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Nicholas Driscoll: Let’s just jump right into this! Since I last interviewed you, I think you’ve been pretty busy! Could you update us, especially on the books or other things you have been doing that might interest the Toho aficionados who read the site?
John LeMay: Thanks for interviewing me again, hopefully folks don’t start getting sick of me! I have two new books of interest out: Terror of the Lost Tokusatsu Films and Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island.
Driscoll: Maybe could you tell us a bit more about how you have revised some of your books? For example, if I already bought the paperback version of one of your previous books, why should I buy the updated version?
LeMay: I started out with a publisher that did my layouts for me with my first few books (history titles on New Mexico starting in 2008). The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies Vol. 1 was the first title I self-published (in 2016) and did the layout myself. It was very rudimentary, I even forgot to include page numbers in one of the versions! So I updated Vol. 1 and 2 to where they have much nicer layouts, plus tons of new reviews and trivia in each. My favorite aspect of the redesign is that the titles are listed in Japanese in the footers. Or in other words, in the footer on the section for Destroy All Monsters you will see 怪獣総進撃 and so on. Japanese books often have little headers or footers in English so I thought it would be fun to do the same thing. Also, the revised version of Vol. 1 added in reviews for over 25 films not covered in the first version. There’s some rare stuff in there, even reviews for Jumborg Ace and Giant (1974) to list just one. Similarly, Vol. 2 also has 25 new reviews in it—I added in Thunder of Gigantic Serpent (as a Bonus Review) specifically because a high schooler actually wrote me a letter in the mail the old fashioned way requesting its inclusion which I thought was pretty cool.
Driscoll: Can you tell us about Terror of the Lost Tokusatsu Films and why kaiju lovers might get a kick out of it?
LeMay: A wise fan told me that books that don’t feature Godzilla typically don’t sell well, and unfortunately so far that has been true of that book. But, if you’re a true Toho or Japanese sci-fi fan it is a book that you would enjoy. To me, in addition to being a book on unmade Japanese sci-fi films—the ones without any giant monsters—it’s sort of a love letter to Toho’s mutant and horror films. To be frank, as far as lost films and projects go, probably only a little over 100 pages is devoted to those, not enough to be a “feature length” book in my opinion. That’s why it also features pretty extensive reviews and production overviews of completed movies like Toho and Daiei’s Invisible Man films. Toho’s Horror of the Wolf (1973) is covered as are Blue Christmas (1978) and Tokyo Blackout (1987). Though they aren’t technically lost, they were never released in the U.S. so in that sense are lost to non-Japanese speaking fans. For most fans the interest will lie in the following unproduced Toho scripts: Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor (1963), The Flying Battleship (1966), The Human Torch (1974) and Invisible Man vs. the Human Torch (1975). That’s not all of them, just the better known ones. So there’s a lot of interesting stuff packed into the book if you care to explore beyond just giant monsters.
Driscoll: What are some of the most surprising things you found out when researching that book?
LeMay: Shinichi Sekizawa’s script for Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor really surprised me in how wild it was. There’s literally a scene where the Human Vapor and Frankenstein jump out of a commercial airplane together! If I wasn’t mistaken, Frankenstein was wearing a parachute in that scene. Sekizawa’s take on the monster was that of an actual intelligent being, not a dumb brute, which really surprised me. Similarly, his Flying Battleship script was also great, very James Bondish. And when reading the climax, some of the maneuvers between the battleships are similar enough to those in Latitude Zero (1969) that I’m positive Sekizawa used them there when Flying Battleship was dropped. I loved the scripts for Human Torch and Invisible Man vs. Human Torch (that wasn’t a sequel to the former, but a second evolution of the concept). Invisible Man vs. the Human Torch is a crime thriller with super-humans thrown in. Since it was a crime thriller I listened to Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack as I translated it which really matched the script’s atmosphere and made it come alive for me. I would love to see someone do a better translation of it, but what I read was still pretty fantastic.
Driscoll: What about the spaghetti westerns book you did? Could you tell us about that one just a bit?
LeMay: Yes, in addition to Japanese genre films I love Spaghetti Westerns like Companeros and Once Upon a Time in the West. However, a lot of them are really terrible! For instance, there’s one called White Comanche where William Shatner plays twin brothers—one good and one bad. It’s hilarious. So I wrote Deadly Spaghetti: The Goodest, the Baddest and the Ugliest Italian Westerns Ever Made, a scathing critique of the lesser Spaghettis. It was actually inspired by the book There Goes Tokyo by Mike Grant. It’s a book that pokes fun at Godzilla movies. Even though I never viewed G-films as laughable I loved Grant’s book and it made me want to do the same for Spaghetti Westerns. I got Mike’s blessing before I did, and he even wrote a great foreword for me on it. As an aside, I also looked into possibly doing a “Lost Spaghetti’s” book, but there just wasn’t enough material (the only one I found was an unmade sequel to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).
Driscoll: Your most recent book is Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island. Could you tell us a bit about the concept for this book? By the way, I love how the cover is made to mimic the look of the old Ian Thorne books!
LeMay: Originally that was going to be a general guide/review book for movies tangent to King Kong about giant apes or just apes on the loose in general (like Gorilla at Large and so on). I eventually realized there probably weren’t enough of those to make a very thick book so I figured I’d include an Appendix on unmade giant ape movies. I was shocked to find there was a ton of material out there on unmade King Kong sequels and remakes. Therefore I switched the focus to lost films and just made the guide and review into an Appendix. So I got the best of both worlds.
As to the lost films information, the bulk of it comes straight from the Merian C. Cooper papers at Brigham Young University, so it’s totally legit. The New Adventures of King Kong, Tarzan vs. King Kong and even Space Kong (a remake of King Kong which reimagined Skull Island as an alien planet) are all real! Then there are a lot of tangential projects like Baboon: A Tale About a Yeti which Willis O’Brien cooked up. It didn’t feature King Kong, but would have featured Carl Denham searching for a Yeti so it’s still tied to King Kong.
Yes, the design is a tribute to the old Crestwood House Ian Thorne books which I loved as a kid. The cover image I used is from an uncompleted 1934 film, The Lost Island, which I felt matched the look of the Crestwood books. The Lost Island originated from a studio that no longer exists. So really, no studio today owns that image. As to interior images, the great thing about King Kong compared to Toho and Godzilla is that the rights are a little easier to navigate for fan projects, ironically, because legal rights to just who owns Kong is incredibly, incredibly complicated. You’re on very shaky ground if you cite fair use when it comes to using Toho images or characters, but with Kong you can basically get away with it—hence this book actually has photos and illustrations on the inside. Some of them are exclusive (and are used with permission) including a whole sketchbook for Kid Kong—an axed animated series focusing on the baby ape from King Kong Lives from Filmation. The Kid Kong project developer, Rob Lamb, let me publish them and as far as I know most of those haven’t been published anywhere that I know. So that was a pretty big exclusive and I’m very grateful to him.
Driscoll: You also cover some Toho films in your Kong book—did you find out anything interesting?
LeMay: So, before anyone assumes that I just cut and pasted my chapters on Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong vs. Ebirah from The Lost Films into Kong Unmade, that is NOT the case. I actually went back and did a smoother translation of Continuation and found some really awesome details that I missed, so you will see new information in Kong Unmade even if you have The Lost Films. A big detail that I missed in Continuation was the fact that Godzilla doesn’t just show up in Kyushu, but he actually bursts out of an erupting Mt. Aso to battle Kong! Also, Kong Unmade features a whole chapter on the unmade Heisei King Kong vs. Godzilla, something I didn’t even do in The Lost Films.
Driscoll: What are some of your future projects you have coming up that we can look forward to?
LeMay: Well, ironically, in my attempts to better The Lost Films for a future 2nd edition, it led to the creation of two brand new books. One of the things I was doing was beefing up the Appendix that dealt with the developmental process of finished films. I ended up expanding on some of those to the point that they became chapters of their own rather than Appendix entries. However, I eventually realized that some of these really weren’t ever lost films. I was just having fun tracking the changes. Researching the development of Atragon, which is based off of a novel from 1899, was when it really hit me that this could be its own book. I had also planned on adding in writer bios on Shinichi Sekizawa and his cohorts into the next Lost Films. Instead, I decided to do a whole book on the writing and development process. It’s called Writing Japanese Monsters. As a good example of the type of information that you can expect, did you know that in the original script for Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster that a yakuza character (to tentatively be played by Yoshio Tsuchiya) is the character possessed by a Venusian spirit? There is no Princess Salno in the first draft! Or, did you know Mechagodzilla was meant to be disguised as Godzilla yet again in the original draft of Terror of Mechagodzilla? Or wilder still, that Godzilla and Kiryu almost fought underwater in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.? Fun stuff like that. Hopefully it will be out by Christmas. The other book is Editing Japanese Monsters. It covers the many alternate cuts of Japanese monster movies from Japan, the U.S. and even Germany and other countries. Everything from “Cozzilla” to Command from the Dark (the German Monster Zero) to the Italian edit of Catastrophe 1999 is covered. I’m already 600 pages into that one and there’s still lots more to go!
Driscoll: Thank you so much for your time!
No, thank you! I enjoy reading Toho Kingdom and am always happy to contribute to the site in any way I can. Thanks for all the hard work and research you all do also—your Cutting Room is one of the best resources I have. Please keep those great translations coming!Interviews // May 27, 2019
Not long after the release of Godzilla (2014), news started to come of another entry in the new series by Legendary Pictures. This time an entry that reunited the character with Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan in the next film in the MonsterVerse.
May 26th update
An exclusive “final look” at the upcoming movie has been released. This 60 second compilation includes spoilers, so watch at your own risk!
Also, a press release for the tie-in graphic novel Godzilla: Aftershock has been made available. Information, pictures, and the official trailer can be viewed below, courtesy of Warner Bros.
Legendary Comics’ New Graphic Novel Godzilla: Aftershock Now on Sale in Comic Stores and Online
Thrilling companion prequel to upcoming summer blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters pits the iconic Titan against a mythic new adversary
LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2019 – Fans eagerly awaiting Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ summer’s big-screen blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters, set to hit theaters worldwide on May 31, can get a sneak peek at the monstrous action with Legendary Comics’ thrilling companion graphic novel GODZILLA: AFTERSHOCK, now on sale in comic stores and online. Continuing the story of 2014’s Godzilla after the catastrophic events in San Francisco, the King of the Monsters finds himself once again threatened as a terrifying new foe rises from the depths of the earth, unleashing a series of devastating earthquakes and driven by an unstoppable primal instinct that will test the King of Monsters like never before. Follow Facebook.com/LegendaryComics for the latest news and updates.
“Part of the fun of working on a Godzilla project is that its massive scale demands that it be a collaboration with talented artists and AFTERSHOCK is no exception,” said Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty. “Arvid Nelson and Drew Edward Johnson have created a story that is just as epic and compelling as Godzilla’s big screen adventures. So much so that it sometimes feels like you’re flipping through the storyboards of a movie just waiting to be shot.”
“Arvid and Drew have created a riveting prequel that adds to the Monsterverse while acting as a story bridge between the two Godzilla films,” said Robert Napton, Senior Vice President of Legendary Comics.
Written by Arvid Nelson, with art by Drew Edward Johnson, Godzilla: Aftershockintroduces characters from the upcoming movie and invites readers to delve further into the activities of cryptozoological agency Monarch. The brilliant and driven Monarch operative Dr. Emma Russell races to stop the threat as clues emerge to reveal a terrible secret—a tragedy, of apocalyptic proportions from the distant past that changed the course of human history, is returning to threaten it once more. A shadowy figure stalks Emma’s every move as she travels the globe to uncover secrets, while Godzilla clashes in an ancient rivalry as old as the Earth itself.
May 10th update
The Monarch Sciences website has updated with bios for the human characters from the movie, located under “Operatives” in the top-left drop down menu. As an added bonus, once all the bios have been read, a new bio is unlocked for the film’s antagonist.
In other news, a giant Godzilla head has been constructed atop the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood to promote the upcoming movie. At night, Godzilla’s mouth emits an eye-catching light blue glow. Mike Dougherty shared a picture of the Godzilla head on his Twitter page.
— Mike Dougherty (@Mike_Dougherty) May 10, 2019
May 4th update
Collider has released a 30-minute recording of a press conference featuring director Mike Dougherty and actor Ken Watanabe. As the article points out, there are some spoilers discussed in the video, so anyone wanting to refrain from certain story details may want to return to this article after the movie’s theatrical release.
Meanwhile, the official Xbox Twitter page is holding a sweepstakes, where the grand prize winners will receive a customized Xbox One X with either a 2019 Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, or Rodan skin. Rules and other information can be found in their tweet below.
— Xbox (@Xbox) May 2, 2019
April 26th update
The Hollywood Reporter recently released an interview with Legendary CEO Joshua Grode, who described the company’s current ambitions and projects. When questioned regarding the future of the MonsterVerse and how much “fuel” there is in the franchise, Grode remarked: “I hope a lot. I hope the gas tank is full.”
Meanwhile, WaterTower Music has uploaded two tracks from the movie’s upcoming soundtrack. The first is Track #9: Old Rivals, which gives just a taste of Akira Ifukube in the composition. The second is a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s single Godzilla, composed by Bear McCreary and featuring Dethklok and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian.
April 24th update
Warner Bros has released what’s being dubbed as the final trailer for the upcoming movie. Watch it below.
April 22nd update
HBO has uploaded an extended video of the movie to its streaming platform, HBO NOW. This 5 minute “sizzle reel” is the same one that aired before IMAX screenings of Shazam! (2019), showing a lengthy scene centered around King Ghidorah before playing a clip montage. This video is only available to those with a membership, and will only be on the site till May 1st.
April 19th update
Courtesy of Warner Brothers, a new poster for the movie has been released. Click the image below to see the full resolution version.
April 14th update
Warner Bros. has released another press release. While much of the information has been made available previously, it goes into greater detail regarding some of the staff attached to the movie.
Following the global success of “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic Monsterverse: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history.
The film was directed by Michael Dougherty (“Krampus”), and stars Kyle Chandler (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Argo”) as well as Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Conjuring” films) and Millie Bobby Brown (TV’s “Stranger Things”) in her feature film debut. The acclaimed ensemble cast also includes Bradley Whitford (“Get Out,” “The Post”); Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water,” “Blue Jasmine”); Charles Dance (HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” “The Imitation Game”); Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s “Silicon Valley”); Aisha Hinds (“Star Trek Into Darkness”); O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”); Oscar nominee David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Godzilla”), with Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai,” “Inception,” “Godzilla”) and Golden Globe nominee Ziyi Zhang (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Dougherty directed from a script he wrote with Zach Shields, story by Max Borenstein and Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields, based on the characters “Godzilla,” “King Ghidorah,” “Mothra” and “Rodan” owned and created by Toho Co., Ltd. The film was produced by Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Brian Rogers, with Zach Shields, Barry Waldman, Hiro Matsuoka, Keiji Ota, Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira serving as executive producers, and Ali Mendes and Jay Ashenfelter co-producing for Legendary.
Behind the scenes, Dougherty’s creative team included director of photography Lawrence Sher, whose credits include the “Hangover” films and “Godzilla,” for which he handled additional photography; production designer Scott Chambliss (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”); editors Roger Barton (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the “Transformers” films), Oscar nominee Richard Pearson (“United 93,” “Kong: Skull Island”) and Bob Ducsay (“Godzilla,” “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”); costume designer Louise Mingenbach (the “X-Men” and “Hangover” films), and Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Guillaume Rocheron (“Life of Pi,” “Godzilla”). Music is by Bear McCreary (TV’s “The Walking Dead,” “10 Cloverfield Lane”).
A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, in association with Toho Co., Ltd., a film by Michael Dougherty, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” hits theaters May 31, 2019. It will be distributed in 3D and 2D and IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho; and in China, where it will be distributed by Legendary East.
The film has been rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action, violence and destruction, and for some language.
April 10th update
An additional set of TV spots – “Balance”, “Monster”, and “Ghidorah” – have been released. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given access to higher quality versions of these teasers, the highest quality that can be found online. All three run for 30 seconds, with the “Ghidorah” teaser in particular showing even more new footage.
April 3rd update
Two more TV spots, “Beautiful” (NCAA) and “Run”, have been released. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given access to higher quality versions of these teasers, the highest quality that can be found online. Both run for 30 seconds, but are packed with plenty of new monster footage and action.
March 29th update
Another new TV spot titled “Beautiful” has been released. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given access to a higher quality version of the teaser, the highest quality that can be found online. It runs for 60 seconds, and features even more new footage of the monsters and Monarch.
Meanwhile, the Monarch Sciences Twitter account has uploaded a short video showing various murals of Godzilla, and bringing up the possibility that he could be the “key to coexistence.”
Lastly, two wall-breakers have been officially revealed by Rubies Costumes, one featuring 2019 Godzilla and the other 2019 King Ghidorah. These are expected to be released later this year.
March 17th update
A new TV spot titled “Intimidation” has been released. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given access to a higher quality version of the teaser, the highest quality that can be found online. It runs for 30 seconds, and briefly features even more new footage of Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and Rodan in action.
March 6th update
Director Mike Dougherty shared on his Twitter page a new screenshot of King Ghidorah. This same image was also shared in even higher quality in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, which provided an assortment of new images featuring both monsters and Monarch members, as well as additional information about the upcoming movie.
February 19th update
A new TV spot titled “Time Has Come” has been released. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given access to a higher quality version of the teaser, the highest quality that can be found online. The TV spot runs for 30 seconds and features some brief new footage of Rodan, King Ghidorah, and two mysterious Titans.
January 27th update
Toho has released a Japanese trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which can be viewed below. It is a modified version of the second official trailer, opting to use the “Clair de Lune” mix heard in the first trailer, and runs for 1 minute 32 seconds.
January 21st update
A new TV spot titled “Supremacy” has been released, which focuses heavily on Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), Godzilla, and Rodan. Toho Kingdom has been given access to a higher quality version of the teaser, the highest quality that can be found online. The TV spot runs for 30 seconds.
January 8th, 2019 update
A movie still featuring King Ghidorah has been released, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. The image originally appeared in an online article by USA Today. Click the image below to see the full resolution version.
On a side note, Tamashii Nations has released an interview with director Mike Dougherty. The article also shows some pictures of the director next to the upcoming S.H.MonsterArts figures Godzilla (2019), Rodan (2019), and King Ghidorah (2019).
December 13th update
Courtesy of Warner Brothers, three new posters featuring the Titans Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah have been released, as well as some brief press notes. Click the images below to see their full resolution versions.
Press note information:
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
In 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX on May 31
(Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Producers: Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni
Executive Producers: Zach Shields, Barry H. Waldman, Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Thomas Middleditch, Charles Dance, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds, Zhang Ziyi
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
This film has been rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language.
December 10th update
The second official trailer for 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters has appeared online. The trailer runs for around 2 minutes 30 seconds and presents plenty of clips with Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, as well as some teaser glimpses at what may be other Titans. As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given a higher quality version of the latest trailer, the highest quality that can be found online, which can be seen below.
In addition, a new poster has been revealed. Click the image below to see the full resolution version. High-resolution image courtesy of Warner Brothers.
December 2nd update
IGN Japan has released a 30-minute recording of the Tokyo Comic Con 2018 stage event with host Shinsuke Kasai and director Mike Dougherty, where Dougherty recalls his childhood memories of Godzilla before revealing more background information regarding the movie’s monstrous cast. While the questions are in Japanese, Dougherty answers in English. Concept artwork for the monsters can be seen at around the 17 minute 40 second mark.
December 1st update
Earlier this morning, Tokyo Comic Con 2018 unveiled the official designs for Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah in the form of S.H.MonsterArts figures, with 2019 King Ghidorah and Godzilla being made available for pre-order on January 9th of next year. A 2-meter-tall 2019 Godzilla statue was also present at the event. Concept artwork of the monsters and some battle scenarios were shown to attendees, as well as a brand-new teaser trailer, with director Mike Dougherty confirming that a 2nd official trailer for the movie would be released sometime next week.
The figures of the 4 monsters can be viewed by clicking the image on the right. With a new trailer just on the horizon, the reveals for Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah have been omitted from the thumbnail so to avoid spoiling anyone wishing to wait for their full reveals likely coming in the next trailer.
Twitter user @pacific_boy525 managed to capture the booming audio playing during the Comic Con event, featuring a modernized take of Akira Ifukube’s classic Godzilla composition.
November 17th update
Director Mike Dougherty has announced the end of post-production for Godzillla: King of the Monsters on his Twitter, with a behind-the-scenes image accompanying the following message: “It is done. With love and gratitude to the thousands of talented people all around the world who helped make this lifelong dream a reality. In Godzilla we trust.”
October 21st update
A page from the November 2018 issue of Total Film Magazine has shared both an exclusive image from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as well as a few words from Michael Dougherty regarding the upcoming movie. In the article, Dougherty describes how Godzilla has been with him since his youth, and how he wanted to create “a film that could stand on its own” while remaining faithful to Toho’s own movies and monsters – in particular paying homage to the “morality play” and Mothra’s role as a deity.
Fortunately for the director, while he required approval for the monsters, Toho “signed off on everything without hesitation” after a somewhat nerve-wracking presentation in Japan. Dougherty also goes on to praise Godzilla (2014) and the movie’s director Gareth Edwards for the love given to the title monster, while maintaining his stance on Rodan as one of his favorites due to the flying monster being “a bit of an underdog”. On the other hand, Millie Bobby Brown chips in with a tease of a certain goddess she has come to adore: “Madison has a really, like, interesting connection to Mothra.”
The page closes with some words from Dougherty: “I have such a deep-rooted love for these creatures. […] These aren’t just giant monsters, they’re ancient gods.”
The contents of the article can be read in full in image format. Click the image below to see the larger version. Very special thanks to Gormaru Island for the scan provided!
October 20th update
In a more lighthearted update, 10-year-old Godzilla fan Nigel Ayala caught the attention of Legendary after his story made waves. Nigel was recorded back in August by FOX6 News bestowing “Godzilla power” upon the Milwaukee Brewers in the form of small Godzilla figures. As the Brewers were headed to Hollywood for the National League Championship Series, Legendary flew Nigel and his family out to their studio in Los Angeles, where the young fan was treated to a private tour of Legendary Entertainment, as well as a closed-door screening of a few scenes of 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, courtesy of director Michael Dougherty. The story can be viewed in full in the video below.
October 10th update
Catching up on some overlooked news, an interview with O’Shea Jackson Jr. was shared on GameSpot back in January, where the actor shared his enthusiasm on working with the Godzilla series, as well as detailing some of the physical labors he endured during filming – including the gunning down of several characters in the 2019 movie.
More recently, a recording from San Diego Comic-Con was uploaded through Mulderville’s YouTube channel back in August. Due to video and photo restrictions at the event, the press conference upload is audio only and runs for around 25 minutes. Michael Dougherty, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. cover their inspirations and experiences while working on Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Dougherty’s relationship with Toho, character origins, and some of the main monster locations are also touched upon.
September 26th update
An article from Newsweek has confirmed the names of several motion-capture actors for the movie. Portraying the three-headed monster King Ghidorah will be Alan Maxson as the right head, Richard Dorton as the left head, and the previously-reported Jason Liles as the middle head. Liles will also be working as the mocap actor for Rodan, while T.J. Storm portrays Godzilla.
September 14th update
According to a bulletin released by the Motion Picture Association of America, Godzilla: King of the Monsters has been rated PG-13 “for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language.”
July 29th update
As per tradition, Toho Kingdom has been given a higher quality version of the latest Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) trailer. Below is the higher quality version of the trailer, the highest quality that can be found online.
July 23rd update
For the San Diego Comic Con’s panel in Hall H on the movie, cast members Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, O’Shea Jackson, Thomas Middleditch and director Michael Dougherty went on stage for a little Q&A. Below is this session, recorded and enhanced by Chris Mirjahangir and Michal Shipman.
July 21st update
Just minutes before the Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, some cast and staff of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) were interviewed live by Entertainment Weekly. While no major spoilers are spilled, each shares what brought them on board for the movie, among other details. The archived livestream can be viewed below.
2:24 PM – The official trailer has dropped! It runs for 2 minutes 25 seconds:
4:07 PM – It has been confirmed through the Hall H presentation that Bear McCreary will be composing for the movie. McCreary is best known for his work on television shows such as The Walking Dead and 2004’s Battlestar Galactica, as well as movies such as 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and Colossal (2017). Likewise, Akira Ifukube‘s classic music will be present in some form in the movie.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, director Mike Dougherty shared an image of the Comic-Con 2018 exclusive illustrated poster, with artwork by Christopher Shy. The poster features Godzilla entangled in battle with the monstrous King Ghidorah.
11:22 PM – IGN has uploaded an interview featuring director Mike Dougherty, Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Thomas Middleditch, and O’Shea Jackson Jr., where the director describes how Godzilla: King of the Monsters(2019) takes place five years after the events of Godzilla (2014), the motion-capture effects of King Ghidorah, and how the monster roster consists of “more than four [monsters]”.
July 19th update
The website Monarch Sciences has gone live with an interactive database, which supplies many new details regarding Godzilla’s kaiju co-stars while keeping track of the titular monster himself. Users can uncover historic accounts of Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, and are treated with new pictures and information the higher their clearance level. Such bonus content includes Monarch classifications, natures, behavior, and body height and wingspan statistics.
A teaser trailer for the movie has also dropped, which focuses on Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) attempting to make contact with Monarch. The teaser runs for about 41 seconds, and originally surfaced on Twitter.
Finally, the logo and tagline for the movie have been unveiled, which can be viewed below. The official Godzilla: King of the Monsters website has also been updated to accompany this reveal, with an additional image in the “Gallery” featuring Millie Bobby Brown and the looming figure of Godzilla in the background. Click the image below to see the full resolution version. High-resolution image courtesy of Warner Brothers.
July 16th update
Following up on the previous update, here are clean versions of the two promotional stills from the upcoming film. Click to see the full resolution versions.
Godzilla rises from the depths and unleashes his atomic breath to claim his crown as King of the Monsters in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
(L-R) MILLIE BOBBY BROWN as Madison Russell and VERA FARMIGA as Dr. Emma Russell in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
July 12th update
With San Diego Comic-Con just a week away, Entertainment Weekly has dropped some early details for the movie, as well as revealed two exclusive pictures: The first image features the titular Godzilla, now sporting a somewhat retooled look with larger spines, firing his signature atomic breath towards the sky. The second introduces the characters Madison Russell and Dr. Emma Russell (Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga respectively) overlooking something in an icy chamber.
According to director Mike Dougherty in the article: “The world is reacting to Godzilla in the same way we would react to any other terrifying incident, in that we are overreacting. […] There’s paranoia and endless speculation about whether he is the only one out there or whether we’re threatened by others like his kind.” Godzilla is said to have disappeared following the events of the previous movie, but will be making his presence known once more alongside other monsters such as Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. Dougherty also mentions how he has a soft spot for Rodan in particular, and believes they’ve done the monster “justice.”
Regarding Godzilla’s use of his atomic breath, Dougherty describes: “Not without giving away too much […] But it takes place at a very key moment and it’s sort of a call to arms.” Also, Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga’s characters are said to have been kidnapped by “a mysterious organization, with their own plans for the creatures”, with ex-husband and father Mark Russell (played by Kyle Chandler) out to rescue the pair alongside Godzilla (2014) Monarch members Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins). While no thorough details were shared about the follow-up movie, 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong, Dougherty did tease how there would be “bread crumbs” leading to the inevitable confrontation between the two monsters.
July 10th update
In an interview with Metro US, actress Vera Farmiga has shared several new and surprising details about her character, Dr. Emma Russell. In the movie, she plays a paleobiologist, who has “figured out a way to communicate with the creatures and potentially control them using their bioacoustics on a sonar level,” in what she amusingly describes as being like a “DJ for the monsters.” She also views the film as being more about the environment than about the monsters themselves: “When it comes down to it that’s what emerged to me off the written page, and so I find that there has to be a little parable in it that makes me interested.” Vera Farmiga’s character of Dr. Emma Russell will be married to Mark Russell, played by Kyle Chandler, and be the mother of Madison Russell, played by Millie Bobby Brown.
July 7th update
Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Mike Dougherty confirmed on Twitter that Godzilla will be present in some fashion at San Diego Comic-Con this year. The director’s brief confirmation was in response to another Twitter user asking whether or not Godzilla would be appearing at the upcoming event’s Hall H panel. San Diego Comic-Con will be running from July 19th to the 22nd later this month.
12:17 PM – The Comic-Con website has included the date and time of the Warner Bros. Hall H presentation: it will be held on Saturday July 21st at 10:30am – 12:30pm PDT (1:30pm – 3:30pm EDT). As of now, no films or panelists have been announced, though with the aforementioned confirmation of Godzilla, information regarding the 2019 sequel will more than likely be presented in this time frame.
May 23rd update
Warner Bros. has announced that Godzilla: King of the Monsters has had its release date moved from March 22nd, 2019 to May 31st, 2019.
May 22nd update
Ever since the sequel to Godzilla 2014’s film was announced, it has had multiple names ever since. When it was formally announced, it was “Godzilla King of Monsters”. The “the” was left out, from what I’m told, due to a typo. It was later corrected but it was still just a working title. Fans and media outlets did pick up on the name though and the “Godzilla King of the Monsters” name stuck. However, internally there still was no cemented official title. For example, on Warner Brothers’ own media pass page (press only), it was only listed as “Godzilla Sequel”.
So, today, as an exclusive reveal via Warner Brothers, Toho Kingdom is happy to announce the official title is: Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Sometimes the working title is just something so cool sounding that it sticks around. Stay tuned for more on Godzilla: King of the Monsters on the road to release.
April 27th update
Actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. once again shares some more information regarding Godzilla 2 in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where he stresses the powerful presence of King Ghidorah within the movie. Talk surrounding the sequel starts at around the 5:50 mark in the video.
Also, Rampage (2018) motion-capture actor Jason Liles joins in on the action for Godzilla 2, as shared in an exclusive article by TheWrap. Liles will be just one of several mocap actors hired to portray the three-headed antagonist, King Ghidorah.
January 18th, 2018 update
While on the press tour for his new film Den of Thieves, actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. gives a few tidbits about Godzilla 2 in an interview with Collider.com. The conversation about the next Godzilla movie starts about 10:30 into the video. During the video, the actor stresses his fandom for the franchise, while doing some very brief teasing for the upcoming movie.
July 13th update
Although promoted on their Twitter account for Kong: Skull Island (2017), some additional hints are coming in related to the greater MonsterVerse and the cast of the second Godzilla film. In particular, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah…
— Kong: Skull Island (@kongskullisland) July 12, 2017
The video covers a time line of the MonsterVerse from 1991 to present. It references events from Godzilla (2014) and the comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. The entries for 2009 and 2016, whose title for the creature as “Monster Zero” is a clear nod to Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), are references to Mothra and King Ghidorah respectively. It’s assumed that the 1991 listing that starts the video is referencing Rodan, and his habit of living near volcanoes.
Full text during the video, which uses music from the Kong: Skull Island (2017) score, is found below. Please note some of the text is cut off in the video, and filled in with a best guess in brackets:
1991 Isle de Mona: A covert Monarch team established a quarantine zone around a dormant volcano in Isle de Mona, under the guise of “environmental research”. Over the coming years, what began as a small scientific outpost will expand to become a full containment facility around the mouth of the volcano.
1995 Return to Skull Island: Monarch security officer Aaron Brooks defies his father Houston Brooks and leads an off-the-books mission to Skull Island, to determine what has become of Kong since the 1973 expedition.
1999 Janjira Meltdown: Following an explosive disaster [at the Janjira] power planet, Monarch establishes [a quarantine] zone outside of Tokyo. What the [Monarch team discovers is] that Janjira Q-Zone is in reality containment facility established around a dormant M.U.T.O.
2005 A Mysterious Mercenary: Former British Army Colonel and MI-6 agent Jonah Alan is locked up in Pakistani prison after an encounter with MONARCH agents. Alan and his band of mercenary accomplices were caught trying to breach the walls of a subterranean M.U.T.O. dig-site.
2009 Temple of the Moth: Mythographic studies of Chinese temples leads Monarch to the high-altitude jungles of the Yunnan province. Dr. Emma Russel and her team follow a mysterious bio-acoustic signature to a previously undiscovered megalithic temple, within which lies a gigantic cocoon. A quickening heartbeat is detected inside.
2012 Message in a Bottle: Days before retirement, Monarch veteran Houston Brooks receives a coded message from his son. The mission to Skull Island has revealed dramatic new information about Kong’s origins, and his role on the island.
2014 The Battle of San Francisco: The existence of giant superspecies is revealed to the world as Godzilla clashes with two M.U.T.O.s in the center of San Francisco, unleashing devastation upon the urban center. The world watches as Godzilla defends our world and restores balance to the natural order. The time has come for Monarch to step out of the shadows.
2016 Monster Zero: When Monarch discovers an extraordinary superspecies sealed beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, Dr. Vivienne Graham leads the effort to build a covert containment and research facility around the dormant creature. Her classified field notes contain a mysterious footnote: “The devil has three heads.”
June 20th update
Warner Bros. has begun to distribute a press release for the movie to celebrate filming commencing. With a brief story synopsis, the release mentions the four monsters to be included in the movie: Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah. The release also still references the late Yoshimitsu Banno, director of Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), as an executive producer. The release is found below:
WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ AND LEGENDARY PICTURES’ MONSTERVERSE KICKS INTO GEAR AS THE NEXT GODZILLA FEATURE GETS UNDERWAY
Director Michael Dougherty helms the film in which stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe and Zhang Ziyi take on the King of the Monsters… and more!
BURBANK, CA, June 19, 2017 – Following the global success of 2014’s “Godzilla” and this year’s “Kong: Skull Island,” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse: an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. The film, which begins principal photography today, is being directed by Michael Dougherty (“Krampus”), and stars Oscar nominees Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Conjuring” films), and Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”) and Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”), both reprising their “Godzilla” roles; Kyle Chandler (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Manchester by the Sea”); Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) in her feature film debut; Bradley Whitford (“Get Out”); Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s “Silicon Valley”); Charles Dance (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”); O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”); Aisha Hinds (“Star Trek Into Darkness”); and Golden Globe nominee Zhang Ziyi (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Dougherty directs from a script he wrote with Zach Shields. The film is being produced by Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Brian Rogers and Thomas Tull, with Barry H. Waldman, Zach Shields, Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira serving as executive producers and Alexandra Mendes co-producing for Legendary.
Behind the scenes, Dougherty’s creative team includes director of photography Lawrence Sher, whose past credits include “War Dogs” and “Godzilla,” for which he handled additional photography; production designer Scott Chambliss (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”); editor Roger Barton (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the “Transformers” films); costume designer Louise Migenbach (the “X-Men” and “Hangover” films); and Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Guillaume Rocheron (“Godzilla,” “Ghost in the Shell,” and part of the Oscar-winning team behind “Life of Pi “).
Filming is taking place mainly in Atlanta, Georgia. A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, the film is currently scheduled for release in March 2019, and will be distributed in 3D and 2D and in select IMAX theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho Co., Ltd.
June 9th update
Actress Zhang Ziyi, best known for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, has been added to the movie’s cast. Acting as part of the MONARCH organization, Ziyi has signed a multi-picture deal that will see her as a reoccuring character in the MonsterVerse, as she is also set to appear in the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong movie as well.
June 2nd update
The cast for the movie continues to expand, as actor Bradley Whitford has been added to the movie. Whitford, who has acted in movies such as The Cabin in the Woods and Scent of a Woman, is also joined by another actor announcement. Thomas Middleditch, star of the TV show Silicon Valley, has also been added to the movie’s cast.
May 25th update
Casting news continues to pour in. This time, the director, Mike Dougherty, has tweeted that actor Randy Havens, who played Mr. Clarke on Stranger Things, has also joined the cast in an unnamed role.
May 23rd update
Sally Hawkins, who appeared in Godzilla (2014) as Doctor Vivienne Graham, will reprise her role in the movie’s sequel. In addition, it has been announced that Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, will be appearing in the movie as well.
April 19th update
Actress Aisha Hinds, who has been making positive rounds due to her performance as Harriet Tubman on WGN America’s Underground, will be appearing in the film in a currently unspecified role.
March 27th update
Casting news continues to flow in as O’Shea Jackson Jr., best known for his work in Straight Outta Compton, is now in negotiations to join the latest Godzilla film. If he signs on, he will join his Straight Outta Compton costars in the MonsterVerse, as both Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell already starred in Kong: Skull Island (2017).
February 28th update
Actress Vera Farmiga, best known for her work on The Conjuring and Up in the Air, will appear in the film as the mother of Millie Bobby Brown’s character.
February 21st update
Actor Kyle Chandler, best known for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street and Zero Dark Thirty, is set to star in the movie as the father of Millie Bobby Brown’s character. In addition, the article mentions that actor Ken Watanabe is likely to reprise his role in the upcoming movie.
January 31st update
Legendary Pictures has clarified to us that the title for the upcoming Godzilla movie is in fact Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The earlier press release in December was in fact with a typo that became widespread.
Jaunary 28th update
With the director of the latest Godzilla film locked down, it was only a matter of time before more cast and crew started to be announced.
This includes the revelation that Millie Bobby Brown, star of Stranger Things, will have a starring role in Godzilla: King of Monsters. Details on the character she will play is being kept under wraps, but expect more cast announcements to start happening around the upcoming film.
January 24th, 2017 update
The director for Godzilla: King of Monsters is official. Michael Dougherty, who was already tapped as co-writer with Zach Shields, will oversee the movie. Godzilla will mark the third major directorial effort from Dougherty, his others being Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus.
December 15th update
Legendary Pictures issued a release announcing that Herbert W. Gains as their new executive vice president (EVP) of Physical Production, Valerie Flueger Veras as their new senior vice president (SVP) of Post- Production and Sara Flamm as their new SVP of Physical Production. Buried in the release was a glimpse of the title for the upcoming Godzilla film from Legendary, now called Godzilla: King of Monsters. The name harks back to the American title for Godzilla (1954) and the ongoing alias moniker of Godzilla himself, used briefly by the press at the end of Godzilla (2014).
December 7th update
As part of the press junket for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, IGN asked Gareth Edwards, director of Godzilla (2014), why he’s not directing the sequel. That response is found below:
October 23rd update
It was probably only a matter of time, but word has spread that after hiring the writers of Krampus the studio is now eyeing the director of that film as well: Michael Dougherty. While some sources fumbled stating it’s a sure thing, others have noted that this is still in talks pending approval of the screenplay and no official deal has been set in stone. Waiting for sreenplay approval is a natural step as Dougherty is already attached as a writer to the project. Dougherty has been directing since 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat, but whose career is primarly as a writer rather than director. If choosen, Godzilla 2 would be his most high profile directing gig.
October 21st update
After a five month news hiatus, Legendary has announced that two new writers have been attached to Godzilla 2. These writers are Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields. The pair most recently collaborated on the horror movie Krampus for Legendary; however, while Shields is relatively new to the blockbuster field, Dougherty has a long track record, having written on films like X-Men: Apocalypse and X2: X-Men United.
May 14th update
Following on the heels of the movie’s delay, it has been announced that Gareth Edwards has left Godzilla 2. Reportedly the split is amicable and based largely on Edwards’ desire to work on smaller scale productions after Godzilla (2014) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Legendary Pictures is now on a hunt to find a director to replace Edwards on the film.
May 13th, 2016 update
Over half a year has passed and things have been quiet on the news front. Sadly, things haven’t changed much, as the only piece of news related to the awaited Godzilla sequel from Legendary Pictures is a delay to the production.
The movie, which was originally slated for a June 8, 2018 release date, is now aiming for a March 22, 2019. As a spot of good news, Legendary and Warner Bros. did date the fourth film in the new cinematic universe, as Godzilla vs. Kong will be arriving on May 29, 2020.
August 12th, 2015 update
Been a long silence on the news front for the follow-up entry in the new series by Legendary Pictures. Collider got a chance, though, to sit down with writer Max Borenstein for an interview. The basis of the interview was the upcoming TV show Minority Report. However, that didn’t stop them from briefly talking about the future of the King of the Monsters.
When asked if Borenstein was writing it now, he responded:
“I’m writing it now, and it’s really going to be great. I don’t want to go off book and tell you anything that I’m not allowed to tell you. The response to the first film was really exciting, but now that that world is established, we can do bigger and even better things. We’re really stoked.”
As for if director Gareth Edwards would be involved in the scripting process:
“Yeah, I hope. He’s making Star Wars right now, so he’s a little preoccupied, but yeah. Gareth is amazing. It’s exciting to get to work with him again. One of the fun things about that experience is the same fun that it’s been on Minority Report, where you really get to have your fingers in the pie.”
Nothing really new from the interview, although the news circuits have picked up the “bigger and even better things” quote and ran with it for news stories.
September 22nd update
Deadline has announced that Max Borenstein, who wrote Godzilla (2014) and will write the screenplay for the upcoming Skull Island film, has been tapped to create the screenplay for the second Godzilla film from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.
August 14th update
News has begun to build for the tentatively titled Godzilla 2. Among those is a release date for the next adventure to star the King of the Monsters. This news story will act as a roundup to details as they emerge on the sequel to Godzilla (2014) from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros… and what a long road it will be.
Comic Con 2014 teased the line up of the next film, name dropping Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah. We also knew that Gareth Edwards would return to direct and chances are good that, due to announcing the news himself, that Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull will produce.
The latest news gives us a date for the film:
June 8, 2018
That will be over four years since the last movie, which is long for a sequel although was expected since Edwards is directing the Star Wars spin off to be released in 2016.
July 27th, 2014 update
Details have begun for “Godzilla 2“, the follow up to this year’s Godzilla movie. Rodan, Mothra and the three-headed monster Ghidorah are joining the Legendary Pictures Godzilla franchise.
Legendary Pictures had a big Comic Con this year. While the announcement of a new King Kong project, titled Skull Island, took a lot of thunder, the King of the Monsters had an announcement of his own.
Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull presented a video message from Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards at the Hall H event. Edwards mentioned that he was busy on the Star Wars spin-off film he was directing, but thanked everyone for their support of Godzilla and making the film a success.
This lead into a teaser for the sequel. The segment was “classified Monarch footage”, the organization that Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) belonged to in the 2014 film. The sequence appeared to be retro, with John F. Kennedy talking about threats which would place it in the 1960’s. Text on the screen then mentions “there were others”, possibly talking about the alpha predators that Godzilla belongs to, followed by a shadow and the text “CODENAME: RODAN”.
Next is a furry closeup of an insect with the text “CODENAME: MOTHRA”.
Finally, there is a large shadow that it splices around before saying “CODENAME: GHIDORAH”.
The video ends with the text “THREAT ASSESSMENT: CONFLICT INEVITABLE.” – “LET THEM FIGHT.”
CEO Thomas Tull then announced that Edwards would be returning to direct the sequel after finishing Star Wars.
As a side remark, the video used the name “Ghidorah”, which might be an allusion to the monster’s first, flightless appearance in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). More likely, though, it’s just coincidence.
NOTE: The above image was created by Toho Kingdom. It was not taken from the video shown at Comic Con.News // May 26, 2019
How common are “Godzilla rolls” on a Japanese restaurant menu? I plan to find out, searching across San Francisco for any and all Godzilla food items in restaurants. I’ll be excluding Godzila Sushi, which is really a mecca to the character and fully deserved its own article. As expected, these will be unlicensed items from these establishments. For each I will talk about the restaurant, the food item and anything else of note. Luckily there isn’t a “Godzilla roll archetype”, the same way there is for a “California roll” or a “Philadelphia roll”, so it should be a new experience each time.
May 19th, 2019 – Found inside Japan Town, a decent place in itself to pick up some occasional Toho merchandise, comes Kushi Tsuru. This establishment is nestled right among the restaurant row inside the mall, with a ton of options to choose from for food. Despite the direct competition, as there are a lot of restaurants all close to each other that serve Japanese food, the places tend to be moderately busy on the weekends. Unfortunately, Kushi Tsuru is on the pricer side but also the only restaurant, at the time of writing this, that features a Godzilla roll in Japan Town.
At $13.25, this Godzilla roll isn’t a cheap option. It does, though, offer a lot of seafood in the form of generous pieces of fish chopped and placed on top. The selection of fish range from tuna, white tuna and salmon while a stray, large piece of avocado will also be present. Inside the roll one finds cucumber and shrimp, which has been fried tempura style. The rice on the roll is abnormally hard, although despite this the rolls will sometimes fall apart, the fate of two of mine. As for the overall taste, it’s on the mild side, but will likely appeal to seafood lovers with deeper pockets.
Kiki Japanese Restaurant
April 26th, 2019 – Referred to locally as Kiki’s by some, and at one time was called Kiki Teriyaki Sushi before a minor name change, this 1269 9th Ave establishment strikes a balance between “hole in the wall” and family restaurant. The crooked doors and windows allow the place to stand out, while the interior, for many years, felt lackluster. They recently, though, did a remodel that greatly helped the place look a little more upscale
Now a couple things to note here. First is that the place gets its name from Hayao Miyazaki‘s 1989 movie Kiki’s Delivery Service, which was released by Toei. This inspiration is obvious inside, with a lot of official artwork hanged from Miyazaki’s movies. Oddly, though, these are three movies featured heavily:
One will notice that they aren’t heavily promoting the movie which it gets its namesake, which is odd, but also that none of the recent movies are promoted. The reason for the latter, though, is the age of the place. I’m not sure the exact age, but it does predate 2005, meaning that Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) likely wasn’t even out yet.
Anyway onto the Godzilla roll. Priced at $6.75, it’s described on the menu as:
Spicy tuna tempura topped with house special wasabi sauce
The dish has some positives, like the tuna has an excellent aftertaste. The roll itself is also warm when received, which I enjoyed, and the tempura batter is on the lighter side. However… you have to like wasabi to enjoy this, and that’s likely going to cater to a very small audience. The reason is the “special wasabi sauce”, which is like a mayo mixed with wasabi. Sadly, the wasabi taste is very overpowering, masking much of the rest of the flavor. Consequently, only recommended to those who like wasabi. Also mark this as roll #2 with a mixture of red and green in the roll.
Sakesan Sushi & Bistro
April 21st, 2019 – Located on 626 Clement Street, one finds this fairly nice establishment. Seating inside is a mixture, with an area dedicated for taking off your shoes and sitting around a small table. Alternatively, you can sit at a high table with your shoes on. Like many Japanese restaurants, this place features an open kitchen area. As the name might imply, there is a strong emphasis on drinks at this place. It has a nice long menu, and does serve some good sake.
Now this place also has a happy hour that runs from 4pm to 6pm each day. That’s probably inconvenient on the weekdays, but can work out on the weekends. As a bonus, the happy hour menu includes an item called the “Godzilla Roll”. Priced at $8 on the regular menu, the item is $6 on this menu.
It’s described as a:
Fried salmon roll with green onion & spicy sauce on top
(regular menu uses the word tempura instead of fried)
The regular menu mentions it takes about 20-25 minutes to prepare, due to frying, although the happy hour menu fails to note the waiting time. Appearance wise, it looks good. There is a mixture of teriyaki sauce and a very mild sriracha-like sauce poured on top. There is a healthy dose of green onions as well, giving it a nice, diverse array of colors. Not sure the red and greens are what inspired the Godzilla name or not, but it looks appetizing. In terms of taste, the salmon flavor is very strong through out. Now one of my general complaints with fried sushi is it gets to be too heavy tasting, although this dish escapes that. The batter is on the lighter side, so while it is fried it’s not overpowering. All in all, there are better sushi items on the menu, but this one is appealing.BY: Anthony RomeroKaiju Kuisine // May 21, 2019
Perhaps it might count as evidence of a sort of masochistic tendency in my behavior, but whenever a new live-action adaptation of a manga comes out (especially if it is a ridiculous action manga), I like to try to go out and see it. Sure, I will skip out on some of the romance ones, or I just forget about some of them, but if it is a big action manga, I usually like to go. Even if I don’t know much about the manga.
The recent Kingdom film has the added benefit (for me) of being about ancient China. I have harbored an interest in China for years—enough to sit through over fifteen hours of lectures about Chinese history as well as quite a few books, not to mention dozens of Chinese lessons and hundreds of hours of study.
And kung fu movies. I can’t forget the endless kung fu movies. Chop socky almost always makes things better.
So it was with a background of mad manga fandom and mad China interest that I went in to see Kingdom—that, and I bought the first volume of the manga and read it quick before attending the film with a good friend. The manga was enough to prime me on the characters and also really helped me to follow the story better as well.
The story follows Shin and Hyou, two orphans (living under the same somewhat kind master) with big dreams to become the most powerful war generals in China. To accomplish that goal, they incessantly practice fighting each other, and through that unending training regimen, they both become quite skilled fighters. One day a passing Chinese official sees them in the midst of their wild battle practice. The official takes a special interest in Hyou and enlists the boy for a special mission, leaving Shin behind.
To reveal what that mission is, though revealed very early on in the manga and in the movie as well, seems like a big spoiler to me. I think it is more fun to go into the story without knowing, as it caught me by surprise when I read the manga. Anyway, suffice it to say that Shin gets pulled into a dangerous world of intrigue and backstabbing and incredible violence as various forces vie for the throne and weird and wild warriors appear to challenge and attempt to slaughter Shin and his friends.
For me, the story was very engaging, if sometimes presented a bit simplistically in the movie. The manga allows the plot to breathe more so that character motivations can be explored in a more leisurely fashion. The movie tries to tell a pretty big chunk of story in a couple hours, and I think it succeeds more than many live-action manga travesties… but it still is trying to do a lot in a short time, so fans of the manga may get a bit of whiplash and they may find themselves longing for the more nuanced serial storytelling allowed in fifty plus volumes of manga.
Acting is fine, though it leans on the “scream your emotions” side. Shin especially tends to rage and roar and rarely has real soft and tender moments. Other characters, too, are quite a bit larger than life, such as a strutting and unstoppable general and a bizarre leaping, whipping hunter/killer with a blowpipe and poison darts and sort of octopus legs flopping all around as part of his clothing. Villains tend to fall into the sneering and insufferable variety, but that makes it more fun when they get theirs later.
One aspect of the story that I could not completely buy into was the strength of the main character, Shin. Yes, I get that he has been practicing endlessly with Hyou, but they never had any formal training, no real fight experience—I mean an actual fight, not just training with sticks. Yet when faced with a ferocious assassin for the first time, in his first real fight for his life, Shin wins, and then wins against a group of murderous ruffians with ease straight afterward. If anything, though, the manga is worse in this respect, and the movie actually tones down Shin’s unbeatable fighting prowess… but his supreme abilities still strike me as a bit too much.
Special effects are uneven. Costumes are often gorgeous, and the “owl” costume looks very manga-perfect, though some of the armor on soldiers looks like rubber. Some ornamental masks that appear later in the film are very cool and quite varied and impactful, but they don’t really look like something made in the past so much as movie props. The swords look sweet, but they look like they painted in chrome. A huge troll-like man-beast makes an appearance, and his costume is a bit stiff frankly.
Still, the sets are very impressive, and some of the CGI looks respectful, even good. Other times characters get woosh like flies through the air, bouncing and crashing with little sense of weight.
That weightlessness is worst in some of the fight sequences, wherein sometimes a baddie or goodie gets swatted effortlessly out of a dramatic leap. But these moments of lousy CG are only minor stains on the frequently kinetic and exciting fight sequences, which often end in blood and glory. While often I am not a fan of Japanese movie action, I would suggest this one is better than most, though not by a wide margin. With movies like Bleach (2018, also from the same director) and Ajin (2017) recently also sporting impressive fights, I think the manga movie world has been improving… even if they don’t approach the best of the Chinese/Hong Kong martial arts smash-a-thons yet.
I also want to say something quick about the cinematography, which captures the sense of wonder and the gorgeousness of the landscapes and buildings well. Some of the shots are truly spectacular, and the editing job usually presents the characters so that the action is easy to follow.
In addition, I think it’s important to say something about what amounts to a big elephant in the room—or maybe rather a panda. This is a Japanese movie depicting Chinese people in ancient China. All the characters are played by Japanese, not Chinese. Given the rocky nature of the historical and current relations between Japan and China, it may seem strange or even a bit dangerous to create a movie like this. After all, back when Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) was released, some people were offended that many of the Japanese characters were played by Chinese actors, presumably for extra name recognition in the West. While I did not think Kingdom was especially disrespectful of China or Chinese people, some Chinese may see things differently. It certainly isn’t a realistic take.
And maybe that’s a point in the film’s favor. Kingdom never pretends to be accurate historical fiction, but is instead a rollicking and wild ride with high drama and fast action. When I mentioned to one of my Chinese friends I had watched the movie, she said it sounded interesting (and she knew what the movie was about).
At any rate, for me the movie was a lot of bombastic fun, energetic and entertaining, if not particularly deep, with likable if not especially deep characters and a story that feels complete. Not bad. The director, Shinsuke Sato, has now made a name for himself with quite the string of manga adaptations, and though I haven’t seen them all, and some I have heard were much more successful than others, the accumulated experience really has paid off I think. It may not quite conquer the world of manga movies, but it is dang good for what it is, and that’s enough for me.General // May 20, 2019
Author: Connor Clennell | Banner: Dao Zang Moua
The Atlantic Ocean.
The second largest ocean on the planet, spanning an area of one hundred and six million, four hundred and sixty thousand square kilometers and accounting for twenty percent of the Earth’s surface. Billions of creatures called it home, filling the niches of its many environments. It was here that commercial fishermen gathered their catch for the seafood-hungry market of America, countless breakthroughs in marine biology and geography were made as humanity ventured deeper and deeper into its depths, and strange life forms, far more alien than any of the true invaders from the cosmos, made their home in the eerie darkness.
It was here where Cameron Winter would change the fate of the world.
The multi-millionaire mogul typed away rapidly before a wall of monitors, creating lines of code and complex instructions. Outside, waves lapped at the hull of his privately-owned, customized research vessel. He reached for his coffee cup, not even slowing his work as he switched to one hand and gulped down the last of the lukewarm exotic blend. One of the perks of running one of the largest bio-and-computer tech companies in the world was enjoying what many people had not the knowledge or the funds to. The average American would go bankrupt just trying to acquire one cup of what Cameron drank on a daily basis. For the richest man on Earth, it was not even a dent in his colossal wealth.
The cruel thought brought a smirk to his lips, awakening him from his focused state as the last commands were added. It was another five minutes of rechecking before the mogul was truly satisfied with his work. Raising his arms and stretching his sleeping muscles, he checked the clock on the wall and his watch. Both read 12:55 almost precisely, a full two minutes before his predicted completion time.
“Sometimes I surpass even my own expectations,” Cameron chucked to himself. He’d have to make sure not to make a habit of it. From his experience, timing was everything. Like any machine or team, an idea was only successful if all of its components were timed perfectly. It was errors like these that had spoiled his reputation in the past. From then, he had vowed to never fall victim to such mistakes again.
Cameron turned to the door and smiled as the alarm above it buzzed and flashed. The timing was perfect, as he’d predicted. Straightening his dark jacket, he stepped out of the room and marched toward the bridge.
The bridge teemed with activity as he stepped inside. Crewmen analysed the vessel’s systems and sonar radar, making certain that everything was tip-top, while scientists prepared the equipment soon to be utilized. Cameron glanced at each person with interest as he walked over to the captain, who turned to greet the white-haired man as he stood beside him.
“We’ve reached the coordinates you gave us, Mr. Winter,” he reported.
Cameron made a pleased sound. “In record time as well, captain. If there is one thing I enjoy seeing in my employees, it’s efficiency.”
“Thank you, sir,” said the captain. “Though if I may ask, me and the men aren’t sure why-“
“Why I made you come to the middle of nowhere.” Cameron finished the man’s sentence with a smirk. “Recently, my view of this planet has been expanded. Thus, I have to ensure I keep up with this expansion, and what I will procure here will make sure of it.”
The captain scratched his head, confused by this news. “What could you possibly find out here that’s of use to you?” he asked.
The head of Solstice Industries said nothing as he stared out at the ocean beyond the glass windows of the bridge. With someone of his wealth, intellect and social standing, it was solemn difficult to get what he wanted. A virus targeted at NASA’s satellites, a few bribes to keep nosy astrologers quiet and purchasing the rights to this section of the ocean meant nobody knew of the cosmic body that had crash-landed here two days ago. He had been keeping track of the object ever since it had popped up on the feed of his own satellites two weeks ago. He was further intrigued when a detailed analysis discovered the contents of the invading satellite. With this knowledge, he knew that it must come into his possession at any cost. After all, there was nothing he could not afford.
“Get your men ready, captain,” he ordered. “I want a boat out there depth-charging the area in ten minutes and my Cyber Flies operational in five.”
A small dinghy was soon out on the water, dropping explosives into the ocean per Cameron’s instructions. The mines sank deep into the inky depths, vanishing from sight and leaving only spouts of bubbles, minutes after their deployment, as the clue to their detonation. The mogul was certain that the bombardment would rouse whatever slumbered at the seabed and bring it to the surface. From there, his Cyber Flies would do the rest.
“We’ve got something!” a technician called out as the deep-sea sonar pinged to life, alerting its operator to the presence of a foreign body. Cameron’s head twisted to her direction as she worked the controls to get a more accurate reading. “Depth of one thousand meters… nine hundred… eight hundred…”
The ship’s captain glared at Cameron with his suspicions raised. “What have you dragged us out here to find, Winter?” he demanded. The cruel CEO’s eyes flickered over and he shot a smile at the man as the technician continued to count down.
“Every good company needs its security, captain,” he replied smoothly. “Or in this scenario, a guard dog.”
“Four hundred meters…” The technician and her co-workers began to grow nervous as the distance between the bogey and the surface lessened by the second. “T-three hundred meters…”
The sailors on the dinghy continued to drop mines into the water, unaware of the situation developing underneath them. As the commander’s radio crackled to life, bright flashes appeared below the surface as the explosives detonated against the rising anomaly.
“Two hundred meters…”
“Reggie, get yourselves the hell out of there!” the captain shouted into the radio. “Get back to the boat!”
“Belay that.” Cameron felt the captain’s gaze on him not a second after he had finished his sentence.
“We cannot abandon those men!” he snapped, but the mogul shook his head.
“Nothing that can be done that won’t endanger us as well. I’m afraid sacrifices must be made in these scenarios.”
The skipper didn’t buy his words for a second. He knew that Cameron had planned to use those sailors as bait, but he could not bring himself to argue with the man. He had seen what happened to those who spoke out against Cameron Winter and desired to not join them.
“One hundred meters… Contact!”
All hands on deck looked out to the ocean as the dinghy was surrounded by froth. Recognizing the danger, the commanding sailor ignored Cameron’s orders and slammed down the ignition lever, only for the water to rocket upward and launch the vessel skyward in pieces. As seawater and debris rained down, Cameron Winter stared out at the towering, seaweed green titan now protruding from the ocean. His lips grew into a smile as the beast’s maw opened, emitting a high-pitched and oddly familiar sound.
The entire bridge gaped in awe at the spiny creature, unable to make a sound lest they dare catch its attention.
“You know this creature?” the captain asked.
“One of his kind has been to our world before, back in nineteen sixty-six,” Cameron explained to the man. “From the records, that specimen was hardly a major threat.”
The captain narrowed his eyes at the mogul. “Then why do you want it? Surely, one of your own creations would be a far more suitable weapon.”
The world’s richest man didn’t reply. He only smiled as he pulled out a tablet-like device and tapped in a series of commands.
On the outside of the ship, Bemular had finally shaken off the last dregs of sleep. The space monster was pleased with the destruction of the object that had disturbed him, but his rage was far from settled. His eyes caught the main vessel, noting its similarities to the smaller entity. Concluding that it was connected somehow, and thus responsible for the attack as well, Bemular made toward it. Halfway to the vessel, however, the reptile stopped. A strange buzzing sound filled the air, irritating Bemular as his head snapped from side to side in search of its source. From the bowels of the ship, five objects emerged and hovered toward the invader. They resembled a type of parasitic wasp, only far larger in size and constructed of plastic and metal. The blue-and-white drones buzzed around Bemular menacingly as the reptile glared. He tried to keep his eyes on the artificial insects, but their swift reflexes made tracking their movements difficult.
One of the Cyber Flies surged forward, taking advantage of the extra-terrestrial’s confusion as it aimed for the back of his neck, but its buzzing wings betrayed its presence to Bemular and he spun around, blasting the drone with a fiery, blue beam from his mouth. As the burning remains fell into the ocean, two more Cyber Flies darted at the distracted beast. This time, the machines reached the reptile’s surface. They readied their stingers and drove them into his skin, only for the tips to shatter against the hardened spines coating the length of his back.
Cameron Winter frowned as he observed the feed of the two drones, now presented with a problem. All problems, nonetheless, had a solution, and the CEO was already racking his brain for the one required. He tapped in a new set of commands, instructing the four Cyber Flies to fall back.
As the two on Bemular’s back lifted off, the monster swung his head in their direction. The drones’ feed cut to static as they were crushed to scrap, their remains scattered to the waves. Over Cameron’s shoulder, the vessel’s captain smirked, far from brave enough to openly mock the man. His gaze landed back on the emerald titan outside, his features contorted in a worried expression as he contemplated the eminent danger.
“Captain? Mr. Winter?”
The sonar technician’s voice rang out, bringing both men’s attention to her as the sonar pinged in a slow rhythm. “There’s something else.”
“What do you mean?” asked the captain.
“Another object just appeared on the radar,” she explained, motioning to the screen. On the edge of the map, a large shape blinked with each sonar sweep. With each new readout, the shape moved closer to the center of the screen at an alarming rate. “Six hundred meters out and closing.”
Cameron’s displeased expression grew stronger. The operation was supposed to operate smoothly, but now complications were appearing one after the other. Unlike the problem with penetrating Bemular’s hide, the appearance of another monster was a serious hazard to his work. In order to maintain the secrecy of the operation, the millionaire was unable to bring an armed escort along to defend him. But with any luck, the danger was not as extreme as it seemed. From his position, Cameron could make out the slender, reptilian shape of the approaching entity, which brought a smile back to the white-haired mogul.
“So it seems that Nickels and his mutant lap dog found out what I was doing out here,” Cameron thought. “Seems his team of glorified exterminators are smarter than I gave them credit for.”
His attention was brought back to Bemular, watching at the spiny monster snapped and snarled at his circling Cyber Flies.
“Perhaps I can kill two birds with one stone?” he wondered.
“Pull the ship out of the area,” Cameron ordered the captain. The man looked at him for only seconds before complying. As the ship began to turn and retreat, Cameron gave the order for the Cyber Flies to stand down and fall back. The two drones immediately turned back and flew toward the vessel, leaving Bemular confused by their actions. He started to follow, when the skies above were filled with noise. Hundreds of seabirds flew overheard, squawking loudly and completely ignoring Bemular as the flock sought refuge elsewhere. A sense of dread overcame the space criminal, but he was not overcome by the urge to retreat like the humans and fauna. Instead, he turned in the direction where the birds were fleeing from. Something was coming, but the terror from the stars would not back down.
The alien’s defiance pleased Cameron as he watched, also eager to see the battle unfold. If this new plan succeeded, he would gain a new pawn and dispose of that annoyance, Zilla, once and for all. Or perhaps, if fate were to be so favorable, he could turn the lizard into his thrall. The CEO’s gleeful thoughts of humiliating his old college rival were interrupted by a cry from the sonar technician.
“Two hundred meters until contact with target!” she announced. “Sonar is estimating target’s size to be roughly one hundred eight meters in length.”
The analysis gave Cameron pause. He snapped his head in her direction, then bolted down the stairs and to her controls. Pushing the woman aside, he took over control as he performed the analysis again, assuming the first had suffered an error. The results came back the same, shocking the millionaire.
‘That can’t be!” he told himself. “But the readouts don’t lie. I thought the creature was Zilla, but it’s much bigger!” In Cameron’s head, only one creature matched the estimate for that size, and its identity made the man suddenly feel regret for his overconfidence.
The water shifted, alerting Bemular to the challenger’s arrival as the ocean current shifted. Opposite the reptile, the waves began to froth and bubble as something began to rise. From the white foam, jagged, brown fins extended, resting in three long rows along the length of an armored back and down a tail. The breaching creature slowed as it rose fully from the ocean, revealing a body hardened with muscles and rock-like plating as two tone arms rested at its sides. As gallons of water drained off its form, the monster’s boxy visage glared with amber eyes that burned like fire. Its chest heaved noticeably as gills along its neck twitched and shut down, allowing the beast to draw in oxygen from the air. Despite its massive structure, it only barely towered over Bemular, but the invading reptile was still consumed by its intimidating aura.
“T-that’s Godzilla!” the captain shouted in fear.
The bridge was alive with activity in the presence of the towering elder. People rushed to the windows, hoping to gain a better look at the king of the monsters in all his glory.
“Not just Godzilla,” Cameron added, grinning with elation. “This is the specimen from the Monarch files! The reason for the Castle Bravo tests that created and awoke other Godzillas! And I thought this day was about to turn sour!”
The captain stared at him as if he’d gone mad. “How can you be glad that we’re spitting distance away from the most dangerous monster known to Man?!”
“Because I thought we were under attack by the Japanese Godzilla, you pathetic coward!” Cameron snapped at the skipper. “But this is a far greater individual. The true American Godzilla, so to speak. People have known this creature for over sixty years and yet they know so little about him.”
“What point are you trying to make here?”
“This Godzilla’s potential is unknown. To the scientific community, the scope of his powers has not been revealed.” The mogul’s fingers came to rest together before his face, obscuring a smile that could sell to the Devil. “It means that Bemular may stand a chance.”
The captain turned to the window, studying the two monsters as they sized each other up. Bemular standing a fighting chance against the King of the Monsters? He simply could not see it. But a battle was about to start nonetheless, and he could pray that Cameron’s ego and lust had not led them to their doom.
Rising as far as he could from the ocean, Godzilla glared at his intergalactic contender. The alpha was constantly aware of the events that took place in his territory, but it had taken an entire day to realize Bemular’s presence due to the invader’s inactivity following his arrival. But now Godzilla was face-to-face with the interloper, seething with anger. This was his territory. His domain. Other monsters avoided his home for good reason, and the few that felt brave enough to challenge the alpha quickly learned their mistake. Drinking in air with a deep breath, Godzilla released a long, booming roar at Bemular, giving the reptile his only chance to escape with body and pride intact.
But the alien stood his ground. Through initially alarmed by the powerful cry, Bemular was quick to regain his composure and returned with his own cry. Godzilla was taken aback by this reaction and filled with rage. A challenge, then. It would not last long.
At once, both raced through the waves. Colossal waves rocked the ocean’s surface as they surged toward each other. At last, the titans clashed, generating larger sprays as their bodies collided, jaws snapping at the other’s neck. Bemular found his mark first, sinking his teeth between Godzilla’s neck and shoulder and shaking his head violently. Blood pooled into his mouth, coaxing a purr out of the psychotic alien. A groan escaped Godzilla’s throat as he sought to dislodge the spiny beast, slamming his hands against Bemular’s uncovered chest. Through the invader grip was tight, the alpha’s strength was greater, pulling him from his body alongside chunks of meat and armor. Slamming his bulk against the smaller reptile, Godzilla forced the extra-terrestrial through the waves. With a shove, Bemular was thrown back, only for Godzilla’s claws to grasp his head and smash the beast’s face under the water’s surface. The titan’s foot was waiting, rising up and striking the emerald reptile square in the jaw and launching him back above water.
Godzilla snorted, expelling clouds of steam from his nostrils. The invader had no proper fight in it to contend with. There was barely a challenge here, which aggravated the alpha immensely. He trudged forward, raising an arm to strike the dazed Bemular. At the final moment, Bemular regained his wits and spun on the spot, exposing his spiked back. Godzilla cried out as his hand slashed the layer of spines, which tore and gashed his flesh. As he pulled his hand back, Bemular whipped around and lunged, biting down on the exposed arm and driving a howl from the monster king. Instantly, he tried to remove the green fiend by shaking the assaulted arm, but the extra movement only helped to increase the damage Bemular’s fangs were inflicting.
As his grip on the elder’s arm tightened, Bemular grinned as the assault dragged on. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement, and tilted his head to fully notice Godzilla’s other arm, lunging at him. Immediately, he ducked to avoid the limb, dragging Godzilla down in the process and flipping the titan over onto his back. Both monsters cried out in surprise as the Permian behemoth crashed back-first into the waves, the impact dislodging Bemular in the process. Thrashing in the surf, Godzilla fought to get upright once more. Before he could, Bemular leapt from the froth, taking advantage of the elder’s vulnerability. Godzilla tried to pull away, but the extra-terrestrial jaws fought their mark on his throat and thrashed. He squeezed the titan’s windpipe with all of the power in his jaws, but his teeth could not penetrate the surface or contract the area. Unbeknownst to Bemular, the armor on Godzilla’s neck was much thicker than on his arms or shoulders. It was part of an evolutionary adaption to protect the vital area during clashes with other members of his kind or rival predators. Though he tried valiantly, Bemular failed to maintain a strong grip on Godzilla’s throat. As a result, the alpha predator’s claws easily removed the scrawny reptile and pushed him aside.
Godzilla rolled in the surf, flipping over onto his front and sinking back under partially. His front half rose, spilling trails of water from between his dorsal fins. Behind the leviathan, Bemular’s screeching call sounded as the fiend launched itself. Before he could find his target, Godzilla twisted to the side and shifted his mass out of the reptile’s path. Bemular lunged at thin air, snapping down on nothing as he stumbled forward under Godzilla’s shadow. Before he could react, the titan’s own jaws came down, crunching the nape of his neck. The alien shrieked, blood flowing from the contact point as Godzilla’s bone-crushing bite broke through the rows of spines and sank into flesh. With his jaws securing Bemular, the primeval elder lashed out with his arm at the invader’s belly, slashing through the vulnerable scales. His talons assaulted the spot again and again, carving gashes into the reptile’s chest and spilling his blood into the churning ocean.
In desperation, Bemular swung out his tail, trying to hit the king of titans. After several failed swings, the limb struck Godzilla’s right heel, its spiny length cutting into the meat. The armored giant released Bemular, yelping in surprise. Another strike to his leg made the legendary monster back off, but only temporarily. He snapped at Bemular again, but the invader whipped around, smashing his entire body against the elder’s own. Godzilla was driven back again, stunned by the blow and cautious about his enemy’s next move. Thinking he had the advantage, Bemular charged blindly forward, but his assault was deflected as Godzilla’s hand slapped the beast across the head, sending him stumbling. Instantly, the alpha spun on the spot, following his attack by lifting his heavy tail from the waves and smashing it into Bemular like a whip. The alien wheezed as he was thrown back, the air beaten from his lungs from the blow.
As he recovered, Bemular snarled at his adversary, keeping his guard raised while he nursed his wounds. Godzilla growled back, confident that victory would be claimed swiftly. His strength had already proved greater than the extra-terrestrial’s, making it a matter of time before the reptile met his demise. He waded forth with claws outstretched, but Bemular’s mouth suddenly opened. The action’s purpose was made clear as a blue stream of concentrated fire shot forth, striking Godzilla square in the chest. The heat ray’s energies collected in that area, erupting into a blast of fire that overtook the titan’s front and earned a shriek from the giant. Godzilla ceased his charge, dropping to the waves in order to douse and sooth his burning chest as Bemular’s chuckles assaulted his hidden ears. He starred up, his expression sculpted into one of rage as he lifted his tail to ensure Bemular saw the building blue glow. It traveled up the length of his back, illuminating the cracks along each spine on its journey to his head as a deep thrumming sound emanated from his body. As the volume reached its peak, he leaned forward and opened his jaws to fire forth his own sapphire flame stream. The atomic ray slammed into Bemular, causing the monster to cry out as the force pushed him back. Fire washed over his body, cooking the exposed flesh from his injuries. As the ray died, he toppled over, crashing into the waves and sinking under the surface.
Cautiously, Godzilla approached the spot where Bemular had sank. The waters frothed and churned, but there was no sign of the intruder under the surface. He craned his neck closer to inspect the froth better, when the bubbling mass increased in intensity, spitting foam into the monster king’s eyes. He pulled back, blinking furiously and shaking his head to clear his vision, but it was too late. From the sea, a bright sapphire ball shot out and slammed into the titan’s jaw. There was a resounding crack as Godzilla tumbled back, crashing into the waves on his back once more. High above, Bemular’s travel ball hovered, looping in the air to come back down at the impaired alpha. Stunned from the impact, Godzilla could only force his aching jaws open and spit forth another atomic ray, but the crackling fire was deflected by the sphere’s smooth surface. It crashed into the elder predator, shattering upon impact, but launching both combatants down into the depths.
Powerful waves from the colossal kaiju combat rocked Cameron’s vessel, threatening to tip it over as crewmen on all decks worked to keep the ship stable.
“This is madness, Winter!” the captain screamed as he clung to the steering wheel, knuckles white whilst he struggled to steer the vessel against the hammering rollers. “Your guard dog hunting trip will get everyone here killed!”
“Hunting trip?” The millionaire pulled himself from the floor where he had been thrown by the impact and laughed. “This is more than that, good captain! This is an experiment unlike any other. The debut of my latest marvel of technology.” He watched the sonar hungrily as Godzilla and Bemular’s icons descended into the depths.
“And these two will be the guinea pigs in my mission to save the world!”
The ocean’s current was distorted as Godzilla and Bemular spiraled into the darkness. Their colliding bodies and powerful wake shattered the forms of countless marine life as they snapped and clawed at each other. Seeping to the surface, the combatants’ blood served as a beacon for the surface. At last, the seabed loomed, awaiting the reptiles’ collision. Instead, Godzilla’s claws snapped Bemular’s flesh and pulled him into his grasp. The ancient creature thrust Bemular before him, forcing the foreign beast to take the full force of the impact as the duo slammed into the floor. A cloud of mud and sand was kicked up and a violent tremor rattled the seabed, but no sound came from Bemular. The air was pushed from the creature’s body by the impact, leaving him breathless and gaping while Godzilla slammed his heel against the bedrock. The resounding tremor launched Bemular from the floor, leaving him floating and helpless in the open water. Before he could regain a sense of clarity, Godzilla’s claws slashed into his cheek, sending the alien twirling. Godzilla was on the reptile again in a moment, joining his hands together over his head and swinging them down onto Bemular’s body. He was spun around again, but now his thoughts had cleared and he could initiate a counter-attack. Using the momentum gained, he lashed out with his tail, catching Godzilla across the face with a whip crack-like sound. The titan’s head snapped to the side, spitting saliva and bubbles into the murky saltwater.
Bemular knew that his chances of victory were slipping. As much as he hated to run from a fight, the alpha’s strength and experience trumped his own. At this moment, survival and retreat were his priority over sating his bloodlust.
The invader planted his feet on Godzilla’s chest, using him as a springboard to propel himself forward. The shove made the elder stumble back, almost toppling over before correcting himself with his thick and heavy tail. In the seconds it took to regain balance, Bemular had sped away, his streamlined form rapidly disappearing into the gloom. Any other creature would have abandoned the chase at this point, but Godzilla was far from ordinary. Kicking off the sand, he pursued the escaping invader with powerful sweeps of his tail. Although Bemular had a head start, Godzilla was swift in closing the lost distance, but not at a satisfying pace. As the space between them shortened, the water blue glow shimmered through his jagged spines once more before the leviathan launched his nuclear fire. The attack’s glow alerted Bemular to the monster king’s actions, but he was left with seconds to react. The criminal veered to the side, allowing the atomic ray to flow past by a hair’s breadth. His body soaked in the immeasurable heat produced, motivating him to swim faster. Godzilla continued to pursue, firing shot after shot and lighting up the sea floor, but Bemular’s agility in the water enabled him to dodge the streaking flames every time.
Eventually, Bemular grew tired of the chase. The alpha’s determination made him impossible to shake, forcing the alien to take on the offensive once more. He instantly turned, banking to face Godzilla, then rushed forward, taking the titan by surprise. Their foreheads crashed together, knocking the two monsters back in a daze. Unfortunately for Bemular, Godzilla was quicker in recovering, shaking away the cobwebs and immediately diving at the scrawnier creature. His jaws locked around the back of his neck with a crunch as Bemular screamed in agony and began to thrash. The primeval giant’s teeth cut into the extra-terrestrial’s already wounded flesh and opened up deep cuts, filling the surrounding water with a plume of blood.
The elder continued to shake his head, throwing Bemular around like a chew toy. In desperation, Bemular’s foot lashed out, striking the armored relic’s crotch. Godzilla’s reaction was instant, dropping the spiny creature and shrieking shrilly as he stumbled away. Although he had the opportunity, Bemular paused to recover from the assault. The alien was quick to discover his error as he felt the prehistoric monster’s gaze on him. Godzilla’s orbs seemed to burn as they met the emerald fiend’s gaze, surging with rage at the invader’s action. Like flicking a switch, his dorsal spines ignited and he spat forth an atomic ray that caught Bemular in the chest. The monster was thrown back, screeching as the burning stream pushed him across the landscape and slammed him into an underwater mountain. His shape was instantly lost on impact, disappearing in a burst of debris and fire.
Consciousness came back to the reptile quickly, shaking pebbles from his spines as his vision refocused. The explosion had opened up the terrain, exposing an underwater network of caverns. In the remains of one such chamber, Bemular’s eyes widened at Godzilla’s approaching shape, ignited in the darkness by patterns of blue. Instantly, the green beast turned, seeking an escape route, but the only path available was a narrow hole in the mountainside. It was barely wide enough to fit through, but it was the alien’s only option. He darted toward the opening and squeezed in, squirming frantically in order to force his body through as quickly as possible. As he finally entered the chamber fully, he realized his error. The space was tiny with no other exits aside from the opening that Bemular had crawled through. As he turned to try and escape through it again, Godzilla’s head burst through.
The behemoth’s ninety-thousand ton mass slammed into the undersea mountain, shaking the landmark and cracking its structure. Rocks fell from the ceiling of the chamber and bounced off both occupants as Godzilla snapped his jaws at a terrified Bemular. The alien pressed his body against the opposite wall, barely keeping out of the alpha’s range as he tried to reach the spiky beast. Godzilla, although nearly the same size as his foreign adversary, was bulkier and armored, making it impossible for the predator to get through the opening. When he tried to reverse, the titan found himself unable. His body had been lodged in the hole from the force of his attack. As Godzilla thrashed and roared in his struggle to break free, Bemular started his escape plan. He opened fire on the wall with his Pale Heat Wave, weakening the rock before smashing his forehead against it. He continued to bash away at the stone with nothing but his cranium, chipping off chunks with each strike until, eventually, a small gap was formed.
Godzilla noticed the alien’s accomplishment amidst his struggling. Though his movement had weakened the cavern’s structure, it was still strong enough to immobilize the elder. At their current rate, Bemular would break free before he could, and the ancient leviathan would not allow him to slip away. The distinct thrum of his charging nuclear power filled the chamber, swiftly alerting Bemular to the alpha’s intentions. As he looked over and saw the building luminosity, the reptile knew he was out of time. He opened fire on the wall again with his blazing heat stream to open up the created gap even more. The new opening was barely bigger than his girth, but it was the only option. Bemular dived through the exit, cutting his flesh and snapping out spines on its rough edges. Pushing his strength to its limits, he forced his way through the exit and back into open water. A second after his escape, a blast of atomic napalm burst from the hole, widening its diameter and destabilizing the cave’s walls. Cracks appeared across the mountainside, but Bemular did not wait around, He sped toward the distant surface, ignorant of his torn and bruised condition. At this point, it was the only safe place.
As he ascended, the mountain exploded into rubble. Colossal boulders tumbled across the seafloor as Godzilla burst forth from the dust cloud. His gaze turned upward, making out Bemular’s retreating shape, and he started his own climb to the surface in pursuit. This time, he would finish their battle.
“Targets are both rising, sir! ETA, 3 minutes!”
Cameron smirked at the sonar operator’s report. “Send out the Cyber Flies again,” he ordered calmly to the room of technicians. “Have them ready to strike on my command.”
As he made his way to the door, the captain watched him with a judging gaze. The man knew that not a shred of kindness or generosity existed in the CEO’s soul, and whatever his new scheme entailed would surely threaten the entire world. For a moment, he considered selling out the mogul to the authorities in the vain hope of clearing his name from this operation.
“I know what you think of me.” Cameron’s words cut through the room as he addressed the captain without looking at him. “You may see me as cruel, greedy, selfish, heartless and more. I would not blame someone of your intellect viewing me as such, but I am not without pity, captain.”
Cameron turned his head enough to meet the skipper’s eyes. “Do not forget what I have done for you. You would do well to remember that I took you into my service when no one else would, due to your unclean history.”
The man’s gaze shifted away, his thoughts of rebellion crushed.
“Everyone here is my property,” Cameron proclaimed. “You all came to me because you needed me and I needed you. Never forget that. Perform well in my service and you will be well rewarded. Betray my will… and you will regret it.”
The white-haired mogul finally left the bridge, leaving it in silence as its occupants worked in imitated compliance. Navigating the steel corridors, he returned to his quarters and flicked on the lights. The dimly lit space was flooded with light, revealing the equipment stored within. As the mass of computers booted up, Cameron walked over to his new masterpiece. It was a circular stage, built in shining, black metal and divided in a grid by lines of neon grid. A cage of criss-crossed bars encircled the stage, littered at the top with wires and cables that connected to other electronic devices. As he reached the cage door, he flicked several switches on a panel next to the side to link the system with that of the computer, before returning to the monitors and initiating the start-up of the operation program.
On other screens, Cameron observed the streamed footage from the two Cyber Flies as they circled the freshly-breached Bemular. He tapped in commands on another keyboard to zoom in the footage, focusing on the alien’s shredded head and neck and highlighting each injury. One spot flashed green, displaying readouts that brought a grin to the multi-millionaire criminal.
Bemular huffed in the sunlight, regaining his energy to prepare for his escape. Exhausted from the battle, he could not gather the effort to deal with the buzzing insects closing around him. His head weakly turned to focus on me, leaving the reptile’s other side exposed to the second. The Cyber Fly landed on his temple and raised its stinger, where a small, yellow device was connected to the underside, and drove it into am open wound. The controller immediately detached and anchored itself to the sides of the cut, drilling its probes into Bemular’s skull. The sudden pain snapped him back into action, throwing his head back-and forth to try and dislodge the techno-parasite. The Cyber Fly pulled away, re-joining the other unit as the neural receiver reached the nerves. Instantly, Bemular stopped. The scourge of the galaxy was motionless, pupils dilating as his neural pathways were slowly overwritten by Cameron’s device.
“And now for the best part,” Cameron said, cracking his knuckles before standing up and returning to the stage. With the click of another switch, the cage door opened and an apparatus descended from the ceiling. It resembled a virtual reality headset, connected with a pair of wrist and ankle trackers. Before stepping inside, Cameron discarded his suit and set the pieces inside as the circuit-lined bodysuit underneath was revealed. He entered the cage and began to attach the equipment, setting the headset on last. Once in place, the cage shut and the machine began to boot up. Signals were transmitted between the input stage and the neural controller, linking the two systems in a matter of seconds.
The ocean appeared before Cameron’s eyes. He looked around, seeing the outside world through the camera on Bemular’s receiver. As he turned his head, the extra-terrestrial did the same, mimicking the mogul’s actions perfectly. Cameron began moving his other limbs as well, pleased with Bemular’s instant response and imitation. In the past, he had been able to influence monsters through brainwave hacking controllers, transforming them into his puppets. But this was the next upgrade to that technology. With this machine, he could transmit copies of his own brainwaves into a monster’s primary motor cortex and make them mimic his actions. He had no longer a metaphorical monster. Now Cameron Winter could become one.
Water sprayed into the air as Godzilla burst to the surface. Cameron and Bemular spun around as the titan roared and charged through the waves at the enslaved invader. His claws slashed at the green monster, but Cameron jerked to the side, forcing Bemular to do the same and Godzilla to stumble forward as his enemy dodged the attack. Regaining his momentum, he turned and lunged again, but Bemular ducked left to avoid his snapping jaws. This time, Godzilla was quicker to react, but the spiny beast instantly smashed its body against the alpha, making him stagger back.
Cameron resisted the urge to laugh as he watched the battle through Bemular’s camera as Godzilla failed again and again to land a hit on the agile monster. He was not wrong when he had claimed that Bemular could stand a chance against this ancient Godzilla. What he had not mentioned was that the alien’s victory could only be obtained through the power of his own intellect. On its own, Bemular’s intelligence was too low to sufficiently deal with a stronger opponent. But now it had the gift of his superior mind to aid it in this battle. Coupled with months of physical training and combat courses, he used Bemular’s lithe form to the King of the Monster’s disadvantage, weaving around his powerful, but slow strikes and attacking at the areas left exposed in the process. If he were fighting the Japanese Godzilla, not even he could have saved Bemular from destruction. But against this older creature, weakened by age and slowed by his armored bulk?
His victory was assured the moment he took control.
Bemular’s spiky form slammed into Godzilla again and again, his efforts focused on the monster’s sides, chest and neck. The alien’s improved prowess left Godzilla utterly confused. Before, he had dominated the intruder with minimal resistance. Yet now, he struggled to land a hit as Bemular snaked and twisted around his attempts to strike back. Driven by rage, he lashed out at random in an attempt to land a single hit on the emerald reptile. Although he was able to direct Bemular around a majority of the attacks, Cameron found it difficult to read Godzilla’s new, chaotic assault and struggled to avoid every strike. At last, Godzilla’s fist collided with Bemular’s face, throwing the criminal back. He splashed into the waves, writhing in the froth before finally standing.
In the time spend recovering, Godzilla stepped toward the foreign creature. His plates flashed with blue light as his jaws parted and nuclear fire burst forth. The stream caught Bemular in the chest, pushing him back while crying out. Sparks exploded from Cameron’s device as the reptile’s agony was fed back through the system and threatened to damage the link. Despite this, Cameron only frowned as he focused his efforts on the battle. As the first ray flickered out, Godzilla launched another, engulfing Bemular’s front in fire. With no solid ground to grip, he kept sliding back from the force of the atomic ray. Fortunately, the extra-terrestrial had another counter to Godzilla’s strongest attack.
The invader’s energy flared throughout every cell of his body, wrapping him in a cocoon of sapphire light. As Godzilla assaulted the shield with his atomic energies, Bemular’s Spherical Change ability absorbed the heat from the attack to boost his own power. The cocoon expanded, shifting into the reptile’s travel sphere which rocketed toward Godzilla. The elder’s atomic flames barely fazed the orb of light, washing over it as the produced heat was drained into the sphere. Its surface began to shift into that of flames, surrounding the ball in a burning aura as it pushed through the dying fire stream. Only when Godzilla cut off the flow of nuclear fire did he noticed the enhanced travel sphere, but it was too late. Bemular’s sphere collided with the titan king, blossoming into a brilliant explosion of white that consumed the two monsters completely.
The shockwaves hammered Cameron’s vessel, knocking crewmen to the floor and causing instruments to explode into sparks. Amidst this, the captain clung to the wheel to keep the ship stable. In all his years at sea, he had only lost one ship, and had no desire to lose another. At last, the shockwaves ceased and the ocean calmed. Slowly, the crew began to recover as they examined each other for injuries and inspected the damage. With most of the equipment damaged in the blast, the technicians had to rely on their eyes to assess the results. The entire bridge flocked to the windows, peering out at the waters to spot one shape floating in the waters.
Floating in the waves, Godzilla stared at the sky. Scorch marks and cracked armor adorned his body, dripping blood into the water as his vision struggled to focus. A long, hair-thin cracks running across the ancient giant’s forehead was the cause of his sluggish nature, but its symptoms were quickly wearing off. Fatigue and agony filled Godzilla’s form, but he was in no rush to move. Despite the alien’s attempt to beat him, the king had prevailed once again.
Or so he thought.
With an ear-piercing screech, Bemular shot out of the waves besides the immobilized Godzilla. The reptile’s momentum launched him into the air, allowing his downed foe to see his own battle-scarred body. Using gravity to aid his worn form, Bemular brought down his foot on the alpha’s gut. Godzilla spasmed violently, wheezing for lost breath as the air was pushed from his lungs by the blow. He weakly thrashed around, unable to find the second wind he needed in his pain-wracked state. With the apex predator weakened, Cameron made Bemular move in. The mogul mimicked grasping the titan’s jaws, making his alien puppet perform the task in reality. Fighting weakly against his actions, Godzilla’s orbs caught Bemular’s lips as fire churned behind them before recognizing the reptile’s intention.
Desperation surged his body with energy, but the second wind came too late as Bemular’s mouth dipped over his own. The fiend fired his Pale Heat Wave down the elder’s throat, flooding his throat and stomach with azure flames. Godzilla’s muffled screams filled the air as he convulsed and slashed blindly at Bemular, but his unfocused attacks were ignored as the extra-terrestrial continued firing. As his struggles began to lessen, some of the watching crew turned away from the sight and gagged as the stench of burning flesh hovered over the waves.
At last, the assault ended. Bemular dropped the motionless Godzilla, his head hitting the water as dark smoke drifted from his bleeding maw. Despite the damage, the titan’s chest heaved with difficult breaths, and his half-lidded gaze stared up at the spiky foreigner in defiance. It was exactly what Cameron wanted as he made Bemular lift up the beaten king. As the reptile’s claws restrained him by the head and neck, he made sure to dig one digit into the leviathan’s temple, earning a grunt from his barely conscious captive.
An unfamiliar buzzing caught Godzilla’s ears, growing in volume as it approached. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a brief glimpse of a Cyber Fly before it disappeared behind his head. The artificial insect made its way to Bemular’s incision and prepared its stinger, then sank it into the exposed flesh and delivered its payload. The neural controller instantly hooked itself into the wound as it dug further into the apex’s skull. Desperately, Godzilla shook his head to try and remove the aching pain as a strange dullness began to overtake him. Within seconds, his struggles had ceased and Bemular released him, leaving the King of the Monsters to stare blankly.
Cameron reached atop his headset, flicking the switch to disable the machine and began removing the equipment. With his signal no longer active, the receivers on the two monsters switched over to basic control, leaving them unresponsive in the water. Redressing himself, Cameron made his way back to the bridge, and was greeted with thunderous applause upon entering. The crew cheered and clapped, praising him on his victory and successful testing. The CEO said nothing for a while, his ego feeding on the applause given, even if some of it was far from enthusiastic. Making a mental note of the rebellious individuals and to dock their pay, he raised his hand for silence.
“Thank you, thank you!” he said with an unfitting smile. “I know that this is a momentous occasion in the history of this company, but there is no time to waste on celebration. Within the hour, a helicopter will be arriving to make me and Bemular to meet with the organizers of this project. After our departure, you will take this vessel and Godzilla back to our off-the-grid facility.” His smirk grew wider. “I cannot allow every success to go public, can I?”
There were nods and murmurs of agreement from the crowd before they departed back to their stations to resume the task of repairing the systems. Placing his hands behind his back, Cameron turned for the door.
“Oh, one more thing,” he announced to the security personnel at the doorway. “Make sure to keep an eye on the good skipper. I fear he may get himself into trouble if left… unsupervised.”
The captain swallowed, beads of sweat rolling down his skin as Cameron left the room with one last smirk in his direction. With that order, any hope of telling anyone what happened here was crushed. He silently cursed his lack of a backbone and the consequences that would now bring. In his younger years, he would be quicker to rebel against the wealthy criminal, but age was tempered that fire significantly. Like Godzilla and Bemular, he was but a puppet for the mogul, and had been ever since he’d been first approached years ago. The freshly-appointed CEO had been the only one to hire him due to his criminal history, and he had been grateful for that. But now he could see that it was simply a way to blackmail him into the man’s service. Ever the cheater, liar and accomplished businessman, Cameron Winter would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.
As he stared out the window at the two monster’s unresponsive forms, Captain Yoshimura could only wonder with dread what future awaited humanity now.
Winner: BemularK.W.C. // May 19, 2019
After remaining dormant for 10 years, godzilla.com has been revived as an official hub for general Godzilla-centric information. The site currently has 7 categories to browse:
- News – covers news in regards to the site and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- About Godzilla – a basic introduction to Godzilla
- Filmography – spans the entire Godzilla filmography, with some covering monster and weapon appearances, and condensed staff credits
- Monsterpedia – biographies of Godzilla and his many foes
- Videos – currently only hosting two trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Products & Event – features some Godzilla merchandise by JAKKS Pacific
- Fun Stuff – includes wallpapers for computers, tablets, and mobile devices
According to Toho’s Chief Godzilla Officer (CGO) Keiji Ota in an exclusive article published on ComicBook, the site “will be continuously updated as a source of news for upcoming Godzilla films including movie trailers and key art, events, fan content, new product news, and all future announcements. […] We’re thrilled to unleash a world of content around our most beloved Godzilla.”News // May 17, 2019
Author: Joel Forsberg | Banner: Tyler Trieschock
Farou Island was silent.
Where there once stood an expansive village, there was nothing but sticks and straw. What few natives were still alive cowered beneath rocks and fallen logs, hoping to be spared.
Outside, trampling their once mighty home was a towering, pitch-black monster. A female M.U.T.O. on the prowl.
She hadn’t meant to slaughter the tiny humans when she entered the island; but, when they started chucking the tiny sticks, the M.U.T.O. decided to break through their mighty gate and destroy the town below. Even though their weapons hadn’t harmed the insectoid, she wasn’t willing to see if the hostile primates had anything that was more able.
But man was not that which had drawn her here. No, the M.U.T.O. sensed something much more valuable here: Radiation. Her natural sensors guided her to the stone walls around the village, a built in geiger counter telling her where the sustenance lay.
When she reached the peak of her senses, the arthropod began chiseling away with her massive pick-like claws, actually making decent headway against the stone wall.
As the M.U.T.O. raised her claw to strike into the mountain once more, a loud cry sounded from outside the stone cage. Cheers and cries of excitement were heard from the hiding places of the villagers, for they knew their savior had come!
The M.U.T.O. let out a curious chitter. The roar was unfamiliar; not like anything her line of evolution had programmed into her brain. Not like anything from her time. What could lie behind those walls?
From around the corner, a giant, humanoid hand grasped the rock wall, fur covering all but the fingers. King Kong, ruler of Farou Island, had arrived!
The massive gorilla looked at the carnage at his feet, then to the intruder before him. Kong’s lips curled back in a menacing snarl. The M.U.T.O. turned to Kong and shrieked, shrill and loud, a feeble attempt at intimidation.
But Kong was not easy to scare.
Without even the thought of a pause, he snagged a broken log that was once part of the massive gate. The mighty primate lunged toward the M.U.T.O. and struck her across the face. A cry of pain escaped the M.U.T.O.’s mouth as the wooden club shattered against her her jaw. Her stumbling was an invitation for Kong, who attempted to grab the arthropod’s massive, knuckle-walking arm. However, before his mighty grip could latch on, the M.U.T.O. spun around and swung both of her arms upward into Kong’s chin, sending the gorilla onto his back.
Air forcefully left King Kong’s lungs when he hit the ground, and he groaned in pain. By the time he managed to refocus, the M.U.T.O. was about to impale him with her claw!
Kong rolled out of the way just in time. The claw pierced where his heart was just seconds ago. The M.U.T.O. growled and sent her other claw, this time at the Apes head, but Kong rolled again. When his evasion met its climax, Kong reached out with all four of his appendages: his hands took hold of the arthropods long arms, while his giant, thumbed feet grabbed her head and snout.
Despite the M.U.T.O.’s struggles, Kong held on. His feet began slowly twisting as he attempted to snap the parasite’s neck!
The M.U.T.O. had to think fast. With lightning speed, one of her smaller, secondary arms shot out and stabbed Kong in the thigh. The pain shot through his leg like venom, prompting Kong to cry out and relinquish his grip. The M.U.T.O. took her chance and swung all four of her secondary appendages up. The giant primate was sent somersaulting back, only stopping when his back struck the rock wall.
Kong groaned from the pain and looked up at his opponent, who had finally freed her arms from the sand. The arthropod roared a challenge and charged once more, ready to slay her two legged assailant once and for all. Kong, however, was not so enthusiastic about such an idea. With his right arm extended against the wall, he stealthily grabbed a loose boulder from the cliffside. Through one eye, the ape took aim at the charging M.U.T.O.
As the arthropod galloped, Kong finally lobbed the giant stone. The M.U.T.O.’s charge was cut short when the massive rock struck her forearm. She tumbled and slid, rolling directly into Kong. Both monsters crashed through the stone wall and into the jungle outside, a mess of fur and legs with each trying to gain an advantage. Finally, Kong managed take the upper hand and kick his foe off. The M.U.T.O. landed on her side, the tussle having exhausted her completely.
Kong groggily rose to his feet, hindered by the wound in his leg, but undeterred. The gorilla started toward his fallen enemy, the M.U.T.O. trying hard to regain consciousness. In his final step, Kong pressed his foot down upon the M.U.T.O.’s front arm. With his other foot, he restrained the other mighty claw. The eighth wonder of the world squatted, positioning himself safe from the reach of the M.U.T.O.’s other arms, and pressed his right hand upon the insectoid’s head. The M.U.T.O. groaned, half in pain, half in sorrow, as the palm on her face began crushing her cranium…
A shrill cry sounded through the fog above and echoed around the island. Kong’s eyes shot toward the sky as he attempted to locate the source of the noise. Was it a condor, simply waiting for the death for the creature below him? Or something new?
The King of Farou Island got his answer when a coal black blur dived out of the fog, pushing him off the the Female and into the forest below. Kong grunted when he hit the ground, his mind racing like a horse as he tried to figure out what just happened. No condor could have done that. What kind of creature had the power to knock him over in one blow?
A cloud of dust rose as whatever had struck the mighty gorilla landed in front of the fallen Female. Kong pushed himself into a sitting position to get a better look at his new attacker.
The dust settled, revealing another M.U.T.O. But this creature was smaller, lighter, and definitely had a few less appendages than his larger counterpart. Kong was confused as to how a miniature version of his foe from before could be so powerful.
Suddenly, the smaller M.U.T.O. took a wide stance and raised its head, attempting to be threatening. Kong scoffed, right up until a pair of massive wings uncloaked from its back, accompanied by a deafening screech from the winged monsters toothy beak.
The Female looked up at the newcomer through her drunken daze and whimpered in happiness. A male had heard her cries and come to meet his mate, and, in the process, saved her life; a knight in brimstone armor.
The two combatants wasted no time. Simultaneously, they charged, each ready to rip the other to shreds. As Kong neared closer, the mighty gorilla reached out to grab the insect’s throat. The M.U.T.O. launched over Kong’s grip with a flap of his mighty wings and batted the apes face with his massive arms, planting the blow directly in the ape’s nose and knocking him onto his backside.
Kong sat, dazed. He rose a mighty palm to his nose and tested the area beneath it with his massive fingers. When the hand entered his vision again, the tips of his fingers were painted dark red with his blood.
But before he could even react to the liquid, the M.U.T.O. had circled back. The arthropod hooked into the flesh of Kong’s shoulders with his pike-like claws, eliciting a roar of pain from the great ape. Kong’s cries only encouraged the M.U.T.O., who dragged the primate along with his flight.
It didn’t take long for Kong to push through the pain, and his cries of agony were replaced by a hateful snarl. Kong took the M.U.T.O.’s arms and swung downward. Releasing a shriek of surprise, the multi-legged monster slammed face first into the ground with all six of his limbs of his limbs sticking up in a comical manner.
King Kong beat his chest with a howl of pleasure. He was the king of this island. He was the ruler of these lands! No puny insect could defeat him!
His victory dance was cut short when the M.U.T.O. caught him beneath the kneecap with a secondary claw. The king of the apes bent over with a moan of pain, positioning himself perfectly for the M.U.T.O. to kick him in the top of the head. Kong was sent rolling backward from the blow, but was fortunately stopped.
Or, at least he thought fortunately. When he looked up, the hulking form of the Female M.U.T.O. stared down at him. The giant primate just barely managed to evade a downward blow from the claws of the M.U.T.O. and jumped to his feet. Kong shot a glare at his revived opponent just in time to see her ally land beside her. The Female turned to look at her savior and cooed in appreciation, the Male returning with a soft cry of his own. When they finished exchanging pleasantries, the familiar creatures turned back toward their common foe.
Beating his chest, Kong roared aloud and charged again. The M.U.T.O.s returned the favor, with the Female charging forward and the Male taking to the skies. The gorilla and the female M.U.T.O. collided, arms interlocked, each pushing against each other. Kong’s prehensile toes gave him grip and he began gaining ground, the physical strain causing the Female to groan.
Luckily for her, the Male came to the rescue. With unrivaled aerial control, he dove down and spun around. As the winged insectoid flew backward, he hooked Kong’s mouth with on his arms. Kong was pulled away from the Female, stumbling with the momentum of his flying enemy to keep his cheek from being ripped open.
The Female let herself get reacquainted to the force of gravity without Kong’s weight on against her. As soon as she was stable again, the coal black kaiju charged again. The Male retrieved his claw from Kong’s mouth just before his mate slammed full force into the ape. Kong was slammed flat on his back, but this time he was ready. He used the momentum from falling backward to lash out with his foot and kick the parasite in the throat, giving him time to rise to his feet. The Female coughed as Kong rose, trying to uncrumple her trachea, but Kong lunged forward and wrapped his hands around her neck in an attempt to choke her.
A panicked cry signaled the Male preparing another onslaught. The Female hoped her mate could get the great ape off her. Her wish was to be granted, but at the expense of the Male.
Kong released her throat at the last second. His instincts served him well, and he was able to snag the winged arthropods arms. The male M.U.T.O. gasped in response to the added weight. Kong hooted and hollered, pleased this strategy had worked, but his success didn’t last long. The M.U.T.O. turned abruptly and slammed Kong into the side of a massive cliff. Kong’s grip loosened and he fell to his knees. Right as he snapped out of his daze, the Female charged from behind and slammed him into the rock. Then, as he began to fall, the Male glided sideways and caught Kong across the face, somehow knocking the gorilla back onto his feet.
Kong’s stumbling gave way for the Female to ram him once more. This time, however, she pinned him in place. The Ape slumped down. He would have hit the floor, but the Female had him stuck in place.
Kong couldn’t win. One on one, the ape could handle himself quite well, but the combined might of the two M.U.T.O.’s was too much. He couldn’t fight them, not together.
That when it happened. The clap of thunder echoed through the air, perking Kong’s ears. When he looked up, the repeated flash of lightning met him.
An idea flooded his mind, immediately followed by determination. As the M.U.T.O. prepared to clamp her jaws on his throat, Kong grabbed her smallest arm and pulled it clean off. The grey arthropod cried out and stumbled away, and Kong immediately began scaling the rock wall, catching the attention of the male M.U.T.O. The winged arthropod launched into the air, but not unnoticed. Kong heard the mighty flaps of the M.U.T.O.’s wings and formulated a plan.
The M.U.T.O. attempted a head on assault merely for Kong to leap into the air, allowing the M.U.T.O. to fly into the rock wall below him. The prehistoric parasite squealed as he smacked face first into the crags, followed directly by Kong kicking down with both feet, right into his spine. Next thing the Male knew he was slamming on top of his downed partner, sending them both to the ground.
Kong hooted and pounded one fist against his broad chest. After establishing his dominance, the ape continued to scale the rocky wall. His agile hands wrapped around roots and crags, then pulled his bulk up. This process repeated until he finally reached the top.
Kong pulled his leg over the ledge and looked up. The thunderstorm was still there, but beginning to weaken. Kong didn’t even think; he simply thrusted his fists into the clouds above, electric energy crackling and traveling down his arms. The initial shock did hurt, but after that it was smooth sailing.
At the base of the mountain, the monster power couple awoke. After both making sure the other was okay, they began to scale the mountain. The Female used her massive arms to climb up, while the Male simply soared into the sky. Naturally, he was the first to arrive at the top, and his arrival came with a dire prize.
A sudden strike hit underneath the M.U.T.O.’s jaw, quick and powerful. But the force of the blow was not the only thing that harmed him. Crackling electricity surged through the Male’s veins, shocking him in both meanings of the word.
Kong let out a hearty laugh as he watched the insectoid monster stumble about in confusion. He soon landed another punch on the Male’s face, followed by another in the opposite direction. The Male was stunned by the electricity, but obeyed his natural instinct to get away. A flap of his mammoth wings lifted him backward and into the air, but Kong was not done
Kong snagged the M.U.T.O.’s secondary arms with lightning speed. Thousands of volts of electricity traveled up the insectoids limbs, causing him to screech in pain. Smoke rose from his charring from, joining the grey clouds above.
King Kong let out a another series of victory growls. This creature would be roasted within its shell; a fitting meal for the ruler of Farou Island!
Suddenly, the vascular patterns around the M.U.T.O.’s body began pulsing. The pulse started out steadily, but grew faster and faster by the moment. Though his torrent of voltage continued streaming into the M.U.T.O.’s body, Kong’s eyes shifted from bloodlust to fascination.
What was happening? Was this a symptom of death for this creature?
Suddenly, the Male slammed his massive primary claws into the ground below. A strange, vibrating pulse erupted from the space where it had landed, washing over Kong. The force stumbled him, but he kept his grip tight.
But something was wrong. The blue energy no longer crackled around the insect’s hulking form or around Kong’s fists.
Kong gulped in fear. It wasn’t just his super charged fists that were deactivated, but some of the electrical energy he had stored over his lifetime. He felt frail and weak.
The male M.U.T.O. cackled in amusement and jumped into action. His fanged beak closed on Kong’s shoulder, forcing a loud roar from the ape. His massive wings began pounding against the air and with surprising strength, he lifted himself and Kong off the ground. Kong squealed in surprise and proceeded to beat his massive fists against the winged creature’s back. It was in futility however, and the M.U.T.O. let himself fall on top of the ape, snapping Kong’s ribs and stressing his spine. Kong gasped at the pain of his foes weight. For such a frail creature, it packed a punch!
By the time Kong had finished that thought, he was already falling once more. His broken bones were forced farther into his organs when the M.U.T.O. fell upon him again. The ape wheezed, trying to think of a way out of this situation while the Male lifted up once more before the flying M.U.T.O. slammed Kong down again, breaking one of the apes ribs, sending it upward and piercing his flesh. Kong felt the bone split his flesh and screamed in angui. He wasn’t the only creature to scream in agony as the rib flew up and stabbed the flying arthropod in the stomach, causing him to surrender his grip on Kong’s shoulder in exchange for a wail of his own.
After finishing his cry of pain, Kong uprooted a tree and swung it hard across the M.U.T.O.’s face, forcing the overgrown insect off of his chest. But Kong knew the arthropod was resilient. He didn’t have much time before the M.U.T.O. would be upon him again. The ape king forced himself to get up despite the pain in his ribcage and ran for the precipice.
Unfortunately, for both him and the female M.U.T.O., she had just begun to climb over the edge. Kong collided into her at full speed, sending both combatants off the edge. His mammalian cries of terror mixed with her reverberating cry of surprise. The two kaiju pounded away at each other, each not wanting to be the one who died before they hit the ground.
The fall seemed to last forever. The Female’s claws pierced Kong’s back while he pounded at her face and shoulders, each hoping to land a lucky blow before the ground landed one first.
The female M.U.T.O. heard a desperate screech. Before she could look up, she felt something hook around the middle portion of her powerful arm and pull. The Female looked up and saw her soon-to-be mate, struggling to carry her massive weight. A groan escaped his massive jaws as he tried to carry his mammoth partner, flapping his huge wings with more urgency than ever.
The sudden stop of Kong’s assailant caused him to slip. He began falling, but reached out just in time and grabbed the M.U.T.O. by her secondary arm. The arthropod chattered in pain from the extra pressure on her limb. Kong, not wanting to depend on his foe for stability reached out for the rock wall with one of his massive arms…
So the Female cleaved his other one off.
Without his grip on the parasites arm, Kong plummeted toward the earth, roaring all the way down. His remaining arm flailed as he fell, while the other held tight to the M.U.T.O.’s limb. When he tried to grab onto the rock wall, the stones scraped and cut his fingers, tearing up the flesh and forcing him to recoil.
Another roar escaped his mouth, this time filled with hate instead of fear. The desire to kill the monsters above him swelled within his gut and clouded his mind!
With those final feelings, Kong crashed into the floor. Dust exploded from the impact zone, rising into the air and coating the area.
The Female looked down, curious as to what would greet her. When cloud dissipated, she almost wished she hadn’t.
Kong’s back was bent upward unnaturally. His massive arm was contorted in such a demented fashion that even the M.U.T.O. felt sick. The apes pink tongue dangled from his lifeless jaws. The life in his eyes had disappeared, but the burning hatred lingered.
Finally, the Male dropped his partner to the ground, and she landed harmlessly. Her winged carrier, however, was not so gracious. His lightheadedness from carrying the Female caused his landing to be drunken and unstable.
When he began to fall, the Female was there. She placed her head beneath his chest and pushed him up, helping him regain his footing. When his legs were properly placed once more, the Female rested her head on his wing and let out a heavy breath. The fight had been long and grueling, but thanks to the Male, she survived. Without its assistance, her head would be nothing more than a puddle on the ground.
After the long embrace, the Female lead her winged partner back to the village. The Male chirped in surprise when he saw where Kong and the Female had broken through the rock wall. Embedded within the stone was a thin layer of glowing green rock. His mouth watered as he got closer to the radioactive substance, hunger boiling within. As soon as he arrived at the wall, the pair sprung forward and began snapping up the green shards of radioactive rock. They gorged themselves until it was almost impossible to eat more, clearing the area of the poisonous emeralds. By the time the nucleavores had filled themselves, there was still chunks scattered across the landscape. They hadn’t even gotten to the walls yet!
The sound of tiny marching caught their attention. They looked down and were greeted by a crowd of the tiny primates that had assaulted the Female previously, holding a massive barrel. The Female lowered her massive head, facing the humans with a low chatter. Most of them stumbled back, but the brave few holding the barrel stood their ground. They slowly set down the barrel and kneeled before the monster.
The Female stood her ground with a suspicious growl, examining the contents of the barrel. Behind her, the Male shifted nervously, ready to attack if things went sour.
Hesitantly, the Female leaned forward and stuck her tongue in the barrel. Her red patterns pulsed with excitement when she tasted the liquid inside. The radioactive material might have been filling, but this new substance was like a drug. She wrapped the front of her jaws around it and tilted her head, downing the juice.
Upon seeing this, the Male trotted forward. The primitives brought forward another barrel, which he chugged.
Collectively, the humans brought their faces to the ground, then back up; a show of worship.
The couple stood before their newfound servants, slowly realizing what was happening. With the death of Kong, these people would need a new protector. The M.U.T.O.s, upon tasting the sweet berry juice, desired more from the humans. It was a perfect symbiotic match.
As a wave of drowsiness from the soma berries washed over them, the M.U.T.O.s observed their new domain. The Female rested her head upon her partner’s as they both lowered themselves to the ground to the sound of a rhythmic drumbeat, played by the natives below.
The kaiju’s dreams were filled with visions of what they would do with their newfound territory.
Winner: M.U.T.O.K.W.C. // May 9, 2019
Hey everyone! Below is a 10 question interview I did with Jakks Pacific about their Godzilla King of the Monsters toyline (with some burning questions asked and answered)! Enjoy!
How did it come about that Jakks Pacific came to work on the Godzilla King of the Monsters line?
We have several Godzilla fans on the Jakks team, some of whom have worked on Godzilla toys for the last movie, and this is a property we were interested in for a while. We regularly work with Legendary Films and Warner Brothers and were just very persistent and passionate about our desire to do more than the 24” Godzilla that Jakks produced for Godzilla (2014). That figure was awesome, so it had to be a part of this line, but we wanted to offer more.
There are variations of the sets that I’ve reviewed and some of the releases vary in packaging/paint applications for King Ghidorah. For example, the Rodan set I got for review had one building while there are sets with two buildings included.
As sometimes happens with movie based product, we started development very late and had a very small product development window. We try to hit every detail on the first attempt, but when we can improve, we do. So, yes the product that arrived to retail shelves first was a little different. Additional paint deco was added to Ghidorah on the wings and heads of both the Monster Match Up smaller figure and the Monster Pack six inch figure. An additional set of buildings was added to both the Rodan and Ghidorah Monster Pack six inch figures. We know it is not ideal to do this, but also want people to understand that we want to provide the best value for the price.
Why are there no 20 inch figures of the other monsters outside of Godzilla?
The short answer to this is scale. Ghidorah is massive. If we were to make it in scale with Godzilla and Godzilla is 12 inches tall and 20 inches long, the product, packaging and price will all significantly increase. At the same time, we didn’t want to have too many of the same monsters in a bunch of different sizes. It just felt right to have the King of the Monsters be the biggest one.
The giant Godzilla had a little bit of a retooling done and a darker look for the mold yet the backplates are the same from the 2014 design. Why is this? In addition, why is it only available at Wal-Mart.com?
Similar to the above, the answer is that we wanted to make improvements from the first time around. The tooling is the same. We did adjust some of the colors. As far as distribution, Jakks partnered with Walmart for our Godzilla King of the Monsters line as a whole. Retail space is of course very tight and the 24” figure takes up a lot of shelf space. It just wasn’t feasible to have this on shelf. If you remember, Walmart didn’t have the 24” for the last movie either for the same reasons. However we did want to release it for those fans that missed it the last time and/or wanted and updated version.
Why is this line a Wal-Mart exclusive and not a more general release at include stores like Target?
Jakks felt like Walmart was the best partner for this brand. They share our excitement and enthusiasm for Godzilla and they wanted to support the brand in a big way for the year. We are very pleased to be partnering with Walmart on the program and achieving the broadest distribution of the full line.
In the 3 inch sets, there are different paint color schemes for Godzilla. What was the thinking behind this?
For the Monster Match Ups, we wanted to represent all four of the key monsters from the movie. Of course, most fans want to have Godzilla first and matching Godzilla up with Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra seemed to make the most sense. Of course some fans may be interested in only having one of the monsters and some will want them all. We didn’t want the fan who wants them all to end up with the same Godzilla three times. Then of course our design team has to make some decisions regarding what is the best means to differentiate Godzilla with paint. From there we took some liberties with regard to other decos of Godzilla which have been seen and were popular from previous Godzilla toys.
The Godzilla/Mothra set seems to be hard to find. Will there be another printing of this set or is it a one and done printing?
There really isn’t a chase component to the Monster Match Up figures, so this is likely just something that will resolve itself over time. Sometimes one character sells faster than another and it is not until most or all of the figures sell through that another master carton of product is available on shelf. Ultimately Walmart.com will be another resource to get all the items, although at the time I write this it looks like they need to get back in stock on a few items as well.
In the film, King Ghidorah doesn’t have a claw on his wing yet on the toy, it does. When in production on the film did you receive final toy designs and the production started?
It is absolutely true that the development timeline for a toy and for a movie are not in line. The director may still be tinkering with fine details of the film now while we needed to finalize our designs last July.
In both the 6 and 3 inch set, King Ghidorah has a lot of trouble standing on his own unless the wings are folded all the way up. Should there be a second printing of these figures, will adjustments be made to the design?
As I mentioned, we always review our lines to see if there are ways to improve them. This is likely a physics and center of gravity challenge. We have a limited ability to adjust the product stance based on where the articulation points are and the size and weight of the figure and its wings. We will look into this further, but I can’t promise we can solve it 100% that all poses will result in the figure standing perfectly.
Which monster was the most difficult to design for the line? Easiest?
Each monster has its own unique challenges and opportunities from a design standpoint. The first of course is that we are trying to keep them all in at least a relative scale when they vary in size in the movie. Scale is important to the story telling, but if we went to true scale, Mothra would be significantly smaller than Ghidorah and not have the same value as a toy. As far as specific details, getting the colors right on Rodan and Ghidorah were tough. There isn’t necessarily a true, base color to work from. The lighting and shading of the characters in the movie varies, so Rodan can go from a muted red to almost a dark black. We want the base colors of both to look good. Then we added the decoration to the wings both so it doesn’t look too flat but also shows the detail in the sculpt. Mothra has very colorful wings and we wanted to execute those as best we could so we used a different process which also makes the wings more flat. Godzilla of course is the one everyone wants to work on and make sure to get correct. The simplest of details can become complicated because we are trying to be as perfect as we can within the limits we have for the size of the figure. All in all, Jakks is really excited for everyone to see the line that many people on our design, engineering, and packaging teams have been working on for the last a year. The passion of the Godzilla fans is a fun thing to be a part of we hope Jakks can enhance your enjoyment of the Godzilla franchise in some small way. Everything we have seen of the movie is spectacular and we are certain you all will not be disappointed this summer.Interviews // May 3, 2019
Author: Patrick Alan Green | Banner: Dao Zang Moua
Something was very wrong…
A full moon gleamed overhead. A series of mysterious tremors and strong gales rocked a small village near Mount Fuji. The fearful families of the mountain ran to their homes to pray, clutching their loved ones for comfort. The wind howls violently before being drowned out by the sound of loud, booming footsteps. An eerie presence made itself known. Something supernatural had found that tiny village that night. Something rarely seen by human eyes, something… Unbelievable.
The lake demon, Varan, had appeared to curse the village with its merciless malice. The devilish creature brought with it the wrath of Mother Nature. Fierce gusts of wind nearly blew the village away. Yet it all underscored Varan’s primal fury.
On four legs, Varan crawled forward, growling and snarling as it trampled through huts with what seemed like a twinkle of glee in its eye. Its spiked tail swatted the houses behind it, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
This creature was no mere animal, but truly a living disaster. One of the many curses casted on mankind to punish them for their arrogance…
The wind died down and a thick mist suddenly rolled in, covering the village with a blanket of fog… Then the sound of large footsteps echoed across the mountain, growing louder and louder until complete silence.
Varan sniffed the air and let out a deep growl—shrouded by the dense fog, stood a monster from some bygone era. The beast stepped forward, its ferocious, yellow eyes glaring out from beneath the creature’s heavy brow, fixed on Varan with full predatory intent.
Its jaws opened wide to let out a loud reverberating roar that climbed to a chilling crescendo. There was no doubt who this ancient monster was; Godzilla had been awakened. Disturbed by the supernatural presents of Varan, now he had risen once more to rid the world from another imbalance.
Varan accepted Godzilla’s challenge. Rearing his ugly head back, the monster let out a grumbling roar as he rose to his feet and charged forward, eager to meet his enemy head on.
Godzilla had the advantage of size over his spiny foe. Grabbing the enormous spikes protruding from the back of Varan’s head, he slung the fabled lake monster through the air before driving him face first through a shrine with a thundering boom.
Varan’s spiny tail whipped back and forth, lashing Godzilla over and over until he relinquished his grasp. The ancient saurian stumbled back before catching himself. His eyes narrowed. He dropped into a defensive crouch like a prized fighter preparing for battle. He threw his head back and parted his maw, echoing a powerful bellow. There was no mistaking the seething primordial fury. Godzilla had full intent in ripping this ghoulish lizard apart with his bare hands!
Lightning flashed overhead. Rain fell in sheets, beating down the monsters’ backs in cascades.
Varan opened his jaws, flashing a mouth lined with dagger-like fangs. He spread his arms wide, revealing a thin membrane that gave him the ability to glide. He leapt forward, taking to the sky, gliding swiftly toward the mountainous predatory beast with unbelievable speed. Amidst what was left of the village, both monsters clashed.
Varan sank his fangs deep into the monster king’s throat, gallons of blood gushing forth. Godzilla howled in pain, grabbing his enemy by the arm. He slammed Varan through a series of huts, crushing them under the monster’s weight. Varan squirmed on the ground before rolling back to his feet, hissing and growling as he leapt forward, slamming into Godzilla’s massive bulk. Godzilla snapped and clawed at Varan, who in return, slashed at his eyes.
The mighty saurian towered over Varan and was significantly heavier and stronger as well, but the demon monster did not back off. Grimacing in pain, Godzilla gripped Varan’s face and charged head on, shoving him through trees big and small. Varan pushed against Godzilla’s might, but his clawed feet dragged through the dirt, unable to fight against his enemy’s power.
The spiked demon groaned in frustration before tearing himself free from Godzilla’s grasp. Varan leapt back, watching carefully as Godzilla lumbered forward. Varan let out a shrieking roar and jumped forward, driving his leathery knee hard into Godzilla’s throat!
Godzilla let out a shrill roar as he fell backward with an earth shattering crash, hacking and gagging on the ground.
Sensing victory, Varan closed in for the kill.
Godzilla’s eyes narrowed in anticipation of an attack. His nostrils flared and bared his fangs. He roared defiantly, challenging Varan. He had not come all this way to be beaten by this puny lizard.
Thunder boomed and lightning crashed, striking Godzilla’s jagged back plates like a lightning rod. Surging with electricity, his back plates, one by one, began to illuminate with a brilliant blue radiance, lighting up the night sky with a breathtaking glow.
Godzilla opened his maw wide and exhaled a gust of rippling, super-heated vapor. A spark ignited in the back of his throat and a searing blast of blue flames violently erupted from his jaws. Taking the full force of Godzilla’s powerful atomic breath, Varan was driven back, screeching in agony before collapsing, its tail twitching uncontrollably as the monster gasped for air. Unable to defend himself, Varan’s eyes widened as Godzilla climbed back to his feet, like a mountain thrusting up from the Earth.
Varan was ripe for the kill. Godzilla opened his jaws once more, but an unfamiliar cry caught his attention…
Descending from the mountaintop, an enormous, humanoid giant bellowed majestically as it tumbled off the mountainside and onto the war zone. Standing high above the village was the one referred to as “the spirit of the mountain.” Sanda had been drawn by the destruction of the village, his eyes surveying the land. Huts lay smashed, innocent families trampled to death; all this deeply enraged Sanda.
His sorrow quickly turned to fury. The brown Gargantua spun around and delivered a devastating sucker punch to Godzilla’s jaw, toppling the predatory dinosaur to the ground with a thud. Sanda quickly turned to Varan’s downed body and, without a moment’s hesitation, lifted the helpless monster up and flung him off the hillside, sending the creature careening into the rocks below.
Godzilla was already climbing back to his feet. Sanda kneeled down, uprooting a tree. He turned to face Godzilla. Lunging forward, he swung his weapon as hard as he could into Godzilla’s snout, sending the alpha predator stumbling backward. Sanda dropped the tree and rushed forward, tackling Godzilla to the ground, wrapping his powerful hands around Godzilla’s throat. The legendary monster hacked and gagged, snapping his jaws wildly as Sanda squeezed tighter, choking the monster with all his might.
Varan crawled back up the hillside. Rearing his head back, the spiny dragon let out a roar as he leapt into the air, pouncing on the hairy, brown giant’s back, digging his talon-like claws deep into the ribs of the mighty Gargantua. Sanda howled in pain as the hideous lizard sank his teeth into his shoulder, sending thick, red blood streaming down the giant’s massive, stone-like body, staining his fur. Sanda stumbled backward, slamming Varan into the side of the hill, trying to knock the flying reptile off.
Godzilla let out an aggressive roar as he climbed back to his feet and charged forward, slamming his incredible bulk into the two battling monsters with tremendous force, sending both feuding giants crashing to the ground. Varan grumbled before quickly jumping back to his feet, sneering as he leapt back into the air. Godzilla snarled as he glared at Varan circling him from above, taunting the great monster king. His tail whipped back and forth in anger. He bared his fangs, daring his enemy to fly closer.
The standoff gave Sanda a chance to recover, crawling back to his feet. The hairy giant sprinted toward Godzilla, hoping to knock him back down while he dealt with Varan.
Godzilla grimaced and quickly spun around to meet Sanda face to face. Opening his maw, he released an unexpected blast of fiery atomic breath that splashed across Sanda’s hairy chest. Shimmering blue flames blistered and scorched his skin before sending the Gargantua crashing backward, collapsing to the ground with an excruciating scream.
Varan dived at his prehistoric enemy while he had his back turned, claws bared and ready to strike. Godzilla hastily spun back around, snapping his jaws around Varan’s leg. Varan slashed at his throat, slicing through his scaly armor to the vulnerable flesh below. Varan tore himself free and clung tightly to Godzilla’s shoulder, sinking his teeth deep into the legendary monster’s gill, tearing chunks of pink flesh as his teeth gnashed tendons apart. Godzilla stumbled back from the attack, but did not fall. His jaw dropped, choking and gasping as he tried to fire off another blast of his breath, but the draconic flames sputtered and died out.
Smoke billowed from his nostrils. Blood and bile leaked from his damaged gill. Varan glided over the mountainous dinosaur, strafing him from above, keeping just out of reach of Godzilla’s slashing claws. Sharp, talon-like claws went for his eyes, but Godzilla managed to keep Varan at bay with his snapping jaws.
Sanda began to stir, weakly rising to his feet. He frantically patted his smoldering fur as he watched the two dueling reptiles snap and rip at each other with animalistic aggression.
Sanda grabbed a massive boulder and rushed toward them, rock in hand. He drove the boulder savagely into the back of Godzilla’s skull, dropping the enormous beast to the ground with a thud.
Varan let out a piercing screech and swooped down after the giant, but Sanda quickly chucked what was left of the busted boulder at Varan, knocking the reptile out of the sky like a swatted fly. The varanid nose-dived to the ground with a resonating thud. Sanda let out a furious roar as he bent over and grasped Varan’s squirming tail, swinging the monster with all his might against the mountainside, sending an avalanche of boulders topping down and burying the monster lizard in a blanket of rock and dirt, dust swallowing the area.
Sanda scowled, focusing his attention back to Godzilla, who was rising to his feet, unwilling to stay down. As Sanda and Godzilla circled each other, Varan came erupting from his rocky tomb and hastily sprung to the air, flapping his arms as he glided nimbly toward the two monsters about to face off. Sanda turned from Godzilla and jumped up, grabbing Varan by the throat, pulling him down just long enough for Godzilla to snap his powerful jaws around the flying reptile’s arm and swing Varan to the dirt like a toy.
Godzilla drove his massive foot into Varan’s chest, pinning the devilish monster to the ground. Sanda backed away, watching as Varan kicked and screamed under Godzilla’s clawed foot, desperately trying to free himself. Varan thrashed and kicked his feet into Godzilla’s stomach desperately, over and over again, until Godzilla couldn’t take it anymore. Backing off, Varan took the opportunity to crawl out of the crater he had been stomped into.
Sanda sprinted forward, delivering a powerful punch to Varan’s jaw, driving him back to the ground. Godzilla loomed over Varan, rearing his head back and snapping his jaws around the spiky lizard’s shoulder, crunching bone as he bit down. Varan kicked and scratched, screeching out in agony as he tried to tear himself free. Sanda drove his massive foot into the temple of Varan’s head over and over again without mercy, until the monster was knocked unconscious.
Godzilla released his hold of Varan and slowly turned to Sanda, who was glaring at him, eager to finish their fight. Sanda sprinted forward, locking his fists together, The Gargantua leapt into the air, driving his interlocked fists with tremendous might into Godzilla’s head, knocking the giant dinosaur down to one knee. Godzilla caught himself and swung his massive right arm, looking to slash the brown giant, but Sanda dodged and delivered a powerful left-hook, followed by a strong right-hook into Godzilla’s jaw, like a boxer swinging away with everything in him.
Godzilla lunged forward, but Sanda grabbed Godzilla around the neck and wrestled the enormous monster to the ground, pummeling his fists without letup into Godzilla’s face. Blood leaked from the corners of his jaws and nostrils. Jagged teeth broke off with every punch.
Godzilla thrashed wildly like an alligator, completely overpowering Sanda. Godzilla broke loose of Sanda’s grasp and rose back to his feet and flipped the mountain giant over his shoulder, body slamming Sanda the ground below with a booming thud that shook the whole area.
Varan’s eyes snapped open. The spiky demon rose to his feet and shook his head, poising himself. Godzilla had already taken notice and was charging forward like a cheetah in pursuit.
Varan grimaced and dropped his head, ramming his spines through his enemy’s armored chest. Sharp spines penetrated straight through his flesh, pumping cold reptilian blood onto the trees below.
Godzilla, mortally wounded, cried out in agony, before stumbling back and dropping to one knee. Blood drained like a river from his chest as he lowered his head, glaring at his wounds. Godzilla focused his attention to Varan, waiting in anticipation for the spiny demon to deliver the next attack.
Varan reared his ugly head back and let out a loud, aggressive roar that quickly turned into an awful gagging sound – Sanda appeared behind the spiky monster, wrapping his enormous, tree trunk-like arms around the demon’s scaly throat, choking the creature from behind. Wrestling the giant lizard to the ground with savage aggression, Sanda twisted Varan’s head, bearing down tremendous pressure until the vertebrae in his neck snapped with a nasty cracking sound…
Varan was no more.
The giant of the mountains tossed Varan’s lifeless corpse to the side and rose to his feet as he nervously stared down Godzilla. Sanda turned and snapped off one of Varan’s stalagmite-like spines from his back and raised it like a giant baseball bat, ready to swing away, daring Godzilla to come closer.
Godzilla mustered up all his energy and rose back to his feet, stepping forward, not willing to back down. Rivers of blood pumped from his wounds. He let out another loud resonating roar – then suddenly trembled. His mighty legs buckled under his weight and the legendary monster fell to the ground like a collapsing skyscraper, too exhausted to move.
Sanda waved his arms high in the air in triumph, bellowing out a mighty roar as he kicked Godzilla’s semiconscious body down the hill, crashing into a lake below with a massive splash. Godzilla slowly lost consciousness as his enormous body sank, disappearing under the shimmering waves.
Sanda turned to get one last look at what was left of the village, frowning. He shook his head as he limped back up the mountain, disappearing quickly among the thick trees and fog.
It was a victory for Sanda, but it didn’t feel quite like one to him.
Winner: SandaK.W.C. // May 2, 2019
A note from staff
After having started work on this in late 2017, it is done – a complete translation of 2075: Meister Titano’s Counterattack, as seen in the pages of Tokusatsu Hiho Vol. 5 (ISBN: 4800311276). Written by Yukiko Takayama, the same screenwriter behind 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, and featuring two pieces of art by Shinji Nishikawa, this 7-chapter story takes place 100 years after the events of the movie and centers around Titanosaurus – now revived as a cyborg monster named “Meister Titano” – and an undersea colony of humans and robots. It’s a tale of discovery, sadness, and acceptance, and of course it has plenty of nods to the 1975 movie.
HUGE thanks to Noah Oskow for undertaking this massive translation project; to John LeMay and his fantastic book, The Lost Films (ISBN: 1548145254), I would have never found out about this story without it; to LSD Jellyfish in the forums for looking into translating early on; and especially to Ryu in the forums, a very passionate and patient individual who is the primary reason this story saw a translation to begin with.
~ Joshua S.
2075: Meister Titano’s Counterattack
Shinji Nishikawa = images
A “brand new” SF novella written down by Terror of Mechagodzilla screenwriter Yukiko Takayama
A glittering evening sky moves onwards towards night, a violet dusk stretching across the heavens.
Soon, in just ten or twenty seconds more, the stars would be twinkling…
But in the mind of the Doctor, letting himself sink into his huge leather-covered sofa, his eyes closed, those minutes could have stretched many times longer.
“Ahh, this moment…”
He contrived to control the fluid flow of the falling grains in an hour glass, bending it to his will.
He was indulging in a specific sensation humans have managed to develop.
Just like a a boy who takes the strawberry cake in front of him and stuffs it into his mouth in a single bite, bending time to stretch out the moment when the cream melts so slowly but steadily inside of his mouth.
But no matter how much one curves time, the end will arrive.
In the end all this was nothing but an illusion. Nonetheless, the Doctor had been able to properly enjoy the violet glow of the sunset, and he was satisfied.
Looking upwards, the ceiling above him was but a mass of concrete, just as were the walls and the floor of the room he occupied.
The ceiling had been ornamented with the subtle colors of the cobalt (Co27) used in the composition of the building materials, but in the end it was all simply a mass of inorganic matter. He knew that even now, if he were to press a button on his desk, an entire sky full of stars would surely stretch out before him… But even such an ornamentation as that, if allowed to become matter-of-fact, would not set his heart to dancing as had the planetarium he had seen in his youth.
From amongst the tightly-packed throng of buildings on the coastal areas of Tokyo City, the one that most draws the eyes is a single structure that seems to rise, half-submerged, from the sea itself. This building is the headquarters of a corporation held under the umbrella of the Cobalt Excavation listing.
The buildings of this period, rather than boasting of their height above the ground, instead extended deeper into the confines of the earth — just like how an iceberg shows only its smallest part above water, while its true mass lies hidden underneath the waves.
The Doctor sat amidst a huge panel chair whose wonderful appearance brought to mind the image of a cockpit stretching out underground, the seat like some fused captain’s chair.
There was nothing to report at the moment. Everything was going well.
At the beginning of the century, beginning with Methane clathrate, the hope for a vast amount of valuable mineral resources – the so-called rare metals – began to be held by more and more people. These ambitions were focused on the area from the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, which connects southwards with the Japan Trench, to the Nankai Trough, and all throughout the vicinity around Japan.
The hydrothermal vents on the seafloor are covered in wide-rangingly useful metals, and around the vents are built up massive “chimneys” that reach as high as ten meters, resulting in deposits of usable ores. There slumber huge amounts of important resources that no one had yet to get their hands on.
And yet, the extraction of these would take even more time. Even the towering Himalaya mountain range, if sunk under the sea upside-down, would fail to touch the bottom of the seas where these chimneys lie near such precipitous cliffs, and would simply sink into the depths.
What did rapidly advance, however, was something that came about because of the evolution in artificial intelligence.
The emergence of robots that could think for themselves and could carry out problem solving meant that those problems that made the extraction so difficult could be dealt with.
A private firm began to undertake extensive excavation of these resources.
In short, the power of science was forced to grow until it could be properly connected to economic efficiency.
With the discovery of so many valuable mineral-bearing ore deposits within the area around Japan, more than 20 major deep-sea excavation factories sprung up.
Seven years ago, the chemical element no. Co27 cobalt, which had been said not to exist in the seas around Japan, was discovered. This silvery-white metal was slumbering at the very point where the Japan Trench continued into the Izu-Ogasawara Trench. A major corporation acquired the rights of interest to it, going as far as to establish a deep-sea excavation factory.
The Doctor had taken over the position of general manager for this company a year ago.
Since then, his office has been this command center in the excavation center 2,000 meters deep under the sea.
The lower reaches of the factory were a further 3,000 meters deeper, at the very site of the excavation of the protruding cobalt minerals, wrapped in the darkness of the abyss.
Every day, many thousands of tons of rocks were mined from the site. These are carried to the deep-sea factory where they are refined, and then sent to the surface.
“Those thousands of robotic individuals that support the company…”
Muttering this, a unspeakably wry smile floated onto the Doctor’s mouth.
He was wondering if one should should refer to robots as though they were living individuals or simply inanimate objects.
A thousand robotic individuals, or a thousand robot units…
Images of the forms of those robots who worked in the deep sea flashed through his mind.
80% of those things that toiled in the abyss did not have the form of a human. Things that excavate, things that set the gunpowder, things that looked like tanks and carried rocks, and things that probed the ore deposits using a pointed edge made from water pressure…
But whether their forms were different or not, all the robots were possessed of intelligence beyond that of humans.
In short, the things called robots in this era were things that possessed artificial intelligence.
They thought by themselves, and learned by themselves. They learned, and when they had become possessed of a large enough vocabulary, their knowledge would become even deeper, allowing them to reason, to make deductions… Perhaps they even engaged in flights of fancy, thought upon the future, and dreamed.
Suddenly, the Doctor felt as though something cold had run down his back.
Thinking, learning… Didn’t that mean they had something we could call a “soul?”
The doctor felt a small shudder go through him as he muttered:
“Robots that have their own souls…”
The Doctor’s handsome face took on a slightly warped expression.
This was because a doubt had welled up inside him. If the robots possessed their own souls… and if robots likely had their power sources blithely cut once they’d run out their usefulness…
The Doctor stood up, as if to shake this thought off. He had raised his voice loud enough as to surprise even himself.
“Mere worthless delusions that serve no useful purpose.”
After all, once the Doctor had accepted his position as the general manager of the Cobalt Excavation listing, he had likely also gained the right of decision regarding the cutting of robotic power sources. No, rather, he had in fact accepted the duty to do so…
The robots that worked in the deep-sea excavation factory were built to specifications that matched the work assigned to them. Arms, legs, heads; they need not adhere to such anthropomorphic parts. Their sizes were similarly diverse, with some being possessed of gigantic bodies weighing more than ten tons.
From amongst these, it was the deep-sea excavation robot U-Types whose form most resembled those of humans.
The form of the U-Type was human-shaped, and its vocation was to perform the daily servicing of labor robots. It was tasked with the mission of making the robots’ lifestyles more comfortable and to befriend them.
This was all so that the robots would not forget about humans, down there in the dark depths of the sea. All so that they would maintain a self-consciousness of humans as beings of the utmost kindness.
On occasion, humans would make visits to the Factory.
The Factory was an immense dome, fully-equipped with a pipe that connected it to the world above the waves. Even so, it would be hard for humans to call a depth of 20,000 meters especially comfortable.
A year ago, the Doctor, having taken on the job of general manager, made a visit there.
Initially, with the Doctor acting as though he meant to shake hands with every single robot, U-Type Little-1 (One) was left fully in anticipation, nervously rubbing at its pants with its palm.
But just the act of shaking hands with the supreme commander of the deep-sea excavation factory, Meister Titano, caused this entire event to be curtailed in a hurry.
At a location some tens of meters removed, Little-1, staring up at the dais from the line-up of his fellow robots, felt disappointed. And yet he seemed to grasp why this had transpired.
Compared to the Doctor, who measured not even two meters in height, the decorous and majestic form of Meister Titano, many tens of times larger than the Doctor, had been quite the splendid sight to see…
The recreation room had a small one-room library adjoining it.
Little had opened up a tome by the name of “The History of Livings Things.”
“The earth, which had been born 4,500,000,000 years ago….”
It is known that there is a theory that states that life already existed 4,500,000,000 years ago.
“Ah, so life first began in the sea.”
That first form of life had been called bacteria.
Little, full of intrigue, began voraciously turning the pages.
The creatures had evolved to move from the sea onto land, continuously changing.
He kept on turning page after page…
Suddenly, his eyes jolted to a stop.
A huge, eye-catching creature was drawn on the page in front of him.
In large letters, the text besides the image read “the epoch of the dinosaurs.”
Ahh… What a magnificently attractive creature this was.
Its long neck sturdily supported its skull, and its hind legs which supported its body, so full of symmetry, were rippling with muscle. Finally, its long, mighty tail seemed to grant its whole body a wonderful balance.
The scales which covered its skin seemed to shine brighter than any armor.
Little-1 let out another sigh of admiration.
“Truly, a beautiful exemplar of creation.”
And not only that. It seemed so similar in form…
To Meister Titano.
U-Type Little-1 was ascending from the depths of the sea. Up and up and up…
It was not as though Little-1 was running away from the excavation factory. He did not feel even a shred of an impulse to flee his station. Rather, what had guided him away from the factory was curiosity. A curiosity he could not deny or suppress.
In his ears reverberated the words of Meister Titano…
The time zone at the seafloor dome moved synchronously with time in the world above.
This was despite the lack of morning or night caused by the dark environment that surrounded the dome.
Even so, there was a giant clock affixed in the central hall. Although the internal chronological mechanisms inside of each robot made this clock superfluous, it served its purpose as a sort of course-corrector by which they could come to know the way life was being lived on the surface. Once the needle reached the dial emblazoned on the top of the big circle, it was time for their beloved noon break.
That day, Meister Titano had approached Little-1. His conversation was always a source of true value for his interlocutors, always allowing for tales of the unknown outside world and history to unfold before them as though right in front of their eyes. The U-types, with their frames just like those of boys and girls, would let out a happy cry and gather around his massive body.
One from amongst these had asked the following.
“Hey, does this ocean that surrounds us have an end to it?”
“Yes, I do believe so.”
Titano had answered.
“East, West, South, or North, no matter which of the cardinal directions you decide to move out towards, you will encounter great cliffs rising up from the ocean floor. Not only this, but if you go up and up here in the sea that encircles us, your head will eventually pop up in a world of air completely unlike our water. There, on the face of the earth, are great fields, and mountains that are as tall as our oceanic abyss is deep.”
“Ahh, I know about this. I saw this map of the earth in the library. It’s super wide…”
Little-1’s eyes had sparkled.
“You’re quite the diligent student, aren’t you.”
Titano’s huge face suddenly lurched towards Little-1, his kindly eyes peering at him.
“To gain in knowledge is a commendable thing. Just as you say, the world is indeed very wide.”
The boys and girls nodded, looking up towards that world they had never seen.
“Mountains wreathed in green soar upwards, the sun sparkles, and when night falls, the moon, changing its shape from a full circle to a small crescent, shines a light on the darkness.”
The boys and girls listened with rapt attention.
Titano’s gaze moved towards the ceiling, as if suddenly thinking of something.
“However… I cannot truly say that even that is so comparatively expansive. Far above the atmosphere that envelopes the earth, the stars sparkle, and an endless, boundary-less space spreads ever outwards… Even higher… No, to say ‘even higher’ sounds strange. Rather, I should say we simply do not yet understand the extent of it.”
Little-1 stared at Titano, vibrating with inspiration.
“I’d really like to see that world. Flying through the space between the stars…”
Titao held his tongue, perhaps taken aback.
He was ashamed at having blurted out his feelings so unthinkingly.
But soon, restoring his usual dignity, the massive creature laughed.
“Hahaha, that’s but a dream within a dream. Every one of us who lives in this world has had their place in it predetermined.”
“But, I… I want to try going there.”
“Come now, the time for resting has ended. Go ahead and get back to your work. After all, our work here is done for the sake of all who live in this world.”
2,000 meters beneath the sea is a world of darkness.
Of course he knew about this darkness, but this was his first time directly touching this seawater.
He wanted to see that world Titano had told him about with his own eyes. This had fanned the flames of what had now become an unquenchable curiosity, one which had lured Little-1 out into the sea.
Gently, something brushed against his shoulders.
For a second, he thought he saw a shadow.
A shadow amongst a world of pure darkness was a rather strange concept. Perhaps it was just some fish swimming in the deep sea.
Little-1 was reminded of a story he had heard from an inspector who had returned from a excavation site at a depth of 50,000 meters.
“When I came back to the Factory, at times I would see, dimly, the faint outline of some fish in the water. That by itself is proof that even in the deep sea that some amount of sun was filtering down.”
“Ahh, the light of the sun…”
Little-1 felt his courage well up.
“The light, the sun, it’s guiding me…”
He used all of his body’s power, all that power, to push against the water. Upwards, upwards…
As his eyes became used to the darkness, he was able to notice the varied forms of the luminescent jellyfish around him.
The color around him had slowly changed.
On the reefs that jutted out on one side, sea sponges stuck to the walls, their giant tentacles stretching out, floating upwards, their color whitish.
“Ahh, I can see. I can see inside the sea.”
By stretching out his neck and looking all the way up, the world which had been so dark began to sparkle, turning into a shining world, spreading outwards. Light was filtering through the layer of blue water beyond.
A ray of light suddenly scattered about, setting the water all around his vision to sparkling, spreading out just like the cut ore he knew so well from the Factory. In the center of all this poured a white light, almost blindingly bright.
That must be the star called the Sun that the Meister had told him about… The star most close to the earth, around which the Earth maintained a fixed orbit…
“Ahh… How incredibly beautiful.”
He gazed at it for a time, moved by the sight.
But at that very moment, all of this, everything, was lost to Little-1.
Without him even having noticed it, the thing called “death” had arrived…
* * *
“Ahh, that was a close one. We almost let Little-1 get away.”
The Doctor was shaking violently.
Robots who abandoned their post were to be obliterated.
For the Company, which controlled the deep-sea excavation factory by telecommand, the first duty of all robots was to be obedient beyond anything else, no matter what occurred. For those that did not obey, there was no choice but to push the kill switch.
Despite all this, the Doctor had still hesitated for a moment as he observed Little-1’s crime of leaving the factory and fleeing towards the surface.
It had been a mere second of fleeing out to sea, and yet he somehow felt shaken.
It was perhaps that question of whether a robot possessed a soul or not that lead him astray.
The Doctor was supposedly a man who himself possessed a strong will.
He wasn’t supposed to believe in things as vague as a soul, and yet…
He remembered when he had visited the Factory, 2,000 meters below the sea, upon taking on his position as general manager last year.
As he had shook hands with Meister Titano on that dais in the great hall. Titano had bent down his gigantic body — half-beast, half-machine — and had dipped his head respectfully. The deepness of the color of those eyes he had briefly glimpsed had somehow stayed in his mind ever since.
Somehow, those eyes seemed to say that the ability for the robot to learn by itself and to grow by itself was inherent in Titano. He had come to theorize that this could only be explained by the base animalism that was part of Titano’s past, implicit in the nature of the core creation of thinking robots.
When he had tried to push the kill switch, could it have been Titano who had overcome that depth of 2,000 meters to try to stay his hand…?
The Doctor allowed this thought to be drowned out by others.
In the center of the meeting room stood a circular table built in the classical mahogany style that give off a dignified light.
The table was reserved for the use of the chairman, the director beneath him, the vice president, and the various of those who sat on the board of directors, and the Doctor had been granted a seat directly in front of the chairman himself.
“Thirteen at the circular table, huh.”
The Doctor moved around the table, muttering to himself.
So they mean to war with a god… That thought passed through his mind, but in this age, with these people in such a rush to accumulate wealth, he doubted these thirteen would have the elegance nor free time to bring such a thing to fruition.
The agenda for this day had to do with dealing with the U-Robots.
A U-Type Little-1 had fled the Factory without permission, swimming of his own accord towards the surface.
“For the moment it’s only a single unit, but it may well affect around a thousand of the factory robots. Shall we not nip this worrisome problem in the bud?”
One from amongst the board of directors stood up, turning to face the chairman.
“Is it not that we simply built these U-Types to resemble humans too closely?”
“By which you mean to say…?” asked the chairman.
“If they’re too similar to humans, it only makes sense that they would begin to feel unsatisfied with those things which are different for them from humans.”
The Doctor thought this was a vast leap and far too much of a one-sided opinion, but held back on stating as such. The Doctor felt that if he were to speak of the souls of robots or perhaps the unease that Titano had filled him with, he would only be putting himself at a disadvantage.
“Perhaps it also behooves us to cease creating them with such anthropomorphic forms, so that they might better understand what they truly are.”
The voices of all the other directors could be heard.
Eventually, it was decided that the 60 U-Type units that worked the seafloor factory would be dismantled, given up as failed products.
The Doctor cast his eyes downwards, refusing to voice his opinion.
It was then that the vice-president spoke towards the Doctor.
“Doctor, I believe you hesitated a moment when it came time to push the Little-1 unit’s kill switch.”
The Doctor, surprised, looked up.
“Even such a moment’s hesitation could easily have lead to a major accident.”
“Now, now, Mr. Vice-president.”
The Chairman’s mild face had crept its way into the conversation.
“We are not robots. For a human, a delay of mere seconds is merely something which cannot be avoided.”
The meeting ended with the sound of the chairman’s laughter.
Returning to his company quarters, the Doctor enveloped himself in his leather-bound chair, breathing a sigh of relief.
The Vice-President’s comments during the meeting had been on point.
He had indeed hesitated, even if just for a moment.
The Chairman had managed to save him by way of turning it into a joke, and yet…
It was not as though he could count on the Chairman to save him every time.
The Chairman had likely weighed the words of his vice-president, and had simply decided that the Doctor could still be of use.
“I have no desire to give this comfortable chair over to anyone.”
He felt this desire very strongly.
And what were his weak points or enemies compared to his ambition?
Surely it was the very weak-willed idea that these robots had souls that was his greatest enemy.
When he finally rose, he used his terminal to freely gather data.
Data about Titano.
An ancient creature had been discovered on the seafloor.
The scientist who had succeeded in installing its control device was…
* * *
A roar echoed in the deep…
Titano let forth an earth-shaking cry of sheer sadness, full of all his quivering rage at the merciless final moments of the U-Types.
At Titano’s feet lay a heap of broken-down metal that had once been young boys and girls.
When her blurry vision found its focus, the soft face of a woman was gazing at her.
Staring into her eyes.
“You can go home, Lady Kei.”
“It’s, your name.”
“You were sleeping.”
An hour later, L. (Lady) K. (Kei) set her feet down from her white-sheet ensconced bed onto the tile floor.
She felt somehow out of sorts, and yet she was able to stand up firmly and confidently.
“My legs, my body…”
She felt like some lost memory was just on the cusp of her awareness, and yet she could not recall what it was.
“You can take your time trying to remember.”
The nurse had said that, and yet…
She stood in front of the full-sized mirror situated on one side of the wall.
What she saw was, beyond a doubt, her own body. She even remembered that light pink shade of her skin.
“My body…It’s just as it was before I fell asleep.”
Muttering again, K happened to find her eyes fixed on the scar on her arm. The scar made it appear as though her skin, injured by a heat ray, had been duly stitched back together.
The gears of her memory began to grind backwards…
“Ah, what lies beneath this skin isn’t a body. It’s machinery…”
The memory came on like an assault.
It had been that day. That day when she had said, “please kill me.”
L.K. had been moved from her hospital room to a single in a glamorous hotel.
In the early afternoon, a knock came at the door.
The Doctor had come to visit her, a rose in his hand.
“It’s a good thing, getting used to this world.”
The nurse let out a boisterous laugh, then whispered quietly in L.K’s ear.
“This is the man who brought you back to life. He’s a military officer who belongs to the Company.”
The helicopter descended, its rotary wings reverberating as it headed towards the Miura Peninsula.
The terminal, situated as it was amidst a sea of green, became larger and larger as the helicopter approached.
As they landed, the white doors opened, soundlessly.
As the Doctor lowered his slight body down onto the ground, he held out his hand in a clearly learned gesture, catching L.K. in his arms as they touched down.
“It would seem you know this vehicle.”
“Yeah, that’s what I would imagine.”
Without asking her to elaborate, the doctor let out a burst of laughter, nodding. There surely had been some major changes that had occurred.
He guided them towards the headland of the peninsula.
“This is the place where you used to live with your father, the professor.”
“Yes… I suppose…”
“I’m guessing that neither the shape of the bay nor the waves that crash against it have changed all that much. But that’s because the nature we designate for preservation and the nature for we designate for destruction has been made so very distinct. This area might have scenery even beyond the lushness you may remember.”
“Yes, I see, but…”
“There’s no black-tailed gulls.”
Seeing the Doctor’s bewildered expression, L.K. raised her voice and laughed.
“I was just making a joke. Only, it might have been a century old joke.”
Since waking up from her slumber, L.K. had come to know that the majority of her body had been mechanized. Even so, she supposedly still had some of her human body remaining. The question was how much of that truly remained. Perhaps she was 20% human, or 10%, or maybe less than even a single percent. Considering this filled her with unease.
A door was revealed as the two walked around a huge rock that soared above its surrounding. This was an elevator that had been bored into the the cliff wall. It dropped them down 80 meters in a matter of only a few seconds. The place that they arrived in made her think of a palace carved of chalk. A shower room like that of a single room in a hotel was lined up as well.
Climbing up the stairs, the rock wall revealed an amazing view.
Everything was so breathtakingly beautiful…
The Doctor stared at L.K., whose surprise and delight shone on her face.
The view of her in her swimsuit was simply perfect.
Whether her beauty was something that had been built into her form, or something K had possessed since birth, the Doctor could not be sure.
“This is a practice zone for freediving. It’s a competitive sport in which you simply dive under the ocean in a straight line, but…”
L.K., having seated herself on a boulder, was staring intently into the azure waters of the sea. As she did so, she felt as though she could see a research vessel continuing down an unfathomable path. And all the marine organisms that cowered on the ocean floor… The control system her father had built that allowed communication between the mind and gigantic beasts, causing them to move in the way one wished… Memories from so very long ago all passed through her mind.
That was right… These were all the memories of a hundred years gone by. L.K. stretched out her spine as if to shake off these thoughts.
She began to be aware of the sound of the Doctor speaking.
“…They achieved a record of over 130 meters fifty years ago. However, it’s not a very active sport anymore. The reason is that the depths of the sea no longer mystify us as they once did. Science may have progressed, but what lies inside the human heart does not seem to be able to shift so swiftly. Rather, we might be able to say that the flesh has in fact degenerated. Recently, I’ve finally managed to overcome my plateau of 100 meters, but I doubt my personal record will get much better.”
The Doctor stared at L.K., his gaze soft and kindly.
Her lightly colored irises were beautiful.
“And yet, it may be exactly because we can’t do something that that thing has meaning…”
The Doctor was just about to continue while saying, “…for us humans,” but he quickly closed his mouth, swallowing his words.
He felt as though he had seen L.K.’s eyes cloud over.
She might have been more sensitive then he had realized. The Doctor stared at her again, this time attempting a more thorough observation.
L.K., seemingly having recovered her good mood, let out a burst of laughter.
“You’re acting quite considerately towards me, aren’t you?”
Leaving a pause, the Doctor spoke again.
“I… I know everything about you.”
“I read the data.”
“What do you mean by ‘the data?’”
“If we were to go to the central laboratory… you could see any data you might wish to.”
“Such a thing is…”
“Of course, it’s not as though just anyone can search through those files.”
“I found them by complete chance.”
L.K. scanned the skies as though searching for words with which to reply, but still her silence lingered.
The Doctor took her arm, pulling her closer to him and peering deeply into her eyes.
“But your soul is that of a human. And that’s the very thing that makes a human what they are.”
“One hundred years ago, you were crying, weren’t you? As you told the person you loved to kill you.”
“I read that phrase over and over again.”
“You need not say anything. Your soul is that of a human.”
Gently, the Doctor pulled L.K.’s body into an embrace.
He would make her understand. He would bend time itself…
Surely L.K. would feel this moment had lasted an entire eternity.
It was at this time that the terminal hidden by the towel affixed on an out-of-the-way part of her body began to blink on and off.
Twenty minutes later, the helicopter bearing the two of them was heading towards the coast.
Despite the emergency call, the Doctor had still brought her back to her hotel room.
L.K. was looking over the deep crimson roses that he been set on the glass of her table…
The scenery of that cape, seen for the first time in a hundred years, kept appearing in her mind.
It had been a wonderful time.
The sea, the sky, and the forests… That clean, fragrant scent that had filled her lungs and her heart…
And then she had a dream…
She was carried away, lost in the Doctor’s embrace…
He had told her that her soul was the very soul of a human.
Despite all the that, the question of “why” kept on welling up in her heart.
Why had she awoken from her century-long slumber?
Perhaps she had in fact been made to wake up.
A nurse had shown her to her high-class hotel after she had awoken in that hospital.
And then, the Doctor.
Everything seemed to be connected in some sort of circle.
“But for what purpose?”
Suddenly, with the harsh sound following a shockwave, L.K. was sent flying from the sofa.
The ground itself was shaking.
Her arms, outstretched in panic, grasped only air, as she felt her field of vision slide into nothingness…
* * *
It looked just like an underground fortress.
Within the giant circular dome, uniformed people were moving about restlessly.
The terminals densely set into the surrounding walls flickered like uncountable stars in a sky.
The 260 large screens set into the ceiling broadcast a single, huge video. This video, its reverberations shaking the very dome itself, was for the benefit of overwhelming them with a view of the advancing robots.
“Could this perhaps… be a movie? This era’s style of movie?”
L.K., who had lost consciousness following being hit by the shockwave in the hotel, had awoken inside of a car speeding down an expressway. The car had entered a long underground tunnel, and had then taken her to this dome.
The image on the screen was stuttering.
The giant walls crumbled as the ground shook. From the cracks gushed water, and suddenly the screen had filled with water. The robots, in battle mode, converged on the rapids.
Just then, she thought she had caught sight of some gigantic creature just behind the screen.
She looked over her shoulder towards the source of this sudden voice. The form of the Doctor was suddenly standing close to her.
His eyes, with those lightly colored irises, came in close to K’s face.
“Are you alright?”
Such feelings seemed inappropriate to the situation, but she couldn’t help thinking how beautiful his eyes were…
At that moment, a shockwave raced through her entire body, from her feet to the crown of her head, and L.K.’s body was flung into the air. The Doctor, still standing his ground, caught her firmly in his arms.
A harsh siren began to blare throughout the dome.
* * *
While Titano, spearheading the mobile robot troops, whipped up a surge of sea spray towards Tokyo Bay, the fully forces of the mechanical beasts made themselves known. Suddenly, the coastal industrial areas of Tokyo and Yokohama were wreathed in flames, ominous smoke billowing up to the skies. All the while, individual unit by individual unit, the robots collapsed, felled by the Company’s remote controls.
Each time a robot fell, Titano let out a shuddering roar, and increased his savagery.
He crossed the Tama River estuary, and began to head towards the city center.
Within moments, Haneda Airport was no longer operative. Technological innovation had made the runway usable, with takeoffs and touchdowns happening at intervals of every few seconds on the ten different concurrent 5,000 meter runaways, but these were being reduced to mere rubble underneath Titano’s feet.
The central station towards the north of the airport had become a symbol of Tokyo following its construction in 2060. The ultra-sonic maglev bullet train had become a main aorta of the archipelago.
But when faced with the Titano’s wrath, all resistance was futile. The maglev cars he hoisted aloft were like mere animal crackers to him, to be bent and manipulated with ease.
The bombers which had been sent on emergency dispatch bathed Titano in bullets.
Throughout this all, the battle in the center of the city gave no quarter for those humans who found themselves caught up in its fury.
* * *
The lights were cut, and for a moment the dome was blanketed in darkness.
The emergency lights blinked on a few seconds later, revealing L.K. huddled against a wall. The Doctor had moved quickly to help her, but she could still feel a mechanical buzz reverberating in her ears like some form of tinnitus.
The Doctor took her, hand-in-hand, to his office, but his expression was like stone.
“I should have told you sooner.”
“What do you mean, tell me?”
“I should have told you about the robot rebellion at the Deep Sea Excavation Factory. We had assumed we had more time, but their movements were simply too quick. The first explosion came…”
“You had lost consciousness in your hotel… What happened afterwards is exactly as you saw on the screen. It all means that Titano’s intelligence has progressed at an astounding rate.”
“A marine organism you knew well. Although he’s now known as Meister Titano.”
So that shadow she had so briefly glimpsed really had been the very same from a hundred years earlier… And yet…
“The origin of all this was the obliteration of one robot with the form of a young boy who had escaped the Undersea Excavation Factory. Eventually the Company decided upon dismantling the entire U-type stock, viewing them as a failed product. The supreme commander of the thousands of robots who worked in the factory, Titano, gave out a terrible cry of rage, and set the rebellion into action. The explosions on the coast were carried out by those robot troops under Titano’s command.”
“You say that Titano is the one who brought about this rebellion. But if this Titano is the same creature I used to know, he should have a very docile nature. For someone like him to command an army of rebellion…”
“Ah, that’s correct. Or it was a hundred years ago, at least. But for Titano, everything has changed in the intervening century. Because now, Titano is a mechanical beast with the intelligence of a human.”
“A mechanical beast…”
A sudden thought welled up inside of L.K.’s mind.
Perhaps she had been awoken for the purpose of this very battle.
“Doctor, you told me you had come upon my data by complete accident.”
“Perhaps it wasn’t as much of an accident as you say… Perhaps while hypothesizing upon this battle, the research data you were reading through lead you directly to me.”
“All carried out in order to discover Titano’s weakness.”
“It’s nothing as simple as all that.”
The Doctor answered in a voice that seemed to be struggling to exit his throat. His hand went to a terminal and flipped a switch.
Instantaneously, a screen opened.
Multitudes of Titanos roared upon the various screens set into the wall. He had suddenly shown his gargantuan self. The mechanical beast had given himself over to fury, becoming rather a beast of destruction, trampling upon all structures in front of him. Flames were burning upwards towards a sky blanketed by dark smoke.
L.K. stared, transfixed by the display in front of her.
Over half of Titano’s body was covered in machinery. Despite this, there was no mistaking the creature she had once known.
“They turned you into a beast of destruction…”
On the screen, heat rays flew about, bursts of flames billowing upwards. The industrial zones were destroyed. The sparkling white bridge that spanned the waters off Shinagawa was transformed, all too quickly, to mere scrap metal.
From behind L.K., opposite the screens, the Doctor’s voice sounded darkly.
“I don’t believe U-Type Little-1 was attempting to start an insurrection or anything like that. He probably just set out into the sea out of pure curiosity, hoping to see the outside world. For a human child, that’s something that would be considered completely normal. But we couldn’t forgive something like that. You could call it the arrogance of humanity… But now, we have no choice but to win. Titano’s rebellion may be against a single corporation, but if this chain reaction is allowed to continue its progression…”
L.K. cut him off.
“His weakness was towards supersonic waves.”
“We already tried that.”
L.K. stared at the Doctor. Her feeling that it really had been as she suspected grew.
“Doctor, you knew about it. You knew everything.”
The creature she had controlled a century earlier. The circuits her father had envisioned and which had been completed by that visitor from space. It had been hooked up to K’s brain, thus perfecting the control mechanism.
The Doctor had known about it.
“You… You want my circuits, don’t you…”
The Doctor’s face, staring at K, was an earnest one.
“It’s just as you say. I knew everything. I gathered all the data and refined a strategy for this battle. I intended to use you as a pawn in that battle.”
“But what I told you at the coast was the truth. That your soul is that of a human. And then I felt this sympathy with you, and we shared that dreamlike time together.”
“Please, don’t say anything more…”
On L.K.’s downturned face, tears ran the length of her cheek.
Then L.K. finally turned her face to stare at the Doctor, and then she spoke, enunciating each word.
The Doctor said nothing in reply.
Finally, he muttered a few words.
“I… refuse… to let you die…”
The voice that said those words was so quiet it was almost impossible to discern.
The anesthetic should have been working properly by now, but L.K. was feeling her consciousness slip away under the barrage of an intense headache…
She wondered how much time had passed.
Slowly, she regained consciousness…
Still, the area around her was simply too quiet.
She slowly stood up, but found not a single person.
Gingerly, she stepped out into the corridor, but there too she found no sign of humanity.
L.K., wondering how the battle had gone, halted for just a moment where she stood.
This quiet, it could mean…
But in this moment, she felt that either result would be fine by her.
But beyond that, she had something she had to do.
She made herself concentrate. The thing she needed to search for was so very far away, and she could sense only but the faintest of signals from it.
She ran down the corridor, making her way to the subterranean tunnels. Once she continued onwards to the caverns, she knew there was supposed to be a submarine waiting for her.
All this she knew from the map of the labyrinthine subterranean tunnels that she had stolen from the Doctor’s mind at the last moment.
In order to retrieve her circuitry, she had undergone a surgery that had seemingly ransacked the contents of her head – and yet the records were all still safely within storage.
L.K., jumping into the submarine, was brought instantaneously down into the depths of the sea.
For some reason, the Doctor’s words rose once again in her thoughts. He had said that he had overcome that hundred-meter plateau in his free diving. And he had said that “it may be exactly because we can’t do something that that thing has meaning,” and had said “for us humans…” before swallowing whatever words he had meant to continue with.
But this was something L.K. could do.
Precisely because she wasn’t human.
A thousand meters… Twenty thousand meters… She set her course towards that faint signal.
Suddenly, she was swamped by a violent shockwave.
The waves had become like huge ripples, crashing down again and again, shaving off and collapsing parts of reefs, the jumble of which had crashed directly into the submersible. Knocked about like a leaf in a storm, the sturdy walls of the submersible, made with all the principles of modern science, were torn asunder, the submarine sucked into the center of a maelstrom…
Perhaps, this would be the end of her battle…
This time, too, had ended in human victory.
Just as she had that thought, L.K. felt her consciousness fade away, and she knew no more…
When she came to, it seemed she was at the bottom of the deep sea.
Even for L.K., this degree of water pressure was unbearable. She could feel the pressure, already nearly at the point of bursting her lungs.
Suddenly, she became aware of something supporting her.
Its gargantuan head drew close, a huge, black eye – larger than L.K.’s head – peering at her.
His face jerked towards her, as if trying to recall some lost memory.
Coming more to her senses, L.K. realized that she was lying, stretched out upon Titano’s palm.
But Titano said not a word.
As she glanced about his gargantuan body, she saw that the majority of his robotic parts had been destroyed. It seemed the life-force inherent in his original form as a living being was the only thing keeping him, just barely, alive. That life, too, it seemed, was nearing its final moments.
L.K. began to speak to Titano, who sat wordless.
“I betrayed you then too, a hundred years ago. And now, a century later, it seems I’ve only betrayed you again… But now, here, at the bottom of the sea, we’ll be together… always…”
A luminescent jellyfish flitted by, disappearing into darkness like some shooting star.
Within L.K.’s body, her life-support system gave out, never making a sound.Translations // April 28, 2019