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  • 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.

    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 1, 2019
  • On my recent periodic trips to the Godzilla Store in Shinjuku, along with the copious amounts of chocolate that I purchased (gosh, I am sick of the stuff), I was also pleased to see there were other fattening foods to help me achieve Godzilla-size weight gain, including ramune-flavored candies, print cookies, the gaufrette cookies which I already reviewed, and today’s subject of review, the Godzilla Popcorn from the Jippu Corporation. This one doesn’t do any tricks except raise your blood sugar, but let’s dive right in.

    The packaging itself consists of a clear plastic bag with a big packaging sticker on the front. The plastic bag is resealable, which is great because I didn’t want to eat the whole thing in one sitting. The packaging sticker features the usual Godzilla text, plus the now very familiar cartoon-style Godzilla and Mothra which we also have seen on a number of other kaiju food products, such as the Lotteria vs. Shin Godzilla campaign and the Godzilla vs. Evangelion Box. For what it’s worth, I think this is the largest version of the cartoon Godzilla I have seen, so us fanboys can get a clearer look at the lack of detail in the drawing. I really like that the sticker features a sort of triangular cut-out which both shows the choco popcorn inside and represents Godzilla’s atomic ray.

    Strangely, the Godzilla that is shilling for all this snack food actually is much slimmer than the often much fatter Godzillas that appear in the movies.

    This raises the all-important question: What does the chocolate popcorn actually represent? Given that it features within the triangle of fire, so to speak, does that mean it is supposed to look like charred rubble? Or could it possible represent the boulders that kaiju sometimes use to play volleyball? Given that the dark black resembles some versions of Godzilla’s flesh tone, could it be representative of chunks of G-cells?

    I guess it doesn’t matter much—the more pressing question is, how does the popcorn taste? And it’s pretty good. Kind of a rich chocolate flavor, sweeter and richer than I expected. If you like chocolate-flavored popcorn, the Godzilla Popcorn is pretty decent, though the portions are not exactly voluminous. (Oddly, I cannot find anywhere on the package that expressly states the volume of munchies inside, but suffice it to say it’s less than your average movie bucket.)

    Still, the Godzilla Popcorn only costs 300 yen, it tastes pretty good, and it has pleasing if somewhat unimaginative packaging. This isn’t like the fancy Godzilla chocolates, but it isn’t trying to be, and given that some of the chocolates aren’t that great (I’m looking at you, Noshi), and many of the other Godzilla-related snacks are kind of hit-and-miss, the popcorn is a more sensible and still tasty alternative.

    Extreme close-up of Godzilla chocolaty popcorn goodness.

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 10, 2018
  • There is no guarantee that holidays celebrated in the west will be celebrated at all in Japan, to say nothing about being celebrated in the same way that, say, Americans would feel familiar with. Christmas in Japan, for example, is considered a romantic holiday, and if someone asks if you have plans for Christmas in Japan, they are often more or less asking if you have a significant other. Valentine’s Day, meanwhile, is not just romantic—it is a day in which the ladies of the island nation are pressured by custom into giving the men in their lives chocolate, with lovers sometimes receiving handmade goodies, and bosses and male coworkers receiving more boring “obligation chocolate” (guys are expected to repay their female counterparts on White Day a month later). Even Easter is, if not entirely celebrated, at least… acknowledged, with stores being decked out in Easter themed posters and paraphernalia every year.

    And that brings us to Halloween—a holiday known and celebrated in its way in Japan, but not quite in the same way as in the USA. Japan does not so much have trick or treat night for kids (although some people do the custom, and the Yakuza have a tradition of offering kids snacks on Halloween—no joke), dressing up in elaborate costumes has increasingly become cool in Japan, with monsters, zombies, sexy nurses, and movie characters of all sorts swarming the trains and gathering for special events in places like Disneyland or flashy clubs on Halloween night. In other words, it is an official day of cosplay for adults as much as if not moreso than for children.

    The beautiful box-art with the Marui building behind!

    Thus perhaps it should come as little surprise that even Godzilla is getting in on the Halloween spirit with his Godzilla Halloween Print Cookie, which I did not discover until Halloween was already over with last year. Similar in style and flavor to the previous Godzilla Print Cookie which I wrote about before, these Halloween Print Cookies are somewhat more elaborate even that the Namja Town edition of the traditional version. Each print cookie (this time produced by Coms instead of Sawarabi STK) comes individually packaged in white plastic packaging with doily-esque designs adding an air of class and sophistication to the Godzilla-goings on. The prints on each of the cookies, too, are more visually impressive than the monochrome red or black prints from the Print Cookies available in 2016, with these Halloween scenes going full, vivid color, and with fairly impressive detail on all four varieties. Although the box itself is less flashy than the previous Print Cookie packaging (no pop-up cardboard monster here), each box comes with one clear sticker randomly inserted depicting one of the Halloween-themed kaiju designs that appear on the cookies—and in this case, the designs are really the point of attraction.

    There are four designs, each one featuring a different kaiju—Godzilla, Mothra in her imago form, King Ghidorah, and the 1970s Mechagodzilla. Each round cookie comes with its own cartoonishly rendered giant monster of destruction interacting in some cute way with one or more jack-o-lanterns, random orange stars and bats floating in the background. So thus we have a red-eyed burning Godzilla about ready to take a bite out of a cheerful pumpkin in a wizard hat, Mothra carrying her jack-o-lantern (back to Infant Island?), KG proudly protective of a triple pumpkin tower, and Mechagodzilla dashing with five little pumpkins in his arms—including one mecha-jack-o-lantern with glowing yellow eyes! Each image is rendered nicely on the cookies, but even better on the stickers and on the box art in which the colors really pop (and the background on the box gains a skyline that includes the Marui building—location of the Godzilla Store).

    Here we have a cheap cash-grab sticker, but I still love the art!

    As to the flavor of the cookies, they are good, with a strong vanilla taste and an especially crisp texture (more so even than the aforementioned Godzilla Print Cookies from 2016). There is only the one flavor, though—the images on the cookies, while they look nice, make no difference as to taste, but the relatively mild, sugar-cookie flavor is pleasant if unremarkable.

    Despite the relatively uninteresting flavor of the final cookies, of the three varieties of Godzilla Print Cookie that I have tried so far, these Halloween-themed ones are probably my favorite. I like the extra crunch, I like the adorable art, and, though the “random clear sticker” is obviously a transparent means of tricking kaiju fans with extra cash into buying multiple boxes of cookies, I like the fact that a sticker is included. It’s just really fun, and while these omiyage boxes are definitely unnecessary, that makes them no less enjoyable for the fans. Still, Halloween cookies for omiyage seems like an odd mix given that omiyage is usually bought by travelers for friends and family back home. Do a lot of people travel on Halloween?

    Godzilla with heartburn from eating too much Halloween candy.

    Mothra on a mission to deliver a pumpkin.

    Mechagodzilla has a mech-a-lantern.

    King Ghidorah made a Halloween version of a snowman.

    Kaiju Kuisine // November 4, 2018
  • While I have really enjoyed all the flashy and ridiculous Godzilla Valentine’s Day chocolates, from the memorable Godzilla Can that can double as a thumb spinner to the Chocolate Blocks which are kind of like kid’s puzzles, I was in some ways most curious about the Noshi Chocolate Godzilla Store Noshi (why does it have such a stupid name?) because it looks so unassuming. I just had to guess that this choco might be something extra special because, on the outside, it looks like it doesn’t have anything to do with Godzilla. Instead, it features a traditional noshi design on the outside, with no Godzilla art, no silver military camouflage, no footprints, no ludicrous brown ribbon. Just that noshi design. Well, okay, it has the Godzilla Store Tokyo logo and a silver Godzilla 2018 sticker on the back. Whoopee.

    A noshi, by the way, is a kind of origami design used as a sort of wrapping for gifts, though I think it has also become just the design for an envelope. The gifts are apparently for well-wishing, and the gifts can be stuff like fish. Luckily, the chocolate inside was NOT fish-flavored.

    Anyway, in my mind I was imagining something elaborate. A secret Godzilla design carved into the chocolate, like with the Godzilla Milk Chocolate Bar. Given that the manufacturer of the Noshi Chocolate Godzilla Store Noshi is none other than Sawarabi STK, the makers of the pretty decent Godzilla Print Cookie and the quite delicious Godzilla Gaufrette, how could I not have high expectations?

    And, oh, how those high expectations can so quickly be dashed to the ground. Inside the noshi wrapping is some cardboard wrapped around another silver wrapper—can’t fault them for not providing enough wrappers. (I can fault them for bulking up the candy bar’s apparent size with that random cardboard, though.) Then, my friends, inside the silver wrapping paper was…

    A big, generic-looking pink chocolate bar.

    Yeah, okay, so I was complaining a lot before about how the other chocolates were almost universally milk chocolate confections, right? (Okay, there were a few white chocolate masterpieces, such as the Godzilla Disks, and those dark chocolate tanks.) Still, I didn’t really want a STRAWBERRY flavored chocolate bar. What does that even mean? Apparently it doesn’t mean actual chocolate with strawberry filling.

    It means a pink candy bar. That tastes like really bad strawberry candy. And leaves an unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth.

    Look, I ate a few squares of that candy horror bar. It did not taste good. It did not make me think, Whoo, this is Godzilla! The strawberry flavor did not for me bring forth vivid pictures of giant monsters representing nuclear fears appearing in Tokyo and stomping buildings. Instead, that flavor brought forth vivid desires not to eat the rest of the pink bar!

    I saved this chocolate bar for the last! It was supposed to be something special! It’s a Godzilla Store EXCLUSIVE, man!

    And what’s more, apparently these Noshi Chocolate Godzilla Store Noshi thingees were a bit of a hit. I went to the Godzilla Store on another day, and I found that they were selling three flavors of noshi choco—the strawberry one that I already unfortunately bought, plus an apple flavored one and a blueberry flavored one. I wasn’t sure which one I had already bought because I hadn’t looked closely at the wrapping, so I didn’t buy the others (and I stupidly did not take a picture to share with this story either), but in retrospect, if the apple and blueberry bars taste anywhere as Not Good as this strawberry bar tastes, I dodged a Maser Blast by not buying those things.

    Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit, but I didn’t enjoy the Noshi Chocolate Godzilla Store Noshi—no, sir! Basically what we have here is a big pile of disappointment and an even bigger, “What does THIS have to do with giant monsters portrayed by dudes in costumes?!??!” Maybe the idea is that, like a monster costume, the outside looks cool, but on the inside is a boring pink thing that isn’t good to eat. Pass.

    Kaiju Kuisine // October 21, 2018
  • I have never really been a fan of overpriced chocolate. When I happen to visit a Godiva chocolate store (say, for one of their delicious chocolate shakes), the prices on their boxes of chocolate are positively terrifying—almost, but not quite, enough to kill my appetite. So it’s kind of ironic that I plunked down the huge chunk of change required to purchase the Godzilla Poster Collection chocolates—2700 yen?!!?? And, as with most (probably all) of the Valentine’s Day Godzilla chocolates, with the Poster Collection, you are mostly paying for the packaging… but in this case, gosh, the packaging is really flipping cool!

    The cool inside front cover!

    Once again provided by the fine folks at Hunter Confectionery, the box itself (on the outside) has the now-familiar “Godzilla Chocolate” ribbon and strange silvery military design, but this time the top of the box also features a huge footprint (I believe from the Shin Godzilla promo a few years back), and a list of 29 different years—the release years for the first 29 Godzilla films.

    The reason that the box features those release years is simple enough—inside, there are 30 square chocolates, and on those 30 chocolates are individual wrappers that feature the posters for all 30 Godzilla films released up to this point! (Why “2017” is not listed on the box is anyone’s guess—maybe it wouldn’t fit?). The posters often don’t fit very well on the wrappers, and thus the images for the posters wrap around the top and bottom of the chocolates… but once you unwrap the chocolates, the posters can be viewed more effectively, and the hungry chocolate muncher can also read the back of the wrapper, which features the sequential number of the film released, as well as its Japanese title. The unwrapped poster wrapper looks really spiffy, and I am tempted to stick some of them up around my apartment or office so I can happily squint at them all day. If I had a doll house or, say, Castle Grayskull or Krang’s Technodrome playset, these posters would look great plastered to the plastic walls while my action figures fought out their frustrations alongside.

    And… wow, look at that square… Godzilla chocolate.

    But what about the chocolates themselves? Well, again, we have some—rather high quality—milk chocolate here. This time the chocolate itself bears no Godzilla design at all, but rather a generic pattern running diagonally across the choco-squares that looks more like the impressions of tires than anything. I chowed down on two different Godzilla choco-squares—the original Godzilla (1954) square, and the Ebirah: Terror from the Deep (1966) square. Regardless of how you feel about the quality of those two movies (I happen to like Ebirah a lot), the quality of the chocolate is the same—pretty dang yummy. But still… when I pay beaucoup bucks (or should I say a yuge amount of yen?) on some chocolate, I kind of expect more than just… milk chocolate, no matter how good it is.

    But again, what you are paying for in this case is not so much the chocolate and much more the packaging—this time especially the wildly cool wrapping paper on the chocolates! The box is also spifferific, with the inside lid printed with a shimmery promotional still from the original Godzilla film. Still, you should only buy this admittedly impressive box of chocolates if you have a serious jonesing for mini-posters, because otherwise, honey, it just ain’t worth it.

    The most expensive—and the coolest—chocolate wrappers ever made!

    Flipping cool! The other side has the titles and sequential numbers!

    Kaiju Kuisine // October 19, 2018
  • Sometimes I buy something related to Godzilla, and it is so boring that I just don’t have the energy to write anything about it. That was the case with the recent release of the Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Wafers (GODZILLA 怪獣惑星 ウエハース) from Bandai, a promotional item that went on the market in November of 2017 to push ticket sales to Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017) movie (which I saw, and gave some impressions of, last year). Well, I also saw, and purchased, and consumed the Godzilla wafers. I was not extremely impressed with the movie—and I was extremely unimpressed by the wafers.

    Just to be fair, though, I will give a rundown of what to expect from these munchie little nothings. Each package comes with one wafer and one metallic plastic card. There are 27 of these metallic plastic cards, included at random to maximize sales. According to the description on the back of the packaging, three of the cards are “visual cards” (see the red Godzilla card pictured for an example), fifteen are story cards, five are character cards, and four are Godzilla cards. Of the wafers I have bought so far, I have only gotten visual cards and story cards, so I can’t offer comment on the other varieties. The wafers, on the other hand, are all chocolate flavored—no different kinds. Curiously, the art for the packaging comes in two varieties which have no impact (so far as I can tell) on the contents: One is a shot of the human cast looking stressed out, and the other is a shot of Godzilla holding a chocolate wafer (if this is canon to the story, then I guess we now know that ani-goji likes chocolate).

    Let’s start with a review of the wafer. …It looks like and tastes like a standard chocolate wafer.

    Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Wafers - Inside

    Moving on to the cards, they are shiny and metallic and plastic as promised, so they feel durable enough—they won’t just melt away if dropped in the sink, or get stained by a spill of orange juice or something. However, the design of the cards, beyond being kind of shiny, evoked a major mental yawn from me. One side has Godzilla lettered out in the familiar font on a black background, albeit with an inverted red triangle (ala the ones often featured on the windows of buildings in Japan indicating that you are not on the first floor) replacing the subtitle of the film. On the other side of the visual card I have is a shadowy silhouette of Godzilla on a red background with kind of a tin-foil shimmery look and the number of the card. On the story cards I have, basically we are given a screenshot with sparkles on the front and some kind of cool techno framing with the ubiquitous “Godzilla” written out in one corner, and the number of the card featured again. Same back of Godzilla on black. No story explanations or text of any sort. For those who like sparkly plastic, or have always thought that Godzilla needed more glitter, then your dream, my friend, has come to collectible card reality. But for me, given that I don’t really like the look of the CGI Godzilla anime that much in the first place, it’s like putting ugly art on a card, shaking sparkles on it, and selling it as something special. Excited I am not.

    Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Wafers Review - Cards

    Over Christmas I went back to visit my family and friends in the United States and shared some Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters wafers with my loved ones. Their reactions to the chocolate wafers was about the same as mine: “Well, that was a chocolate wafer.” (To me, I find the wafer a little bit dry, and the flavor inspires me to drink water and give away my extra wafers that I bought.) There is no Godzilla design on it—it’s just a block of chocolate cream and wafery wafers.

    Still, my friend Sam seemed to like the cards (he got another of the red Godzilla visual cards), so after I hope to donate the rest of my cards that I have collected so far to him when I get the chance. While I had very mixed feelings about Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, rewatching on Netflix gave me a better appreciation for the story. Re-eating the chocolate wafers after returning to Japan gave me a new appreciation for how bland they are, and a new appreciation for how uninteresting the cards are. I actually like the “speed lottery” Kamen Rider cards I got recently at Lawson’s more. At least those, while not plastic and not shiny, have cool shots of various Kamen Rider characters and you get a chance to win some stuff (I won some chocolate and soup curry).

    As far as Godzilla snacks go, bring back the Godzilla Gaufrette.

    Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Wafers Review - Package

    Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Wafers Review - Card

    Kaiju Kuisine // August 21, 2018
  • Retailing for the same price as the Godzilla Can (¥1201 yen), the Disk Chocolates (ディスクチョコ) are some of the more unique chocolate treats in the Godzilla Valentine’s Day Chocolate line. The boxes, which are similar in size to the Illustration Block boxes, also share a similar theme, except this time each box features a different movie— Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) and Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017).

    Godzilla Valentine's Day: Chocolate Godzilla Illustration BlockNow for this review the latter two chocolate treats were picked up: both for the 2002 Mechagodzilla entry and for the recent Godzilla animated title. Likely the four are similar in terms of taste if not the same, but keep this in mind.

    Eschewing the chocolate colored ribbons found on many of the other chocolate sets, the design of the boxes also contrast nicely with the designs of the Godzilla Illustration Blocks boxes; where the Illustration Blocks boxes featured black-background images of Godzilla carved out with white, the Disk Chocolate boxes feature clean white backgrounds with monsters etched out with stark black imaging. It looks really cool. The boxes also fold open kind of like a CD case, with an image from the poster on the inside front cover, the title of the movie from which the poster came, and a little information about monsters that appeared for the in that film. For the two I got, Mechagodzilla and Servum are listed, respectively.

    And it is appropriate that these boxes are made to look something like CD boxes, given that the white chocolate disks inside are made to look like CDs! What is especially impressive is that each white chocolate disk sports an incredible recreation of the poster art on the disk itself! You can compare the quality of the image to the nearly identical image printed on the inside front cover of the box, and while the image on the chocolate certainly does not match the quality of the image on the box, it still looks incredible for something you can eat!

    How about the taste? Gosh, of all the chocolates here, it is hard to work up the nerve to bite into these because they look like pieces of art! That, and I don’t really care so much for white chocolate, and adding the amount of coloring put on these puppies does not inspire great confidence in the flavor department either. Oh, well, here goes—and that white chocolate ain’t too shabby! I took a big old brave bite out of the Planet of the Monsters disk and that is some creamy smooth white chocolate that just melts as you are munching away. Not bad at all! I think I will take another bite actually!

    Awesome box art for chocolate disks of Godzilla goodness. I never wanted to eat a Godzilla poster… until now.

    Awesome box art for chocolate disks of Godzilla goodness. I never wanted to eat a Godzilla poster… until now.

    In closing, I can’t help but wonder where Hunter Confectionary came up with the idea of creating Godzilla chocolates in the image of CDs, which by all accounts seems to be a dying medium. For me at least, a CD is not the first thing that pops into my head when I think of Godzilla—but maybe DVD packaging just seemed too bulky to recreate for a chocolate!

    Don't these look like CDs?

    Don’t these look like CDs?

    Actually, the Godzilla choco CD reminds me of a Japanese movie I recently saw, The 100th Love with You (2017), which featured a magical record player, and a record made of chocolate. That movie featured a story about holding on too tightly to time and to experiences and to loved ones—that you should be willing to let things go. The lesson of these chocolate disks may be the opposite—while these suckers taste pretty dang good for white chocolate, you’re still ultimately better off hanging on to your money!

    If you look closely, you can see that the disk has an indentation like a CD.

    If you look closely, you can see that the disk has an indentation like a CD.

    Kaiju Kuisine // April 17, 2018
  • When you were a child, did you ever play with those sliding tile toys? The ones where the image is all messed up and you have to keep sliding the images around more and more until you can successfully slip together the real picture? I used to get really frustrated with those old toys, especially when they wouldn’t slide smoothly, and the final image that you get wasn’t always very satisfying. Well, the Chocolate Godzilla Illustration Block (ゴジラ イラストブロック) sets, each going for ¥1080 yen, from Hunter Confectionary reminded me of those old times, but with rather more interesting illustrations (at least to me).

    First a few words about the design of the boxes. Eschewing the sort of bizarre futuristic military camouflage look of some of Hunter Confectionary’s other Godzilla Valentine’s chocolates, here we have elegant, striking black and white images of the Monster King against stark, black backgrounds. Naturally the Shodai Goji set features a classic promotional image of the first Godzilla to appear on the big screen, and the Vs. Godzilla Set features the Vs. Godzilla (also known colloquially in the West as the Heisei Godzilla) in profile. I really like these designs because they have an undeniable “coolness” factor, and the black exterior is complemented well by the red interior.

    What makes the designs even more fun is that on the inside of the lids of each  we get some details about the monster and the military hardware featured on the chocolates. For Shodai Godzilla, we get a profile image of the first Godzilla, plus a little information stating that this Godzilla first appeared in the 1954 film. Underneath that are images of F-86F Saber jet fighters and the Oxygen Destroyer itself (with information about who invented the super weapon that would be used to instigate the monster’s demise).

    An inside view of the "Shodai" Godzilla box.

    An inside view of the “Shodai” Godzilla box.

    On the inside front cover of the Vs. Godzilla set box, we have a profile image of the Vs. Godzilla (mimicking the cover image), a list of the Vs. Godzilla films, an image of the Type 92 Maser Beam Tank, and an image of the Type 93 Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Maser Gun. For fans, again, this is just incredibly fun stuff—and all of these elements, monsters and military hardware includes, are then illustrated on the blocks of chocolate themselves.

    The Vs. box chocolates.

    The Vs. box chocolates.

    The chocolate, separated into nine blocks with six reserved for depicting Godzilla in each box and three for the military part, is all milk chocolate. The illustrations are not very detailed, but look good—the Godzilla illustrations are all black and white, and the military illustrations keep colors simple as well—the Saber jets sport red, white, and black, the Oxygen Destroyers have black and white, and the two Masers each have white, black, green, and red coloring. I only tried the chocolates from the Vs. Godzilla set so far (because the set started melting, as you can see in the picture), and the chocolate is creamy and sweet. I was a little concerned that I would be able to taste the coloring used, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    With the Shodai Goji set, I played around a little with the pieces to mix them up, as seen below. Presumably even a three year old would be able to solve this puzzle extremely easily, and the chocolate melts easily, so most little kids would probably just end up eating the pieces instead of putting together the puzzle. Still, to make it a bit harder, you could also rotate the pieces instead of just mixing them up.

    An image of what happens to Godzilla when he gets hit by the Oxygen Destroyer.

    An image of what happens to Godzilla when he gets hit by the Oxygen Destroyer.

    Again, while the chocolate itself is all the same with nothing inside, the packaging and the designs on the individual chocolates make these sets extremely fun. And who wouldn’t want to eat the Oxygen Destroyer? For monster fans, you can also do a bit of role-play as you eat the airplanes and Maser Tanks. While maybe you can’t play with these as easily as you could with the Mini Chocolate Godzillas and Godzilla Can, still it’s pretty fun.

    Godzilla Valentine's Day: Chocolate Godzilla Illustration Block

    Kaiju Kuisine // March 25, 2018
  • Have you ever wanted to taste Godzilla’s spines as they light up with energy, flash, and burn against the smoldering ruins of Tokyo? Have you ever thought that Godzilla’s light-up backplates were kinda-sorta like the dinner bell or the “open for business” sign at a restaurant—and you just wanted to get a taste of the flashing sign as well? I can’t speak for authenticity, folks, but your prayers (and your unorthodox stomach) have been answered with the release of the Chocolate Mini Godzilla (チョコレート ミニゴジラ) three and nine packs from Hunter Confectionary Company. (maybe… Space Hunter?)

    The three pack will run you ¥600 yen and is the second-cheapest Godzilla-themed Valentine’s Day chocolate I bought at the store. The nine pack is, comparatively speaking, a steal at ¥1400 yen.

    The three-pack, for the cheapskate Godzilla lover—or maybe the one on a diet.
    The three-pack, for the cheapskate Godzilla lover—or maybe the one on a diet.

    First, let’s discuss the fancy-pants packaging—which, let’s face it, is probably the reason for most of the cost here given how little chocolate you are actually getting. Each box, both the three-pack and the nine-pack, are a shiny silver color with a military-pattern background and four-toed Godzilla footprints stomping all over them, plus “Godzilla” written in the classic cracked-rock raised font. (The silver I am assuming in this case probably indicates “money” more than anything.) The boxes are also wrapped in choco-brown ribbons with Heisei Godzillas and “Godzilla Chocolate” written in gold repeatedly, reminding you again and again that your loved one shelled out lots of extra cash to feed your nerdy appetite much more than your physical one.

    The nine-pack, perhaps specifically designed for Godzilla fans who also love baseball—one for each team member.
    The nine-pack, perhaps specifically designed for Godzilla fans who also love baseball—one for each team member.

    Because, gee whiz, my G-fan friends, these choco-chomps are itty bitty! One six hundred yen box of three mini Godzillas offers you, the consumer, very little to consume. Still, they are called “mini” for a reason (and not because they look like Minilla—cuz they don’t, pardner). Let’s take a gander.

    This little ‘zilla cried wee, wee, wee, wee all the way down your gullet.
    This little ‘zilla cried wee, wee, wee, wee all the way down your gullet.

    The size of the choco-chomps is actually quite nice and fits the term “bite-size” so long as your muzzle ain’t as huge-mungous as Godzilla’s. And the sculpt is surprisingly detailed for being so small. Unlike the larger choco Godzilla in the Godzilla Milk Chocolate bar, this one has a more suit-accurate neck length, actual fingers, and even two feet, even while maintaining a sort of “super-deformed” aesthetic! Sure, the Godzilla Milk Chocolate bar Godzilla may be bigger, but in some ways this one is just more impressive in execution because even at this size you can see some skin texturing and a Goji-head that effectively mimics the familiar lumpy facial features of some of the Showa Goji schnozzes. Also in a novel twist, the backplates are colored with three varieties—yellow, blue, and pink. While perhaps blue is the most movie-accurate, I like to imagine that the different colors indicate the flashing of the plates right before Godzilla spits nuclear death on his unsuspecting prey. (So far none of the Godzilla chocolate figures feature actual atomic rays bursting from their toothy maws—probably because the chocolate would melt.)

    Don’t worry, even with the three-pack you get all three color varieties.
    Don’t worry, even with the three-pack you get all three color varieties…

    A further touch of fun: the interior of the boxes showcase the monster minis with color-coded skylines—blue, yellow, and pink—as if the sky itself were flashing with the color of the monsters’ backplates. (Though unfortunately the actual Mini Godzillas are not organized in the boxes by backplate color.)

    But you only get all three skylines if you buy the nine-pack, you cheapskate!
    …But you only get all three skylines if you buy the nine-pack, you cheapskate!

    When I saw the triple colors, I assumed that each color would have a different flavor as well—and that is where the flavor of flashing backplates finally comes to play. I figured that the blue one might be something like blueberry or maybe soda flavor, the yellow might be lemon or banana, and the pink might be peach or human flesh. However, with the first Godzilla I grabbed (I think it was the pink one), I unthinkingly popped the whole monster in my mouth and munched away—and frankly didn’t notice any particular fruity or fleshy flavor. Just mildly sweet milk chocolate goodness. I adopted a new strategy for the blue backplates, nibbling delicately with my overgrown incisors… and was rewarded with the blossoming flavor of—well, chocolate, I guess. I quick glance at the ingredients on the back lists nothing about fruity flavoring, neither natural flavors, nor unnatural flavors, nor genetically engineered flavors to combine with deceased loved ones. They all three tasted the same, no matter how fastidiously I tried to nibble.

    Still, with the three different colors, I wondered if it might be possible to do a kind of stop-motion animation so that it looks like Godzilla is revving up his nuclear breath. How do you think that might look?

    I guess nobody buys Godzilla chocolate for the innovative taste experience so much as the presentation, and the presentation with the Mini Godzilla Chocolates is impressive, colorful, creative, and executed well. Just bear in mind that you are mostly paying for that presentation and not the volume of the actual chocolate and you should be fine!

    Kaiju Kuisine // March 21, 2018
  • I thought I should start off the reviews with one of the more unassuming-looking V-Day treats—the Godzilla Milk Chocolate from Stock Company Forusha, which—at least from the outside—just looks like an oversized Hershey bar (perhaps a… Godzilla-sized Hershey bar?). The bar, which cost 1080 yen by the way, looks rather big indeed—but then you open the thing and realize that Godzilla already took a big bite for himself and stomped all over your chocolate. And the chocolate bar itself is WAY, way smaller than the box.

    Godzilla Valentine's Day: Godzilla Milk Chocolate BarIf you look at the receipt I got from the Godzilla Store, this bar of chocolate is called the “Destroyed by Godzilla Slab of Chocolate,” and that is pretty accurate. I really love the design of the chocolate bar itself, even if it comes across as a bit of a rip-off. The general design of the bar follows the familiar rectangular breakable sections design of the classic Hershey’s bar, but this time with a large portion either smashed or bitten away. A chocolate version of Godzilla himself stands amongst the rubble, silhouetted in the middle of the smashed chocolate “city,” and there are even Godzilla footprints in the chocolate sections leading up to where the monster king is standing. The perspective doesn’t quite work, but the design is still brilliant.

    As for Godzilla himself, he sports some pretty great details, from the textured skin to the triple rows of plates and even some teeth and his ear can be seen. The monster does not appear to have much of a neck (perhaps shortened so as to make the bar sturdier), and his arm just sort of ends in a nob, but I think he looks pretty good. If you look carefully at his spines, you can see that they are kind of irregular as well, and given the prominent ears, my guess is that this is supposed to be Shodai-Goji, or the original Godzilla from the first film designed by Wasuke Abe.

    The actual chocolate, with the rosy red of romance behind.

    The actual chocolate, with the rosy red of romance behind.

    As for the chocolate itself, well, I ate the whole thing in preparation for this review… and I am NOT going to do that with the other chocolates, as my stomach Is not happy with me! I guess it was just too much choco for one afternoon. At any rate, the chocolate is pretty decent milk chocolate and definitely reminded me (again) of a Hershey’s bar. Basically, the bar did not differentiate itself in any way for me—it’s not extremely creamy or bitter or waxy or wacky, there are no nuts, no strange ingredients. Just a good, solid bar of chocolate that happens to be Godzilla-themed. (I wish they had made it dark chocolate, though).

    Check out how big this sucker is!

    Check out how big this sucker is!

    While the chocolate itself may not be anything particularly special, and the volume of chocolate is not really, err, monster-sized, the chocolate is still good and the design of the bar is clever and should make any Godzilla fan happy. I especially appreciate that, after you open the box and remove the bar of chocolate, you will see the red background (which looks like it’s just there because red is a classic Valentine’s Day color) is actually the color of an ominous city skyline with searchlights shining out for any sign of the giant monster’s approach. If you interpret the background to mean that Godzilla has already stomped the city and the red sky is a reflection of rampant fires and destruction, then it’s actually kind of creepy. But maybe the red sky is actually, uhh, the color of love as Godzilla, acting like a giant radioactive lizard Cupid, brings couples across Japan closer. If you interpret it that way, then it’s actually pretty sweet—which is just what Godzilla chocolate should be. (Heck, I don’t want to eat radioactive chocolate. No thanks.)

    One of the footprints was kind of ruined by air bubbles.

    One of the footprints was kind of ruined by air bubbles.

    Tokyo, the city of love!

    Tokyo, the city of love!

    Kaiju Kuisine // February 21, 2018