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  • A few years ago I translated a few pages of Terebi Magazine that described an early take of Mecha-Ghidorah that came from the 1980s—long before Mecha-King Ghidorah became a part of the Heisei canon. I had seen images of this fully-mechanized version of the monster floating around the Internet for years, and so I was pretty happy when I finally got my hands on a reprinted copy that came as a bonus with one of the Godzilla All-Movie DVD Collectors’ Box volumes. Many of these sets come with interesting bonus materials, and while I usually picked them up only if they had rare manga reprints of things like the manga adaptation of Godzilla vs. Megalon or Kazumine Daiji’s adaptation of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, sometimes a particular article reprint also caught my eye—and such was the case with vol. 47, which included the movie Varan (1958), and a set of six short stories titled “Giant Monster of Justice Godzilla,” published as a serial in Terebi Magazine from October 1972 until March of 1973. (more…)

    Translations // June 11, 2021
  • As a writer for Toho Kingdom, I have made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day over the past five or six years. I put together my longest article I ever wrote for TK—a piece about the many loves of Godzilla—for Valentine’s Day. I also asked my fellow TK writers to give their favorite Toho romance films for Valentine’s Day last year, and the year before that wrote up a deluge of reviews for the many, many Godzilla related Valentine’s Day chocolates sold at the Godzilla Store at that time, in 2018. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // June 11, 2021
  • A complete translation of the manga The H-Man Continues, which acts as a sequel to the 1958 movie by director Ishiro Honda and the manga based on it. Credited to author Hideo Unagami and artist Shigeru Fujita, this manga was released on July 20th, 1958. Consequently, this was less than a month after the H-Man (1958) movie, which was issued to theaters on June 24th, 1958. The publication starts with a recap of the events in the movie, and the manga that was released for it, before it dives into the story of the events after the film.

    Note that the translation approach is that of writing it out as a simplified novella so you can enjoy the entire story. I sometimes had to fill in some small details just to make the scenes make sense, but I tried to keep as close to the script of the comic as possible with a minimum of additional commentary or description. This can make the reading a bit bland, but I hope you can still enjoy the story. Note that there are some sections with narration from the comic which I tried to straight translate. Usually I do not add much of my own narration in the text that follows. All of this is captured in the translation below. (more…)

    Translations // June 11, 2021
  • Although we here at Toho Kingdom tend to focus a great deal of our energy on the tokusatsu output of Toho studios, given that Toho is one of the biggest movie studios in Japan, they also are responsible for just scads of anime films of many stripes and colors–some of which get relatively little attention Stateside… and some of which have made massive waves and big bucks around the world. Here are my recent impressions of a number of these films which I personally had the opportunity to watch in movie theaters within the last six or so months. If you have also had a chance to watch any of these movies, share your thoughts below! (more…)

    Movie Reviews // June 11, 2021
  • Here is another review long in coming, for a Godzilla project that I am surprised exists—the Godzilla Spicy Miso Ball (ゴジラ辛みそ玉)! I originally picked up a three-pack of these in 2019 at the Atami Kaiju Film Festival (pretty sure that’s the only place you can buy them), but I let the dang things expire and never tried them. So when I attended again this year, and they were selling more three-packs for 700 yen, I wanted to buy some and finally try them out. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // May 22, 2021
  • In today’s interview, we are going to have a sit-down with Boston-based filmmaker J. L. Carrozza. Carrozza, who actually wrote for Toho Kingdom briefly, has directed a number of his own films, including the short “Little Red Riding Hood,” the documentary “Black Sunshine: Conversations with T. F. Mou,” the TV series Micro-Shocks, and the Matango-influenced “Fungus.” A long time fan of Japanese cinema with a unique perspective, we will be discussing his recently released book, SF: The Japanese Science Fiction Film Encyclopedia, among other projects.

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    Interviews // May 13, 2021
  • Over the last few years, I was teaching a class I called Japan and World Cinema, and in that class I introduced to my students many movies from around the world based on Japanese cultural properties while examining issues like Japanese stereotypes, yellow-face, whitewashing, etc—as well as just looking at how different countries and their particular cultural outlook might affect how a story is told. I made it a point last year in this class to delve deeper into movies based on Japanese video games, and thus caught up on the Street Fighter movies, the Silent Hill films, and even lesser-known fare such as the (very, very bad) King of Fighters film and Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge (also terrible). Unfortunately, most movies based on Japanese video games (or rather video games in general) tend to be quite poor, with weak stories, cheesy special effects, and an insulting slapdash quality to them. Still, recent entries like Detective Pikachu (which I reviewed) and Sonic the Hedgehog have garnered some level of financial and critical success, combining some impressive special effects with charming (if still somewhat pedestrian) plots. While I was not ecstatic about either of the above films, I enjoyed each for what they were—the Pokemon film obviously had a lot of love and care put into its fantasy world and characters, and the Sonic film showed an astonishing degree of humility and a sense of responsibility towards the fanbase when the studio actually caved-in to fan demands calling for the Sonic design to be reworked. There was, then, reason to hold onto some hope for a higher level of quality in video game adaptations moving forward based on these successes.

    Then along came Monster Hunter, and much of that hope was dashed. The film was released in the USA back in December of 2020, but not here in Japan until March 26, 2021, so I was well aware of its negative reputation before I had my chance to see it. And, even though I can say that the film has its charms, the bad reputation is deserved.

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    Movie Reviews // April 24, 2021
  • Having already attended and greatly enjoyed the Second Annual Atami Kaiju Film Festival (熱海怪獣映画祭) in 2019, I was watching with interest to see how (or even if) there would be a third in 2020. Atami itself had some kind of kaiju-related event last year, but the festival was postponed to March of 2021. Despite the fact that I am in the middle of moving, despite the fact that parts of Japan are in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, despite the fact that I had a heart attack last year and thus am more at risk, I still decided to attend the festival. (more…)

    General // March 20, 2021
  • Back in 2019 I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the second annual Atami Kaiju Film Festival (熱海怪獣映画祭) in the resort town of Atami. Known for its beautiful seaside views and hot springs, and sometimes called the “kaiju city” according to promotional materials I read about the festival, amongst giant monster fans, Atami is most famous as the place where King Kong and Godzilla faced off in the climax of King Kong vs. Godzilla—that’s the Atami Castle that gets destroyed at the end, you see. Gappa the Triphibian Monster also has some scenes that take place in Atami, as does a particular episode of Ultraman. The festival has as its genesis a conversation with Kazunori Ito, the screenwriter of the reboot Gamera trilogy, wherein he expressed a desire to create a new sort of kaiju-centric movie event in Atami. The first festival in 2018 was very small indeed and featured only one film showing—Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, which had originally been written while Ito stayed in Atami. Things blossomed from there.

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    General // March 14, 2021
  • Back in 2016, when Shin Godzilla was released, there were quite a few promotional tie-ins. I covered many of the food-related promotional tie-ins, such as the Lotteria version of fun meal toys, the Butamen noodles, and the Godzilla vs. Evangelion snack box. One of the most interesting tie-ins, though, took place at Namja Town, an indoor amusement park in Ikebukuro that targets youngsters. Namjatown (or Namja Town – ナムコ・ナンジャタウン) has a host of mascot furry animals and swaps out attractions regularly, which are often related to popular anime properties. They are also notable for their ice cream shops and pot sticker restaurants.
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    Kaiju Kuisine // February 27, 2021
  • Although superheroes are often considered a particularly American creation what with Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man originating from the land of red, white, and blue, superheroes have appeared in comics and other media all over the world, from Mars Ravelo’s comic universe in the Philippines to Super Inframan in China to the masked wrestlers of Mexico. Japan, too, has become well-known for their slate of superheroes, and indeed, with Golden Bat, Japan arguably created the first comic book super hero, having appeared in the paper theater kamishibai well before Superman debuted in 1939. Of course Japan has had many superheroes since then, including such notables as Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and the Super Sentai series, but more recently a super hero series largely inspired by Western hero trends—the My Hero Academia franchise, which started as a serialized manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine, and blossomed out into an animated television show, movies, and more. The particular focus of today’s review is the second My Hero Academia movie, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, which was released in 2019 in Japan and is receiving a run in theaters in the USA courtesy of Funimation Studios. (more…)

    Movie Reviews // April 15, 2020
  • For some time there has been some intriguing artwork kind of floating around the Internet portraying a golden, fully-robotic Mecha-Ghidorah that was originally published in a magazine in the early 1980s, a super robot which apparently fought Godzilla in some sort of officially licensed story. I have seen the picture passed around on forums and speculated about repeatedly without much in the form of direct knowledge pertaining to the contents of the article/short-story/whatever the heck it was, except some dismissive remark that the original article amounted to something akin to lousy fan-fiction from someone who may or may not have actually read the material. (more…)

    General // March 2, 2020
  • Over the years, there have been many, many Godzilla costumes created, and while the Godzilla costumes from the actual Toho movies have received a great deal of attention, the Godzilla costumes from other sources, such as movie cameo appearances and commercials, really need more special attention, as their designs and histories are also quite fascinating. For this article I’m joined by Marcus Gwin as we start looking deeper at overlooked Godzilla costumes.

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    General // February 16, 2020
  • Over the last few years I have seen a BUNCH of Toho films that I never got around to reviewing, which seems like a lost opportunity as Toho still releases a lot of movies each year, and most of them get very little attention—plus a few more famous ones from yesteryear that I watched, but have no plan to write full reviews of. There were quite a few, so let’s get started! (more…)

    Movie Reviews // February 9, 2020
  • Shin Godzilla: Battle at Nagaragawa White Water Manjuu vs. Black Steamed Chestnut Youkan! Here is a Godzilla snack I can get behind. Like a good-natured fan-fiction, it imagines what would happen if the second form of Godzilla from Shin Godzilla (2016) faced off against the Mothra larva. I think of it as the Godzilla larva vs. the Mothra larva. How fun is that? The actual snacks, too, are traditional Japanese snacks, which, if alien to the Western palate, still seems appropriate for a Japanese monster themed snack. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // December 14, 2019
  • Have you ever wanted to experience firsthand what it would be like to try to escape from Godzilla? As fans, I think there are a lot of folks who would love to experience (safely!) an encounter with Godzilla beyond just another video game or even yet another VR experience. People wish they could feel the experience, not just get dizzy with a heavy electronic headset blocking your vision. And that experience was sort of what was promised by Tokyo Mystery Circus in 2018 in their Godzilla-themed escape room. (more…)

    General // December 7, 2019
  • Earlier this year I happened to go to the Shinjuku Godzilla Store near the time in which Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019) was in theaters, and I was thrilled to find—in addition to the Godzilla Store itself—a limited time special store had been put up specifically for the release of the aforementioned MonsterVerse film. While I was not wild about KOTM (much the opposite), it was still really fun to see the wide variety of goods that were for sale at the time—and I was able to pick up a wide variety of Godzilla-themed snacks. Oddly, at that time, the only snacks I found that were themed around the Godzilla King of the Monsters film at the store were these—the Godzilla King of the Monsters Choco in Sables, from Coms (again). Let’s take a look. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // December 1, 2019
  • Along with the amazingly named Shin Godzilla: War of the Takoyaki crackers, snack company Coms also released the Shin Godzilla Crunch: Black Crunch vs. White Crunch. With incredibly cute art of Kamata-Kun appearing in Osaka, and a snack not dissimilar to the excellent Godzilla Ole Crunch Collection, we have another winner on our hands here—plus, another cute Godzilla diorama is included with the box! (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 29, 2019
  • Apparently there was an entire line-up of Mt. Mihara sweets made this year. In addition to the Godzilla Honey Pie,  the Godzilla Crunch Ole Collection, and the Izu Oshima Godzilla Curry, we also have the Godzilla Bar Cheese Cookie from the same company. This takes some of the same design aspects of the previous two snacks and creates something new and frankly delicious. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 24, 2019
  • It’s been a long time since I wrote a review for a Godzilla curry—the last one was way back in 2016 with my review of the Yokosuka Godzilla Curry. Well, time keeps right on marching along, and along with the Godzilla Crunch Ole Collection, we now have a new curry from Izu Oshima—the Izu Oshima Godzilla Curry! And I have to say, as far as it goes, this one is much better than the Yokosuka Godzilla Curry. I would totally eat this one again.

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    Kaiju Kuisine // November 22, 2019