Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Godzilla Versus Some Gorilla*

In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should say: I don't really like King Kong. (Early evidence for this can be found in this post; you probably won't be able to tell unless you read the picture's title text.)

And when I say "I don't really like King Kong," I actually mean "I almost hate King Kong."

Now, I should clarify, I've never watched any of the King Kong movies (even though the most recent one is sitting in my DVD collection). The only Kong media I've ever watched was a cartoon series called simply Kong, which featured what appeared to be a clone of King Kong going on monster fighting adventures with a group of human sidekicks, one of whom used a magic gadget to merge with him.**

But here's the crux of it: Gorillas are peaceful, gentle animals, and presenting one as any degree of rampaging beast doesn't sit well with me.

Further, Godzilla has always, since I first grasped the concept of giant monsters, been really high on my list of monsters, and knowing that Godzilla lost to King Kong in a fight in a movie made by Godzilla's own studio*** has always infuriated me.

Because not only did King Kong have to be substantially larger than he had been in his own movie(s)...

...they had to invent Godzilla having a weakness to electricity (he generally doesn't have such) and then use lightning to bring King Kong back to life after Godzilla had already killed him, AND have the lightning give King Kong electrical powers.

That is some Grade A++ BS right there.

*Irony in Godzilla fighting a gorilla-based monster: Godzilla's name is probably derived from combining "kujira" ("whale" in Japanese) and "gorira" (how Japanese people pronounce "gorilla"), and early plans for the monster are speculated to have involved a whale/gorilla hybrid creature. Keep in mind they chose what is now a nonstandard transliteration for the "j" and "r" sounds.

**Amazingly, they actually used the magic merger gadget in a couple of clever ways, considering that the show was basically a cut-rate version of Godzilla: The Series, which was a great darned cartoon (that there's supposed to be a full DVD release of and I really frickin' want it darn it). The human sidekick could merge with Kong so that he'd be able to use his martial arts skills to guide the giant gorilla fighting intelligent monsters (which were common in the show because the main villain had the same type of gadget, only his would mutate the giant animal monsters into even more giant human/animal hybrid monsters; the difference was never acknowledged in dialogue); he could also reverse-merge so that they could transport Kong on a small airplane or other form of human transportation. If you're going to have characters use an impossible gadget, you might as well have them use it intelligently, and the show definitely pulled that off.

***There's an urban legend that in the Japanese version of King Kong Versus Godzilla, Godzilla won the fight, which operates under the assumption that Godzilla is more popular than King Kong in his home country. This urban legend is false on account of the assumption being incorrect: The reason Godzilla lost is because he lost the popularity contest with King Kong. Incidentally, I first saw that urban legend in what was intended to be an informative book. An informative book that was at least a little racist, thinking back; it called Toho "the clever Japanese." What.

-Signing off.

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