The GNP Presents:
Godzilla vs. Gigan
From the Screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa
Novelization by Daniel DiManna
“What you mean by “peace” is nothing more than the endless repetition of human folly.”
The sound of massive explosions and the screams of panicked men, women, and children filled the air. Tanks fired shell after shell. Buildings collapsed into rubble. Fire filled the sky.
Groups of doomed citizens stared skyward at the incredible force that loomed above them. There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
They were trapped.
All they could do was continue to stare. And to scream…
“It’s the monster… Shukra!!!!”
Underneath the discerning nose of the publisher sat a blank page, the only color coming from the thin, black lines of the empty comic panels.
“Is the monster Shukra invisible or something?”
The publisher had looked up, his be-spectacled eyes meeting the gaze of the young man who stood anxiously in front of his desk.
Gengo Kotaka had been nervously waiting for several minutes as the publisher had read through the stack of illustrations he had brought. Gengo had taken his silence up until this point to be a sign of concentration, but the tone in the publisher’s voice seemed far less like enthusiasm, and more like sarcasm.
“Well, no…” Gengo cleared his throat and tried to put on a smile as he leaned forward over the desk. “I… I just haven’t finished its design yet, is all!” Good, he thought to himself. Just a misunderstanding on his part. I’m still doing well here.
“Fool!” The publisher’s voice hadn’t been loud, but it had been forceful enough to erase Gengo’s smile in an instant. “Don’t bring me unfinished work!”
The publisher grunted slightly as he readjusted in his chair, bringing a pipe up to his mouth as he continued to meet Gengo’s gaze. “Anyway… what kind of monster is… Shukra going to be?”
Gengo’s eyes lit up as his smile returned. THIS is where I get him!
“It’s a homework monster!”
The publisher leaned forward slightly. “H-homework?
“Exactly!” Gengo quickly moved his body to the left side of the publisher’s desk, leaning far over it as he continued his pitch. “It’s just what you asked for! You said to visualize the thing kids despise the most as a monster. Right?”
The publisher finally looked away from Gengo, a smile creeping over his face as he began to laugh. “And so your answer is this “Shukra”…” For a moment, Gengo couldn’t read the publisher’s emotions. Had he sold him on the idea? Was his laughter a sign of approval? Or had he failed yet again…
He wouldn’t have to wait long to get his answer.
The publisher leaned in closer to Gengo, lifting his pipe into the air and jabbing it towards the young man’s face as he spoke. “It’s too simple! Kids these days are too sophisticated for stories like that.”
Gengo felt as though his stomach was doing flips inside of him. Damn, I’m losing him here. If only I could make him see that the story IS sophisticated, that kids would really love it…
Gengo decided to go for broke. He had one last chance to convince the man that sat in front of him that his story was worth publishing, that he could deliver a manga that the children of Japan would go wild for. He took a deep breath.
“I understand what you mean,” he began, “but my idea is that the telepathic powers of the world’s children – the ones who hate homework – streams far out into space, and that power forms a monster there.” He paused, leaning in closer towards the publisher, who hadn’t moved or made any attempt to speak in several seconds. “So… how’s that?”
A moment later, and the publisher broke his silence.
“I’d never touch it!”
“Well… that’s too bad. And after all the trouble we went through to get an introduction, too.”
Gengo breathed a sigh of relief. She took it better than I expected!
A little over an hour had passed since Gengo had blown it with the manga publisher, and he had been dreading the moment when he would have to deliver the unfortunate news to Tomoko. The last time he had confessed failure to his girlfriend following a similar rejection, she had given him a look that he had previously only seen in Samurai movies, seconds before the person being glared at was run through by a sword. In fact, he was certain that if she had been carrying a sword that day, he wouldn’t have lived to fail again. Mercifully, her killer glare had been followed by a few hours of frustrated silence, rather than his brutal murder. Nevertheless, he had resolved to never find himself on the receiving end of such a glare again. The next time I present my story, he had thought, I’ll succeed.
Yet here he was again.
At least Tomoko didn’t appear as if she was going to slice him in half this time.
Gengo now sat across from his disappointed – but not yet violent – girlfriend, a small table separating them as they awaited the arrival of their lunch. They had met at a small diner in Shinjuku to discuss the results of Gengo’s manga pitch, each hoping that those results would ultimately be positive. With the revelation of yet another failure, Tomoko now appeared to be wasting little time in moving on to new potential prospects. In lieu of launching herself across the table and attacking him, Gengo watched with weary eyes as she quickly produced a small, red notebook from one of the pockets of her oft-worn red-white-black checkered shirt and whipped it open. It was a notebook Gengo had seen more times than he cared to admit.
“Now… where shall we try next?”
She spoke the words without looking up, her eyes locked onto the rapidly flipping pages of the notebook. Inside was what must have been a nearly complete list of manga publishers in the Tokyo area, a list Gengo had practically memorized since setting his sights on pursuing a career in comics. It was a list that Tomoko pulled out often, usually to cross out yet another prospect after a rejection. Gengo had grown tired of seeing it pulled from Tomoko’s pocket after every failure, and the fact that it was almost always pulled out of the pocket of the exact same shirt she currently wore was no longer a source of humor. He had lost count of the many times he had to restrain himself from asking her if she ever washed the thing…
As Tomoko continued flipping through pages, Gengo finally did speak up. “Please, wait just a minute. Please. Can’t we take it easy for a while? I need a break.”
“You don’t have that luxury.” Tomoko still hadn’t looked up from her notebook. “We can’t stop until we sell something.”
Her use of the word “we” almost brought a smile to Gengo’s tired face. Tomoko might have been pushy, stubborn, even frightening on occasion. But she was also unfailingly supportive. She had stuck with Gengo through all of his artistic failures, pushing him to continue trying. If no one else did, she definitely believed in him.
But not even this humbling thought could lighten Gengo’s sour mood. On this day, Tomoko’s support felt less like assistance, and more like punishment. No matter where she sends me, the outcome will be the same, he thought to himself. Is there even anywhere left to go?
A second later, Gengo got his answer when the sound of ripping paper snapped him back to reality. Tomoko had removed a page from her notebook, and was now folding it up into a small square. A slight smile crept over her face as she reached across the table to hand the note to Gengo.
“This is the next place.”
With all the confidence of a convicted man being handed his sentence, Gengo took the note from his girlfriend’s hand and opened it.
“The construction committee for… World Children’s Land,” he read aloud.
“You’ve heard of it, right?”
Gengo dramatically placed the note on the table. “Of course,” he said. “They’re the ones building that Godzilla Tower.”
“That’s right,” she replied.
It was true. Little of the new amusement park and its ongoing construction had yet been publicized, but the appearance of a gigantic structure built to resemble the famous giant monster had certainly attracted the press. From what Gengo knew of the project, little else besides the Godzilla Tower and a few smaller office buildings had yet been constructed. What the hell use would a construction site have for me?
“What does this mean?” Gengo’s confusion was starting to eat away at what was left of his nerves. “Am I supposed to march over there and start shoveling dirt? Am I a construction worker now?”
Tomoko did not look amused. She lifted her drink away from her face and leaned forward slightly across the table. “Stop complaining and just go!”
Gengo could no longer keep his face from showing his frustration as a slight grimace appeared in place of his previously calm expression.
“What’s that look for?”
Gengo shrugged, taking a deep breath as he leaned backwards in his seat. Reaching out and grabbing his tea, he snuck a bitter glance in Tomoko’s direction.
He had spoken the words quietly to himself, quickly lifting his teacup to his lips as Tomoko looked back in his direction. He had not, apparently, been quiet enough.
“What was that?” A sarcastic smile had crept over Tomoko’s round face. “Would you mind saying that again?”
After letting loose a slight sigh of relief that she had apparently not heard him entirely, Gengo leaned forward, setting his teacup down. “No, I don’t think so,” he said, smiling for the first time since arriving at the café. “Not with you being a third-degree black belt in karate.”
Gengo laughed, and Tomoko quickly followed suit. He had dodged her sword yet again.
The two continued their drinks in silence for the next few minutes. As Gengo sipped the last of his tea, the unfolded note Tomoko had handed him – still sitting on the table where he had placed it – caught his eye.
World Children’s Land. I wonder what use they would have for me at a place like that…