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  • How strong is Godzilla? He’s tens of thousands of tons of archosaurian might capable of devastating a megalopolis in a single night. Surely there isn’t a another character in fiction capable of surpassing, let alone matching the raw strength of Earth’s most recognizable radiation-spewing reptile…

    … or is there? As you’re probably already aware, discussions like the one about to follow are not uncommon. It seems as though people have an innate desire to stack the abilities of well-known personalities from different works against one another, but the real question is whether or not it can be done mathematically. The estimated magnitude of energy required for the strongest incarnation of a fictional character to perform their greatest feat is one possible method. Let’s give it a try!

    For the sake of ease, we won’t take into consideration a character’s ability to travel near, at, or greater than the speed of light, since it inevitably causes our estimates to approach, reach, or even exceed infinity! It’s much easier to handwave these speed achievements by declaring them the result of yet unknown solutions to general relativity. That being said, let’s start with our own home team mascot, Godzilla!

    Why doesn’t he do this more often?

    Possessing incredible strength and a thermonuclear heat ray, Godzilla’s noteworthy feats are the stuff of legend, and there are a select few that stand out from the rest.

    First, there’s GMK Godzilla’s “Mini-Nuke” ray. Using the delay between the flash and the bang, one can calculate that the schoolgoers who witness the mushroom cloud are only about 440 meters away from ground zero. Based on similarities to the low-yield Davy Crockett nuclear device [1], the energy released by GMK Goji’s ray might be somewhere in the range of 42 GJ (4.2 x 1010 joules).

    For those of you who have yet to see Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), please be warned. The contents of this paragraph contain spoilers. In this film, Showa Godzilla’s unique method of flight may be an entire three orders of magnitude greater than GMK Goji’s “Mini-Nuke” ray! The calculations took a while for this one and required not only careful observation of Godzilla’s flight footage, but also an assortment of physics formulae. Admittedly, the accuracy of these findings might be off, so if you think you have a better estimate, please feel free to send me an email (my address is located on the Site Staff page). With that disclaimer out of the way, one possible result that seems to fit the data available is 40 TJ (4.0 x 1013 joules) for the full 33 second flight [2][3][4][5][6].

    Would Wilhelm II approve?

    Finally, there’s GFW Godzilla’s Hyper Spiral Ray. Based on the curvature of the planet at the altitude to which Keizer Ghidorah is propelled, one possible estimate of the energy behind this attack is a whopping 315 TJ (3.15 x 1014 joules) [2]!

    Before we continue on to the competition, there are a few theoretical self-destruct scenarios worth exploring, as well. Taking into account Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) dialogue that implies an exploding Godzilla would be at least equal to the world’s combined nuclear arsenal, a conservative estimate of his explosive potential could hover around 21 EJ (2.1 x 1019 joules) [7]. Later on, the dialogue touches upon the possibility of a Godzilla meltdown, resulting in China Syndrome. Assuming the China Syndrome phenomenon is real in the Godzilla universe and that the reaction would terminate at the Earth’s core, we’re looking at a rough minimum of 393 YJ (3.93 x 1026 joules) [8].

    So, are there any fictional characters who can boast energies of an even greater magnitude? Let’s find out.

    Godzilla vs. Other Fiction Heavy Weights


    The joys of gastrointestinal regularity.

    The Hulk:

    Who knew gamma rays could unlock such an exceedingly deep well of strength? Although the Hulk has no known upper limit as of 2013 [9], we can still try to measure his greatest feat thus far. In Marvel Comics Presents #52, the Hulk destroys an “asteroid” approximately twice the size of Earth with a single punch [10]. Assuming a similar density to planet Earth and also assuming that “twice the size” means “twice the radius”, 1.8 billion YJ (1.8 x 1033 joules) seems to be the minimum amount of energy required [8].

    I'm just Saiyan, is all.

    I’m just Saiyan, is all.

    Goku:

    Despite possessing the ability to destroy planets, Goku has never actually directly taken one down. This makes an energy calculation a bit more difficult; nevertheless, we can get a little creative here by using Muten Roshi as a guide. The weakest character to wipe out a significant celestial body in the Dragon Ball universe, Roshi’s “power level” probably didn’t exceed 139 when he destroyed the (first) moon. Because the Kamehameha Wave uses latent ki energy, we can deduce that 139 is the minimum known “power level” required to blow up Earth’s natural satellite. Since 2.77 million YJ (2.77 x 1030 joules) of energy is enough to eliminate the moon [8]and since Goku’s highest confirmed “power level” is 150,000,000 according to Daizenshuu 7 [11], we can conclude with a fair amount of confidence that Goku is capable of unleashing at least 2.99 trillion YJ (2.99 x 1036 joules) of energy. This figure would only be valid as of the Frieza Saga, so it likely increased by leaps and bounds in subsequent story arcs.


    Perhaps the “S” should stand for “Sneezing”.
    Superman:

    Achoo! In Action Comics #273, it is heavily implied that Superman destroys an uninhabited stellar system… by sneezing. Assuming similar composition to our own solar system, we can roughly calculate that Superman is capable of unleashing 212 sextillion YJ (2.12 x 1047 joules) of energy in one astronomical expulsion of mucous [12]! It’s comforting to know that he’s conscientious enough to take it to an uninhabited realm of space, isn’t it?

    So Godzilla isn’t necessarily the strongest; so what? Big deal! Am I right? That doesn’t make a 50 meter tall archosaur with a thermonuclear heat ray any less awesome, does it?

    Didn’t think so.


    Sources:


    [1] Declassified US Nuclear Test Film #32
    [2] http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/potential-energy-d_1218.html
    [3] http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/kinetic-energy-d_944.html
    [4] http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/lift-drag-fluid-flow-d_1657.html
    [5] http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/accelaration-gravity-d_340.html
    [6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrust#Thrust_to_power

    [7] The Sydney Morning Herald – Feb 6, 1983
    [8] http://io9.com/5876473/how-much-energy-would-the-death-star-require-to-destroy-earth
    [9] http://www.incrediblehulkonline.com/powersabilities.html
    [10] http://www.incrediblehulkonline.com/asteroidstrength.html
    [11] Daizenshuu 7: Dragon Ball Encyclopedia – February 25, 1996
    [12] http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2001-11/1004909251.As.r.html 

    General // June 1, 2013
  • Every couple years or so around March, I’ve come to expect a text message from Anthony Romero. It normally says something along the following lines: “Any ideas for April Fools’ Day?” Needless to say, the gears start turning in my head. Normally, I receive the text during the light of day, when I still have my wits about me. This year, I awoke in the middle of the night to find the message. Because my brain was still in that foggy dusk between dreams and reality, half of my mind was trying to work out an interesting April 1st gag while the other half was seeking a return to slumberland.

    Anguirus takes advantage of the adjacent tub.

    It was in this midst of this twilight that a very bizarre idea came to me. What if there was a menu option on the left side of the front page that simply said “Jacuzzi”? Curious websurfers who dared to click on this mysterious link would be presented with an animated loop of Godzilla, enjoying a relaxing respite in an inviting hot tub.

    I must admit that I was on the fence about suggesting this bizarre idea. After all, it’s far more of a novelty than what people have come to anticipate. Toho Kingdom’s usual pranks are a bit more sophisticated. I ultimately decided to take the leap and submit the suggestion the following day. To my surprise, the plan was given the go! Anthony jested that this unusual idea had the potential to throw off April 1st speculators.

    The animation itself was rather easy to put together. For the foamy water, I recycled the roaring sea footage from The Return of Destoroyah The Pooh. The lava sound effect from The Birth of Jet Jaguar was sped up to provide the background noise. As for the star of the animation, I cropped the image of Godzilla (’91) in the Monster Bios. It was indeed an afternoon well spent.

    If you right click and zoom in on the thermometer during the animation, you’ll notice that the temperature is in the recommended range (in degrees Celsius), as suggested by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    In a bid to go for gold and attempt to convince some of our users that this was a legitimate new section, I asked Anthony if he would be willing to write the update on the front page. I figured it would be too obvious if I authored it, since veterans of Toho Kingdom’s previous April Fools’ Days would be quick to remember 2009’s flash intro prank. Anthony agreed, and his “we’re just getting our feet wet” wording was certainly the wrapping that this joke needed. A hilarious companion piece to the animation, his update even included the notorious March 32nd date in accordance with tradition.

    When all was said and done, we had a rather friendly joke that really didn’t leave people hanging. If you’d like to see the full animation, be sure to click here.

    General // April 7, 2013
  • Minor changes, slight edits, hacked, butchered… left alone. Toho films in America have run the gamut, from being released untouched with English subtitles, to almost full rewrites. This article looks to focus on the Toho movies altered in America and relate the changes made to the films by Western distributors when brought over to the US.

    Gigantis the Fire Monster

    When creating the US version for the second Godzilla film, Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Warner Bros. chose not to use the Godzilla name. Believing an original film would sell better than a sequel, Warner Bros. re-branded the film as Gigantis, the Fire Monster.  This meant passing off Godzilla as a new monster: “Gigantis”.

    Along with the renaming of the starring monster, Warner Bros. made several changes to their Japanese acquisition. Several such instances are detailed below:

    Altered

    • At the inn in Hokkaido, the staff of the Kyo Canning Company is partying on the second floor, while Hidemi, Tsukioka and his “old friends” are enjoying themselves at their own party on the first floor. At the Kyo party, Koji Kobayashi (Minoru Chiaki, better known for his work in Akira Kurosawa films) is drinking with Mr. Yamaji and Mr. Shibeki. Hearing how Tsukioka and his friends are enjoying themselves, Kobayashi excuses himself, and joins Tsukioka at the downstairs party. An entire subplot, which had Kobayashi looking for his future wife through a matchmaker, was all but removed. All that remains of this subplot is the final conclusion where Hidemi discovers a picture of a young woman in Kobayashi’s wallet.
    • Awaiting the arrival of the military, Kobayashi flies his observation plane over snow-covered Shinko Island, keeping a careful watch on Godzilla’s movements. Noticing that  Godzilla is moving towards the ocean, Kobayashi curses “You bastard!” and files over Godzilla, diverting the monster’s attention from the shore.
    • Watching the futile effects of their bomb attack on Godzilla, Tsukioka shouts in frustration to Chief Pilot Tajima (Yoshio Tsuchiya) “Aw, come on!” Tajima orders into his radio:  “Throw some rocket bombs at him!” Tajima continues: “Our first wave of bombs have immobilized him for now. Return to base to restock so we can finish Godzilla!”
    • Godzilla’s roar was altered to sound more like Anguirus.
    • Masaru Sato‘s music score was mostly replaced with stock music from films like Kronos and Project Moonbase.

    Added

    • Opening prologue

      The film’s opening was completely altered. Toho’s famous logo, the opening sequence playing against a cloud bank and backed by Sato’s main theme were completely scrapped. Replacing this is a prologue consisting of newsreel footage of nuclear bomb tests and missile launches, combined with a few shots of poor American SPFX stock footage. Accompanying the prologue is an ominous narration warning about the dangers of nuclear tests to the Earth. “This then, is the story of the price of progress to a little nation of people,” concludes the narrator. This sequence was in obvious imitation of DCA’s prologue for Rodan (1956) that came out two years before.

    • The film’s “new” title and opening credits are played against destruction footage (sans monsters) taken from the movie itself.
    • After the credit sequence, newsreel footage was inserted, showing Japanese farmers at work. Finally, the actual movie begins, with a shot of the shadow of an observation plane on the sea.
    • Dimetrodon from Unknown Island

      For the conference scene, an entirely new sequence was added where Professor Yamane (Takashi Shimura, reprising his role from Godzilla) talks about the history of the world. This includes the cooling and warming of the planet, and the birth of fire monsters and other dinosaur creatures from ancient history. The sequence is aided by stock footage from educational films and earlier U.S. films such as Unknown Island and One Million BC, which were used for the dinosaurs featured before the scenes from the first Godzilla movie.

    • Newsreel footage was used liberally throughout the film. Clips of crowd scenes, scenes of Japanese commerce, military maneuvers, submarine footage and shots of mass prayer were all inserted in to the original film.
    • Newspaper headline

      American war propaganda footage was also thrown into the film. One shot, purporting to show Japan’s military mobilization against “Gigantis,” is an animated graph of the Imperial Japanese government’s plans for conquest; the Imperial “sun ray” flag is clearly visible.

    • Shots of Japanese newspapers reporting the onslaught of Godzilla were snipped and replaced with newspapers in English covering the movements of “Gigantis.”
    • In a possible attempt to hold the interest of American audiences, the later part of the film features newspapers with headlines reporting that “Gigantis May Strike U.S.” and “America Offers Help”.
    • New ending title card

      The finale of the film was also changed. In the Japanese version, pilot Shoichi Tsukioka (Hiroshi Koizumi) tearfully thanks the fallen Koji Kobayashi (Minoru Chiaki), then the scene cuts to a matte painting of icy Shinko Island were the Japanese military have entombed Godzilla then fades to black with the Japanese character for “Owari” (“The End”). In the American version, the matte painting is removed, and the finale is drawn out by use of an overhead shot of the island, actually a shot of Iwato Island from earlier in the movie, then newsreel war footage of mass prayer, then a shot of Tsukioka and Hidemi Yamaji (Setsuko Wakayama) standing on a rooftop (again, taken from a scene earlier in the movie). This concludes with a seaside sunset and the closing credits in English, all set to sentimental music.

     

    Deleted

    • The conference scene was trimmed slightly. A few lines from Professor Tadokoro (Masao Shimizo) were clipped, and a shot of Professor Yamane nodding in agreement was repeated within seconds. Some of Professor Yamane’s lines, concerning the hopelessness of fighting Godzilla, were removed. To bridge the gap, a freeze-framed shot of the police chief (Takeo Oikawa) was used against a voice-over of Professor Yamane explaining his theories.
    • Scenes at the Defense HQ of the military tracking Godzilla and Anguirus were trimmed.
    • The countryside scene of the evacuation of Osaka was also condensed.
    • After Godzilla and Anguirus have demolished Osaka, Kyo Canning Company president Koehi Yamaji (Yukio Kasama) and his VP Mr. Shibeki (Sonosuke Sawamura) visit the  charred remains of their factory. As Hidemi and her girl friend, the radio operator (Mayuri  Mokushi), shift through the rubble for the company’s records, they are joined by Tsukioka and Kobayashi. Some incidental banter about between Kobayashi, Tsukioka and Hidemi about the latter two’s upcoming wedding was snipped from this scene.
    • The final attack on Godzilla was trimmed slightly. This includes a deleted shot of Godzilla swatting a jet out of the sky.

    Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster

    Titled Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) for international export by Toho, the 1966 Godzilla film went to US television sometime in 1968, the title being changed to the much more marketable Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. For years, it was erroneously reported in American fan circles that this film was released by American-International TV. However, it has been firmly established that the releasing company was in fact Walter Reade-Sterling, who had released Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in 1965. Nevertheless, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster has the dubious distinction of being the first Godzilla film that did not receive a stateside theatrical release, but instead went straight to television.

    The movie is left nearly intact in terms of edits. The dubbing is quite good. Hal Linden, later to become famous as TV’s Barney Miller in the 1970’s, dubbed Akira Takarada‘s role, adding much to the character of the safe-cracker who’s really not such a bad guy once we get to know him. Peter Fernandez, famous for dubbing Speed Racer in the animated series of the same name, voiced Ruta.

    Altered

    • The start of the movie with Ryoto’s mother is shortened and starts with the narration “two months later”.
    • Red Bamboo Captain Ryuui’s name was changed to Yamoto.
    • A go-go style music number from High and Low (1963) used for the Fighter Jet scene is removed; there is no music during this scene in the US version.

    Added

    New ending title card
    • The title “Godzilla versus the Sea Monster” is flashed onto the screen (Oddly, the word “versus” is spelt out, something that had not been done before or since in a Godzilla film.) Only a few cords of Sato’s opening theme survived.
    • Right after the new title card, a scene is played of the Yalen during a storm with Ebirah attacking the ship. This scene appears 14 minutes into the Japanese version and is looped here. The sequence is meant to be a stand in, showing what happened to Yata’s boat that kicks off his disappearance. However, a major goof in the Americanization is that the name Yalen can be clearly seen on the side of the ship and the Yalen is seen peacefully docked some three minutes later in the American version as it’s not the boat involved in the earlier accident that ended up stranding Yata on Infant Island.
    • At the end of the movie, a new “The End” title card was created on a black screen.

    Deleted

    • Removed scene of Ryoto at the newspaper office

      Toho logo and opening credits, which include some very nice photography of the sun setting in the Pacific, helping to set the mood for the film.

    • A scene where Ryoto goes to the Maritime Safety office desperately trying to enlist help to find his brother Yata, presumed dead in a shipwreck in the South seas. The officers decline to help.
    • Follow up scene that has Ryoto at a newspaper office, with a reporter wanting to get rid of Ryoto after having second thoughts about his story. However, a different reporter thinks the story might be interesting and goes to meet the young man, only to find him gone… having ripped down and taken a poster in the lobby for a Go-go dance contest that has a boat as its grand prize.

     

    Godzilla 1985

    Known as Godzilla 1985 in America, The Return of Godzilla (1984) graced US screens by New World Cinema via a complete rewrite of the original film. With new scenes staring Raymond Burr, reprising his role as Steve Martin from the 1956 US version of Godzilla (1954), this version of the film is regarded by many fans to be one of the more altered Godzilla movies.

    Altered

    • Goro’s fight with the giant sea louse, Shockirus, is trimmed down. The US cut shows even less of the monster.
    • Shockirus has a different cry in the US version.
    • Hiroshi Okumura’s first name is changed to Kenny.
    • The scene where Naoko learns her brother is alive is longer in the Japanese version, with the US version cutting away after they meet. In the Japanese version, right after the reunion, Goro snaps pictures of them, which angers Naoko because she realizes he only helped her in order to get the scoop.
    • Godzilla’s attack on the nuclear power plant has added a cry from the geese and rearranged the music.
    • When Godzilla first appears at the nuclear power plant, he is spotted by a guard played by actor Koji Ishizaka. In the American version, dialogue is added with the guard saying “No, no…” before screaming and being cut off to imply that Godzilla trampled him.
    • The meeting with the ambassadors originally takes places after Godzilla’s attack on the nuclear power plant. In the American version, this scene takes place before and the attack and the intent of the meeting is never explained in the new context.
    • The meeting between the Japanese prime minister and the Russian and American ambassadors is more brief. In particular, much of the American ambassador’s footage is removed, such as him agreeing with the Russian ambassador.
    • The scene in which the vagabond helps himself to the food in a deserted restaurant, due to Godzilla’s arrival in Tokyo, was edited. In this scene, the distant sound of Godzilla’s footsteps was added to the US version.
    • The most controversial change is the scene where the Russian freighter officer Colonel Kashirin attempts to stop the launch of a nuclear weapon. New World edited the scene, and added a brief shot of Kashirin pressing the launch button, so that now Kashirin deliberately launches the nuclear weapon. In the original version, Kashirin was actually risking his life to try and stop the nuclear weapon from launching, before being electrocuted to death by a surge.
    • In the Japanese version, Dr. Hayashida’s test of his device goes smoothly, successfully halting Godzilla until the Hyper Laser Cannons begin firing at the monster which inadvertently puts their lives in danger. In the US cut, the device causes Godzilla to go berserk and rush toward the building, with the Hyper Laser Cannons saving their lives instead.
    • Scenes of a crowd fleeing Godzilla that appeared later in the Japanese print, after Godzilla’s resurrection, were moved to an earlier point in the movie before the Super-X was launched.
    • The Super-X fight was re-arranged: in the Japanese version, Godzilla fires his atomic ray at the Super-X after being hit with cadmium missiles, not before.
    • Both of the Japanese songs, “Good-bye Sweetheart Godzilla” by Yasuko Sawaguchi and “Godzilla Theme of Love” by the Star Sisters, are removed.

    Added

    • Steve Martin’s Dragon Idol

      Part of Christopher Young’s score from Def-Con 4 is added in several scenes (including Godzilla’s attack on the Soviet submarine, the scene where the SDF armored division arrives in Tokyo Bay, and Okumura’s near-death experience during the helicopter extraction in Tokyo). Click here for a full rundown.

    • After Godzilla first roars and the Yahata Maru crew falls down, a scene is inserted with Steve Martin uncovering his eyes in a dark room while at his desk. The scene then pans over to a small dragon idol/sculpture in the room. The sculpture, and its significance, is never brought up again.
    • The military coming for Steve Martin’s assistance

      Following Godzilla’s attack on the nuclear power plant, a scene is added where a military officer goes to Steve Martin’s house to ask him to go to the pentagon to assist them. During the visit, the officer meets Steve’s grandson who is busy playing with some toys before he calls out to his grandfather.

    • A sequence is added where General Goodhoe asks Steve Martin about how they were able to kill Godzilla in 1956.
    • A lot of commentary is added, cutting back to the US base, to give the US actors a feeling of involvement during Godzilla’s raid in Tokyo.
    • After the Russian missile is launched, the Japanese government calls the US military for assistance with shooting it down. In the Japanese cut, the call is implied and their request fulfilled. In the US cut, the call is shown utilizing the US actors that were brought in, making this one of the few sequences that links up directly with the original events in the film.
    • The final scene with Steve Martin’s narration

      After Godzilla falls into Mount Mihara, a closing narration that is spoken by Steve Martin is heard:

      ”Nature has a way sometimes of reminding man of just how small he is. She occasionally throws up the terrible offspring of our pride and carelessness to remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake or a Godzilla. The reckless ambitions of man are often dwarfed by their dangerous consequences. For now, Godzilla, that strangely innocent and tragic monster, has gone to earth. Whether he returns or not or is never again seen by human eyes, the things he has taught us remain”.

    Deleted

    • All shots which employed a life-size replica of Godzilla’s foot (mostly seen near the end).
    • A shot of an American nuclear missile satellite in space (probably done in order to make America appear less aggressive).
    • Hayashada and Naoko making a wave generator.
    • Professor Hayashida showing Okumura photographs of Godzilla’s 1954 attack and later discussing the mutant sea louse with an aide at the police hospital.
    • Goro calling his editor from an island.
    • After the meeting with the ambassadors, a scene is removed in which the prime minister explains to his aides how he was able to reach a consensus with both sides.
    • A brief shot of the prime minister walking away from the conference table once the talks are concluded.
    • Several brief cues that play when the prime minister comes on screen.
    • A shot showing Godzilla reflected in the windows of the Yurakucho Mullion Building during the scene in which he attacks the Bullet Train.
    • After the nuclear missile is launched, a brief scene is shown with a Soviet official calling Japan to deliver the bad news. This scene was removed from the American cut.
    • Footage of police keeping back a crowd of people trying to gather around Godzilla after he is knocked out by the Super-X.

    Originally published on August 27th, 2012.

    General // March 15, 2013
  • Toho Kingdom has been around the block, make not mistake of that. It’s well over a decade old at this stage with several traditions and habits now well placed. One of the longest running, and most consistent, is an annual April Fools’ Day joke. These have ranged from planning to offer a Toho paid membership, under the guise that content could only be accessed this way, to last year’s very creative K.W.C. Match.

    The joke for April Fools’ Day 2012 was a little bit of a retread, I will admit, although taken to a new level. The concept was simply: to deck Toho Kingdom out from top to bottom with ads. The site is ad free as sort of a mantra, so the joke was meant to play on that angle. This had actually been done before back in 2003, nine years ago, with ads being placed all over the site’s design. The 2003 version only placed them on the front, as the site was much less scalable in its design… and can’t stress that enough. To do something like this on the old framework would have required manually editing page by page. However, this is no longer a hurdle and so the 2012’s version had them placed all through out the website.

    As in year’s past, though, the most fun from this year’s April Fools’ was to be found in the forums where reactions shifted from wondering where the joke was, to surprise, to finally a few saying they preferred the ad design. Sadly, due to a forum mishap, the thread is now gone. Thankfully, though, a Wayback Machine versions exists. Take a stroll down memory lane on what was said in the thread here.

    For those who might have missed it, below is a more compelte screenshot of the site with the ad design in place.

    General // April 2, 2012
  • Haruo Nakajima: the first man behind the Godzilla suit, Rodan suit, Gaira suit, extra in classic films such as Seven Samurai (1954), a part in Submersion of Japan (1973)… and all around partier. This video was filmed by Brad Thompson (Baradagi) who was with us (August Ragone, Jason Varney, Dave Chapple, Mr. Nakajima’s daughter, Sonoe, and myself) for the Monsterpalooza convention in April 2011.

    The convention lasted from April 8-10.

    Mr. Nakajima’s plane didn’t leave until April 12th, so we spent the day doing various photo ops, having lunch, and shopping (check out Mr. Nakajima’s cool blue hat!).  Around 3pm or so we hit a Starbucks in Burbank and had our drinks outside. Ke$sha’s “Tic Toc” song came on and Mr. Nakajima really liked the beat and, entertainer that he is, started dancing for a laugh (he succeeded!).

    So without further ado, the Haruo Nakajima dance:

    It’s a fun video and I hope you all enjoy it as a gift from Brad Thompson and myself this Christmas.

     

    About Monsterpalooza

    Monsterpalooza is a convention that started in 2008, originally in New Jersey. It moved to California, though, for its 2009 event and has been there ever since. The three day expos takes place at the Marriott Burbank. While the show does feature dealers and rare merchandise, it also looks to honor the special effects work that goes into horror, monster and other productions. The expo showcases both celebrities, like Haruo Nakajima, and also the creations of those in the FX industry to give the show a bit of a unique feel. This includes the impressive Abominable Snowman by Pat Magee that was on display at the 2011 festival this year. Not everything is monster related, though. For example, Jordu Schell’s incredible Peter Cushing bust was also present, honoring his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.

    For more information on the show, including where and when the next one will take place, be sure to visit http://www.monsterpalooza.com/.

    General // December 23, 2011
  • Comic book artist Matt Frank is a sellout…or his debut comic Godzilla Legends will be once this book hits store shelves that is. To compliment the normal comic review, found here, I’m once again doing another review with images from the publication, a Graphic Review of Godzilla: Legends #1, to give a better feel for what fans are in store for.

    With that, this is the comic Godzilla fans have been waiting for with its beautifully written, easy to follow story, lighthearted humor and brilliant artwork. The artwork is so good in  fact, that almost every panel of the comic is suitable to be its own work of art suitable for framing. The book is a welcome addition to the IDW Godzilla comic series after the excellent “Gangsters and Goliaths” mini-series and the lackluster “Kingdom of Monsters” which seems to meander to no end.

    Story: I’m just going to do a quick summary because I want everyone who reads this book to do it with the freshest mind possible. In this universe, the monsters are all very well known and all have an established history. The history of Anguirus for example is documented in a few panels, seen to the right, but pretty much gets to the core of the character. A scientist discovers that certain frequencies can call monsters while researching communicating with whales. He finds that each monster responds to very specific frequencies and is able to call Anguirus to fight the rampaging Destoroyah. The battle is very well done here and is very quickly paced with a satisfying ending.

    Artwork: Matt Frank’s artwork is very lively and colorful in this book. Destoroyah’s beam pops right off the page and the use of motion blur, seen below for Destoroyah dragging Anguirus, is very effective. As I stated in the intro, almost every panel is suitable for framing. The human characters are very well designed here. Each character looks their part very well. The real stars though, are the monsters. Anguirus and Destoroyah really come to life here and it’s amazing to see them drawn with such detail. It’s a nice touch that Matt Frank used the Showa era design for Anguirus as well.

    Hello Destoroyah, my name is Anguirus. I’m here to kick your ass.

    Hello Destoroyah, my name is Anguirus. I’m here to kick your ass.

    Cover(s): It was really cool to see both Bob Eggleton and Art Adams supply cover art for the debut of Godzilla Legends. Having both Eggleton and Frank doing cover art is a dream come true for the fandom but adding in Art Adams to the mix just pushes it over the top. Matt Frank’s art leans more toward the mysterious with Godzilla looming in the background over Destoroyah who himself towers over Anguirus. One of the strengths in Frank’s art has always been the use of lighting and it’s done very well here adding a sense of foreboding. Bob Eggleton’s cover features no Destoroyah while Anguirus is Showa era and Godzilla is from the Millennium era in this cover which is a nice contrast. The burning sky look is a compliment to Frank’s cover and is very well done by the legendary artist. Art Adam’s cover is simple yet effective. It doesn’t feature Destoroyah or Godzilla but rather the true star of the comic, Anguirus. The Showa design is here again but the cover is more straightforward than the other two. It’s a nice contrast.

    Now let’s get these artists into the “Kingdom of Monsters” series to add some much needed life to it, eh IDW?

    Conclusion: THIS is the perfect example of having talented hardcore fans working on a film series they know inside and out and love to death. It doesn’t seem to be “designed by a committee'” like the ” Kingdom of Monsters” series does and the true love and affection for the films shine through in the writing and the artwork. It was a VERY wise move on the part of IDW to involve Matt Frank and writer Jeff Prezenkowski to launch this series and include fan favorites Bob Eggleton and Art Adams to do the covers thus making the book an epic release.

    General // November 15, 2011
  • I’ve been writing stories for decades.

    “Wait a minute,” some of you must be thinking. “Tom, aren’t you 24-years-old?”

    As a matter of fact, yes. Yes I am.

    “So you’ve been writing since you were, like, four?”

    Hey, it’s not like I’ve been writing good stories for decades! Since my childhood, I’ve made some minor improvements in my spelling, grammar, and creativity. So I’m a little better than that one Godzilla comic I made back in pre-school. Even though I’ve gotten older, one thing remains the same, and that’s my undying love for kaiju eiga!

    As fans, we love our monsters. We especially love our giant monsters. And we especially love it when our giant monsters fight it out inside a miniaturized city. It’s one of the biggest reasons why we watch these movies. Oh sure, we’re also fans of the plot, the characters, the symbolism, and all that other fancy stuff that makes us sound like credible moviegoers. But let’s not kid ourselves. Monster action is what keeps us coming back for more!

    But not even the films can captivate us forever! We want more! We’re tired of seeing Godzilla defending Tokyo from King Ghidorah for hundredth time. Y’know what we’d really like to see? Godzilla versus Gamera! Rodan versus King Kong! I’d pay to see those fights on the big screen. Odds are we never will though. Bummer! Don’t worry! We have alternatives. You can always make a cool animated short. You could always to write a screenplay, maybe even pitch it to Toho if you have the right contacts. Hey, why not ask some artist to whip up a drawing? Matt Frank would be the right guy to ask. If you’re really desperate, why not start a discussion with other fans, and argue over what would really happen if these monsters fought each other to the death? All great ideas. Really, they’re all fun, innovative, and memorable.

    Oh, right! There is another alternative.

    Many years ago I founded the M.W.F. (Monster Wrestling Federation). It was a very popular attraction to my now extinct website. But like all great things, it had to end. But it’s legacy lived on when I started working for Toho Kingdom. I was tasked with breathing new life into what was formerly known as the T.M.W.F. (Toho Monster Wrestling Federation). But when I officially joined up, it had a different name…

    It’s called the K.W.C. (Kaiju War Chronicles). It’s part of this really cool, popular little website called Toho Kingdom. It’s about monsters expressing themselves in the best way they know how: fighting. They do this in stories written by the fans for the fans. We’ve been writing these stories for several years now.

    So imagine my surprise when Anthony Romero, the owner and founder of Toho Kingdom himself, offered me money for all of my hard work and dedication. Wait, what? That’s not what this is about? Then why the hell am I writing this?! Oh. Oh… OH! Oh come on! That’s what this is about?!

    Well, apparently I’m supposed to provide some backstory behind Toho Kingdom’s 2011 April Fools Event. Sorry about all that buildup. I’m sure you were expecting something epic. Blame the purple snake running this operation for ruining the moment. Anyway, I better get back to doing my job, the one I don’t get paid for…

    Every year we do something different for April Fools. There’s always a different theme. This year Anthony asked if I’d be interested in doing a KWC inspired prank. Now I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a parody story for years. But I lacked the motivation and inspiration to pull it off. Until now — err, more like two weeks before April Fools. That’s around the time Anthony asked if I’d be interested in doing this.

    Read the original April Fools Match:
    Match 200: Hostile Takeover

    That’s when it all fell into place.

    After exchanging ideas, I went to work. I had only a few rules to follow.

    Rule #1: Do NOT stop writing until the story is complete.

    Rule #2: Do NOT stop to fix spelling or grammar errors.

    Rule #3: Do NOT plan much. This must be as spontaneous as humanly possible.

    Rule #4: Bend SOME of these rules.

    I had a blast writing this. I really really did. My friends would tell you I’m a jokester at heart. I love making people laugh. One of my favorite ways to make people laugh is by poking fun at myself. Because I can totally take it. So I wanted to parody the very things I love most about this fandom.

    I love talking about kaiju. They’re fantastic characters. They are to humans what humans are to everything else. Tragic, terrifying, powerful, and larger than life. Yes, they usually star in campy films, and look fake as hell (there are a few exceptions). Whatever. I love these characters. Whether I’m discussing who’d win between Destoroyah and SpaceGodzilla or brainstorming why Godzilla is one of my favorite characters, I’m passionate through and through!

    Some would call my passion an obsession. They’re probably right. So instead of having a nervous breakdown while watching every Godzilla movie ever made — did I mention I’d be in my custom-made Jet Jaguar costume during this time? — and hack into Toho Kingdom out of grief, I poke fun at myself (and a great deal of others) to relax.

    Before writing for the K.W.C., I asked Anthony if I could use non-Toho beasties. He broke my heart by saying no. Oh well. Not a big deal! All was not lost! I’ll just include some cool cartoon kaiju… Oh, right. They weren’t allowed either. So I had to rely on sneaking them into our stories in the most subtlest ways. (Quickly, go read past matches in the vain hope of finding these fake easter eggs! I’ll wait.) So that’s one reason behind the inclusions of Evangelion, Cthulhu, Big O, and the Cloverfield Monster (just to name a few) in this year’s April Fools event. I also wanted to use ’em because I’m a fan of all those characters and thought they’d be perfect for the crazy storyline. I also wanted to shine the spotlight more on the ‘underdogs’ of the kaiju world: Gabara, Zilla, and Jet Jaguar. That didn’t happen quite the way I wanted. But it was fun making them super-powerful, regardless.

    I cannot forget another K.W.C. tradition. It’s one we’ve all become accustomed to. Need a hint? It’s the banners! My longtime friend and collaborator, Christian Salabert, started making the K.W.C. banners years ago. Since then we’ve recruited other photoshop artists: Goji girl and Varan58. They’ve proven how irreplaceable they are to the site time and time again. One in particular helped me make the April Fools banner (it IS tradition). While Goji girl will help shed more light on her involvement, I will say this: I asked her to make a really bad banner. Instead we got a hilariously awesome banner. That’s just a testament of her incredible skills.

    Before letting you go (because you can’t leave without me giving you permission), I’ll clue you in on the interesting format and writing style I implemented in the April Fools Match. Anyone familiar with screenwriting would recognize it. I’m a screenwriter myself. Several years ago, I wrote a very short Godzilla screenplay. It was so bad, it was really bad. By really bad, I mean worse than the K.W.C. matches Anthony wrote. So ever since then I’ve been very wary of doing a screenplay on kaiju. Because the failures of my past continue to haunt me even to this present day (I’m totally using this in a future story since it sounded gothic, ominous, and tragic). Almost every Godzilla fan has at one moment in time thought about writing and/or directing a feature length Godzilla film. We all secretly want to become Ascended Fanboys. So why not write like one? That’s really the gist of the plot: a Godzilla fan is writing a parody screenplay about a Godzilla fan writing a screenplay with him as the main character in the hopes of becoming famous.

    Thanks for reading and enjoy the show! It’s so totally becoming a film someday.

    [shameless advertising]

    On the Toho Kingdom forums, you’ve might’ve noticed how the KW.C. has its own subforum. It allows its readers to give us feedback, ideas, and fights they’d like to see (avoid telling us who should win though). We’ve had many memorable discussions. So you’re welcome to join us there. Maybe you’d be interested in writing for the KW.C. yourself? If so, go there now, and find out more information!

    [/shameless advertising]

    Goji Girl’s editorial commentary:

    “When I got the request to do this banner, I had to pick up my hanging jaw up off the keyboard. Who knew these guys could come up with something so preposterous, so silly, so unfathomable… I just HAD to take this up. This isn’t a request you get everyday. It also hit me, I could do whatever the hell I wanted. So I did: I started off with getting a work-of-art of a background (A blocky city – drawn by a child, no less). Then came the images, and they had to be state of the art! So I got all that together (If you look at it, you’ll notice that their all mostly crummy toys, incomplete images, and video game models. Hell, there’s one that I didn’t even bother clearing the background to), and I slapped ’em on in the most bizarre and random of positions my feeble little mind could muster. Then came the title, something I didn’t necessarily come up with it, but I got to pick that cheesy “Oreos” font (Betcha didn’t realize that!). And, huzzah! Twas done, and I sat in awe at the comical thing. It made no sense in the least – and I loved every second of it.”

    General // May 29, 2011
  • To compliment the normal comic review, found here, I’m doing another review with added graphics. So this is a graphic review of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #3 to help give a more in-depth review of the publication. In terms of issue #3 of the series, it has a slightly better way of telling a story this time around. It’s not great, but it’s still a vast improvement over the past two issues. Hopefully the writing will get better as the series progresses if some of the small subplots for the nonsensical and meaningless characters who add nothing to the story can be weeded out.

    Story

    Mysterious twin girls are introduced into a new school and one of them is promptly (and accidentally) hit with a soccer ball from a nearby game on the school yard. The girl’s solution is to use her special power to attack the offending player via an invisible monster. The child is left on the ground, freaked out and bleeding as the twins walk away. Meanwhile, Godzilla, Rodan, and Anguirus get their names pulled out of thin air by the series’ scientist as all three monsters continue to wreak havoc around the world. Well, except for Rodan. He’s only shown in one panel due to the writers not knowing how to spend their 22 pages per month. A Lady Gaga like character has a concert telling everyone that the monsters shouldn’t be harmed etc and in Texas, where Anguirus is rolling around, two lone Texans decide that since the military can’t do anything about him; it’s up to them, their rifle, and their pickup truck to take him out. Obviously, it doesn’t work.

    At the end of the story, the mysterious twins make their way onto a beach and through their telepathic powers, kill all the soldiers that are guarding a mysterious egg. The girls, using their powers, communicate with the egg and as it hatches, they name the creature inside Battra. After this, there’s a small surprise at the end which you should read for yourself. It’s pretty good.

    Cover(s)

    The Eric Powell cover here is nice and creepy yet it’s an odd pairing since the “Battra Twins ©” so far have nothing to do with Godzilla in this issue. Foreshadowing perhaps? The Jeff Zornow cover is rather perplexing seeing as how Rodan only appears in the comic in one panel and the monsters don’t even meet up to fight. The artwork here is rather “standard” and just gives me a “meh” reaction when I look it over. The most interesting cover is the Anguirus cover by Matt Frank. The monster has never been shown in such an epic shot before. The mix of yellow and brown combined with the excellent use of lighting really bring the character to life.

    Artwork

    Monsters look great; the girls look creepy with their pupil less eyes and sometimes wearing Long Ranger style like masks. Some of the movements look at little weird. For example, look at how high this kid’s leg is. I’ve never seen anyone defy their bone structure that much to kick a ball.

    Conclusion

    Well, the writing is getting a little better and it wasn’t the fiasco it was in the first issue. However, too much in the way of page space is wasted with temporary characters being introduced to make a statement about how dumb the writers think Texans are or to demonstrate how much the writers just hate kids. Although Battra is the first monster introduced that didn’t kill a child straight away, one child still gets some sort of punishment. That’s par for the course in this series I guess. Show a kid, make sure the audience knows the kid is a jerk either by nefarious actions or having the kid expose themselves to be twisted by hateful dialog, and then hurt/kill them. It’s gotten pretty old by now but I guess the writers have some issues with children and are using the comic to vent their frustrations.

    I would have liked to have known how the monsters got their names in this comic as they seem to have been pulled out of thin air. I know a lot of thought didn’t go into naming the monsters in the films, but this was the chance to tell the story of these monsters in a new light.

    All in all, it was a better comic than the last two issues and if the ending is a sign of things to come, it’s going to get good and monsters are going to FINALLY fight, although the buildup would be better is the story had one clear narrative rather than jumping all over the place. Hopefully from here on out, the series will tighten up and the temporary characters will be excised and the comic will have a cohesive story. Get that done; lay off with the kid killing/hurting fetish, get the monsters fighting, and you’ll have a really cool comic.

    General // May 24, 2011
  • To compliment the normal comic review, found here, I’m doing a graphic review of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1 from IDW Publishing, written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh with art from Phil Hester. This is a totally new take, with images to provide better examples for those interested in the comic. Below is my review in full, along with images to accompany some of the mentioned scenes.

    Graphic Review of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1

    Godzilla Killing the Kids

    Story: THIS is the biggest problem with the book. It’s tough to talk about the story where there hardly is one. Nameless characters are introduced and never seen again.

     

    The comic begins with trying to establish Godzilla as a “bad ass” but killing kids and stepping on old people doesn’t fit that description. A “bad ass” is someone who can stand up to a ton of punishment and keep on going. Killing the defenseless makes that character just a jerk. It would be one thing if it was just the kids or just the old person but two defenseless killings in a row made me feel a little uneasy.

    Godzilla being nuked

    Godzilla being nuked

    Godzilla’s attack is followed by a VERY brief response from the Japanese military who attack him with missiles for two pages and then just disappear. On the next page, nameless Japanese military characters convince the Prime Minister that while Godzilla is out at sea and away from people, that they should fire a nuke at him in an attempt to kill the King of the Monsters. It doesn’t succeed and ends up being the origin of how Godzilla got his nuclear breath. The biggest fault of the comic is that nothing really happens out side of Godzilla showing up and causing death and destruction.

    Artwork: Although Godzilla’s appearance changes quite a few times in the comic, the artwork is very clean and full of life. The full page shot of Godzilla being nuked is my favorite shot in the entire book. Very well done!

    In the comic, Godzilla seems to be a mix of his appearance from Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) with the scales more prevalent on the body and his appearance in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) with the solid white eyes. The eyes, in closeups do show a pupil which in the way it is drawn comes across as creepy as opposed to menacing and Godzilla’s design changes a few times throughout the comic. Possibly this is the style of the artist himself but one thing that comes across in the design is that this Godzilla is quite a force to be reckoned with. The charcoal grey with blue backplates makes Godzilla streamlined looking yet, to me, oddly mysterious.

    It was also a nice touch to see the “skreee-onk” (although this doesn’t happen much in the comic, as Godzilla doesn’t do a lot of roaring in this book) return for Godzilla’s roar, as it was previously used from the Dark Horse comics.

    A full page is dedicated to this guy who is never seen again

    A full page is dedicated to this guy who is never seen again

    Cover(s): Wow. Talk about boring. Although cover # 1 by Alex Ross has Godzilla destroying a city and using his nuclear breath, it’s too much of a “standard” image. Cover #2, the close up on the eye, makes one think of King Kong rather than Godzilla with the lack of scales around the eye and forhead. This is Godzilla’s first time on the comic book shelf in years he’s introduced with two bland covers.

    The third cover is a fold out with Godzilla on the front, King Ghidorah and Anguirus on the right page, and to the left, Mothra Larvae, Kumonga, and Rodan. Although Godzilla is the only monster in the book, it’s a beautiful piece of art with the exception of Godzilla’s odd worm-like tail and Anguirus’ mysteriously pained expression. Godzilla’s white eyes add ferocity for the character making him the clear standout in the piece and he seems to be modeled after the Trendmasters toy. The rest of the monsters seem to be the interpretations of artist Eric Powell.

    Probably the coolest thing about the launch of the comic is the promotion for the custom covers for the book. If a comic book store orders 500 copies of issue #1, the store gets to have a custom made cover of the store being crushed underneath Godzilla’s foot. Approximately 100 stores signed on for the promotion and it was a resounding success. It’s a mystery why no one has ever thought of this before but I’m glad Godzilla did it first.

    Conclusion: Godzilla’s first foray into comics in over 12 years could have and SHOULD have been a lot more impressive. There are quite a few missed opportunities to introduce characters and brand grandur to Godzilla. For example, rather than wasting an entire page of the book on the guy picking up the phone, Godzilla could have been shown making landfall in Tokyo with a dramatic buildup rather than just appearing.

    In summary, if this comic is to succeed, and be more than just pretty pictures of Godzilla with little to no characters and story, the writing is going to have to get a hell of a lot better REAL QUICK.

    General // March 29, 2011
  • Taking a cue from the show of nearly the same name, this Toho Busters article looks to address and debunk widespread misconceptions regarding Toho’s work and characters. It will not look to cover every incorrect belief, but rather focus on ones that are well published or are still addressed as fact today.

    King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) – Alternate Ending

    A widely published misconception primarily found in sources outside of what would be considered “the fandom” in the years before the internet had gained such dominance. The idea was that there were two endings for the 1962 movie King Kong vs. Godzilla: one that played in America where King Kong emerges from the water at the end and one that played in Japan where Godzilla emerges from the water at the end. Although there are many changes between the US and Japanese versions of the film, King Kong is the monster that emerges from the water at the end of both versions.

    Godzilla vs. the Devil (1978)

    One of the most famous “lost projects” is sadly one rooted in misconception. The concept first came to light back in the late 1970’s following a report by Ed Godziszewski in Japanese Giants #5. The movie was said to be a joint venture between Toho and UPA Productions. The script was to be American and the concept was stated to be given a budget of $4 million and a running time of 110 minutes. It was also stated that Godzilla was to face off against a variety of monsters that included a giant spider, a giant fish and a giant bird. The movie’s climax was to feature a brawl with Godzilla against Satan. It sounds too crazy to be true, and sadly was. The following year, in 1979, Japanese Giants #6 ran an additional report about a trip to Toho studios where producer Tomoyuki Tanaka denied the existence of the project. As fate would have it, the denial ended up drifting to obscurity while the previous issue’s report of the idea spread and spread. Beyond the internet, publications began to talk about the project as well, including 1998’s Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of “The Big G”. Toho Kingdom itself is guilty of this as well, as the concept was listed on the site for years. Regardless, the project was not something that Toho had officially considered. As an aside, the pictures above were created by artist Matt Frank for use by Toho Kingdom.

    Little Godzilla’s Underground Adventure (1995)

    This was proposed as a movie idea centering around the Little Godzilla character. According to the concept, special effects director Koichi Kawakita had become such a fan of Little Godzilla that he pushed for the monster to get his own feature. This idea was picked up and reported on in several publications, such as David Kalat’s A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series which was re-published in 2007. According to author Kalat, the idea was meant to be a made for television production that would be aimed at a young audience. However, late in 1995, director Takao Okawara was asked about the concept during an interview and if it was more than just a rumor, to which he denied it being considered. In reality, the rumor probably originated from the fact that Kawakita wasn’t a fan of the Baby Godzilla design and had moved for the redesign as Little Godzilla, which is true, and then the rumor mill took that to another level.

    General // February 11, 2011