Godzilla: The Series the 1998 Sequel
Godzilla (1998) may have been a movie that everyone hated but it had a short lived animated series is remembered fondly by those who watched it I loved it as well since it continued from the movie which I had enjoyed and it was a Godzilla cartoon which is something I always wanted and the Hanna-Barbera cartoon didn’t fulfil.
The show had a decent run of 40 episodes, and it always got good ratings which is saying something since it was out during the time Pokemon and all the networks had similar shows to compete against. The show begins exactly where the movie ends, in fact the first episode shows the ending of the movie in animated form and that’s actually really cool.
The actual show is not too dissimilar to the awful Hanna-Barbera cartoon in that its a team of humans that go find a monster and Godzilla comes in to save the day. That’s were the similarities end since this show actually does a decent job at it. For the most part most episodes consist of the premise of them finding a new mutant, going to investigate and a battle ensuing. Though they did break the mold on more than a few occasions that help break away from stagnation. Its not always Godzilla that saves the day, heck a lot of times he needs help in the series. The point is the formula is changed around a bit so its not always the same old Monster of the Day.
While the show had no real finale, it at least solved the relationships giving everyone a happy ending. This isn’t often done in cartoons and they just leave it at that they liked each other and never resolve them so I’m glad they did. I never expected that it was going to happen since it really was small hints during episodes and not in every episode necessarily with only specific ones that actually had it play a larger role, mostly during the early and final episodes.
The show does feature recurring characters, especially some from the movie like Major Hicks and Audrey Simmons who along Animal all appear in a decent amount of episodes which is nice since Audrey was the main girl in the movie and her absences are explained. Then there’s others like the Mayor (Michael Lerner actually reprises his role) and Philippe who only appear in 2 or 3 episodes.
As far as antagonists most of the time they are just mutations that Godzilla has to take care of, like the movie tried a more realistic approach and because they didn’t have the licenses to the other famous Toho kaiju the mutations usually consist of real life animals that are now giant and mutated looking or just some random monsters. It fits the universe but it sure would have been nice to see an “american” version of the Toho monsters. At least we did get a Cyber-Godzilla and a Yeti which paralleled Mecha-Godzilla and King Kong nicely. We also had plenty of parallels as well that are not as obvious.
It isn’t only Godzilla battles, one episode introduces an Alien race called the Leviathons which comes back in a three parter episode to conquer the world and taking control of the other mutations done as a tribute to Destroy All Monsters. You also have Nick’s college rival turned Lex Luthor named Cameron Winters who appears in 3 episodes, wasn’t a big fan of him but it changed the pace and he had potential. Oh yeah and some mutant poachers who appear in two episodes. One unresolved plot comes from one episode with a government official making mutations and at the end he continues the experiments but we never see more of him sadly. I would have definitely liked to have seen more of the non-mutation antagonists but oh well.
Overall I was a bit disappointed with the show mostly because I remembered that it was amazing and all the the great stuff people mentioned about the show but a lot of episodes are just ok. However with that said the show has plenty of stand out episodes and I’d say about half of the shows run are great episodes while the other half are not necessarily bad but they don’t stand out as much and fall more into regular monster of the day formula. Its a shame the movie is so hated, I actually liked the american reboot but at least we got this animated series out of it and got to see more of what Tristar’s Godzilla had to offer and it was good. Apparently Zilla was also in some comics in the official website and I think a Fox Kids magazine but I can’t find any info on those sadly, there were also two videogames for the GameBoy Color. I definitely recommend this show to anyone who likes Godzilla / Kaiju / Giant Monsters, even if you hate the 1998 film just watch it if this changes your opinion on anything.