Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana (Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana

aka すすめ!ゴジランド – よめるよ かけるよ ひらがな
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana
1994
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana
First up is Godzilland video Learning Hiragana (よめるよ かけるよ ひらがな)! Are you cool enough to learn hiragana with Godzilla? Of course you are! Also you are probably a young Japanese kid, or else this would be really weird, like some sort of adult watching these decades after he should have. As these are weird and watching them may rot your brain if not prepared, I’ll be overly descriptive and include a bunch of images.

Godzilland theme has Godzilla jumping up and down on a slot machine, he hits the jackpot and thus all the kaiju flood out as prizes! Godzilla! Rodan! Baragon! Mothra! Mothra! Mothra! (three Mothras, one adult and two larvae) Anguirus! King Ghidorah! It’s monster time, baby!
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana
Godzilland is a cool place to explore, please do so. It is required. You can’t leave if you don’t explore, citizen. Please explore only in the clearly defined zones, if you explore in a Red Forbidden Zone, you will be sent to the Judicator to be processed into protein feed. Have a pleasant stay on Godzilland!

For the Monster Roll Call, please check out the complete cast list for these educational Godzilland episodes!!

Ms. Mothra has grown some nice strawberries and invites all the monsters to come try them via letters she drops off. She knows these kaiju are greedy for food and will surely come to pig out. King Ghidorah takes a break from showering (by spitting on himself!) to read the letter. Anguirus is so eager to get a letter he trips over a stump. Godzilla is interrupted from practicing breathing fire by the letter. Rodan immediately shoots off to get strawberries first, but King Ghidora and then Baragon pop up to eat as well. The others arrive, except for Godzilla and Anguirus, who are nowhere to be found. The monsters that did arrive soon eat all the the strawberries.
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 31, 2019 at 11:21 am

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Godzilland Educational Videos Information and Cast Splash Page

March of Godzilla 2019
For March of Godzilla 2019, we have scoured the depths of the universe to bring weird Godzilla media to light, thus you must now prepare to learn the basics of Hiragana, counting, and mathematics with a series of four educational videos from Gakken featuring cartoon Godzilla and pals that are part of the Godzilland franchise!

Back in the long time ago, TarsTarkas.NET covered an obscure children’s morning show called Godzilland, which featured a bunch of skits promoting Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2. Outside of that single episode, little was known about the show, even how many episodes there were. Now that it is the far far future, we know a little bit more, even though that is still the only episode of that version of Godzilland available online! Thanks to the power of Godzilland Museum, we now know this was an episode of the SECOND Godzilland series, called 冒険!ゴジランド2 (Adventure! Godzilland 2), and that was probably the first episode of said series. Each show was 15 minutes long and it ran from October 7 to December 30, 1993. The prior Godzilland series was called 冒険!ゴジランド (Adventure! Godzilland), it was made to promote 1992’s Godzilla vs. Mothra, and was another 15 minute long weekly series that ran from October 1 until December 24, 1992. The cast included Sayaka Osawa and Keiko Imamura, who played the twin fairies. There are no known episodes online and the only evidence of the show’s design is an album. While Godzilland Museum believes that Adventure! Godzilland was the origin of many of the chibi kaiju designs that are used in the series we will discuss, the Godzilland concept dates back much earlier, as Godzilland Museum explains:

While the name is better known for the mysterious anime from the middle ‘90s (actually four OVAs), in reality it all started back in the middle ‘80s…

Specifically, the year 1984, when a new Godzilla movie called “The Return of Godzilla” was being released after nine years of hiatus, celebrating the character’s 30th anniversary, and (as it would later turn out) beginning the “Heisei” series of movies.

Naturally there was a lot of merchandise for the occasion, and a fraction of it (but still a lot) went under the name “Comic Saurs Story ゴジランド There Is The Monsters’ Paradise” and featured several classic monsters from previous movies (latter known as the “Showa” series) looking all cartoony and cute while at it.

ゴジランド meaning Godzilland, it’s meant to be the name of the island where these versions of the monsters live in.

Recurring themes were Godzilla eating riceballs; Godzilla playing with his son Minya and three Mothras (one adult and two larvae); and Mechagodzilla, King Ghidorah and Gigan being troublemakers. Surprisingly, Hedorah seems to be female and non-antagonistic. Other monsters include Rodan, Anguirus, Baragon, Ebirah and Moguera.

As we will see in these reviews, many of these concepts are carried over into the four Gakken videos, which makes this pretty much a direct continuation of the Comic Saurs line. Two videos were released in 1994, and two more in 1996. The latter videos feature more monsters and have short live-action wrap-arounds, but the general concepts and themes are the same. Many of the designs are borrowed from the earlier media line, but a few are redone for consistency.

The 1994 episodes are:
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Hiragana (すすめ!ゴジランド~ひらがな)
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning How To Count (すすめ!ゴジランド~かず1・2・3).

The 1996 episodes are:
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition (すすめ!ゴジランド-ゴジラとあそぼう たしざん)
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Subtraction (すすめ!ゴジランド ゴジラとあそぼう ひきざん)

The whole Godzilland franchise was seemingly discarded by 1997’s Godzilla Island. There was also a similar line known by several names including Litgodzi Kaizyu Series from Concorde Corp Ltd., which featured “Little Godzilla” and fellow kaiju, which were slightly older and of different designs than Godzilland. These were also mostly 90s films concepts, as Battra, Spacegodzilla, Biollante, and even Desotroyah were present in the merchandise. I do not know of any existing video of this line.

Chibi Godzilla concepts continue to this day, the latest is a series of books, but there are even short videos released from time to time, though the new designs do not match the historic Godzilland concepts.

Enter the Gakken! Gakken is a company that makes educational media for children, and children love giant monsters, so this is a marriage made in heaven. Thus now we got cute Godzilla and pals running around learning basic reading skills or counting while songs and silly graphics play. It’s educational, it’s cheap, it’s weird, it’s Godzilland!

I was planning to cover these anyway this year even before Wakalan Translations translated all of the remaining episodes that didn’t have subtitles right before I started rewatching them to take notes. Check them out as thanks for helping bring content to you, the content consumers!

Monster Roll Call!

Godzilla – Godzilla is the hero of the story and the guy most likely to bring you food but then eat all the food in front of you and then get confused as to why you are upset, and then bring you more food to make up for that but also then accidentally eat all of that food! Anyway, he somehow gets more immature over the 4 episodes despite learning all sorts of factual information of reading and arithmetic. Despite all this, Godzilla is still a better friend than series villain Mechagodzilla.
Rodan – Rodan is Godzilla’s friend but also a big fan of eating. Everyone on this show likes to eat, but not everyone likes to become an addition sign, so Rodan at least has that part covered! He’s also very competative, but is one of the few kaiju who isn’t always crushing on Gojirin when she shows up.
Anguirus – Godzilla’s best friend and constant arguing companion. Anguirus and Godizilla are very similar, to the point where neither of them know the basic reading and writing skills that the series is focused on. Mostly because they are too busy fighting each other or eating to bother to learn anything. And they have no parents. Anguirus crushes on Gojirin.
Baragon – While Godzilla spends most of his time hanging out with Anguirus, Baragon is often around, but usually ignored or observing from a distances. I’m sure we’ve all had people who were on the peripheral of our friends group who never got quite meshed in, that is Baragon here. He crushes on Gojirin and helps drive up the competition between him, Godzilla, and Anguirus over her.
Ms. Mothra – The adult Mothra is usually addressed as an adult by the other kaiju kids, and in the first series iteration she has two Mothra Larva babies of her own. She takes on a motherly approach to the kaiju kids and is the one who leads the teaching of reading, counting, and basic math skills, assisted by the other kaiju who know the subject matter already.
Mothra Larva #1 – Ms. Mothra has two babies, who seem to be pretty much toddlers in maturity when compared to the other kaiju kids, who are about 5. By the second series iteration we only see one of the Mothra Larva, possibly to keep children from being confused when one of them becomes the subtraction symbol.
Mothra Larva #2 – There were two Mothra Larvae but suddenly there was only one in the last two episodes. Mystery! Does Mothra Larva #2 cease to exist, or were they just off camera during the last two episodes? Maybe they went to visit Chuck Cunningham?
King Ghidorah – King Ghidorah somehow isn’t the biggest jerk on the series, or isn’t even seeming to be a villain in any way, he’s just one of the kaiju kids, except one with three heads. On occasion he dresses up and sings, each head getting a purple polka-dot bow tie and sunglasses. The writers just seem to have fun with his character being goofy, but he never really becomes an antagonist and by the second batch of shows is more of a background characters.
Mechagodzilla – Mechagodzilla is one of the newer kids on the show, only appearing in the final two episodes. He usually shows up, demands a character be his friend, intimidates them with violence, then attempts to kidnap them until Godzilla rescues them, usually by answering a bunch of math questions. Mechagodzilla is Jason Sudeikis in Colossal decades earlier!
Gojirin – A female Godilla, Gojirin is just the feminized form of Gojira, thus her unofficial English nickname of Godzilly. She’s pink, has hearts for spines, and has several kaiju boys chasing after her, but she’s her own woman who has her own interests, mainly horticulture and eating. Add in the fact that most of the boys are very bad and doing anything polite or nice for other people and you start to realize why she’s also often angry.
Gigan – Gigan sure is on Godzilland. He doesn’t do anything except appear in the background and crash into King Ghidorah twice due to reusing art assets, but he is real and there enough to get a listing here.
Moguera – Not just Gigan, but Moguera is also running around in the background. There. Just off camera. Oh, look, he was on camera for a second. Not any more. He does dig underground and thanks to reuse of art assets surfaces from a subterranean dig right into a Mothra Larva! Let’s just say the art reuse was Moguera first digging into Mothra Larva #1, and then later Mothra Larva #2. Hey, it could happen! McWorld!
Live-Action Godzilla – Godzilla also appears as a man in a rubber suit but he’s also the same size as human people and seems to live with a lady he calls Big Sister. Godzilla telling tales of Godzilland to Big Sister are the story wraparounds used in the second wave of Godzilland shows. He likes to eat a lot, tell stories, and get embarrassed over past girlfriends. Is a good cook but a better eater. He and Big Sister join in on some of the songs, which you can easily explain away as them excitedly singing the songs while he tells the stories. See, it all makes sense, so it is 100% canon.
Big Sister (???) – Godzilla now lives with a live-action lady that he calls Big Sister, but we never are given her character’s name. They mutually cook food for each other (though Godzilla sometimes eats all of it) and he regales her with stories of his childhood on Godzilland. To the point where she demands the stories, but Godzilla is enough of a braggart he keeps telling them despite being embarrassed. The two also join in on some of the songs because singing about addition and subtraction is cool, don’t you know?

Characters not in the series but with Godzilland-style character models that were used on merchandise, usually in the Cosmic Saurs line:

Minya – Minya exists in Godzilland! This is true despite Godzilla being a small child, somehow also being a father. Let’s not think about this too much, because it is disturbing! Minya is usually depicted as pink, which was fine for years in the 80s in the Comic Saurs line, but with later Godzilland episodes introducing a pink female Godzilla named Gojirin/Godzilly, suddenly this gets even more disturbing. Is she his mom? Did these babies have a baby? Is that why the older, live action Godzilla is embarrassed whenever she is brought up? This mystery must be solved, and the only solution is to revive this line!
Hedorah – The Smog Monster is smogging around, causing trouble is usually pink form. Godzilland Museum mentions that Hedorah seems to be a lady and not a villain in the merchandise, sometimes helping out when there is trouble.
Ebirah – Kids love giant lobsters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a small child walking around with a giant lobster toy, bonking it over the head of anyone who dares to take it from him. This is a totally true thing, and not something I’m just making up. Anyway, Ebirah is in some of the old Comic Saurs art and thus graduates to Godzilland even if he didn’t make the cut for the tv show.
Mecha-King Ghidorah – This character was too new to appear on the older Comic Saurs merchandise, but he did appear on the prior Godzilland television series (Adventure! Godzilland and Adventure! Godzilland 2) that were released to promote Godzilla vs Mothra and Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II. We assume he is just a modified version of the normal King Ghidorah who took Subtraction to its logical conclusion, but was then saved by radical surgery and cybernetics to become the monstrous abomination that we would grow to love, had he appeared in any of the educational episodes. Monster Island Buddies found a good banner with the artwork.
Destoroyah – A 1996 Konica brand Godzilla wall calendar was found with Destoroyah drawn in the style of Godzilland, and that is enough to give him an entry here, because that’s how it works. Appearing on just one thing is not enough to give him a story, but he probably needed to know about trigonometry and thus it was explained to him with the power of song. The calendar had a mix of art styles and covered most of the Heisei series, but as most of the characters were drawn in a different art style we are not going to include them.
Godzilla Jr. – Not only was Destoroyah on that calendar, but so was Godzilla Jr. He was drawn in a slightly different style (the older Godzilland merchandise style), but since Destoroyah was drawn in the new Godzilland style this is the closest we will ever get for Godzilla Jr., so I’m going to count it. That artwork also featured the going nuclear Godzilla, so I guess it then also makes it canon that Godzilland Godzilla dies and this guy replaces him. Poor Big Sister, now who will tell her stories and also eat all of her food?

Special Bonus: Unofficial Other Godzilland Kaiju! Yes, the artist who designed the kaiju (or at least drew them for a lot of the production art) also drew several other kaiju in the same style, including some monsters from the Gamera franchise! This is some amazing stuff, and we got to thank Monster Island Buddies for finding the magazine Godzilla-Gamera Kaiju (1984) where this appeared! This is probably 100% not official, but is included because it is 【COOL AS HECK 円ン壱】

Megalon – It’s Megalon! Most of him! He exists! Quick, someone draw Jet Jaguar! If there is one kaiju that demands to exist in a world of kaiju children, it is Jet Jaguar, who was created by a child and starred in the same child-centric movie! But at least we got this big cockroach to teach us how to count!
Dogora – Dogora from Dagora, the Space Monster (and an episode of Godzilla Island!) proves popular enough to be drawn! Dogora will mind control you so you learn the entire multiplication table, but even his mind control powers can’t help you with fractions, that requires Godzilla himself to help you. Or would if that video existed….
Bat Person – Holy Latitude Zero, Batman, the Bat people are back again in kaiju kid form! Does this mean there is a Godzilland version of Godman??? Such horrors to awaken you shaking at 3 am, covered in sweat and unable to ever sleep again, doomed to go on as the living dead. This guy seems happy, maybe he likes reading?
Barugon – We all remember Barugon as the kaiju who liked rainbows, but now he also likes being a kaiju kid. Good job, Barugon! We know you are definitely not Baragon! Does this mean that these kaiju are living on Gamerand? Gameland? Gamer Land? Or are they just on one of Godzilland’s peninsulas? I bet this guy teaches colors!
Gyaos – Flying Gyaos gets not one, but two drawings of himself in Godzilland mode, making him the breakout star who will surely be getting his own spin-off any day now. Any day…. Without Gamera to keep him in line, I guess Godzilla is just gonna have to fight Gyaos himself!
Viras – As Gamera vs. Viras wasn’t one of the MST3Ked Gamera movies, he is a tier lower in notoriety than the other Gamera villains in the West. As we can see, the Godzilland version sure likes to stand in what might be a Charlie’s Angels pose. Don’t we all?
Guiron – Chop chop, mother fracker! Guiron is here to slice and dice all the other Godzilland pals, so you better watch out and be sure you know how to add before you start getting parts subtracted from your body! It’s mathmatical, baby!

Is your favorite monster not here? Don’t worry, the Godzilland Museum has plenty of fan art of other kaiju done in the same style, if you ever want to know what Godzilland King Caesar would look like (done by automaticmollusk) or even a Godzilland version of Rugrat’s Reptar(done by aboringguy64x), the internet has you covered! Or you can just roll your own!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 29, 2019 at 7:42 pm

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TarsTarkas.NET turns 15!!!

Happy Bert Day
We all must have fallen into a wormhole because somehow TarsTarkas.NET is 15 years old! Somehow, time has continued to march on despite our insistence that we’d rather just watch weird and wonderful movies from around the globe. What a jerk! Over that 15 years TarsTarkas.NET has seen a lot of action, caused drama, received drama, become the sworn enemy of Bratz, messed with congressional elections, got stacks of legal notices, got threatened by angry actors, got hacked, and introduced rare cinema to thousands.

Let’s also give another shoutout to all the former TarsTarkas.NET contributors over the years! Starting with Iain Norman from the now sadly defunct FantasyFilmscapes.com, our co-reviews are under the Slaying the Dragon tag. And let’s not forget our mad science corespondent, good ol’ Dr. Mobusu, who is totally, totally not me writing under a different name. Once the articles making fun of racist rightwing morons proved popular, skiplogic soon joined in on the fun, becoming our most prolific writer, even joining us at the now on forever hiatus Politisink. skiplogic‘s abilities to drive rightwingers crazy surpassed even my own! dm was another contributor who joined up from the same forums (that would be the SomethingAwful forums), and also joined in at Politisink. dm is very informed on military privatization, private contractors who abuse their power, and all those suspicious links in between the military and government figures. I even managed to get POTUShead to write one article, amazing considering how little free time she had. POTUShead also helped break open the whole congressional election fiasco mentioned above.

Back to the movie world, some CineD goons headed the call to write as well! Sheldrake has contributed the most posts, he writes the amazingly awesome Pre-Code.com site that you need to check out immediately! Donald Hallene is a Disney expert who knows more about theme park rides than any human I know. And let’s not forget Ian Maddison‘s awesome essays as well, which put my writing to shame both in quality and with the amount of traffic they still generate.

Our biggest collaborations was with Todd Stadtman from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!, whose own site hit 10 years online recently. We cohosted the Infernal Brains Podcast for 19 amazing episodes before I got to busy with real life to do anything on a regular schedule.

Over the past 15 years things have changed a lot, the entire nature of the internet shifted multiple times (for the worse), the political landscape has gone bonkers, movie distribution changed more times than I can count, sites I love disappeared into the ether, sites that hated us disappeared into the ether, but TarsTarkas.NET remains and will continue to remain to bring you the weird and wonderful.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm

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Babysplitters (Review)

Babysplitters

Babysplitters
2019
Written and directed by Sam Friedlander
Babysplitters
The final flick of the 2019 CAAMFest evening was Babysplitters, complete with actors Danny Pudi, Emily C. Chang, and writer/director Sam Friedlander in attendance. It was also the best film of the night! Babysplitters is about a modern American couple trying to weigh their aging biological clocks, desires to have children, yet apprehension of giving up their free time and lack of savings. It’s like a laundry list of all the reasons why people claim Millennials aren’t having kids.

Jeff and Sarah Penaras (Danny Pudi and Emily C. Chang) are getting older and making excuses for why they aren’t with kids yet. Jeff is stuck at a great paying job he hates, while meter-maid Sarah spends her time getting into arguments with angry parkers. Their social circle has dwindled as their friends all have kids and disappear, to the point where their only regular hangout partners are fellow childless couple Don and Taylor Small (Eddie Alfano and Maiara Walsh). Jeff comes up with an idea about a startup that lets people split babies. We’re not going King Solomon on this baby, it’s more like a time share. This idea starts to grow on him, and mix one part a couple with reservations and one part a couple with a medical impossibility to have a baby, and you got yourself a baby sharing arrangement!
Babysplitters
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 15, 2019 at 9:03 am

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Go Back To China (Review)

Go Back To China

Go Back To China movie
2019
Written and directed by Emily Ting
Go Back To China movie
Next up on the 2019 CAAMFest slamfest of movies is Go Back To China, a movie about someone who goes back to China. Hold on, because we also have unexpected Richard Ng! Go Back To China has homespun indie cred and delivers a well-trod story (spoiled girl learns responsibility) with new and exciting settings and characters. The film is at its best when Sasha Li (Anna Akana) is still in fish out of water mode, but it unfortunately fails to stick the landing and just sort of ends, which is a darn shame considering the potential it had.

Spoiled trust fund kid Sasha Li can’t get a job and is blowing through her money on parties and shopping, until she is blackmailed by her father Teddy (Richard Ng Yiu-Hon) to return to China to help out at his toy factory, or she’ll be cut off from the rest of the money. Once there, Sasha has to adjust to both a new culture (she was raised in California) and dealing with her cranky father and her many half-siblings. She has an older half-sister, Carol (Lynn Chen – Saving Face), who already had to go back to China and work with dad, as well as two younger siblings from her dad’s next upgrade wife (since divorced, and dad now has a live-in girlfriend with whom he has an “arrangement” with that is the same age as Sasha)

The different aged family members even becomes a plot point, as they both have their own layers of resentment for the families that they were replaced by but also see the same new families get replaced in turn and the kids get filled with the same resentment. Sasha and Carol spar due to both seeing the other as the favored daughter, Carol longing for Sasha’s freedoms while Sasha seeing Carol as just a goody-goody who does whatever dad wants. Teddy shows he still hasn’t learned to be a real father yet when he upsets the next generation of his kids, leading his daughters to have to lead in picking up the mess. As someone with disappointing family members, this is sadly truer than it ever has to be.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 13, 2019 at 11:56 am

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The Dragon Painter (Review)

The Dragon Painter

The Dragon Painter
1919
Written by Richard Schayer (as E. Richard Schayer)
Based on the Novel by Mary McNeil Fenollosa
Directed by William Worthington

The Dragon Painter
It’s CAAMFest time again, so Tars must chart out a bunch of film he wants to see vs. the actual amount of real world time that he has to go to see the films. This year there was a few Sophie’s Choices among films playing at similar times where I was unable to go to the other shows, so in the end I ended up with three screenings, all in one day! So I’ll make sure all three reviews get put up in one week! First up is 1919’s The Dragon Painter, a silent film presented with a live score!

The Dragon Painter was a production of Haworth Pictures Corporation, which box office star Sessue Hayakawa formed with actor/director William Worthington (hence the name of the company!) This is an important piece of film history, as the big deal is we have Japanese characters being played by Japanese actors, and they aren’t playing stereotypical villain characters, which was the style of the time (and partily how Sessue Hayakawa gained fame!) Hayakawa’s life was amazing, and deserves more focus than just the intro paragraphs of a review of one of his film.

It is easy to see in The Dragon Painter why Hayakawa was so popular, he’s a fountain of pure talent. He begins as a manic madman named Tatsu, obsessed with painting the landscapes, which he claims are paintings of his lady love, a princess who was turned into a dragon by the gods 1000 years earlier. He sleeps in the wilderness and the local villagers largely avoid him (the few who try to cause trouble are easily shook when he threatens them) This is all presented straight, and Hayakawa both sells that a man would live in the wilderness and be obsessed with a dragon princess with a compulsion to paint, but that this is an actual person with the emotional turmoil that the scenario in his mind is causing him painted all over his face.
The Dragon Painter
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 11, 2019 at 6:55 pm

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