Youth of the Beast (Review)

Youth of the Beast

aka 野獣の青春 aka Yaju no Seishun aka Wild Youth
野獣の青春 Youth of the Beast
Written by Ichiro Ikeda and Tadaki Yamazaki
Based on the novel by Haruhiko Oyabu
Directed by Seijun Suzuki

野獣の青春 Youth of the Beast
A random stranger coming to town to pit two rival groups against each other is a classic story done well in a variety of genres, and with Youth of the Beast we get the story set in the swinging 1960s yakuza beat, with director Seijun Suzuki determined to make the visuals by themselves a grand spectacle. Joe Shishido and his cheeks take their usual place as a Suzuki lead, as Shishido’s Joji Mizuno waltzes in to lead the sides to their collective dooms.

so what makes Youth of the Beast worth watching like similar tales Yojimbo, Red Harvest, Django, A Fistful of Dollars, or even The Warrior and the Sorceress? Aside from the story being well told again, there is the great Seijun Suzuki visuals. Suzuki starts showing off his boredom with the nonstop yakuza films by tossing in a bunch of visual flair. He must have had fun, because his films only seemed to escalate from here. Youth of the Beast opens with a bleak black and white scene of solemn police investigating a double suicide, a cop and a woman, the only point of color (and life) being a red flower. This sharply contrasts with the vibrant color and exciting city life full of laughing girls, violent fights at the drop of a hat, and a jazzy soundtrack that immediately follows, as Joji Mizuno beats through some Nomoto yakuza thugs to rob their money and blow it at their club.
野獣の青春 Youth of the Beast
The energetic club is full of life, sin, and sound, while the Nomoto yakuza bosses who control it observe though soundproof one way mirrors, giving the mirth a surreal quality. Mizuno’s ease of dispatching the thugs gains the interest of the boss, and after a bit of interrogation and some display of weapons skills, he’s on their team. Then just as quickly, Mizuno is ratting everything out to the boss of the rival Sanko gang. As he’s out for revenge against the groups that ruined his life, breaking them apart piece by piece becomes a fun game.
野獣の青春 Youth of the Beast
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Daigoro vs Goliath – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 11

The Infernal Brains strike again, wading into the monster battle of the century! Last century. Yes, it’s the obscure 1972 Toho/Tsuburaya co-production Daigoro vs. Goliath (Kaijû daifunsen: Daigorou tai Goriasu – literal translation: Great Desperate Monster Battle: Daigoro vs. Goliath!) The desperation is great indeed as Tars and Todd must digest a film where monsters also do digestion. Giant monsters, kiddie suitmation, awful slapstick humor, and child matinees. We go over the Champion Festival edited Godzilla flicks, released long ago on laserdisc as the Godzilla Death Battle Chronicles. We also take a side track talk about local tv horror hosts (mentioned hosts include: Chuck Acri from Acri’s Creature Feature, Bob Wilkins, Asmodeus, Grandpa Munster on Super Scary Saturday, and Commander USA) But worst of all, we talk about a monster that can’t use the toilet and what that means for the children of the world. Find out why Daigoro vs. Goliath was never imported to the USA! What were they hiding from us? Or what were they protecting us from?

As usual, we got more listening choices than you can shake a bowl of Daigoro chow at: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link. So many choices, Goliath will crash down from space just to punch you!

Download the mp3 (right click, save as)

Watch in slideshow form:

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Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Dara Singh
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09
Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10

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Godzilla vs. Mothra (Review)

Godzilla vs. Mothra

aka Gojira vs. Mosura aka Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth


Directed by Takao Okawara
Written by Kazuki Omori

This is the most popular film of the Heisei Godzilla series, in that it did the best at the box office due to the cross appeal of Mothra with girls. It spawned the Mothra Trilogy as an offshoot (though technically not in the same universe) and helped set up sequels down the line in the Heisei series. And it wasn’t released in the US until years later, thanks to fallout from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Thus, I ended up with a full-screen dubbed VHS release around 1998 or so when the movies started to show up at the local Suncoast (now bankrupt.) Isn’t that grand? So as Godzilla has been rebooted, it is time for familiar monsters to start reappearing. Since Ghidorah already did his part, now Mothra will show up to kick some Godzilla butt. Mothra is also joined by Battra, the Dark Mothra. Wow, how original. Will Dark Godzilla then show up? What about Light Ghidorah? What if we had a Godzilla who was black on one side and green on the other? Then he fought another bi-colored Godzilla, except his colors were on the opposite sides! This is a Star Trek joke, for those of you who are 13 and stumbled across this while Googling for “Godzilla boobs” or something.

Someone will find this review by Googling “Godzilla boobs”

Back to the films, we have typical Heisei stuff with the army being useless, that psychic girl Miki Saegusa showing up, and a bunch of new main characters who have to spend the film repairing their marriage. Important stuff, to be sure. This is also the deput of the Heisei Shibojin, or the Cosmos as they get renamed this time around. And they are not real twins, just two Idols that Toho had lying around.

Originally, Mothra was to fight a monster known as Bagan in a film called Mothra Vs. Bagan. Then Godzilla vs. Biollante tanked and Toho realized that no one knew who Bagan was. Instead of having Mothra fight Bagan all across Asia (including battles in Shanghai and Bangkok) Mothra was reworked into the Godzilla series. Mothra then got so popular she headlined her own trilogy of films. Bagan appeared as the final boss in the Super Nintendo video game Super Godzilla, and almost fought Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Bagan, but that film became Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. So Bagan gets the shaft again!

Takuya Fujito (Tetsuya Bessho) – Indiana Jones has been reincarnated as a Japanese tomb raider. That’s what happens when you die in a fridge as a nuke goes off. Takuya Fujito spends so much time stealing ancient artifacts he divorced his wife and hasn’t seen his young daughter. This all changes thanks to the power of Godzilla. Sure, thousands died, but Takuya rekindles his marriage!
Masako Tezuka (Satomi Kobayoshi) – Ex-wife of Takuya Fujito and mother of their young daughter. Reluctantly gets her husband out of jail to guide a mission in Infant Island in search of the giant egg, and being around each other during tragedy helps them get back together.
Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – Don’t you know who she is by now? Miki Saegusa spends most of the film hunting down tiny girls.
The Cosmos (Keiko Imamura & Sayaka Osawa) – The Shobijin are now The Cosmos, because of…uh…um…stuff. So they are still two tiny girls who speak in unison, have psychic powers, and give warnings to people. They also get kidnapped by evil corporations all the time, because evil corporations are dumb and think two tiny slave girls will lead to an increase in sales of octopus-flavored Pocky. Maybe it would, this is Japan we are talking about. The Cosmos were created by the lifeforce of the Earth
Kenji Andoh (Takehiro Murata) – The Secretary to the President of the Maritomo Company. Sort of a jerk, but becomes less of a jerk when he stands up to his boss. Then he gets fired and exits the movie. Takehiro Murata also stars as Yuji Shinoda in Godzilla 2000, as a newspaper editor in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and has cameos in GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and Godzilla X Mechagodzilla.
Professor Fukazawa (Saburo Shinoda) – Professor of being a suave Japanese Professor, also volcanoes or something. Will return in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
Marutomo Head Takeshi Tomokane (Makoto Otake) – Evil CEO of an Evil Corporation who is Evil. And also a dork. Look at him, with his dorkiness. Conspires to cut down all trees, enslave the environment, kidnap tiny girls, and fire anyone who disagrees with him. His stockholders love him.
Godzilla (Kenpachiro Satsuma) – Godzilla? Never heard of him.
Mothra Larva (puppet) – Another Mothra pops out of an egg and immediately is involved in a fight. For someone who loves peace so much, Mothra sure gets into fights as a newborn a lot. Mothra has a fight in the high seas, trashes a city searching for The Cosmos, and then morphs into moth form after a cocoon on the Diet.
Mothra Moth (puppet) – Moth form of Mothra hasn’t changed much except to get bigger than the Showa form. And she has beam weapons now. And she can make little tiny Mothras, though we don’t see that in this movie so just forget I mentioned it.
Battra Larva (Hurricane Ryu Hariken) – Battra first appezred 12,000 years ago to trash civilization because they made a weather control device and Earth was mad. Battra and Mothra fought each other during that time. You remember all of this from history class so there is no need to add details. Battra then slept and was supposed to awaken in 1999 to destroy a meteor, but Godzilla woke him up earlier. So now Battra Larva is running around doing Battra Larva things. Is 90 meters long and weighs 20,000 tons
Battra Bat (puppet) – Battra then grows up without the need of a cocoon. First Battra hates Mothra, but eventually the two team up to attack Godzilla. This results in the death of Battra, who hasn’t been back unless you count Godzilla Island episodes. Adult Battra has a length of 73 meters and weights 30,000 tons, with a wingspan of 180 meters and can fly at Mach 3. Battra is the Black Mothra.
Yuzo Tsuchiashi (Akiji Kobayashi) – A grey-haired guy in G-Force who is some of these Heisei films yet he wasn’t featured in a Roll Call because these Heisei films have like 90,000 characters. He went back in time in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and helps plan defenses against Godzilla in multiple films. He is a friend of Environmental Planning Board Chief Jyoji Minamino. Actor Akiji Kobayashi is famous for the Kamen Rider X series, and also cameos in Gamera 2: Assault of the Legion.

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