King of the Monsters claims new territory in science fiction anime Godzilla: Kaiju Planet.
After the expectation-exceeding critical and commercial success of last year’s Shin Godzilla, it seems like a given that filmmaker Toho will eventually be making another live-action Godzilla movie. But Toho also has an animation division, and this year, on November 17, the King of the Monsters is making his anime debut.
First announced in August of last year, the upcoming theatrical feature has been given the name Godzilla: Kaiju Planet (alternatively “Godzilla: Monster Planet”), and Toho Animation has just released its first teaser trailer.
If the art style looks a little familiar, it’s probably because the CG visuals are being produced by Polygon Pictures, the studio behind anime TV series Knights of Sidonia.
▼ Scuffed gray military outfits were also a common motif in Sidonia, whose director, Kobun Shizuno, is co-helming Kaiju Planet.
Ditching the present-day setting that Godzilla films are ordinarily set in, Kaiju Planet is a straight science fiction film, with a team of human operatives landing on a planet that, the title promises, is home to hostile giant monsters.
▼ The humans have combat mecha, giving Kaiju Planet just a bit of a Pacific Rim vibe.
Like all Japanese words, “kaiju” can be both singular or plural, but in the case of Kaiju Planet, it looks like it’s the latter, as Godzilla apparently isn’t the only kaiju around.
Aside from a tongue-in-cheek gag appearance on gag comedy Crayon Shin-chan, Godzilla has never officially appeared in animated form in Japan before. The shift to all CG may make it harder to communicate the creature’s destructive force, especially when he’s put in an alien jungle setting as opposed to a real-world urban one.
However, there’s also a major potential upside. A common, if not-universal, complaint about recent Godzilla movies is that there’s too much focus on uninteresting human interactions, and not enough monster-fighting action. That’s somewhat unavoidable, though. Whether produced in Japan or America, Godzilla movies are big-budget productions that hire big-name actors, and they want to keep those famous faces on-screen. Animation, though, is far less beholden to its human characters, and so maybe Kaiju Planet will finally serve up the heaping helping of kaiju-on-kaiju violence that some fans are hungry for.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s just a little concerned about moviegoers ears’ being subjected to all that Polygon Pictures audio buzzing on theater-grade speakers.