The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit
Minoru Kawasaki has been given the nickname of late as the “Ed Wood of Japan.” I think this nickname is misleading, because Minoru Kawasaki’s films aren’t bad, they are just really weird. The kind of weird that plays well to international cult audiences but if you try to describe them to your coworkers they just look at you weird and then avoid talking movies with you in future conversations. He first burst in the international scene with Calamari Wrestler in 2004, about a squid that showed up at wrestling matches. His other films include Executive Koala – about a koala executive who may have murdered his wife, Crab Goalkeeper – about a crab that is a goalkeeper on a soccer team, The World Sinks Except Japan – a parody of The Sinking of Japan film (this was also Kawasaki’s first film filled with political satire), Kabuto-O Beetle – another wrestling film with a giant beetle, The Rug Cop – a parody of 1970’s Japanese cop tv shows involving a living toupee, and the upcoming Neko Râmen Taishô – about a cat who runs a Ramen stand. This resume makes him the perfect person to helm the return film for the giant monster Guilala. (He actually did work with giant monsters on Ultraman Tiga.)
Guilala first appeared in 1967’s The X from Outer Space (aka Uchi Daikaiju Girara, literally Giant Space Monster Guilala.) This was the first daikaiju film from Shochiku. After Guilala was brought to Earth as a spore it grew into a giant monster and rampaged until it was coated with Guilalalium, which returned it into a spore and it was shot back into space. The goofy monster design is probably what the film is best remembered for. There have been rumors for years of Guilala returning, most noticeably the long-standing rumor that he would fight Gappa, another Japanese monster who was a one-shot deal from the Nikkatsu studios. And now Guilala reappears years later in The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (as well as a promotional exercise video released around the time of the movie’s release in theaters in 2008 that I have been unable to track down!) After the film was released in Japan, Guilala showed up again in the US in a commercial for Ladders, some job website.
The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit is not a daikaiju movie in so much as it is political satire set against the backdrop of a monster attack. The political caricatures are independent enough that you don’t need to know who they are to follow along, but if you are versed in foreign affairs than you get a whole new layer of jokes that others will miss.
The G8 Summit is a forum for governments of eight nations of the northern hemisphere. The leaders of the eight member nations each get represented here as exaggerated caricatures, though how exaggerated you are can vary. There is also a few changes from who actually attended the G8 Summitt due to political changes in power that happened after the script was already in production. The most noticeably is that Prime Minister Shinz? Abe hosts the summit here, while in reality the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan was actually hosted by former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who took over after Abe’s surprise resignation. The Russian president is also called Putin, though the Russian president at the time of the meeting was Dmitri Medvedev (and the actor resembles him more than Putin.) All other minor differences are listed below in the Social Studies 101 section. But first we need to introduce the non-political characters: