Posts tagged "Rodan"

Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

Terror of Mechagodzilla

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

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

Titanosaurus, DirectTV pioneer

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

Being a little mermaid sure is boring…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Destroy All Monsters (Review)

Destroy All Monsters

aka Attack of the Marching Monsters aka Kaiju soshingeki

1968

Directed by Ishiro Honda

Godzilla before that first morning coffee.

When I was but a wee lad first learning about the Godzilla experience, catching Super Scary Saturday showings of G-flicks, buying Godzilla films on VHS that weren’t showing up on tv, recording films airing on the local UHF station, I was also reading up on every monster movie related book I could read. My favorites were by a guy named Daniel Cohen*, who wrote such books as Super-Monsters and Science Fiction’s Greatest Monsters, well-read copies of which still lie somewhere in my mom’s attic. There was also another set of books at the library that were neon orange with a book each for Dracula, the Mummy, King Kong, Godzilla, and a few other monsters. The thing was, every library in the area did NOT have the Godzilla book! I was so angry! Imagine 8 year old Tars so mad he purposefully murdered his entire Oregon Trail travel party. Some say I went too far, but they say so only via their gravestone markers…

Manda and Godzilla set up their slot car racers!

But is there a point to that rambling first paragraph? Yes! You see, of the Godzilla flicks and lore of Godzilla flicks, knowledge of a movie containing all sorts of Toho monsters was spread. This mythical, magical movie, had like all sorts of monsters, including monsters I had never heard of, beat the tar out of each other and aliens attack. It was Destroy All Monsters. And it never aired on TV anywhere near me. So sad! It also wasn’t at any video store. Destroy All Monsters became a mocking ghost, forever out of reach. Until one day in college suddenly it was on VHS tape. I was like “HELL YEAH!” and bought me some Destroy All Monsters, watched it, loved it, and now don’t know where the tape is because a DVD version was released shortly thereafter. So yeah. And now I have this cool version, which has the AIP dub merged with a widescreen format custom made by some guy on the internet. Because I’m awesome like that.

Check out this curve, ladies!

Was Destroy All Monsters worth the 14 years of questing to find? Damn straight it was! Though it isn’t perfect, it is entertaining. It’s got alien invasions, an awesome monster fight finale, Akira Kubo, alien chicks in silver hoodies and capes, 1960s astromen costumes in bright primary colors, attempts to make rocket propulsion scientifically accurate, lasers, and Minya! The only thing missing from this film is Don Frye, but he pops up in another flick years later to make it all right.

Gah this water’s too cold! Back to the blanket for me!

Captain Katsuo Yamabe (Akira Kubo) – Captain of the Moonlight SY-3 spaceship along with first officer Okata. Is the designated hero of planet Earth, because he saves the day again and again and again. His sister is Kyoko.
Kyoko Yamabe (Yukiko Kobayashi) – Katsuo’s sister who has just started her new job on Monsterland the day it is invaded by aliens. What awful timing. Spends most of the film under alien control via earrings. Yukiko Kobayashi is an artist now, if I’m using Google correctly and it isn’t a different Yukiko Kobayashi.
Dr. Yoshita (Jun Tazaki) –The old UN science guy who seems to be in charge of the entire world, as he takes command of everything when the aliens invade. Jun Tazaki is in such G films as King Kong vs. Godzilla, Atragon, Godzilla vs. the Thing, Frankenstein Conquers the World, War of the Gargantuas, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.
Kilaak Queen (Kyoko Ai) – The Queen of the Kilaaks and the Queen of Fashion. This Space Lady wants to conquer the Earth and make all humans part of the Kilaak tribe. Why? Because!
Dr. Otani (Yoshio Tsuchiya) – Dr. Otani is head of research at Monsterland and is a cool guy. Until he’s mind controlled by the Kilaaks and turns evil! Then he goes all Peter Pan out a window, except he doesn’t have magic fairy dust, so he has a tragic ending. Yoshio Tsuchiya has been seen here before in Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Gigantis the Fire Monster.
I save the whales….for dessert!

Monster Roll Call!

Godzilla – Godzilla rules monster island, and is then brain controlled and sent to destroy New York. After being set free, Godzilla figures out who the real bad guys are and blows up the alien base.
Minya – Godzilla’s son is here, proving once again why he is the awesome son. He even delivers the finishing blow to King Ghidorah. How many monsters can claim that?
Mothra – Mothra is only in larva form for Destroy All Monsters, probably because the rotting Mothra moth costume last seen in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster had deteriorated into a big pile of moth goo.
Rodan – Rodan is a flying jerk who thinks the best way to save the whales is to save them for supper! Oh, and he helps save the Earth after he’s not mind controlled.
Anguirus – Anguirus shows how brave he is here by charging in full speed ahead to take on King Ghidorah. Hooray for Anguirus!
Manda – Manda takes a break from the land of Mu to hang out on Monsterland for a while. See this Manda in Ultra Q as well
Baragon – Baragon is around. Yep. It’s surprising Baragon is in this movie, as the suit was currently being hacked to pieces for use in Ultraman. But they managed to glue him back together for a small cameo.
Gorosaurus – Gorosaurus isn’t just a background monster, he trashes France and does some butt-kicking of King Ghidorah himself! A refugee from King Kong Escapes, Gorosaurus would disappear (except for stock footage) until showing up with a badly decaying monster suit on Ike! Godman, and then on Godzilla Island.
Speiga/Kumonga – Speiga has returned from the dead to be a spider and spit some web. So don’t be hatin’ this spider jerk, because for once he’s sort of good. But he still sucks, so screw ’em!
Varan – Varan flies around in the background of the big fight, then suddenly gets a huge closeup during the final flyby of the film. Oh, Varan, why are you so unbelievable? Varan’s solo other movie appearance has three different versions (Japanese, English, Japanese TV) so it’s like Varan was in four films!
King Ghidorah – King Ghidorah returns, once again under control of some crazy alien race, this time the Kilaaks. Oh, King Ghidorah, why do you keep whoring yourself out to the highest bidder? Have some respect for yourself, you’re a “king” for goodness sakes!
Fire Dragon – Hey, you ain’t a real monster! I want my money back…
Moonbase Mission Control stole it’s color scheme from TarsTarkas.NET!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 18, 2011 at 2:12 am

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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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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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Godzilla Island – Story Arc 22

Godzilla Island – Story Arc 22


1997

Directed by Shun Mizutani

It’s the Final Countdown! Du-de-du du, Du-de-du-du-du! The last Story Arc of them all! The return of the whole cast, the Secret of Godzilla Island is out and the Xiliens will do anything to get their grubby paws on it! Giant Dark Emperor gets mad, Torema gets sad, and less than a few seconds transpires between this story and the previous one. We get a new monster, but not the giant monsterfest I was hoping for with the final story arc. Oh, well. Things are still good, so let’s get the good goings on going, shall we? New readers, Start here at the beginning of the series, and everyone else get ready for the final chapter. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow there is no tsuzuku!


G-Guard Commander (Jiro Dan) – G-Guard Commander runs the Godzilla Guard unit on Godzilla Island. He’s all alone except for sassy robot Lucas, so of course he’s bored out of his skull normally. He seems to have been stationed there because it’s a low-priority assignment they could dump someone who can’t work under pressure, because that’s exactly what he is. Luckily Torema shows up to save his pants. I do not know if he has a name but it may be Oji.
Torema (Maimi Okuwa) – A mysterious young girl who shows up one day on Godzilla Island right when the dastardly Xiliens begin to attack. She repels the attack, joins the G-Guard, and begins her fight against Zaguresu the Xilien because Xiliens destroyed her home planet (I think that’s what happened – she may have been from future Earth.) Has psychic powers and her own spaceship called the Panatolute.
Zaguresu (Naoko Aizawa) – Evil Xilien woman who invades Earth using giant monsters and her giant Independence Day/V rip-off spaceship. Enjoys laughing evilly while contemplating the latest diabolical schemes. Follows the Xilien leader Giant Emperor’s orders, because that’s what they do on Planet X. Sheep! Or not, as she becomes defiant. Her spaceship is named the Vabaruda.
Misato (Kaori Aso) – The new monster doctor who is dedicated to her craft. Works hard, argues with G-Guard Commander, and flies Medical Jet Jaguar around all the time. Now has her own spaceship, the Tart-coupe.
Landes (Kaoru Ukawa) – The new Xilien assigned by Giant Dark Emperor to take over Godzilla Island. She has crazy eyes. Always using a pink fluffy fan. Her ship is another Vabaruda.
Nao (Sho Sawamura) – The latest cast addition to Godzilla Island, and the most mysterious because she came out of nowhere and seems obsessed with food. Who is she? Why does G-Guard Commander seem to know her and get annoyed at her constant talk of food? Will we ever get answers? I sure hope so, because otherwise you have to put up with this explanation for the remainder of the series. At this point I think she is G-Guard Commander’s daughter. I translated Sho Sawamura’s name myself so hopefully it is right.
Lucas (Kenichiro Shimamura) – Annoying robot, Godzilla Island-style! Makes sarcastic remarks, and seems to be even mean at times. An annoying Kenny kid in floating metal sphere form. He must be destroyed! Translates from monster language to Japanese.
Camero (???) – Landes’s floating robot, sounds bored when he talks. Just what we needed, another annoying Lucas. Hopefully he can be the entertaining Meowth to the lame Pikachu. Looks suspiciously like MST3K’s Cambot (Last design)!
Narrator – (Yutaka Aoyama) – He’s not a character but the guy who recaps the previous episode in the beginning of the episode. That means thirty seconds of each three minute episode is Narrator recounting events, padding running time beyond levels I want to think about. He’s a typical Japanese male announcer, amazingly excited and epic about even the most mundane things.
Giant Dark Emperor (???) – Giant flaming head who commands the Xiliens and Planet X. Do not look behind the curtain. The great and powerful Giant Emperor commands you, and can hear your sarcastic backtalk! Still, being a flaming head in space has got to be pretty boring.

Different monster feature in each episode, so we’ll keep track of them in each story arc. The complete Godzilla Island Daikaiju List is located here. We’ll also list any new monster match-ups that weren’t in any film but now exist thanks to this series, such as Mecha-King Ghidorah fighting Hyper Mecha-King Ghidorah or something. The R2 Japanese DVD release is unsubtitled, so most of what is going on will be educated guesses thanks to our limited Japanese speaking ability. But here at TarsTarkas.NET we don’t need no stinking subtitles!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 2, 2008 at 11:34 am

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Godzilla Island – Story Arc 21

Godzilla Island – Story Arc 21


1997

Directed by Shun Mizutani

President Skroob – Salute! Hail, Skroob! We all hail Skroob, and it looks like the Japanese do as well, because part of the plot of this Story Arc is lifted from Spaceballs! Unfortunately, Godzilla does not fight a giant robotic maid, but we do have an air shield, and the people beneath it lose all their air. Also, the Secret of Godzilla Island is revealed, A new warship is unveiled, and the plot moves towards the final battle as we hit the next to last Story Arc. Anyone new should head over to Story Arc 1, everyone else get to reading. And may the Schwartz be with you….

G-Guard Commander (Jiro Dan) – G-Guard Commander runs the Godzilla Guard unit on Godzilla Island. He’s all alone except for sassy robot Lucas, so of course he’s bored out of his skull normally. He seems to have been stationed there because it’s a low-priority assignment they could dump someone who can’t work under pressure, because that’s exactly what he is. Luckily Torema shows up to save his pants. I do not know if he has a name but it may be Oji.
Lucas (Kenichiro Shimamura) – Annoying robot, Godzilla Island-style! Makes sarcastic remarks, and seems to be even mean at times. An annoying Kenny kid in floating metal sphere form. He must be destroyed! Translates from monster language to Japanese.
Misato (Kaori Aso) – The new monster doctor who is dedicated to her craft. Works hard, argues with G-Guard Commander, and flies Medical Jet Jaguar around all the time.
Landes (Kaoru Ukawa) – The new Xilien assigned by Giant Dark Emperor to take over Godzilla Island. She has crazy eyes. Always using a pink fluffy fan. Her ship is another Vabaruda.
Nao (Sho Sawamura) – The latest cast addition to Godzilla Island, and the most mysterious because she came out of nowhere and seems obsessed with food. Who is she? Why does G-Guard Commander seem to know her and get annoyed at her constant talk of food? Will we ever get answers? I sure hope so, because otherwise you have to put up with this explanation for the remainder of the series. At this point I think she is G-Guard Commander’s daughter. I translated Sho Sawamura’s name myself so hopefully it is right.
Camero (???) – Landes’s floating robot, sounds bored when he talks. Just what we needed, another annoying Lucas. Hopefully he can be the entertaining Meowth to the lame Pikachu. Looks suspiciously like MST3K’s Cambot (Last design)!
Narrator – (Yutaka Aoyama) – He’s not a character but the guy who recaps the previous episode in the beginning of the episode. That means thirty seconds of each three minute episode is Narrator recounting events, padding running time beyond levels I want to think about. He’s a typical Japanese male announcer, amazingly excited and epic about even the most mundane things.
Giant Dark Emperor (???) – Giant flaming head who commands the Xiliens and Planet X. Do not look behind the curtain. The great and powerful Giant Emperor commands you, and can hear your sarcastic backtalk! Still, being a flaming head in space has got to be pretty boring.


Different monster feature in each episode, so we’ll keep track of them in each story arc. The complete Godzilla Island Daikaiju List is located here. We’ll also list any new monster match-ups that weren’t in any film but now exist thanks to this series, such as Black Mechagodzilla fighting Gigan or something. The R2 Japanese DVD release is unsubtitled, so most of what is going on will be educated guesses thanks to our limited Japanese speaking ability. But here at TarsTarkas.NET we don’t need no stinking subtitles!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm

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