The Voice of Godzilla


The arrival of the Heisei Godzilla series gave us new movie experiences that many of us had not seen and were too young to remember from the Showa era. Such experiences Included movie promotions, programs, commercials and trailers. During the 90s I could not wait for the next installment in the movie series. Although Godzilla was not showing up in U.S. theaters and there was no Internet, yet, I had ways to find out that a new Godzilla movie was coming.

Here in Philadelphia, we had our comic and collectible shops, where we heard the latest announcements and rumors about new movies from shop owners and veteran fans who were always in the know. And we also had the Philadelphia Animation Society, that met every second Saturday of the month downtown. For a small admission fee, Japanese anime and live-action fans assembled to enjoy together the latest episodes and movies on VHS tapes. Every show had a lineup with a featured movie. My friends and I picked up a new VHS tape, toys, books and collectibles while catching on rumors about a new Godzilla movie.

Heisei Godzilla trailers were a new experience. I have no memories of Godzilla trailers from the Showa era. With one exception, Godzilla was very much a television experience for me. The Heisei era was a VHS experience for me, except for my trip to Japan in 1994 to Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla. I enjoyed VHS copies I picked up at Animation Society. Often included on the video tapes were the trailers. Heisei Godzilla trailers were strong and memorable. The most notable feature was the strong voice of the narrator. Only today, after reading of his death on July 30, did I learn his identity. That voice was that of the narrator Kiyoshi Kobayashi (小林 清志) from Tokyo.

Kobayashi was born on January 11, 1933, the same year as my father. He was a graduate of the Tokyo Metropolitan Koishikawa High School and the arts department of Nihon University. Little did I know he was a voice in one of my favorite anime series, Lupin III, in which he voiced Daisuke Jitendra. He was also known for his voice acting in Yokai Ningen Bem (as Bem), the Droopy cartoons (as the Wolf) and Shazzan (as Shazzan). Kobayashi is best known for narrating Shukan Oriraji Keizaihakusho and Hikari Ota’s If I Were Prime Minister… Secretary Tanaka. He retired in 2021. (Source: Wikipedia)

Kobayashi was the voice of Godzilla trailers from Biollante (1989) to Destoroyah (1995). He left a lasting impression and got me hyped for the Big G’s next appearance. His voice will be missed, but not forgotten.