Nate and Brian Appear on Geek Devotions

After frequent name-drops all month, we’re interviewed by Geek Devotions. Check it out!

Episode Delay and Patreon Support

By Nathan Marchand

Hello, G-Fans and Kaiju Lovers!

I know what you’re thinking (because I’m psychic like Miki Saegusa): “Nate, where’s the next episode of the podcast?”

The philosophy that Brian and I have with this podcast is: “If you’re going to do it, do it right.”  Since our next episode covers “Gojira” (1954), the original Japanese masterpiece, we want this episode to be flawless.  We’ve labored long and hard researching, recording, and producing high-quality content, so I can assure you we have great stuff in store!

But guess what else, listeners? We have some awesome news! We joined Patreon! In case you’re wondering, Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to our podcast every week and get great rewards in return. Trust me, the perks will make you this cool:

You’ll help ensure that we continue to produce new podcast episodes on our “Godzilla Journey” and beyond! We currently offer three levels of support:

$1 per month
You’ll have our undying gratitude! May the Shobijin sing a song in your honor!

$5 per month
You’ll get a shout-out at the end of the newest podcast episode and your name will be listed in the YouTube version each month you support us at this level. It’s like joining the ranks of G-Force!

$10 per month
You’ll get the previous rewards plus a Kaijuvision Radio T-shirt after four straight months of support. This is a one-time offer, so don’t be a lying Xilien!

As time goes on, we may modify and/or add more levels and rewards as our listenership increases. Be sure to share our episodes with your fellow kaiju fans!

While Brian and I love discussing these films, our podcast wouldn’t be possible without you. You’re the biggest reason we do this! Sharing our interests in Godzilla and Japan with fellow fans is why we put such hard work into this project. We hope our passion comes through in every episode that drops on your podcatcher.

Until next week…

Go, go, Godzilla!

3 Weeks Until G-Day: Godzilla DVD/Blu-Ray Guide, Part 2 – Heisei Series, Millennium Series, and Beyond

By Nathan Marchand

(Continued from Part One).

Long before Hollywood rebooted Godzilla (twice), Toho did it three times themselves. These later eras of the franchise are called the Heisei Series (1984-1995) and the Millennium Series (1999-2004). The current era started in 2016 with Shin Godzilla.

Godzilla movies get easier to find on DVD/Blu-Ray with these films since the distribution rights have been owned by fewer companies. Only two of these films were released stateside before 1998 when Tristar released them on home media as a tie-in with the 1998 remake (at least something good came of that, right?)

The Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985

Kraken Releasing

This one is complicated. Like with the 1954 Gojira, a heavily-edited “Americanized” version of this 1984 reboot was produced by New World Pictures. It was the only version available commercially in the states for decades. However, thanks to legal entanglements, the American version has only ever been released on VHS. But now thanks to Kraken Releasing, the original Japanese version has been made available. It was so popular, it ranked number one on Amazon’s foreign film sales for a while. The only extras are trailers for Kraken’s other Godzilla Blu-rays.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

While Godzilla 1985 would remain the only G-film released theatrically in the States for 15 years, Miramax did release this 1989 sequel on HBO and video in 1992. Heck, it’s one of the few widescreen VHS tapes I’ve seen. However, after being out-of-print for years, the film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray a few years ago. It has dual language tracks, widescreen presentation, and a few special features that seem as though they were taken from a Japanese DVD (including a making-of feature). It’s gotten a bit pricey, though.

Buy it here. (Or here with two free Asylum B-movies).

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) (aka Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for Earth)

Sony Pictures

As tie-ins with Gareth Edwards’ reboot, Sony released nearly a dozen modern G-films on Blu-Ray. These two were packaged together in a two-disc set. Unlike their previous DVD releases, they’re in widescreen and have dual language tracks. Sadly, the only special features included are several of the films’ trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Sony Pictures

 

After some oddball DVD editions, Sony released these films on Blu-Ray in 2014 as a two-disc Blu-Ray set. It’s the same as Sony’s other G-film Blu-Rays: widescreen, dual language tracks, and several trailers (including one where clever editing makes it look like Godzilla fights robots from the Toho sci-fi film Gunhed).

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Godzilla vs. Megauirus

Sony Pictures

This is yet another oddity from Sony. This set includes the last film of the Heisei series and the second entry of the Millennium Series. While the pairing makes no sense, it’s an improvement over the previous DVD releases. As usual, the films are in widescreen, have dual language tracks, and include trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla 2000 (aka Godzilla 2000: Millennium)

Sony Pictures

Since it was released theatrically, this remains the only Millennium Series film to get a solo Blu-Ray in the U.S. It includes widescreen editions of both the original Japanese version and the slightly re-edited dubbed version of the film (the former being released stateside for the first time with this). The special features are mostly the same as the previous 2000 DVD, including trailers, behind-the-scenes footage, and an informative commentary by the team that dubbed it.

Buy it here.

Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack/Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

Sony Pictures

The film with the insanely long “retro” title and the first of the popular Kiryu Mechagodzilla films were released together in a Blu-Ray two-pack. Like their previous DVD releases, it features widescreen presentation and dual language tracks. I hear the subtitles for GMK are improved from its DVD. The only special features are a few trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars

Sony Pictures

The final entries in the Millennium Series were packaged together. Like the 2004 Sony DVDs, it has widescreen presentation and dual language tracks, although the subtitles are transcriptions of the dubbed dialogue (including an instance where there was added dialogue in the dubbing). However, besides a few trailers for other films (including some other Godzilla releases), it features a 22-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that showcases the special effects techniques used in both films. Neither feature music or narration, though, which makes them a bit boring.

Buy it here.

Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla: Resurgence)

Funimation Films

I almost didn’t include this film because it was just released, making it quite easy to find. Honestly, it’s here just for the sake of completeness. The newest Godzilla film was given a limited theatrical run by Funimation Films (which normally distributes anime) in the U.S. last year. They finally put out a Blu-ray and DVD for the film August 1. It has great picture and audio, dual language tracks, and the infamous abundance of subtitles. The only special feature besides some trailers is “Godzilla vs. the Nerds,” a 33-minute interview with some of the Funimation crew that worked on the U.S. release.

Buy it here.

So my guide to collecting Godzilla DVDs and Blu-Rays comes to an end. I hope you found it helpful.

For more detailed reviews of these DVDs and Blu-rays, I highly recommend the website www.TohoKingdom.com. You’ll also find reviews of many of Toho’s other genre films on the site.

Remember, you have three weeks to start watching these films so you can follow along with Brian and I when Kaijuvision Radio launches !

4 Weeks Until G-Day: Godzilla DVD/Blu-Ray Guide, Part 1 – The Showa Era

by Nathan Marchand

Four weeks until G-Day!

With that in mind, I wanted to make it easier for you, dear listeners, to find the Godzilla films so you can follow along with us.  We live in a wonderful time and place where both the original Japanese and English-dubbed versions of these films can be purchased (with a few exceptions, as you’ll see).

There are 29 Japanese films in total, plus two American films (so far). Unfortunately, unlike other long-running franchises like the James Bond series, these films aren’t all owned by the same distributor.  Toho, the studio that created Godzilla, has divvied out the rights to several U.S. companies for the years, which makes collecting these films a bit difficult.  I will be presenting you with what I think are the best editions of each film. There are lots of bootlegs out there. Accept no substitutes!

With Godzilla becoming more popular, more titles may be re-released in the future, so this guide may soon become outdated.  Unfortunately, some of these DVDs/Blu-rays have gone out of print, so the prices have increased.  However, many of them are available on streaming services like Amazon Video.

I’m excluding both of the American remakes, both of which are easy to find.

Part one of this guide will focus on the original Showa series (1954-1975) and part two will be on the Heisei (1984-1995) series and the Millennium series (1999-2004).

You can read the fuller version of this guide on the GigaGeek Magazine website, although it’s no longer publishing articles. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

Here we go!

Gojira/Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

Classic Media

Classic Media’s DVD includes both versions of the film presented in their proper aspect ratios.  It features several retrospective making-of documentaries and commentaries on both versions.  Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray edition Classic Media released later only included the original Japanese version and no special features. Regardless, the DVD is a must-have.

Buy it here by itself or here as part of the excellent seven-film set with the other Classic Media releases.

Criterion Collection (Recommended!)

Gojira was added to the prestigious Criterion Collection in 2011 with this Blu-Ray. It includes both versions of the films in nearly identical presentations as the Classic Media discs.  However, what may convince you to buy it is the completely new special features, including new commentaries and an interview with cast and crew members. This one is a bit pricier since Criterion only has limited print runs for their releases. It’s worth it, though.

Buy it here.

Godzilla Raids Again

Classic Media

Arguably the rarest of the G-films, Godzilla Raids Again was out of print on VHS for years until the mid-2000s when it was released on DVD by Classic Media.  It includes both the original and U.S. versions of the film and a handful of special features, including a humorous commentary.

Buy it here.

Rodan

Classic Media

Classic Media followed up their Godzilla releases with this excellent DVD set that included both Rodan and War of the Gargantuas, both of which had been long out of print.  It has both the Japanese language and dubbed versions of both films as well as the excellent documentary “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size.”

Buy it here.

Mothra (1961)

Columbia Pictures

The original Mothra was finally released on DVD by Columbia Pictures several years ago as part of a three-disc set called Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection.  It also included two other tokusatsu films directed by Ishiro Honda, The H-Man and Battle in Outer Space.  This set includes the original Japanese and dubbed versions of each film and has a commentary on Mothra and Battle in Outer Space.  (Mill Creek Entertainment recently released the dubbed version of this film as part of a four-film set, but unless you want those other movies, stick with this one).

Buy it here.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Universal Studios

Universal owns the rights to several of King Kong’s films, so they released this DVD several years ago and then re-released it on Blu-Ray.  The film is in widescreen, but it only includes the dubbed version and has no special features.  Unless there’s a future release that includes the original Japanese version in widescreen, this is the one you want.  However, you can track down the Japanese version, which Brian and I recommend you do.

Buy it here.

Mothra vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. Mothra and Godzilla vs. the Thing)

Classic Media

While Classic Media’s other releases aren’t as prestigious as Gojira, they still gave fans what they always wanted.  It includes both versions of the film plus a commentary, a slideshow, and a biography on Godzilla music composer Akira Ifukube.

Buy it here.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Classic Media

After being out of print on VHS for years, Classic Media released this noteworthy entry in the series on DVD in the mid-2000s.  This is the first appearance of Godzilla’s archenemy Ghidorah and marks Big G’s shift to heroism.  Like other Classic Media releases, it includes both versions of the film, a commentary, and a few other special features.

Buy it here.

Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Monster Zero)

Classic Media

Classic Media does it right again.  Both versions of the films, a commentary, and a few other nice special features.  It’s amusing to watch the Japanese version of this since American actor Nick Adams is dubbed in Japanese.  Also, kudos for using the original Japanese posters as the cover art.

Buy it here.

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (aka Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster)

Sony

After being a staple on VHS, Sony released this cheesy entry on DVD in the mid-2000s. The cool thing is this is the original Japanese cut of the film and can be watched in the original language or a new English dub. No special features, though.  This is the edition I own.

Buy it here.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

If you’d rather have the film on Blu-Ray, Kraken Releasing has that for you.  It’s pretty much the same as the Sony DVD except it has the film’s original Japanese trailer.  This is the edition Brian owns.

Buy it here.

Son of Godzilla

Sony

While Sony never gave their releases the star treatment Classic Media did, they were still a step up.  Like Ebirah, this 2004 disc features widescreen presentation and dual language tracks.  The only supplements are trailers for other Sony films released at the time.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this one has gone out-of-print and skyrocketed in price.

Buy it here.

Destroy All Monsters

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock

While this was originally released by the now defunct ADV Flms twice (one edition including a soundtrack), this edition is much easier to find.  Unlike ADV’s releases, it has a menu, dual language tracks, and a few special features, including a commentary. This is also the Japanese edit of the film, so fans can see the original opening credits. Unfortunately, production of the original print run was halted by Toho, so current prints of this disc doesn’t include the special features.

Buy it here.

All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge)

Classic Media

As usual, Classic Media gives even what’s considered the worst G-film the star treatment.  Widescreen presentation.  Both the Japanese and American versions of the films (although they aren’t that dissimilar other than the dubbing and credits).  Special features include a commentary and a biography on director Ishiro Honda.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)

Sony

Once only available as an out-of-print VHS from the long-gone Orion Home Video, Sony released it on DVD in 2004 . It has no special features beyond a few trailers for other Sony films, as usual.  It has dual language tracks, including a different English dub than what was used in the VHS. Unfortunately, the film’s (in)famous theme song, “Save the Earth,” remains in Japanese unlike in the other dub.  Still, it’s a solid release. This is the edition I own.

Buy it here.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

It you must have a Blu-Ray, look no further.  The Sony DVD is a little harder to find, but other than the inclusion of the film’s original trailer, this is essentially the same as the former.  Brian has this edition.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Gigan (aka Godzilla on Monster Island)

Sony

This is pretty much the same story here as with Sony’s other 2004 Godzilla DVDs, though with a few things worth noting.  The subtitles are basically transcripts of the dubbed dialogue as opposed to direct translations of the Japanese dialogue.  The other issue is, since this is the international version of the film, it doesn’t include the comic book-style speech bubbles that appear over Godzilla’s head when he “talks” to Anguirus; there’s only garbled noises, making those scenes confusing.  They were dubbed—yes, dubbed—in the English language version. (You can watch the scenes with speech bubbles on YouTube, though).  I own this edition.

Unfortunately, I can’t find this version on Amazon anymore.

Kraken Releasing (Recommended!)

Essentially the same as the Sony DVD (though some say the picture quality isn’t as good).  Like the other Kraken Releasing Blu-Rays, it includes the film’s original trailer.  If you want a Blu-Ray, buy this.  Brian owns this one.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock

It took years of terrible unlicensed releases and a lot of finagling, but Media Blasters finally gave this, arguably the most-watched Godzilla movie, an official release. Unfortunately, Toho delayed this release for nearly a year, and then only a barebones DVD and later a Blu-Ray was put out.  Ironically, some DVD copies containing special features were accidentally printed and released.  These go for a pretty penny on Amazon if found.

Buy it here by itself or here with Destroy All Monsters.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (aka Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster, Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster)

Sony

Remember what I said about Sony’s other 2004 DVDs?  Same story here: widescreen presentation, dual language tracks, and a few mostly unrelated trailers.  There’s an omission in the subtitles, though.  In a scene where a scientist talks about his special pipe, the crazy-sounding metal it’s made of is subtitled, “a???” Either the subtitler forgot to add it before the disc was released or he didn’t bother to figure out how to write it. Some people—like me—may find this humorous.

Buy it here.

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Classic Media

This is arguably Classic Media’s best release next to Gojira/Godzilla, King of the Monsters.  It includes the original Japanese version, which is the biggest plus.  However, unlike with the other DVDs, the American version in this one is the “extended” cut shown on television.  It contains most of the original Japanese footage (except for some brief “nudity” during a medical operation) and a “history of Godzilla” sequence made by editing together footage from several 1960s Godzilla films.  This was done to pad out the film to fit in a two-hour timeslot.  Both versions are in widescreen (except for the aforementioned “history of” sequence, but the aspect ratio switches when it’s done).  It includes an entertaining commentary and an image gallery, but no other special features, which is the only downside.  This is a must-have.

Buy it here.

Come back next week for Part Two!

5 Weeks Until G-Day: Brian’s Interview on the Wonderbury Podcast

By Brian Scherschel

And the countdown begins.

Mark your calendars.  Only 5 weeks until G-Day!  The premiere of Episode 1 of Kaijuvision Radio will be on Wednesday, September 20th at noon (Eastern).  We will release episodes weekly at the same time.

I tell the hosts of WonderBury, Dave Wonderly and Brian Keesbury, about our exciting plans as we approach our premiere day.  We conducted the interview at Kaijuvision Radio HQ.

The WonderBury podcast can be found at www.wonderbury.com.

Also, Nate will be at Gen Con in Indianapolis this weekend.

My Review of ‘Godzilla’ (2014) on Strangers and Aliens

by Nathan Marchand

Kaijuvision Radio isn’t my first foray into podcasting. I appeared on several others, including Derailed Trains of Thought, The Weekly Hijack, and Theology Gaming. (For a [mostly?] complete list of the episodes I’ve been on, read this blog on my author site).

The current cover image for Strangers and Aliens.

The one most relevant to your interests, though, is the episode I co-hosted on Strangers and Aliens. I reviewed Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) the week it opened with the podcast’s host/creator, Ben Avery.

Strangers and Aliens, as its tagline says, is “a podcast exploring faith and imagination.” In other words, a podcast examining nerdy pop culture through the lens of Christianity. I became acquainted with Ben Avery through a Facebook group, where I was sharing freelance movie reviews I’d written. He lives about an hour north of me. He asked me to join him to review the RoboCop remake since one of his regular co-hosts wasn’t available, but I couldn’t make it. Then a few months later, he told me he would be tabling at a small comic-con in Fort Wayne, Indiana, promoting comic books he’d authored. Since I was planning on attending, and that was the weekend that the new Godzilla opened, Ben, my brother Jarod, and I decided to go see it at the local IMAX theatre after the con wrapped up on Saturday.

Ben and I start the episode by talking about our histories with the Godzilla franchise, showing our “geek cred” with all the trivia we’d absorbed, and then talk about our experience seeing the movie, but the bulk of the episode is a discussion the film. Listening to it now, I can definitely say that I’ve gotten better as a podcaster. There are a few points where I get a trivia detail or two wrong, and I’m more confident and articulate “on air” now. Also, my opinions have changed since this was recorded in 2014. Regardless, it helped pave the way for my own podcast on one of my favorite fandoms.

You can listen to the episode on:

-The podcast website
iTunes (episode 127)
Stitcher

Let this be a taste of what’s to come, G-fans and kaiju lovers!

A Primer on Godzilla’s Directors

By Nathan Marchand

As Brian and I continue to develop Kaijuvision Radio, I thought it would be good to give you, dear listeners, a quick rundown on the many talented men who have sat in the director’s chair for Godzilla’s 60+ years of films. You’d be surprised by the caliber of talent possessed by these directors. (FYI: I’m only listing directors for films that have been released, so the several upcoming Godzilla films in both Japan and America are being excluded).

So, without further ado…

Showa Era (1954-1975)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ishiro Honda
Films: Gojira, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero), Destroy All Monsters, All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge), and Terror of Mechagodzilla

Mr. Honda directed more films in Big G’s filmography than any other in the franchise. For many fans, he’s unequaled in talent and skill. A longtime collaborator with the great Akira Kurosawa, Honda was drafted by the Japanese military during WWII, during which he was interned as a prisoner of war. He became a pacifist afterward, and he infused all of his many films with that idea along with a “brotherhood of man” theme.

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Jun Fukuda
Films: Ebirah: Horror of the Deep (aka Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster), Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

The second-most prolific director in the franchise, Fukuda directed many of the “cheesier,” more kid-oriented films during the Showa era. He was known for “young guy” (i.e. teen) films and crime movies, which showed since his G-films tended to feature young people and lots of action. If Honda was the Spielberg of the franchise, Fukuda could be considered the Michael Bay.

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Motoyoshi Oda
Film: Godzilla Raids Again

Oda was the first of two one-off directors during this era. Trained by acclaimed director Kajirō Yamamoto (who also tutored Kurosawa and Honda), Oda became a workhorse for Toho, directing as many as seven movies a year. Sadly, only one of his movies has ever been released outside of Japan, which was the first sequel to Gojira, Godzilla Raids Again.

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Yoshimitsu Banno
Film: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)

Banno might be the most infamous of all of Godzilla’s directors since his only credit is arguably the redheaded stepchild of the franchise: Godzilla vs. Hedorah. With its trippy imagery, countercultural vibe, strange animation, and on-the-nose environmental message, it’s no wonder he’s a divisive figure. Even producer Tomoyuki Tanaka thought he’d ruined Godzilla after the release of Hedorah! Regardless, he was always a friend to the franchise and was responsible for what ultimately became the 2014 American reboot Godzilla directed by Gareth Edwards. He died earlier this year, the last of the Showa era directors to pass away.

Heisei Era (1984-1995) and Millennium Series (1999-2004)

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Koji Hashimoto
Film: The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1985)

Hashimoto had the privilege of directing Godzilla’s first reboot in the mid-1980s. He previously directed the science fiction film Sayonara Jupiter in 1984, which featured the final role played by Akihiko Hirata before he died (he starred in many Showa era Godzilla films, most notably as Dr. Serizawa in Gojira).

 

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Kazuki Omori
Films: Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Omori was one of the seminal members of the creative team that worked on most of the Heisei films, serving as both screenwriter and director. He loved American movies, and there were frequent references and homages (and rip-offs?) in his G-films. He also added a more potent Japanese nationalism to them, most especially in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

Image courtesy of Toho Kingdom.

Takao Okawara
Films: Godzilla vs. Mothra (aka Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla 2000)

Okawara is the only director to work on films in two different cycles of the franchise, being the most frequent director of the Heisei era and helming Godzilla’s second reboot in 1999. He started his career working with both Kurosawa and Honda on the 1980 film Kagemusha and was assistant director on The Return of Godzilla.

Image courtesy of Toho Kingdom.

Kensho Yamashita
Film: Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Yamashita could be called the Motoyoshi Oda of the Heisei era. He was an assistant director hired by Toho to shell out a quick Godzilla sequel in 1994. His background was in teen films, which accounts for the picturesque cinematography and romantic subplot of his only G-film. Sadly, he died in 2016.

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Masaaki Tezuka
Films: Godzilla vs. Megaguirous, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Tezuka became the most frequent director on the Millennium series, and his three films could arguably be called a trilogy. His G-films focused more on human drama, featured strong female protagonists, and had a greater military presence. While his entries often underperformed at the box office, he was known for his great enthusiasm in each of his productions.

Image courtesy of Gojipedia.

Shusuke Kaneko
Film: Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack

Kaneko is by far the most celebrated of the Millennium series directors, helming what might be the most ambitious and different G-film in the franchise since Godzilla vs. Hedorah. He achieved acclaim with kaiju fans and filmgoers alike with his incredible Gamera trilogy in the 1990s, the third entry being considered one of the best kaiju films ever made. He infused his kaiju films with deep themes but featured fewer monster scenes so as to focus the budget on those less frequent sequences to make them look better.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ryuhei Kitamura
Film: Godzilla: Final Wars

Kitamura was an independent Japanese filmmaker who could be called a modern-day Jun Fukuda in many ways (his favorite Godzilla is 1974’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which is no surprise). He’s known for his hyperkinetic action movies and horror films. While he was hired by Toho to direct Godzilla’s 50th anniversary film, Godzilla: Final Wars (and a potential finale for the franchise), he funded the production with much of his own money. The film actually had a Hollywood premiere in 2004.

Modern Films (2016-present) and American Films (1998-present)

Anno (left) and Higuchi (right). Image courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi
Film: Shin Godzilla

This “dynamic duo” directed Big G’s most recent film, Shin Godzilla, which has become a box office smash and won several Japanese Academy Awards. Both of them got their start in anime, most notably Anno on his classic 1998 TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion. They’re known for their bizarre, often trippy imagery and cerebral storytelling with hints of satire and themes of nationalism, making Shin Godzilla one of the most unique films in the franchise.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Roland Emmerich
Film: Godzilla (1998)

Some fans might say Mr. Emmerich shouldn’t be included in this list because he didn’t make a “real” Godzilla movie. I can understand that. Regardless, the film he and his collaborator, Dean Devlin, made (spoiler warning) will be covered in the podcast. (Please send your hate mail to feedback@kaijuvision.com). Emmerich and Devlin gained popularity thanks to their sci-fi and disaster films, including their hits Stargate and Independence Day. They seemed like good choices for an American Godzilla film, but the results were less than stellar, especially for G-fans.

Image courtesy of IMDB.

Gareth Edwards
Film: Godzilla (2014)

Edwards was an independent British filmmaker who came to prominence in 2010 with Monsters, a kaiju movie set in Mexico. It made such an impression that Legendary Pictures hired him to direct their new Godzilla reboot, which became the first entry in the MonsterVerse. (So yes, the second film he ever directed was a big-budget Godzilla movie followed by a Star Wars film. Talk about moving up in the world!) A huge fan of Steven Spielberg, Edwards is known for his deliberate, suspenseful pacing and explosive finales as well as making low-budget films that look like big-budget blockbusters.

So there you have it! The many directors of Godzilla. Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

Lucky Dragon No. 5: Still an Anti-Nuclear Symbol

The Lucky Dragon No. 5 today. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia).

By Nathan Marchand

Every Godzilla fan knows the story of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 (Daigo Fukuryu Maru). It was a fishing vessel that was exposed to nuclear fallout from the Castle Bravo test. While it was outside the predicted danger zone, the H-bomb detonated by the U.S. on the Bikini Atoll was far more powerful than expected, and on March 1, 1954, the 23-man crew of the ship were contaminated by the radiation. All of them suffered radiation poisoning and one died.

This event was fresh on the minds of the creative team at Toho working on Gojira. It’s why the film opens with a scene of a fishing vessel being destroyed by a blinding flash, which turns out later to have been Godzilla, and why it was implied that Godzilla was awakened and mutated by American H-bomb tests.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun was recently granted a rare chance to tour the inside of the now 70-year-old ship, which was decommissioned in 1967 and later moved in 1976 to the Yumenoshima district of Tokyo’s Koto Ward and preserved in a museum in the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall. They took several photos and 360-degree images of the boat. You can view them here.

To this day, the ship remains a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement in Japan. Along with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, this was one of the most potent and palpable examples of the “nuclear curse” on Japan. It was a demoralizing blow to the Japanese psyche, which was suffering other repercussions from nuclear tests at the time, such as contaminated fish being caught in their waters. It wasn’t until the 3/11 disasters, which included the Fukushima meltdown, that Japan suffered as large a nuclear-related incident. These led to an increase in distrust of nuclear power and the shutdown of many nuclear plants. This is problematic given that Japan is in desperate need of domestic energy sources since, being an island nation, they have to import most of them.

You might think it’s crazy, then, that anyone in Japan would want to preserve a ship that reminds them of this “curse.” I think the Japanese do it for that very reason. It allows them a means to look back on their past and remember their convictions. These events have made indelible marks on their history and culture, and they can’t afford to forget them.