Manga: Movie Comics - Mechagodzilla's Counterattack


Movie Comics: Mechagodzilla's Counterattack

Japanese Comic Title

MOVIE コミックス: メカゴジラの逆襲
[Movie Komikkusu: Mekagojira no Gyakushu]


Tanio Kanayama


Akita Shoten





By: Nicholas Driscoll

While opinions are mixed about Ishiro Honda’s swansong Godzilla film, Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), I can say with no caveats that the “movie comics” adaptation is the worst comic adaptation I have ever read, by far. The format follows that of the other Akita Shoten releases—taking screenshots from the film and attempting to edit, crop, and paste them together to create a manga using pictures of real people and places and costumes. This method, in my opinion, doesn’t work very well in the best of cases… and this is NOT one of the best of cases.

Sure, if you are a fan of the original film, the manga follows Terror of Mechagodzilla carefully, with all (or at any rate most of) the important scenes included. We see the first attack by Titanosaurus, the various encounters between Ichinose and Katsura, the fake nudity, even the stupid-looking Godzilla suit that thrashes in the water at the conclusion. If you like the story, you can read it and experience it in a new and far inferior way here.

Manga: Frankenstein vs. the Subterranean Monster
A particularly good example of how not to put together a comic page made from horrendous movie stills.

But trust me when I say, again, this would be a FAR inferior way to experience the story.

Like the other Movie Comics I have read so far, this one has many of the same issues—horribly cropped pictures, ugly sound effect captions that overlap panels and obscure the action, randomly colorized word balloons, and confusing page layouts. But Terror of Mechagodzilla ups the ante for badness with frequent layouts that are nigh impossible to decipher (even moreso than previous entries, I felt), plus dark and smudgy low-res pictures which are painful to look at.

Now in my opinion the story of the actual movie was also… not the best of the Showa films. I’ve always found it a little bit difficult to sit through. But here it’s positively excruciating to try to read through each embarrassingly ugly page after the next. If you didn’t care about Ichinose’s improbable romance with the robot-girl in the movie version, it’s even less probable that you will enjoy it when many of the pictures are blurry and dark and you have to fight yourself to keep from throwing aside the book in frustration.

On the plus side, sure, I may have picked up some new words from reading this book, and Katsura is pretty in some of the shots, and… I guess you can find out what some of the characters were thinking at certain points of the movie (such as the woman who sneaks up on Ichinose and Katsura when they are talking in a cafe… she was thinking about why Titanosaurus went all violent on them). But it’s not enough.

I will probably never read this book again. The pics are just too dark, the page layouts too confusing and ugly, and the story not good enough to overcome those problems. If you are a fan, try to find the more traditional manga version and enjoy the art and the story departures—it was featured in Battle History of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Don’t read this one. It’s just yuck.

As a side note, this manga has sometimes been cited as coming out in 1995 in other sources. It's possible this is a re-release, or there is misinformation about the actual publication date.