The Showa series (昭和シリーズ, also known as Showa era and Showa period, is a term used to identify the years between 1926 and 1989 under the reign of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Shōwa shirīzu)
The first Godzilla film was to begin the Showa era of the kaiju industry, and Godzilla is the usual kaiju to be affiliated with this era. During the beginning of this era, Godzilla was mainly antagonistic in nature, taking on the likes of Anguirus and Mothra. By the time of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla adopted what would soon become his most famous image: a heroic monster, battling terrible villains with other monsters by his side.
The Showa era saw many other film studios such as Daei, Shochiku and Nikkatsu attempt to enter the new genres of Tokusatsu and kaiju films with their own creations, including Gamera, Daimajin, Guilala and Gappa.
After the formation of Tsuburaya Productions and the creation of their most famous series, the Ultraman franchise, Toho produced a significant number of tokusatsu television programs in the Showa era, one of which, Zone Fighter, even featured appearances by Godzilla and some of his other monster co-stars and is considered part of the official continuity of the Showa Godzilla films.
- 1 Films
- 2 Television
- 3 Monsters Introduced
- 4 See Also
- 5 Trivia
While all the Showa Godzilla films (except All Monsters Attack) share continuity with each other, the Showa Godzilla series can be divided into three subsections. The first two films in the Godzilla series were produced in 1954 and 1955, and were followed by a seven-year hiatus during which Toho produced several other kaiju films. The series was revived in 1962 with King Kong vs. Godzilla, after which a new film was produced almost annually throughout the 1960's. 1968's Destroy All Monsters was originally planned to be the final Godzilla film, but Toho went on to produce six more films afterward from 1969 to 1975, which are collectively referred to by some as the "Matsuri" sub-era. The Matsuri sub-era in particular cemented Godzilla's image as a heroic monster 'superhero,' and all of its films take place chronologically after Son of Godzilla but before Destroy All Monsters, with the exception of All Monsters Attack, which is set in its own continuity. The series was placed on hiatus again after the box office failure of Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1975, and despite several attempts by Toho to continue the series another Godzilla film would not be produced until 1984, thus beginning the Heisei series.
Original Duology (1954-1955)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
Matsuri sub-era (1969-1975)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
The Showa Gamera series ran from 1965 to 1980, and consists of eight films. The final film in the Showa Gamera series, Gamera: Super Monster, was produced nine years after the previous film, Gamera vs. Zigra, due to Daiei going bankrupt. Super Monster's monster scenes consist almost entirely of stock footage from previous films, and its continuity with the rest of the Showa Gamera series is unclear.
- Gamera (1965)
- Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
- Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
- Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
- Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
- Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
- Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
- Gamera: Super Monster (1980)
Other Toho Films
In addition to the Godzilla series, Toho produced numerous other kaiju and science-fiction films during the Showa era, some of which would introduce monsters that would go on to make appearances in the Godzilla series.
- Invisible Man (1954)
- Half Human (1955)
- Rodan (1956)
- The Mysterians (1957)
- Varan (1958)
- H-Man (1958)
- The Birth of Japan (1959)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959)
- The Secret of the Telegian (1960)
- The Human Vapor (1960)
- Mothra (1961)
- Gorath (1962)
- Atragon (1963)
- Matango (1963)
- Dogora (1964)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)
- War of the Gargantuas (1966)
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Latitude Zero (1969)
- Space Amoeba (1970)
- Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972)
- Submersion of Japan (1973)
- Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
- The Last Dinosaur (1977) - Produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Rankin/Bass, but distributed by Toho
- The War in Space (1977)
- Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984)
- Princess from the Moon (1987)
Other Daiei Films
- Warning from Space (1956)
- Kujira Gami (1962)
- Daimajin (1966)
- Return of Daimajin (1966)
- Wrath of Daimajin (1966)
During the late 1960's, Toho began producing numerous tokusatsu television series, many featuring kaiju, in a similar vein to Tsuburaya Productions' popular Ultra Series. Two of these series, Go! Godman and Go! Greenman, often reused monsters from other Toho shows or even from some of Toho's films, including the Godzilla films. The series Zone Fighter is particularly notable for featuring guest appearances from Godzilla himself, along with his costars Gigan and King Ghidorah. Zone Fighter is considered to be part of the continuity of the Showa Godzilla films, set between the events of Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.
- He of the Sun (1967)
- Agon: Atomic Dragon (1968)
- Assault! Human (1972)
- Go! Godman (1972-1973)
- Warrior of Love Rainbowman (1972-1973)
- Zone Fighter (1973)
- Gimme Gimme Octopus (1973-1974)
- Go! Greenman (1973-1974)
- Warrior of Light Diamond Eye (1973-1974)
- Go! Ushiwaka Koujirou (1974-1975)
- Flying Saucer War Bankid (1976-1977)
- Seishi Yokomizo Series (1977-1978)
- Megaloman (1979)
- The Showa series is currently the longest of the defined eras of Godzilla films to date, as it had 15 films created over the span of 21 years.
- Politically, The Return of Godzilla is a Showa film, as it was the last film to be made in the Showa era of Japan, with the Heisei era beginning on the 8th of January 1989.
- Despite the fact that the Showa era of the Godzilla franchise concluded in 1975, several unmade films that were to be released during the latter years of the 1970's indicate that this hiatus may have been unintended, with each successive cancellation inadvertently further increasing the length of the hiatus.
- This era features the majority of appearances for several monsters. Rodan, for example, appears in four films (or around ten, including stock footage appearances) in the Showa era, whereas in the Heisei and Millennium eras, he only has one appearance in each.
- With the exception of Mechagodzilla, none of the monsters and mechas introduced in the Godzilla series after Invasion of Astro-Monster made any appearances in the Heisei series. Ebirah, Minilla, Kamacuras, Kumonga, Hedorah, Gigan and King Caesar were all reintroduced in the final film of the Millennium series, Godzilla: Final Wars, leaving Gabara, Megalon, Jet Jaguar and Titanosaurus as the only characters to have not appeared in a film since their debut, with the exception of cameos, stock footage, and appearances in other media.