Manga: Movie Comics - Three Giant Monsters - The Greatest Battle on Earth


Movie Comics: Three Giant Monsters - The Greatest Battle on Earth

Japanese Comic Title

MOVIE コミックス: 三大怪獣 地球最大の決戦
[Movie Komikkusu: San Daikaiju: Chikyu Saidai no Kessen]


Shin Watanabe


Akita Shoten





By: Nicholas Driscoll

For ages Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) has been one of if not my favorite Godzilla film of all time. I love the characters—Detective Shindo valiantly fighting to protect the princess, Princess Salno and her mysterious transformation into a prophet from Venus/Mars, the Twin Fairies, the spunky reporter sister, the assassins, they are all deliciously fun! I love the costumes from the latest Toho fake foreign country Selgia, and I even adore the scene where the Twin Fairies translate the monster conversation between Godzilla and Rodan! The final fight, too, is perhaps my favorite from the entire series, at turns creative, destructive, and hilarious. For me at least, it is almost perfect popcorn entertainment, fast-paced, and exciting. (Really don’t like the scene where Shindo slaps his sister, though.)

Anyway, I was pretty surprised—and happy—to find that the Movie Comics version of the movie was, if anything, even better than their Movie Comics: Mothra vs. Godzilla release. Put together by Shin Watanabe, who went on to do the Movie Comics version of The Return of Godzilla, this book has mostly clear layouts, an overall thoughtful selection of screen shots from the film to make the panels that often highlight the characters’ expressions effectively, and even some rather creative page layouts that not only make the action clear, but show a sense of artistry. My favorite page layout depicts the scene where Ghidorah appears out of the meteor, which has a nice symmetrical design showcasing Ghidorah’s fiery birth in stages. It’s really nice.

Another aspect of the comic I liked was that the part in which Princess Salno is reading German in the dark is at least partially transcribed into the text, with a cool classic-styled font. I typed the text into Google Translate and discovered it was full of misspellings, but I still appreciate the effort. The text itself is apparently about psychological symptoms and surgery. I wonder if it is a quote from a famous German psychologist or something.

Anyway, while I did enjoy the book quite a lot more than some of the others in the Movie Comics series, this is nevertheless still very much a Movie Comic, which means of course that it’s got some huge problems related to using screenshots for comic panels and the like. I still don’t think a Movie Comic can live up to the artistic level of a more traditional comic book, and naturally enough this book still has many of the issues that plague other books in the series—yes, the ugly cartoon bubbles make another unwelcome return, and inevitably some blurry pics are also included. Some of the action sequences are especially confusing—I think the action scenes are difficult to rework in comic form because the characters/monsters move so much, which makes it very difficult to grab pics that aren’t horribly blurry. This creates a huge problem because one of the main reasons fans enjoy these films is the monster fight scenes—and arguably the monster fights and action sequences are the worst part of this book, and the others as well!

Still, again, I had a good time reading Ghidorah, learned some new vocabulary (apparently “butabako,” which literally means “pig box,” is a euphemism for the slammer!), and generally had a pretty good time. Yes, the manga version by Kyuta Ishikawa is superior and has the advantage of including interesting deviations from the source material (see my review for more details), but this is still a decently amusing alternative. Of all the Movie Comics adaptations, I recommend this one the most. (Though I have not yet read the Film Comic adaptation of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, so you’ll have to wait for my definitive Godzilla “movie comic” recommendation until after I am done with that!)