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Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters Paperback – September 23, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Godzilla On My Mind is a good read, well written, occasionally provocative and full of facts that show it to be well researched as well as a labour of love.” ―Dr. Dolores Martinez, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and author of The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture

“Bill Tsutsui blends impeccable scholarship with witty writing and an eye for fascinating detail as he follows the romping, stomping path of Godzilla across global popular culture: from Japanese film making in the 1950s, to rap lyrics in the present day; from issues of nuclear disarmament to the character of science fiction fandom; from wind-up toys to advertisements for Nike, Taco Bell, and Dr. Pepper. Inspired by his life-long affection -- passion? mania? -- for the monster, Tsutsui has written a stellar book; an entertaining and vivid look at Japanese pop culture, its globalization, and American encounters with Japan.” ―Ted Bestor, Harvard University and author of Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World

“William Tsutsui's Godzilla takes a fresh, original, and appealing look at one of our more intriguing pop culture icons. Although informed by careful scholarship, the book is highly accessible. It's funny, stimulating, and an overall pleasure to read. I'll never look at Godzilla the same way again!” ―Susan Napier, author of Anime from Akira To Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation

About the Author

William Tsutsui is an Associate Professor of history at the University of Kansas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403964742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403964748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adam Fletcher on April 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider myself a good, but certainly not fanatical, Godzilla fan. I grew up watching the movies, I have some toys and statues, and I've played most of the Godzilla video games. I'd intended to read this book much sooner, but some of the poor reviews put me off until relatively recently. Anyway, now that I've read the book, here are some quick thoughts on it.

The chapter about the original Gojira film, where the author breaks down the symbolism and gives the political/social content in which the movie was made, is very good. Although I disagree with him that the Japanese were the innocent victims of the atomic bomb (I don't condone the use of the bomb, but Japan had plenty of blood, American and Chinese, on their hands), for the most part I found the opening chapter informative and interesting.

From that point on, however, the book became a bit of a chore to read. The author devotes significant time to talking about how bad many of the Godzilla films are, which makes the reader wonder why the author ever wanted to write the book in the first place. Frustratingly, the author also repeatedly rehashes the information from the opening chapter. The repetition becomes tedious by page 100.

Another complaint I have is that the author tries very hard to provide meaning to films that probably weren't intended to have much meaning. While the author does give some basis (political, historical, etc.) to his claims, often they feel pretentious and unnecessary. I found these sections to be especially frustrating for a couple of reasons.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent analysis and history of a great movie icon. Godzilla on My Mind is an impressive, well written discussion of the impact Japan's (and the world's) favorite rampaging movie monster has made on the film industry and pop culture in general. The author thoroughly reviews all aspects of the Godzilla phenomenon (the Godzilla films are the longest series of movies in history -50 years old !!!)and tries to answer the question "Why do people love Godzilla so much?". It is an entertaining and affectionate look at a cherised character. A must read for any Godzilla fan.
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By A Customer on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I didn't consider myself a Godzilla fan. I liked the icon and the destruction Godzilla represented, but I didn't consider myself to be all-knowing about him. But he interested me nonetheless, and I decided to pick up this book and boy was I startled by the sheer amount of knowledge this book contains! If you want to start loving Godzilla, this is what you got to read first!
The six chapters are broke down as following: "Chapter I: The Birth Of Gojira" talks about the first movie and the establishment of an icon. "Chapter II: The Godzilla Franchise" explains everything there is to know about the tewnty six sequels to the original Gojira. "Chapter III: Understanding the monster" tries to analyse why Godzilla is so appealing and why everyone knows him. "Chapter IV: The Making Of An American Icon" explains why, of all places, Godzilla made a name for himself in America, and why he is cemented in American culture. "Chapter V: A Personal Godzilla" analyses the fans of Godzilla, why they love him, and just how much they love him. And finally, "Chapter VI: Godzilla's Spawn" talks about the moviemaking trend started by Godzilla, from the equally loveable Gamera to the american-made Godzilla.
Quite frankly, I never was so interested by a book that didn't feature a story. It is written with a lot of insight and might make anyone who reads it a Godzilla fan. Now, where can I find those movies?
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Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of the Godzilla movie series, so when I heard that there was finally going to be a book that dealt with the series in a bit more depth than websites do, but with none of the ridiculous pseudo-intellectualism that has infected such subject matter as the homoerotic sexual dynamics The Three Stooges or capitalist theory's relevance to Gilligan's Island, I was pleased. And even more so when I actually read Godzilla On My Mind, by William Tsutsui, a history professor at Kansas University. It is a well-written, and not too reverent look at the phenomenon of Godzilla- from its start as the semi-serious Japanese film Gojira through its many incarnations and latest filmic forays- twenty-eight films and counting, plus merchandise galore. It contrasts sharply with just such a weighty academic tome predecessor as David Kalat's 1997 A Critical History And Filmography Of Toho's Godzilla Series.

The best aspect of Tsutsui's book is that he brings a personal love of the monster and films to his book. He is not assuming some pose, and this makes his book accessible in the best way, even as he brings many insights to things that I, as a Godzilla fan, have not encountered in the many online fansites for the big green galoot. This book works as a Valentine to fans of the monster and films, and a nice introduction to people who have just heard the name Godzilla, or even the suffix -zilla, and wondered where it came from, or what it was about. In fact, Tsutsui devotes a lengthy section to -zilla's dominance as a descriptive suffix.
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