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  • 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
  • This… might be the best named Godzilla snack of all time. The Shin Godzilla: War of the Takoyaki senbei cracker snack from Coms is one of the most hilariously packaged Godzilla snacks I have encountered yet. The image on the package is yet another shot of the now-classic Godzilla 2016 posing with claws outstretched and curving upwards… but this time rendered in an adorable shiny chibi style. This Godzilla is standing in front Osaka Castle (perhaps on one of his trips to Universal Studios Japan?) and is assaulting a bowl of Takoyaki with purple mouth lightning, and zapping eight more airborne Takoyaki treats with his back-blasts. It seems the people of Osaka are bombing the Big G with treats! In the corner reads the text: Takoyaki vs. Godzilla. At the bottom, perhaps most delightfully of all, is the following: “Can the Takoyaki which has been smashed flat into senbei crackers triumph over Godzilla?” (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 10, 2019
  • Here is one of my favorite Godzilla sweets so far. The Godzilla Crunch Ole Collection is really delicious. I love the crunch flavor, and the design is also on the fun referential side as well. As an added bonus the packaging  isn’t just your usual Shin Godzilla-holding-food design, which has become the rage since the 2016 Godzilla movie became a box office success. Let’s jump right in (to the volcano, so to speak). (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 2, 2019
  • From the theater going experience in Japan, here are impression of three recent Toho theatrical releases. They are for Weathering with You (2019), Kaguya-Sama: Love is War (2019) and Hit Me Anyone One More Time (2019). (more…)

    General // October 19, 2019
  • Since I started reviewing Kaiju Kuisine, I have consumed a wide variety of ramen-themed monster-snacks and reviewed them here—from Baby Star Dodekai Ramen snacks, to the Godzilla Butamen cup (probably my favorite of all), to the Godzilla vs. Evangelion Box: Garlic Ramen and Spicy Chicken Flavor (second favorite, and most fun due to the play factor). Today I want to review a new release, simply called Godzilla Ramen, created by Hachiroumen and sold Surou Kaabu, with assistance from a company called… river pond (no capitals). Flavor-wise it’s probably the worst, but the gimmick is still clever. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // October 12, 2019
  • I have done a lot of really nerdy stuff for Toho Kingdom, and it’s kind of difficult to categorize what the “nerdiest” articles or projects might have been. Writing lots of book reviews is arguably really nerdy; writing about Godzilla’s love life is nerdy AND embarrassing; spending over a hundred bucks on Godzilla Valentine’s Day candy just to review them for the site is nerdy, embarrassing, and almost seems emblematic of the stereotype of an obsessed otaku who can’t get a date. I don’t just do embarrassing stuff for my fandom—I spend lots of money, then spend lots of time writing about it, and then post about it WITH MY REAL NAME on the Internet. (more…)

    General // September 2, 2019
  • Back in 2017, I was excited for the Godzilla the Real 4-D ride featured in Universal Studios Japan that was being put together as part of their Cool Japan campaign. I really wanted to go and experience the ride myself, in addition to simply enjoying USJ for the first time as well. As is often the case with me, I hesitated and procrastinated and worried about the cost or just couldn’t muster up the gumption to buy my tickets for months. The ride was scheduled to end in June, close to my birthday, and so I decided finally to just get a hotel room and go at the last minute. (more…)

    General // August 18, 2019
  • Tokusatsu no DNA: From Godzilla to Shin Godzilla Cola Flavor Drops: this is another one of those Godzilla-related snacks that I can’t help but kind of puzzle over a little bit. I picked it up at the Tokusatsu no DNA exhibit back in January (along with the Godzilla Honey Pie and a few other things), and I just have to kind of wonder: Why cola? At least with, say, the arare crackers we have a snack that originates from Japan. At least with the Godzilla curries, we have something spicy that sort of goes along well with Godzilla’s nuclear breath (and, as I love to mention over and again, curry was the source of Godzilla’s fiery breath back in the Japanese version of the Godzilla Game Boy game). At least with pies you can say it’s part of the omiyage/souvenir culture. But cola drops, along with fruit-flavored chocolate bars and chocolate wafers, really puzzles me. (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // August 12, 2019
  • The massive crowd, many carrying massive bags sporting shiny attractive depictions of female cuteness promoting the very event to which all of us were going, moves in crushing waves, the policemen waving us through and directing the rivers of solid nerdery. I walked at my classic Midwestern stroll speed, and usually that is fast enough to match or even overtake my lollygagging students at school. Here, though, the spurs of anticipation—and perhaps the fear of missing out on favorite publications—stirred the assembly of enthusiasts to pick up speed. I was being passed on all sides by manga fans bedecked in pop-culture overload.

    I was at Comiket 2018, Winter 2018. (more…)

    General // July 27, 2019
  • When I visited the Tokusatsu no DNA exhibit in Tokyo in January, I was happy to find a few more Godzilla snacks about which I could write reviews. Any fears of these starting to vanish the further away we get from Shin Godzilla (2016) aren’t materializing yet. Although with a new Godzilla movie on the way, perhaps this will be the norm. Anyway, the biggest package I picked up was the Godzilla Honey Pie. Let’s have our usual rundown! (more…)

    Kaiju Kuisine // July 19, 2019
  • A few months ago I had the great honor of interviewing costume-design legend Keizo Murase in the actual studio at which many of the classic Toho monsters were created. We had an amazing two-hour conversation ranging over kaiju history and covering dozens of stories, and I am looking forward to getting the video translated and posted for fans in the West to enjoy. Chris Mirjanhangir set up the interview in conjunction with Daisuke Sato, who was also the mastermind behind Howl from Beyond the Fog, a Kickstarter-funded tokusatsu short film set in ancient Japan and featuring a cast of puppets—and a film which will soon premiere at G-Fest! After interviewing Mr. Murase, I got to talking with Mr. Sato (who we also interviewed here on TK in the past), and he casually mentioned that he was the one who assembled the Godzilla costume in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), which was designed by Shinichi Wakasa. I was flabbergasted and asked if it would be possible to interview Mr. Sato personally as well, and he graciously agreed. That interview took place on June 22, 2019. (more…)

    Interviews // July 12, 2019