General

  • 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
  • Looking for a little monster themed Valentine’s fun? Toho International has released Godzilla themed Valentine’s Day cards online. Five cards were made available in total, depicting Mechagodzilla (Showa), SpaceGodzilla, King Ghidorah (Heisei), Biollante Rose and Godzilla (Millennium). Each artwork depicts the monster along with a saying.

    The cards can be downloaded below, available in 1800×1800 in size once clicked so they can be printed off in good quality. …or alternatively, text or email the images to others as an e-Valentine. (more…)

    General // February 10, 2021
  • Despite being a Godzilla fan for as long as I can remember, it was never apparent what my favorite Godzilla era was until a few months ago. I always thought the Heisei series was my favorite, and it could very well be someday; it is deserving of praise and recognition—not to mention it had a first impression on me. Then I thought it was the relatively new MonsterVerse. While Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (OK, not a Godzilla film, but it felt wrong not to include it, and it’s arguably the best installment in the MonsterVerse), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) are stellar films that have introduced a whole new generation to the kaiju genre. But aside from a few aesthetics in terms of cinematography, setting, and sound design, it hasn’t yet shaped me as a cinematic storyteller. Finally, the answer became crystal clear, and just so happens to be the one that started it all. (more…)

    General // January 1, 2021
  • On October 26th, 2020, the forums suffered on outage. This issue was at the host level, who quickly rectified the dilemma. In doing so, they updated the PHP instance on the site to the latest version, exposing issues. The host kept rolling the PHP instance back until they found a working one, which took about a dozen tries. This exposed how outdated the forums had become, and highlighted that they were sitting on an aging tech stack: with components set to be depreciated. It required an update, although I had been resistant knowing this would wipe out modifications and styles for the forums. That said, a choice between having a forums that is more future proof versus keeping the old styles shouldn’t even have been a debate. Accepting this, the forums entered their third life cycle.

    Created way back in 2003, when the site first moved off free hosting to the tohokingdom.com domain, the forums have been a mainstay. They went through some bumpy starts as the site transitioned hosts, including losing everything during one transition, but have been stable for a decade now. In 2016, similar to what we are seeing now, the forums became outdated. This kicked off the second life cycle, and one can read about it and the even older styles that used to be associated with it.

    Four years later the site finds itself at a similar crossroads. So this blog is meant to chronicle the old Toho Kingdom forums styles from the second iteration. These were up from 2016 to 2020, although were all created in a time frame from 2016 to 2017. Some of these will return to the new forums, although slightly altered. Some will not. This article will act as archive of the styles from this period. The styles are sorted by popularity, at the time the forums were updated. (more…)

    General // November 7, 2020
  • When pre-production began on 1984’s The Return of Godzilla, director Koji Hashimoto gathered a team of experts to lend a sense of authenticity to his film. Like Ishiro Honda, under whom he’d worked in the ‘60s, Hashimoto approached his task seriously, wanting to show modern-day Japan responding to an extraordinary situation, and to keep the science fiction elements—fantastic as they weresomewhat in the realm of plausibility. To achieve this, a military analyst was hired to calculate the orbit of satellites equipped to carry nuclear weapons; a journalist provided feedback regarding media reactions; and after science fiction writer Ryuichi Kodama1 suggested using magnetism to lure Godzilla, geophysicist Hitoshi Takeuchi proposed a few locations where the monster could be trapped. The staff considered finales set at Mount Fuji and the Fossa Magna before ultimately deciding on Mount Mihara, the infamous stratovolcano of Izu Oshima Island.2

    Exquisitely photographed and propelled by Reijiro Koroku’s outstanding score, the picture generates rightly earned sympathy when Godzilla—“that strangely innocent and tragic monster,” as so eloquently described in the film’s American re-edit—becomes trapped in the volcano and plunges into the molten rock below.3 At the time of the film’s release, director Hashimoto stated that a sequel was possible; though based on his exact verbiage, it would appear Toho had no concrete plans while the ‘84 film was in immediate circulation.4 This was the first Godzilla movie in nine years and the first to be marketed for general audiences since 1968’s Destroy All Monsters.5 Given that context, some speculated Godzilla would remain in Mount Mihara6: imprisoned on an island which, in centuries past, had been designated for banishing exiles. And inside a volcano with a long history related to death.

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    General // September 17, 2020
  • 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. (more…)

    General // September 8, 2020
  • Updates have stalled for Godzilla: Defense Force, meaning the state of the current game will likely reflect the final state of the title. As a result, we are ready to present our last tier list for the mobile game, a much delayed Godzilla: Defense Force artifact tier list.

    This is arguably the most important tier list. While all artifacts are beneficial, as they all boost attack by +25% and have an added effect, the game is setup so that players won’t get them all. This is because of the scaling costs, which make it harder and harder to get the next artifact. Consequently, players should expect to get 18-20 artifacts out of a total of 23. This means players need to prioritize their artifacts, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to invest in through upgrading. The sooner the player makes this decision the better, as investing in artifacts makes them more expensive to deconstruct to try and get a new one. This can be unfairly punishing as for example it can cost 5,000 X-nium to deconstruct a level 25 artifact.
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    General // August 25, 2020
  • One good way to befriend a Godzilla fan is by asking them, “What was your first Godzilla film?” For years, I’ve always said Godzilla 1985. A few years later, I started to respond back with The Return of Godzilla (1984), the superior Japanese version of the same film. It’d be even longer before I realized that Bambi Meets Godzilla was technically my first Godzilla movie, as it preceded Godzilla 1985 on my VHS copy. (more…)

    General // August 9, 2020
  • It was always a dream to visit Japan. After spending years watching Japanese icons like Godzilla, Gamera, and Ultraman, the chance to roam around the very land that played a crucial part in enriching my childhood was something I had to do. In the summer of 2019, my dream came true, and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. But something happened there that I was not truly prepared for. (more…)

    General // August 5, 2020