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Godzilla: Final Wars / B2 / montage style / Japan

08.05.14

Poster Poster

This is the B2 poster for the Japanese release of Godzilla: Final Wars, which was the 28th film in the long-running franchise featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the sixth release in the third generation of Godzilla films (known as the Millennium Series). Final Wars was something of a milestone for the film’s production company Toho Company Ltd as it marked 50 years since the release of the original film that started it all and also marked a break in the production of Godzilla films, with Toho declaring they wouldn’t film another Japanese entry in the franchise for at least 10 years and then dismantling the stage used for most entries.

Final Wars is set in 2044 and sees the Earth Defence Force dealing with an alien threat in the from of the Xiliens who secretly unleash Kaiju across the planet, including Rodan, Ebirah and Anguirus. After cities like Sydney, Shanghai and Paris are almost destroyed the aliens remove the Kaiju in an act of supposed benevolence and warn the earth about an impending impact from an asteroid called Gorath. The UN is disbanded and an alliance called the Space Nations is formed to tackle the new threat. A few members of the Earth Defence Force distrust the aliens’ intentions and discover that they were responsible for unleashing the Kaiju and that they really intend to harvest humanity for food. The group hatch a plan to unleash Godzilla from his frozen tomb in Antarctica where he’s lain for 40 years to help them tackle the threat.

The film is something of a greatest hits compilation, featuring as it does monsters and human characters from the franchise’s past, and the montage nature of this poster suits it well. Toho spent almost $20 million producing the film, which was the highest budget in the franchise to date, but unfortunately the medley of monsters and anniversary tag didn’t help it’s critical or commercial performance. It’s eventual box-office takings totalled just $12 million and made it the worst performing film in the series for 27 years.

The artwork on this poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai, my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. He also worked on other posters in the Godzilla franchise, some of which can be seen here. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition. I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by Noriyoshi Ohrai can be seen by clicking here.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla / B1 / photo style / Japan

17.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
AKA
Gojira tai Mekagojira (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
2002
Director
Masaaki Tezuka
Starring
Yumiko Shaku, Shin Takuma, Kana Onodera, Kô Takasugi, Yûsuke Tomoi, Jun'ichi Mizuno, Akira Nakao, Kumi Mizuno, Takeo Nakahara, Yoshikazu Kanou, Kôichi Ueda
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Yumiko Shaku, Shin Takuma, Kana Onodera, Kô Takasugi, Yûsuke Tomoi, Jun'ichi Mizuno, Akira Nakao, Kumi Mizuno, Takeo Nakahara, Yoshikazu Kanou, Kôichi Ueda,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Photo
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2002
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the photo style B1 poster for the release of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, which was the 26th film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the fourth release in the third generation of Godzilla films, which is known as the Millenium Series, and it marked his fourth showdown with Mechagodzilla. Unlike the rest of the Millennium series, this film shares continuity with the earlier Toho productions, including the original Godzilla (1954).

This poster features the Japanese Actress Yumiko Shaku who stars as Japanese Defence Force Lieutenant Akane Yashiro, a Maser Cannon operator who is made a scapegoat after her actions fail to stop a rampaging member of Godzilla’s species. During the same battle, scientists realise that Godzilla is now immune to Maser fire and, after the skirmish is over, they begin work on a new weapon to stop him in the future. Using the skeleton of the original Godzilla that was defeated back in 1954, scientists create a new cyborg Mechagodzilla that is inducted into the Defense Force and given human controllers as part of the new Kiryu squadron.

Akane is given a role as a pilot despite suspicion from some of her squad mates. The pilots are located in a giant VTOL plane that hovers above Mechagodzilla, relaying instructions to it. During the reveal of the new machine to the public, Godzilla appears and as the two start to battle, Godzillas roar apparently awakens something within the original skeleton of Mechagodzilla and the machine goes on a rampage, destroying much of the city around it, once Godzilla has retreated. After bringing the machine under control the Kiryu squadron continue to work on Mechagodzilla in preparation for the next monster attack. When Godzilla appears once more, another battle commences which sees the remote control technology damaged. Akane decides to risk a descent to earth, where she enters Mechagodzilla and pilots the machine from within.

The film was well received by Japanese audiences and, as can be seen from the description above, was clearly one of the films that had an influence on director Guillermo Del Toro’s recent monsters versus machines film Pacific Rim.

The original trailer can be watched on YouTube.