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  • Authors: Andrew Sudomerski & Matthew Freese | Banners: Dao Zang Moua & Matthew Williams

    In the darkness of the night, the crisp and tender winds kept him company. How long it had been was lost on him, for he had wandered the ends of the Earth in utmost patience. The elder wizard clutched the demon sword at his side, one he had struggled to procure from the blessed shrine of Amaterasu’s White Bird of Heaven. Walls were blood soaked from those that protected the Sword of Dark Clouds, a task deemed impossible for any feeble fool that dared to try. The spellcaster, the warrior, and the priestess laid upon the defiled grounds, drenched in their own blood.

    Tsukinowa stepped away from the sacred temple, altering his appearance to fit that of the former priestess’ guards that resided there. He knew that, even if he was of Orochi’s lineage, he could not wield the sword as Tsukuyomi could. Certainly, only the Lord of the Moon could wield it, as the blade was salvaged from his dragon’s flesh and forged by the moon god’s almighty power. Its destructive might could bring about the end of the world, but only when held by its progenitor.

    “Tsukuyomi, surely destiny will guarantee your return to the mortal world,” Tsukinowa spoke aloud, even if no one heard him, “For your ambitions reach as high as the stars the gods placed. And it is those great heights that’ll bring the world to ruin.”

    Tsukinowa spotted a swath of guards rushing up the hillside and bypassed them without being spotted. Even if he had been found, they’d be none the wiser to truly know what happened. As he vanished between the darkness of the trees, Tsukinowa could only think of the great victory that was to come, one that would make him a worthy successor to his predecessor.

    Now, it was a matter of waiting.

    ***

    He sat alone in the stone-cold room, only surrounded by the comfort of magic candles and the Moon God Mirror he had reconstructed. Stored in its sheath was the deadliest weapon known to the world, yet one thought forgotten to time. He continued to pray, awaiting to serve his Master once more. But that time wasn’t now, for destiny had not foretold of His return. For the time being, isolation would be more than sufficient.

    Gunkanjima was, in many respects, isolated from the rest of Japan. Although it had long since become a tourist spot, very few were permitted to enter at a time–and even so, that time was limited. For this place harbored many demons; a stute reminder of Japan’s horrendous war crimes and forced child labor during the Second World War. For Tsukinowa, it was a convenient hiding spot from the public eye. Yet even he had to be careful, lest he risk exposure in an untimely fashion.

    The billowing wind aimlessly threw loose paper and debris across the desolate floor, flung into the open air surrounded by buildings. For countless human lifespans, Tsukinowa vanguarded the legendary Sword of Dark Clouds with his clearest intentions; to return it to its rightful wielder as to bring an end to all of it. And to those who tried to steal it from under him were punished by his wicked spells.

    Among his daily prayers for victory, something pricked in the back of his mind, a presence on the island. An odd one, seemingly not man or beast. He gazed into his mirror, a relic which allowed one to see things from miles away as if they were in the very room.

    Yet this was unseeable. Only a haze of blue lights flickering and swaying. ‘What in my lord’s name?’ His eyes widened as he tried to parse out this information. “Damn it,” he cursed beneath his breath before leaving the room, staff held before him in anticipation.

    He crept close to a wall near the shore, each step measured to make minimal noise. Once he had been the advisor to a great emperor, feeding him lies to further a foul agenda. He had never needed to skulk about like a common criminal, he strode through the finest halls with unceasing confidence. But he swallowed his pride, he would never need to lay in the shadows again when this all came to fruition.

    Suddenly, a pale light shined from around the corner before him, startling him. He suppressed a gasp of shock or, when his head was clear a second later, a scream of wrath. ‘What the hell is this!? On all nights, it’s this one?’ He internally shouted, before putting his back to the wall.

    Even a man who had seen as much as he had in his long life was absolutely baffled by the sight awaiting him.

    A blob of luminous azure sparkles waving back and forth, hovering above the ground. Tsukinowa gently stepped towards the anomaly, mind racing as he considered the situation. His mirror had not deceived him, the nature of the entity was just so odd that he had not believed the truth until it stared him in the face. No one was nearby, and if the shimmering gelatin lighting up the night was not drawing attention, his words would not either.

    “What are you?” He spoke calmly, trying to learn as much as he could. “Why are you here?”

    Was he even talking to a lifeform? It had done nothing to suggest it bore a mind, much less one capable of understanding his words. He saw no reason to keep speaking to it if it would do nothing, and thus he turned and began to walk. The plan was as it should be, this minor distraction aside. He was genuinely tempted to just blast it into dust for interrupting him.

    “You…” an echoing voice chimed through Tsukinowa’s head, causing him to whip around and look at the blob as it shifted with conscious movement. “Speaking to you requires a different… frequency than the other residents of this planet.”

    “What do you want?” Tsukinowa ignored the statement, seeking answers as soon as possible.

    “We are Yog. We are all of one mind and of many bodies, the pinnacle of evolution.” If the entity had any reaction to Tsukinowa’s scoff, it did not reveal it. “Instead of being bound to one form like the rest of existence, we may become whatever body we desire.”

    “Then why have you come to me?” The wizard found himself clutching his staff harder than he was before, whether out of fear or anger he did not know.

    “Unfortunately, in our current form we cannot actually do much. Cannot enforce our will. We need a powerful body to make our own, to act as the unstoppable emissary of Yog. That… is where you shall come in, holder of mysterious and awe-inspiring power.”

    Tsukinowa flinched. Did this thing mean the Sword of Dark Clouds? Did it truly seek its divine power? But without a body, it could not possibly wield it. Wait, this Yog needed a powerful body to…

    When the blob of sparkling lights lurched forward, Tsukinowa was paranoid enough to swiftly reply. From his staff came a bolt of lightning, illuminating the darkness of the night as it carved Yog into two pieces, large swathes of their body being reduced to lifeless vapor in the wind. The two remnants rolled back, unmoving beyond a subtle swaying.

    “You seek to become a god!? Yet you fall so swiftly before even my might. A true god like my master would rend you asunder with all the effort of crushing an insect!”

    “God… such a limiting term.” One of the clusters of Yog lunged backwards, diving into the waters below. Almost immediately, the same light emanated by the space amoeba intensified drastically from beneath the waves, making the wizard stumble back in shock. “Prepare yourself. Behold our true power and see if your ‘divinely gifted’ strength still compares.”

    Long he had waited for this day. A chance for reckoning, an opportunity to prove his might. Tsukinowa planted his magical staff into the wedge of the stone, keeping it firmly in place. Clasping his hands together, the soothsayer uttered a series of indecipherable hymns from a language lost to time.

    “O powerful moon, lend me your strength; O souls of the damned, conglomerate into a being of wickedness; for you, I present an offering,” Tsukinowa invoked as he transferred his conscious goal into the minds of the collective spirits. “Eliminate this threat, and the prized possession shall be yours for the taking.” Almost as if they had heard him, Tsukinowa listened as the wails of the dead responded in kind.

    They graciously accepted.

    Tsukinowa’s eyes shifted to the stormy skies. Rumblings off in the distance came ever closer, swelling under that of a dark cloud. The storm flashed with erratic lightning, draping the sky in a sheet of condensed vapors. Torrents of heavy rainfall poured over the broken island and the two living beings that stood there.

    Tsukinowa was drenched, his long, shaggy hair matted together rather uncomfortably. The being that called itself Yog, on the other hand, was seemingly unfazed by the presence of rain, as the droplets passed right on through. Even so, Tsukinowa couldn’t help but grin when he saw a similarly pale green light opposing the Yog’s creation.

    “Space fiend, let me show you that your pitiful attempts will be for nothing!” the servant of the moon haughtily proclaimed.

    “If that is how you feel, then by all accounts, allow us to demonstrate,” the alien virus retorted in kind. “With that power, we can save this world, Tsukinowa. We can save all planets from self-destruction by assimilating them to the will of Yog.”

    There was no saving these mortals. They had to perish, so his master dictated. Breezing past them, harsh winds rolled along the ocean, tossing powerful waves in their wake. All the while, green and blue lights pulsated as the oceanic seas prepared to give birth to twin abominations not of this world.

    Their bodies gestated in the aquatic environment.

    The first among them illuminated in a pale blue light, coated in viscous smear that encased the mata mata turtle. Its body contorted unnaturally, its chromosomes manipulated and altered by the alien virus. The shell split open with each molt, growing larger and larger in the process. Growth accelerated exponentially, protruding new teeth and fresh armored ridges for the battle to come. Its eyes shined a vacant sky blue, sneering at the ethereal entity that would oppose the will of Yog.

    Lime green light clashed with the brilliant blues of the Yog transformation, serenaded by the evil of the moon. Screaming souls of the damned were magnetically drawn to the celestial core, giving shape to the great sea beast that lurked within. At first it began in an embryonic state, but the more wisps absorbed into its very being, the quicker it grew in size and mass. Its scales hardened, formed more defined features, manifesting into a horrid eidolon of the deep. Uttering pained shrills from the cavernous trenches, the half-fish, half-beast monstrosity gleamed with spite and wicked intent.

    The light died down as the two sea beasts reached full conception. Kamoebas’ sky blue eyes faded and revealed those of an animal, with a glint of intelligence. Kaishin Muba’s eerie presence was still visible in the ocean depths, its orange eyes and green crystal ball piercing the darkness.

    Kamoebas challenged the sea god with a muffled shriek. Kaishin Muba happily obliged in a hideous gurgle.

    Swirling water displaced as the sea god began to move, fluttering its fins to swerve amidst the oceanic skies. Leaning its upper torso front facing, Kaishin Muba lunged towards the rugged terrapin, outstretching its tentacle clusters. Kamoebas retracted its head into the catacombs of its shell, though the malevolent spectre’s constricting appendages grappled with the sea turtle’s forearms, pulling the rocky giant deeper into the waves.

    As waters splashed against the island from the giants’ movements, Tsukinowa kept his smug grin. “Can you truly say that your overgrown turtle stands a chance after what you just saw?”

    Yog remained silent as death.

    Kaishin Muba’s teeth scraped against the rocky shell of its foe, leaving shallow grooves but not much else. Its tentacles squeezed the entrapped limbs of the mutated turtle harder, intent on breaking bone.

    Kamoebas’ head shot from its shell out like it was attached to a spring, teeth clamping down onto one of the tentacles restraining the Yog-beast’s legs. Slime coated the limbs, making it difficult for Kamoebas to find solid puncture for its teeth.

    The mutant quickly released its bite and retracted its head back into its shell to avoid the gnashing jaws of the supernatural leviathan. Kamoebas’ head then rocketed back out, bashing the top of its skull against the side of Kaishin Muba’s face. A surprised shriek left the demon, its tentacles loosening enough for Kamoebas to escape and begin to swim away.

    The wizard found himself laughing. “It’s already running away? You picked a real warrior for your champion, I don’t even think I needed to summon Kaishin!”

    “How foolish. The fight has just started and you already make such a bold claim.”

    Kaishin Muba surged through the waters after its target, howling and gurgling with wrath. What was immediately obvious was that the fish-like demon was far faster than the turtle, the distance between them closing in a matter of seconds.

    Kamoebas swiftly retracted all its limbs into its shell, stopping its retreat a moment before the bulk of the spirit beast crashed into it.

    Tentacles flailed all across the shell, bashing and constricting as the leviathan searched for a weakness. The howls of the coalescence of lost souls echoed throughout the water.

    As tendrils snaked along the underbelly of the shell, trying to find any opening they could, one of the forelimbs of the mutated matamata lashed out from its tunnel. Claws dragged across a slime-coated limb, failing to draw blood but still earning a growl of pain from Kaishin Muba.

    The foreleg was already back in its sheath before the several tentacles that whipped towards it could strike. Kamoebas’ head launched out, jaws clamping onto the tip of a tentacle. Its grip held firm as it retracted its head once more, carrying the tentacle into the shell.

    Kaishin Muba’s growls turned into screeches as it tried to wrench its limb free, but the turtle’s grinding teeth continued to wear down the flesh. The demonic leviathan rushed forwards once more, aiming both combatants at the rock wall of the nearby island. Its pace quickened as it felt blood began to leak.

    Gunkanjima shuddered as one hundred sixty-four thousand tons slammed into its side.

    Kaishin Muba’s scream of hatred and anguish made Tsukinowa’s hands rush to his ears.

    Ichor leaked from the end of the severed tentacle, staining the blue waters. Kamoebas was partially embedded in the stone, its body shifting as it tried to dislodge its pointed back from it. The ghostly leviathan backed away, staring at its wound.

    Lime-green fluid floated up from it, transfixing the entity. This pathetic creature had actually harmed it, made it bleed. The lifeforce of the dead was leaving the demon due to a simple turtle.

    Kamoebas had wriggled itself free, and was now attempting to haul itself onto land, its front legs upon solid ground. Yog could already tell that the water held no advantage for it, but upon the land it could begin to make gain.

    The water suddenly shifted, the waves churning around the mutant. Its loose grip grew even weaker as the water beneath it lowered into a whirlpool. Kamoebas looked back to see Kaishin Muba on the water’s surface, glaring daggers into the Yog-beast’s soul as its tentacles waved beneath.

    Kamoebas fell back into the waters, causing a wave to wash over the streets of the island. By the time it reached Tsukinowa and Yog it was not even ankle deep, leaving the two unbothered.

    “Did your creature just manipulate the waters themselves?” Questioned Yog.

    “Of course. The power of my lord makes all things possible, fool.”

    Yog made no comment after this, but the wizard could tell something was coursing through its gestalt mind.

    Kaishin Muba descended back down, submerging itself as it approached the flailing Kamoebas. The leviathan was done playing games.

    The gem upon its forehead glowed emerald green, channeling the power of evil and of the dead. A thin beam of energy raced forth, raking across the mutant’s shell. Explosions detonated across it, sending shards of the armored plating flying. Before Kamoebas could fully comprehend what had happened, another shot of the Water Mirror Ray sent cracks crawling across the shell as the triangular peak was blasted off.

    A turtle’s shell was as much a part of their body as anything else on them. Despite the inorganic look, it was still made of bones and carried countless nerve endings. Were it not for the warping of its genetics, Kamoebas would have likely already died from this alone.

    The Yog-infected creature raced forwards, screeching as it suppressed the agony flowing through it. Another strike from the pale blast tore off a large piece from the side of the armored carapace. Keeping its head in the confines of its shell, the mutant terrapin locked onto its target. With each passing second, the monstrous turtle was stripped of its natural defenses to the ethereal laser.

    Coming within reach, Kamoebas launched its head from the safety of its body as it tore through the oceanic skies, trailing with riptides and bubbles. Extending its neck to the equivalent to its total body length, Kamoebas opened its jaws and clamped onto the exposed gills that aligned the sea demon’s neck.

    The hideous fiend gargled as green blood oozed from the gills, its facial fins sparking with magical energies to retaliate. Yet before it could discharge, it felt an abnormal tug from its chelonian opponent. Rather than being dragged towards the body, it felt as if…

    Before the wicked abomination knew what hit it, the colossal armored body of Kamoebas sailed through the watery abyss, being pulled in by the head. Within a second, the mutant slammed its broken shell against the leviathan’s chest, jabbing it with jagged armor. Kaishin Muba screamed as it was hurled back with tremendous force, blood flowing from severe lacerations and its neck gill dislodged under Kamoebas’ maw. The mighty fish-beast collided against the seascape, erupting with a blast of disheveled earth, temporarily stunned from the heavy blow. It felt its lifeforce seeping from the torn gill and snarled viciously.

    Spitting the unnatural gill aside, the mutant terrapin turned and lunged forth, swiping with waving limbs and gnashing jaws. A tentacle cracked against its carapace, ripping away another chunk of the organic fortress upon its back and exposing flesh beneath.

    Claws scraped against the armored chest of Kaishin Muba, the extendable neck of Kamoebas reaching for the fish demon’s throat once more. The spirit leviathan’s own jaws shot down, crunching onto the skull of its target. Teeth worked their way through skin and grinded against bone, earning a hellacious screech of agony from the mutant. Even Yog’s influence could not shut down pain of this magnitude.

    One of Kamoebas’ claws sank into a wound on Kaishin Muba, widening it and spraying forth more ichor containing spectral essence. Instead of opening its maw as anticipated, Kaishin Muba only bit down harder from the pain. Its jaws slid forth, ripping the skin off of the mutant’s face. One eye was punctured, a spray of fluid being all that remained of it.

    Spitting out the foul tasting skin, the water god looked back at its foe to see Kamoebas pulling its head and limbs back into its shell. A Water Mirror Ray to the front of Kamoebas’ armor shattered it like dry wood, revealing the degloved skull of the Yog-beast, limited facial expression locked into pure terror from the residual animal it once was.

    Tentacles wrapped around the throat, pulling with all their might against a pathetic struggle of resistance from the battered turtle. The neck extended further and further, skin peeling away as Kaishin pushed it to its limits. The legs flailed futilely, accomplishing nothing.

    A sick, cruel grin decorated Kaishin Muba’s face as the neck no longer stretched, reaching its limit at the length of Kamoebas’ body. A limp, pathetic groan escaped its jaws. And with one last pull, Kaishin Muba ripped Kamoebas’ head clean off, a spray of blood tainted with blue lights spewing forth.

    The howling winds and falling rain were joined by a boisterous laughter. Tsukinowa looked back to the gelatinous being next to him, awaiting some cry of sorrow or rage-filled roar. But none came.

    “Have you been paying any attention?” Tsukinowa’s eyes widened. ”You have done nothing to us with the destruction of Kamoebas. Unlike you and your kind, we are not confined to a single form. It would be accurate to say that you destroyed a uniform of us, not our actual selves.”

    “And what of it? You know that you cannot best me as you are now, so what’s stopping me from blasting you into ash?”

    The sparkling lights in the mutant’s blood suddenly flew from the cloud, taking Kaishin Muba off guard as they entered its wounds. The leviathan bellowed as an awful sensation flooded its form, the pale blue light of Yog shining out.

    “Because it would do nothing. For you have given us a new, far better uniform to wear.”

    Kaishin Muba emerged from the water, fidgeting and letting loose grotesque gurgles, as if it were fighting with itself. Hellacious screeches spilled from its parted jaws, aimlessly discharging a ghostly laser into the watery surface. It swished and threw out its tentacles, contorting the vast body of water into vicious riptides and tidal waves, trying to fight against the spectral virus hijacking its body. In the end, the wild fish-beast came to a pause and fell deathly silent.

    The old wizard nearly fell over in terror. His creation had fallen into the hands of the enemy. Did this Yog know no limits for what bodies it could control?

    It looked towards Tsukinowa, the once blazing orange now a soft sky blue, then let loose a scream before discharging a Water Mirror Ray which lit up the night.

    With a burst of adrenaline the warlock hurled himself out of the way, the ground where he had just stood being turned into boiling stone. The Yog cluster he had spoken to was erased without a word, uncaring of its physical destruction.

    As a building behind him was incinerated by a cluster of explosions, the cacophony still not drowning out the deranged howl of his own creation, Tsukinowa prepared himself. “Then the time must be now,” the soothsayer muttered. Standing upright, he glared at his stolen familiar and firmly thrust his staff into the concrete. Crossing his hands in prayer, he uttered the incantation to complete the ritual.

    “O Kaishin Muba, spectre of the deep, take my offering,” he proclaimed, keeping his mind focused, “For the one I offer you resides within you now! The star-dwelling one shall be your sacrifice to take to the other side!”

    The Yog-possessed Kaishin Muba’s facial fins sparked to life, raising its tentacle clusters to command the waters. A monstrous tidal wave pulled from the surface, prepared to crush the wizard under its tremendous weight. Yet before it could do the deed, the sea demon halted its attack. The wretched green cretin began to illuminate in golden light, feeling its physical presence being erased from this plane of existence.

    The wall of water immediately collapsed, dispersing the giant body into the ocean, only violently splashing against the concrete barrier of the island. Kaishin bellowed one last time, more so Yog than the beast or its souls, as its body dissolved into nothingness. As the souls escaped back into wherever they had once been, the alien amoeba found itself being pulled apart at the molecular and quantum level.

    This was impossible! A being of this magnitude just fading away like this defied every law of physics. Confused and terrified at what their science-oriented minds could not comprehend, Yog was erased by the magics of Kaishin Muba’s dispersal.

    Tsukinowa breathed in deeply, trying to regather himself. He would recommence the ritual for his master, he needed to. Shakily getting to his feet, shivering from the bone-chilling cold as every inch of him was soaked, he began to hobble back to his chamber.

    Rest sounded so alluring, but not now. Rest could come when Tsukuyomi returned, when the old warlock’s goal in life was fulfilled. Until then, he would work himself to the bone in order to appease the rebel god and bring about his reign.

    Miles away, their shared mind felt the disappearance of their other aspect. The mission to capture the mysterious power on the island humanity called Gunkanjima had been a catastrophic failure, and at the same time they had made a powerful enemy.

    The conglomerate conscious saw few options, and each one carried its own risks and rewards. If what Tsukinowa said and if what they had gleaned from his mind were any indication, then the time for subtlety and subterfuge was long gone.

    Now was the time for action.

    Winner: Kaishin Muba

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    A very special thanks to dopepope for some of the assets used in this banner for the K.W.C. Be sure to follow him on DeviantART, ArtStation, and Instagram.

    K.W.C. // May 20, 2021
  • I’ll be honest, Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) left me disappointed and apathetic toward the future of the MonsterVerse. As a result, I didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). To be fair, when the trailer hit I was definitely energized, but I had also thought the 2019 Godzilla film had an excellent trailer as well. So, I probably wasn’t alone in approaching the latest Godzilla and Kong movie with cautious optimism. Thankfully, I can say that Godzilla vs. Kong exceeded my expectations, adding another solid entry to the franchise. The film has its flaws, particularly from the characters and the way the plot is divided. The pacing, action and effects, though, are enough to create something that’s solid popcorn entertainment and worth revisiting. (more…)

    Movie Reviews // May 17, 2021
  • SpaceGodzilla is threatening to plunge the world into an endless night. But when Godzilla arrives to face the cosmic tyrant, he quickly discovers that this creature from another planet not only shares his face, it holds a dark secret — and the key to his final destiny. (more…)

    General // May 15, 2021
  • In today’s interview, we are going to have a sit-down with Boston-based filmmaker J. L. Carrozza. Carrozza, who actually wrote for Toho Kingdom briefly, has directed a number of his own films, including the short “Little Red Riding Hood,” the documentary “Black Sunshine: Conversations with T. F. Mou,” the TV series Micro-Shocks, and the Matango-influenced “Fungus.” A long time fan of Japanese cinema with a unique perspective, we will be discussing his recently released book, SF: The Japanese Science Fiction Film Encyclopedia, among other projects.

    (more…)

    Interviews // May 13, 2021
  • Author: Joshua Reynolds | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    The whole planet was in ruin. It took less than a week for them to tear through every defensive line and obliterate the world’s defenses. Now their masters were doing the cleanup, rounding up survivors to be processed for whatever means they wanted. The beasts that accomplished this were starting to be collected. Monster X looked over to the side, crimson eyes blazing as he watched his strange, bizarre looking partner get sucked up into a vortex of energy and pulled into the innards of massive, golden-hued, triangular spaceship. He then looked forward, seeing the twin suns through the thick clouds of smoke that blanketed the sky like a dark flood.

    How many worlds was this now?

    The alien weapon tried remembering. He could visualize his prior conquests, but there was never a beginning. He couldn’t even remember a life before this violence. All he knew was the blinding light of being dispatched, the days of carnage as he and his vicious comrades raided worlds and the swirling colors of being particlized and returned to his masters.

    What a life…

    Monster X looked up as one of the flying ships descended from the churning black clouds. He sighed, a thick cloud of mist escaping his jaws as the beam of light shined down. His body quickly began to atomize and swirl, becoming one with the light as he was sucked up into the bowels of the spacecraft… And all for the war beast went dark.

    A screeching sound made Monster X become active. He could hear the frenzied voice of his commanding officer barking orders in his head. How long was it since the last conquest? It felt as if just earlier in the day, but it couldn’t be. Without warning, Monster X was dispatched. The light that exploded in front of his eyes began to illuminate a new, blue world. However, carnage had already broken out. He was being sent in as reinforcement.

    The skeletal creature felt the softness of grass and soil underneath his feet. He could smell an unrecognizable scent of the sea, enjoying it. But he could also smell the burning of life, the unforgettable scent of war. Then he heard it. It was the roars of some of his comrades. Monster X turned around. Again he was partnered with the one known simply as the Visitor, a grotesque alien creature with additional, spear-like appendages bursting from his back. The other was a feline, white-colored thing with a field of razor-sharp crystals protruding from its back, this one he knew as Krystalak.

    Then he heard unfamiliar sounds. He turned to the side, spotting why he was summoned. This planet had beasts of their own it seemed. Challenging the alien forces was a bipedal, lion-like golem. Thick plates of armor clanged underneath dense fur. Ruby eyes flared in the sunlight and King Caesar’s floppy ears stiffened and stood on end. The other was a much simpler thing in appearance. It was but a generic dinosaur, only much taller. A dull green in color with a large, triangular head, tiny arms and a long tail that slapped the ground.

    “Monster X, team with Krystalak and Visitor. Kill King Caesar and Gorosaurus, quickly!”

    The words of the unseen master echoed in Monster X’s mind. The creature snorted, charging forth at the pair of enemy fighters. Just as he closed the distance, the ground in front of him sunk into a pit. His foot was caught, being swallowed up by the swirling dirt. Another monster suddenly erupted upward, Baragon. The subterranean kaiju howled, his maw parting and breathing a stream of burning fire at the skeletal titan. The flames washed over his body, smoldering his black flesh and exposed bone. The alien howled, pulling his leg out of the pit while Baragon lunged forward, jaws clamping on his wrist.

    “And that one too!”

    Monster X tried to focus despite his master barking obvious orders directly into his head. His free hand came up, skeletal fingers wrapping around Baragon’s cranial horn. The alien nightmare snarled, focusing all of his might while the subterranean dinosaur tugged and thrashed like an oversized pit bull. After several moments, a blast of crystal shards struck Baragon’s side. The beast was forced to relent and fell away, limbs kicking with bits of glass-like crystal stuck in his mid-section between his right, front, and hind limbs.

    Monster X climbed to a stance and looked over at Krystalak. His bizarre partner snorted before turning his cold gaze back to Gorosaurus. The giants charged one another. Falling onto all fours, the inorganic life form ran like a feline. He jumped, clearing Gorosaurus’ head and landing behind him. Just as the green dinosaur turned, the alien’s mace-like tail of crystals smacked the side of his face. Gorosaurus was sent crashing down with a thud. Krystalak wasted no time and leapt, coming down with razor-sharp claws. Trenches of crimson were carved into the reptile’s scaly hide, but the alien underestimated the dinosaur’s jaws. Gorosaurus’ maw opened and his head lashed. His jaws clamped shut on the elbow of the alien, triangular teeth cutting into the weird substance that made its skin.

    Seeing this, Monster X’s eyes flashed with light. A quick burst of golden energy was shot forth from his four crimson eyes. The beams struck Gorosaurus’ head, instantly causing him to release the alien.

    However, Monster X didn’t have time to see what followed. His guard had been left down. King Caesar took advantage. The living legend moved with the speed of lightning. His limbs a blur, he hit the skeletal kaiju numerous times with precise strikes to the face, chest, and stomach. X stumbled back, bringing up his arms to protect his face. However, King Caesar lunged upward with his knee, driving it straight into his gut. Instantly, every bit of air was forced from his body. X gasped, coughing while he hunched over. King Caesar leaped up and came down, driving his elbow into the back of his exposed neck. Once more, X was sent crashing down with a horrible sound.

    King Caesar bellowed his victory to the world, but suddenly his head was engulfed in a faint blue glow. His hands came up to the sides of his head, grasping at each side of his face. His mouth parted, but nothing came out. His eyes tried reflecting the attack, but whatever it was, it wasn’t the typical energy attacks he faced. Not far away, the Visitor stood tall. Its oblong head tilted forward, pulsating the blue light that was crippling King Caesar’s mind. The earth defender collapsed, gripping the sides of his head in utter pain.

    Suddenly, the Visitor ceased the attack and straightened back up. The bizarre thing once more looked down at X. The skeletal kaiju snorted, rubbing the back of his neck in pain. Before long, Baragon rushed in from the Visitor’s side, spewing a stream of burning hellfire that blanketed it. The alien’s strange flesh broiled, charring black before Baragon pounced. The Visitor’s many spear-like limbs acted with a mind of their own, protecting its body and swatting Baragon away like a baseball. The earthbound guardian flew back with a painful howl, vanishing into a cloud of churning smoke.

    At the same time, Krystalak’s body catapulted from the opposite side of the battlefield. While he crawled to his feet, Monster X spotted Gorosaurus standing, hunched up with his tail beating the ground anxiously. Krystalak landed on his back, rolling like a ball for several dozen yards before recouping and jumping back to a stance. The alien’s tooth-lined maw opened and a concentrated blast of alien power mixed with shards of crystal erupted. Gorosaurus leaped to the side, dodging the attack. Looking to join the attack, Monster X spread his arms and readied another volley of his destructive beams. Mere milliseconds before he could fire, King Caesar launched another surprise attack, striking the side of X’s face with his foot.

    The impact caused Monster X to spin just as he fired. His bolts ripped through the smoky air before finding an unexpected, unintended target: the Visitor. The alien war monster was taken by surprise and thrown back, a blistering explosion engulfing the front portion of his strange body.

    “You worthless moron!” X could hear his master screaming in rage.

    Monster X fell, protecting his face as a powerful stomp from King Caesar came down on his mid-arms. Krystalak howled, turning his attention away from Gorosaurus. He fired upon King Caesar with his weapon. A spray of sparks and shards shot from the guardian’s side, pushing him off of X. Pressing the assault, Krystalak charged. He ignored X, indirectly stomping on his chest region while pushing King Caesar back.

    Monster X wheezed, struggling to regain himself as his master continued hurling insults directly into his brain. He decided to remain lying, his head hurting from the impacts and the constant yelling he had to suffer from the Xillian leader. His head rolled to the side, watching on as King Caesar, Gorosaurus, and Baragon battled his teammates the best they could. Gorosaurus attempted his notorious kick, but the Visitor’s many limbs deflected the attack and sent him flying away. Once more Baragon lunged, this time at Krystalk, but found nothing but pain from balls of crystals launching from the alien’s whipping tail.

    Then there was King Caesar. With the skills of a martial arts master, the guardian was besting both aliens with his skills, delivering swift punches, kicks, and chops to various parts of their body. X’s crimson eyes focused, watching the Earth monster carefully. He had never seen something of their size using such maneuvers.

    “Get up and help your comrades you piece of-“ Monster X slammed his own fist into the side of his head, causing a temporary glitch that silenced the voice.

    The numbers King Caesar faced were too much. Just as he pushed Krystalak down, the Visitor’s spear-like limbs lashed out like demonic snakes. Two hits tore into each of his shoulders from behind. King Caesar howled in agony as the alien lifted him off of his feet, keeping him in a crucified state in midair via his spear-like limbs. The thing’s bizarre cranium pulsed and his crippling brain spasm attack erupted. King Caesar’s mouth opened wide to scream, but no sound came.

    At the same time, Krystalak had crawled back to his feet. He spotted Gorosaurus and Baragon charging in, but his maw parted and tail loomed over his head like a scorpion’s. A barrage of energy and crystals were fired at the dinosaurs, pinning them down in a blanket of razor-sharp shards that clung to their hides like glass.

    “If you do not get up, I am going to leave you here after we absorb all of this planet’s resources!”

    X snarled, eyes looking up at the smoky sky and seeing brief glimpses of the blue heavens. For but a moment that seemed like an eternity, he was transported back to the hundreds of worlds he helped conquer. How many had skies like this? How many did they leave in a perpetual state of ugly death after? He then looked at the ground, seeing remnants of the civilization that sprawled, the forests that surrounded it and the mountains in the distance. It was all so familiar. Soon it’d all be barren, nothing to exist but dust. His crimson eyes then looked back at Krystalak and the Visitor. The alien war monsters were cruel. They enjoyed what they did. They were bred killers, baptized in combat in the name of the Xillian Empire. X, however, just wanted it to end.

    Monster X began to climb to his feet. “Finally!” the leader’s voice shrieked in his mind. The beast struck the side of his head, once again causing a temporary glitch. Then he extended two of his fingers. The sharp nails of his fingers tore through the dark flesh between his skeletal armor. He knew it was in there, but he had no idea how deep. As he tore through his own skin, dark fluid starting to flow down the side of his head and neck, the voice came back. The leader cursed, demanding to know what he was doing and ordering him to stop.

    And then X found it. His nails scraped something metallic. Like tweezers, his fingers gripped it and pulled it out from his head. Upon exiting his skull, the voice ceased entirely. In the distance, X could see the alien war ships looming. And he knew that hotheaded leader was watching. Holding the circular, metallic device in his hand, Monster X crushed it with a fist…

    He reached the Visitor first. Without being noticed, Monster X charged his former ally. He grabbed the base of his bottom spear limbs, yanking with his might. The sudden impact caused the alien to lower his catch of King Caesar and cease his brain spasm attack. The beast was confused at first, but soon screamed in agony as the joints of his spear limbs were destroyed at the base. Monster X had fired point blank, shattering the area where the limbs attached to its body. The alien fell, allowing King Caesar to slide off of his spears.

    Upon hearing the Visitor’s cry of pain, Krystalak looked over. He was quickly smacked across the face by one of his partner’s limbs. The feline-like thing bellowed as he hit the ground with a thud. X lifted the limb like a spear, but Krystalak was fast to act. His mouth parted, shooting the weapon with his mixture of crystals and energy. The spear-like limb shattered in X’s hand.

    Krystalak’s tail snaked around his ankle, tripping him up while he recovered. With sheer malice in his eyes, the crystalline titan hissed. However, without its constant barrage, Baragon and Gorosaurus closed the distance. The two saurians pounced on the war beast from behind, pinning its body to the ground while thrashing its cream-colored hide with bites and slashes.

    X turned away from Krystalak and back to King Caesar and the Visitor. Both monsters were crawling back to their feet. The guardian looked at X confused, but then nodded. X returned the gesture, slapping the ground with his own tail as he approached from the side. The Visitor spotted X first and launched his remaining limbs, but his former partner ducked and delivered a stiff, swinging blow to his head. The impact caused the alien to spin on his heel, directly into a mountain-shattering kick from King Caesar. Bits of the alien’s teeth flew in every direction while he was thrown aside, completely unconscious by the impacts.

    Krystalak’s cries of pain came as he struggled to crawl away from the marauding dinosaurs. He reached up, begging his former ally to help. X snorted, remembering how Krystalak merely stomped on him without a care.

    Unnoticed by the warring monsters, the Xillian’s fleet of triangular ships zoomed overhead. With beams of light, they reclaimed their wounded beasts. The Visitor was sucked back into the ship. Krystalak, still whining and bleeding, was taken second. The ships remained in the air for a few moments, their pilots no doubt unsure what to do about Monster X. X crossed his arms and energy surged in his crimson eyes. He prepared to fire, but just before he could, the space craft vanished at light speed, heading back into the recesses of outer space.

    Baragon and Gorosaurus were unsure and glared at one another. King Caesar, wounded and sparking from his shoulders, nudged Monster X. The former invader looked over. The two giants starred at one another for what seemed like hours, possibly communicating by some unknown means. After a solid minute, King Caesar nodded and looked away. Monster X’s tail slapped the ground…

    Finally, it was over.

    Finally, he had found a true home…

    Winners: Monster X, King Caesar, Gorosaurus & Baragon (Millennium)

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    A very special thanks to Digiwip for some of the assets used in this banner for the K.W.C. Be sure to follow him on DeviantART, Facebook, Twitter, ArtStation, and Instagram.

    K.W.C. // May 10, 2021
  • We talk with the creative team behind Godzilla: Dominion, the tie in comic for Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). For this session we are interviewing Greg Keyes, writer whose past work includes the Godzilla: King of the Monsters – The Official Movie Novelization and The Age of Unreason series. It’s also with artist Drew Edward Johnson, who worked on Godzilla: Aftershock and has previously contributed to comic series such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Star Wars X-Wing: Rogue Squadron.

    (more…)

    Interviews // May 8, 2021
  • Godzilla & Kong. A titanic pairing not on the big screen together in nearly sixty years returns with a climactic clash available in theaters and the comfort of your own home. Does Adam Wingard’s vision for Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) succeed in capturing the spirit of the 1962 original? I’d say it does and even exceeds expectations in a few areas but not without a few stumbles.

    (more…)

    Movie Reviews // May 4, 2021
  • Author: Dan Rogers | Banner: Andrew Sudomerski

    The sun was high above Solgell Island. The skies were clear. The isle’s native flora was in bloom. It would have been one of the most picturesque days in this island’s history were it not for the horrible pained screeches that could be heard from all across the island.

    Toward the center of the island, a Kamacarus had wandered too close toward the valley of Kumonga and now found itself entangled in the arachnid’s webbing. It called desperately to any member of its kind for assistance. It was shrieking for what felt like hours, yet its calls went unheeded. The eight-legged behemoth slowly crawled over to its victim. The mantis desperately attempted to break free of the webbing, clawing at the ground and fluttering its wings, but only found itself further entrenched. The predator was upon it now. It let out one final screech, as it felt something puncture its body. The mantis felt its limbs stiffen and lock into place, as its energy slowly drained from its body. It slumped on its side, as its bright orange eyes dimmed.

    Once the arachnid was sure that its prey was paralyzed, it began clearing some of the excess webbing so that it may get closer to its prey. The spider positioned itself atop its victim, and began spraying webbing upon it, gently rotating the frozen insect with its legs. Before too long, the mantis was encased in a web cocoon, perfectly preserved for the next time Kumonga hungered. The spider left its perch atop its food, and began crawling back to the center of its valley, so that it may lie in wait for the next unfortunate creature that wandered too close to its nest.

    A low rumble made the spider stop in its tracks. It slowly turned toward the noise. The earth began to rip and a mound of dirt began to rise from the opening. The spider was no stranger to battling burrowing creatures, so this would not be a challenge. If anything, this monster would simply serve as another meal. Kumonga backed away, taking a strategic position atop a rock, ready to fire web at its subterranean opponent as soon as it breached back onto land.

    To the spider’s surprise, it was not met with a large beetle or fire-breathing reptile, but with hundreds of scorpions. They were roughly a tenth of the spider’s size. They were hardly a meal. As they didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the spider, Kumonga did not feel the need to chase them off. It stayed atop its perch, studying these unfamiliar creatures that had wandered into its valley. They were a blue-ish black, with red accents adorning the center of their bodies. They seemed to be wandering around aimlessly, manically scurrying across the ground. Kumonga wondered what could have compelled these creatures to approach its home.

    The spider’s question was answered almost immediately, as one of the scorpions found its way over to the cocooned Kamacuras. The small scorpion turned around and called for its brethren, who all began to skitter over. Once they had all reached the petrified mantis, they began attempting to move its body toward the mound of dirt they had emerged from. Kumonga realized that it must have been its prey’s cries that brought these scavengers to its home.

    And now, they were stealing its meal.

    Kumonga fired a web into the air, the sound causing the small thieves to drop its food. They scattered, running in all separate directions. The brown and yellow arachnid jumped into the air, landing atop its food. It lifted its leg and repeatedly slammed it against the ground, crushing its foes. The spider must have crushed twenty before they regained composure and all started to head back toward the mound of dirt they had emerged from. Kumonga would not let them get away that easily though. It knew it could not kill all of them, but it could ensure that they would learn to never approach its home again.

    The spider leaped off of its food and began approaching the disrupted earth, making sure to step on as many scorpions as it could. Once Kumonga had reached the mound of dirt, it began repeatedly stabbing its leg inside of it, attempting to further frighten the intruders off. Suddenly, the spider felt a shock of pain as something clamped onto its leg. It felt its body leave the ground, as a giant claw burst from the pile of earth. The claw released hold on Kumonga’s leg, sending the spider soaring through the air. The spider let out a fearful screech, before landing on its back. Kumonga was dazed, but had the presence of mind to flip back over to view its attacker.

    The mound of dirt began to shake, slowly revealing a larger scorpion. It had the same appearance as its smaller kin, a blueish-black with red accents covering the center of its body. It snapped its claws and let out an enraged shriek. Kumonga, still reeling from the throw, roared in response.

    The scorpion quickly skittered toward its opponent. Kumonga realized that its opponent was much faster, and this would be a battle that would have to be done from afar. The spider leaped backward, creating a much larger distance between the two. The clawed creature, unwavered, continued its approach. The brown and yellow arachnid fired a blast of web, which covered the scorpion’s body, stopping its approach.

    Kumonga cautiously approached its webbed opponent. Normally, the spider would be certain that this would be the end of the battle, but this creature was unfamiliar. This had to be handled carefully. Once the spider stepped a little more closely, the scorpion fired a strange brown liquid from its tail. The spider jumped backward, but some of the liquid splashed onto its front left leg. Kumonga’s skin began to sizzle, as it roared in pain. It desperately began rubbing its leg into the dirt, trying to find some relief from the pain. Unfortunately, it did not notice that its web began disintegrating.

    In a blink of an eye, the scorpion was upon Kumonga. Its claw clamped down on the left side of the spider’s body, holding it in place. The spider let out another wail of pain. With its free claw, the scorpion began repeatedly hitting the face of its opponent. Kumonga’s vision began to blur from the flurry of blows. The scorpion opened its claw it had been pummeling the spider with, ready to snap it down on its opponent’s head.

    The spider’s vision began to return, only to watch helplessly as its fate rushed to meet it. With its last burst of strength, it shot web at the claw, forcing it shut. The scorpion let out a grumble as it attempted to reopen its grip, but the spider’s webs would not budge. It released the left side of Kumonga’s body as it took its other claw in an attempt to peel off the webbing.

    The spider, taking full advantage of the scorpion’s frustration, fired another blast of web, causing both its claws to stick together. Its stingered-opponent let out another grumble, as it attempted to pry its claws apart. It slammed them repeatedly on the ground, but Kumonga’s webs would not give way. The spider regained its footing, and began to approach its struggling opponent. It fired more webbing at its opponent’s legs to prevent it from escaping.

    It was a hard fought battle, but it appeared as Kumonga was the victor. While the scorpion could still fire its acid at the spider, it would merely delay the inevitable. The spider stared hungrily at its opponent. The spider felt pride in defending its home from this invasive species. It clicked its jaws in preparation. Kumonga proved itself to be the dominant force on Sollgell Island, and that’s the way it would always-

    Kumonga felt something pierce its abdomen, and suddenly rip back out. The spider turned away and began to stumble, slowly losing control of its legs. Kumonga had been too busy considering its stomach to notice that its opponent’s tail was still free. The scorpion lifted its tail and sprayed the brown liquid onto its claws, causing the webbing to melt away. It did the same to its legs, freeing itself from its opponent’s trap. It let out a triumphant roar.

    The spider turned to face it, but it just could keep its footing. Its body crashed to the ground. As it watched its opponent slowly approach it, it could see its kin slowly begin climbing out of the dirt mound they had escaped into. Kumonga felt its limbs stiffen and lock into place, as its energy slowly drained from its body. It slumped on its side, as its bright blue eyes dimmed.

    Now, Kumonga would be the meal.

    Winner: Ts-eh-GO

    K.W.C. Kaiju War Chronicles

    A very special thanks to dopepope for some of the assets used in this banner for the K.W.C. Be sure to follow him on DeviantART, ArtStation, and Instagram.

    K.W.C. // April 30, 2021
  • It’s been almost two years since Godzilla: Defense Force was released to mobile devices. Now, under Toho Games, a trio of new Godzilla mobile games are coming just in time for Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). This includes Run Godzilla, available now except in Japan, along with Godzilla Battle Line and Godzilla Destruction. Dates are still loose,  but the latter two are available in “select countries” next month and worldwide either in April or May with dates subject to change. (more…)

    News // April 27, 2021
  • Over the last few years, I was teaching a class I called Japan and World Cinema, and in that class I introduced to my students many movies from around the world based on Japanese cultural properties while examining issues like Japanese stereotypes, yellow-face, whitewashing, etc—as well as just looking at how different countries and their particular cultural outlook might affect how a story is told. I made it a point last year in this class to delve deeper into movies based on Japanese video games, and thus caught up on the Street Fighter movies, the Silent Hill films, and even lesser-known fare such as the (very, very bad) King of Fighters film and Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge (also terrible). Unfortunately, most movies based on Japanese video games (or rather video games in general) tend to be quite poor, with weak stories, cheesy special effects, and an insulting slapdash quality to them. Still, recent entries like Detective Pikachu (which I reviewed) and Sonic the Hedgehog have garnered some level of financial and critical success, combining some impressive special effects with charming (if still somewhat pedestrian) plots. While I was not ecstatic about either of the above films, I enjoyed each for what they were—the Pokemon film obviously had a lot of love and care put into its fantasy world and characters, and the Sonic film showed an astonishing degree of humility and a sense of responsibility towards the fanbase when the studio actually caved-in to fan demands calling for the Sonic design to be reworked. There was, then, reason to hold onto some hope for a higher level of quality in video game adaptations moving forward based on these successes.

    Then along came Monster Hunter, and much of that hope was dashed. The film was released in the USA back in December of 2020, but not here in Japan until March 26, 2021, so I was well aware of its negative reputation before I had my chance to see it. And, even though I can say that the film has its charms, the bad reputation is deserved.

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    Movie Reviews // April 24, 2021