Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Top Five Godzilla/Kaiju Books

Top Five Godzilla/Kaiju Books

by Armand Vaquer

With Christmas just around the corner, it is worthwhile to take a look at what English language, mass-market books to buy for the newbie or longtime kaiju fan.

Most of these books are still available through various sources such as Amazon.com, eBay, Barnes and Noble, Border's Books, etc.

So if you are wondering what to buy, here's my top five Godzilla books:

Number One. Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters by August Ragone is the top book to pick up without question. Ragone is thorough in his research on the genius of Japanese special effects with many rare photographs. Toho Co., Ltd. and Tsuburaya Productions cooperated in the production of this book and it shows! Hardcover.

Number Two. Japan's Favorite Mon-Star by Steve Ryfle is a valuable reference book on the history of the Godzilla movies. Although dated (this one cries out for an update as it ends with the 1998 U.S. Godzilla), Ryfle's research on the King of the Monsters makes this a must-have in your book collection. Softcover.

Number Three. Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda by Peter H. Brothers is the first (it came out last year) English language biography of Japan's top director of science-fiction and fantasy films. Although it has no photos and there's some glaring typos, this is a must-have book for G-fans. Softcover.

Number Four. Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! by Stuart Galbraith IV is a collection of interviews of actors, directors, special effects directors and others organized by topic. Although the organizing could have been better executed (some fans feel it is too disjointed), it is a valuable resource as it includes interviews with some who have since passed on. Softcover.

Number Five. Godzilla On My Mind by William Tsutsui is a tome of what Godzilla means to fans. If you're looking for a filmography, this isn't the book for you. But if you're interested in Godzilla and his pop-culture influence, grab this book. Softcover.


A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series, 2d ed. by David Kalat. This edition just came out and I haven't read it yet. But, I am told that it is an excellent book on the Godzilla series. It is available at Amazon.com. Hardcover.

The Official Godzilla Compendium by J. D. Lees and Marc Ceracini is long out of print and if one can find one, it is generally pricey. It is a good introductory book aimed at the small-fry fan. It has reached the status of a collectors' item. Softcover.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan by Armand Vaquer came out this year and is a travel guide to Japan tailored to fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films featuring movie locations, attractions, transportation and accommodations. Magazine format.


  1. there's also this latest book regarding the kaiju genre. here's a review from scifi japan.


  2. Great list. I had never heard of several of these. Thanks.



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.