Wizards of the Coast has officially teamed up with TOHO CO., Ltd., the creator of a variety of movies, television shows, and theater in Japan, to bring the world of Godzilla to Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast parent company Hasbro and TOHO CO., Ltd. have a licensing deal that has also given us as consumers Monopoly: Godzilla, and Jenga: Godzilla. The Godzilla preview card shown below has just been revealed, along with a video trailer on Twitch.
A Brief History of Godzilla
TOHO CO., Ltd was founded in 1932 and showcased a number of hugely-important pieces of Japanese cinema to the public. When World War II culminated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, this resulted in the deaths of almost 250,000 people. This display of force by the United States brought upon the surrender of Japan, thus ending the conflict in the South Pacific, the very last part of World War II.
In early 1954, the Japanese tuna fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru got caught in the nuclear fallout of the United States Castle Bravo thermonuclear weapons test at Bikini Atoll. Within weeks, the 23-member crew were suffering from acute symptoms of radiation exposure. The incident marked inspired the fear of the nuclear arms race for people around the world. It also helped inspire a film released in Japan that fall which shocked and horrified many people with its amazing use of practical effects, its miniaturized sets, and its symbolic use of a daikaiju (Japanese for "large, mysterious beast") to represent the horrors of radioactive pollution, something that the Japanese people were still all-too-familiar with.
That monster was named Gojira. This name was later anglicized by Western audiences into "Godzilla", a name that sticks in the annals of the history of Kaiju movies to this day.
Faced against too many other Kaiju to count and parodied (or perhaps paid homage to) by many others, Godzilla has a more-than-reputable name as a franchise and has in no small part helped TOHO CO., Ltd. become the company it is today.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
The following press release was sent to us by Wizards of the Coast, breathing all-new life into the Godzilla mythos:
Wizards of the Coast Brings the King of Monsters to Magic: The Gathering with Godzilla Series Monsters
TOHO's iconic monsters will appear in the upcoming Magic: The Gathering premier card set
RENTON, WA—The King of Monsters makes his debut in Magic: The Gathering! Wizards of the Coast, in a groundbreaking collaboration with TOHO CO., LTD, is proud to announce that the iconic monsters from the Godzilla franchise are coming to Magic: The Gathering. The Godzilla Series Monster cards are a special feature of the upcoming premier card set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is the spring 2020 premier card set for Magic: The Gathering and introduces players to a brand new world full of incredible monsters and the humans that bond with them. The set introduces players to Lukka, a proud member of the Coppercoats, the military unit that protects the city of Drannith from Ikoria's savage monsters. Lukka's world is forever changed when he forms a mystical connection with a ferocious, winged cat. Such bonds are treasonous in Drannith, forcing Lukka to flee from the very home he was sworn to protect. Now an outcast monster "bonder," Lukka must survive the wilds of Ikoria with the help of planeswaker Vivien Reid.
Each Godzilla Monster Series card will feature a monster from the pantheon of the Godzilla franchise as a Magic card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. There will be a total of 16 Godzilla Series Monster cards available in English, with three more available only in Japanese.
Fans will only be able to obtain Godzilla, King of the Monsters (while supplies last) by purchasing a draft booster pack display through a Wizards Play Network store. Each sealed draft booster pack display will contain a random Godzilla Series Monster card. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth Collector Boosters will also contain two random Godzilla Series Monster cards. The Godzilla Series Monster cards will not appear in draft booster packs.
The Godzilla Series Monster cards will also appear in Magic: The Gathering Arena as card styles. Players will receive the card styles as a special bonus when purchasing Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth bundles of six or more booster packs inside the Magic: The Gathering Arena client.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths releases April 16, 2020 on Magic: The Gathering Arena, with full retail store worldwide release on May 15, 2020. For more information, see Ikoria.com.
So, the gist of this press release is that TOHO and Wizards have officially teamed up to bring a special-edition series of Godzilla-themed Magic: The Gathering cards into the hands of consumers sometime next month (or sooner, if you're in Asia or the Pacific). However, there is one snippet of information that hasn't been divulged yet, and that is the exact identity of "Godzilla, King of the Monsters".
Godzilla is Not Typical Magic: The Gathering
As you can see from the image above, Godzilla, King of the Monsters is not a typical Magic: The Gathering card. The card also reveals the name of a new creature, "Zilortha, Strength Incarnate", which will be this Godzilla Series card's counterpart for normal Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths boosters.
What do you think of this reveal, Magic: The Gathering fans? Is this a card that truly lives up to the expectation of Godzilla fans and Magic players alike? Did Wizards of the Coast properly encapsulate Godzilla in all his radioactive, monstrous glory? Let us know what your thoughts are!