Posts tagged "Yasuhiko Saijo"

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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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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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 16, 2007 at 3:35 am

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