Posts tagged "Japan"

Red Pier (Review)

Red Pier

aka 赤い波止場 aka Akai Hatoba aka Crimson Seaport aka Red Quay aka The Left Hand of Jiro
Red Pier
Written by Ichirô Ikeda and Toshio Masuda
Directed by Toshio Masuda

Red Pier
It’s Nikkatsu Action time again! The film genre is so consistently entertaining that it will be a constant reoccurring theme here (or at least the films that have gotten releases on digital media are the entertaining ones, as there are piles of films that still don’t seem to have any sort of legitimate release even with 20 years of cinephiles screaming about it. But we work with what we got, and what we got is Akai Hatoba, aka Red Pier, but also known as Crimson Harvest as well as a few other titles. It’s supposedly a reworking of a French film called Pepe le Moko, but everyone who claims this also mentions they haven’t seen that film, and I’m afraid I have to add myself to that total, so who knows? What I do know is director Toshio Masuda revisited this story a few years later with Velvet Hustler in glorious color. But this is the OG yakuza on a pier outwitting his enemies while also being in love with a lady whose brother he helped kill film.
Red Pier
Lefty Jiro (Masuda regular Yujiro Ishihara, I Am Waiting, Rusty Knife) hangs at Kobe Harbor running the joint for his gang. He was formerly from Tokyo, but due to some trouble he’s been hiding out here “keeping a low profile”, in that he’s still involved in people being killed but never with enough evidence for the cops to do anything about it. A cool local policeman, Detective Noro (Shiro Osaka), spends most of his spare time hanging out at the harbor determined to catch Jiro doing something bad, but also sort of likes him as a friend. Noro is always snacking on something, and is around so much the other criminal elements tolerate his presence even if they know they have to do extra work to snark around behind his back.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2019 at 6:20 am

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Ghost Squad (Review)

Ghost Squad

aka ゴーストスクワッド aka Gôsuto Sukuwaddo
Ghost Squad
Written and directed by Noboru Iguchi
Ghost Squad
G-g-g-g-g-ghost Squad!! Sorry, just getting the “g-g-g-ghost” joke out of the way early! Ghost Squad is the latest from splatter auteur extraordinaire Noboru Iguchi, who has been covered by TarsTarkas.NET many times and will be covered many more times, as his films are usually filled with fun dumb energy and lots of ridiculous effects and plots that manage to entertain and occasionally comment on various aspects of society in the warped way that only exploitation cinema can. Ghost Squad joins the pantheon of his fun films, with plenty of crazy action and weird effects. Splatter fans might find little to be excited about, as the gore is subdued for a Iguchi film. But there are ghost ladies beating a guy in the junk with a meat hammer arm, a ghost with a dog for an arm, a ghost with a Machine Girl-style gun arm, and a gun with a baby face. So embrace the ridiculousness of a squad of murdered ghosts coming together to get their revenge with Ghost Squad!

Rika (Anna Yanagi) is your normal teen girl with an abusive father (Iguchi regular Yûya Ishikawa) who also sees ghosts. She explains this to her scoffing boyfriend Yosuke while also observing a ghost named Keiko Furukawa (Sumire Ueno) who struggles to write a letter to her father while slipping between being aware and unaware that she is dead. Rika goes to work as a waitress, but Yosuke follows her to harass her. But he didn’t count on Keiko also following along, as well as another ghost named Akari (Minori Mikado), who soon spring to action just as Yosuke is slashing Rika’s wrist. They beat him down and give him a few extra holes due to impalements, but let him survive enough to be in the hospital later.
Ghost Squad
Rika awakens at home with her wrist bandaged, and soon learns from the ghosts that they can only interact with the physical world when she is close to death (she learns this as she tries to hang herself from depression and guilt!) She quickly makes friends with Keiko and Akari, and also a third ghost named Yoshie who at first is a story telling framing device but quickly joins the main story as a fellow ghost. The three ladies need to get revenge on the men who attacked them in order to pass on to Heaven. It’s the law, Ghost Law. As we see later when Naomi Ohishi (Asaka Nakamura) shows up, it actually is the law and there is a whole bureaucracy set up to make sure they get revenge on everyone. Biggest critique here seems to be only lady ghosts have to get revenge, as we see a male character murdered later who goes directly to Heaven. That is totally unfair, we need to reform our Ghost Laws!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 11, 2018 at 6:51 am

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Fighting Delinquents (Review)

Fighting Delinquents

aka くたばれ愚連隊 aka Kutabare Gurentai aka Go to Hell, Hoodlums!
Fighting Delinquents
Screenplay by Iwao Yamazaki
Based on the novel by Kenzaburo Hara
Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Fighting Delinquents
Before Seijun Suzuki was making full-bore fever dreams, he was fully bored making B pictures, which lead to him beginning the creative flourishes that he became known for. While Fighting Delinquents is still early in his filmography, it is his first film in color and already shows hints of his use of color to set moods and scenes. Beyond his experiments, Fighting Delinquents isn’t really that special, outside of some goofy scenes and a conflict that spans generations, class, clans, modern Japan vs. old school Japan, and the meaning of family. That’s probably ascribing more than the story pulls off, but it is all there even if only parts of it are actually addressed.
Fighting Delinquents
The story is pretty straightforward, a lost heir is brought back into a clan on Awaji Island to help them stand against a crooked developer. He faces slack due to basically being raised as a street orphan in the city, the rougher personality clashing with the clan-based traditionalists he’s brought to, while his in grained sense of righteousness and justice puts him at odds with the developers. His mentor in the city who plucked him out of an orphanage to learn a trade (along with some other kids) is struck down in the opening scene by a drunken businessman, and we all know he’s going to end up being the businessman who is trying to take the clan’s land, so this isn’t even a spoiler. Sadao Matsudaira (Koji Wada) doesn’t take his crap then, when he tries to buy off the kids in mourning with a pittance offering. Nor does he take it lightly when he finds out who is responsible for his new family’s misery.
Fighting Delinquents
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 9, 2018 at 6:35 am

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Go! Godman: Godman vs. Stegojiras and Akumon (ゴッドマン対ステゴジラス・アクモン)

March of Godzilla Godman

Go! Godman: Godman vs. Stegojiras and Akumon

aka ゴッドマン対ステゴジラス・アクモン その1 – その6 aka Goddoman Tai Sutegojirasu – Akumon
Stegojiras Akumon Godman
Week of April 5 – 11, 1973

Godman’s one weakness — bullets!

Stegojiras and Akumon are among the most pathetic designs of the monsters Godman faces. These monsters aren’t even monster suits, just two idiots in slightly oversized masks. One interesting thing is they are more successful than many of the actual monsters at fighting Godman, even though they still lose. Another interesting thing is that they seem to worship an active volcano, and that volcano gives them orders. Just who or what this volcano is, is never explained. Even the accompanying material treats the volcano monster as a mystery. Is this the dark force behind all the other evil monsters Godman fights? Is it just some random underground fire that a couple of brain-dead monsters decided to worship after far too many bong hits? Mysteries forever, that’s what this episode is full of!

Stegojiras has a big blue-green head with giant horns on the top and some other random horns popping out of the bottom. He appears to have big red fish stapled to his shirt, and appears to be slightly more competent than Akumon. Akumon is the red masked monster whose vocals are chicken squawks and he has a gold glitter swastika symbol on his chest, white symbols on his arms. Stegojiras and Akumon vaguely resemble the Chinese legendary creatures With-the-Wind Ear/順風耳/Shunfeng Er and Thousand Miles Eye/千里眼/Qianli Ya, both of whom were seen in The Legend of Mother Goddess and The Ginseng King. Both of them work for some sort of volcano deity mystery monster that lives in the volcano or who knows what, that even the Godman DVD files just refers to as “???”. It is a mystery to never be solved, because no one will ever care to solve it. If you need any other Godman information, be sure to check out the Ike! Godman Splash Page!

Once there were two monster idiots named Stegojiras and Akumon. They worshiped a burning volcano in a forest, which commanded them to steal children. The monsters attempt to steal a young girl from a group of kids at an amusement park, but these monsters are so terrible that one of the teachers accompanying the group chases them down. This teacher manages to hold his own while fighting both of them, despite being an obvious older hippy type who should be more about the free love and peace instead of monster violence. Eventually the teacher is defeated, and the rest of the kids call in Godman after their other teacher asks them to. Hmmm, does that mean only children can call in Godman to fight their battles for them? I guess that’s why Godman is never called upon to do taxes or clean the gutters.

Godman fights Akumon first as we jump to tsuzuku…

The next episode begins with Akumon making chicken noises as he fights Godman. He’s punched out and Godman wakes up the kid, then shoves her away. She yells “Thanks” as she runs, but him shoving her is funny. But the other children are being menaced by Stegojiras, the noise of which distracts Godman enough that Akumon is able to recover and punch him in the back!

Stegojiras and Akumon tie up the female teacher and rekidnap the girl from earlier, taking her to their super sweet ginormous 1970s car. I guess these guys got to wear normal people clothes instead of full costumes because the monster suits couldn’t really fit in the car.

Godman stands in front of their moving car, and as this series doesn’t have the budget to have Godman get hit by the car, the monsters stop and get out of the car again to fight him. The rekidnapped girl escapes again, but…. (Tsuzuku)

Akumon rerekidnaps the girl by punching her in the gut while Godman is busy fighting Stegojiras. Stegojiras pulls out his tiny whip, so out comes Godman’s flail. They fight so hard that a hair gets stuck to the camera for several shots, the action sequences so exciting the cameraman didn’t even look through the camera to see the obvious hair! Godman is then shot in the leg by a drug dart, and Akumon drives away with the girl.

Godman tosses a bunch of explosives at the car that’s speeding away with the innocent girl in it. Luckily for her, he misses the car and she doesn’t die a violent death from being inside an exploding car. Tsuzuku.

We start the next episode with Akumon and Stegojiras arriving at their hidden compound by car and running inside with the kidnapped girl. The car vanishes, because of course it does! Does this mean the car went invisible? Teleported? Never existed? Answers, I hope you like not having them!

The monster hideout is a bunch of creepy abandoned buildings. Godman arrives and looks around the area, only to be ambushed by Akumon! Finally, Godman shows some basic competency and starts to get the upper hand in fighting Akumon, but then Stegojiras points a gun at Godman’s head!

Godman surrenders (!) Except he doesn’t surrender, he pretends to long enough to kick the gun out of Stegojiras’ hand. Godman battles the two monsters some more, until Stegojiras gets his gun again and starts firing at Godman. Luckily for Godman, Stegojiras is worst shots than a Stormtrooper and hits nothing but trees. Tsuzuku.

Godman scares the two monsters off by tossing more explosives. Akumon retaliates by grabbing a Tommy gun and firing it at Godman while Stegojiras drives. Yes, the monsters are doing a drive by on Godman!

They drive to the mysterious Volcano and then Godman shows up so there is more fighting. The monsters rarely remember they have guns in their hands, and when they do, Godman just does a quick tumble to dodge the bullets. Godman rescues the kidnapped girl again, tossing her into a ditch so he’s free to fight the monsters once more. Yes, the hero just threw a small child into a ditch. Tsuzuku.

The monsters fire the Tommy gun at Godman, but that brilliant plan fails when Godman fires bullets back our of his fingers! Godman remembers he has an ultra-strong finishing move, and fires his Godman Supersonic Wave, first at Akumon and then at Stegojiras. At this point, the monsters flip, and then se wee just their masks on the ground, which explode.

So were they monsters, or a fiendish cult straight out of True Detective wearing masks? Mysteries! Godman also defeats the volcano monster by destroying the monsters, as the smoke then goes in the opposite directing, sinking back into the volcano.

The day is saved, Godman returns the now probably traumatized forever child to her teachers and friends and flies away, a hero to those who need heroes named Godman. Which means the kids who need Godman to satiate their bloodlust or enjoy the weirdly sexual wrestling between Godman and the monster of the week.

Akumon and Stegojiras are legit creepy monsters in that they look like they could be your freaky neighbors dressed in ridiculous costumes and kidnapping your child. In this case, the cheapness enhances the scary, because it brings it to a real level.

This was the last series of original Godman shorts. Though some of the monsters would return in Ike! Greenman, Godman himself was not seen again until 2008’s Go Forth! Godman. Which might just get some attention here sooner than later…

Until then, we’re all Godmanned out! Expect these entries to get random updates over the years when I track down different missing pieces and have time to write them up in future Marches of Godzilla. For now, March of Godzilla: Godman has completed its life cycle. You might say we blew up the volcano! But there is always the Godman Splash Page if you want to catch back up with Godman, for some reason.
Stegojiras Akumon Godman
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

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Go! Godman: Godman vs. Jilarji (ゴッドマン対シラージ)

March of Godzilla Godman

Go! Godman: Godman vs. Jilarji

aka ゴッドマン対シラージ その1 – その3 aka Goddoman Tai Shiraaji
Jilarji Godman
Week of March 15 – 21, 1973

Sometimes you spank the monkey, sometimes the monkey spanks back…

Of all the monsters Godman fights, Jilarji is the most sympathetic. For he is not a monster that roams the countryside before stumbling across children who call upon their murder god, but instead is a small, frightened monkey who is taunted by a vicious pair of bratty children until he explodes with rage, mutating the monkey into the monstrous Jilarji. Yes, this is a monkey who basically becomes the Hulk, and then Godman comes to punish the monkey instead of the children. Hello, these kids are not only being cruel to animals, but this animal was obviously a former lab monkey who had been retired, so now it is fair game for kids to taunt lab monkeys? That’s how Outbreak scenarios happen, Godman!

Jilarji is a cross-eyed monkey monster with a silver skull face and a random horn on the top of his head. He’s cool enough he was made into toys and shows up again in a few other things. Sometimes he’s called Shiraji and there is argument of which is the official translation of his name.

Jilarji is the second half of the week’s adventures, Godman had just spent three days (presumably) slaughtering Totsaurus. But those episodes aren’t important enough for use to get to see, so just forget about them. Just remember these episodes, the ones deemed acceptable by the random DVD gods.

Two rude bratty children in short shorts tease a poor monkey in a cage with a stick. This proves to be ill-advised, and not just because PeTA will say things about you on the radio. The monkey explodes into the new monster, Jilarji. Jilarji is unable to extract revenge upon the children, who immediately call for Godman to save them. Godman is a servant of the spoiled child class and instantly appears to protect his masters from their own folly.

There is a lot of punching and slapping as the two fight. Jilarji then grows big to tower over Godman. We all know Godman will grow big also, but first, we tsuzuku to next time!

As predicted, Godman grows big as well. It’s like I’m Nostradomas or something. Despite Godman shooting Jilarji a few times, Jilarji is getting the better of Godman and is on top choking him to death like it’s some sort of creepy sex thing. It might be, maybe Godman is one of those guys who needs to be choked to get off, like David Carradine. It’s sort of weird to be doing it in the middle of a battle, but whatever floats your boat, right? I would like to point out that Godman is literally being choked by a monkey. Tsuzuku to next time to see if he lives, or finishes, or not.

Godman and Jilarji continue to struggle with each other like titanic lovers, rolling on the ground into the nearby town. Godman whips out his flail and starts whallupping Jilarji! Godman introducing sex toys to their public session? To be expected from this perv!

Godman doesn’t even do his normal finishing moves on Jilarji. Instead, he just beats up the monkey monster some more, and tosses him over a hill, where the monster promptly explodes for no reason.

The children are free to bully more and more innocent creatures until they explode into monstrous rage and threaten millions of lives. Where are those Godman opponents who kidnap children when you needs them? Remember, this is not the only time a Toho tokusatsu mercilessly slaughtered a monster derived from an innocent primate! It’s like Godman and Zone Fighter were in a competition to be evil or something.

Fuck you, Godman!

For more Godman atrocities, check out the Godman Splash Page, and expect more as March of Godzilla: Godman continues!
Jilarji Godman
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

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Go! Godman: Godman vs. Tsunojiras (ゴッドマン対オストタム)

March of Godzilla Godman

Go! Godman: Godman vs. Tsunojiras

aka ゴッドマン対オストタム その1 – その3 aka Goddoman Tai Tsunojirasu
Tsunojiras Godman
Week of March 8 – 14, 1973

That’s not how you vape!

Godman battles the nefarious Tsunojiras, who is nefarious in that he just happens to be a monster. The audacity of being a monster in the universe where Godman exists is a death sentence, yet time after time we see brave monsters rebelling against this status quo, even if it cost most of them their lives. Sure, a few of them are evil, but what has Tsunojiras done wrong? Godman is a despotic chaos lord who smites all that might even stand against him. We’ve seen plenty of examples in prior March of Godzilla: Godman entries, and be sure to stop by the Godman Splash Page.

Tsunojiras is a lizard kaiju with gigantic eyebrows that are probably horns, but you can never be too sure… He’s got a horn on his nose and little vampire fangs. His favorite fight moves is to egg Godman on by waving his hands to come here.

Five kids witness giant monster Tsunojiras come over the hill, and run while the Chorus of Kids call for Godman. Godman soon arrives, and the fight is on!

Godman karate chops Tsunojiras several times, then uses his God-Sparkle gimmick, where he fires what look like machine gun bullets from three barrels in his fist at Tsumojirasu. It doesn’t work and Tsunojiras is like “Bring it!” Tsunojiras is pretty tough for a monster who has been directly threatened by some rando tokusatsu. We tsuzuku to the next episode…

The fight continues, Godman punching Tsunojiras so hard that the the flap covering the back zipper of Tsunojiras’ costume has opened up. No one at Toho Quality Control cares enough to stop to fight to seal it back up, because the only people watching this are dumb kids and dumb movie bloggers 40 years later. I see what you are doing to me, long-retired Toho executives. And I must say, “Well played!”

Literally nothing happens this episode except homo-erotic monster punching, so let’s tsuzuku to the next…

Tsunojiras shoves Godman off a tiny cliff and then begins kicking him while he’s down. I notice that Godman has really filthy shoes, and Godman gets slapped around some more. Then Godman struggles to his feet and keeps fighting the Tsunojiras. Why did you let him up? Idiot! You just gave Godman the opening he needs.

Godman pulls out his flail to go all Gogo Yubari on Tsunojiras! Godman then does his finishing move using the Godman Supersonic Wave (the swirly chest thing) and blows up Tsunojiras. Poor Tsunojiras, all he ever did was be a monster and be explosive and be seen by children.

In the latter three episodes of this week’s series, Godman went on to fight Elephantar, but those shows are mysteriously not included on the DVD, so we’ll skip them until someone uploads them on YouTube.
Tsunojiras Godman
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

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