Showa era

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Japanese political periods
Godzilla film series

The Showa era (昭和,   Shōwa), or Showa period (昭和時代,   Shōwa jidai), was a political period of Japan which lasted from 1926 to 1989 under the reign of Emperor Shōwa, formerly Hirohito. Films produced during this era, such as those of the Godzilla or Gamera series, may be identified as the Showa series (昭和シリーズ,   Shōwa shirīzu) of their respective franchises. The first Godzilla film began the Showa era of the kaiju industry, with Godzilla being the usual kaiju affiliated with this era. It was succeeded by the Heisei era.

During the beginning of the Showa 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 Daiei, 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.[citation needed]

Films[edit | edit source]

Godzilla series[edit | edit source]

While all of the Showa Godzilla films share continuity with each other, the Showa Godzilla series can generally be divided into three distinct cycles of films. 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, including Rodan, Varan, and Mothra. The series was revived in 1962 with King Kong vs. Godzilla, after which a new film was produced almost annually throughout the 1960s. During this period, Godzilla gradually began to transition from a villainous destructive monster to a more sympathetic and heroic character. 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, as features for the Toho Champion Festival children's matinee program. The Godzilla films released during this period, collectively dubbed the "Champion Series" by kaiju historian August Ragone,[1] 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. 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 what would later become known as the Heisei series.

Original duology (1954-1955)[edit | edit source]

Revival (1962-1968)[edit | edit source]

Champion Series (1969-1975)[edit | edit source]

Gamera series[edit | edit source]

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 the seven previous films, and its continuity with the rest of the Showa Gamera series is unclear.

Other Toho films[edit | edit source]

In addition to the Godzilla series, Toho produced numerous other kaiju, science fiction, and horror films during the Showa era, some of which would introduce monsters that would go on to make appearances in the Godzilla series.

1950s[edit | edit source]

1960s[edit | edit source]

1970s[edit | edit source]

1980s[edit | edit source]

Other Daiei films[edit | edit source]

In addition to the Gamera series, Daiei produced numerous other science fiction and horror films during the Showa era.

1940s[edit | edit source]

1950s[edit | edit source]

1960s[edit | edit source]

Tsuburaya films[edit | edit source]

  • Return of Ultraman (1971) [compilation film]
  • Return of Ultraman: Terror of the Tornado Monsters (1971) [compilation film]
  • Mirror Man (1972) [compilation film]
  • Return of Ultraman: Jiro Rides a Monster (1972) [compilation film]
  • Mirror Man: Dinosaur Aroza Reanimated (1972) [compilation film]
  • Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972) [co-produced with Toho]
  • The Last Dinosaur (1977) - [co-produced with Rankin/Bass Productions]

Shochiku films[edit | edit source]

Nikkatsu films[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous films[edit | edit source]

Television[edit | edit source]

Toho TV shows[edit | edit source]

During the late 1960s, 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 enemies 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.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Monsters introduced[edit | edit source]

Main article: Category:Showa Kaiju.

Godzilla series[edit | edit source]

Gamera series[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • 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 January 8th, 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 1970s 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 10, 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.

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Showa era. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]


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