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  • It’s been a few years since I gave the Godzilla fandom an exclusive Christmas present on behalf of myself and Toho Kingdom (the last one being the soundtrack to Godzilla Unleashed!). This time I’m back with a piece of Showa history: a Nick Adams letter.

    That’s right: what we have here is a handwritten letter by Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) actor Nick Adams. To those who grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the actor is well remembered in the States for his role as Johnny Yuma in the Rebel and being close friends with James Dean and Elvis Presley. Dated June 11, 1965, Adams talks in the letter about Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965) that he was filming at the time in Japan. It should be noted that in the letter he calls the movie “Frankenstein Meets the Giant Devil Fish”. This was the pre-release US title of the movie before the name “Frankenstein Conquers the World” was used instead.

    I took these photos myself back on Oct 12, 2013 and the letter is a part of the Brad Thompson collection. He has been kind enough to allow me to share the photos with Godzilla fans worldwide! Merry Christmas everyone!

       

     

    Nick Adams and Toho

    The actor starred in a trio of Toho films, joining the company as they were looking to increase the box office clout of their films overseas. His first was the Frankenstein starer, which is the subject of the letter above. His second happened that same year, as he headlined the 1965 Godzilla movie, sometimes referred to as Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. The final Toho film to star the actor happened a few years later, for 1967’s The Killing Bottle. This movie is part of the International Secret Police series, of which the most famous, or infamous, is Key of Keys (1965). The reason for its infamy comes from Woody Allen’s adapting it as What’s Up, Tiger Lily? in 1966. Despite this, Toho wasn’t shy about crafting another entry in the series, as Nick Adams was able to round out his tenure at Toho on the 1967 film.

    General // December 23, 2013
  • In the late 1960’s the Japanese film industry was in decline. The “Golden Age of Japanese Cinema” had now passed and Toho, like other studios, was struggling to produce a plan for success in the wake of many theaters in the country closing and the advent of television, an occurrence that bankrupt competitor Daiei a few years later.

    Looking at other studios, Toho adopted a plan by copying Toei’s “Manga Festival”. Aimed at children, the “Manga Festival” was a 1-3 times a year occurrence that packaged a lot of cartoons together, giving the customer a lot of value with the opportunity for an almost all-day activity. Taking this model, Toho adapted it, replacing the cartoon focus and instead centering it on their most popular character: Godzilla and the kaiju genre.

    Launching the Toho Champion Festival

    In 1969, the Toho Champion Festival (東宝チャンピオンまつり, also known as the Toho Champion Matsuri) was born. The company had effectively upped the anti, including a new, full length Godzilla film with All Monsters Attack (1969) alongside a new comedy set in outer space, Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure (1969), and topped it off with an Anime on the popular Star of the Giants series: Star of the Giants: Go Hyuma! (1969). The Champion Festival was an immediate hit and Toho adopted the three times a year approach of the “Manga Festival”, selecting Spring, Summer and Winter as their platforms to feature programming when children would be on break from school.

    To fill up the schedule, since Toho couldn’t afford the resources to produce three headlining kaiju films a year, they started re-releasing their classic library. The first of these, and most controversial, was King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) in 1970. To appeal to children and fit better in the program, the longer films were edited down. The problem is, at least for their first attempt, Toho edited the original negative master to produce the “Champion Festival” version. Although the ramifications couldn’t have been known at the time, they created a dilemma decades later when the company went to release King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) on home video and lacked an unedited source to use, having to resort to prints in subpar quality to fill in the edited segments. This is a dilemma that has persisted even today, more than 40 years after the original editing was done.

    Despite later day ramifications, the re-release strategy was a hit. During the “Champion Festival”, the company would release or re-release all of their Showa Godzilla films except Godzilla (1954) and Godzilla Raids Again (1955). All of them were edited down, and this went for the non-Godzilla films as well such as King Kong Escapes (1967). Some of the films were given new titles that emphasized the Godzilla connection, for example Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)’s Japanese title of Great Monster War became Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla.

     

    TV and the festival’s decline

    Oddly enough, to help fill the schedule as the years went on, Toho started picking up the distribution rights for TV episodes. This added characters like Ultraman and Mirror Man to the mix, who had TV episodes given a theatrical release alongside Godzilla films. While this might seem like an odd strategy, given the point of the “Champion Festival” was to combat television programming from keeping people away from the theaters, it paid off as Toho created 35mm prints that showed the programs up on the big screen and in color, which when compared to the small, black and white screens that most people owned at the time made this appealing enough when coupled with a theatrical film to bring in fans of the original show.

    Sadly, by 1974 the “Champion Festival” format had started to show signs of slowing down. That year the “Summer” session was cut and the “Winter” session tried something new, attempting to appeal to both children and adults with the triple feature Latitude Zero (1969), Mothra (1961) and the documentary Burning Glory: Shigeo Nagashima, Uniform Number 3 (1974). By 1975, the Festival was just run in the Spring.

    In 1976, Toho shook things up by teaming with Disney to make Walt Disney’s Peter Pan the headlining movie of the “Champion Festival” that year alongside other Disney shorts. This marked the only time in the festival’s run that a kaiju film wasn’t played and also the only time that movies from outside of Japan were included. In 1977 Toho re-released King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) again, being the only film to be included twice in the festival, but attendance was down to almost half what it was back in 1970 when it was first featured. 1978 marked the final chapter in the “Champion Festival”, with a re-release of The Mysterians (1957).

    With a nine year run, the “Champion Festival” became well remembered for an entire generation and is still capitalized upon today. The “Champion Festival” edits have all been re-released on Laserdisc and DVD in Japan, while VAP commemorated the festival with their Toho SFX Champion Festival soundtrack set in 2001.

     

    Festival programming

    Below is a list of all the films and shorts included in Champion Festival, grouped together as they were for their original release. The festivals would run for set periods of time. The duration of play would vary, for example Space Amoeba (1970) ran for August 1st through August 13th (although some theaters likely kept playing it after this period), and sometimes advertised start dates would conflict with the actual start date, such as the 1973 re-release of Son of Godzilla (1967) which started on August 1st but was marketed for July 28th.

    Some films and shorts are missing and will be added at a later date.

    Winter 1969 (December 10th)
    All Monsters Attack
    Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure
    Star of the Giants: Go Hyuma!

    Spring 1970 (March 21st)
    King Kong vs. Godzilla (Edited Reissue)
    Star of the Giants: Major League Ball
    Attack No. 1
    The Kindly Lion

    Summer 1970 (August 1st)
    Space Amoeba
    Star of the Giants: Fateful Showdown

    Winter 1970 (December 19th)
    Mothra vs. Godzilla (Edited Reissue)


    Spring 1971 (March 17th)
    Invasion of Astro-Monster (Edited Reissue as Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla)


    – 

    Summer 1971 (July 24th)
    Godzilla vs. Hedorah



    Winter 1971 (December 12th)
    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (Edited Reissue as Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: The Greatest Battle on Earth)
    Return of Ultraman: The Terror of the Waterspout Monsters


    Spring 1972 (March 12th)
    Godzilla vs. Gigan
    Mirror Man
    Return of Ultraman: Jiro Rides a Monster
    – 


    Summer 1972 (July 22nd)
    Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Edited Reissue)

    Mirror Man: Dinosaur Aroza Reanimated

    Winter 1972 (December 17th)
    Destroy All Monsters (Edited Reissue as Godzilla: The Grand Blitz Operation)
    Daigoro vs. Goliath
    Panda! Go Panda!

    Spring 1973 (March 17th)
    Godzilla vs. Megalon
    Prominent Youth!
    Panda! Go Panda!: The Rainy Day Circus

    Summer 1973 (August 1st)
    Son of Godzilla (Edited Reissue)




    Winter 1973 (December 20th)
    King Kong Escapes (Edited Reissue)




    Spring 1974 (March 21st)
    Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

    – 



    Winter 1974 (December 14th)
    Latitude Zero (Edited Reissue)
    Mothra (Edited Reissue)
    Burning Glory: Shigeo Nagashima, Uniform Number 3

    1975 (March 15th)
    Terror of Mechagodzilla

    – 



    1976 (March 13th)
    Walt Disney’s Peter Pan
    Donald Duck: Lion Around
    Donald Duck: Dragon Around

    Mickey’s Circus
    Donald and Goofy: No Sail 


    1977 (March 19th)
    King Kong vs. Godzilla (Edited Reissue)

    – 


    1978 (March 18th)
    The Mysterians (Edited Reissue)

    Lupin the 3rd: The Venice Super Express



    General // December 15, 2013
  • For years, fans have used their Godzilla series figures expand their imagination using home video cameras still cameras to create brilliant pieces of art in the form of short films and photography. These forms of expression have been spread across the internet for a long time… until now.

    This fan Godzilla videos and photos 2013 editorial will be the home to YOUR photos/short films that you have created using your Godzilla series figures this year. YOUR work, on the world’s biggest Godzilla website for all to see and enjoy!

    Rules

    • Nothing dirty/racist/homophobic/violent (gory stuff with blood etc) etc.
    • All submissions subject to approval
    • No Toho licensed music in the videos
    • Only ONE photo/video embed code per person so choose your BEST OF THE BEST photo/video
    • Submission by embed code ONLY. If you have a link to more of your work, please provide it
    • Each submission will receive name credit so please include that in your email
    • MUST be Toho/Godzilla related

    This is NOT a contest. This is for you to show off your creativity!

    Email me your submissions at: chris_55_tk@hotmail.com

    Submissions

    Now onto the photos and videos submissions. Each of these will have a time stamp for when they were initially submitted. Note that these are not correlated to when they were published on the site, though.

    July 1, 2013: Sean O’Leary

    “Moguera Family Reunion”

    July 2, 2013: “asb”

    “There goes that pagoda again.”

    July 2, 2013: Alexandre Sousa

    Stop motion video:

    July 9, 2013: Hesperia Productions

    Godzilla vs. Knifehead video:

    July 9, 2013: CMDM Studios

    Godzilla rampaging downtown:

    July 29, 2013: Sean Whighan

    Sean has submitted some cool shots of Godzilla figures in various poses from the films, taking particular attention to detail for The Return of Godzilla (1984). His complete Flicker album of the various photos can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maulfan/sets/

    Fan Godzilla Videos and Photos 2013: Sean Whighan

    Fan Godzilla Videos and Photos 2013: Sean Whighan

    Note that the cover photo for this article uses an image by Sean Whigham as well.

    September 5, 2013: Hesperia Productions

    Here it is, Godzilla vs. Pacific Rim

    October 24, 2013: ‘leventa24’

    “It’s not much, but I thought I’d give a shot to submitting a picture.”

    November 17, 2013: Steven, ‘GreenAiden555’

    Here is a diorama I made.

    Article first posted September 5th, 2013.

    General // November 17, 2013
  • In early 2009, Toho Kingdom’s very own Chris Mirjahangir coined the name of a rather unusual creature he was about to voice in a then upcoming toon. Often dismissed as a skeleton, a bizarre colorless sea turtle can be located in Ishiro Honda‘s classic Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). Although I gave it the rather uncatchy name “Kame no Gaikotsu” (Japanese for “Turtle’s Skeleton”), Chris suggested the moniker that stuck, “Skeleturtle“. Now for the 1,224,560 yen question: what is this thing? Is it really just a skeleton?


    Isn’t it just the cutest thing?!?

    Let’s dispense with the skeleton theory right off the bat. Just after the scene transitions to Infant Island’s beach, the creature in question can be seen moving quite organically; it even blinks! In fact, it really doesn’t look like a sea turtle skeleton at all. If it were, the front flipper would have likely decomposed, leaving the metacarpal and phalanx bones visible. Also, the animal’s ocular orbit would appear far more dramatic, indicating that the dark round facial feature we’re observing is actually its eye. Finally, the nasal cavity is nowhere to be found. All signs point to one glaring conclusion; it simply isn’t a skeleton. This raises a new question: is it just an ordinary sea turtle, or is it a bona fide kaiju?

    Although perspective is difficult to analyze on a bumpy terrain, the fact that Skeleturtle is located further away from the camera than Akira Takarada‘s character gives us the ability to determine a minimum value for its size. Comparing Skeleturtle to Takarada [1], the carapace has a minimum length of 1.19 meters. The biggest specimen of the largest known species of sea turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, had a carapace length of 2.2 meters [2]. This would seem to hinder the claim that Skeleturtle is a legitimate kaiju. However, we know full well that the 1 meter long Giant Lizard is considered one, despite the fact that the real life Komodo Dragon’s can reach a jaw-dropping 3.13 meters in length [3]. Perhaps being a kaiju isn’t all about size; maybe there’s a certain cryptozoological aspect to the term. This leads to yet another question…

    Does Skeleturtle match any of the seven currently known species of sea turtle? Its anomalous coloration could be explained away as leucism or albinism, but its physical proportions are stunningly neotenous compared to other species. The head is at least half a meter long, and its neck can comfortably support its weight even when elevated over a quarter meter above the ground! The shell most closely resembles Lepidochelys olivacea, but the carapace is disproportionately taller than any known Chelonioidean [4]. These physical properties would suggest that Skeleturtle is a yet unknown form of sea turtle, possibly even a juvenile! Since Infant Island has experienced the fiery sting of the Atomic Age, one could speculate that these unusual biological anomalies are the result of the Godzilla universe’s well-established rule that nuclear testing has the potential to lead to dramatic mutation.

    So, what’s the final verdict? If we are to classify Skeleturtle using the same rules that are apparently applied to such creatures as the Giant Lizard, we could very well dub the pallid, shelled beastie a “kaiju”. Even if you feel otherwise, I’m sure we can probably agree that it’s nowhere near big enough to fall into the “daikaiju” category.


    It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only
    one with a penchant for obscurity.

    UPDATE (10/26/13): It appears that our pale Chelonioidean friend has not gone unnoticed by other circles. If you’ll look to your right, you’ll see that it has been made into a toy as of 2012! Available in Japan, the package calls it Infanto-jima no kai kotsu (インファント島の怪骨). This roughly translates to “mystery bones of Infant Island”. Though it would appear that the party responsible for this wonderfully obscure item is under the impression that the filmmakers intended for the carapaced creature to be a skeleton, I still pose the evidence in the above article as a bit of respectful disagreement.

    I’d like to give a big shout out to Klen7 for providing the accompanying picture and confirming the translation.


    Sources:


    [1] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0847361/bio
    [2] Eckert KL, Luginbuhl C (1988). “Death of a Giant”. Marine Turtle Newsletter 43: 2–3.
    [3] Ciofi, Claudio. “The Komodo Dragon”. Scientific American. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
    [4] http://www.seeturtles.org/1893/sea-turtle-identification.html

    This article was first published on June 8th, 2013.

    General // October 26, 2013
  • G-Fest: an annual convention all about Godzilla and really all Japanese kaiju. With merchants, theater movie screenings, art displays, costume contests, Godzilla video game tournaments and celebrities, its a bit of a kaiju fan wonderland. Although it has, many years ago, been held in Los Angeles, it is typically located in the Chicago area.

    Godzilla fan and friend John Drooney was gracious enough to record this wonderful G-Fest XIX video tour. Now I have never had the pleasure of experiencing G-Fest for myself. Sadly, that’s not going to change this year either, as I am unable to attend. So this video is all the more special to me in particular.

    After watching the video, I was able to, perhaps through the mystical vibe that was captured, feel the pride and joy of the fandom that is dedicated to Godzilla. Thank you John for this wonderful gift. Also, may my brothers and sisters in the Godzilla fandom enjoy their time this year at G-Fest.

     

    About G-Fest

    Founded by J. D. Lees and John Rocco Roberto, G-Fest is an annual convention for kaiju, with an emphasis on Japanese monsters. It’s an offshoot, of sorts, of the fanzine G-Fan. The very first G-Fest happened way back in 1994 in Illinois, although it became much more organized the following year. It continued to take place in Illinois up until G-Fest ’99, when it moved to California. The convention’s stint there was short lived, though. By 2001 it had moved back to Illinois, which is where it continues to reside. From 2001 through 2004, it was also well known for hosting the American theatrical premieres of the Millennium Godzilla films. This tradition stopped with Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), which actually had its worldwide premiere in Los Angeles, California at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

    For more information on G-Fest, including details on how to attend yourself, visit G-Fan.com.

    General // June 6, 2013
  • 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