King of Monsters

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Welcome back to our newly revamped “Retro Reviews” column, where we explore both the movies you know and love, as well as the oft overlooked gems you should be spending more time with. Our fifth entry acts as a brief refresher on one of the pivotal moments in Japanese cinema, Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla (1954)…

Picture Godzilla in your head. What do you see?

For most, the image is simple — men in rubbery monster suits battling one-another amidst a chintzily built model, stepping on toy cars willy-nilly in an effort to put forth the feeling of destruction on an apocalyptic scale. To the average cinema-goer Gojira — excuse me, Godzilla — is an icon of pugilistic campiness; a towering figure akin to a scaly Macho Man Randy Savage, wrestling other goofy kaiju for ninety minutes while tiny Asian people point and scream “the monster is attacking the city!” 

Like most successful franchise frontmen, the weight of Godzilla’s initial appearance has been watered down by subsequent sequels (twenty-seven, to be exact), to the point that many have forgotten the iconic monster’s original metaphorical meaning: a walking mushroom cloud, the fantastical representation of holocaust. Ishirō Honda’s monumental piece of Japanese filmmaking still stands as one of the greatest cinematic responses to the psychic trauma caused by war, ranking with Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove as a defining piece of pop art derived from the utter devastation of the nuclear bomb.

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Anatomical diagrams are fascinating looks of a species from the skin all the way to muscle and bone. They allow countless individuals to understand the wonders of a perfectly balanced and natural biological system.

But, what if the animals aren’t natural? How would bones and muscles be organized in mythical creatures, such as the king of all monsters, Godzilla?

Apparently, back in 1967, a book came out to answer all those questions, aptly entitled “An Anatomical Guide to Monsters,” by Shoji Otomo and illustrated by Shogo Endo.

However, unless you can read Japanese, the pictures (located below the jump) are completely incomprehensible. Someone needs to translate them … work your magic Internet!

Still., they are very cool to look at.

I mean, who knew that Gamera had (what appears to be) four different stomachs?

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