Posts tagged "Kenji Sahara"

Son of Godzilla (Review)

Son of Godzilla

aka Monster Island’s Decisive Battle: Godzilla’s Son aka Kaiju-shima no Kessen Gojira no Musuko

1967

Directed by Jun Fukuda

Hey, what the hell are you doing in my shower??

Son of Godzilla is a damn awesome film, but it is also a film that you pretty much need to see as a kid. Looking back on the film as an adult, there are plenty of things wrong, but there are plenty of things right. And as the waves of nostalgia wash over you, even the few problems you see melt away into the bliss of Minya. I can imagine people viewing this for the first times as adults, and much of the magic will be gone.

I still have the VHS tape of Son of Godzilla I bought with my own money as a small kid. I didn’t want to wait for the film to pop up on TBS’s Super Scary Saturday or the local station KLJB-TV which would sometimes show Godzilla movies during their Sunday “we gotta air SOMETHING!” programming. I watched that tape like crazy, it getting just as much play as Godzilla’s Revenge, Ghidrah, and a few other Godzilla flicks I watched religiously.

That’s right, baby. Not ten minutes old and chicks are lining up to serve me!

Minya was designed to appeal to kids, and it worked beautifully. He’s the ultimate lure to get kids even more excited to watch the monster films. It’s the same old gimmick as masked crimefighters having young kid sidekicks. Minya isn’t even the first monster kid, Kong had a son decades before Godzilla was even a reality. But Minya has stood the test of time and even survived a brief attempt to usurp him of his role as Godzilla’s son. Suck it, Godzilla Junior, you’re just a second rate extra from Dinosaurs!

Son of Godzilla features two other new monsters, Kumonga and Kamacuras, aka Speiga and Gimantis. Both are creepy bug monsters, preventing anyone becoming attached to them instead of Minya or Godzilla as the heroes. Sure, there are people who are into spiders and insects, and even Mothra is a hero, but the gut reaction of the bugs vs. the cute kid is obviously what they were going for.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Just FYI, I’m calling them Minya, Speiga, and Gimantis through the plot section. None of that Minilla, Kumonga, or Kamacuras crap. That’s because these are the names I grew up with. And this is my review, so I can do what I want! Nyeh nyeh nyeh!

The remote island location with the small science crew allows for some lower budget action. They realize they need a character to have everything explained to, so in airdrops the standard reporter character. Godzilla films need reporter and scientist characters, it is the peanut butter and chocolate on the kaiju bread. Despite many of the characters getting no lines and just wandering around in the background, some of them are pretty heavy hitters.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLadies!

So I did my best with the cast list, several of the researchers don’t really get names or personalities, so I played mix and match.

Maki Goro (Akira Kubo) – Goro has a stomach for news! He also has a stomach for picking up hot island chicks and getting in the middle of giant monster fights. I’ve meet Akira Kubo in real life because I’m awesome like that. Akira Kubo was also in such classics as Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Matango, and Gorath
Reiko/Saeko Matsumiya (Bibari/Beverly Maeda) – Island girl Reiko has been alone on the island since her father, archeologist Tadashi Matsumiya, died years ago. She instantly takes a liking to Goro and about five minutes later has moved from jungle girl clothes to wearing Hawaiian shirts, white pants, and even a cute mod-inspired snow suit. Reiko is the English dub name and Saeko is the Japanese dub name.
Professor Kusumi (Tadao Takashima) – Professor likes his pipe, which would get him an R-rating in modern film. Dr. Kusumi is working on a plan to control the weather to help in food production. Tadao Takashima also appeared in 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Frankenstein Conquers the World, Atragon, and King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Dr. Fujisaki (Akihiko Hirata) – Dr. Fujisaki is 2nd in command and Professor Kusumi’s friend. He comes up with most of the escape plans and fixes the radio. Akihiko Hirata has a history with Godzilla films all the way back to being Dr. Serizawa in the original Gojira. See him here in Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, Ghidrah, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, and Cozzilla
Furukawa (Yoshio Tsuchiya) – Furukawa is an angry guy who hates the island they are on, hates the hot weather, and hates everything ever that ever was or will be. He’s grumpier than Grumpy Smurf. Furukawa is also mentally unstable due to all the heat and later fevers he gets, which makes it odd that he’s running around armed most of the time. Yoshio Tsuchiya can be seen here in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Gigantis the Fire Monster.
Morio (Kenji Sahara) – Scientist who usually wears sunglasses and sees some of the important monster developments in the film. You can see Kenji Sahara in G History all the way back to the original Gojira to Godzilla Final Wars. See him on TarsTarkas.NET in Godzilla vs. The Thing, Ultra Q, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.
Ozawa (Kenichiro Maruyama) – Kenichiro Maruyama is barely there in several films, including brief appearances as an islander in Godzilla vs the Sea Monster and as a Moon base employee in Destroy All Monsters.
Tashiro (Seishiro Kuno) – Tashiro has a brown shirt and shines a light on Reiko. That’s about it for his character. Seishiro Kuno is so barely in Godzilla vs. The Thing, you would think I am lying to you. But I am not and he is in it. Somewhere…
Suzuki (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Suzuki is another island member who did little and said less. Yasuhiko Saijo was Ippei in Ultra Q, also a henchman in Godzilla vs. Gigan. Isn’t it weird how 2/3rd of Ultra Q is trapped on this island? I’m just going to declare that Ultra Q takes place in the Godzillaverse.

Kaiju Roll Call!

Godzilla (Haruo Nakajima and Seiji Onaka) – Godzilla is the king of all monsters and the king of parental responsibility. When he isn’t taking a nap. Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla for years, was Big G during the first scenes done in the water, but later taller actor Seiji Onaka took over so Godzilla would look bigger than his son.
Minya (“Little Man” Machan) – Minya is the son of Godzilla who counts, unlike that other guy who sucks and we’re not going to mention his name ever again. But you know who you are. Try as I might, I can’t find any pictures of “Little Man” Machan, a little person wrestler who played Minya in all three movie appearances.
Gimantis/Kamacuras – Giant mantis who is mutated to be even gianter. Picks fights with Minya, Godzilla, and Speiga. Gets sucked bone dry.
Speiga/Kumonga – Spider monster that spends most of the film sleeping, the rest trying to eat the other monsters and people. Eventually learns no one messes with Godzilla.
Gimantis 2/Kamacuras 2 – Second Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets burnt to a crisp.
Gimantis 3/Kamacuras 3 – Third Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets fried to ashes.
I’m totally gonna Serve you, Gimantis! I see some haters grillin’ I see some ladies chillin’ I see that girlie I’ve been plottin’ to get She can hop in the whip And we can Pump p p Pump Pump it up

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

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Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (Review)

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

aka Gojira VS Supesugojira

1994

Directed by Kensho Yamashita
Written by Kanji Kashiwa and Hiroshi Kashiwabara


Nothing is ever spelled right in a Godzilla film.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla was the twenty-first Godzilla film and the second to last Heisei picture. It received mixed to bad criticisms upon its release in Japan and later the US, and now is almost universally scorned. There are some good points, and some nice nods to continuity of the Heisei series. SpaceGodzilla is an old concept from the 1970s (along with Godzilla vs. the Devil, which could have only been born in the 1970s) that got yanked out for modern day after TriStar failed in their quest to make an American Godzilla film. Upon release of the actual American Godzilla film a few years later, one wishes they instead yanked Godzilla vs. the Devil out of the dustbin instead!

The design for SpaceGodzilla stems from an old Nintendo game Super Godzilla, during the game Godzilla could become Super Godzilla, and the sprite design was almost identical for SpaceGodzilla. They, in fact, took the sprites, slightly altered them, and then called is SpaceGodzilla. SpaceGodzilla has never returned to the silver screen, but he returned for several episodes of Godzilla Island, where it was revealed there is a second SpaceGodzilla who is killed in that series. SpaceGodzilla also shows up in video games (fitting due to his design origin): First he appeared in Godzilla: Giant Monster March. He also showed up in Godzilla: Save the Earth, replacing Orga as the final opponent in hard mode. In his biggest role, SpaceGodzilla is the final boss in Godzilla: Unleashed, the game where Godzilla battles against Animal Control for the right to have his pit bulls run free in the streets.

MOGUERA shows up instead of Mechagodzilla because Mechagodzilla was too powerful in the previous film, and having Godzilla and his robot brother fight the space spawn would be too one-sided, even though it could be advertised as Godzilla^3! So they drag out Toho’s other robot creation (no, not Mechakong) MOGUERA! Back when he was Moguera, he was in 1957’s The Mysterians and showed up as an alien agent on a carnage run smashing through cities until he was killed when a bridge fell out from under him (the same fate as James T. Kirk!) A second Moguera then appeared later in the film only to also die by being crushed. Now MOGUERA is built by the UN from the wreckage of Mechagodzilla to fight Godzilla, and is an acronym for Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero-Type. MOGUERA can split into two vehicles, Land Moguera and Star Falcon, because every monster in the Heisei universe has multiple forms, even freaking robots!

Babygodzilla has grown up some and is now Littlegodzilla, who is now Minya-sized and more annoying. I still hate him, but even worse, there was a possibility that he would have gotten his own TV shows spun off of this film. Thankfully, that never came to pass. So instead I will complain about the US DVD release. I can ignore the dubbing, the lack of credits, who cares. The problem is they chop off a good portion of the film in multiple scenes! It is supposed to be anamorphic widescreen, but it is obvious that parts are sourced from a fullscreen print that is chopped off at the top and bottom for widescreen! This is most apparent in the title shot, where most of the word “Gojira” is chopped off. Multiple scenes in the film have characters missing the tops of their heads. I am not going to watch my VHS copy of the film to see if it is filled with chopped off foreheads, I am just going to assume it doesn’t. So “BOOO!” to whoever authored the DVD, you did a terrible job and I hope you die by being crushed by DVDs.


Xillian raiders forced us to wear these horrible clothes! Help us!

One thing the movie never harps on is that is SpaceGodzilla was created from Godzilla cells, then he is Godzilla’s offspring (in a round-about way!) We have a cool subplot about fatherly responsibilities, daddy issues, what if you have a son who is genetically defective, all sorts of things that are completely ignored! The human plot could have benefited greatly from a little less of the psychic crap and a little more family turmoil. Maybe Miki has a friend whose father hates her because she is psychic, and thus she begins to act out and be bad. Then dad learns he must love his daughter and take care of her even if she is different, because otherwise she could become a horrible space monster obsessed with crystals! And then…Dad is crushed by a crystal, but her psychic/telekinetic powers save him! Then the whole thing airs on ABC Family.

Speaking of crystals…crystals? Who thought crystals was a good idea? Every time I watch this I think of those New Age wackos who use crystals to get energy and all that other freaky stuff. That’s a little loopy even for a Godzilla film. What is next, WitchGodzilla (excuse me…WiccanGodzilla?) In conclusion, crystals are dumb.

Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – Psychic girl Miki Saegusa becomes Telekinetic girl Miki Saegusa due to her new telekinetic abilities. She’s still psychic, and also has magic earrings that keep her in contact with The Cosmos, who warn her of the danger of SpaceGodzilla (something Miki doesn’t bother to let anyone else know about, but they learn soon enough!)
Lt. Koji Shinjo (Jun Hashizume) – Member of G-Force who goes to track down Godzilla for the Project T, then ends up co-piloting MOGUERA. Has sort of a thing with Miki.
Lt. Kiyoshi Sato (Zenkichi Yoneyama) – Shinjo’s friend and care-free dancer, Sato is the yang to Shinjo’s yin and parties it up while the two search for Godzilla. Also becomes one of the MOGUERA operators after their Godzilla/Project T mission.
Major Akira Yuki (Akira Emoto) – Best friend of Goro Gondo from Godzilla vs. Biollante, ever since his friend’s death he has obsessed with hunting Godzilla down. Eventually learns to give up his quest after Godzilla saves the world by killing SpaceGodzilla. And he also finds love. Isn’t that sweet? It is, you chump!
Professor Chinatsu Gondo (Towako Yoshikawa) – The sister to Goro Gondo is a respected scientist and works for the G-Force Science council. She helps design Project T, helps determine the origin of SpaceGodzilla, and convinces Akira Yuki to give up his obsessed ways and learn to love.
Professor Susumu Okubo (Yosuke Saito) – This guy is all about controlling Godzilla and then secretly selling that technology to the Yakuza! Has crazy eyes, crazy chin, and crazy goggles. Yes, he is crazy. Like all mad scientists, he dies. To bad one of those lecturing scientists from Godzilla vs. Biollante weren’t around to bore this guy to death with their speeches.
Minister Takayuki Segawa (Kenji Sahara) – Even politicians get into the Godzilla-fighting fun! Recurring from the past two films, Minister Takayuki Segawa makes his final appearance in the Heisei series. Kenji Sahara has been in scores of kaiju movies and tv shows, including such fare as Ultra Q, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
Commander Takaki Aso (Akira Nakao) – This gruff commander of military forces will head all action against Godzilla for the last three Heisei films. He looks the part perfectly. Akira Nakao returns as Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi in Godzilla X Mechagodzilla and Tokyo SOS.
The Cosmos (Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa) – Those tiny Japanese girls are back, as tiny as ever! Now they are in red Kool-aid-tinted Astral Projection form! They warn Miki of the danger of SpaceGodzilla. They thank Miki when it is all over. That’s about all they do, but at least it is the same girls playing the part.
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – Godzilla was just minding his business one day when this space freak comes to Earth, throws his kid in a crystal cage, blasts Godzilla up, and then goes all “I’m conquering the Earth!” We know Godzilla ain’t gonna stand for that crap, so soon he is kicking butt and blasting names and chewing bubblegum. I messed up the quote but you get the idea.
SpaceGodzilla (Ryo Hariya) – SpaceGodzilla comes from space, hence the name. He is also totally into crystals. He believes in Crystal Lite because they believe in him! SpaceGodzilla can’t go ten minutes without explaining all sorts of crystal nonsense to you, and also mentioning how he wants to conquer the galaxy. I guess the crystals told him to do it.
MOGUERA (Wataru Fukuda) – Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero-Type is now MOGUERA and was built by G-Force from the ruins of Mechagodzilla. The original Mogueras were tools of alien invaders in The Mysterians. Can split into Land Moguera and Star Falcon.
Littlegodzilla (???) – Jerk. Gets stuffed in a crystal cage for being a jerk.
Fairy Mothra (Puppet) – Miki is off tripping balls so she sees tiny Mothras flying around. Miki is insane.

M&M escalates the War on Skittles. Taste this rainbow, bitch!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm

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Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 (Review)

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2

aka Gojira VS Mekagojira

1993

Directed by Takao Okawara

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 is not one of my favorite movies in the Heisei series. This is due to several factors, but largely because I hate Babygodzilla. I am a big fan of Minya, but Babygodzilla is just annoying. He fills me with disgust. Parts of this film are pretty great, but besides annoyance at the offspring, other problems creep up. Rodan is pretty much wasted in his only Heisei appearance. He does little more than show up, get beat up, and then die. Twice. The music is also odd, partially because it is inspired by King Kong Escapes and not a Godzilla film. And let’s just not go into how annoying it is to have multiple films with the same title!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 was released dubbed on VHS years after its release in Japan, it was so delayed that they changed the sprites in a Godzilla video game from the new Mechagodzilla to the older 1974 one because America didn’t even know about this new one. I guess the USA just can’t handle updated robots.

Kazuma Aoki (Masahiro Takashima) – This man is obsessed with pterodactyls! Obsessed! It is pretty scary. Masahiro Takashima fought more giant monsters in Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon and returned to the Heisei series in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
Azusa Gojo (Ryoko Sano) – A female scientist with who was with Professor Omae on his egg quest, ends up bonding with Babygodzilla.
Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – That psychic girl is back being psychic again, because her job is to be psychic. Just imagine that listing popping up on Craigslist: Help Wanted: Must be Japanese, female, under 25, a psychic, and not afraid of giant lizards. Experience preferred. Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
Professor Omae (Yusuke Kawazu) – Scientist who leads expedition to the island and finds the Babygodzilla egg and Rodan. Yusuke Kawazu was in the second and third films in the 1990s Gamera trilogy.
Minister Takayuki Segawa (Kenji Sahara) – Kenji Sahara has been in Godzilla films since the beginning, this is the third and final turn as Minister Takayuki Segawa in the Heisei series, he showed up again in Godzilla: Final Wars. Don’t miss him in these Ultra Q episodes.
Dr. Asimov (Leo Meneghetti) – In this alternate reality, Dr. Isaac Asimov not only is a great author on books of robotics, but he didn’t die, de-aged, and became one of the lead designers of Mechagodzilla. Or this guy is just named after Isaac Asimov.
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – Yeah, yeah, King of the Monsters, and now a single parent. That’s what you get for not wearing protection, Godzilla!
Mechagodzilla (Wataru Fukuda) – Build from the wreckage of Mecha-King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla is here to fight Godzilla! The NT-1 alloy, helium-3, and diamond shield armor are no match for a pterodactyl turning into gold flakes.
Rodan (Puppet) – Hatching from an egg and just chillin’ on an island until Godzilla shows up to kill him, Rodan joins the Heisei universe. Rodan later becomes Fire Rodan, because every monster in the Heisei series has several life stages.
Super Mechagodzilla (Wataru Fukuda) – Even this robot can’t escape having several life stages, as Mechagodzilla combines with the Garuda to form Super Mechagodzilla, who gets Super Destroyed at the end of the film. Super.
Fire Rodan (Puppet) – Yeah, here is the Fire Rodan entry. Fire Rodan isn’t fiery enough! We demand more fire! I want him made out of lava! That’s my Fire Rodan.
Babygodzilla (???) – I hate you, Babygodzilla. Replacing Minya in the Heisei series is this reject from an episode of Disney’s Dinosaurs. Babygodzilla is somehow Rodan’s half-brother and is sung to by plants.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 21, 2009 at 12:45 am

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Ultra Q – Episodes 5 and 6 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 5 and 6

Pegila Has Come! and Grow! Turtle

1966
Episode 5 Pegila Has Come! directed by Samaji Nonagase
Episode 6 Grow! Turtle directed by Harunosuke Nakagawa

Once again we dip into the world of Ultra Q, the Japanese TV series. A precursor to the Ultraman series, Ultra Q features many giant monsters that our plucky heroes have to deal with. Previously we have gone over Episodes 1 and 2, and then Episodes 3 and 4. Now we tackle the next two episodes! In addition to the 28 episodes of Ultra Q, a movie was produced in 1990 titledUltra Q: Star of Legend. A follow up series aired in 2004 entitled Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy as well as a radio drama called Ultra Q club (episode guide here.)

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. Before it became Ultra Q, however, it was known as Unbalance. As it became less Twilight Zone and more monsters, the name turned out to be a problem, but luckily a sports move called the Ultra C was gaining popularity, and thus Ultra Q was coined. Several artifacts of the original concept remain, including the very Twilight Zone-ish main title theme, as well as a narrator (but one used less frequently.) Several episodes would be somewhat independent stories that barely featured the main characters, and still other episodes would have ambiguous endings.

Thanks to recent Region 2 DVD release, these shows are now available to a whole new generation. However, they aren’t available to me in their entirety, as there are no English subtitles! But that’s where making up what we don’t understand comes in. Plot synopses and visual clues help us get the gist of the episodes, but the subtle parts we are just winging. That actually makes the show a bit better, as if we found out something was lamer than we though we might not like it as much. We don’t need no stinking subtitles!


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous kaiju career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer for the Daily News who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Hiroko Sakurai went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, in Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and in Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own. Not in either of these episodes.
Dr Ichinotani (Ureo Egawa) – After not being in the first two episodes, Dr. Ichinotani makes his first appearances here. Originally he was to serve as the Rod Sterling-type narrator, but when the show was refocused to be less Twilight Zone he became the wizened Professor who helps the heroes deal with the random rampaging monsters. Looks like a Japanese Wilford Brimley. Not in either of these episodes.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 20, 2007 at 4:43 am

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Ultra Q – Episodes 3 and 4 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 3 and 4

The Gift from Space and The Mammoth Flower

1966
Episode 3 The Gift from Space directed by Hajime Tsuburaya
Episode 4 The Mammoth Flower directed by Koji Kajita

Once again we dip into the world of Ultra Q, the Japanese TV series. A precursor to the Ultraman series, Ultra Q features many giant monsters that our plucky heroes have to deal with. Previously we have gone over the first two episodes, and now we deal with episodes 3 and 4. In addition to the 28 episodes of Ultra Q, a movie was produced in 1990 titledUltra Q: Star of Legend. A follow up series aired in 2004 titled Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy.

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. Before it became Ultra Q, however, it was known as Unbalance. As it became less Twilight Zone and more monsters, the name turned out to be a problem, but luckily a sports move called the Ultra C was gaining popularity, and thus Ultra Q was coined. Several artifacts of the original concept remain, including the very Twilight Zone-ish main title theme, as well as a narrator (but one used less frequently.) Several episodes would be somewhat independent stories that barely featured the main characters, and still other episodes would have ambiguous endings.

Thanks to recent Region 2 DVD release, these shows are now available to a whole new generation. However, they aren’t available to me in their entirety, as there are no English subtitles! But that’s where making up what we don’t understand comes in. Plot synopses and visual clues help us get the gist of the episodes, but the subtle parts we are just winging. That actually makes the show a bit better, as if we found out something was lamer than we though we might not like it as much. Such is the way of things.


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous kaiju career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer for the Daily News who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Hiroko Sakurai went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, in Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and in Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own.
Dr Ichinotani (Ureo Egawa) – After not being in the first two episodes, Dr. Ichinotani makes his first appearances here. Originally he was to serve as the Rod Sterling-type narrator, but when the show was refocused to be less Twilight Zone he became the wizened Professor who helps the heroes deal with the random rampaging monsters. Looks like a Japanese Wilford Brimley.

The main cast list is done, so we jump into the episodes!
Episode 3: The Gift from Space

Episode three of Ultra Q gives us a new main character and the most Twilight Zone ending so far. But it is still a solid episode, and the monster from Mars Natnegon has become one of the signature monsters from the series. This episode also is the first involving aliens in the Ultra-universe, who will turn out to be very pesky indeed with their constant monster attacks. Stupid aliens! I shake my fist at you! Invade some other planet for once. I hear Neptune is nice, or Krankor. First the guest cast, and then let’s get started with the episode.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 14, 2007 at 12:00 am

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Ultra Q – Episodes 1 and 2 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 1 and 2

Defeat Gomess! and Goro and Goro

1966

Both episodes directed by Hajime Tsuburaya

We have special treats for the last two segments of March of Godzilla 2. Unfortunately our attempt to get more editions of Super Scary Saturday fell through, but instead we have some things almost as good. First up, many of you are aware that Godzilla appeared in a few guest shots on TV shows, most notably Zone Fighter. In addition, the old Godzilla costumes were used in several Japanese series to become generic monsters. In this review, we will be watching the first two episodes of the Japanese TV series Ultra Q, where the monsters are modified costumes of Godzilla and King Kong.

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. As they also did the costumes for Toho’s movie productions, they had the monster suits lying around, and Godzilla effects master Eiji Tsuburaya was in charge of making new monsters for the TV show (after the series was decided to be more monsters and less Twilight Zone.) Several of the old Toho suits made appearances. In addition to Godzilla appearing in Episode 1 (as Gomess) and King Kong appearing in Episode 2 (as Goro), we had Manda in Episode 6 (as a dragon), Baragon in Episode 18 (as Pagos), the giant octopus in Episode 23 (as Sudar), and Magma the giant walrus from Gorath in Episode 27 (as Todola). Ultra Q was popular enough that it eventually spawned into the Ultraman series, and many of the monsters that originally appeared in this show turned up to fight Ultraman. I never saw any of these as a child, so this is all new territory. In addition, the DVDs are not subtitled in English! But that has never stopped us before! We may pepper more reviews of episodes throughout the year, as short episodes are easy to write if graduate school suddenly becomes much harder (which it will soon!)


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own.

The main cast list is done, so we jump into the episodes!
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4 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 16, 2007 at 3:35 am

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