Book Title
Toho SFX Mechanic Chronicle 1954-2003
Koichi Kawakita
Year of ReleasePages
2003 336
Shinkigensha 477530142X
Page 11 - Page 128 - Page 141 - Page 154

Special Effect director Koichi Kawakita's book on all of the machinery and inventions to appear in Toho's science fiction films. From the Oxygen Destroyer in Godzilla (1954) to Kiryu in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), this giant book is pretty much a bible for anyone interested in the great number of, often fantastic, machines to have been featured in Toho's movies.

The Mechanic Chronicle starts out with 16 pages of color photos, most of which are the entire page in size. The photos in this segment, for the most part, look beautiful, and a couple of rather rare production shots are seen as well. After the opening 16 pages, though, the book becomes entirely black and white. The content from here on is pretty astounding, though, as Kawakita really shows his dedication to the subject matter. From page 20 on, the book slowly starts to cover all of the machinery, in chronological order, seen in the Toho films. Most of these are given several pages worth of content, including numerous production shots, multi-angle studies, stats, a bio (in Japanese, of course), and often some concept art thrown in for good measure.

For a total rundown, the book features machines and inventions found in the following Toho films: Godzilla (1954), The Mysterians (1957), Battle in Outer Space (1959), The Secret of Telegian (1960), The Human Vapour (1960), The Last War (1961), Mothra (1961), Gorath (1962), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Atragon (1963), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), The War of the Gargantuas (1966), Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), King Kong Escapes (1967), Son of Godzilla (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Latitude Zero (1969), Space Amoeba (1970), Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), Submersion of Japan (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), The War in Space (1977), Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984), The Return of Godzilla (1984), Gunhed (1989), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999), Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). However, it should be noted that, for what can assumed to be legal reasons, Mechani-Kong is not shown in the book. His bio and stats are present, but the picture for him is merely a empty hanger, and there is no concept art included either. This was common practice in books released on Toho's films starting in 2000, up until 2004 when shots of King Kong and Mechani-Kong were once again seeing the light of day.

After looking at the more noteworthy machinery featured in the films, Kawakita does a run off of the conventional weaponry, such as tanks and jets, found in each movie. This portion of the Mechanic Chronicle gives a small bios for each, a picture, and some stats as well.

The book concludes with some interviews, one done with Kawakita himself and another with art director Yasuyuki Inoue and model builder Akinori Takagi. As a closing note, there is also a segment where Kawakita has taken pictures of most of the surviving models from Toho's archive, showing things such as the condition of the Oxygen Destroyer from Godzilla (1954) and the Goten's detachable drill from The War in Space (1977) as they appear today.

The Mechanic Chronicle serves its mission well, although it's not for everyone. The rather exorbitant price for the book tends to reinforce this, but it's still the pinnacle in regards to the niche that it focuses on.

- Anthony Romero