Book: Godzilla: Toho Giant Monster Picture Encyclopedia

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Godzilla: Toho Giant Monster Picture Encyclopedia


Japanese Book Title

ゴジラ東宝大怪獣図鑑
[Gojira Toho Dai Kaiju Zukan]

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Japanese
Non-fiction
2005
Shogakukan
208
4092800525

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Back Cover

Book

Review

By: Anthony Romero

Released in the wake of Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), this publication is #52 in the Kids Pocket Books series by Shogakukan. The focus is on the science fiction films from Toho, although reaching far beyond just the giant monster productions of the company despite the title of the book. In fact, the small encyclopedia is fairly far reaching, including subjects like Vampire Doll (1970) or H-Man (1958). As for the focus of the book, it's focused almost strictly on bios for the fictional monsters, aliens and mechs from the Toho films.

Now in terms of presentation, the book is largely in black and white. The color segments are at the start, which kick off with bios for the characters from Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). There are some really nice images included here, which makes one wish the quality of the paper was a little better to support them. After this is a very brief segment with color images from the other Godzilla films. This is the closest the book gets to covering the movies themselves rather than the characters.

After this is the meat of the book with character bios for the Toho science fiction films from 1954 to 2003. Each bios usually includes some images and stats, like height and mass, alongside a brief description.

In terms of the order of the bios, the contents are sorted as follows:

  • Godzilla profiles
  • Earth monster profiles
  • Space monster profiles
  • Robot and cyborg monster profiles
  • Alien and monster profiles
  • Earth mech profiles
  • Space mech profiles

The ordering works... but it's not super intuitive. Like it's odd to see M11, Katsura and Garu Garu, from the Rebirth of Mothra series, as the only outliners in their section when the rest is devoted to giant monsters like Mechani-kong and Mechagodzilla. Similarly, the alien and monster profile section is a mishmash of aliens and misc human sized monsters like the vampire from Lake of Dracula (1971) and the Matango.

Now one of the note worthy aspects of this book is the use of English inside. That's only for the names of the characters, but that alone is special as most of these rarely have ever been listed anywhere in English. Of special mention are characters like the Maneater from All Monsters Attack (1969) and the Wolf Guy from Horror of the Wolf (1973), who rarely show up in books anyway let alone mentioned in English.

Overall, this is a nice little pocket book. It stands out largely because of the English names and the thoroughness in the characters included, both within the Godzilla franchise and especially outside of it for Toho.