Pale Flower (Review)

Pale Flower

aka 乾いた花 aka Kawaita Hana
Pale Flower 乾いた花
Written by Masaru Baba and Masahiro Shinoda
Based on the book by Shintaro Ishihara
Directed by Masahiro Shinoda

Pale Flower 乾いた花
Pale Flower starts out slow and continues the leisurely pace, building up the complex web of characters and simmering gang drama. Muraki (Ryo Ikebe) is newly released from prison, after serving a few years for killing a rival gang member. By now the gangs are in a loose confederation as a third power has become a threat to both. The two former rival leaders spend part of their time arguing like old bickering lovers. Muraki is brought back into the swing of things, but kept out of any heavy action because of his recent release status. The reacquaintance with underworld activities results in one exciting point, a striking young woman (Mariko Kaga) who shows up at one of the local gambling houses, bets big, seems bored, and speaks to no one. Muraki manages to attract a scrap of attention from her when he matches one of her large bets.

After a few weeks of gambling together in silence, Muraki scores a conversation with her. She goes by Saeko, and the small time bets no longer excite her. Muraki says he can get her bigger action, he just needs to ask around for where the games are played now. They agree to meet up later in the week, and a partnership is born. Saeko is a thrill-seeker, zipping around in her sports car, betting big. She senses the danger in Muraki and it attracts her, but not in a sexual lust way. Simply being around him is enough. One look at Saeko answers all questions of why any guy would hang with her.
Pale Flower 乾いた花 Mariko Kaga
The increasing bets and Saeko’s danger chasing mirror the increasing threats from the real world. A cryptic guard at one of the games Muraki pegs for a maniac, and soon Muraki is being talked down dark alleys by a hidden killer. The upstart gang kills an important gang figure, and there must be a response of killing their leader. Muraki volunteers, his stretch of freedom growing sour at the same time his relationship with Saeko seems to be going south. But she reunites with him as he prepares to go off to do his job, seeing someone be murdered is a thrill she hasn’t experienced yet.

Muraki is a low-key gangster who seems bored with life in general and justifies his killing by talking down on mankind as a whole. His relationship with Saeko isn’t overtly sexual, but is two people at a similar point in life that come together because they click, and tension boils beneath the surface. Muraki has a woman who waited for him while he was away, she sleeps in the clock shop her family owns, the scenes there punctuated by the ticking of hundreds of clocks, a reminder of the limited length of life. She can’t stay away from Muraki even though he’s no good, and follows him, observing his relationship with Saeko.
Pale Flower 乾いた花
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Attack of the Galactic Monsters (Review)

Attack of the Galactic Monsters

1983 (Yeah, whatever!)

Directed by Godzilla, probably. Maybe. Just an educated guess!

Attack of the Galactic Monsters is one of two (so far) movies that have popped up recently purporting to be edited for American TV movies (usually attributed to Hawaiian TV if a location is mentioned), the other being Monster King Godzilla. This one popped up on the website (!) and is largely a paste job set around the 1977 Toho movie War in Space. UPDATE: It looks like the link is now dead. Be sad=( If you though War in Space was too boring and far too long, and had far too much characterization of the cast, this this is the movie for you! It chops out over 2/3rds of War in Space, and inserts footage of Godzilla kicking various monster butts from the TV series Zone Fighter, a tokusatsu series that guest starred Godzilla occasionally.

Both Attack of the Galactic Monsters and Monster King Godzilla have little real information about them. People theorize that they are legit, or they are a hoax, or mention that they may have seen the tapes at bootleg stands at cons. No one has any real proof in any way. If these are a big hoax, someone spent a lot of time on them, including transferring everything to a VHS tape before digitally saving it for the masses on the internet. One thing that is suspicious is there is no obvious gaps for commercials. I had lots of experience taping things off TV as a lad and know what a tape looks like when it’s paused to cut out commercials, and there are none of those artifacts that I can see. It is possible it was taped with commercials intact, but then they were digitally edited out before the upload. It is also possible that this is the master tape so of course there are no commercials. But neither explains the odd running time, 55 minutes is not really a good running time for a tv show with commercials. So who knows? What I know is I got some extra Godzilla flicks to review on here, and that is totally jawesome.

As so much is cut out from the War in Space film to shorten it and add in Godzilla fights, the movie makes little sense. They barely explain any of the characters’ names, and instead rely on you just going with it. So just go with it! I haven’t seen War in Space in like 20 years, so I needed a cheat sheet, but there should be enough info below to let you know what is going on if you have seen the film or not. Basically, in War in Space, aliens invade the Earth and blow the crap out of it. so Captain Takegawa and the flying drill ship the Gotem (design based on Atragon‘s Gotengo ship) goes to the alien planet to blow up some alien jerks. And there is a horned Wookiee with an axe. Go team Let the Wookiee Win!

The other stuff you need to know is about Zone Fighter, Toho’s best known tokusatsu series from the 1970s, where the Zone Family fought the evil Garogas, who attempted to conquer Earth via sending giant monsters. Zone Fighter and sometimes Godzilla would then horribly murder the monsters, until everyone was defeated by being canceled in the middle of the series. This movie uses up most of the Godzilla appearances and barely uses Zone Fighter at all, except for one sequence where he fights Godzilla. Will there be more info on Zone Fighter episodes shortly? Maybe….

People Roll Call!

Captain Masato Takegawa (Ryo Ikebe) – Captain of the Gotem and target of alien abduction. His daughter is Jun and she always gets kidnapped. It runs in the family.
Grinning Aliens – The villains from the planet WhySoSirius. The Garogas randomly running around in the middle of the alien footage from War in Space.
Hell, the Supreme Commander of the Empire of Galaxy – Jerk from Venus who blows up most of Earth. They then blow up Venus. Now he’s a Supreme Commander IN Hell.
Horned Chewbacca – What a Wookiee!

Monster Roll Call!

Godzilla – Godzilla. King. Monsters.
Zone Fighter – Zone Fighter is a member of the Zone Family who enjoys zoning laws and redistricting debates.
Gigan – Gigan, stop showing up in these awful films! I’m glad you die.
Wargilgar – Wargilgar loves flames. He loves shooting flames and he loves burning stuff up. He doesn’t seem to like being bathed in radioactive fire breath from Godzilla, though. What a hypocrite!
Zandora – Drill, baby, drill! Oh, wait, drilling leads to my demise? If only a lesson could be learned from this…
Jellar – Wishes he was a little bit taller. Wishes he was a baller. Wishes he had a girl that looked good and he would call her. Wishes had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a ’64 Impala.
Kastom Jellar – Kastom Jellar grows from a ripped off tentacle from Jellar. That’s what happens when you don’t throw those old leftovers in your fridge away!
Jikiro – Jikiro has a magnetic personality. So magnetic he gets horribly murdered by Godzilla and Zone Fighter.
Spideros – OMG it’s a spider, squash it!
Garaborg – Garaborg was Plan C in the episode he was in, after Plan A – murder by cake – and Plan B – hypnosis kidnapping – both failed miserably. Garaborg also failed miserably.

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