Friends, with the release yesterday of the highly anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong from Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures, the promised confrontation hinted at in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters has arrived. As a matter of fact if everything had gone according to plan, you would be hearing a non-spoiler review of Godzilla vs. Kong on a new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast today, however it was not to be… you’ll just have to wait a few more days to learn what we thought of the new film.
Having said that though I thought today might be the perfect time to remind you of two animated series that featured the adventures of Godzilla and Kong. In this case that would be the late ’90s Godzilla: The Series as well as Kong: The Animated Series from the early ’00s, both shows interestingly enough found themselves being aired on Fox Kids.
Godzilla: The Series ran for two season on Fox Kids beginning on September 12th of 1998, with the last new episode airing on June 15th of 2001. A continuation from the events that took place in the big budget reboot attempt by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin of Independence Day fame. While Godzilla was not a box office bomb, the amount of revenue earned by the live action feature wasn’t enough for TriStar Pictures to invest in continuing the film series. And while the movie wasn’t exactly met with open arms from longtime Godzilla fans, the animated series turned out to be surprisingly popular.
The show followed the exploits of Dr. Nick Tatopulos, voiced by Ian Ziering (Beverely Hills 90210), who it is revealed found one egg that was left intact after the bombing of Madison Square Garden. The egg hatches and the new Godzilla imprints itself on Nick, who as a founding member of H.E.A.T. (Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team) takes care of and trains the giant Kaiju to protect humanity from the increasing number of mutated creatures who have begun to appear all over the World.
The popularity of Godzilla: The Series led to two different Game Boy Color titles being released, with Godzilla: The Series published in 1999 and Godzilla: The Series – Monster Wars the following year. In addition there were plans for Trendmasters to produced a toy line for the animated series in ’99 but it appears the line was cancelled before it went into mass production. At the very least we have this unaired TV spot for the proposed toy line, featuring Godzilla and Cyber-Godzilla, the latter being the alien resurrected corpse of the Godzilla from the live action film!
As I understand it, the popularity of Godzilla: The Series did not go unnoticed, which is why Kong: The Animated Series was put into production. Airing as part of the BKN block of animated shows in 2000, the American-Canadian series would jump over to Fox Kids in 2001, where the first 13 episodes were aired over the Summer. Kong: The Animated Series would eventually be brought to Toon Disney in 2005, to take advantage of the hype for the then upcoming Peter Jackson helmed remake of King Kong.
Kong: The Animated Series focused on the friendship between a young man named Jason Jenkins and a cloned version of King Kong, from samples taken by Jason’s grandmother, Dr. Lorna Jenkins, after the tragic death of the Kaiju by the squadron of biplanes during the incident at the Empire State Building. Thanks to the Cyber-Link technology invented by his Grandmother, Jason is able to merge on a genetic level with Kong and lend his intelligence and martial arts skills to the giant ape. Interestingly enough the show explains that this merging is not an easy balance to maintain, each personality is attempting to become the dominant one, so this link cannot be maintained for a great period of time.
The main antagonist in the series is an evil scientist by the name of Professor Ramon De La Porta, who manages to steal Dr. Lorna Jenkins’ Cyber-Link, which he uses on various animals to create Kaiju strong enough to battle Kong. In addition the Professor is after the Primal Stones located on Kong Island, powerful artifacts that were originally used to imprison a demon named Chiros the Destroyer. With the Primal Stones in the Professor’s possession he would be able to take over the world, so it is up to Jason and his friends with the help of Kong to put an end to those plans.
Kong: The Animated Series released two direct-to-video films after the television series came to an end. The first was Kong: King of Atlantis in 2005 and the second was Kong: Return to the Jungle and was released two years later. In addition the animated series managed to have two games developed and produced for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, the 2002 game was based on the television show while the 2005 title was based on the first animated film.
So there you have it, a look at Godzilla: The Series and Kong: The Animated Series. You might be interested to know that the latter is available to watch from that official YouTube channel link, a nice way to while away the hours before you can head out and see Godzilla vs. Kong for yourself.
Let us know in the comments if you remember watching these animated series, or if perhaps you preferred The King Kong Show from the late ’60s or even 1978’s Godzilla cartoon instead?