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  • Continuity within Godzilla films has been inconsistent, to say the least. The Showa series barely paid heed to it, while the Heisei series was very different from its predecessor. Each film during the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s worked off the previous entries for tight continuity in the series. When Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) was first announced it was explained that the movie would be part of a whole new series. One that was not connected with the Heisei or Showa series, and the film would pioneer a new series of films radically different from the two previous ones. So was born the Millennium (or Mireniamu) series: a series of films in which each movie was not forced to work off the previous entries. So this article examines the Godzilla Millennium series continuity, including how it developed and what, sometimes, little continuity actually does exist in these movies.

    The Millennium Series and Continuity

    At first, producer Shogo Tomiyama was planning for three stand alone films. From these three movies Toho would decide which to dedicate a series about. This entire plan, however, was aborted after a meager box office showing by Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) stumbled out of the gates, becoming a box office flop. It was then discussed that the 2001 Godzilla film might mark the closure of what would have been a short lived series.

    Thankfully, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) was a box office success. This saved the franchise, and allowed for Masaaki Tezuka‘s “Kiryu Saga” and what is being called the last Godzilla film for a decade: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).

    The Millennium films are not entirely stand alone, though. They often have a connection with at least one other Toho film. Below is a run down on the continuity seen in each of the six Godzilla films of the Millennium series.

     

    1999 – Godzilla 2000: Millennium

    The only true stand alone film, makes no reference to any Godzilla film before it.

     

    2000 – Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

    References an altered Godzilla (1954), in which Godzilla is not killed by the Oxygen Destroyer.

     

    2001 – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

    Stresses the point that Godzilla has not attacked since 1954 and makes numerous references to Godzilla (1954), like the Oxygen Destroyer. The film also jokingly refers to GODZILLA (1998) in some suggestive dialogue. This occurs during a scene where it’s mentioned that a monster attacked New York a few years ago. In the scene, a solider asks a colleague if the monster was Godzilla. This sparks the famous line about being what America claims, but the Japanese scientists never confirmed it.

     

    2002 – Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

    Makes reference to a slightly altered Godzilla (1954), in which the bone fragments of Godzilla survive the Oxygen Destroyer. Also Mothra (1961), and The War of the Gargantuas (1966) are mentioned as well.

     

    2003 – Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

    Breaking the mold from the other Godzilla films in the Millennium series, is a direct sequel to the previous year’s Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. As expected, the film references its predecessor greatly, along with Godzilla (1954) and Mothra (1961). In fact, actor Hiroshi Koizumi returns to reprise his role from Mothra as Doctor Shin’ichi Chujo. The film also references Space Amoeba (1970) with Kamoebas, who is stated as being a mutated variety of snapping turtle. He is mentioned as first appearing on Selgio Island, the island that Space Amoeba takes place on, 34 years earlier and having attacked in the mid-1980’s.

    Books have been released, however, which state that the “Kiryu saga” actually extends far beyond what is hinted at in the two movies…

    In the 2002 book Godzilla X Mechagodzilla: Super Complete Works, there is a list of kaiju who are part of the same timeline as Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). This part of the book is pictured to the left.

    Another book, called Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS Fantastic Collection, took it a step further by including a timeline of when the kaiju attacked. It also mentioned three monsters left off the material released in 2002: Frankenstein, the Giant Sea Snake and King Kong (whose absence in 2002 is understandable as books around this time avoided showing pictures of him or his mechanical double likely for murky copyright reasons).

    The timeline of events leading up to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) is as follows:

    1954 – Godzilla appears
    1956 – Rodan and the Meganulon appear
    1958 – Varan appears
    1961 – Mothra appears
    1962 – Maguma appears
    1963 – Manda appears
    1964 – The Dogora appear
    1965 – Baragon, Frankenstein and the Giant Octopus appear
    1966 – Sanda and Gaira appear
    1967 – King Kong, Gorosaurus and the Giant Sea Snake appear
    1970 – Gezora, Ganimes and Kamoebas appear
    1987 – Kamoebas appears

    Each year that a monster appears corresponds to a movie released that year which features the same kaiju, with the exception of Kamoebas’ attack in 1987. However, this doesn’t necessarily state that each of those films is part of the “Kiryu saga” continuity. An easily spotted example of this is the 1962 film Gorath, which featured Maguma, as the movie takes place in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The film also showcased the destruction of the Moon, which is clearly seen in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002).

    If the list is taken literal, then Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965) might have occurred, except with the alternate ending in which Frankenstein battles the Giant Octopus. Also, the Giant Octopus is absent from 1966, meaning an altered The War of the Gargantuas (1966) might have taken place in which the opening bout between Gaira and the Giant Octopus didn’t occur. In 1967, King Kong, Gorosaurus and the Giant Sea Snake appear, three kaiju who starred in the 1967 film King Kong Escapes. However, Mechani-kong is absent from the list, meaning either he never appeared or that the list simply left off the mechanical kaiju, as Kiryu isn’t mentioned in 2002 or 2003 in the timeline.

    So feasibly, the following films might be in the Kiryu saga continuity: Godzilla (1954), Rodan (1956), Varan (1958), Mothra (1961), Atragon (1963), Dogora (1964), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967) and Space Amoeba (1970).

     

    2004 – Godzilla: Final Wars

    Celebrating Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, this production is a complete stand alone film in a continuity sense.

    That said, the movie has a wealth of references to prior Toho films, including the collapsed star Gorath from the 1962 movie Gorath, the Xilien from the 1965 film Invasion of Astro-Monster and the Gotengo from the 1963 film Atragon.

    The production also includes stock footage to represent past kaiju attacks. However, given that Godzilla is locked away in ice and some of these were Godzilla films, it’s assumed that none are in the same continuity. The movies used as stock footage are: Varan (1958), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), Space Amoeba (1970), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000).

    This article was first published on July 23rd, 2002.

    General // July 19, 2005
  • Once considered a chief rival of Toho, Daiei rode high in the middle of the 20th century before hitting hard times toward the end of the century. This blog covers the fall of Daiei Studios and how the company’s major properties, such as Zatoichi and Gamera, ended up at times on Toho’s doorstep.

    The “Golden Age of Japanese Cinema,” a glorious period from the 1950’s through the 1960’s when Japanese studio output was substantial and attendance sizes were even larger. By 1953, roughly the start of the “Golden Age,” Japanese cinema was ruled big six film studios: Nikkatsu, Shochiku, Daiei, Toei, Shintoho, and Toho.

    It’s from this period that numerous Japanese franchises were born, including Toho’s Godzilla and Daiei’s Zatoichi. Despite a good run in the early 1960’s for many of the film studios, the “Golden Age of Japanese Cinema” was already starting to show signs of weakening. Shintoho, a company comprised of ex-Toho employees in 1947 who literally called themselves “the New Toho,” filed for bankruptcy in 1961. The invasion of television in Japan was starting to show its effect on the top studios of the period.

    During the 1960’s, half of Japan’s theaters closed as audience sizes started to dwindle. By the late 60’s even Toho’s flagship franchise, Godzilla, was showing signs of slowing down, and Toho themselves announced that the series would end after one final “hurrah” with Destroy All Monsters (1968), which ended up being a huge success and the series continued. By 1969, audience sizes at theaters were down to 1/3 what they were during their peak in 1958. The cause was home entertainment, as televisions found their way into nearly every home in the country.

    Surviving in the 1970’s would prove a challenge to many of the large studios, as people were forgoing the theater experience in favor of the television programming of the time. Some of the studios were hit hard, such as Nikkatsu who went on to distribute “soft core” porn (pink eiga) in the 1970’s to stay afloat. However, arguably none were hit harder than Daiei. In 1971 Daiei filed for bankruptcy and several projects were shelved forever, including Gamera vs. Garasharp. The company eventually reorganized; however, Daiei would never reacquire its distribution wing.

    Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

    This period would take its toll on two of Daiei’s leading franchises: Zatoichi and Gamera. Despite Daiei’s collapse in 1971, the Zatoichi series continued as Katsu Productions, Zatoichi actor Katsu Shintaro’s Production Company, joined with Toho to produce three Zatoichi films: Zatoichi at Large (1972), Zatoichi in Desperation (1972), and Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973). The alliance between Katsu Productions and Toho proved successful; as they went on to produce other series together include the Razor and Lone Wolf and Cub films. This new found friendship bore even more “fruit” for Toho though, as a deal with Katsu Productions landed them the distribution rights to the three previous Zatoichi films that they had produced with Daiei: Zatoichi the Outlaw(1967), Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970) and Zatoichi at the Fire Festival (1970). Despite Daiei’s reformation, Toho has managed to retain the ownership to these three films and continues to do so to this day. In 1989, Katsu Productions would go it alone with their next Zatoichi film, simply called Zatoichi. For this they found distribution from Shochiku and was the last Zatoichi film to feature Katsu Shintaro before his death in 1997.

    The Gamera series, with the exception of an unsuccessful re-launch with Super Monster in the early 1980’s, was shelved after Daiei’s collapse in the early 1970’s, as Daiei’s output continued to shrink. In 1995, upcoming director Shusuke Kaneko would give the series a proper rebirth with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995). The film was produced by Daiei, but distribution was handled by, the once rival company, Toho who had since become an entertainment giant and has managed a stranglehold on the theatrical market in the country, as Toho owns most of the theater houses in Japan. The film was a success and two sequels, again under director Shusuke Kaneko, would be created: Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999), both of which would be produced by Daiei and distributed by Toho.

    Sale to Kadokawa

    In July of 2002, Daiei would finally be bought out by the Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Company. Kadokawa stated that they will take over production and distribution of Daiei films under the name Kadokawa-Daiei Pictures. Kadokawa has worked with Toho in the past, with such efforts as Virus (1980) and the Ring (or Ringu) series which were produced by Kadokawa but distributed by Toho. The two media giants also had a joint production with the highly successful Onmyoji in 2001. Whether or not Kadokawa will handle the distribution of their films has yet to be seen, though, as their 2004 movie One Missed Call (2004) would go on to be distributed by Toho.

    This article was first published on January 28th, 2000.

    General // April 5, 2004
  • This page features the archived log of reports given while Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee had its initial release pending. This tracks the original release of the game on the Nintendo Gamecube.

    December 16, 2002
    The Japanese version of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, titled Godzilla: Giant Monster Fray (ゴジラ怪獣大乱闘), has shipped and is now available at Japanese retailers.

    Also, to follow up on the previous report, the Heisei Mechagodzilla can’t be unlocked in the Japanese version of the game, and is instead replaced by Kiryu.

     

    December 6, 2002
    Source:
     http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ngc/software/gzdj
    The Japanese version of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, titled Godzilla: Giant Monster Fray, will feature the Millennium Mechagodzilla (aka Kiryu) in place of the Heisei one featured in the US version. No word if the Heisei one can be unlocked in it, more info as it becomes available.

     

    November 2, 2002
    Source: Nintendo Power
    Nintendo Power’s November issue, #162, has a pullout Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee poster in it along with five pages of strategy on the game. The magazine also reviews the game with a panel of four testers. For those curious, the game received a 4 star average, with one reviewer giving it 5 stars, two reviewers giving it 4 stars, and another two reviewers giving it 3.5 stars.

     

    September 28, 2002
    The following is a transcript of a e-mail response from Kirby Fong, the producer of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.

    Question: First, I haven’t seen any Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee commercials yet. Am I watching the wrong channels, or have they not aired? If it’s the latter, any idea when we can expect them?

    Kirby Fong: “The commercial spot is being filmed now and should start airing about the same time the game ships.”

    Question: I hear that the Super-X was removed. Is there a possibility that you can give any insight on the matter?

    Kirby Fong: “We couldn’t get the Super X to work the way we liked with the time we had.”

    So the Super-X has been cut, and we can expect the commercials to air in a little over two weeks.

     

    September 27, 2002
    Source:
     Nintendo Power
    Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee preview in Nintendo Power! That’s the October issue, #161. The game also ranks number 5 on the players choice. The November issue of Nintendo Power is going to feature a full review of the game.

     

    September 12, 2002
    The following is a transcript of a e-mail response from Kirby Fong, the producer of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.

    Question: EB now has Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee listed for the 15th. Are they “jumping the gun,” so to speak, by making this statement or has the date in fact been moved?

    Kirby Fong: “I was told the new shelf date was the 15th. So EB should be correct.”

    Sounds like we will all be getting G:DAMM a little earlier!

     

    August 22, 2002
    A demo for Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee will ship with Big Air Freestyle for the Nintendo Gamecube. The demo will be an older version of the game; in fact, it’s the demo from E3, so quite a lot has changed since then.

    The demo is 2 player only, meaning one will need two controllers to play. The game with the demo will ship around 9/10/02, depending on one’s location. So one can get the demo about a month and a half before Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee comes out.

    If you want to purchase Big Air Freestyle, be sure to check out Amazon and purchase a copy.


    August 2, 2002

    Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee has been sent to Nintendo for testing! Kirby Fong has just informed me of the news, so things look real good for the game meeting its October release.

     

    July 21, 2002
    Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee trailer now online at IGN. The trailer gives many their first look at Anguirus in the game, as well as the opening cinematic.

     

    June 29, 2002
    Source:
     Nintendo Power
    Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee makes players choice! Godzilla ranks in at number 6 in the players choice section of Nintendo Power (Issue 158, July 2002). The players choice is a list of most wanted, or current released favorites. On top of the list is Meteroid Prime, some other games ahead of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee were Super Mario Sunshine and Resident Evil.

     

    Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (Gamecube) - News Roundup

    May 29, 2002
    The following is a transcript of a e-mail response from Kirby Fong, the producer of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.

    Question: I was wondering if you could reveal any of the other monster’s special attacks in the game (L + R), besides Gigan’s teleport and Megalon’s burrow?

    Kirby Fong: “We’re currently working on moves for the other monsters, but not all will have an L+R move. This does not mean that they are weaker or not as fun, they just don’t need them. A good example would be Godzilla, he does not have an L+R move, yet he is still very powerful and effective. Gigan and Megalon was an experiment and I think it worked well for them. We’ll have to see about the other monsters.”

    Question: Why did EGM list Rodan as a summonable way back when the first screens on this game where being released? Was he at some point a summonable and was then changed to a playable character?

    Kirby Fong: “There was some confusion on this, but Rodan is playable.”

    Question: Gamepro keeps rambling on about Godzilla 1954 being in the game, yet there has been nothing to indicate that this is true. Where is Gamepro getting this info from?

    Kirby Fong: “There is no G’54. It was misinformation given to the press.”

    Question: You said in a interview with Gamepro that: “We have the classic Godzilla that people have known for more than 50 years, along with 13 of his friends.” Does that included both Godzillas and 13 others? Or is that 14 in total? Also, at this point, I assume that that is not 14 playable, but just 14 kaiju that make an appearance in the game. To date I have only discovered 13, unless you count the Super-X, are there indeed more?

    Kirby Fong: “There are 13 total monsters. We would love to have more, but there is this thing called development time and budget and it just doesn’t allow us to have more. We originally had plans for more, but the level of detail Pipeworks has put into their characters models takes time to make. We didn’t want to short change the game. I personally rather have a few well done characters then a lot of crappy ones. Pipeworks has done an awesome job with the character and overall game for that matter…”

    Question: Is this copyright for the game final?

    “Godzilla®- Destroy All Monsters Melee © 2002 Infogrames, Inc. a subsidiary of Infogrames Entertainment, S.A. Manufactured and marketed by Infogrames, Inc. New York, NY. All Rights Reserved. Godzilla®, the Godzilla® character, Anguirus™, Destoroyah™, Gigan™, Hedorah™, King Ghidorah™, Mechagodzilla™, Mecha-King Ghidorah™, Megalon™, Mothra™, Orga™, and the Rodan™ designs are trademarks of TOHO Co., Ltd. The Godzilla® character and design are copyrighted works of Toho Co., Ltd. All are used with permission. Godzilla® is a registered trademark of TOHO Co., Ltd. © 1998 Toho Co., Ltd. © 1998”

    Kirby Fong: “Nothing is final until the game is on the shelves. Remember this…”

    Question: Will King Ghidorah in the game be the one from the Showa series (’64-72), Heisei series (’91), Mothra series (’98) or Millennium series (’01)?

    Kirby Fong: “This Q is a bit difficult to answer. It’s not really from any particular series. We’ve worked with Toho and I think it’s sort of a hybrid character. You know the best features from the set. Wait and see…”

    Question: Will Rodan in the game be the one from Rodan (’56), Showa series (’64-72), or the Heisei series (’93)?

    Kirby Fong: “Same as above.”

    Question: Is the current look of the logo on the E3 poster going to remain unchanged? Many have complained that the uneven lettering in Godzilla (GoDZiLlA) gives the title a campy feel. Many already associate Godzilla with campiness, but this seems to go out of the way to stress this point. What are your feelings behind it?

    Kirby Fong: “The Logo was designed by our marketing team, I doubt it will change. I have no comment on the Logo.”

    Question: How do Anguirus and Rodan fit into the plot? Are they being controlled by the aliens like the rest of the kaiju?

    Kirby Fong: “Yes…and no….. ;-)”

    Question: It has been told that if enough damage is sustained to a area, the military will send out the Super-X. My question is, do they have any other familiar vehicles at there disposal in the game, like the Maser tanks?

    Kirby Fong: “Eh, maybe? ;-)”

    Question: Unlockables (like secret characters, levels, options, increasing level sizes that are given by completing certain objectives) go a long way to increasing the replayability of a game, in particular fighting games. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a lot of unlockables and 1 being a few, what would you rate Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee?

    Kirby Fong: “8, more if we have time.”

    Closing: Well thanks for your time. Also, I would like to thank you for finally giving us a Godzilla game worthy of the name, and that fans can be proud of.

    Kirby Fong: “Welcome and Thank you… -Kirby”

     

    May 29, 2002
    Cats out of the bag, all of the kaiju in the game have been discovered. Appears that Pipeworks decided to cut down the number of monsters that were going to be in the game so that they could concentrate on fine tuning the ones that are already in it (check the Characters section for the ones known to be featured).

     

    March 30, 2002
    Dan Duncalf, the President of Pipeworks, has agreed to answer another series of questions regarding the newly announced game. Below is a transcript of the e-mail responses.

    Question: According to a press release: “More than 14 monsters, each carefully modeled from the record-setting movie franchise, appear in the game.” This is in contradiction to your previous reply, is this referring to the number of playable kaiju in the game, or does it include the summonable monsters in the tally, like Rodan and Mothra?

    Dan Duncalf: “The ‘More than 14 Kajiu’ that are referred to, includes all references to monsters… playable, summonable, or other. And no, I won’t answer what is in the ‘other’ category.”

    Question: Are you a fan of Godzilla? If yes, were you a fan before or after work began on the game?

    Dan Duncalf: “As far as being a Godzilla Fan, Isn’t everybody? I mean, who doesn’t like a Giant Lizard that fights other evil monsters! Well, ok… So I wasn’t a starkraving G-Mad G-Fan attendee, but I had watched all the new GZ movies, and most of the old ones.”

    Question: After looking at various screen shots it seems that the action is similar to some of the scenes in seen in Masaaki Tezuka‘s Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2001) , which was fast paced and had “elaborate” scenes with Godzilla, most notably when he jumps and tackles Megaguirus. The screen shots I am referring to is when Godzilla uppercuts (Super) Mechagodzilla, and when he is slamming his head into the pavement.

    Dan Duncalf: “We weren’t trying to copy that scene when we did those screen grabs. And I can’t really comment on the pace of the game either. You will just have to wait until E3, when attendees will be able to play for themselves.”

    Closing: Thanks for your time.

    Dan Duncalf: “I’m sorry that I could not give you any more information, but it is being tightly controlled so various magazines can get their exclusives. Keep checking our web site, and I imagine we will build a mailing list to keep people who are very anxious informed about when, and where new information will be available. Best Regards, — Dan”

     

    March 26, 2002
    Dan Duncalf, the President of Pipeworks (the company developing the game), was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the newly announced game. Below is a transcript of the e-mail responses.

    Question: I have a few, brief, questions regarding Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, if you don’t mind. First off, why isn’t the game mentioned on your company’s site (http://www.pipeworks.com)?

    Dan Duncalf: “Because until Friday, its been a secret. We will put up a couple of links for it in about a week.”

    Question: Any chance of divulging which characters are set to be featured in the game? EGM ran an article confirming that Godzilla (2000), Mechagodzilla (Heisei), Gigan, Anguirus, Godzilla (Heisei) and King Ghidorah are in. Early buzz from message boards also suggests that Destoroyah will be featured as well. Furthermore, the copyright on Infogrames site says “copyright Sony and Toho 1998”, is this hinting at the inclusion of the US Godzilla? Any chance of clarifying?

    Dan Duncalf: “Not at this time.”

    Question: EGM has stated that there will be 5 secret characters in the game, while Infogrames has stated that the game will feature 14 characters. Does this mean 9 regular characters, with a total of 14? Or 14 regular characters, with a total of 19?

    Dan Duncalf: “14 total.”

    I would like to thank Dan Duncalf for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my series of questions.

     

    March 25, 2002
    Source:
     http://planetgamecube.com
    Infogrames’ press release surrounding the game has been released, revealing the game to the public for the first time.

    This article was first published on March 25, 2002.

    News // December 16, 2002