5.13.2014

Godzilla Countdown: Day 4

I'm settling into this post the day after thing. And that's great, because after feeling not just a tad under pressure by my own ambitions to finish this sort of... I guess you'd call it a journal of sorts, but after getting through what I intended the past two days, today the schedule is pretty lax.

Well, sort of. I only plan on just doing the two Showa Mechagodzilla films today, but in addition as first season of the cartoon. Also, I have a really shitty copy, but a copy nonetheless, of Luigi Cozzi's 1977 colorized version of the original film, which I will be watching today for the first time. I'm already at the climax of GvsMG, so before midnight I'll be starting the cartoon, which I happen to enjoy quite a bit.

Tomorrow I'll do the other half of the cartoon, and move on to the 80's, ending, of course, with Godzilla vs. Biollante, mankind's greatest achievement. That's going to be a pretty big deal. But for today I've been sort of easing out a bit. After all, when we're done with Biollante will have to go through the entire rest of the Heisei and Millennium series in two days.

14. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla • ゴジラ 対 メカゴジラ (1974)
At last we meet Mechagodzilla. One of the most enduring and popular characters of the series, Mechagodzilla is unique among Toho's "big five" and that he's the only one from the 70's. By "big five" I mean Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla, the most consistently bankable and well known (not mutually exclusive traits) of the Toho monster oeuvre. Naturally, this is kind of an artificial category, I'm really just pointing out that Mechagodzilla is kind of a big deal.

Both of the Mechagodzilla films were on Danny's tape, and one thing I noticed while watching this again is just how deeply this movie is burned into my brain. I suppose that's actually true of all the Godzilla movies, but a combination of having not seen this particular one in a while in addition to it being one of the oldest... well, THINGS I have a memory of gave me a weird feeling. Like I was projecting the film from my own brain or something. This is one of those things that happens when you love something so deeply it transcends whatever it technically is in a physical sense, this is anything but "just a movie" to me. Like Megalon, this is another one I had memorized every beat of the choreography, and would act it out with other kids, only the "other kids" in this scenario were relatives, other kids who watched Danny's tapes, and not people from school. In that scenario, I was always Godzilla. Because I mean come on.

In some ways this movie echos the desire of Tomoyuki Tanaka to return to the glory days of the 60's. The cast contains Godzilla veterans Hiroshi Koizumi and Akihiko Hirata, playing professors because they're cool like that. It also has the "Fake Godzilla" sequence which was born out of Tanaka's desire to make Godzilla the antagonist again in some way. More on this later. Another weird thing I noticed has to do with the "dubtitles" in Sony's DVD release. The version of the film on the disc seems to be the international version, that is to say an in-house dub of the film Toho made to have ready for international distributors, which changed very little in editing. However, being that I have every single line of dialogue of the film memorized, including the cadence, I found myself, upon watching the "Japanese version" of the film, reading the subtitles out loud, since there were the dub lines. What's the deal here? I'm not entirely sure to be honest, but what I know for certain is that the subtitles for the disc were created based on the dubbed lines, and I know this not just because I have them memorized, but because of one line in particular. When Akihiko Hirata's character explain the function of his custom pipe, he says that it has a??? in it. What's a???? I don't know, and neither did the subtitle makers, because they couldn't make out what he was saying in the original dubbed line, which sounds something like "strenochon" or something. I don't know what it is either, but if you're a big coorporation like Sony, it's just a little odd that all you did was listen to the dub and go "I don't know what he said, so lets just put question marks in this commercial product we're selling to people for money."

As I've watched these films, in a row, I've observed Godzilla gradually change over time. During the earlier films I talked a lot about his attitude and how he not only wasn't a complete monster, but at first he didn't really have any interest in humanity at all. Since then, he went through an arc where humanity reacted badly and he fought back. His behavior changed from that of an animal acting on instinct to a daikaiju in a complicated world living among other creatures, like him, being thrown into their new roles. He adapted and made friends, and became an adept fighter. So much so that when the entire world was threatened by the arrival of King Ghidorah, he squashed the beef and did what he had to do. At this point it became clear that Godzilla was really really good at dealing with other monsters. Unbeatable, even. From 1971 to 1973, Godzilla was actively seeking out a new kind of monster, alien creatures that actively threatened the planet and the lives of everything on it. Now, after finding out that his and humanities interests are not so different after all, and that larger threats do exist, Godzilla has not only excepted his role as a Earth's defender but embraced it, becoming a dinosaur super hero of sorts. A lot of folks seems to have a problem with Godzilla being a good guy, but in the Showa era, the truth is that the second Godzilla was never bad to begin with, and his path through misunderstanding, cooperation with humans and monsters, and ultimate redemption as the defender of Earth over 13 films is quite a saga indeed, and the story works on a large scale without really being intended at any one point in the journey. And that, I think, is pretty awesome and worthy of celebration.

Fucking magnets, how do they work? Well Godzilla, as a migratory dinosaur, has a cool sense called magnetoception, which allows him to sense the Earth's magnetic field. Its what migratory birds use to flock south for the winter. This is touched on in Return of Godzilla too, where it's used to lead him to a volcano. It's not unusual, given the logic of these films and what Godzilla is known to be capable of already, that Godzilla is somehow also able to control magnetic fields as well. In addition, dinosaurs (at least living ones, but I'm assuming Godzilla as well) have the ability to see ultraviolet as a color. This isn't a plot point in any of the films, but it almost was. In the first of the late 70's unfinished Godzilla projects, he was to go up against either a resurrected or a second Gigan, and a new monster named Chamelegon who was made of a special space metal which was invisible to humans, but not Godzilla. An emphasis on Godzilla's sight could have been interesting, and may have given us some strange looking "Godzilla eye view" shots, but like all late 70's Godzilla none of this ever saw the light of day, unlike unproduced G-films from other times, whose ideas were usually recycled.

Mechagodzilla is made of a space metal, specifically "space titanium," whatever that is. Mechagodzilla was built by aliens from the... third planet... from the... from a black hole. Hmm. Does it have a name? Why do these 70's aliens get vague descriptions instead of names? I know that they were called "Simeons" in some sort of official capacity before, but I haven't been able to find it again. I think it might have been on the inside cover of issue #8 of the Dark Horse comic series. These guys are obvious nods to the planet of the apes, and Den Valdron has some interesting ideas about them such as them actually being from the planet of the apes time traveling to the past and actually being the third planet from... Gorath. Personally, I think they're from another star system, and certainly the time travel theory doesn't hold much water as in ToMG they state that their home world's last days are numbered, something that wouldn't be true if they were from the future and capable of time traveling.

15. Terror of Mechagodzilla • メカゴジラ の 逆襲  (1975)
The Showa series finally comes to a close, lasting 21 years, but it's not intentional. Unlike every other "last" movie, this one doesn't really have any finality to it and it wasn't supposed to end this way. The Showa series eventually did get some kind of closure in the form of a serialized short story which was also supposed to be a movie, but of course that never happened. Also, it's weird, but we'll get there in a minute.

Immediately following the previous movie on Danny's tape (and immediately followed by the next movie), ToMG is another of the films that I have etched in my head. It has always struck me as a dissonant, sad, and ever so slightly creepy movie. My child brain also had a hard time wrapping around some of the weirder composition choices in the movie, which at various times make Titanosaurus appear Dogora-sized among others. In the beginning of the film agents at Interpol are gathered around to listen to a haunting tape recorded message from the ghosts of the Akatsuki, the last known words of the crew who scream ominously about some kind of mysterious creature crushing them in the deep ocean. It doesn't hold up with time, but as a little kid this was every bit as bone-chillingly terrifying as your average EVP or 911 call gone bad. I might even go so far to say that this movie is responsible for my interest in creepy audio recordings, but that's probably not true at all. Ishiro Honda is back to his A-game here, and his focus on family, sacrifice, and redemption are present in the tragic story of Dr. Mafune and his cyborg daughter Katsura. The movie isn't dead serious with some message about the evils inherent in makind or anything, and there's plenty of well choreographed and gorgeous looking monster action going on here to keep things from getting too intense, but there's a very melancholy element to it that has been missing since Godzilla Raids Again.

What did Dr. Mafune find, exactly? Well you might be surprised if you've never seen the original film before. It seems that, 15 years ago (this is 1960) Dr. Mafune was doing researching underwater "ranching" and animal behavior. He claimed to have found a dinosaur living on the sea bed in the Ogasawara Islands. Not only this, but as his experiments with controlling animals progressed he claimed that he would be able to do so with Titanosaurus, as he called it. In 1960 he was harassed and laughed out of the scientific community in such a way that he swore revenge on all of mankind... but he wasn't wrong. Not only was Titanosaurus real, but controlling monsters is clearly possible and has been done by aliens multiple times by now. Vindicated in some small way, four years later the establishment of Monsterland would begin, which not only includes rounding up all the monsters of the world, but also, yep, and underwater ranch. Titanosaurus, meanwhile, is a real animal. What the heck is up with that? The real Titanosaurus is a sauropod, but even if Titanosaurus is a dinosaur, which I don't see a reason to doubt, he's clearly... not that. Probably a Theropod, most likely some sort of derived marine Megalosauroid, like a Spinosaurid or something. Another possibility, I suppose, could be that it's a wildly divergent cousin of Godzillasaurus? We don't even really know for sure if he's a mutant.

Let's talk about Mechagodzilla for a bit, specifically his name. Now this is incredibly new to me, I only heard about it last year, but apparently there are a not-insignificant amount of people who, uh... how do I be nice about this, got confused somewhere. In the first movie we're introduced to Mechagodzilla, a robot monster made by aliens, and that's his name. The robot is destroyed, but in this film he's repaired and improved, this rebuilt version being known as Mechagodzilla 2. During the Heisei series a new Mechagodzilla was introduced, with a different origin in a different timeline. This is the Heisei Mechagodzilla, or... Mechagodzilla. It is a combiner, joining up with a super weapon called Garuda to form a megazord form called Super Mechagodzilla. In Godzilla X Mechagodzilla we get another reinvention of the character, of Mechagodzilla, who again is Mechagodzilla, but is also nicknamed "Kiryu" meaning "metal dragon," and is referred to as Kiryu most of the time by the characters. GMMG features an upgraded version of the same Mechagodzilla, but it was never given a unique name as far as I know. That's the way things are, but somewhere along the line a few bad eggs began numbering the incarnations and referring to those numbers as the name of the monster. Please, I know this is unfathomably stupid, but bear with me. Unlike literally every other monster, the Mechagodzillas occupying separate timelines are numbered sequentially, so that the Heisei Mechagodzilla is Mechagodzilla 2, and "Kiryu" is Mechagodzilla 3. But it gets weirder, because some fucking guy got it into his head that "Kiryu," the opponent in Godzilla X Fucking Mechagodzilla isn't Mechagodzilla at all but a completely new and unique monster who is also a mechanical Godzilla that is named Mechagodzilla whose name is Kiryu. So, just to be clear here: "Mechagodzilla 2" is the name of the rebuilt Showa MG, the Heisei one doesn't have a different name but has a combined form with a special name for that form, and the "Shinsei" Mechagodzilla is nicknamed Kiryu.

1. "Cozzilla" • Godzilla, il rei de monstri (1977)
A film of mythical proportions, Cozzilla is a weird, elusive sidebar in Godzilla history. While I made a pretty easy decision to ignore both the 1956 Godzilla, King of the Monsters version of the original film and Godzilla 1985, I'm making an exception for this because it's just SO weird and obscure and also I haven't seen it yet. Well, I'm actually watching it as I type this but this is the first time. If I'm not going to be around much longer, I have to see this before I go.

The first thing I'll say about it is that it's an absolute mess. The second thing is that I really dug it. What IS it? Well, for starters it isn't a version of Godzilla but actually a re-remix of Godzilla, King of the Monsters with a bright yellow Raymond Burr speaking Italian, and it really doesn't get better than that. The film is mostly intact, actually, with only a few bits moved around, whats different is the color, obviously, but also the addition of extra stock footage spliced in at various points seemingly at random. The colorization isn't really done with the intent of... colorizing it, or if it was then Cozzi is completely incompetent. It's more of a wash, everything is bright and mostly yellow, which I like, but other colors too, red, pink, blue, green, all mixed up and sharing the same space with no rhyme or reason and only occasionally roughly corresponding to the images on screen. The stock footage is all over the place, intercutting war footage and train crashes and B-roll of cities and even at one point a scene from Godzilla Raids Again. When Dr. Serizawa goes down to deliver the Oxygen Destroyer, he watches an octopus fight a shark. Because that's cool. The most shocking change to the film is actually at the end where Godzilla rises up out of the water for the last time, the gathered military ships open fire on him! He then sinks to the bottom and dies, and that's where the film, or at least my copy, abruptly ends.

Speaking of my copy, it is beyond in bad condition. Tracking skips around and it occasionally cuts to black for a few seconds around the middle. Considering how hard it is to get a hold of this film, one wonders if a better copy even exists anymore. Another odd thing is that the movie stops in the middle for an intermission. Seriously. The film real cuts out and we see a bunch of scribbly frame followed by an intermission card. Was the movie too long to expect people to sit through the whole thing? The fuck is going on here? Overall, the movie doesn't even really feel like a movie. It seems more like someone taped a broadcast of Godzilla on Italian tv on a vhs, and you're just watching it with colored glasses on. It's a strange, almost unreal feeling, looking through a lens at a lens looking at a movie that's a re-edit of another movie. It is, in short, the sort of thing I've been waiting to see my whole life. It's that time, folks, time for late 70's Godzilla.

Ever since I was little I knew something was up about the late 70's. It always felt to me like there was something missing, a piece of the puzzle we weren't getting and a chunk of Godzilla's history was yet to be found. It all goes back to those dreams I mentioned in the last post, and the unfinished nature of Terror of Mechagodzilla. Before I knew ToMG was the last Showa film, I knew it was the last one on Danny's tape, right before Godzilla 1985. Because of what it was taped from, the end of the movie with Godzilla swimming off into the sunset was also the end of that programming block, and I'm having trouble remembering exactly what it was that was going on with it, but the movie ended and it went back to Godzilla wading away with a different musical cue over it, and between this and the next movie being completely different, this felt like "the end" of the old Godzilla, and something didn't feel right about that. When I found out that is was for sure, it made me a little confused because I could have sworn there was no way. I felt cheated, basically. Knowing the official story, I decided that maybe there was something to those dreams I had, and that it's totally reasonable to think there's some unseen illegal bootleg thing floating around out there somewhere. To date, this has not been the case, but previous hoaxes include Star Godzilla from Stomp Tokyo and a pair of mash-up movies with footage from Zone Fighter, 70's Godzilla, ESPY, and War in Space said to have aired in the 1980's in Hawaii, one of which is called Attack of the Galactic Monsters, which I've seen on some video site, and IT. IS. AWESOME. War in Space + Godzilla's Zone Fighter scenes mashed up into a faux bootleg? Yes please.



But there's another part of the story, the untold stories that were supposed to fill this gap that came from Toho themselves, and they are wild as fuck. I've already mentioned the 1976 one, which was called "Nippon S.O.S.: Gojira Tokku Sakusen" which translates as, apparently, Godzilla's Suicide Strategy, but that's just the beginning. Godzilla vs. the Gargantuas, from 1978, was Henry G. Saperstein's idea and was to be a co-production. More specific details aren't know, such as whether Godzilla was going to fight one of the previous two Gargantuas, both, or a new one altogether. Also a Henry G. Saperstein joint was Godzilla vs. the Devil from either 1977 or 1978. Now news has been going around lately that this is actually a hoax, but to date I've only ever heard this from Toho Kingdom. The actual source is supposed to be an interview with Tomoyuki Tanaka in some obscure fanzine that predates G-Fan, so, you know, good luck tracking that down. Supernatural horror, specifically demons made from the hatred of mankind, is a weird and trippy concept that as a darker and edgier late 70's experimental kaiju/horror film, probably could have fucking cured cancer. This same time period saw the Rebirth of Godzilla concept's inception. Born of Tanaka's desire to get Godzilla back to his destructive roots, this was basically a modern remake of the first film, in color of course, and is the ultimate source of what would eventually become Return of Godzilla. Before that, though, it went through a phase where it became a sequel to the original, and essentially the final film, but with the addition of a strange, triple-formed version of Bagan (similar to the concept for the demon from Godzilla vs. the Devil) that, as I talked about during GRA, really kind of tacked on, and then disposed of so the plot can continue. This draft was from 1980, so it's not technically "late 70's" but it's in the same period. 1979 saw two more unmade films not... get made. Godzilla vs. the Asuka Fortress is a strange one indeed, with a humanoid super robot built by the JSDF, and something about a resistance against the government. Again, details aren't forthcoming, but just these tiny kernels of information are enough to tantalize. And again, these ideas were never recycled, the late 70's Godzilla simply... never existed.
Cozzilla fulfilled some of that sense of loss, as it reminds me of the Rebirth of Godzilla concept, but as for the rest, well... we've got this weird little cartoon.

15.5.1. Godzilla Power Hour/Godzilla: Voyage Chronicles (Season 1) (1978)
As the story goes, Hannah-Barbera pitched the idea to Toho as a continuation of the Showa series. For whatever reason any real sense of connection to the films was scrapped in favor of this bizarre episodic monster of the week show where Godzilla shows up at the touch of a button to protect a group of characters we're never properly introduced to and some... THING named "Godzooky" that no one even attempts to explain. The cartoon feels disconnected from anything relevant and exists, which is fine for what it is, a phrase you're probably going to be hearing alot throughout my coverage. The idea that this cartoon was once intended to be a part of the film series, like Zone Fighter, almost begs you to try and take it seriously and fit it into the series somehow, but no show thing can be easily done.

There is no pilot, but the series bible states that Godzooky, who is Godzilla's nephew (WHAT?!), was in danger because of... a thing, but the crew of the Calico saved his life, and Godzilla, in gratitude, vowed to protect the ship because of it. So many questions. First of all what the fuck is Godzooky? He's stated as being Godzilla's nephew, without any caveat, so we are meant to assume that they are related even though no logical thinking living creature would believe such a thing. He can fly? How? Those aren't wings for powered flight those are god damned gliding membranes. Is Godzooky a Godzillasaurus that was mutated in a different way or was... purposefully genetically altered? I don't understand what this thing is supposed to BE. Godzooky fills the role in this show that Scooby-Doo, the Funky Phantom, Jabberjaw, or Speedy (my personal favroite) do, a loveable comic relief non-human sidekick to a team of mystery solving/bad guy thwarting humans. The cast of humans doesn't follow the Hannah-Barbera cartoon mold, though, and features characters more akin to the ensemble casts of the film, a rough and tumble ship captain, a scientist and her assistant, and a pseudo-Kenny. Godzooky annoys a lot of people but he doesn't bother me as much. For one I'm just curious about what the hell this thing is, but his comic antics aren't really offensive for what the show is and while it isn't funny at face value, his role is so unbelievably ridiculous that I can't help but find it amusing at its most extreme. What DOES annoy me about Godzooky is how he insists on flying up to meet every god damned monster in the series both before, during, and after Godzilla engages it. In the first season he only engaged one monster in combat successfully, the Minotaur, and his genuine usefulness is in getting the crew out of sticky situations that are two small for Godzilla and/or Godzilla's not around to do them. He can't fight monsters. In a sense of characterization it's just because he wants to be more like the big G, which I can sympathize with. Godzooky is the only character that has any sort of arc in this show, and that won't come to a head until next season.

Godzilla in the series is, well, wrong. He seems to embody all the misconceptions that I heard when I was a kid, and while it isn't the ultimate source of them, that honor belonging to the Marvel comics which came slightly before, but it didn't help. He's green now, which is a color he's never been, and breathes actual flames, like a dragon, rather than his usual atomic ray. ALSO he has lazor beam eyes, which I don't understand but that's so totally awesome that I don't question it. This version of Godzilla was more or less consistent through the American Godzilla merchandise of the late 70's up through even the release of Godzilla 1985. This kind of stuff, such as the imperial figure with red "lips", the giant inflatable Godzilla, the board game, the Godzilla vs. Tricephalon playset, and the Shogun Warriors Godzilla among other things, as ubiquitous at the time and with the early-mid 70's Godzilla tapering off (ToMG was released as late as 1978, I believe) this WAS Godzilla to the American public for a long time. This may have had negative effects in the long term, but I don't hate late 70's American Godzilla, he's just different, and actually pretty cool for what he is. All in all the cartoon, as well as the Marvel comics, show that you can take some liberties with the characters and still produce a cool show that isn't outright disrespectful. Now, and this is important, I mean "for what it is" and not "as a main series sequel that's intended to be a core Godzilla films." The Hannah-Barbera cartoon makes no assumptions that it is anything more than a fun children's adventure cartoon, and whatever plans to connect with the films it once had, nothing of that survives in what we see. Green, flame-breathing, Ted Cassidy Godzilla can not "ruin" Godzilla, it doesn't even effect the series at all. It's a side story or gaiden and isn't meant to be THE Godzilla or replace him in any way. Now, a funny thing happens when we apply this logic to the upcoming "Godzilla..."

Speaking of the Marvel comics, which ran alongside the cartoon, there are a number of similarities between the two, and even the later Dark Horse comics. The comic Godzilla, in both cases, is more in-line with the film Godzilla's personality. The Marvel comics even have a loose continuity with the Showa films, starting with the 1956 Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Both comic series feature, as the first monster opponent, a large bat monster sort of like the Gryphon, Batragon in Marvel and Bagorah in Dark Horse. All three have time travel. For the first season of the cartoon, the biggest similarities are with the episode "The Sub-Zero Terror" and issues #10-11 of the Marvel comics, the difference is that the cartoon has a yeti and the comic has a sasquatch. The season also features time travel back to "dinosaur times," which is to say something completely removed from actual prehistory, just as the comic has Godzilla teaming up with Devil Dinosaur who exists not in actual prehistory but an entirely different universe altogether. The cartoon episode has a monster named Diplodocus which is not a Diplodocus, which recalls Titanosaurus from the films. While the Marvel story gets the benefit of existing in a world already populated by fantastic super heros and can just call up a time machine out of the blue that apparently came from King Ghidorah himself, the cartoon, uuuhhhh... because of all the radiation, they go back to dinosaur times. No really that's it. WHEN are they? Well it is set up as a time when the Atlantic was young, which would place it in Jurassic times after the CAMP event, and you might see a real Diplodocus if that were the case, but later we're told (how exactly do they know this?) that they're only 70,000 years in the past. So I have no idea. The fantastic last issue of the Dark Horse series also features travel to dinosaur times but with an undescribed method that at first appears to just be a dream. The story was written by Bob Eggleton and features a store-brand King Ghidorah called "the Stranger" and the whole thing is beautiful and, well, dream-like. This particular comic brought the whole thing full circle when Toho liked the story so much (a story which they owned, thanks to the way licensing works) that they eventually used it in a movie, although not a Godzilla one, but one with Mothra where the Stranger is replaced with the real King Ghidorah. The very end of the last episode of the first season, the time travel one, gets really strange and ups the frames of animation, giving everything a really over-expressed and erratic look to it. I don't know why this happens, but it's certainly not a sign of things to come, as I just finished watching the 6th episode of the second season and there's only been one instance of such a thing during the middle of the Axor episode. Must be a thing about different animation crews or something.

The monsters in this season fit into a few categories, and similar creatures are loosely grouped together by episode number, giving the season an overall sense of cohesiveness that is surprising given the episodic nature of it. Initial encounters are with elemental monsters, the Firebird and Earth Eater are pure classical elements, each has a strict diet of their element only and the Earth Eater actually appears to be made out of sediment as it dissolves as soon as it touches the water. The Guardians of Ramal are golems that harness the abilities of blizzards and sandstorms. The Watchukas are yetis. There's also a running theme of monsters powered by natural forces, the Megavolts, Magnetic Terror, and alien Energy Beast monsters all subsist on raw electromagnetic energy, while the Breeder Beast is a... well, a Breeder Beast. All of these except the Energy Beast, who's an alien, in addition to the seaweed monster Sargassah are otherwise normal marine animals who have been changed by these forces, in much the same way as Godzilla's mutation, only with the exception of the Breeder Beast and possibly Sargassah these aren't straight forward radioactive mutants. The last kind of monster in the series are the abandoned island creatures. Like the Greek and Roman epics, a lot of this series revolves around the crew of the Calico exploring various scientific phenomenon that brings them in contact with strange, monster haunted islands each with their own unique threats. The connection between the Odyssey, the Iliad, and the Godzilla cartoon is especially strong here in the first season since the three episodes in question are the ones that take place on the islands of the Cyclops and the Sirens, both of which are actually in the aforementioned epics, and the third is fucking Atlantis. So yeah, laugh all you want, but Godzooky is part of the great Greek epic tradition. Have fun sleeping at night now.

The plots of most of the episodes have weird twists and turns to them that are not needed for such a simple program. The Energy Beast isn't just a monster that eats energy from a hydroelectric dam, it's also a shapeshifter who also decided to pose as Godzilla who is also an alien. The "strange islands" take this up a notch, though. The island of what is probably supposed to be Polyphemus is surrounded by an electromagnetic forcefield put there by alien visitors who came at an unknown time in the past who realized the kind of threat the monster posed to the planet, also the cyclops can turn invisible. Atlantis was REALLY advanced, with a giant autonomous robot who controls the functions of the city with an onboard computer, and also they have time travel technology, and also they're aliens and the entire city of Atlantis is actually a spaceship, which looks for all the world like it was inspired by that Boston album cover. My favroite episode of this season is "The Island of Lost Ships," where the Calico is caught in the Siren's spell and discovers an island of pristine "ruins," including a marble statue of the Minotaur, the maze of the Minosaur, and the house of the Chimera. It turns out the Sirens can shoot colored lazors that turn living things into statues and back, meaning that the ominously breathing statue is actually the real Minotaur, which proceeds to chase our heroes around in the maze like we all knew would happen. The Sirens reveal that at sundown the island will disappear for another 1,000 years, making the actual origins of the island even more mysterious, but neatly explaining how the truth of these myths was able to pass into legend without anyone suspecting their truth, just as the cyclops and Atlantis episodes do. The Chimera shrinks when inside of its little house, and expands when outside of it, and when it combines with the Sirens it gets even bigger, growing to match Godzilla in size. This episode always made me think of the line in Biollante about how one day we'll create our own Chimera. At the time, I didn't understand the connotation the word chimera has as a mish-mash of parts, and I only knew it as the proper name of a monster, so to me this line seemed to indicate that Godzilla was going to fight a Chimera or something. In my little kid head, I always thought they were talking about this episode.

The very idea of this cartoon came as a huge shock to me. My mom, who used to watch these movies in the 60's as a kid, was already off living her life as an adult when this cartoon was on, and my sister was already 2 years old. The adults in my life were supposed to be the one who already went through their phase of watching Godzilla movies as a kid, but no one I knew had heard about this thing until Cartoon Network started airing it, so I was completely unprepared to deal with the information that there was a Godzilla cartoon with multiple episodes. This seemed too good to be true, and I remember I heard about it early in morning (fucking grade school) before I was ready to start thinking, and I thought it was a joke. Like, the world is just too cold and uncaring for a Godzilla cartoon to come on tv. Even as a kid I refused to accept that there was such goodness in the world. The first episode I watched, from the second season, didn't even have another monster in it, but I sat through the whole thing flabbergasted and giddy. This wasn't just a new movie, it was COMPLETELY new in every way. But it's not all candy and sunshine, at first my reaction was actually colored by how different is was in a bad way. The fact that he's green, breathes fire, etc. was something I only new from bootleg toys and dumb people and I had no idea anyone would be bold enough to make that mistake on tv. There was a weird disconnect where it felt like I was watching something from a different universe (...like the universe where late 70's Godzilla movies were made?) and when the characters called this green weirdo Godzilla I felt like I was the only sane person in the room. Back then this cartoon was a bigger part of my Godzilla diet, so it weirded me out a lot more, but every episode I saw was just cooler and cooler and I could never bring myself to hate it, so I got used to the strange green Godzilla and fell for the cartoon which, for what it was, was one of the most exciting parts of my day when Cartoon Network still aired it.

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