To celebrate Thanksgiving, the Toho Kingdom team has put together some of the things they are really thankful for in kaiju fandom to share the holiday cheer—and we think there is a lot to be thankful for recently! So grab a monster-sized turkey leg and an extra helping of radioactive cranberry sauce and a slice of pumpkin pie (made from leftover jack-o-lanterns perhaps) and gather around for the celebration! Also, if you have something that you’re thankful for, be sure to share it in the comments!
There are so many things to be thankful for it’s hard to know where to start! Let me share three things that make me really grateful.
1. Godzilla movies being made in BOTH the USA and in Japan! Okay, so the Japan films are completed now, and while I am not the biggest fan of the anime trilogy, it is still exciting to have the opportunity to see a new take on Godzilla and (for me at least) go to see them in a movie theater. And we have not one, but TWO Monsterverse movies being made now, and the trailers for the first of those two films I still think is surprisingly beautiful! We really do have a Godzilla resurgence going on, and I am looking forward to seeing what will happen next!
2. I really enjoyed the Godzilla DVD Collectors sets, which I think finally concluded recently. My main reason for enjoying them has been the reprinted manga! While the manga itself is often printed on depressingly cheap paper, just the chance to read some of these classic monster manga is a dream come true. It’s so fun to see some of the bizarre liberties some of the manga have taken with the source material, and after reviewing the manga version of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, I even had the chance to meet and interview Daiji Kazumine! I just feel incredibly lucky!
3. And perhaps for me I feel most lucky just to be in Japan, and close to Tokyo. Because I am here, I can easily attend a lot of events I normally would not have the chance to. Yes, I can go see the new Godzilla movies in theaters, but that’s almost the least of it. As mentioned above, I could meet Daiji Kazumine, but I also got to see the original Godzilla (1954) with a live orchestra playing the music last year. I attended the Godzilla Festival last year and this year. I have gone to multiple exhibitions, played a Godzilla AR game, saw Godzilla the Real in Universal Studios, and attempted the Tokyo Mystery Circus Godzilla escape room experience with a friend (though we ultimately failed). And my Japanese has gotten a lot better as well! Honestly, I just feel very, very thankful for so many things in my life. And with that, I just want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving as well! I hope everything is the best it can be with you.
This truly is a great time to be G-Fan huh? Back around 2004 or 2005 I really thought we’d seen the end of the series for a long time and even then I only figured it would be a single film. I still can’t quite grasp the fact that we’ve had a new American made Godzilla film, a new Japanese Godzilla film, and an animated trilogy of Godzilla films. That’s also not even counting Godzilla King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Kong, and a whole new series from Toho! I truly feel blessed and thankful to be alive and a Godzilla fan right now. But my thankfulness goes beyond getting new Godzilla films. I never would have believed as a kid that my passion for Godzilla would lead to me getting to write for the biggest Godzilla website ever, getting to meet and film a professional interview with a director of a Godzilla film, and even getting to meet Godzilla (Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsuma, and Tsutomu Kitagawa) himself in person. Finally I am also thankful for all the friends I have made who share my passion for Godzilla many of whom I meet on this very site. For all of this and more I am well and truly Thankful.
Being a Godzilla fan has always been an interesting proposition. It’s far different from being a Star Wars fan, a Marvel fan, a Nintendo fan or any other prominent franchise where you could reasonably expect to walk down to a Target or Walmart and find at least some toys or shirts to represent it.
Godzilla fans have always been the type who are on the cusp of mainstream, which might be part of the allure for some. I don’t expect that to change, but I’m thankful for the degree of spotlight the nuclear leviathan has gotten of late. While I was majorly indifferent to the Anime Godzilla films, it’s an exciting time for me, with a constant news cycle around the upcoming two Godzilla films from Legendary Pictures.
So what am I thankful for? I considered something more overarching, but I’d rather focus on something hyper focused, timely and on the near horizon: I’m thankful for Rodan in Godzilla King of the Monsters.
It might seem like a small aspect, but I’m a huge Rodan fan for a very distinct reason. That reason being that there are arguably three films that made me a life long Godzilla fan:
Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) – for being the film that got a young Anthony to actually become fascinated with the character and the hints at this larger monster world.
Rodan (1956) – for not just introducing the idea that this universe extended beyond Godzilla for me, but for the personal attachment as I watched it on VHS with my father who recounted seeing the movie as a kid in theaters.
Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) – for quickly becoming my favorite film, and hitting just that right level of “maturity” to appeal to a teenager wanting something more “adult” (this was the exxxxtreme 1990’s, when everything felt ramped to 11 to try to appeal to this notion).
So I’ve long been a Rodan fan, who has been an important pillar to my fascination with the Godzilla franchise. However, the character really hasn’t gotten a great role since Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965). Destroy All Monsters (1968) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) were okay from an assemble sense, and certainly he got a better role than others like Varan or Hedorah respectively. The character did have a meaty presence in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), although at the same time the flying kaiju had somewhat been reduced to showing off how strong both Godzilla and Mechagodzilla were in contrast.
I’m hopeful that next year will see the winged monster’s return to glory. Heck, even if the best moments for Rodan were in the first trailer, I’d argue it would be a more impressive role than the character has gotten since 1993. So I’m thankful for where the franchise is headed, and that the spotlight is expanding to focus on characters outside of Godzilla in the West.
Thanksgiving being a time for gratefulness and reflection, you’ll often hear it used for reminiscing with friends and family. While that is true, it’s also a good time for remembering how grateful we are for Godzilla! For the past few years, Thanksgiving has brought with it the opportunity to partake in some fine Godzilla movie marathons like the days of old. Families can gather around the table/couch/radioactive spring and bond over one of the many enjoyable movies being broadcast that day; a perfect companion for your holiday meal of choice! And then, if that’s not enough kaiju goodness to whet your whistle, there’s plenty of great collectibles to be purchased come the deals to follow the holiday! Honestly, the ease of buying X-Plus figures in the US is something that I’m pretty thankful for as my burgeoning collection slowly grows.
Of course, I’m most grateful for is the continuation of the Godzilla series at large. I’m certain that I’m not alone in my excitement for Legendary’s MonsterVerse movies. Both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs Kong are setting up to be something special if the world building that’s slowly happening in the background is any indication. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited just to see what’s happening on the Godzilla radar that MONARCH has set up. The thought that he’s out there, peacefully swimming the oceans is rather pleasing to me. 🙂 But it’s not just Legendary’s movies that have my heart aflutter, it’s Toho’s own. From the anime series to the planned Godzilla films after 2020, it’s a pretty exciting time for the house that made Godzilla, if still somewhat on the horizon.
Then there’s all of you out there! My personal life is pretty crazy; I’m taking nursing classes, working, and making the rest of life come together as well. But with all that, when I’m feeling like I need to see what’s going on in the land of kaiju, there’s still a place for me to stop back in and talk to someone about giant monsters. It might not always seem like the friendliest place (depending on where you’re looking around the web), but there’s a lot of good people around these parts. And that is a far cry from the lonely playgrounds I was on as a kid with my Trendmaster figures in hand. So thank you all for keeping those radioactive flames burning!! I hope we can all manage to have a happy and safe holiday this week!
With giant monsters rising to dominate modern day media, there is plenty to be thankful for. Whether it be the latest American version of Godzilla, the revival of Gridman in animation, or the ever-expanding library of physical and digital novels revolving around kaiju, there is a little something for everyone to enjoy. Despite how long monsters have been present in the world of fiction, the kaiju fandom still has some growing to do, and there is fortunately plenty of room for newcomers. I’ve always been appreciative of how accessible the fandom can be, and I find myself constantly amazed by just how creative fans are with their artwork and writing. The devotion others have when it comes to sharing their discoveries from Japanese sources is something I also greatly admire. There are small communities dedicated to breaking the language barrier and providing information for the sole purpose of informing others. Some even go so far as to hire professional translators to subtitle television shows, such as Toho’s own Zone Fighter.
Yes, I am extremely grateful to be part of a community of such talented and committed individuals, and I sincerely look forward to seeing the growth of the next generation of fans. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
So what are you thankful for in the Godzilla Fandom? Sound off in the comments.