Strange Beasts of Japanese Film

Killer Kaiju

So why would a book on Japanese movie monsters not have any Japanese movie monsters on the cover? That’s because a lot of Japanese film studios prohibit the use of their intellectual property on anything but what they sell. Fine. Shove a copyrighted Godzilla® up your butt. See what I care.

So that’s just the first of several glaring problems with Killer Kaiju Monsters: Strange Beasts of Japanese Film, written by Ivan Vartanian (that doesn’t sound very Asian). Originally titled Godzilla and Friends: The Art of the Japanese Monster, over half of the book’s content is devoted to rubber action figures. Then there are the illustrations (way cool, by the way), and some other stuff, like cut-outs so you can turn your favorite Japanese monster into super fun happy origami.

Killer Kaiju

But there seem to be more coverage given to the toys that have nothing to do with Japanese monsters made by U.S. manufacturers, than what the book’s title is trying to pitch. And the photos of the monsters are ones you’ve seen hundreds of times. Maybe millions.

One of the neater features, though, is contributions by Shoji Ohtomo, the guy who did An Anatomical Guide to Monsters. If you ever wanted to see what the inside of Rodan’s butt looks like, Shoji puts it on the glass. Or rather, under the glass.

Conspicuously missing is Godzilla®, whom the entire book owes its existence. But thanks to those strict copyright laws, we’ll just have to be content with a half dozen lesser monsters. All in all, an interesting read, but more for the occasional fan than a hardcore, who will tell you there’s a metric ton of stuff missing. Killer Kaiju Monsters: Strange Beasts of Japanese Film is nicely packaged, though I’m not too keen on the almost $30 shelf price. I could buy a limited edition Gamera action figure/shampoo bottle with screw-off head/cap for that. But hey, it’s available now, so go nuts…

Killer Kaiju Monsters: Strange Beasts of Japanese Film
Written by: Ivan Vartanian
Publisher: HarperCollins
SRP: $27.99
Format: Hardcover, 7 x 10
Pages: 144

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