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Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan - Archive Only

Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Discuss Magazines, Fanzines, and Books devoted to Daikaiju films! A Godzilla article in a Horror or Sci-Fi magazine? New Hobby Japan EX available? New G-Fan arrive in your mailbox? A Godzilla article in your local paper? Discuss it here!!

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Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 13, 2024 10:22 pm

Like a mega-sized expansion of the monster guide in the back of the old Godzilla Compendium, Shinji Nishikawa illustrated this kaiju encyclopedia for the Godzilla series, detailed each version (so different suit designs!) of each monster, supplemented with cute chibi-comic versions and a bevy of other cool things.

This is a recent Japanese release, and Titan Books will be doing the English language release! More of this, please!

https://www.amazon.com/Godzilla-Encyclopedia-Shinji-Nishikawa-Unravels/dp/1835410367/ref=gp_aw_ybh_a_sccl_1/143-2427287-7022739?pd_rd_w=9yn1O&content-id=amzn1.sym.9720001e-8f8b-4ff3-adb5-e19707d971f6&pf_rd_p=9720001e-8f8b-4ff3-adb5-e19707d971f6&pf_rd_r=2B91ESCJ8CW75VXFNP8X&pd_rd_wg=sImkD&pd_rd_r=a258b862-6b57-48c9-a770-8f5ce837c04c&pd_rd_i=1835410367&psc=1
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:29 am

I don't have nearly as many Godzilla/tokusatsu books as I'd like, in part because barely any of them come out over here but also because I've never really known where to start looking. But I'm definitely going to have to get this! It's just a shame it's not due out until the latter part of the year.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Benjamin Haines » Wed Feb 07, 2024 11:18 pm

^ If you're looking for informative books, these five are essential reads:

Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films (1998) by Stuart Galbraith IV
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=9780922915477
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0922915474

Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" (1998) by Steve Ryfle
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=1550223488&_sacat=267

Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters (2007) by August Ragone
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=eiji+tsuburaya+master+of+monsters
(EDIT: I'm pretty sure you've mentioned before that you have this book already.)

Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa (2017) by Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski
https://www.amazon.com/Ishiro-Honda-Life-Godzilla-Kurosawa/dp/0819570877

Behind the Kaiju Curtain: A Journey Onto Japan's Biggest Film Sets (2021) by Norman England
https://www.amazon.com/Behind-Kaiju-Curtain-Journey-Biggest/dp/1937220109

There are also a couple of independently published books from the '90s, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla (1994) by Ed Godziszewski, and Age of the Gods: A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film (1997) by Guy Mariner Tucker, but they're pretty much impossible to find. Used copies of The Illustrated Encyclopedia turn up on eBay every now and then for hundreds of dollars but I've never seen Age of the Gods available anywhere. I don't own either of them. That being said, someone who does own The Illustrated Encyclopedia scanned all 258 pages and made that book available online as a freely downloadable PDF. I won't link to that here in this thread so check your private messages.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Fri Feb 09, 2024 8:48 pm

On a purely technical level the Honda biography is the best book on the genre published in English. Absolutely dense with information and years of research, but clear and easy to read.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:36 pm

^ Most definitely. I also have to recommend Behind the Kaiju Curtain, which I finally read last year. The whole book draws on Norman England's contemporary notes and emails to put readers in his shoes, from when he interviewed Shusuke Kaneko, Haruo Nakajima and Kenpachiro Satsuma in the late '90s, to the time he spent on the sets of Gamera 3, Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus as he became good friends with Kaneko, to the entirety of the making of GMK. It's an exceptional chronicle of firsthand experiences from the turn of the century, a unique and bygone era in kaiju cinema.

I'll be getting the English-language release of Shinji Nishikawa's Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book later this year. Yuji Kaida's 2021 Godzilla art book is really great too.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:26 pm

My to-read pile is out of control (though not as much so as my 'to-watch' one). Norman's book has been in the stack for a year now.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Wed Feb 14, 2024 2:21 pm

Thanks for the recommendations guys! I'll definitely have to give the still-available ones of those a look.

Pretty much the only books I've got are Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters and Yuji Kaida's recent artbook. I've had Master of Monsters for years but didn't actually read it fully until last year, when I was in the middle of a full-on Showa hype-fest and just wanted to dive into that whole period as much as possible, which in turn led me to then jump into Ultra Q and the OG Ultraman for the first time after reading about them and just wanting even more of that classic Tsuburaya goodness.

I remember visiting Forbidden Planet in London a few years ago and being pretty disappointed that they had almost nothing Godzilla-related at all on their shelves, save for the making of G'14 book and the dubbed version of King Kong vs Godzilla on DVD. It was a far cry from back in the days when I'd see big Gamera 2 Legion figures in there, so actually seeing these sort of books on the shelves over here has been a rarity (though Masters of Monsters was a welcome exception).

But yeah, I'll certainly make a note of these as ones to check out, especially the Honda biography and Behind the Kaiju Curtain. Those both sound like things I'd really like to read.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Wed Feb 14, 2024 7:32 pm

^ BTW, the G'14 book is the best of the MonsterVerse making of books. The entire book is great, but the middle section which is a gallery of "every artist do an out-there Godzilla design before we reign it in to something recognizable" is worth the price of admission.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Fri Feb 16, 2024 2:58 pm

Oh yeah, when I saw that was basically the only Godzilla thing they had I thought "well, guess I'm buying this then!" :lol:

And yeah that Godzilla concept art section is great. Even though most of them were never meant to be stuff that made it to the screen it's cool seeing all the crazy stuff they came up with, from those classic Heisei-style "upright man in a suit" designs to the ones that were like bipedal iguanas with spines that almost looked like a cross between leaves and sharks' fins.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Benjamin Haines » Wed Feb 28, 2024 12:56 am

I do want to vouch for Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo and Japan's Favorite Mon-Star too. Even though they're both from 1998 and they don't cover anything past the Heisei Series or G'98, their coverage of everything up to then is comprehensive. Stuart Galbraith IV and Steve Ryfle traveled to Japan together in 1994 and 1996 to conduct a ton of interviews with people who worked in this genre.

Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo is 191 pages long and all of the text from page 43 through page 119 is comprised entirely of interview quotes. Rather than presenting each interview individually in standard Q&A format, Galbraith arranged the quotes to paint a vivid picture of working in the Japanese film industry's Golden Age and the later transition to television. Some of the more recognizable interviewees are actors Akira Takarada, Kenji Sahara, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, Yu Fujiki, Momoko Kochi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Mie Hama, Robert Dunham, Yuriko Hoshi, Rhodes Reason, Yosuke Natsuki and Sonny Chiba; directors Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda (interviewed by James Bailey for The Tokyo Journal), Jun Fukuda, Noriaki Yuasa, Kinji Fukasaku and Shue Matsubayashi; and composers Akira Ifukube and Masaru Sato.

Take a look at the book's table of contents:
https://i.imgur.com/SL52p0i.jpg

The opening chapters up to page 43 are informative and entertaining essays about the history of the genre. The chapters from page 120 to the end are less unique nowadays in the age of the internet, particularly the filmography and the film chart, but seriously, all of those interview chapters from page 43 through page 119 are priceless. It's firsthand information straight from the people who made these films and shows, many of whom have sadly passed on in the time since this book was published.

Here's just a sample of how the various interview quotes are arranged to tell the broader story:
https://i.imgur.com/mu0gXUC.jpg

And here's the table of contents for Japan's Favorite Mon-Star:
https://i.imgur.com/OGyGMM9.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/1q9hU2s.jpg

The supplemental sections devoted to personnel files, interviews, unmade projects and other things are all arranged chronologically among the chapters devoted to each movie, which are packed with information. The chapter on G'84, for instance, not only covers the making of the movie but the years leading up to it, including Tomoyuki Tanaka's earlier attempts to revive Godzilla and an in-depth exploration of the unmade Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3-D that was written by Fred Dekker and was to have been directed by Steve Miner as the first American-produced Godzilla film for a 1983 release. Ryfle interviewed Dekker, Miner and concept artist William Stout for this book and it even has a detailed synopsis of Dekker's script.

Here's a sample from that chapter:
https://i.imgur.com/uxYkuPR.jpg

Ryfle interviewed a lot of other people too, including dub voice actors Peter Fernandez and William Ross, screenwriters Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott for the chapter on G'98, and Joseph Barbera for the section on Hanna-Barbera's animated Godzilla series.

Back in 2019, I was able to get a used copy of Japan's Favorite Mon-Star for $27.12 including shipping, and a used copy of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo for $13.94 including shipping. There are still several copies of each book with similar prices listed on both eBay and Amazon but there are also several copies listed with much higher prices. There's no telling when the lower-priced listings will disappear and the higher prices will become the norm but these books will inevitably become rarer as time goes on.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Sat Mar 02, 2024 9:45 pm

Thanks for the sneak peeks at those two! They definitely look like really good reads as well.

I see what you mean about the way Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo uses quotes from various people to paint an image of a certain subject from the various interviewees' points of view. It reminds me of the way some movie making-of documentaries cut their interviews together more by topic than by each individual person. That seems like a good way of building a picture in your mind about the topics being discussed. And it certainly seems like they got to interview a lot of major names in the business!

Likewise Japan's Favourite Mon-Star sounds like it's got a lot of good information in it as well. I'd heard about the various abandoned Bagan-featuring movies from back in the day, but some of those details in that excerpt I definitely hadn't heard before, like the film ending with Godzilla's body washing ashore in America! Even if that book doesn't cover anything past the Heisei era it still sounds like there's a lot of really cool stuff in there (I always like reading about abandoned movie ideas especially).

I ordered the Ishiro Honda biography and Behind the Kaiju Curtain for now, since brand new copies of both were easy to get hold of for reasonable prices. That and I've really got no room for most of the new stuff I buy anymore and I've got no idea where I'm even going to put *these* two, let alone the possibility of getting all four at once! :lol: But hopefully these will tide me over for now, then I might have to look into getting those other two once I've read these. I'm definitely looking forward to diving in! They both sound really interesting.

Looking at the listing for the Honda one also reminded me that I never got round to picking up the Eureka double feature Blu-ray set of The H Man and Battle in Outer Space. So rather than read about them first, watch them afterwards, then potentially want to go back and re-read those parts of the Honda book they're covered in (I assume, anyway) after gaining a lot more context and appreciation for the work like I did with Ultra Q and Ultraman, I should just go ahead and watch them beforehand. :D
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Sat Mar 02, 2024 11:16 pm

Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo strikes me as a bit ahead of its time; now we call this type of thing an 'Oral History' and the book would probably have that somewhere in its title. I don't know if that was even what they called it 25 years ago? I became aware of it during the '10s when tons of websites were producing these as gigantic articles. Back when they were dumping an enormous amount of money and resources into online journalism! Ha! A lifetime ago.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Benjamin Haines » Wed Mar 06, 2024 12:59 am

^ Yes! Thank you, that's exactly what it is, an oral history of Japanese science fiction & fantasy films.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Wed Mar 06, 2024 5:03 am

I got Norman England's book the other day, and just flipping through it and seeing there were no on-set pictures made me remember something I must have read online somewhere that apparently Toho forbade him from using any of his behind-the-scenes photos from their sets in the book. Is that right, or am I remembering wrongly (or thinking of a different book)?
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Wed Mar 06, 2024 10:49 pm

^ You're correct. Apparently he posts a ton of his photos on Facebook and will specify what page of his book (in a perfect world) it would appear.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Fri Mar 08, 2024 6:25 am

Ew, "The Faces-Book". Oh well, Google has already shown me a few of them at least. But yeah, that's so Toho.

The Ishiro Honda look arrived the other day too, so between these books, The H-Man/Battle in Outer Space Blu-ray double pack, Neo Ultra Q, Ultraman Taro and now the Daimajin trilogy box set I meant to order ages ago but only just got round to yesterday, I'm gonna have a whole lot of awesome tokusatsu stuff to digest in the immediate future! :D
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sat Mar 09, 2024 5:22 pm

I didn't realize that Norman England had posted his Toho set photos on Facebook. It's been years since I used Facebook.

He talks about the book's lack of photos in the epilogue on pages 224-225:

"Getting back to this book, readers are probably asking, 'He keeps talking about set photos. Where are they?' Yeah, where are they? The truth is, Godzilla copyright holder Toho Co., Ltd. was uncooperative and pulled the typical Japanese business practice of being glacially slow to respond, hoping I'd eventually just give up, which I finally did. On the other hand, I spoke to Kadokawa Pictures about my set photos for G3 and within a day they permitted me their use. I assembled a selection of photos but in the end felt that with the text so heavily Godzilla-centric, not to have photos of Godzilla drew attention to their lack of Godzilla. Maybe one day, if Toho sees the error of its ways, I can release this in a big, color photo-filled edition."
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby Kailem » Mon Mar 18, 2024 2:17 pm

Sounds like typical Toho, but yeah I figured with the book starting out with Gamera 3 before moving on to Godzilla taking up everything else, plus the fact that Kadokawa were obviously ok with him using that Gamera set photo for the cover, that that's probably why he made the decision not to include those Gamera pics even though he technically could have.
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Re: Godzilla Great Anatomical Picture Book

Postby lhb412 » Wed May 01, 2024 6:48 pm

Checked Amazon and the temporary cover with its word salad text for Nishikawa's book has been replaced by a more final looking cover with the new title - "Godzilla: The Encyclopedia"

https://a.co/d/4mDJfrC

Also, a different kind of new art book...

Godzilla: The Official Pop-Up Book https://a.co/d/0hheRst
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