edited by Chris N
[additions by this editor will be made in brackets and initialed]
After World War II, both the Soviet Union and the United States used captured German V-series rockets and scientists as the basis for their own rocketry research. Their ultimate goal was to build long-range missiles that would reach the opponent's cities on the other side of the globe. This program went through fits and starts but received the lion's share of rocketry funding. A smaller portion went into researching space flight. Working in utmost secrecy, the Soviets got into space first with Sputnik I on October 4, 1957. The United States began a crash program designed to catch them up, and they finally made it to orbit on February 1, 1958. The same series of events--using captured Germans and V-rockets to perform missile research and limited space flight research--took place in the Real Universe (RU), the Showa Toho Universe (ShTU), and the Showa Daiei Universe (ShDU). That is, until everything changed in the late 1950's and 1960's in the ShTU and the ShDU because of alien contact, and as a result, both timelines wound up with advanced technology; in some cases they are 30 years or more ahead of our RU!
This article briefly traces the technological development of Earth as seen during the course of the Showa Era films from Toho incorporated into Chris N's Godzilla timeline. For the most part, it does not go into analysis about how some device worked, or whether or not something is feasible; this is not intended to be an article for a science journal, it is a review of what is seen in the films.
The Showa world experienced its first major departure from the RU of the 20th century with the awakening of the kaiju to be named Godzilla. It seemed like very little could destroy him, as he effortlessly crushed the Japanese Self Defense Forces that tried to drive him back into the sea. Tokyo was destroyed as Godzilla marched relentlessly onward, finally returning to Tokyo Bay of his own accord. Meanwhile, the fiancee of famed scientist Dr. Daisuke Serizawa convinced him that it was time to use his secret development: the Oxygen Destroyer. Serizawa gave his life in an attempt to use this device, which removes oxygen from a quantity of water. He thought he succeeded as he was dying, but later events proved him wrong. Either Godzilla wasn't damaged, he regenerated, or there was more than one Godzilla. (1)
During the first part of 1957, the Mysterians invaded Earth in the Tohoverse. The nations of Earth banded together to fight them under the auspices of the United Nations. The Soviet and U.S. space programs had not launched into space by this time, so the Sputnik and Explorer programs were put on hold--first to fight the Mysterians, then second to examine the leftover Mysterian technology. Unlike the rumors of dozens of crashed flying saucers and recovered alien technology in our RU, the ShTU had them for real. As a result of reverse-engineering the Mysterian technology, the world's scientific progress leaped forward tremendously--slowly at first, then more rapidly. (2)
Chris N, in his Showa timeline, mentions under the 1965 entry that in the Tohoverse, a manned moon landing was achieved in 1957, 12 years before it was done in our RU. I don't think that it was possible to do that at this point, for several reasons:
a) current U.S. and Soviet launch systems could not lift a manned capsule towards Earth orbit, let alone lunar orbit;
b) neither nation had a working manned space capsule, only designs;
c) it takes time to reverse engineer advanced technology--American studies of the German rockets took time to study them, even with the willing cooperation of the German scientists.
[Gordon's conjecture is actually quite correct; the Earth Defense Forces didn't go to the moon to battle the Mysterians...it was the Natal who set up a moonbase in the following decade...I have since agreed to accept the events of Battle In Outer Space as part of my Showa timeline's canon--CN]
Instead, what I think happened was this: the various early U.S. Air Force and NACA (forerunner to NASA) spaceplane projects, taking us from the X-15 to the X-20 Dyna-Soar, were combined into one project during the summer of 1957 (as they were in our RU). It was farther along and easier to produce, instead of the Mercury program and the solo Soviet capsule project, Vostok. Not only would the Dyna-Soar allow for space travel, it would also allow itself in future versions to have research capacity, satellite docking, enemy satellite attack, and even provide for bombardment from orbit. (3) (They were also outgrowths of the Alpha-class and the Beta-2 aerial battleships which were helpful in defeating the Mysterians.) Earth Defense Forces also developed the big maser cannons for use against alien invaders and dai kaiju only, but not against nation-states. (4)
By the time mankind was ready to go to the moon, where the Natals had set up a base (presumably to support their own invasion of Earth), about 2 years passed by. This was long enough for them to develop and build an experimental space station called the JSS-3. The Earth SPIP craft was used now to attain Earth orbit, to build the JSS-3, and to go to the moon. They took the battle to the Natal lunar base in 1959, and defeated them. Both the SPIP and the JSS-3 were created with international cooperation, and many of their personnel were Americans and Japanese working together. (5) The SPIP craft would have been an outgrowth of the X-planes, augmented heavily by reverse-engineering of the Mysterian technology. I think it is highly likely that since the Earth now had proof of the existence of hostile extraterrestrials, the JSS-3 was supposed to be an early-warning station first and a research facility second. A lunar expedition was necessary to scout out any possible alien threats in the form of bases...and lo and behold, the Natals were there, and hostile to boot!
During Mothra's first appearance, in 1961, a weapon called an Atomic Heat Cannon was used on her, ineffectually, while she was in her pupal stage. This was a precursor to the later maser tanks. (6)
Captain Shinguji came out of his self-imposed exile in 1963 to lead the fight against the Muan Empire, with his super-advanced submarine Atragon and its freeze-inducing Zero Cannon, which is used to place the Muan dai kaiju deity Manda into a temporary state of suspended animation. The Muan Empire was later destroyed by Shinguji's efforts. (7) The Zero Cannon seems to work exactly the opposite of the Atomic Heat Cannon, so presumably if Captain Shinguji was aware of events in the rest of the world from wherever his exile was, he studied the AHC and discovered that an opposite effect was possible. That would have been crucial in case the Muans had been able to create an effective deterrent to the AHC. (8)
Along with the construction of large, manned space stations of the toroidal design, many small satellites were placed into orbit as well. They were launched for many reasons: communications, weather research, and tracking dai kaiju among them. More importantly, a series of 'early warning satellites' was sent up to keep an eye out for possible future alien attacks. Some satellites were also sent to lunar orbit, to monitor the surface of the moon, and make sure that no alien bases would be built without our notice. I am not certain if this is spelled out in the film, but it seems to be a natural development. (Certainly, the Showa Earth would have had a lot more satellites in orbit by the time of the events shown in Dagora, the Space Monster.) (9) In February 1964, one of these satellite launches inadvertently collided with an unknown space cell organism. The cell begins mutating, growing into an enormous dai kaiju named Dagora. Feeding on coal, it quickly became a threat to all mankind. Eventually, bee venom is discovered to neutralize the now-divided-into-many-pieces creature, and the Dagora threat seemed to be removed--for the present. (10)
By 1965, the United Nations Space Command (UNSC, also known as the World Space Authority, WSA) was operating a very advanced spaceship, the P-1. Flown by U.S. astronaut John Glenn (11) and Japanese astronaut K. Fuji, the P-1 was sent to the Asteroid Belt to explore a mysterious large asteroid, seemingly moving under its own propulsion as it had recently appeared from out of nowhere. A few months trip led them to discover intelligent humanoids on the so-called 'Planet X.' It seems the mysterious inhabitants wanted to borrow Godzilla and Rodan to fight King Ghidorah, who was mercilessly ravaging their world; in exchange, we would get a tape with cures for every known disease. The P-1 returned (technologically augmented by the Xians), but while the U.N. was discussing the trade, the Xians came and grabbed the kaiju anyway. A return trip by Glenn and Fuji, along with Dr. Sakurai, saw them get the tape, which turned out to be simply a recorded demand to surrender. Attacks by all three monsters and Xian saucers began in earnest. It was eventually discovered that certain sound frequencies would disrupt the control over the monsters, and drive the Xians crazy, leading to victory by the Earth forces. The device, called the A-Cycle Light Ray (strangely named for a sound weapon), was developed from an attempt to create an anti-mugger alarm. (12)
The first maser tanks were unveiled in 1966, when they were used to some effect on Gaila. (13) More durable kaiju, such as Godzilla, proved to be little affected by them, but Megalon did get hurt by them. (14) In all likelihood, smaller/weaker dai kaiju (such as the daikondura, Kamikiras, and Minya), would be heavily damaged if not outright killed by the maser tanks. (15) In 1967, a Dr. Kusami, who was a meteorologist, led a team of scientists to Solgell Island, a South Pacific atoll. Their goal was to set up a small science base to test a revolutionary weather control experiment designed to make inhospitable environments amenable for people to live there. Unfortunately, the island was home to some kaiju, and the experiments were disrupted, albeit with some success. It is theorized that Solgell is now Monster Island, and that the science base is now the control center. (16)
Later that year, the renegade scientist Dr. Huu kidnapped the gentle simian kaiju, King Kong, and also inflicted his giant robot double, Mechani-Kong, on an unsuspecting world. His partner, the evil Ms. Piranha, became upset with him and destroyed the control system for Mechani-Kong. Dr. Huu shot her, but the damage was done too late, and the out-of-control Mechani-Kong fell from the top of a building and shattered, ending its threat. (17)
Another major technological breakthrough was the psionic amplifier, first seen in 1969. (18) The inventor appears to have been a stay-at-home telecommuter. The computer and related telecommunications technology seems to be about 30 years beyond ours, enabling (some) people to work at home. (19) It would be very likely that a public version of the Intranet/WWW could have been around some 30 years earlier in the ShTU. The earlier political/economic integration very probably spurred the growth of what I call ShowaWeb so that scientists worldwide would be able to share their research much more efficiently. (Similar to the events in the RU, but it took off much faster as a result of the kaiju attacks and alien invasions. Furthermore, it would have allowed for quicker reports of said attacks and invasions, enabling faster response times for the authorities.) (20) By this time, the UNSC has established a Moonbase. (21) During this time frame, extensive high-speed rail networks are built across North America, Japan, Europe, and Australia--both on a local, commuter scale (light rail trains for mass transit) and on a continental scale (like the Bullet trains of Japan or the French TGV), dramatically reducing automobile pollution (but see below). (22)
The surface world learned of the advanced undersea city of Latitude Zero in the second half of 1969; composed of peaceful scientists who had withdrawn from the belligerent surface world in the mid-late 1950's. One member of the community, mad scientist Dr. Malik, an expatriate American, attempted to either take over or destroy Latitude Zero, but was foiled in his attempt by the combined efforts of the citizens of Latitude Zero and the U.N. (23)
In 1970, the space probe Helios 7 is launched from an American facility to explore the atmosphere of the gas giant Jupiter. En route, a strange energy being entered the probe and took it over, returning the vessel to Earth. It takes over certain creatures--a giant squid, then later a giant lobster and a giant turtle, and a human. All are later destroyed. (24) I think it's likely that the Helios 7 mission is actually a scouting mission to the Jovian moons, seeking out the home base of the Xians and Natals (and any other potential invaders). There's even an outside chance the Yog entities might have been especially created to attack Earth and the Terran technology. (25)
Perhaps the faster, earlier growth of home computers and the Net (especially in Japan and the U.S., the seemingly dominant nations of the ShTU) led to a very fast changeover in manufacturing processes from a mechanical/steam-based technology to computerized-robotized technology that produced different kinds of pollutants. However, the power technology failed to advance as rapidly, and in this time frame solar power is no more advanced as ours is now in the RU. Now, I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of oil refineries in the ShTU that get destroyed. This would have led to an extreme reliance on coal products (since the petroleum would be needed for plastics production), and coal byproducts would have been more in evidence as atmospheric and marine pollutants. Leftover Dagora cells (see above), either in the atmosphere or on land, would feed on these coal byproducts, and wind up being washed into bays. By 1971, some of these cells had mutated into 'a freakish colony of tiny mutant aquatic organisms' (which look like coal-black tadpoles), and they developed the ability to merge with each other and grow incredibly large, thus creating Hedorah. (26)
In 1972, a special branch of Interpol and the U.N. is created, sometimes referred to as the Alien Counter-Insurgency Defense agency (ACID). Its mission is to find and destroy any alien conspiracies anywhere in the world in the wake of the Mysterian, Natal, Muan, Nebulan, Garogain, Seatopian, and Xian invasions. They detect and destroy the Simeon invasions of 1974 and 1975, with help from Godzilla and King Seesar. Undoubtedly they have a lot of advanced technology at their disposal. (27)
The brilliant roboticist Professor Goro Ibuki created the Jet Jaguar robot in 1973. Attempts by the Seatopians to capture him ensued, as he could help them control the dai kaiju Megalon. While temporarily under control of the Seatopians, Jet Jaguar did waken Megalon. Somehow, Jet Jaguar's AI system overcame the Seatopian control, and he flew to Monster Island to get Godzilla to help him. Meanwhile, the Seatopians contacted the Nebulans and managed to borrow Gigan from the sentient cockroaches. Returning to face the monsters, Jet Jaguar surpassed his programming in an unknown way, allowing him to tap into an extra-dimensional energy source that enabled him to grow to kaiju-size; he battled defensively until Godzilla arrived and they drove the two monsters away. Jet Jaguar had managed to break Gigan's arm, so he fled first, and then he and the big G team up against Megalon, driving him off. The robot then shrank down to human size again. As he was never seen fighting kaiju again, it is possible he was damaged during the battle and could never reprogram himself to be enlargable. Alternatively, Professor Ibuki might have damaged that mechanism as he put in new safeguards to ensure Jet Jaguar would never be used to control kaiju again. (28)
Beginning in 1976, the UN constructs two more advanced space exploration craft: the JX-1 Hawk and JX-2 Eagle. Orbital stations at this time include the SSS-1 and the Terra. The Hawk is ready to launch first, and assigned to explore Saturn, and its moons and rings. The Hawk is destroyed in an encounter with a gravitationally powerful stellar object called Gorath in early 1977. The Eagle is finished and is sent to study the strange object. Using information relayed by the Eagle's crew, Earth scientists are able to either move the Earth out of the way with a powerful thruster system, or else 'warp' it out of regular space to avoid being hit by Gorath. The experiment works, and Earth returns to its regular orbit in the normal space-time continuum. (29) The mission to Saturn is probably another attempt to discover other hostile alien races in the outer Solar System. (30)
A time of peace settled in. By 1990, all of the dai kaiju of the ShTU (except for possibly a handful of giant squid and octopi who managed to stay hidden in the oceanic depths) had been rounded up on Monster Island. Special force fields kept the flying dai kaiju close to the island, the swimming kaiju near, and even a special 'solid' sonic energy corral to keep the deep sea kaiju like Ebirah at home. (31)
The peace is shattered when a hostile batch of Venerians attack Earth in 1990. The UNSC commissions a number of space fighters, which are a little larger than early 21st century RU jet fighters, as well as being a lot faster and far more powerful. Earth forces successfully repel the fearsome renegades. (32)
After the Venerian War, peace returned for a few years. A third major vessel was constructed by the UNSC, the Moonlight SY-3. It patrols back and forth between Earth and the Moonbase quite frequently, and is used to rotate Moonbase crews. During the Kilaak invasion, her crew performed brilliantly, retaking the Monster Island base from the aliens, destroying their saucers, and destroying the Kilaak lunar base as well. (33)
Over the next several decades, mankind continues to develop its technology, especially as regards to space travel. Colonies were set up on many planets, large asteroids, and moons in the Solar System, although careful watch was kept to not get too close to the remaining hostile peoples around the sun. Science bases and power plants were all over the Martian surface, where humans lived in geodesic domes. Archaeologists were studying the old Muan colonies that were long ago destroyed by King Ghidorah. The outer Solar System was still underdeveloped, as it still took over a month to get out as far as Neptune. By 2045, the Xians had pretty much wiped out or enslaved everyone except for the Natals and the Vortaak. Then, the Xians attacked again; by this time, the United Nations had been replaced by the truly unified Earth Union government. The Xians used many dai kaiju and saucers to attack the Earth Union settlements and bases, the main colonies on Mars, Venus and the Moon, along with Earth itself. But after a period of intense fighting, with the assistance of the super kaiju Godzilla and Mothra, the Earth Union beat the Xians and Natals and drove them back into their home corners of the Solar System. (34)
(1) Godzilla, King of the Monsters, 1954.
(2) The Mysterians, 1957.
(3) www.astronautix.com, an invaluable resource for spaceflight and rocketry researchers and enthusiasts.
(4) Personal communication with Chris N, 5-27-05.
(5) Battle in Outer Space, 1959. According to Toho Kingdom, these invaders were the Natal.
(6) Mothra, 1961.
(7) Atragon, 1963.
(8) Author's speculation.
(9) Author's speculation.
(10) Dagora, the Space Monster, 1964.
(11) The American is named Glenn. I believe he is the counterpart of the US astronaut in the RU named John Glenn and have named him so accordingly. The character was probably named Glenn in tribute to the first American to orbit the Earth.
(12) Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, 1965. The name of the secret weapon might have been disguised to prevent the Xians from learning about it.
(13) War of the Gargantuas, 1966.
(14) Godzilla vs Megalon, 1973.
(15) Personal communication with Chris N, 5-28-05.
(16) Son of Godzilla, 1967.
(17) King Kong Escapes, 1967. (The fate of Dr. Huu is uncertain; it appeared that he was killed by Kong on his ship while attempting to flee Japan, but his remains were never found, and he has not resurfaced.) Mechani-Kong is a very advanced robot, whom I theorize was developed from Huu's clandestine studies of the Mysterian robot Mogera.
(18) Godzilla's Revenge, 1969. Unfortunately, this technology is never seen to be developed in the ShTU. However, it is definitely well-developed in the Heisei Tohoverse.
(19) Personal communication with Chris N, 6-1-05.
(20) Personal communication with Chris N, 6-2-05.
(21) Toho Kingdom webpage for Godzilla's Revenge, http://www.tohokingdom.com/web_pages/reviews/all_monsters_attack.htm (Ironically, the film used stock footage from the previous year's film, Destroy All Monsters, set 30 years after this one.) The Moonbase would be part of the early warning system that includes the space stations and satellites.
(22) From the clip of Manda attacking New York, Destroy All Monsters, 1968. Clearly, New York is a very clean city. Whether the elevated track in front of Manda is commuter rail or long-distance transport is uncertain, but there is no evidence of large numbers of automobiles as you would expect compared to our RU. It's likely that the power plants and factories of heavy industry are being relocated some distance away from the cities to keep them cleaner (much cleaner than they EVER have been in our RU!), while allowing for the increased use of long-distance power transmission.
(23) Latitude Zero, 1969.
(24) Yog, Monster From Space, 1970.
(25) Author's speculation.
(26) Personal communication with Chris N, 6-3-05. (How ironic that the kaiju have spurred advanced technology which in turn created the Smog Monster.)
(27) Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, 1974; Terror of MechaGodzilla, 1975. ACID seems to be the ShTU equivalent to UNIT, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce as seen in the "Doctor Who" TV series/Whoniverse. UNIT operates somewhat openly as a military organization, while ACID is as clandestine as the Cold War spy agencies of the RU Earth. Since the alien invasions and kaiju depradations are well known, compared to UNIT's activities, I hesitate to include UNIT in the ShTU--but it could exist there (more on this possibility in a future article).
(28) Godzilla vs. Megalon, 1973.
(29) Gorath, 1962.
(30) Author's speculation.
(31) Speculation from Chris N's timeline, with evidence from Destroy All Monsters 1968.
(32) The War in Space, 1977. The Venerians seem to be another very desperate (and dying) group, like the Mysterians 20 years previously. The desperation forces them to attack Earth. The Beast Man seen in the film could very well be an attempt to genetically engineer strong soldiers for hand-to-hand combat.
(33) Destroy All Monsters, 1968.
(34) Speculations by the author; by Chris N; and the 'Godzilla, Monster of Monsters!' video game.
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