Book: Godzilla Fierce Fighting Super Illustrated Encyclopedia


Godzilla Fierce Fighting Super Illustrated Encyclopedia

Japanese Book Title

ゴジラ激闘超図鑑 (宇宙船別冊)
[Gojira Gekito Cho Zukan (Uchuusen Bessatsu)]




Asahi Sonorama


Back Cover



By: Anthony Romero

Released to capitalize on the merchandise wave around Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), this 73 page (quoted as 75 due to counting the covers) visual encyclopedia focuses on fights, monsters and very briefly mechs from the Godzilla franchise. A special section is also included for additional coverage on the 1992 Godzilla film.

The publication opens with a 15 page section devoted to Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), which makes up for about 20% of the book. This covers the three monsters, the Cosmos and includes a wealth of color photos from the, then, recent movie. A few of the production stills included here are still quite rare in other books to this day, and quality wise the images look pretty good.

After this is a section devoted to the movies. This takes an odd approach of focusing more on the fights in the films rather then the movies themselves. For example, Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) is broken up into Godzilla + Rodan vs. King Ghidorah (Round 1) and Godzilla + Rodan vs. King Ghidorah (Round 2). This more unique approach doesn't add any additional value, although does make the book stand out and gives the reader an idea why it's called the "Fierce Fighting" encyclopedia. While the Godzilla movies are the larger focus here, there are comments for Half Human (1955), Rodan (1956), The Mysterians (1957), Varan (1958), The Three Treasures (1959), Battle in Outer Space (1959), Mothra (1961), Gorath (1962), Atragon (1963), Dogora (1964), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), Latitude Zero (1969), Space Amoeba (1970) and The War in Space (1977). Images in this section, which wildly range in quality, are generally in color when the film is. Sadly, more often than not the images here look like screen grabs from sources that aren't the greatest. While a few production stills look nice, the photos overall are lacking in this section.

Next up is the star attraction in the form of the monster bios for the book. Bios include stats, powers and images. A cute detail are the category icons, which showcase some like giants ala Kamacuras or space monsters ala Dogora. Gigan, though, gets a more unique one to show he is a cyborg. This section does also include multi-generation bios, although it often skimps on details for the later generations like Manda, Baragon and Varan with no stats for them. A few monsters like the Heisei Godzilla and Varan '58 get more generous details, such as tail length or crouching height. Sadly this section is totally in black and white, but the quality of the images shown is high and much better than the ones in the fight/movie section.

After the monster bios is a fictional bout section. This includes imaginary match ups with various kaijus and discussing what the battles might be like. The fights include:

  • Match 1: Godzilla Heisei vs. Dogora
  • Match 2: Mechagodzilla Showa vs. Mecha-King Ghidorah
  • Match 3: Gigan Showa vs. Biollante
  • Match 4: Megalon vs. Battra
  • Match 5: Mothra Heisei vs. Rodan Showa
  • Match 6: Varan vs. Baragon Showa vs. Anguirus Showa vs. Gorosaurus

Each fight has a black and white composite image or images included with it. Quality on these vary. The Mothra vs. Rodan ones are well done, for example, while the one related to Megalon vs. Battra is quite lazy.

This portion of the book is followed by more movie fight coverage, this time for the Heisei series that was missing in the earlier section. Since the Heisei series was pretty young at this point, the only movies found in here are The Return of Godzilla (1984), Princess from the Moon (1987), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Gunhed (1989) and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). Image quality for this section is generally good, although a few are subpar.

The book then concludes with a page spread for the mechs from the Heisei series. The images here are well presented, but it does feel like an after thought.

Overall, there are better, more updated books that serve this same purpose. The fight angle is a little unique, and the imaginary battles do give this one a slightly interesting approach. If found for the right price, this makes for a good addition to someone's collection, although one of the more recent visual encyclopedias, such as Toho Special Effects: All Kaiju Illustrated Encyclopedia, would serve the purchaser better.