Posts tagged "Mechagodzilla"

Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition (Review)

March of Godzilla 2019

Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition

aka すすめ!ゴジランド aka ゴジラと遊ぼう aka Let’s Play With Godzilla
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
1996
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
Gakken is backken and in the meantime they got a new logo! After the two year gap, Godzilland was revamped and retooled. There is a different theme song performed by a lady! But more importantly, the show has more kaiju kid characters! Joining the Godzilland team are Gigan, Moguera, and Mechagodzilla! Mechagodzilla looks like 1970s Mechagodzilla, not the 90s Mechagodzilla, which is a weird aesthetic choice but maybe they didn’t like the new monster being cartoonified so much. Let’s not forget the wholly original character – a female Godzilla! This one is pink with hearts for the spinal ridges, and her name is Gojirin! Gojirin is just adding a female suffix to Gojira, and is equivalent to calling her Godzilly in English, thus that has become her unofficial English name. And the show now has live-action segments where Godzilla tells stories to a human lady, both of them being the same size! We’re really tripping balls here for this new series and it is amazing!

The best part is all of this is canon now, baby! You can’t uncanon this, it exists, Godzilla had a girlfriend and has a human lady friend and couldn’t do math or read due to having no real parents, which is why he’s a good dad to all his adopted kids he’s picked up over the years. This is the truest of truths. Be sure to check out the cast list page for Godzilland!
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
Godzilla is making pancakes for his lady friend, who is impressed that he can use the power of addition to tell how many pancakes he has made. Godzilla enjoys regaling her with tales of his youth, so today he’s gonna tell her (and us!) about how he learned addition. It is not entirely clear what the nature of their relationship is, so I just call her his lady friend while he seems to call her something like “Big Sister”, so I guess she is a friend that is like family? A nanny? A nurse caretaker due to a chronic medical condition that we are not aware of due to the short length of the series? Could it have to due with Godzilla’s propensity to eat all sorts of terrible food? Is Godzilla going to die of a heart attack at an early age because he won’t eat a salad? Damn it, Godzilla, pull yourself together, man! But I digress…

A long long time ago on Godzilland…

Mechagodzilla’s peaceful flight around Godzilland is spoiled when he spies Godzilla and Anguirus having an argument that turns into a physical altercation. These boys do nothing but cause problems! Mechagodzilla marvels that such good friends are good enough friends to fight each other, which sounds like a very mature view until the episode continues and we see it is a very immature view that just lucked into sounding more philosophical than it is.
Recommended! Godzilland – Learning Addition
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 8, 2019 at 12:19 pm

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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

Categories: Cinema Articles   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

aka Gojira Tai Mekagojira aka ゴジラ対メカゴジラ

1974
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Jun Fukuda, Masami Fukushima, Shinichi Sekizawa, and Hiroyasu Yamamura
Directed by Jun Fukuda

Godzilla, if you take him out of his original package, he’s only going to be worth half as much!

It’s Godzilla time once again at TarsTarkas.NET, as March of Godzilla 2012 continues into April and stomps right up to the fabulous Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla! Yes, Godzilla fights his metal double, other monsters run around and help, and we find out what happens when damn dirty apes get their hand on robot parts!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was one of my favorite Godzilla flicks growing up. I vividly remember buying the VHS tape with my own money (as the film was never shown on TV in my area) and the tape box had an awesome painting of Godzilla fighting Mechagodzilla. King Caesar was nowhere to be found on the cover, which did sort of make me sad. But the film totally made up for that, and this tape spent many days grinding away in the vcr, almost as much as my copies of Godzilla’s Revenge and King Kong vs. Godzilla (both taped off of tv the way nature intended!)

There are some who call me…Tim!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a classic Godzilla film and helps trend the trajectory of Godzilla films upwards from the children’s level entertainment Big G had been stuck in. While there is still a largely kid-safe feel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, there are signs of the audience being treated as more mature. Sprays of arterial blood, torture, human characters being blown away onscreen…all things you would be hard-pressed to see with Jet Jaguar running around. Of course, the same year Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was released, Godzilla was still running around with Zone Fighter violently murdering monsters to the delight of children across Japan. So maybe things aren’t so much mature as they are just bigger budgeted.

They had commercials for energy drinks in 1974 Japan?

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla succeeds partially because the villain is memorable. It is inevitable if a series goes on long enough that evil doubles will show up. Toho even had their King Kong fight his own mechanical double early on, and it is about time Godzilla got into the mix. It also helps that Mechagodzilla just looks cool. He bristles with weapons and is a danger to the good monsters of Earth. Mechagodzilla worked so well as an adversary to Godzilla, he was later reimagined as a weapon to fight Godzilla in both the Heisei and Millennium film series. But here he is pure evil, a killing machine first seen as a disguised Godzilla brutally injuring Anguirus, one of Godzilla’s best buds. We know things aren’t right, the roar is different, Godzilla is mean. Mechagodzilla is fooling no one except the dopes who actually live in this movie world.

There are some weird contradictions in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Most notably, Godzilla himself is an allegory about nuclear weapons and destruction, the hubris and violence. But now things get flipped and instead Godzilla is part of a prophecy of ancient Japan, to defend Japan against a technological monster bent on destruction, with the help of a monster that resembles classical Japanese artwork of a lion/dog. Godzilla is now part of the spiritual order of things, a protector spirit to help save Japan and the world. Just ignore all those films where he kill thousands. Godzilla does not escape his role as hero that has been cast upon him by the later films, and instead is integrated more as something that has always been meant to be a hero. His violent origin is hinted at in the film, when the characters sigh that “Of course Godzilla will be the monster to destroy the world…” but that is quickly thrown aside once the truth is revealed. This is probably the seed of how Godzilla would be treated later in the Heisei and Millennium series, as a force of nature and less of an evil or good monster. It is certainly an improvement over his prior films, where he’d be called in to go beat up the monster of the year.

Planet of the Herpes!

A change of direction was needed, as this was the 20th Anniversary film for the Godzilla franchise and something special should happen. It was also the last Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda, the man who helmed many of the films during Godzilla’s descent into children’s hero (and a few episodes of the Zone Fighter series!) Though he would still direct The War in Space and ESPy if you need some more Japanese scifi to track down.

By the time it showed up in the US in 1977, Cinema Shares International (who purchased the distribution rights) had renamed it Godzilla vs. Bionic Monster. That ticked off Universal, who said the title was too close to their TV show The Bionic Woman. Although laughable, Cinema Shares went the easy route and just retitled the film Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster. By the time it showed up on VHS tape, the Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla name was reattached. And though I could drag out my old VHS copy from storage, instead take some remastered DVD action!

No matter how often they redesign the dollar coin, it will never catch on…

Keisuke Shimizu (Masaaki Daimon) – The elder Shimizu brother who helps defend Earth from those damn dirty space apes! Spends much of his time doubting that Saeko can do much of anything. Not afraid to fight aliens for long periods of time. Masaaki Daimon is also in 2009: Lost Memories and returns in Terror of Mechagodzilla as a different character.
Masahiko Shimizu (Kazuya Aoyama) – Zone Fighter??? What are you doing here? Okay, fine, I guess putting the actor in your monster TV series in your monster movie series makes sense. The younger Shimizu who spends time photographing things and finding space metal in caves.
Saeko Kanagusuku (Reiko Tajima) – A girl! She is not only a girl, but a woman who can translate archeological ruins (but not all the way!) and can’t be trusted to keep secrets. Because records of non-cult Japanese shows are dubious at best, Reiko Tajima seems to disappear after this film except for some anime voicework.
Professor Hideto Miyajima (Akihiko Hirata) – The actor who played Dr. Serizawa makes his required appearance in older Godzilla films. His pipe is partially made out of the fake metal astanopkaron (asutanopukaron if you’re Japanese!) because we needed to invent something weird to throw in that is barely used.
Professor Wagura (Hiroshi Koizumi) – Two brothers visit two different professors because that let’s us pack in many characters so we can shoot around their busy schedules! Professor Wagura can translate even better than Saeko, and that’s what he does. Hiroshi Koizumi also appears in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla vs. The Thing, Mothra, and Godzilla Raids Again
Godzilla (Isao Zushi) – You may have heard of this Godzilla guy…
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – A Space Ape controlled mechanical double for Godzilla, with many powers and weapons, except the power to not lose to Godzilla.
King Caesar (Momoru Kusumi) – King Caesar lives in a cave and comes out every thousand years to beat up a monster. He’s really lazy.
Anguirus (Momoru Kusumi) – Anguirus shows up to get beat up by the evil fake Godzilla, to show he’s mean! Anguirus’s defeat is a message that this film ain’t going to be like Godzilla vs. Gigan or Godzilla vs. Megalon. No, this film will be a bit more darker, a bit more dangerous. And if any of you peeps think that Baragon was originally going to be in this film because Anguirus was digging, I hope you enjoy being wrong, because you are.
Space Aliens (Various) – People say these guys Space Monkey around! At least space monkeys are an improvement over cockroach aliens, but neither hold a candle (or a banana) to the Xilians.
Now hold still and pretend there aren’t wires attached to you!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

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Monster King Godzilla (Review)

Monster King Godzilla


1980 (yeah, right!)

Directed by Who the Frak Knows!

It’s March of Godzilla 2011, so let’s get right into it with some weirdo Godzilla flicks you probably haven’t heard of!

Monster King Godzilla is a Godzilla movie mashup that is a very truncated version of the movie ESPy mixed with fight scenes of Godzilla from a bunch G flicks randomly inserted. Part of a couple of films (2, really) supposedly from a Hawaiian TV station that edited them for broadcast. Whether or not that is true, I am not convinced at all (this is discussed more in the upcoming Attack of the Galactic Monsters review) but it is probably just a clever fake. Good job trying to make this look like it came from a VHS tape, it might even have been copied onto one. FYI, the title Monster King Godzilla comes from the Japanese name for the 1956 Godzilla, King of the Monsters recut when it was released in Japan in 1957.

The best piece of research I have found on this is a blog entitled Monster King Godzilla that has one post, entitled Monster King Godzilla, that is just a scan of the supposed VHS jacket the bootleg is from with the same text you see everywhere. Huzzah!

Here is the text that accompanied this film:

“Very rare Godzilla film made for Hawaiin TV in 1980 by Filmways TV USA, 99% stock footage and a bizare wrap around plot involving physic powers make this a very strange film. AVI is from a VHS purchased at the Chiller Theatre convention in the mid 90s. I have never found any record of this film anywhere else.”

Ignoring all the misspellings, either this guy purchased what is probably a hoax and released it himself, or he just made up this story after creating the hoax and is feigning ignorance about the film ESPy.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter, as this is a frakked up Godzilla film so we’re gonna review it for March of Godzilla 2011!

First of all, since ESPy is used as a template for all the Godzilla mashup footage, let’s take a brief look at the 1975 Toho ESP/spy flick. It was part of their “mutants” series of films, back when Toho was making wacked out 1970s films that are rather freaky to watch today. The UN sets up an organization called Espy filled with psychics and ESP people, to stop a group called Counter Espy, who are evil psychics and ESP people. Why Counter Espy is named first I have no idea, having not seen the film, but I am guessing because they are psychic! Being psychic probably explains all sorts of plot problems with ESPy. How convenient! Counter Espy tries to kill the Prime Minster of Baltonia:

Prime Minster of Baltonia


Espy stops them, and newbie Espy agent Jiro Miki (Masao Kusakari), his dog Cheetah, veteran Espy agent Yoshio Tamura (Hiroshi Fujioka), and girl Espy agent Maria Harada (Kaoru Yumi) must do battle with the evil Counter Espy leader Ulrov/Wolf (Tomisaburo Wakayama) to save the world from evil people who have special powers. No heads explode, which is a failing of the ESPy series, all one entries in it. Jun Fukuda directed this film along with War in Space, the other source film used in a Godzilla Mashup.

Godzilla flicks used in this film include
Godzilla vs. Megalon
Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Revenge of Mechagodzilla
Godzilla vs. Gigan

There are lots of quick edits and huge portions of ESPy is skipped as the film moves in in order to throw in all the Godzilla footage. So there will probably be some vary confusing things mentioned in the plot section, but it is accurate. Having not seen ESPy, I was at an even worse advantage, but I persevered because I’m awesome. You can be awesome too, all you need to do is read this review!

Who cares about the crappy humans, it’s Monster Roll Call!

Godzilla – Godzilla is the King of Monsters, and spends this whole film ruthlessly slaughtering all these throne pretenders.
Megalon – Megalon is a drill-handed lame-o cockroach who gets what’s coming to him.
The Smog Monster – Hedorah is all about the pollution and trying to kill Al Gore. Run for it, Gore!
Mechagodzilla – Godzilla’s robot double is also trouncing around. Why doesn’t Espy use their ESP powers to go all ESP on him? Lazy Espy stock footage scenes.
Titanosaurus – Titanosaurus proves you can be in more than one Godzilla film if some guy edits you into a fan film mashup. Keep dreaming the dream, Titanosaurus!
King Caesar – Hail to the king, baby! Oh, wait, we already got a king… Hm…
King Ghidorah – Hail to the.. We got way too many kings here! Jesus ain’t being born, we only got room for ONE king here, not three! Luckily, King Ghidorah gets beat up again! We’ll give King Caesar a pass because he’s awesome.
Gigan – Gigan is a loser who sucks. I hate you Gigan. But not as much as your mom hates you.
Anguirus – Yes, this blob is Anguirus who wasn’t quite edited out entirely. So now he’s in the Roll Call.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

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Godzilland (Review)


Godzilland

Say kids, what time is it? It’s Godzilland time! YAAAAYYY!!

Wait, what the frak is Godzilland? Godzilland was a morning show for the kiddies that aired in Japan around the time Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 came out. Besides that, I know nothing about the show except for this sample episode that will get documented here. There is little to no information about this show anywhere (at least in English) so join TarsTarkas.NET as we sail into uncharted territory! March of Godzilla 4 had to have some crazy surprise, now didn’t it?

The best part of Godzilland is the stylized cartoon kaiju

They are all over the opening sequence, we have larva Mothra, that human who we will see is the host, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, Baragon, Gigan, Godzilla, Moguera, Mechagodzilla, Mothra egg, and more Mechagodzilla

All of those Mechagodzillas probably mean that film either is about to or just came out. The inclusion of Moguera might indicate they already are working on SpaceGodzilla, but might not as SpaceGodzilla is MIA in the opening credits.

King Ghidorah, Mothra as a Moth, and Mecha-King Ghidorah show up in this frame

The top Kanji translate to “bouhan” which means “an exciting adventure” And Godzilland sure is!

Here is our host, I think his first name is supposed to be Russell but I might be wrong.

Russell hangs out with four Japanese chicks who are big Godzilla boosters

They are the Godzilla Chicks (a name I made up for them) and in the beginning Russell asks them questions from a pile of cards.

Interspacing animation time!

Holy Godzilla vs. Bambi, Batman!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 30, 2009 at 12:07 am

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