ongoing series kicking off this June, GODZILLA®: RULERS OF EARTH! In the wake of humanity’s war on Godzilla, a host of new monsters will rise up, determined to stake claim on mankind’s greatest asset… the Earth itself!

    “While we had a lot of fun with the Godzilla®: Legends series, they were just single issues,” said series writer Chris Mowry. “What we’re doing with this series is giving readers that same focus on monsters that Legends had, while telling stories set in IDW’s established Godzilla universe. Readers can look forward to the return of some of our human cast and the introduction of a number of new ones, but the monster roster is larger than it has ever been, using nearly all of Toho’s film creations to give readers battles never before seen. Many of these monsters having never appeared in the comic book/manga medium, so who better to change that but monster artist extraordinaire, Matt Frank?”

    “Whether it be Moguera, Biollante, or Gorosaurus, every Toho fanatic has their own favorite monster,” said series Editor Bobby Curnow. “Now it’s time to see these kaiju in action, and RULERS OF EARTH won’t fail to deliver the goods. It’s been a blast to watch Chris and Matt bring their passion to the page.”

    In RULERS OF EARTH, the entire world is opened up to the flying, stomping, smashing terror that can only come from the gnashing fangs, slashing claws, and otherworldly powers of destruction that these giant monsters wield. What will Godzilla do when he’s suddenly not the only giant lizard in our small pond?

    The only way to find out is to pick up the gargantuan thrills of GODZILLA®: RULERS OF EARTH when issue #1 crushes comic shops everywhere this June! Not only will RULERS OF EARTH be sporting covers by series artist Matt Frank, but Godzilla fanatics will also be able to find smashing covers by Bob Eggleton and comics legend Arthur Adams!

    GODZILLA®: RULERS OF EARTH #1 (FC, 32 pages, $3.99). In stores 6/19/13.

    News // July 8, 2015