Godzilla Color Bromide Set: Intro & Part 1, Gojira (1954)

Background information:  In 2001, a large collector's set called the "Godzilla Classic Box" was announced for pre-order through a Japanese bookstore chain, which arrived in 2002.  It included reproductions of posters and various ephemera, model kits, included a new vinyl Godzilla figure, and also included this boxed set, which I bought separately.  

According to my seller, the Godzilla Color Bromide Set was made by Kodansha.  You have probably seen bromides before--Japanese trading cards (a better word would be "pin-ups") that were postcard-sized, unnumbered, and usually completely blank on the back.  These days, for Westerners, they are a confusing and expensive item, and rarely come up at anything near a decent price.  We have looked at some high-quality scans in years past, on this very blog:  here and here.

Since those original posts, I have learned a couple of things.  According to my seller, these original cards were printed by Yamakatsu Shouten, which I am assuming is the same Yamakatsu that printed various sets of small-sized Godzilla trading cards.  Also, I had originally thought that there had been a series for each film, from 1954 to the 70's. But, as it turns out, it was instead one large set, printed in the early-to-mid 1970's. 

Back to this boxed set:  included are four bundles of bromides, as well as one large packet of 30 bromides in unmarked envelopes, held together with a green piece of twine.  I assume that this was at least one way that bromides were sold in Japan (Godzilla collecting is all about informed assumptions).  This makes a total of 214 included cards, because the sample card glued to the front of the 30-card packet is repeated in the set.  So, in the end, we have 213 different cards.
Here is the list of films, from the back of the box.  There are 19 different ones included, and we can figure out which ones they are pretty quickly from the years provided.  Some films have a large number of cards, and some films have just a few.

So the question is......is this set complete?  My original impetus for buying it was to figure out what was included in this classic card set.  Nowhere do I see the word "complete," but it would seem to defeat the purpose of such a set--and a high-end Japanese collectible--for it to be incomplete.  Secondly, my set included a handful of duplicate cards [EDIT: There are NO duplicate cards; merely some similar cards that at first glance, look alike, and a couple of included variations]. 
After going through and organizing the entire set, I'm comfortable saying it's complete.  I haven't found any vintage scans of Godzilla/Toho bromides that aren't included here.

So, assuming this set is complete, then we can start to have an understanding of what the entire set looked like (213 cards).  Today, we will look at the first film featured in the set, the original Gojira from 1954.  I love the hand-coloring on these old cards (which extended to lobby cards of the time period too), but you may notice an occassional slight blur on the reprinted cards.  We can compare them better when we match them with some of my original cards (linked to above).  I'm not sure why the blurriness would have crept in, as I'd think the cards were scanned instead of re-photographed for this set....but there I go assuming again.

GOJIRA (1954)
 Nine bomides are included:
Okay, I have to say this here:  this is a much-used publicity paste-up (hilariously with a woman added in Godzilla's hand), and in the street behind him are two large tires or something....doesn't anybody else see them as HUGE EYES? Like he is standing on another, more giant Godzilla? I have been meaning to ask this question for years.  I can never NOT see it.
...continued in Part 2!

No comments: