I told you we would review the entire Godzilla series didn’t I? After the close of the Showa film series in 1975, Godzilla had an animated TV series adaptation co-produced between Hanna-Barbera Productions and Toho. It begs the question we’ve seen asked in so many of the older Godzilla’s: can Godzilla appeal to kids and still be entertaining? With so many failed attempts preceding this effort can this finally be the one to be decent? It’s a different kind of Godzilla then we have ever really seen so far. For one thing he’s more of a friend to the main characters, sure the big green guy has been a protector before but he follows the characters closely and even shows affection for them. It feels like a step backward for the series to have him be so friendly considering he was originally the villain. But it’s for kids but it’s interesting to see him animated and doing what he does best, fighting giant monsters, and unlike the other child friendly renditions of Godzilla it’s not insultingly dumb.
The basic formula of every episode is a little too easy to follow; a scientific team in league with Godzilla investigates strange phenomena. They get in trouble. Godzilla fights a monster and they all Yuk it up in a happy ending. Rinse. Repeat. The research vessel called the Calico, which is helmed by Captain Carl Majors. The rest of the crew include scientist Dr. Quinn Darien, her nephew Pete, research assistant Brock, and the ship’s first mate, Carl. Along for the ride is Godzooky, the “cowardly cousin” of Godzilla and Pete’s best friend, I said it was for kid’s right? The group often calls upon Godzilla by using a communicator when in peril, such as attacks by other giant monsters or if they are sinking. Godzooky is also able to howl to summon Godzilla. The characters are all really basic, the good guy, the smart one the dumb one, etc. They are tired clichés but they are familiar like an old friend. Godzooky is Scooby doo comedy relief, he can be annoying but I still like him.
Well the Hanna-Barbera art style is very noticeable think Johnny Quest and Scooby Doo and you have a pretty good idea of what it looks like. In fact the story even it’s actually pretty much just Johnny Quest but with Godzilla. There are some inconsistencies, Godzilla’s size shifts radically, sometimes within a single episode or even one scene, Godzilla’s claw can wrap around a large ship, and only minutes later the team fits on Godzilla’s palm. In addition, Godzilla’s trademark atomic breath is altered so he breathes kid friendly fire. He can also shoot laser beams from his eyes much like Superman’s heat vision which is bizarre but hey I can believe in a giant fire breathing lizard why not a giant fire breathing lizard with laser eyes. The voice acting is mediocre but I didn’t expect much from it, but awesomely Godzilla is played by Ted Cassidy! Hmm I may be nerding myself out a little bit but it’s cool for me to hear the Adams family’s “lurch” in his final role.
The plot of each episode is predictable following the same formula throughout the series but it works because even though you know Godzilla will save them in the end there is still a genuine feeling of attachment you get to the characters when they are in danger. It’s also interesting to note there are no traditional Toho monsters in this series as villains. That’s right the show actually came up with 26 different unique monsters for the crew to interact with and each presented a different challenge to the King of the Monsters. My favorite was episode 13’s dragon monsters or the fire bird from episode one. Besides the new monsters this show is stock quality. It never challenges the audience and there is no overarching story to bring me back. The writing and execution are what they are just an animated show for kids. I didn’t expect it to be dazzling and it wasn’t but I did find parts to be fun. It won’t make you think so just turn off your brain and be entertained, but once you’ve seen one you have seen the whole series.