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  • Well, as you all have probably figured out by now, I’m a kaiju toy nut. I’ve been collecting for almost 15 years now, and as long as they keep making ’em, I’ll keep buying ’em.

    ….problem is, these past five years, new kaiju toys are getting as scarce as milkbones in Michael Vick’s house. So, just in case anyone at Bandai is paying attention to what I have to say (and why wouldn’t they?! I’m on the INTERNET, for crying out loud, my opinion HAS to be valid!), I’m going to debut a new feature that Anthony has graciously allowed me to expand the toy section for, my own personal opinion. This section will be home to various articles that don’t quite qualify as reviews, be they comparisons of many collectibles at once, wish lists, gripes, anything you can possibly imagine. Today we’re keeping it simple, as I list my top 10 most wanted Bandai figures in the classic 8 inch scale. Now any listing on here is unmade currently, although as this article ages that might change of course.

    #10 – Varan

    Why: Well, some people seem to like him. Not me. Never did like the overgrown gliding iguana, but I’m well aware of his following amongst the fandom. So, I’ll throw you guys a bone. Don’t ever say I never did anything for ya.

    Why hasn’t one been made: Naturally, this is just my opinion, but Varan honestly contributed nothing to the Godzilla universe. Sure, he had the rare honor of starring in his own solo film, but unfortunately for Varan it’s not an especially well known movie outside of the fandom, and isn’t always that fondly remembered by those in the fandom. Most people seem to be more a fan of the creature itself than the movie. With that said, other, possibly less memorable, kaiju such as Moguera from The Mysterians (1957) have been immortalized in vinyl, why not Varan, who actually appeared (albeit ever so briefly) on screen with Godzilla in Destroy All Monsters (1968)? Maybe Bandai never liked him either…

    #9 – Manda

    Why: While like Varan, Manda isn’t especially important as far as Godzilla’s history is concerned, the creature is fairly unique for a Toho design. Be it the original, Chinese dragon inspired design (Which I suspect most fans would prefer), or the DAM version of Manda (Which I saw first and always thought Manda looked like Godzilla in snake form), I suspect many fans would be happy to add the serpent kaiju to their collections.

    Why hasn’t one been made: Perhaps Bandai found Manda forgetable, like Varan, and not worthy of the vinyl. Perhaps the serpentine design of the creature isn’t desirable when it comes to shelf-space in Japanese stores, and he might’ve looked out of place standing next to the other, bi-pedal creatures. However, Bandai created a figure of an Ultra-Seven character named Narse, a robotic serpent dragon. In fact, I’ve seen several people trying to pass Narse off as a Manda figure on eBay over the years. As a word of warning, make sure Safe-Search is turned ON if you do a Google image search on the word “Narse”. Seriously. Some people need to have their internets surgically removed.

    #8 – Ebirah

    Why: Ebirah has the unfortunate dishonor of being one of very few Godzilla “villains” not to have a figure in either the eight or six inch Bandai lines. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), while not ranking high on most fans’ list of favorites, is a fairly well known G-film, having appeared on MST3K, and I remember it showing on TV several times over the years, on both Sci-Fi and, believe it or not, the Disney Channel.

    Why hasn’t one been made: My guess is Ebirah wasn’t deemed interesting enough. Perhaps Bandai felt that a vinyl giant shrimp simply wouldn’t sell very well when compared to three headed dragons and killer cyborgs. Truth be told, Ebirah isn’t the most unique of designs, and that likely counts against him.

    #7 – Titanosaurus

    Why: Godzilla’s co-opponent from the final Showa film, Titanosaurus has always had a strong cult fan following. While Bandai did give us a six inch Titanosaurus, if they ever return to their roots and begin producing classic kaiju in the eight inch scale again, I’m sure many collectors could be persuaded to add the aquatic dinosaur to their collection a second time. Titanosaurus has an interesting design, and I was quite surprised it took as long for Bandai to release him in any size as it did.

    Why hasn’t one been made: Really, I don’t know.

    #5/6 – Sanda and Gaira

    Why: Why not? The War of the Gargantuas (1966) is perhaps the most well known Toho film to feature kaiju that were never imported into the Godzilla franchise. The Gargantua brothers would’ve made unique additions to any collection, as they are one of few “humanoid” kaiju (along with only “Frankenstein”, King Kong and Jet Jaguar, off the top of my head) from the Toho universe. Furthermore, there have been VERY few Gargantua collectables made that I am aware of, with an even fewer number of “figures” amongst that number. Most Gargantua items I have seen are statues/model kits.

    Why haven’t they been made: Perhaps there is not strength in numbers in this situation, and the fact that Sanda and Gaira are basically “palate swaps” of one another (The Mortal Kombat fans out there will know what I’m talking about) counted against them. Maybe Bandai didn’t think that furry brown and green men would appeal to non-fans/casual kaiju fans the way the other, more wondrous Toho creations would.

    #4 – Gabara

    Why: I fully expect to be shocked to death in a nightmare tonight by Gabara for not mentioning him in the “humanoid monsters” list I formed earlier. Fine, as long as I don’t have to put on those little Ichiro-shorts….ugh. Anyway. Love him or hate him, Gabara is quite the unique design for a Godzilla universe kaiju. From his appearance to his color scheme, there’s no one else quite like him. I’ll always remember Gabara best from a pre-show segment on “Super Scary Saturday” on TBS here in Atlanta in the 80’s, hosted by Grandpa Munster. They were showing All Monsters Attack (1969) and presented the Godzilla/Gabara fight as a wrestling match, highlighted by pre-match comments from the kaiju. While Godzilla pointed out the fact that even Minilla got his licks in against Gabara and ended with a “Nature Boy” Ric Flair-esque “woooo!”, Gabara chose to focus on how pretty he was, and was shown blow-drying his hair in a graphic behind Grandpa. Sorry, just thinking back to my childhood, when….well, almost everything was better.

    Why hasn’t one been made: Although I must confess I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for this movie, All Monsters Attack (1969) is, with the possible exception of Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), considered to be hands down the worst Godzilla film of all time. Perhaps the hatred for this movie extends all the way to toymakers, as outside of the Marmits and the vintage Bullmark etc toys, a couple garage kits, and a recently released plush by Toy Vault, Gabara has almost no merchandise to his credit. With his only appearance being in All Monsters Attack (1969), will Gabara ever get HIS revenge? Don’t hold your breath, but, I’d buy it.

    #3 – A Re-sculpted Gigan

    Why: Those who’ve seen my review of the 8 inch Gigan Bandai gave us know my feelings on this toy. If you haven’t, well, whats wrong with you?! Go read. I’ll wait. Done? No, read it all. I’ll know if you’re lying. Alright, fine. Long story short, I consider Gigan to be the worst sculpted figure in the entire line. From the colors to the pose, Bandai pretty much screwed up everything they possibly could. Gigan deserves better. He’s usually ranked in the top three of Godzilla’s Showa foes, joined by such big names as King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla. Just imagine the taunting poor Gigan suffers on the shelf next to those guys.

    Why hasn’t one been made: Bandai usually doesn’t revisit their kaiju. Fortunately, they produced a vastly improved Gigan early on in the 6 inch line, but while its a nice gesture, Bandai, you must attone for your sins. There is no honor on that vinyl abortion you forced upon us in the mid ninties.

    #2 – Kumonga (Showa)

    Why: I don’t know. I hate spiders. They scare the hell out of me. Oddly enough, I’ve always been a fan of Kumonga. From the extremely competent wire-work, to the way he’d flip over on his back when hit hard, Kumonga was a memorable creature to be certain. Like Ebirah, he went toe to toe with Godzilla, but has nothing to show for it in the toy department. Kumonga, unlike most of the dinosaur/alien kaiju Toho preferred during this time, is rooted in a creature we’re all very familiar with, and manages to be realistic and scary, yet fantastic all at once. Give ’em a figure. Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, there’s a transexual Frankenstein’s monster (I’m not even kidding) on eBay that likes to sell plain plastic spiders with home-made tags and claim they are “exclusive Kumonga Bandais”. Please don’t fall for it.

    Why hasn’t one been made: I gotta think that like Ebirah, being a “regular” creature counted against him here. Plus with the huge “leg-span”, Kumonga would’ve been wider than any other Bandai with the possible exception of Biollante, who required a box rather than a tag for display. I don’t think Bandai would’ve gone through all this trouble for Kumonga, who only has a fraction of Biollante’s “name value”.

    #1 – Godzilla 1968 (Soshingeki-Goji)

    Why: Again, I may be a bit biased here, but when I think “Godzilla”, this is the version I see. My favorite Showa suit of the King of the Monsters. Unfortunately, the only Showa versions of Godzilla released by Bandai at this size were the King-Goji and Mosu-Goji in 1983 and 1984 respectively, and these hard-to-find figures don’t match up well with later releases in the line. An 8 inch Soshingeki-Goji would go perfect with the Rodan, Hedorah, Anguirus, Mothra, Baragon, Gigan, Minilla, and King Ghidorah already in the line.

    Why hasn’t one been made: I’m guessing Bandai was content to release the same Heisei Godzilla three years running. Fortunately, this kaiju is available in the six inch line and in the US Bandai Creation line.

    Well, that does it for this time. If you liked what you read, great. If you didn’t, well, I’d like to hear what YOU’D rather read, jerkwad! No, seriously. Let me know what you’d like to hear in a future edition, and as always, thanks for reading and for visiting Toho Kingdom.

    General // June 10, 2009
  • Toho’s most successful endeavor from the 1970’s, Submersion of Japan (1973), is set for a remake to be released in 2006. The film will be produced on a budget of ¥2 billion, the same as last year’s Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and will be directed by Shinji Higuchi, fresh off the extremely successful Lorelei (2005). Kazuya Hamana, the man behind Onmyoji (2001), is set to produce the movie.

    The picture sees the resurrection of the long dormant “destruction genre” in Japan, which was extremely successful in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s, and documents a huge string of natural disasters that strike Japan one after the other, all of which lead up to a mammoth tsunami calling for a large scale evacuation of Japan to neighboring nations.

    June 1st update

    The site has rotated its trailers, removing the older adverts in favor of two new ones that feature much longer segments (“Teaser 2” and “Web Trailer 3”).

    The production now enters less than two months until it is released in Japan. Currently there is no word on the film being distributed in the US, and if so likely straight to DVD, although that will likely come after the box office receipts for the production are observed.

    May 4th update

    The official website for the latest Toho disaster movie has been further updated, allowing visitors an even closer look at the production as it nears finalization. This includes some rather breath taking special effects shots, and a closer look at the movie’s rather expansive cast. The site also now includes even more artwork related to the movie, including three paintings in the background of the main site that show off various stages of destruction taking place in the country.

    Sinking of Japan 2006 - News Roundup

    The movie will open on July 15th of 2006

    March 10th update

     The official site for the remake of Submersion of Japan has added yet another trailer, increasing the tally to four in total now. This latest one shows a much more finished look at the film, with CGI and other affects being slowly added in as the film’s ¥2,000,000,000 budget is starting to look well spent. For those familiar with the original 1973 movie, this latest trailer also provides the first look at the new Wadatsumi.

    The new trailer (called web trailer 2) can be located at: http://www.nc06.jp/trailer/index.html

    December 31st update

    The official site for the remake of Submersion of Japan has been updated to include some early teaser trailers for the big budget feature. At present, there are three adverts on the site, two of which are very short TV spots while the third is a much more extended web only version. It should be noted that the special effects have not gone into the post-production stage, so effects like CGI and other elements have not been added to the footage as of yet. The exception is the single, underwater, shot of the cityscape, which is also the only footage featured in the two TV spots.

    Sinking of Japan 2006 - News Roundup

    December 14th update 

    In what looks to be one of the biggest titles in Japan next year, the official site for the remake of Submersion of Japan has opened. At present, there is not much there, besides the main graphic and a rundown of the cast. The only new information to be obtained is that the film will not be produced by Toho alone, which was to be expected given the mammoth budget allotted for the movie. In fact, eight different companies are helping the production along, which include: Toho, TBS, Dentsu, Sedic, MBS, Shogakukan, SDP, and J-Dream.

    News // June 1, 2006
  • Continuity within Godzilla films has been inconsistent, to say the least. The Showa series barely paid heed to it, while the Heisei series was very different from its predecessor. Each film during the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s worked off the previous entries for tight continuity in the series. When Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) was first announced it was explained that the movie would be part of a whole new series. One that was not connected with the Heisei or Showa series, and the film would pioneer a new series of films radically different from the two previous ones. So was born the Millennium (or Mireniamu) series: a series of films in which each movie was not forced to work off the previous entries. So this article examines the Godzilla Millennium series continuity, including how it developed and what, sometimes, little continuity actually does exist in these movies.

    The Millennium Series and Continuity

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

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

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

     

    1999 – Godzilla 2000: Millennium

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

     

    2000 – Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

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

     

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

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

     

    2002 – Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

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

     

    2003 – Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    2004 – Godzilla: Final Wars

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

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

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

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

    General // July 19, 2005
  • On November 29th, 2004, Godzilla received his star on the famous Walk of Fame. Although it has been a few weeks since that happened, here is a video that showcases two news reports, from Fox News and KCAL 9, dedicated to Godzilla receiving his star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

    The video has been saved in the .wmv (Windows Media Player) format and has been further compressed by being placed in a zip folder. Two different versions of the video have been made, one at a lower bit rate per second for users on slower connections.

    Download video at 696kb/sec (size: 8.31MB zipped)
    Download video at 1096kb/sec (size: 14.0MB zipped)

    History of the Walk of Fame

    The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and E.M. Stuart pitched the idea for the Walk of Fame back in 1953. It was meant to celebration the community, although also had a natural draw of being a tourist attraction as well. By 1955, the design had been decided upon while from 1956 to 1957 the initial selections were made. A huge 1,558 honorees were selected as part of the initial phase across motion pictures, television, audio recording and radio.

    Ground broke on February 8, 1960 and the stars started to fill up what would become the Walk of Fame. It took eight years, though, before it was decided to expand the Walk of Fame. This opened the doors for ongoing additions, as more stars were added on a frequent basis to honor those across the various entertainment mediums.

     

    Godzilla Walk of Fame

    Godzilla breathing his ray during the ceremony

    Other Fictional Characters with Stars

    Godzilla is not the first and won’t be the last fictional icon to receive a star on the Walk of Fame. The trend of giving them to fictional characters started back in 1978, roughly 18 years after the Walk of Fame was launched, when Mickey Mouse got his star. Other fictional characters to get their stars before Godzilla include:

    • Bugs Bunny – 1985
    • Snow White – 1987
    • Woody Woodpecker – 1990
    • Big Bird – 1994
    • The Simpsons – 2000
    • Rugrats – 2001
    • Kermit the Frog – 2002
    • Donald Duck – 2004

    Of note, Godzilla is presently the only fictional, movie character on the Walk of Fame who originated outside of the US. The distinction for movie is made as Snow White originated in Germany from the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. However, the Walk of Fame listing is for the Disney character, as stated for the reason for the star:

    “For her role in the first feature-length Disney animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

    News // December 18, 2004
  • The world premiere of the latest Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), has come and gone in both LA and Japan. However, there was a lot of merchandise to be had from both events, from the cardboard hats and the Godzilla flags (handed out to a select few fans waiting in line to wave at reporters) given out in LA to theater exclusive figures and books at the Japanese opening.

    Below is a collection of images of what items could be found at both events, the first two are from my own collection while the rest are from another fan who wished to remain anonymous (although a large thanks goes out to him). Of particular interest should be the shots from the books, which showcase all of the kaiju scenes from the film up to the battle with Monster X. For reference, the first three items were available at the LA premiere, with the Godzilla on top of World Figurine being at both events, while the rest were from the Japan premiere of the film.

    In total the collection includes: Cardboard Hat, Flag, Godzilla on top World Figurine, Theater Exclusive Godzilla Figure, Theater Exclusive Rodan Figure, Theater Exclusive Anguirus Figure, Godzilla: Final Wars Shirt, Pamphlet, Book with CD-Rom

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    News // December 6, 2004
  • 2004: the 50th anniversary of Godzilla. For the occasion, Toho is pulling out all the stops, going for a large scale production for the occasion. Titled Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), this article tracks the progress of that movie, from its announcement toward its eventual release.

    October 21st update

    As previously rumored, the next, and supposedly last for the foreseeable future, Godzilla film will have its worldwide premiere in Los Angeles, California, at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The date set for the unveiling is November 29th, 2004. The event will also be christened with the King of the Monsters’ inclusion into Hollywood’s Walk of Fame at 11:30 am on Monday, November the 29th, with director Ryuhei Kitamura and suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa attending Godzilla’s commemoration. Godzilla is also set to make a large showing during Hollywood’s Christmas Parade, on November 28th, in the form of a promotional suit and a large float intended to promote Godzilla: Final Wars.

    September 1st update

    Guarby’s has posted seven images, scanned in from a magazine, pertaining to Hedorah, the Smog Monster, and Ebirah, the Sea Monster,’s appearances. The images show close ups of both of the monsters’ faces, along with a shot of Ebirah on a collision course with Hedorah.

    August 30th update

    Monster Zero has posted a brief, 19 second, preview of the latest Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars. The trailer shows numerous kaiju from the film, including Rodan and Gigan, and also shows a scene from the now famous battle with Godzilla and the American Godzilla, called Zilla in this film, that takes place in Sydney. The scenes in the film are still very early in development, so this doesn’t necessarily dictate what the final product will look like.

    Below are screen captures from the TV spot, for those having trouble seeing the video.

    Rodan
    Anguirus
    King Caesar
    Kumonga
    Mothra vs. Gigan
    Ebirah
    Gigan
    Monster X
    Zilla
    Godzilla vs. Zilla

    August 24th update

    Monster Zero has translated a news article related to Godzilla: Final Wars which reveals that the new Godzilla film, which has been reported to be the last in at least a decade, will pit the Japanese Godzilla against his American counterpart, from the 1998 film GODZILLA. To avoid confusion, the American Godzilla will be referred to as simply “Zilla” in the film. The historic confrontation will take place in Sydney, Australia, in the film and, in following with his portrayal in his own film, “Zilla” will be computer generated (CGI).

    These latest reports also add credence to producer Shogo Tomiyama‘s earlier musing about a Godzilla vs. Godzilla confrontation, and also mean that the earlier rumor which reported Gorosaurus in the production had likely confused the bipedal dinosaur with the American Godzilla.

    July 30th update

    Guarby has released scans of the new Kumonga and Kamacuras props in action, and fighting Godzilla. One of the scans also reveals the size of the Kamacuras which is 90 meters in height with a mass of 20,000 tons, almost twice the size of the Showa incarnation with a weight comparable to the Showa Godzilla.

    July 7th update

    Henshin!Online has posted a new report which reveals Monster X to be the first form of the new Ghidorah, dubbed Keizer Ghidorah. The new Ghidorah will walk on four legs, like Desghidorah.

    May 24th update

    Toho’s official Godzilla site has been updated with a number of never before seen details regarding the latest Godzilla film. Including the final kaiju roster, story details, and sketches of the new designs.

    The film’s final kaiju roster appears to be: Godzilla, Gigan, Rodan, Minilla, Mothra (Imago), Kamacuras, Kumonga, Manda, Ebirah, Anguirus, King Caesar, Hedorah and Monster X. This discredits earlier reports of Gorosaurus and Mothra (Larva) from the previous roster. Also, the Gotengo, most likely modeled more after the ship in The War in Space (1977) instead of the one in Atragon (1963), the collapsed star Gorath and the Xiliens from Invasion of Astro- Monster (1965) will make appearances in the film as well.

    Gigan Minilla
    Rodan Mothra
    Kamacuras Kumonga
    Manda Ebirah
    Anguirus King Caesar
    Hedorah Monster X

    May 1st update

    Shanghai Daily is reporting quite a gamut of spoilers, including the ending, on the upcoming Godzilla movie: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). If it’s true or not, only time will tell; however, they do say at least one questionable fact:

    “Toho Pictures has produced 22 movies starring Godzilla since 1954. Hollywood also paid the company to produce its version in 1998.”

    22 is pretty far off the total Godzilla movies that Toho has made, which is now at 27 not including Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). 22 is exactly how many films were done before the start of the “Millennium series” in 1999, though, so perhaps they were just looking at a outdated figure. Anyway, here are some highlights from that article by Shanghai Daily, so please stop reading if you wish to avoid spoilers:

    “Godzilla is finally going to die – honest. And it’s going to happen in Shanghai. In “Godzilla: Final Wars,” the fictitious green monster that wreaked chaos around the world will lose his final battle to a fire dragon and die by the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong. …Godzilla’s child is killed accidentally by humans, which drives the monster crazy. The reptile-like creature then goes on a massive rampage around the world, according to a local film import company that will assist in the shooting of the local parts. After several rounds of epic encounters, Godzilla faces the fire dragon. The final battle is set to happen on the Bund.

    Godzilla’s fury will not be contained to Shanghai however. He will also smash, bash and crash his way through the United States, France, Australia and other countries. ”

    April 25th update

    It seems that first confirmation on a roster for the new Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars, has finally materialized. Following a rumor that Monster Zero was hosting, and then later confirmed, a total of 14 kaiju names have been dropped, and include:

    – Godzilla
    – Mothra
    – King Ghidorah
    – Rodan
    – Gigan
    – Anguirus
    – King Caesar
    – Kumonga
    – Kamacuras
    – Manda
    – Minilla
    – Gorosaurus
    – Ebirah
    – Monster X

    There is a chance that the list is not complete, and that there might be more kaiju in the film. It should also be noted that the King Ghidorah featured in the film will have four legs.

    March 4th update

    CNN has an article up talking about the King of the Monsters’ upcoming “hibernation,” and adds further verification to the nearing end to the Millennium series. CNN quotes Shogo Tomiyama in the article as well, who gives up the estimate of a decade long rest to the Godzilla series. The article can be read here.

    March 2nd update

    More news has poured in on the 50th anniversary Godzilla film, previously dubbed THE GODZILLA, confirming everything from the director, release date, to possible details on the actual film. Toho’s official Godzilla site has reported that the film is being directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, as others sites had previously reported. Ryuhei Kitamura directed the 2000 film Versus along with the 2003 Toho offering Azumi, but his credits are quite varied and even include directorial work for the upcoming Gamecube game Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. The name Godzilla: Final Wars is also being used by the site for the 28th Godzilla film. Toho is reporting that the movie will release December 11th, 2004.

    Monster Zero has several other tidbits of information which they have acquired from translating various news articles. The most interesting of which include:

    – A redesigned Godzilla (hinted at being more mobile)
    – A monster cast of around 10, names dropped include Mothra along with a possible new monster for the moment dubbed “Monster X”
    – A “long time fan favorite” will supposedly make a come back
    – Producer Shogo Tomiyama hints that this could be the last Godzilla film for some time and will likely mark the end of the Millennium Series
    – Godzilla: Final Wars will not be paired up with a Hamaturo film, as done for the past three Godzilla movies
    – Locations in the film will include, among several, New York, Shangai and Paris
    – The film will feature a world in which numerous monsters have been born from atomic tests
    – Director, Kitamura, wants a Godzilla which can defeat a foe in a single blow
    – Wataru Mimua and Tomiyama worked on the story elements of Godzilla: Final Wars before handing the project over to
    – Kitamura and Isao Kiriyama, who has worked with Kitamura Azumi (2003), created the final script
    – Eiichi Asada, who did the SFX work for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003), will direct the special effects for the 50th anniversary flick.
    – Cinematographer will be Takumi Furuya, who did the cinematography on Azumi (2003)

    December 14th, 2003 update

    Toho has disclosed information of Godzilla’s 50th Anniversary film, which is being tentatively titled simply “THE GODZILLA.”Toho has stated that they are actually in the final stages of developing what will end up being the next Godzilla film. Toho has stated that this Godzilla film will be a larger scale production than what the series is used to. The film, supposedly, is to feature an “all star” cast of both characters and crew; whether this means the inclusion of classic monsters such as Rodan and Anguirus or the ever popular Mothra and King Ghidorah is anyone’s guess. To date, a crew for the film has not been established, save Shogo Tomiyama‘s likely spot as the film’s producer.

    The tentative title for this project is in fact “THE GODZILLA,” English spelling of the word Godzilla, not Gojira. According to Toho this was done to drive more interest in the film internationally. Toho is banking on the success of this film to elevate the series, and to create more international awareness.

    News // October 30, 2004
  • 2004 marks a big year for the King of the Monsters, with the Godzilla franchise celebrating 50 years. As a result, it’s not too surprising to see a number of conventions popup to celebrate the landmark. This article is a news roundup of the various, US based Godzilla 50th Anniversary festivals that are being run in celebration of the big year.

    October 12th update

    In commemoration of Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, another Godzilla event, the fourth of the year in the US, will take place from November 17th through the 23rd in San Francisco, California. The event, called GODZILLAFEST, will take place at the Castro Theatre, at 429 Castro street. A total of 20 films will show during the festival, including:

    November 17th, Wednesday (Matinee)
    Godzilla 2000: Millennium (English Dubbed)
    Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (English Dubbed)

    November 17th, Wednesday (Night)
    Godzilla, King of the Monsters (US Version, English Dubbed)
    Rodan (English Dubbed)

    November 18th, Thursday (Night)
    The War of the Gargantuas (English Dubbed)
    Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)

    November 19th, Friday (Night)
    Godzilla (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)
    Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)

    November 20th, Saturday (Matinee)
    H-Man (English Dubbed)
    Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)

    November 20th, Saturday (Night)
    Invasion of Astro-Monster (US/Japanese Version [hybrid], English Dubbed)
    Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)

    November 21st, Sunday (Matinee)
    Battle In Outer Space (English Dubbed)
    Destroy All Monsters (English Dubbed)

    November 21st, Sunday (Night)
    Mothra (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)
    Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)

    November 22nd, Monday (Night)
    King Kong vs. Godzilla (English Dubbed)
    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (English Dubbed)

    November 23rd, Tuesday (Night)
    Son of Godzilla (Japanese Version, English Subtitled)
    Godzilla vs. Megalon (English Dubbed)

    Initially announced guests include actor Ed Keane (actor from Battle In Outer Space and Mothra), John Stanley (host of the Creature Features TV series in the San Francisco), Jerry Ito (actor from Mothra and The Last War) and Bob Wilkins (host of the late night horrorfest KTVU Channel 2 Oakland). More details, including times and perhaps a expanded guest list, are forthcoming. Actor Russ Tamblyn was also added to the growing list of guest stars. For those unfamiliar with Tamblyn, he will be best known to Toho enthusiasts for his starring role in the influential film The War of the Gargantuas (1966). The final announced guests included Hiroshi Koizumi (best known for his role as Doctor Shin’ichi Chujo in Mothra and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., among many other films), Akira Kubo (star of GorathMatango,Invasion of Astro-MonsterSon of GodzillaDestroy All MonstersSpace Amoeba and countless other Toho films) and suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa (who played Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III, and Godzilla for all six of the Millennium Godzilla films).

    Also, an exclusive, fully licensed, limited-edition green vinyl figure of Godzilla from the original 1954 Godzilla will be sold at the event, courtesy of Marusan, Toho Co. ltd. and Super 7. There will only be a 100 of these figures produced in total.

     

    July 7th update

    Keith Aiken, of Henshin!Online, has revealed an event taking place in New York at the Film Forum in order to ring in the King of the Monsters’ 50th Anniversary. Called They Came from Toho: Godzilla and the Kaiju Eiga, the event runs from August 27th- September 9th, 2004. A more in-depth schedule is as follows:

    Friday/Saturday, August 27/28
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla (1954) – 2:45, 6:25, 10:05
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Destroy All Monsters (1968) – 1:00, 4:40, 8:20
    [English dubbed]

    Sunday/Monday, August 29/30
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Mothra (1961) – 1:00, 4:35, 8:10
    [English dubbed]

    Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) – 2:55, 6:30, 10:05
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Tuesday, August 31
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Battle in Outer Space (1959) – 1:00, 4:15, 7:30
    [English dubbed]

    The H-Man (1958) – 2:40, 5:55, 9:10
    [English dubbed]

    Wednesday, September 1
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla (1954) – 2:55, 6:20, 9:45
    [English dubbed]

    Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) – 1:00, 4:30, 7:55
    [English dubbed]

    Thursday, September 2
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Son of Godzilla (1967) – 1:00, 4:15, 7:30
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) – 2:40, 5:55, 9:10
    [English dubbed]

    Friday/Saturday, September 3/4
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) – 1:00, 4:30, 8:00
    [English dubbed]

    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) – 2:45, 6:15, 9:45
    [English dubbed, subtitled in Spanish]

    Sunday/Monday, September 5/6
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) – 5th 2:00, 6:00, 10:00 | 6th 6:00, 10:00
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) – 4:00, 8:00
    [English dubbed]

    Monday, September 6
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla Raids Again (1955) – 1:00
    [English dubbed]

    Rodan (1956) – 2:30
    [English dubbed]

    Tuesday, September 7
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) – 1:10, 5:10, 9:10
    [English dubbed]

    Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) – 3:10, 7:10
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Wednesday, September 8
    (1 admission pays for 2 films):
    Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) – 1:00, 4:40, 8:20
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) – 2:55, 6:35, 10:15
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Thursday, September 9
    Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) – 1:20, 3:20, 5:40, 7:40, 9:30
    [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    The Film Forum theater is located at 209 West Huston Street, New York City, NY 10014. General admission is $10.00, or $5.00 for Film Forum members. Tickets can be ordered in advance at 212-727-8110 or online at http://www.filmforum.com/.

     

    May 30th update

    The Egyptian Theatre has announced a  “The Godzilla 50th Anniversary Tribute.” Their page related to the event can be seen here: http://egyptiantheatre.com/archive1999/2004/godzilla50.htm

    The event runs from June 24th- June 29th, 2004. An in-depth schedule is as follows:

    Thursday, June 24 – 8:00 PM
    Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
    88 minutes [Japanese version, subtitled in English]
    Followed by discussion with director Masaaki Tezuka.

    Friday, June 25 – 7:00 PM
    Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
    91 minutes [Japanese version, subtitled in English]
    Followed by discussion with director Masaaki Tezuka.

    Friday, June 25 – 9:30 PM
    Double Feature:
    King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
    91 minutes [US version, English dubbed]

    Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
    78 minutes [US version, English dubbed]

    Saturday, June 26 – 5:00 PM
    Ultraman Episode 10: The Mysterious Dinosaur Base (1966)
    25 minutes [US version, English dubbed]
    &
    Destroy All Monsters (1968)
    88 minutes [International version, English dubbed]
    Followed by discussions with art director Yasuyuki Inoue and model builder Akinori Takagi

    Saturday, June 26 – 8:00 PM 
    Double Feature:
    Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
    93 minutes [US version, English dubbed]

    Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
    83 minutes [Japanese version, subtitled in English]

    Sunday, June 27 – 2:00 PM
    Triple Feature:
    Rodan (1956)
    72 minutes [US version, English dubbed]

    Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
    85 minutes [US version, English dubbed and subtitled in Spanish]

    The H-Man (1958)
    79 minutes [US version, English dubbed]

    -Ticket prices for the triple feature are: $12.00 General Public, $10.00 Students/Seniors and $8.00 Cinematheque Members. 10 minute intermission between each film, with an introduction to screenings by art director Yasuyuki Inoue and model builder Akinori Takagi.

    Tuesday, June 29 – 7:00 PM 
    Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
    87 minutes [International version, English dubbed]
    Followed by discussions with art director Yasuyuki Inoue and model builder Akinori Takagi

    Tuesday, June 29 – 9:15 PM
    Double Feature:
    Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
    89 minutes [International version, English dubbed]

    Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
    100 minutes [International version, English dubbed]

    Regular ticket prices at the Egyptian Theatre are $9.00 for general admission, $8.00 for students and seniors, and $6.00 for “Cinematheque members” (go here for information on becoming a member).

     

    May 27th update

    Although G-Fest is an annual show, it’s not surprising to see the next iteration is celebrating the King of the Monsters’ 50th anniversary. Below is the press release for this event.

    G-Fest XI Convention Information

    Fans celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Godzilla will be gathering July 9 – 11, 2004 at the O’Hare International Airport Holiday Inn in Rosemont, IL for G-FEST XI. The special guest for G-FEST XI is special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano (Godzilla vs. HedorahThe Return of GodzillaTerror of Mechagodzilla).

    G-FEST XI will be screening Invasion of Astro-Monster (Monster Zero), Terror of Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla at the Pickwick Theater in nearby Park Ridge, Illinois.

    G-FEST XI will also have a giant dealers room, a super Godzilla display, model instruction, video room, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Tournament, costume parade & contest, art contest, video contest and more.

    Weekend admission tickets are $29.00 for adults, $10 for youth (12 and under). Daily admission (at the door) is $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for youths. Children 5 and under are admitted FREE.

    For more information, log onto www.g-fan.com.

     

    April 25th update

    Keith Aiken over at Henshin!Online has reported on an event to be held at the Los Angeles, California Egyptian Theater, which is being dubbed “The Godzilla 50th Anniversary Tribute”. American Cinematheque is working hard (with Toho, Sony, and others) to screen a dozen, or more, of Toho’s classic Sci-fi entries during the period of June 25th – June 29th, 2004.

    A list of known films to be screened, so far, include:

    Guests scheduled to attend include: director Masaki Tezuka, whose portfolio of work includes Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) and more; production designer Yasuyuki Inoue who has an expansive portfolio which includes the model work for Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Rodan (1956) and many more, not to mention designing Hedorah; production designer Akinori Takagi who also has an expansive portfolio which includes such things as designing the famous Type 66 Maser Beam Tank from War of the Gargantuas (1966), the Battleship Yamato from The Imperial Navy (1981) and the Super-X for The Return of Godzilla (1984).

    Ticket prices at the Egyptian Theatre are $9.00 for general admission, $8.00 for students and seniors, and $6.00 for “Cinematheque members” (go here for information on becoming a member). Several of the films shown will be packaged as “double features.”

    News // October 12, 2004
  • Rialto Pictures, a company that focuses on the restoration and re-releasing of classic films theatrically and on DVD, is currently poised to release the 1954 classic Godzilla, or Gojira, in theaters in the United States for Spring/Summer of 2004. The version shown will be the uncut Japanese version of the film, not the 1956 Godzilla King of the Monsters’ version with Raymund Burr. This article is a news roundup for the release of the uncut Japanese version of the original Godzilla film, set for the 50th anniversary of the production.

    May 9th update

    This weekend, starting Friday May 7th, Rialto Pictures’ release of Godzilla (1954) starts off its country wide tour with the Castro theater in San Fransico and the Film Forum in New York. As previously mentioned, and highly touted by Rialto, this release is of the uncut Japanese version. In time for the film’s limited release, the company has unleashed a modest advertising campaign (a newspaper advertisement for the film can be seen to the right), but Rialto has mostly been relying on positive critical praise to pack the theaters. So far, thankfully, critical acclaim for Ishiro Honda‘s masterpiece has been strong, and the film has maintained a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    However, Godzilla fans are likely already well versed in the merits of the first Godzilla film, which leaves the question: how was Rialto’s presentation of the movie?

    On Saturday May 8th, I attended the 7:00pm showing, which was almost a full house, of Godzilla at the Castro theater to see how Rialto’s release stacked up, and I can say, with some honesty, I was a little disappointed.

    I was warned in advance that the print used contained numerous scratches, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount that greeted me in the film’s opening scenes. Some of the early scene changes also appeared to be damaged on the print, as there was a split second of black or white added to the transitions. The audio, while generally good, also could have used some work, as pops could be heard during the course of the movie.

    The subtitles were good during the movie, newly commissioned and spot on, although they became a little hard to read when placed on a white background.

    In terms of changes made: none. The Rialto logo appears on the screen before the movie starts, with the original 1954 message thanking the Japanese Coast Guard for their cooperation. Everything on this print is intact, just not in pristine condition.

    Audience reaction to the film was strong though; as the Toho logo, Godzilla’s first appearance, and the ending were all meet with a theater wide applause. Oddly enough, the Oxygen Destroyer name got a few unintentional laughs, which is something that has been so ingrained in me at a young age I never really thought of the name as being a little over the top, but was the only sequence of the film that got riffed while even the more uneven effects shots were passed without score… something that might feel like a breath of fresh air after some of the reactions that Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) got during its theatrical screening in the US.

    So despite the less than top notch print, seeing the original Godzilla in the theaters was still a highly enjoyable experience, and I would suggest it to others, even if simply for the fact of getting an idea of how many Godzilla fans are in the vicinity.

    One thing that has been great to see, though, is the resulting publicity from the release. For example, to the right is an image to the cover story for a recent edition of SF Weekly with the cover story being “Returning Japanese” and focusing on the newly uncut release of the original 1954 film.

    As a side bonus, below is the Theater Listing for the original Godzilla during the Castro Theater’s run of the movie. It talks about the basic plot of the film, its impact in Japan and its film industry and also puts a lot of emphasis on the changes made when it was Americanized, such as the addition of Raymond Burr, removed footage and the added sequences in the film.

    The movie will be playing at the Castro Theater from May 7th to the 20th. Check your local listings to see when the movie might come into your area, although keep in mind the film is being given a very limited release.

    May 2 update

    Rialto Pictures is preparing for the imminent release of Godzilla (1954) through out select theaters in the United States. May 7th, Friday, marks the first release of the film, which will be screened at the Castro theater in San Francisco and Film Forum in New York.

    As previously mentioned, the film will be the uncut Japanese version, not the 1956 Godzilla King of the Monsters’ version with Raymund Burr, and will clock in at 98 minutes.

    In order to commemorate the impending release, various newspapers from areas set to show the movie have already started promoting the film. One example of this is the San Francisco Chronicle(Sunday, May 3rd Edition) which gave the film the front cover status on their Datebook section, pictured to the right. Featured inside the Datebook section is a nice four page article on the Big G by Allen Johnson and Patrick Macias, author of Tokyo Scope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. The article focuses mainly on the merits of the 1954 film, and also harps on the Americanization of the 1956 version, but also contains a Godzilla “Time Line” to point out important events, either inspiration for the films or the films themselves, for the Godzilla series.

    There is a sharp focus on director Ishiro Honda in the Chronicle‘s article, including a salute to the dark theme of Godzilla as opposed to just making another “monster on the loose” potboiler, like the film’s inspiration: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The article also applauds composer Akira Ifukube for his long running work in the series, in particular his score for the original Godzilla (1954). A quote from the composer, used in the article, appears to the left. Special Effects director Eiji Tsuburaya and suitmation actor Haruo Nakajima are also commended for their work on the 1954 classic.

         The film will be screened at 33 theaters in total, for the time being, which are:

    • May 7th-20th, 2004 (San Francisco, CA) Castro
    • May 7th-20th, 2004 (New York, NY) Film Forum
    • May 14th-20th, 2004 (Washington, DC) AFI National Film Theater
    • May 14th-27th, 2004 (Los Angeles, CA) Nuart
    • May 21st-27th, 2004 (Berkley, CA) Shattuck
    • May 21st-June 3rd, 2004 (Silver Spring, MD) AFI Silver
    • May 21st-June 3rd, 2004 (Philadelphia, PA) Ritz Theaters
    • May 21st-June 3rd, 2004 (New York, NY) Cinema Village
    • May 28th-June 3rd, 2004 (San Jose, CA) Camera Cinemas
    • June 11th-17th, 2004 (Cambridge, MA) Brattle
    • June 16th-18th, 2004 (Detroit, MI) Detroit Film Theatre
    • June 18th-July 1st, 2004 (Minneapolis, MN) Oak Street
    • June 18th-July 1st, 2004 (Dallas, TX) Angelika
    • June 25th-July 1st, 2004 (Portland, OR) Cinema 21
    • June 25th-July 1st, 2004 (San Diego, CA) Ken
    • July 2nd-8th, 2004 (Seattle, WA) Varsity
    • July 2nd-15th, 2004 (Chicago, IL) Music Box
    • July 16th-18th, 2004 (Detroit, MI) Detroit Film Theatre
    • July 16th-22nd, 2004 (Milwaukee, WI) Times
    • July 23rd-29th, 2004 (Atlanta, GA) Midtown Art
    • July 23rd-29th, 2004 (Austin, TX) Dobie
    • July 23rd-29th, 2004 (Indianapolis, IN) Key
    • July 23rd-29th, 2004 (Madison, WI) Orpheum
    • July 23rd-August 5th, 2004 (Pittsburgh, PA) Regent Square
    • July 28th-August 3rd, 2004 (Hartford, CT) Cinestudio
    • July 30th-August 5th, 2004 (Columbus, IN) Key
    • August 5th-9th, 2004 (Oklahoma City) Museum of Art
    • August 6th-12th, 2004 (Baltimore, MD) Charles
    • August 6th-19th, 2004 (Nashville, TN) Belcourt
    • August 13th-19th, 2004 (Lexington, KY) Kentucky
    • August 13th-19th, 2004 (Saint Louis, MO) Tivoli
    • August 27th-29th, 2004 (Cleveland, OH) Cinematheque
    • August 27th-29th, 2004 (Paducah, KY) Maiden Alley

    Please see Rialto’s site on the film, found here http://www.rialtopictures.com/godzilla.html, for more details.

    News // May 9, 2004
  • Once considered a chief rival of Toho, Daiei rode high in the middle of the 20th century before hitting hard times toward the end of the century. This blog covers the fall of Daiei Studios and how the company’s major properties, such as Zatoichi and Gamera, ended up at times on Toho’s doorstep.

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

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

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

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

    Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

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

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

    Sale to Kadokawa

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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


    August 2, 2002

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Question: Is this copyright for the game final?

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

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

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

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

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

    Kirby Fong: “Same as above.”

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

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

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

    Kirby Fong: “Yes…and no….. ;-)”

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

    Kirby Fong: “Eh, maybe? ;-)”

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Closing: Thanks for your time.

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

     

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

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

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

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

    Dan Duncalf: “Not at this time.”

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

    Dan Duncalf: “14 total.”

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

     

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

    This article was first published on March 25, 2002.

    News // December 16, 2002