Latest Blog - News Articles

  • 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
  • Perhaps sporting one of the less appetizing names in the big pile of sweets that I purchased, the Godzilla Can (literally ゴジラ CAN from Hunter Confections or ハンター製菓株式会社 if you prefer) conjures up images of canned meat or maybe Godzilla on the can, or maybe even a self-actualization chant for the Big G when he is feeling down—not so much chocolates and romance. (Well, maybe Zoey from I Want to Marry Godzilla and Have His Children might fantasize about married life with Godzilla and walking in on him while he is on the john, but it’s probably best not to go there.) While it is true that Godzilla is liable to kick lots of can, and Mechagodzilla might be called a Godzilla Can if you really stretch, the real Godzilla Can is actually a fairly impressive collection of chocolates that is just itching to be set up in delicious dioramas.

    So what is the real Godzilla Can (not to be confused with the canned Godzilla meat from a few years back) looks a lot like a particularly fat can of breath mints (come to think of it, breath mints might make a more natural fit for Godzilla’s image, given the monster’s well known halitosis problem). The image on the top of the can looks to be the silhouette of the Heisei Godzilla, though his tail looks too thin to my eye, and his jaw in profile at first made me think of Final Wars Goji, as well as the now-familiar “Godzilla Chocolate” text and “Godzilla Can” running in a circle around the edge. The bottom half of the can sports a kind of glittery silver camo design, perfect for military incursions into, say, a chrome jungle in the middle of a glitter storm.

    If you squint at the packaging just right, you can also imagine it's a UFO come to steal Godzilla away to Planet X!

    If you squint at the packaging just right, you can also imagine it’s a UFO come to steal Godzilla away to Planet X!

    What about the chocolates themselves? Inside, there are two layers of chocolates (so to speak). The first layer is Godzilla, using the same mold as the Mini Godzilla chocolates, just without the colored back ridges. At first I thought the entire “Godzilla Can” was just these chocolate Godzillas, but you can remove the plastic container and a white cushiony thingee (I had trouble with this at first, but persevere my friends) to reveal more chocolates underneath—five dark chocolate tanks and five white chocolate jets (kinda look like F-16s). Neither the tanks nor the jets are anywhere near as detailed as the Godzillas, which is at it should be. They all taste good—the milk chocolate mini Godzillas are delicious, the dark chocolate tanks are slightly bitter and harder than the Godzillas (and I love that—tanks should be hard!), and the white chocolate jets are pretty decent white chocolate (I am usually not much of a fan).

    Put these together with Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and some graham cracker skyscrapers, heat it over some nuclear fire, and you will have an amazing monster munchie!

    Put these together with Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and some graham cracker skyscrapers, heat it over some nuclear fire, and you will have an amazing monster munchie!

    Of course, having Godzillas, tanks, and jets, it is hard to resist putting them together and making dioramas, especially given that the Mini Godzillas box provides a red city background. I experimented a little with my choco war items and monsters and put together a very simple diorama, as seen below.

    But as I was trying to extract the chocolates from the can, I realized something else that was very special about the design of the packaging—it can serve double as a monster-themed fidget spinner! The plastic packaging materials sit in the can loosely enough that they are remarkably easy to spin—both the Mini Godzillas and the military hardware! I took some brief video demonstrations below:

    Just imagine this is Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) and this represents Godzilla flying through the air.

     

    The military is at a loss as to what to do to stop Godzilla! Okay, it doesn’t work very well.

     

    Anyway, the Godzilla Can set me back 1201 yen (weird price) and more than made up for it with the unexpected play possibilities. The chocolates themselves are fine, but add a little imagination and things really take off.

    Godzilla Valentine's Day: Godzilla Can

    Kaiju Kuisine // February 21, 2018
  • Many years ago, when I was in college, I did not participate nearly as much in the Godzilla fandom as I have come to do now that I am in my thirties (what the heck happened?). Back then I still was fond of Godzilla and Japanese films, anime, and video games, but I was not regularly writing about those topics (although I did write a long article for my school’s newspaper about the appreciation of old-school monster movies…). Perhaps the reason I did not express my love for all things monster-suited was because there simply weren’t enough, erm, monster-related Valentine’s Day goods available at the time. I remember my mom sending me a gift package that included  a set of Godzilla-themed Valentine’s Day cards, which I will include scans of below.

    These Valentine’s Day cards were cheaply made cardboard rectangles connected to one another, and featured a variety of Godzilla-monsters, a groan-worthy pun, and the same screaming girl put together to make mini mock monster movie posters. My favorite has to be the one featuring the 1970s Mechagodzilla because it has arguably the worst pun—“I like you mecha much!” I am not even sure what that means! Maybe, “I like you in a way in which I would build a robot version of you if you die” ala the unmade “Bride of Godzilla?” movie. At any rate, on the back of each card you could put your name and the name of your loved one and presumably attach the thing to a gift, though I think most of these were probably used by kids giving away small presents to classmates and the like rather than to serious love interests.

    Godzilla Valentine's Day Cards

    Godzilla might not really destroy cardboard buildings, but fans could express Godzilla love on cardboard V-day cards.

    In other words, as clever and fun as the designs might be, these little cardboard pieces were unworthy of true expressions of love. And lovers around the world have long been baffled about how to show their deep romantic affection for each other WHILE AT THE SAME TIME expressing their Godzilla fandom.

    Well, those desperate, loveless days have come to an end! Now, in 2018, just in time for Valentine’s Day, a whole line of Godzilla-themed chocolates have just been released—and this time I don’t mean Godzilla shilling for Snickers! These are hardcore Godzilla chocolates, with the most expensive box costing 2700 yen! That’s some giant mutated monster love right there, fellas!

    So you had better believe I went to the Godzilla Store recently in Shinjuku to investigate the goodies and buy me some monster chocolate (because unfortunately folks I knew, despite the cultural expectation in Japan for women to give the men chocolates on Valentine’s Day, if I just waited around I was getting nothing, mate). The Godzilla Store was decked out for V-day with several monster models on the shelves holding up heart-shaped balloons and a sort of diorama created out of fake monster chocolates and fake cookies and candies.

    The Valentine’s Day Godzilla Diorama, set up on what appear to be boxes of Godzilla mugs.

    The Valentine’s Day Godzilla Diorama, set up on what appear to be boxes of Godzilla mugs.

    They painted an Ani-Goji figure so that it looked like it was made of chocolate, and for some reason painted a Hedorah figure so that it looked like it was made from chocolate and… silver? I guess maybe they chose old Heddy because he already kinda looks like he is melting so it isn’t hard to think of him as made of fudge instead of sludge, though I am not sure about the silver/white arms and legs… maybe they are supposed to be milk to go with the chocolate?

    More proof that Godzilla does have a big heart.

    More proof that Godzilla does have a big heart.

    Anyway. I also liked the little theater exclusive Ani-Goji figures cavorting amongst the other assembled (fake) cookies, snacks, and cakes, especially the semi-transparent Godzilla Filius standing atop a blue cookie-sandwich, feet deep in the icing. I always get nervous taking pictures in stores, though, and I did not take a picture of the actual Godzilla chocolates themselves… because I bought one of each.

    Shouldn't King Ghidorah have THREE balloons instead of just one?

    Shouldn’t King Ghidorah have THREE balloons instead of just one?

    Gosh, I felt awkward carrying that big pile of chocolates to the counter where the miserable-looking female employee was standing. Luckily, a male cashier rang up my ludicrous pile of calories, each additional box added to the pile underscoring just how very, very single I am. What came next I wasn’t really expecting, though I should have—the cashier gave me nine “Godzilla Chocolate” tote bags for my goodies, assuming that I was going to be giving these monster goodies to… nine different lovers or something. (Given that, again, it is the women who are expected to be buying and giving out chocolates, it must have been all the more strange that some obnoxious male foreigner was doing the purchasing.) I… didn’t have the heart to tell him I was buying ALL these chocolates for myself in order to review them for a website. I felt awkward enough already. (For what it’s worth, I should have known that I was going to receive lots of bags with my goodies because whenever I buy multiple boxes of omiyage (souvenirs) for my students and coworkers, I get multiple gift bags with them—even though I usually end up not using any of the gift bags due to the fact that I just distribute individual goodies and not whole boxes to my kiddos and coworkers.)

    Nine “Godzilla Chocolate” gift bags

    Nine “Godzilla Chocolate” gift bags that I probably won’t be using. Wait a second, I bought TEN boxes of chocolates! You miscounted, mister!

    I noticed that other customers who were purchasing Godzilla chocolates were also receiving little construction paper hearts to go with their, uhh, single-box purchases. There were three different colors for the hearts, and each one with a printed Godzilla foot and the words “For you” in silver. The lady in front of me (with her kid) got the last of the third color, which was just a different shade of pink if I remember correctly. At first the cashier looked like he wasn’t going to offer me any hearts to go along with my tooth-rotting pile of chocolates, but when I glanced over at the hearts being handed out to the lady next to me, he (seemingly reluctantly) asked me which color I wanted. At the time, I was just thinking, “What the heck are these things for?” And I just figured he was going to give me one of them because I thought at the time that they were just a bonus item that comes with a purchase. So I said, “pink,” and he asked me if I wanted all of them in that color. I said “half,” and by golly, that’s what he got me—and this time he counted ten to match my choco-purchases.  I guess the idea is that you tie the heart onto the bag, and maybe write a message to your loved one. (The dark brown thingees that look like hairpins are actually twist-ties.)

    The American Valentine’s Day cards are cooler.

    The American Valentine’s Day cards are cooler.

    Anyway, as ridiculous as I feel now for buying all these chocolates, I can’t just let them go to waste (even though they will probably be going to my waist). So you can expect a bunch of Godzilla Valentine’s Day Chocolate reviews over the next few days. You’re welcome.

    Just look at that pile of chocolatey goodness!

    Just look at that pile of chocolatey goodness!

    Kaiju Kuisine // February 14, 2018
  • Over the years the question of what kaiju eat has often remained largely a mystery. Tsuburaya cut the scene of Godzilla eating a cow in the original Godzilla (1954), and he has been mostly left hungry ever since—except when he starts snarfing radiation or, in the case of the American Godzilla, piles of fish. However, it’s hard to imagine just the enormous amount of food necessary to feed these modern day behemoths—the film Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972) attempted an answer and showed that feeding the beasts can be quite the hassle! While some kaiju definitely eat people (Rodan originally munched people meat, for example, as did Gyaos), and some eat livestock (such as Baragon), by and large the question of what makes a good monster lunch has been left largely open to interpretation.

    Godzilla Print Cookie ReviewAfter some investigation, the answer appears to be “lots of snacks and sweets!” So let’s dive into another item: The Godzilla Cookie, or the Godzilla Print Cookie (ゴジラプリントクッキー). This is yet another confection from Sawarabi STK, which to me feels like perhaps the most quintessential Godzilla omiyage, the most balanced, kind of the obvious choice.

    Unlike, say, the Godzilla Yaki or the Godzilla Pie, the Godzilla Print Cookie comes in several varieties. The Godzilla Gaufrette also comes with several designs, but the Godzilla Cookie has more cookies (14 instead of 10), so you can share the cookie with more people. What’s more, the Godzilla Cookie has at least two different versions—the straight up Godzilla Cookie box and the special edition Shin Godzilla vs. Namja Town box. Namja Town is an amusement park created by Namco, and they did a big cross promotion with Godzilla Resurgence (2016) last year, including multiple Godzilla-themed foods and desserts as well as a pretty dang cool augmented reality game. I bought the Namja Town special edition cookies there back in September I believe, but let’s get back to the snacks.

    The actual flavor of the cookies is pretty simple and mild, sweet, with a nice buttery taste with a touch of almond. At first I thought they were kind of bland, but they have really grown on me as I have continued to eat them. Of course, these Goji-cookies are meant to be shared, and most lucky schlubs will only get a chance to snack on one or two. I greedily have too full boxes which I have shared with, err, no one so far. Does anyone want a Godzilla cookie?

    Speaking of the boxes, the original box and the special edition are pretty much identical, the only difference being an image of Namja Town mascot Najavu wearing a Godzilla costume in one corner of the special edition version (the text says “Namja Town Only! Shin Godzilla vs. Namja Town. Godzilla invades Namja Town!”). Other than the cosplaying cat, both boxes are the same, with a big shot of Godzilla from The Return of Godzilla (1984) on the cover (the same shot that appeared on the Godzilla Gaufrette) with text declaring, in effect, “Godzilla has landed/come ashore,” as well as “Godzilla Cookie” in shaky font.

    Godzilla Print Cookie Review

    As a side note, with the advent of Godzilla Resurgence (2016), many goods have been using three kanji to write out Godzilla’s name, instead of writing his name in katakana—so we get 呉爾羅 instead of ゴジラ. What I find interesting about this is that they use a different set of kanji for Godzilla here than they do in China–哥斯拉.

    Anyway, I have gotten off track again. I forgot to mention the coolest part of the Godzilla Print Cookie box—the pop up Godzilla 1984 inside! Both boxes feature a flap top that you can open to reveal a huge foldout Godzilla, a black and white image of G84 growling and lifting a menacing paw! For G-fans like me, it makes for a great addition to an already pretty sweet (yuk yuk) box of goodies.

    Godzilla Print Cookie Review

    The cookies have designs, too—they ain’t called print cookies for nothing! The normal box has four different designs with Godzilla feet, the name Godzilla, and silhouettes of Godzilla in various combinations. Some of the same designs could also be found on the Neapolitan wafers in the Godzilla Gaufrette box. These cookies are seen at the top of the review.

    The Namja Town special edition cookies are somewhat more interesting. There are three designs—one celebrating the 20th anniversary of Namja Town with a G-force logo, and two with Namja Town mascots dressed as Godzilla and Kiryu. This is pretty cute stuff, and if you dig a little to find out more about the Namja cast of cats, you will find there was a reason they chose these particular characters to don the scales or metal plates of their respective kaiju counterparts. Najavu, who is dressed as Godzilla, is the main character, the “hero” if you will, of the Namja Town mythos (yes, there is a back story). Najavu is a calico cat who is fun loving, likes reading humorous Japanese poetry, and has a thing for Najami, the heroine kitty cat. The Kiryu-cosplaying Mojavu, on the other hand, is the mischievous villain, leader of the MojaMoja Gang, who is always trying to defeat Najavu. (Mojavu also has a pet cat named Ootama—a cat who owns a cat for a pet? I would say it’s because Mojavu is the villain, but honestly Hello Kitty has her own pet cat in the unrelated Sanrio universe, so…) At any rate, given that some versions of Godzilla are fairly feline in their design anyway, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine cats donning Godzilla outfits and duking it out.

    At least, I don’t think it is.

    Look, do you like sugar cookies? Do you like Godzilla? Then basically these cookies are for you. I think the cookies are pretty delicious, and their designs are great fun, especially the cats dressing up as Godzilla characters—if only they had had more of them! I would have been really thrilled to see, say, King Caesar or Gabara as cats, or, to go really weird instead of really obvious, how about cat Destoroyah? Catnip Biollante? The possibilities just go on and on!

    Godzilla Print Cookie Review

    Kaiju Kuisine // February 25, 2017
  • Japanese has a number of borrowed words from other languages, just like English does. Unlike English, however, Japanese usually marks foreign words by writing them in katakana (with the most notable exception being loan words from Chinese). Thus we end up with the Godzilla Gaufrette (ゴジラゴーフレット), “gaufrette” coming from French. The English word is Neapolitan wafer, but “Godzilla Neapolitan wafer” sounds much less cool. The actual confection comes from Sawarabi STK, which also made the Godzilla Pie.

    Godzilla Gaufrette ReviewLike the Godzilla Pie, though, the Godzilla Neapolitan wafer doesn’t look much like the traditional Neapolitan wafer, which usually comes in a sort of waffle-patterned rectangular wafer with several layers of wafer and cream. The Godzilla version consists of two circular wafers with some tasty cream slathered in between—something like a

    Of all the Godzilla snacks I bought and shared with my friend, the Neapolitan wafer was the favorite, and I also quite liked the taste as well. It’s a sort of uncomplicated but delicious sweet concoction, fragile and easily crunched, but satisfying.

    The box is less elaborate than the one for the Godzilla Pie, but still pretty awesome—“Godzilla Gaufrette” is written with ravaged letters fit for a G-poster, and the 1984 Godzilla is seen lurking on the side, along with famous landmarks in Japan such as the Tokyo Tower and Mt. Fuji, as well as “Godzilla comes on land” written in kanji. The lid shows another shot of The Return of Godzilla (1984) version of the King of the Monsters looking grumpy, and the whole box is a striking hexagonal shape.

    Overall, the Godzilla Gaufrette is one of my favorites of the Godzilla snacks I have tried so far. It’s one of the biggest G-snacks, and has some of the best flavor, as well as cool designs (though the designs were also used in the Godzilla Cookies). If you have a chance to try this one (and the wafers aren’t already well past their expiration date), the Godzilla Gaufrette makes for an easy recommendation.

    Godzilla Gaufrette Review

    Godzilla Gaufrette Review

    Kaiju Kuisine // February 12, 2017
  • When I picture a Godzilla pie, I… well, to be honest, I have never pictured a Godzilla pie, but were I to engage in the mental exercise now, the picture I would conjure up would be something big and round and right out of the oven. If we are talking 2016 Goji, my image would tend towards a black crust with gaps in between with cherry or strawberry innards representing the glowing nuclear

    Actually, a Godzilla Pie (ゴジラパイ) does indeed exist, from a company called Sawarabi STK (I think), and it looks nothing like my American-informed expectations would anticipate. That’s because “pie” in Japanese does not have the same semantic domain as it does in America. Whereas we of the red, white, and blue picture UFO shaped baked goodies with (usually) hot fruity goodness and maybe a side of ice cream, in Japan, a pie can basically mean something more like “pastry”.

    Thus we get this Godzilla pie that is kind of shaped like an elongated brown heart if you squint at it right. I am inclined to just call it a cookie in my native tongue. Still, if the connection to the English word “pie” seems thin to the average English speaker, then the connection to Godzilla may only be somewhat more obvious. The top cover of the box features a close-up of Godzilla’s black lumpy skin (though the texture looks more similar to the Heisei Godzilla design than Shin Goji). I suppose the individual chocolate-flavoured pies are supposed to look like sections of keloid-scarred dinosaur skin-flesh. Can I just say “toothsome”?

    Godzilla Pie (ゴジラパイ) Review

    So how about the taste? The pastry itself is fairly dry, with a flaky texture, and a sort of melted sugar coating on the crust (each individual pie appears to have been cut from a loaf). The cookies are not overly sweet and, to my Americanized sugar-loving tongue, they come across as being somewhat bland. That perceived blandness probably stems from the fact that Japanese tend to prefer less saccharin overload in their desserts. Probably for the best if your main concern is health, though.

    Godzilla Pie (ゴジラパイ) ReviewOne more note about the box, which is basically a kind of bucket. The sides of the circular bucket are printed with a lenticular image of Godzilla and some jets screaming through the air, as well as a big “Godzilla” text in the background. If you turn the bucket in your hand, the jets zoom and Godzilla moves forward and blasts some blue nuclear flame. It’s pretty sweet (sweeter than the pastry itself? Sorry, couldn’t resist!).

    Anyway, I would say the Pie has the second-coolest packaging of the Godzilla treats I have eaten so far, only behind the Godzilla vs. Evangelion Ramen snacks. The Godzilla Arare Crackers runs a close third, though.

    The Godzilla Pie, like the Godzilla Limited-Edition Yaki, is a kind of omiyage (souvenir) treat. Omiyage, as I mentioned in my previous review, are usually small, often individually-wrapped snacks that fulfil a kind of social role in Japan. When you go on a trip, you must bring back omiyage to share with those you are close to back home. It’s like sharing the wealth in a sense. I like to imagine these Godzilla-themed omiyage for sale on Monster Island. That would be a trip I would like to take. Still, while I enjoyed the G-Pies, they would probably not be my first purchase were I to visit Minilla’s home turf.

    As a side note, this is not the only Godzilla pie out there. In fact, this is not even the only Godzilla pie that was released in 2016. Another pastry, called a Godzilla Honey Pie, was also sold. This other pie, also sometimes referred to as a “Godzilla Home Pie” (ゴジラホームパイ), is from Tsubaki and easy to tell apart from this pastry as instead of the attractive red packaging, pictured below, it uses the King of the Monsters from The Return of Godzilla (1984) in front of a blue, cloudy background.

    Godzilla Pie Review

    Kaiju Kuisine // January 7, 2017