Godzilla vs. Gigan (Review)
Godzilla vs. Gigan
aka Chikyû kogeki meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan
Hiroshi Ishikawa as Gengo Kotaka
Yuriko Hishimi as Tomoko Tomoe
Minoru Takashima as Shosaku Takasugi
Tomoko Umeda as Machiko Shima
Toshiaki Nishizawa as Kubota, Head of Children’s Land
Zan Fujita as Fumio Sudo
Kunio Murai as Takashi Shima
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Godzilla Freakin’ Talks!!!?!?!?! What the Monkey Slurm???
Excuse me, let me start again….
Before Godzilla vs. Megalon, Gigan fought Godzilla in his own headlining movie, Godzilla vs. Gigan! Actually, that isn’t exciting enough to warrant the exclamation point, but I’ll keep it in as it’s too much a bother to hit the back button. GvsG is amazingly similar to GvsM in monster fight style, as they both mirror the 2 vs. 2 scenario. We have Godzilla teaming up with another staple, Anguirus, to take on the Dastardly Duo, Gigan and King Ghidrah. Wait, King Ghidrah is working with people now? He first showed up headlining his own film, Ghidrah (or Ghidorah), and it took the combined might of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan to take him down. Ghidrah later reappears in the very next film, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and just Godzilla and Rodan take him down. For Destroy All Monsters, Ghidorah seemed to return to superpowered mode, as it took half a dozen or so monsters to make him pay. Now, we see how far the King has fallen, that he’s teaming up with an upstart, the buzzsaw-chested Gigan. Gigan (as discussed in the GvsM recap)is a cylon-looking freakshow. He’s got a beetle-shaped head, can fly, has huge hooks for hands (must make peeing hard) and a rarely used buzzsaw in his chest. Gigan’s single eye glows red, red with hate, hate for all things Godzilla. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for us, Godzilla flows with far much more hate. Or is it love? After all, at this point Godzilla is a good guy. So it’s love. Yeah, love. Godzilla’s pal Anguirus makes his first appearance besides a bad cameo of stock shots on this site. Anguirus is based on an Anklyosaur, from back in the days when you didn’t need to be shooting lasers or energy beams or buzzsaw chests to be a cool monster. He’s from the second Godzilla film, which was released here as Gigantis, the Fire Monster but is now properly called Godzilla Raids Again. Godzilla’s suit here looks just plain awful, and in some of the scenes, you can see the arms are worn ragged, with pieces nearly falling off. As I only have the English version, that’s what will be reviewed, though the few differences will be highlighted as we hit them.
The plot involves two Godzilla staples, alien invasions and environmentalism. Space Cockroaches (spoiler!) invade disguised as humans, with a nasty plan that shows they failed to watch the dozen other films where aliens invaded, only to be beaten by Godzilla. Does the universe have no collective memory? Also, why are aliens always invading Earth, with the amazing plan of destroying it by one or two solitary monsters? At least in Final Wars they had dozens of monsters, but it’s still very inefficient. Enough of logic, it’s time to get this bug’s nest humming. Gigan. Anguirus. King Ghidrah. Godzilla!
We open as Big G himself stomps up, and then flames right into the camera, giving us the title credits! The opening credits then fly by. Difference number one is right here, as the Japanese credits were shot onto the screen via animated lasers, which don’t exist in the English version. The sounds of the lasers remain, so that’s why there are weird sounds on top of the music. The music is all stock Akira Ifukube scores, none is original to this film. Some of the songs are easily put into this film, they just needed to use more stock shots to pad out the film at certain points to fit with the songs. The actual film starts as we see a montage of comic book drawing shots. Since this is Japan, I guess this is “manga” or something. Manga, shmanga, I’m still calling it comic books, and that’s that. The characters all seem to be fleeing from an unknown monster, who isn’t drawn in yet. The monster is Shukra or something like that, the monster of homework. Well, Comic Book Artist Gengo, I will sic the monster of lameness upon you, Suckra. His boss thinks so as well, giving him the old line from The Critic, “It Stinks!” Gengo Kotaka will be our main character. Played by Hiroshi Ishikawa (who went on to obscrity), he’s decked out in suave 1970’s fashion, and a trenchcoat. Gengo has a girlfriend (I guess, it’s never really explained what she is) that is helping him try to find work named Tomoko Tomoe. Tomoko is actress Yuriko Hishimi, from the Ultra 7 series. Here, she’s decked out in the fab early 1970’s Japanese fashion that looks so awesome, especially in the Female Prisoner Scorpion series. Tomoko has gotten Gengo an interview with the Construction Committee for Children’s Land. They mention that Children’s Land is building a “Godzilla Tower” and then Gengo calls her a “Hard Bitch!” He won’t repeat is as she has a black belt in karate. Actually, letting Tomoko do all his work is pretty much all Gengo does, except drawing pictures.
Kit Models of construction vehicles work hard to build a better tomorrow. Tomorrow being Children’s Land, the land for children. Children’s Land has whatever a child could ask for: A building shaped like Godzilla, a……well, a building shaped like Godzilla. Yeah. Take that, Disney! The head of Children’s Land is Kubota (Toshiaki Nishizawa), who looks like a villain from a 1970’s exploitation film, on purpose, complete with bright orange suit jacket (actually very cool.) Kubota explains that there will be a museum in the tower devoted to monsters, both Western and Oriental, ancient and new. He shows off a model of the finished Children’s Land, and then says that Children’s Land will bring peace. Gengo is to help make Children’s Land better, for some reason or another. I guess comic book artists are qualified to design buildings, but Gengo can’t help pass off his lame monsters like Shukra and Mamakra (the monster of strict mothers!) as ideas. Kubota explains they’ll have models of all th world’s models, and rattles off Godzilla, Rodan, Anguirus, Mothra, Gorosaurus, Gimantis, Aspiga, Minya, all appearing through the wonders of stock footage (many for the last time.) Kubota will destroy Monster Island and all the monsters on it when all the models are built. Wait a minute, can a private theme park company destroy an island and every living thing on it because they want to promote their buildings, which will probably be less attractive without a live-action version running around? I bet not, but it’s clue number one that these guys are up to no good.
AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! It’s Shukra the homework monster! Or at least a drawing of it. Give me a Gamera villain over this. Mamakra is being drawn as well by Gengo, oddly enough wearing the same shirt as Tomoko. Tomoko comes home and notices, but the terrible pan and scan on the VHS ruins the shot. She still utters “You cheeky pig!” Gengo reveals he doesn’t like Kubota. The next day at work, Gengo is about to enter the downtown office building of Children’s Land, and a girl runs out of the building, bumping into him. She drops a tape, and is being chased by some goons, including Kubota. Gengo tells them the wrong direction for where she ran off to, then picks up the tape she dropped. The office of Children’s Land, Inc., is empty, so Gengo starts snooping around. Cameras in the office are tracking him, but he dodges them (who is operating the cameras?) A transparent phone rings, and he answers it. The voice on the other line states “Hurry up and come into the Chairman’s office!” Gengo heads toward the office, but falls, and sees what looks like a giant globe spin around, but it’s really the back of a chair. The chair contains the Chairman, who’s like 17 or something, and it hard at work doing advanced physics on the Nebula M Spacehunter orbit. Chairman is curt as Gengo tries to figure out what’s going on. Chairman Fumio Sudo (Chairman is all we’ll call him) explains that the girl was an “enemy of peace” and stole a tape in which their whole plan is based. Backups, people! This is back when you had computer information stored on magnetic tape, so it’s like now having a Hard Drive stolen.
Suddenly it’s nighttime and Gengo is outside. He’s confronted by the girl who demands the tape back. He refuses, but a Japanese Hippie pulls a gun and laughs, telling her to get the tape from Gengo. The tape isn’t on Gengo, and then Gengo faints. What a great hero! Japanese Hippie reveals the gun was really corn on the cob, which he’s still eating. They take Gengo home, and he wakes up. The girl introduces herself as Machiko Shima, and the Hippie is Shosaku; played by actress Tomoko Umeda and actress Minoru Takashima), who both went on to nothing. Machiko’s brother is a computer technician at Children’s Land, who has not vanished. He began acting weird, and was writing in his diary of odd plans, and mentioned the tape that she took. This is more likely a sign of schizophrenia, not alien kidnappers. Gengo gets the tape out of a storage locker, as we cut to Godzilla Tower, where Takashi Shima, brother of Machiko Shima, is trapped by the aliens. Brother Takashi is played by Kunio Murai, who actually went on to star in other Godzilla films, which is rare for this film, but common in every other Godzilla feature. Kubota tells him that he’ll so be glad they did this. ALARM BLARES! Someone is playing the Action Tape!
That would be Gengo and the two Enemies of Peace. “That’s Bad!” say the villains, who knock out Brother Takashi. The tape is a bunch of screeching electronic noises that can be heard miles away in Godzilla Tower, and even thousands of miles away on Monster Island in the Faraway South Pacific. Godzilla and Anguirus hear the noises, and are concerned. The humans can’t understand anything, then the tape ends. We get this lovely exchange from the villains: “Ho, lights out” — Kubota. “Tape must be finished” — Chairman. They decide to make some changes, to they switch plan 3 to plan 6. So there! I’d make a Plan 9 joke, but, no… “The monsters on Monster Island can understand!” Of course they can, because they either have super monster hearing, or the tape player has the loudest speakers in the universe.
Now for the baffling scene: Godzilla talks!!!! He Talks!!! In a distorted voice! He’s talking, in English! And Anguirus is talking as well! They’re both speaking in distorted voices. Big G says something funny is going on, and they’d better check it out. In the Japanese version of the film, they have giant talking balloons instead of wacky hissing voices. I failed to find a screenshot of them, because I’m a failure, and I don’t want to spend $30 on eBay on an import DVD.
UPDATE I got a copy of the Japanese version. Now look at the cartoon bubble wonderment that is Godzilla and Anguirus talking:
Gengo is now sneaking around Godzilla Tower, and finds a lighter with Brother Takashi’s initials on it. Gengo and the two Enemies discuss their plans, all while eating bananas. They’re going to check out the history of Children’s Land at City Hall, which makes director Jun Fukuda break out the fisheye lens. Children’s International Federation is from Switzerland. The Chairman is 17, he and Kubota are from the same town, so the heroes go to investigate. We get a Car Driving Montage! Finally, they reach the Chairman’s house, only to find out that he died a year ago, in a freak accident in the woods that also killed Mr. Kubota. So if they’re dead, why are they walking around? Zombies?? ZOMBIES!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, not zombies. It’s aliens wearing human skin. Men in Black just totally ripped off this movie, with cockroaches wearing human skin. Also, Chairman’s parents reveal the real Fumio was dumb as a sack of wet rocks, good thing they love their kid, huh!
“Commence sending Action Tape 1!” The Tape of Peace. Anguirus enters Tokyo Harbor, and alarms blare. The army shows up, bringing troops, rocket launchers, tanks, and Maser Guns (I think this is the first Maser Gun movie), Maser Guns being those Satelite dishes that shoot lasers. Anguirus gets sick of being shot and leaves, but the aliens decide that Brother Takashi is of no more use. Instead of killing him mere seconds after saying that, they let him stick around a bit as Gengo returns to wandering around the tower again, and finds Takashi locked alone in a room. Gengo even ruins Brother Takashi’s attempt to pick the lock, and gets discovered by Kubota. Kubota gives Gengo some cigarettes. There’s no reason for him to give cigarettes, so you know it’s some sort of trick. I was thinking poison cigarettes, but they’re just a tracking device. In fact, there is a heck of a lot of smoking in this movie, it’s basically saying: kids, smoke ’em if you got ’em! Gengo goes back to his house where he and the Hippies prepare to light up some sweet sweet tobacco satisfaction, but are interrupted when Kubota and some cockroach goons break in, with guns pulled. They’re doomed, until Tomoko returns home and karate-sizes all three of the enemies. So our brave hero Gengo once again let’s the woman do all the work.
The aliens head back to base as the police refuse to believe that aliens are living in a Godzilla-shaped tower. The aliens’ special plan is to transmit stuff into space. We get a long, long pullout shot that goes from Japan, to Earth, to outer space, and finally, a diamond and a fire star appear in outer space. The fireball turns into: King Ghidrah! Same animation as Destroy All Monsters. The diamond turns into: Gigan! Gigan is a real diamond in the rough diamond in the rough. A very unarticulated King Ghidrah model swoops around. Very inarticulate, as it’s basically a solid rubber toy with no joints. This terrible special effect makes me sad.
The heroes decide that since the police won’t help them, they’ll break into Godzilla Tower themselves! Well, only Gengo and his Karate Girl, Tomoko, and then only after she yells at Gengo. They rescue Brother Takashi, but then get captured themselves mere seconds later. The aliens tell them they are lucky, and that they’ll soon be used as “uniforms” for their friends, who are coming soon. Outside, Machiko and Hippy Guy begin Plan 2, because they’ve figured the others are captured. Before we get to Plan 2, we must have the aliens give their moment of explaining their dastardly plan. This is the part where they needed sad violin music playing in the background, as the aliens explain that their world was like ours, that the ruling race polluted it dead, except for their race, which survived and build ships to go to other planets and kill people thanks to their two monsters, one of which they’ve hired recently. The camera pans over, revealing….COCKROACH SHADOWS!!!! DUN DUN DUUN!!!
The two monsters (the bad ones) attack the city. The army is called out again, it’s a busy week to be a Japanese GI. The monsters are controlled by the aliens via magnetic tapes, such as the one Machiko stole. The aliens tell the heroes this, because they’re falling into the James Bond Villain trap.
IT’S MONSTER ATTACK TIME!!! Gigan revs up his buzzsaw, slicing and dicing buildings like sushi. Ghidrah shots electric laser breath into building after building. Death and destruction reign from above like sulfur onto Sodom and Gomorrah. Tanks come, get blown into smithereens. Meanwhile, GODZILLA TALKS AGAIN!!! It’s some weird crazy stuff, man. I must be trippin’. Godzilla tells Anguirus to hurry up, lots of trouble ahead. They both swim to shore. Back in Tokyo Harbor, a ship is burning on water, but Gigan kicks it for good measure, because he’s evil.
JET ATTACK!!! The jets that reappear in Godzilla vs. Megalon debut in an air assult against Gigan. Gigan smacks them out of the sky. Masers also show up (their debut, IIRC) and start blasting away, not only at the monsters, but at the trees, the land, and whatever just happens to be in an 8 mile radius. The Maser Squadron must be where they put all the sociopaths. They get blasted apart by Gigan and Ghidrah. At Godzilla Tower, Michiko begins Plan 2, which is to call the Orkin Man! Well, it should have been, but it really involves a balloon.
GODZILLA! Big G and Big A make it to the shoreline, and prepare for a battle. Big G’s suit looks goofy especially at this point. The Cockroach Aliens say his appearance is a natural part of the plan, but seem unnerved. The plan is…To Kill Him! Great plan, chief. Anyway, it’s fight time! Godzilla fire-breaths Gigan the second he starts to fly off, but then Ghidrah triple-blasts Godzilla. The battle is on, and buildings are still exploding all over the place, due to the oil refineries that 99% of Tokyo seems to be made of in these films. Maybe if Japan had this much oil, then they’d have done better in World War 2. Anguirus finally shows up to the battle, only to get shot at a bunch of times.
Machiko is about to start Operation Balloon, which her and Hippy float a balloon with a rope attached up to the eye window of Godzilla Tower. There are no guards outside the tower during this critical phase in the aliens’ plan, nor are there guards in the room where the humans are kept, which has a giant open window that they can climb out of and slide down the rope on the balloon. No alien notices them yelling to their friends below. The cockroaches must be outsourcing their security with FEMA’s Hurricane Response Team or something. Finally, the balloon randomly pops, alerting the goons further inside the Godzilla Tower something is wrong. They could hear the balloon but not the group talking? So instead of shooting the escapees, they shoot the rope the last one is sliding down, but too late to do anything but make him fall on his but. The heroes run off, and we see their car drive away. The aliens use their secret weapon, and charge Godzilla Tower and it firs it’s ray, out of it’s mouth, blowing up the car. Godzilla Tower is like a stationary Death Star for cars. Also, none of the heroes were in the car, what a drag. At least they revealed the aliens’ full plan: to lure Godzilla near Godzilla Tower, so it will destroy him. I guess if Mohammad won’t come to the mountain…
Back to the monster fight, Gigan kicks a rock, Anguirus deflects it, and Big G catches, then hurling it at Gigan. Take that, Gigan, you rock-kicker! Big G and Ghidrah now have at it, and Godzilla looks oddly different, since this is stock shots from previous Godzilla/Ghidrah engagements. So he’s less goofy looking, yet deja vu inducing.
The Heroes run to the local police station again, who are now more likely to believe there are space invaders thanks to monsters trashing the city, and the chief remembering previous Godzilla storylines where aliens were attacked. The Old Chief pronounces “Godzirya” thanks to the scandalous dubbing. They devise a plan to trap the aliens. Meanwhile, Gigan does a first: draws blood on Godzilla. He buzzes Big G and slices him with each swoop, causing blood to geyser up into the air. Godzilla gets knocked around a lot at this point, making him dizzy. He sees Godzilla Tower, through blurry eyes, and strives to attack it as well. Lo and behold, Godzilla Tower shoots it’s Godzilla Tower Laser and zaps Big G! The aliens fire again and again, knocking Godzilla to the ground. Big G is in big trouble here. Anguirus returns to the fight, being menaced by Gigan’s saw. He even gets his nose chopped, with blood squirting on the camera.
The plan for stopping the Starhunter Cockroach Aliens: Gengo draws a giant drawing of the four heroes, sets it the elevator, and behind the drawing are stacks and stacks of dynamite. The drawing is in vivid….black and white? Huh? No markers in Japan? I guess colored markers are the first thing horded during daikaiju battles. The elevator goes up, and Cockroach Security is on the case, shooting into the elevator as it opens, their guns setting off the dynamite and it explodes, blowing the crap out of Godzilla Tower. A huge explosion. Inside, the cockroach aliens are trapped under debris, reverted to their roach forms. Then the whole top of the tower goes up, finishing the job.
The monsters are now without control, and stand around looking confused for a bit. Godzilla is woozy recovering from the laser blasts, so Gigan strolls up and clubs in on the head a few times with his big claws, causing blood to be spilt on Big G’s head. King Ghidrah then kicks Godzilla into the remains of Godzilla Tower. This is the final straw, and now Godzilla is ticked off. What changed? Why did he suddenly become more cognitive despite getting hit more? Eh, why bother coming up for a reason when you can just have a character yell “Godzilla’s strong again!” And so he is.
The fight is on, in the middle of Children’s Land. There are giant mushroom buildings for some reason that are getting leveled in the fight, they probably represent what the writers were on. Gigan and Godzilla together destroy a building that looks like it was made out of demented Legos. Ghidrah is distracted, so Anguirus takes this opportunity to grab him by the tail with his teeth. Ghidrah finally notices Anguirus, and then Big A grabs him on the neck. Ghidrah flies up into the air, with Anguirus hanging on. Eventually, the forces of gravity are too much, as Anguirus drops down to the Earth below. Godzilla stops beating up Gigan long enough to come to Anguirus’s aid. Godzilla relates a plan to Anguirus via monster-speak, and they start attacking. Godzilla grabs Ghidrah, and then Anguirus then hurls himself in reverse into Ghidrah’s stomach, spikes first. He does this not once, not twice, but three times! Then Godzilla flips Ghidrah over and onto the ground, body slam style; once, twice, three times. This is a preview of the famous Megalon scenes during that final fight, but is a little less ridiculous. A little. Just a tad.
Godzilla stomps on Ghidrah’s head (one of the heads) a few times, and then the two evil monsters take off for space unknown. Godzilla wipes his nose, and the monsters head home. The humans reflect, and one is scared by a cockroach for a “humorous” ending. The final shots are Big G and Big A heading back to Monster Island, as the sun sets. Then the Japanese Guy sings the Godzilla song, which I translated:
There’s No jira like Gojira!
His wife is not a Ho jira
In conclusion, this is another mediocre effort in meritocracy, filled with cheap cost-cutting measures that disintegrate the film’s long term life. Looking back, it comes off as an amateurish kid movie, and it is. It’s also the exact same movie as Godzilla vs. Megalon, except that’s an even cheaper version, so this film has legacy history. Gigan is pretty lame, in my opinion, even his odd Chainsaw Version in Godzilla Final Wars doesn’t make him any good. King Ghidrah must have been in his “Serf Ghidrah” phase, getting beat down by the two oldest Toho monsters. Ghidrah’s much past his prime, out of shape and puffing, this is the last we see of him in the Showa era, and good riddance if he’s only going to phone in his acting. Anguirus makes a few more appearances, so he’s not saying goodbye just yet. Space Cockroaches join the collective of Seatopians, Green Gorillas, X aliens, and the Kilaaks as failures of world invasion. Feel free to mock them, they deserve it. The Bay of Pigs was more effective than some of these ill-fated attempts.
Godzilla freaking talks! That’s one of the most ridiculous things in G-History, topped maybe by flying Godzilla from Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster or the Megalon battle.
Also, don’t pollute! Or space cockroaches will kill you!
And now an exclusive interview with Gigan!
|Hello, Gigan, welcome to TarsTarkas.NET!|
|Meh. I’m only here because my agent is forcing me.|
|Well…okay….so, what was it like to film Godzilla vs. Gigan?|
|You know, the snacks in the waiting room were pretty lame. These aren’t even real Oreos, they’re generic “Cream-filled Chocolates!” And this juice is just orange colored water!|
|We don’t have a waiting room, what are you talking about?|
|Please. After taking my blood before the interview, you dare question me???|
|Taking your blood? Wait a minute! You went to the blood bank next door and gave blood! That’s what happened!|
|I know when I’m in a blood bank, liar! You and your organization stole my lifeforce, fed me insufficient food, and then insult me! This interview is over!|
|What the heck? Okay, maybe next time we’ll interview someone who’s not insane. We’ll see you then!|
Rated 3/10 (Low Blow, Cockroach!, Gojira Bukkake)
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Here is a video box cover for Godzilla vs. Gigan
Here is a Polish movie poster for Godzilla vs. Gigan. I enjoy the dancing cockroach!