Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Godzilla Many Americans Have Never Seen - Ryusei Ningen Zon (Zone Fighter)

Written By: Ken Hulsey

Most American Godzilla fans are familiar with all of the monsters 28 films, television commercials, comic books, action figures and etc.

What may be a mystery, to great many of them, is the monsters numerous appearances in Japanese TV shows.

Granted, in many of these, it isn't actually "Godzilla", but the monster's suit reused to represent another monster, most notably as Gomess, in the second episode

of "Ultra Q" and as Jirass in the "Ultraman" episode, "The Mysterious Dinosaur Base".

In the case of Jirass, the monster is nothing more than a used "Godzilla" suit from "Mothra vs Godzilla" with a neck sail added. As you probably already know, Ultraman yanks the sail off, and then it was Godzilla from then on.

Despite all of these attempts to reuse the monster as other monsters, Toho would call on Big G to help boost the ratings of their 1973 television show, "Ryusei Ningen Zon" (Zone Fighter), which the studio had created as direct competition for the popular "Ultraman" and "Kamen Rider" series.

Godzilla was not alone as far a cameos on "Ryusei Ningen Zon" were concerned. Toho would also dust off both King Ghidorah and Gigan for numerous appearances as well.

In one episode. Godzilla actually kills Gigan while Ghidorah flies away.

To be honest, Ghidorah is the only monster to survive a tangle with the Godzilla/Zone Fighter duo. All other the monsters featured on the show met their makers.

On the show Godzilla is such a close friend to Zone Fighter that he actually builds him a custom cave to live in, close by, so in an emergency he could call upon the monster for help.

You know, kinda like how Dr. Quinn Darien and Carl Majors could push that red button and Godzilla would pop out of the sea to fight off whatever Godzooky pissed off.

Here is a quick synopsis:

The Zone Family is forced to find shelter on Earth after their home planet, Peaceland, is destroyed by the Garoga Army. Posing as the Sakimori Family, the Zone's had hoped to begin a new life, instead they would become Earth's defenders against the Garoga Army.

The Zone Fighters are able to transform to giant size to battle the giant beasts enslaved by the Garoga.

Godzilla is soon called upon to aid in the protection of Earth. Together Zone Fighter and Godzilla would prove to be more than a match for Garoga's beasts. Garoga would call upon two of Godzilla's nemesis, King Ghidora and Gigan, to aid in the destruction of Earth. Even these two monsters would prove to be no match for Earth's new dynamic duo. Zone Fighter would send King Ghidora packing while Godzilla would kill Gigan.

The series would last for 26 episodes before an energy crisis in Japan would force the cancellation of several television projects.

Though Toho considers the series as part of Godzilla's official time-line, and the series managed to boast decent ratings, the studio has never opted to relaunch it.

To many outside of Japan the show is a mystery. Many don't even know of it's existence. With any luck, someday, the series may get a DVD release here in the states, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Episode List (Air Dates):

1. Destroy The Terro-Beast Missile (4-2-1973)
2. Beat Destro-King (4-9-1973)
3. Defeat Garoga's Subterranean Base (4-16-1973)
4. Onslaught! The Garoga Army: Enter Godzilla! (4-23-1973)
5. Blast King Ghidora At Point Blank! (4-30-1973)
6. King Ghidora Strikes Back! (5-7-1973)
7. Zone Family's Critical Moment (5-14-1973)
8. Smash The Terrifying Invader! (5-21-1973)
9. Search For The Secret Of Red Spider (5-28-1973)
10. Zone Fighter Annihilated! (6-4-1973)
11. In The Twinkling Of An Eye: The Roar Of Godzilla! (6-11-1973) (Godzilla & Gigan)
12. Terrorbeast HQ - Invade The Earth! (6-18-1973)
13. Absolute Terror: Birthday Of Horror! (6-25-1973)
14. Insane With Anger! The Garoga Boy's Squad (7-2-1973)
15. Submersion! Godzilla, Save Tokyo! (7-9-1973)
16. Counterstrike Of Terror! Garoga-Robot! (7-16-1973)
17. Go! Fighter Emergency Take Off! (7-23-1973)
18. Directive: Destroy The Japanese Laboratory! (7-30-1973)
19. Order: Crush The Earth With Comet K! (8-6-1973)
20. Desperate Struggle! Can You Hear Fighter's Song? (8-13-1973)
21. Invincible! Godzilla's Violent Charge! (8-20-1973)
22. Counterstrike! Strike Down Super-Jikiro! (8-27-1973)
23. Secret Of Bakugon - The Great Terro-Beast! (9-3-1973)
24. Smash The Pin-Spitter Needlar! (8-10-1973)
25. Bloodbath! Zone & Godzilla vs The United Terro-Beast Army! (8-17-1973)
26. Pulverize Operation: Garoga Gamma-X! (8-24-1973)

Main Information:

Ryusei Ningen Zon (1973)
Aka: Meteor Human Zon, Zone Fighter & Zone, the Meteor Man
Created By: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Directed By: Jun Fukuda & Ishirô Honda
Written By: Koji Amemiya, Jun Fukuda, Juro Shimamoto, Susumu Takeuchi, Tomoyuki Tanaka & Shozo Uehara

Kazuya Aoyama as Hikari Sakamori / Zone Fighter
Kazumi Kitahara as Hotaru Sakamori / Zone Angel
Shôji Nakayama as Yoichi Sakimori / Zone Father
Shiro Amagusa as Raita Sakamori / Zone Great
Momoru Kusumi as Zone Fighter (Giant Form)
Toru Kawai as Godzilla
Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Narrator
Munemaru Kouda as Gold Garoga (Voice)
Sachiko Kozuki as Tsukiko Sakamori
Hideaki Ohara as Takeru Jo
Takashi Sato as Akira Sakamori / Zone Junior


  1. Thanks for the info. Like you said, it would be great to actually see these episodes here in the USA.

  2. many years ago on sunday and some saturday afternoons superstation tbs would play this under the name meteor man and space giants under the title rocket boy, once they showed a program that had two aliens in a flying saucer looking down on a city being pummeled by a monster and at the end they said something do you think they will understand whats being down to them.



Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.