Book: The Giant Picture Encyclopedia of Godzilla - Toho Special Effects Movie World


The Giant Picture Encyclopedia of Godzilla: Toho Special Effects Movie World

Japanese Book Title

ゴジラ大図鑑: 東宝特撮映画の世界
[Gojira Dai Zukan: Toho Tokusatsu Eiga no Sekai]




Kinema Junpo


Back Cover



By: Anthony Romero

This is probably one of my most used resources. Published back in 2000, as a tie-in for Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), the book functions as an encyclopedia for the fictional monsters, aliens, mechs and military of the Toho special effects movies. At 208 pages, the book is on the large side, hence the "giant" name of the publication... although it's not big in stature, being a little more than eight inches in height. The book does have its faults, such as being almost entirely in black and white and a few facts missed here and there, but is a great reference source for statistics on the fictional side of Toho's movies.

Starting with the contents, the book begins with a color section on the, then recent, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000). This has a lot of nice photos as it walks through the story before giving bios on the monsters and mechs for 15 pages. After this is a one page, color plug for Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) hitting DVD. This is the last splash of color you'll see as the rest of the book is in black and white.

For the remainder, the book covers movies from Godzilla (1954) to Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999), in chronological order. So what's to be expected? Well each film will have a story synopsis, in Japanese of course, along with a staff listing for it. What then follows are bios on the monsters and mechs. This includes listing the size and weight along with powers while including at least one picture, if not more. Some characters have larger coverage than others, like Moguera '57 is given a full page. The cool thing is the power listing, as this is not something that a lot of books detail. Conventional weapons, like tanks or jets, are also noted, although just with a name and a picture. The odd inclusion in this mix is the listings for "operations", which tends to detail some of the military strikes... and probably could have been left out as it's a "part two" synopsis for events in the film basically.

Now in terms of coverage, this is not reserved just for the Godzilla titles. The book also covers films like The War of the Gargantuas (1966), Gunhed (1989) and a lot more from the range of Toho produced science fiction movies. The only exception to that rule is that Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972) is also included, even though it was only distributed by Toho. There are some notable exclusions to the overall coverage, though, ranging from the expected like Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974) to the surprising like Yamato Takeru (1994). Coverage is also uneven, such as the four Haunted School films are shoved on one page with hardly any details about them.

In terms of accuracy, the book is generally quite good although not without flaws. The most glaring of these are the Showa Mothras, as the imago forms are all listed as the same stats despite the later ones being much smaller than the 1961 version. Baragon '68 and Varan '68 are also listed with incorrect stats , being the same as their earlier versions instead of smaller.

Overall, while with some faults, the book is a great resource. As noted, it's one of my "go to" sources for a lot of information due to the type of facts found on the various monsters, aliens and machines from the Toho science fiction universe.