Manga: Movie Comics - Mothra vs. Godzilla


Movie Comics: Mothra vs. Godzilla

Japanese Comic Title

MOVIE コミックス: モスラ対ゴジラ
[Movie Komikkusu: Mosura tai Gojira]


Ikuo Ezumi


Akita Shoten





By: Nicholas Driscoll

Godzilla vs. the Thing (as this book names itself in the inside front cover and has been popularly known as for eons), or Mothra vs. Godzilla as it has become officially known in recent years, is one of the most celebrated of the Showa Godzilla films, perhaps second only to the original film—and there are good reasons for that. The movie itself is one of the most entertaining of the old run of films, it was made during the height of the kaiju boom by the masters with Ishiro Honda at the director’s chair and obviously still enthusiastic about the material, and Eiji Tsuburaya working miracles in the special effects department. They can add one more miracle to their names now—a Movie Comics adaptation that isn’t half bad.

Manga: Movie Comics - Mothra vs. Godzilla
I love how Mothra looks really frightening in this painting!

So far, of all the Movie Comics adaptations in this series that I have read (GodzillaEbirah, and Terror of Mechagodzilla), this one is my favorite by a long shot. That is not to say that it is free of problems—and actually this book features many of the same issues as previous books did. But somehow those problems seem less severe. Again, there are good reasons for that as well.

Like previous entries in this review series, the Godzilla vs. the Thing Movie Comic follows the film very closely, with nary a scene missing. We get the whole tale, from the discovery of the giant egg, to the machinations of the evil entrepreneurs, to the appearance of Godzilla, destruction sequences, military battles, the bloody fist-fight between the villainous human characters, the clash of moth and monster—even that freaky turtle skeleton makes an appearance! The experience is kind of like reading the script for the movie with lots of pictures I suppose, and honestly there were sections where the language used was pretty difficult for me to parse. But the end result after finishing the thing you feel like you’ve read a movie in Japanese, which feels kind of good.

And yes, the book does still have blurry pictures sometimes, and ugly word bubbles, and some confusing page layouts, and so on. Yet the layouts in general seemed much better this time, the pictures brighter and cleaner, the facial expressions of the characters more exaggerated and more fitting of the comic format. It was actually fun to read, amusing to see the often-perfect expressions on the characters’ faces, and the sometimes excellent page layouts.

Of course this isn’t high art, and I am not calling for all fans to rush out and purchase any remaining copies of this book. But if you want to enjoy a movie comic, you can do much worse. I actually enjoyed looking at the pics in this one, especially some of the ones with Godzilla and his often goofy and rubbery mug. (One weird thing—in the beginning of the book, in a section introducing the cast of characters—Godzilla is said to be sensitive to light. The hey?) Anyway, for those curious, for those looking for a set of interesting Godzilla pictures to sift through, and for those looking for a mildly amusing Godzilla comic in Japanese to read, this one fits the bill well enough.