Book: Godzilla Encyclopedia - New Edition


Godzilla Encyclopedia - New Edition

Japanese Book Title

ゴジラ大辞典 新装版
[Gojira Dai Jiten Shinso Ban]


Kohei Nomura


Kasakura Publishing


Back Cover



By: Anthony Romero

In 2004, for Godzilla's 50th anniversary, Kasakura Publishing released a large Godzilla Encyclopedia. Ten years later, in 2014, Kasakura Publishing released an updated edition of the encyclopedia for the character's 60th anniversary. This added about 50 pages to the publication, reaching a rather daunting 410 pages in length now. The end result is something that is very thorough on the fictional aspects of the franchise, although not at all import friendly for those without a strong understanding of Japanese.

In terms of contents, the first 18 pages are presented in full color. Seven of these are around the then recent film Godzilla (2014). This includes a lot of stats on Godzilla himself, although sadly dodges any mention of the MUTO. The main focus though is a story synopsis with various pictures from the film. Next are 11 pages devoted to 15 other Godzilla films, each with just the title mentioned and a random production still or recolored promotional image. It's filler, to be blunt, and not all that impressive.

After this is the meat of the book: an alphabetized encyclopedia covering characters and aspects from the Godzilla films. Well Godzilla films and a few others, which include: Rodan (1956), Varan (1958), Mothra (1961), Atragon (1963), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), Space Amoeba (1970) and the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy although just for intersecting monster references. Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007) is also included, although only from the angle of Godzilla's appearance. As for what to expect, the book covers various characters, locations and mechs from the films. This extends beyond just kaiju, military equipment and powered beings, though. It also includes normal human characters, like Koji Kobayashi from Godzilla Raids Again (1955). It's exhaustive in its approach, with each being given a bio and sometimes a black and white picture, although the bulk of the entries don't have an image. For the kaiju and vehicles, stats are also listed.

It should be noted that the book does not cover any television shows. So Zone Fighter (1973) and others are excluded, even if they included Godzilla in them. The shows are mentioned sometimes, though, although only by name. For example, in the second generation of King Ghidorah Zone Fighter (1973) is mentioned as an appearance source.

Now for those wondering about how import friendly the book is... it's not recommended. The pictures aren't numerous enough and the fact that it's sorted alphabetically, rather than chronologically like a lot of books, makes it quite hard to locate something for those who aren't familiar with Japanese. Generally English fans can limp along on Japanese publications around Godzilla, but the Godzilla Encyclopedia isn't one of those sources. Overall, recommended for those who want something that's a bit unique for the coverage of the human characters and locations, although the bios aren't that long which means for most you aren't learning anything that couldn't have been gleamed from just watching the movies. Still, it's a bit more descriptive than most of the illustrated encyclopedias based on the franchise.

As for those looking for the new edition versus the old edition, visually they look similar. The primary difference, besides the updated one having "新装版" added in brackets, is the background design. The original had a more metallic bronze appearance behind the 1993 Godzilla. The updated edition has a more earthy stone appearance to it.