Running Time: 90 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR
Format: Standard 4:3
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Region: 1
MSRP: $12.98

Own It!
Godzilla: The Original Animated Series, Vol. I (1978)

Thanks to the ever-growing nostalgia market that the DVD format has become very adept at exploiting, it seems that a little bit of everything under the sun has crawled outta the woodwork from television's dark and seedy past and been made available on nice shiny discs (or is on the schedule for some future release). This chain of events has led me to a couple of revelations:

1) Stuff I found cool and/or totally awesome as a small child seen through adult eyes has become rather tedious and lame.
2) I was a rather stupid kid that was easily amused.

This would explain why I shelled out the cash for the Knight Rider Season One set. And, seeing as how a fool and his money are always bound to make impulse buys, this is also why I purchased both volumes of Sony Wonder's recent Godzilla: The Original Animated Series...

Now, you may ask, "How can Godzilla not be cool and/or totally awesome (barring the inclusion of Son of Godzilla) ?" Ya add goofy Scooby Doo plots, the crew of a boat and loveably retarded comic relief monster Godzookie to the mix. Sure, the theme song's quite catchy...I find myself still singing it to myself a lot, much to the disdain of my fellow co-workers. "Up from the depths! Thirty stories high! Breathing fire! His head in the sky!

"Godzilla! Godzilla! Godzilla!!!

"...and Godzoooooooookie...."

Originally broadcast in 1978 as The Godzilla Power Hour (paired with Sheena-clone, Jana of the Jungle), the series followed the adventures of the crew of the scientific vessel U.S. Calico, who had an annoying habit of constantly running afoul of giant monsters. Good thing they had a new-fangled radio thingymabob that they could use to contact the King of Monsters, Godzilla (or a close animated facsmile) to bail their asses out of the fire on a weekly basis.

As mentioned above, the offical mascot of the ship was some mutant reptile named Godzookie who supplied all the cliched goofball comedy antics you'll ever need. Trust me on this one: after purchasing just one of these discs, you'll assuredly have more than enough Godzookie to last you for the last of your lives. Some of Hanna Barberra's monster-of-the-week designs are somewhat inspired, though, and it's a shame the series didn't last any longer than it did or the animation production company didn't aquire any of Toho's other monster licenses to spice up the show's action.

Looks pretty good. I'm sure Toho took care of the masters of this show after the rights reverted back to them when its network run ended. It's a cartoon, folks...and a cheaply produced 1970s Saturday morning network broadcast one, at that. Cut it some slack, and I'm sure any viewer able to sit through it long enough to form an opinion will have no problems with it's picture or sound.

Not a one. Neat little animated menu, and surprisingly the discs are not cluttered to the hilt with pre-menu previews and trailers.

Sure, it's stupid. Sure, it's lame. But it's fun, even in a dumbed down way. Godzilla completists will enjoy it. As for me? Well, I'll chalk up this purchase as another that I can add to the pile labelled, "If ya can't wax poetic about something you enjoyed as a child, then what out there is really worth the effort?"

Anthony Conn, aka The Hong Kong Cavalier, 7/9/2006