aka 夕陽に赤い俺の顔 aka Yuhi Ni Akai Ore No Kao aka My Face Red in the Sunset 1961 Written by Shuji Terayama
Directed by Masahiro Shinoda Killers on Parade is a dark comedic flick that features a group of gimmicked hitmen and women as eventual adversaries to our plucky hero, who is on a mission to bring down a corrupt construction firm and the newspaper editor that is attempting to blackmail it. The plot is less important than the colorful characters that are part of the Downtown Killer Club. Killers on Parade is set in a garish comic book world filled with colors and items that bother to label themselves so you know what they are. The villains have gimmicks and costumes that leave you with no doubt as to their gimmicks and roles, and scenes are shot to play up common film locations. While things are overtly goofy, there is enough danger seeded to try to raise actual stakes, but this factor doesn’t seem to have aged well enough to make it to modern day without seeming like a distraction instead of an integrated part of the show.
The Murderers 8 present as a united front, but are fiercely competitive, though follow a sense of honor when being assigned jobs, preventing others from interfering and disrupting all their down time. Despite all the characters having day jobs, all they seem to do all day is hang out with each other and get into marksmanship competitions. The Murderers 8 include (please excuse the lack of names for some, they just didn’t get their name mentioned out loud!):
Hong Kong, a Yakuza gangster stereotype in black suit, who is the most dangerous of the group.
Senti, a gun champion.
The bespectacled Doctor, who handily always carries around a black bag that says “Doctor” on it in English.
Sergeant, a former soldier.
An Older Guy who appears to dress as a shrubbery cutter.
A Sports Guy who wears jerseys and during the final battle, a full football uniform and helmet.
Scarf Guy, whose gimmick is he has a scarf (Okay, they didn’t have time to give everyone personalities!)
Nagisa (Kayoko Honoo), the lone female killer who often dresses in red and has a pet goat named End. She ran off from home to be a killer, but is starting to grow disillusioned with the lifestyle.
The overall tone is comedic with random bursts of song, providing a send up of the then-recent spate of neonoir/borderless action flicks in Japanese cinema, dosed in wonderful technicolor and layered in sensible silliness. Things seem to make both perfect logical sense in universe, but are also ridiculous when you stop to think about them. The killers demonstrate their marksmanship by shooting at an apple on a kid’s head before the credits. Later they have another shooting competition at the race track to see who gets the new contract. Continue reading →
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 theseUltra Qepisodes.
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.