Posts tagged "Ishiro Honda"

Zone Fighter Episode 24 – Harifuki Kyoujuu Niidoraa-wo Taose

Zone Fighter Episode 24 – Harifuki Kyoujuu Niidoraa-wo Taose

aka 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ aka Smash the Pin-Spitting Needlar! aka Defeat the Needle Shooting Terror-Beast Needlar
Zone Fighter 24 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ
1973
Written by Yuji Amamiya
Directed by Ishiro Honda

March of Godzilla 2014

Let’s see who you really are…OH MY GOD THE BLOOD ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

Zone Fighter is back again with a very spooky episode that finally has the Garoga doing very creepy things that aren’t weird. It’s also got Needlar in the title, despite Needlar barely being in the film. But kids aren’t going to care about the creepy atmospheric story, they just want to seem Zone Fighter punch some monsters in the face and then murder them. And, yes, Zone does murder poor Needlar, who had it coming, because he’s named Needlar and barely shoots needles. Way to abandon your gimmick, bro!

Zone Fighter 24 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ

Battle for the Domed City of Mars!


What the meat of this episode is, is the village where everyone has been hypnotized by the Garoga into being their slaves, causing them to march in formation during rainy nights and ignore their surroundings. The Garoga treat the workers as disposable, because there are plenty more slave humans around. The end game seems to involve Garoga turning the humans into cyborgs, the exact reasons for which is lost in the unsubtitled Japanese, but probably for ease of them being slaves. So in some sense, the Garoga are the original Borg. The Gaborga.

Another interesting thing happens, which is the Mighty Liner drives off a cliff and explodes. Never fear, the Zone Family somehow were thrown clear of the vehicle despite the doors being closed and the windows unbroken, and are thus lightly injured. But the Mighty Liner is a total loss. Which means it’s back by the next episode, with no explanation given. Zone Family mechanics are just that good. Or maybe they have a whole crate of Mighty Liners. Whatever the true answer, it’s probably dumb.

Zone Fighter 24 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ

Either I took too much LSD again, or Zone Fighter has gone to plaid!


I’ll take back my comments on Ishiro Honda slumming in the last episode, because here he isn’t slumming. I would say he made a conscious decision which episode would be better and then focused all his energies there. In particular, this episode features large scale scenes shot at night with rain effects, and spooky lighting such as green-tinted bulbs illuminating people. It’s impressively done, and keeps the mood spooky enough that you don’t miss the monster action, instead wondering just what the heck is going on. The only problem is it eats up much of the monster time, and Needlar sort of sucks.
Zone Fighter 24 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ

Needlar has tossed his Orange Julius at Zone Fighter. This violent act goes too far!


But…Needlar’s death scene is BLOODY AWESOME! Because it’s bloody, and awesome. Let’s just say Needlar loses his head over his death sequences. And sprays hoses full of blood all over while doing so. Maybe he should be called Hosar. This graphic death is weird for what is essentially a childrens’ show, and sort of counter to the spooky atmosphere. The whole giant monster sequence escapes the boundaries of the episode’s tone, so that’s not too surprising. Overall, this becomes a solid episode for Zone Fighter. If you need a refresher on Zone Fighter, drop by the Zone Fighter Splash Page.
Zone Fighter 24 針吹き恐獣ニードラーを倒せ

Children, we may play enemies on television, but I assure you we are both good friends in real life. Not good enough to get an invite to Needlar’s wedding, but close enough.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

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Zone Fighter Episode 23 – Dai Kyoujuu Bakugon-no Himitsu

Zone Fighter Episode 23 – Dai Kyoujuu Bakugon-no Himitsu

aka 大恐獣バクゴンの秘密 aka Secret of Bakugon: The Giant Terror-Beast! aka Secret of the Great Terror-Beast Bakugon
Zone Fighter 23 大恐獣バクゴンの秘密
1973
Written by Masaru Takesue
Directed by Ishiro Honda

March of Godzilla 2014

Come and get it, you Bouillabaseball playing mofo!

The Secret Garoga Plot in Secret of Bakugon: The Giant Terror-Beast! is so stupid that it makes the craziest Cobra plots from GI Joe look sane and rational. The Garoga plot to make several children believe that a junk yard is really a secret garden, thus they’ll get some ruined clothes and light scrapes. This means they’ll all have to get tetanus shots, thus depleting the worldwide supply, destroying humanity! The long-term plan might be some ridiculous plot to mind control the entire population of the planet, but no one really seems focused on that. They even have smaller tests before the elaborate children delusion, which rules out that this was just a test phase. This is the REAL DEAL plan!

Zone Fighter 23 大恐獣バクゴンの秘密

Trumpy! You can do magic things!


The plot is so ridiculously lame that it sinks the entire episode, and even a cool monster design like Bakugon cannot save it. Bakugon is like an ALF/anteater hybrid that shoots flames out of his nose and has a metal backpack full of fuel for said flames. It is cool to see a monster that’s obviously a mammal, far too many are variations of dinosaurs or other lizards, or even more human monsters. Bakugon has fur, we need more fuzzy kaiju. Plus he’d make a great rug in front of the fireplace!

There is a great philosophical crisis because the main evil Garoga splits himself from disguised as one human female to disguised as a human female and a small boy. Essentially being in two places at once and being two people. The question is if the Garoga became two Garoga, or if it was able to control both bodies simultaneously without adverse effects and keeping them doing separate projects but still under the same mind. Becuase if the Garoga became two Garoga, this is some serious business. It could be real, because we’ve seen Garoga merge and form terror-beasts before. So why couldn’t a Garoga split into two by mitosis? Or are the Garoga all under one mind? Though that doesn’t seem to jive with how the Garoga act in every other episode, so it’s highly unlikely. What we get is another great Garoga mystery that will never be solved.

Zone Fighter 23 大恐獣バクゴンの秘密

I know every rose has its thorn, but this is ridiculous!


A mysterious lady in all black (so obviously Garoga it hurts) is causing delusions in people – a family is on a road trip when it’s suddenly revealed they’re driving on the train tracks! And that somehow causes all of them to fall out of their car when dad slams on the breaks! Uh….. HUH?? Also some guy hallucinates that he’s water skiing while he’s really in a field, and is laughed at, but still, the whole family fell out of their car. How does that work? I’m so confused…
Zone Fighter 23 大恐獣バクゴンの秘密

We’re on strike until we get real pants!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

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Zone Fighter Episode 19 – Meirei “K Suisei-de Chikyuu-wo Kowase”

Zone Fighter Episode 19 – Meirei “K Suisei-de Chikyuu-wo Kowase”

aka 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』 aka Order: Crush the Earth With Comet K! aka Order: “Destroy the Earth with Comet K”
Zone Fighter 19 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』
1973
Written by Yuji Amamiya
Directed by Ishiro Honda

March of Godzilla 2014

Zone Fighter – an eye-popping good time!

People and webcrawler bots, we have a situation! Zone Fighter is not the mild-mannered defender of Earth we were led to believe. He is in fact a stone cold butcher murderer who surgically severs opponents body parts and then uses their corpse for his own devious means. I know it may come to a shock, that Zone Fighter, who kills almost every opponent he faces, is some sort of monster, but unfortunately the facts bear that conclusion out. Zone Fighter slices and dices poor Gundarguirus, then tosses his dismembered torso at an approaching comet. This unfortunate corpse desecration is a war crime, and Zone Fighter needs to be dragged in front of an international tribunal immediately for his crimes.

As in last time, this is an episode directed by the master Ishiro Honda, but this episode actually feels like an Ishiro Honda episode and not just kiddy fluff. But there is some goofy stuff still, and then things go insane for that violent stuff I mentioned. Basically, Ishiro Honda helped direct Zone into a period of murderous destruction. So, yay? I guess.

Zone Fighter 19 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar!


Make sure to drop on by the Zone Fighter Splash Page if you need a refresher of who is who.

When last we left Zone Fighter, he was losing a fight to the very lame Gundarguirus. Zone Fighter is out of energy and collapses like a scrub. Gundarguirus then wanders off instead of killing him, perhaps obeying orders from the Red Garoga, perhaps just being a moron. Who knows? What is important is Gundarguirus did not kill Zone Fighter when he had the chance.

Zone Fighter 19 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』

Ring toss games are always rigged. You got to play the game where you race horses by squirting water into clown mouths!


Akira and Hotaru take Hikaru to relax a pool side as they splash around in a hotel swimming pool. I guess that’s how you wind down when you’ve just been almost murdered in a monster fight. Hikaru isn’t about relaxing and needs to call his dad for help, while the audience wonders what the whole point of this brief pool section was, unless it was to get Hotaru in a black bikini again. Hopefully it wasn’t to get Akira back into swimming trunks.

Zone Dad and Takeru are concerned about the comet, and Hikaru races off, realizing he still has to go save the world and stuff. Akira and Hotaru take a ride in Smokey to search from the air for Gundarguirus.

Zone Fighter 19 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』

We’re not wearing pants, over.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm

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Zone Fighter Episode 18 – Shirei “Nihon Rettou Bakuhase-yo”

Zone Fighter Episode 18 – Shirei “Nihon Rettou Bakuhase-yo”

aka 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』 aka Directive: Destroy the Japanese Laboratory! aka Command: “Destroy the Japanese Islands”
Zone Fighter 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』
1973
Written by Yuji Amamiya
Directed by Ishiro Honda

March of Godzilla 2014

Zone Fighter 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』

If you order this toaster oven now, we’ll throw in a free pair of oven mitts! Call 1-800-GAROGA! Operators are standing by!


Zone Fighter punches his way into a new episode, which is among the most ridiculous episodes in Zone Fighter history. It’s also pretty dumb, and is somehow a two-parter. Which is a shame, because both parts are directed by Ishiro Honda! The problem is with the story, which is really only a bare thread of a story and padded with a lot of pointless scenes and not very good monster action.

Why is the monster action not very good? Because Zone Fighter and the Terror-Beast of the Week Gundarguiras play rock paper scissors! Who needs monster fights? The excuse is because Gundarguiras ate some explosive chemical, and if he’s thrown around too violently, it will explode. Which should be find, because it’s inside a giant monster to absorb most of the blast, but whatever. Zone Fighter knows the explosive is in the belly of the beast thanks to Gundarguiras’ transparent stomach. Zone has to use his intelligence to try to trick the dumb monster into leaving Earth. Problems: 1- Zone Fighter isn’t very smart, either. 2- Gundarguiras is so stupid that even dumb tricks won’t work. 3- When a trick does work, Gundarguiras just refuses to leave, so there is no point to this strategy. 4- This scene keeps going on and on, and will continue next episode.

Zone Fighter 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』

Sometimes people wrap Twizzlers all around their body and leap in the air. We call these people “morons”!


Thanks to the trick, Zone Fighter finally has some more new random powers, but they prove as useless as Zone Fighter normally is. I’m eager to watch the next episode just to watch Zone brutally murder Gundarguiras, because there is no way that dumb monster is getting out of this alive. The only question is if he’ll get blown up via the PS73 explosive, or by Zone Fighter shooting him a lot.

But before the murder, we have to get through the horror. So let’s get started with . If you need a Zone Fighter refresher course, drop on by the Zone Fighter Splash Page.

Zone Fighter 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』

Should have picked rock!


Scientists including Professor Tanzawa blow up some random areas of the countryside. This is a test of Tanzawa’s new explosive element PS73. The test is a success and a bunch of dudes in business suits (scientists, officials, random businessmen who hang out at explosives testing sites) are happy. Now the next step is to transport the PS73 to another lab, which they must do with care.
Zone Fighter 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』

I’ll never pitch again! Looks like the Cubs will lose another season, thanks kid!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

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Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

Terror of Mechagodzilla

aka Mekagojira no gyakushu aka メカゴジラの逆襲

1975
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Yukiko Takayama
Directed by Ishiro Honda

Titanosaurus, DirectTV pioneer

Terror of Mechagodzilla is a direct followup to the previous film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It’s also the final film of the Showa era, one of the few films to show direct continuity that would be used more in the Heisei films, and the final Godzilla work of some G-legends, Ishiro Honda and Akihiko Hirata. It also bombed horribly, helping lead to a decade-long absence of Godzilla in film form. Overall, Terror of Mechagodzilla is a mixed bag. The action sequences are some of the most violent and explosive of the older films, but they’re obviously trying to compensate from the lower budget (many scenes suddenly end up in the countryside) and the hectic explosions loose their danger after the 1 millionth giant boom.

Being a little mermaid sure is boring…

Ishiro Honda doesn’t sleep on the job, making up for the lower filming budget with some neat visual stylizing. A flashback to Professor Mafune’s descent into madness is shown via sepia-toned photographs while narration explains. Katsura’s lament that Titanosaurus is to be used as a murderous weapon is juxtaposed with other alien-controlled kaiju from prior films played on a quad-screen shot. Godzilla’s first appearance is one of the better introduction scenes in his history.

The alien command center is in some Trekker guy’s basement?

While Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla showed a trend towards more serious, Terror of Mechagodzilla straddled the edge of serious and silly. The action sequences were more destructive, but the alien villains were more comic book. The cyborg daughter is played for tragedy, but it is obvious from the beginning that it will end in a downer and we’re just running through the steps until the final act. I am willing to accept that some of the sillier aspects are unintentional, such as the alien helmets or the complete lack of concern for hunting down the aliens by Interpol even after they’ve been spotted multiple times in the same area. But I can’t deny that I feel it is there, and it clouds Terror of Mechagodzilla in a way that the prior film did not have.

Titanosaurus was tragically hit by a meteor during the filming of this scene…

メカゴジラの逆襲 (translation: Counterattack of Mechagodzilla) was first released in the US in theaters in 1978 under the title The Terror of Godzilla. The US rights were held by Henry Saperstein, who sold Bob Conn Enterprises the film rights, but also released the movie itself on TV in 1978 as Terror of Mechagodzilla. This cut is credited to UPA Productions of America, and features an additional six minutes of scenes taken from other Godzilla films and narrated to serve as an introduction to Godzilla (this sequence is detailed below), the only think cut was a brief shot of Katsura’s fake breasts during a surgery scene. By the mid-1980s, there was a new cut on tv that featured many of the violent scenes cut down, as well as not having the opening narration. There are some that say this was the theatrical cut, though I don’t know why the theater cut would have removed the violence when that seems more of a tv cut thing to do. That cut was the most widely available for decades, including the original version I saw before I got a tape of the original cut. I have still not seen the restored DVD, hence the screenshots are either from the old VHS tape or the earlier DVD.

For some reason, the humans won’t take us serious!

And as March of Godzilla 2012 continues, let’s get us to the Roll Call!

Akira Ichinose (Katsuhiko Sasaki) – Marine Biologist at the Ocean Exploitation Institute, which somehow qualifies him to have equal police rights as the rest of Interpol when he works with them to track down the mysterious dinosaur. Falls in love with a cyborg despite her repeated attempts to brush him off.
Katsura Mafune (Tomoko Ai) – Daughter of the famous Professor Mafune, who went mad. She covers for her father, telling the world he is dead. In reality, he is in league with the space aliens and is using his discovery, Titanosaurus, and his ability to control animals, against mankind for spurning him and his ideas. Katsura was rebuilt as a cyborg after she was injured in an experiment, and becomes more robotic the more the aliens due to her. Tomoko Ai went on to do a string of Nikkuatsu films.
Dr. Shinzo Mafune (Akihiko Hirata) – Akikhiko Hirata plays yet another mad scientist, except this one doesn’t have an eyepatch, he’s got crazy old man hair, mustache, and eyebrows. He hates mankind because they made fun of him. Good thing he doesn’t read YouTube comments, Dr. Mafune would explode with rage. Explode, I tell you! He teams with the aliens.
Interpol Agent Jiro Murakoshi (Katsumasa Uchida) – The main cop who is sort of in the film, though often the film forgets he’s there as it focuses more on Ichinose. But he occasionally shows up to save the day and to save Ichinose.
Alien Leader Mugal (Goro Mutsumi) – The new leader of the space aliens from the previous film. Mugal sounds like a name for a Gremlin or something. The greatest tragedy of Terror of Mechagodzilla is that the aliens never revert back to gorilla form.
Godzilla (Toru Kawai) – The biggest G of them all!
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – Picked up from the ocean floor and rebuilt with human slaves, Mechagodzilla is back to fight his fleshy foe. And now he’s controlled by a cyborg lady! And he has some sort of head under his head! It’s all weird, but not enough to keep him from being turned into scrap metal.
Titanosaurus (Katsumi Nimiamoto) – Titanosaurus is a peaceful dinosaur used by an arrogant made scientist and aliens to attack humans, and is then brutally murdered by Godzilla for his crime of being brainwashed. Some people are really into Titanosaurus! If you are Japanese, you call him Chitanosaurusu. Rumor has it that Titanosaurus was originally supposed to be two smaller creatures called the Titans that fuse together to create Titanosaurus. This idea seems to have been recycled into Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
G is for Godzooky, that’s good enough for me!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm

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Zone Fighter Episode 13 – Senritsu! Tanjoubi-no Kyoufu

Zone Fighter Episode 13 – Senritsu! Tanjoubi-no Kyoufu

aka Absolute Terror: Birthday of Horror! aka Hair-Raising! The Birthday of Terror

1973
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Jun Fukuda
Directed by Ishiro Honda


Zone Fighter vs. Birthday Cake! Only Zone Fighter could fight such a dastardly enemy. All others pale before him, even Godzilla is too yellow to appear to fight the birthday cake! Or, more likely, Godzilla knows this week’s enemy is lame and didn’t bother to return the producer’s calls! Godzilla is also watching his weight these days, thus skipping out on eating that sweet sweet cake.

The Republican Presidential Debates continue…

March of Godzilla 2012 carries on with a Godzilla-free episode, but there is still something for everyone to learn. What we do learn is that Japanese people sing “Happy Birthday” and write things on cakes in English. Also that if you hook a car battery up to a Terror-Beast, the monster gets a red force field that doesn’t work that well.

Stop for me, it’s the CLAW!

If you are Zone Fighter confused, check out the Zone Fighter splash page and learn you some Zone!

It’s Hotaru’s 16th birthday! Her family breaking out the cake and singing, including the Happy Birthday song that now requires huge royalties despite the fact it should have been public domain decades ago. But that’s a rant for another review. Happy Birthday, Hotaru! I hope you enjoy your cake…your DEATH CAKE!!!

Forget Chocolate Rain, we got Orange Julius Rain

Baron Garoga calls via TV to mock them because the cake is a bomb! Granted, that is dumb, so now they know to toss the cake, and Hikaru does, throwing it off a cliff. Then it explodes, too late to do any damage with candle shrapnel. If Baron Garoga would have just shut the frak up for 1 more minute, the Zones would be dead! The series would be over, and I could get back to reviewing a different tokusatsu series that I’ll end up not liking, either.

I’m 70% Megalon!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , ,

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