Shin Godzilla (Review)

March of Godzilla Godman

Shin Godzilla

aka シン・ゴジラ aka Godzilla Resurgence
Shin Godzilla
Written by Hideaki Anno
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi

New facial cleanses have gotten out of control!

Godzilla was on one of his occasional breaks after his Final War while the US developed their own Godzilla franchise. But after that monster hit, Godzilla reawoke in Japan to return with a spiritual successor to the original Gojira that is also one of the most successful films in Japan. Godzilla is back as a force of nature, the appearance and response directly referencing the Japanese Fukushima earthquake/nuclear disaster. Much of the film is spent in a West Wing style series of high level government meetings, in which entrenched minsters and officials do little of consequence in order to avoid looking bad if their actions don’t have the desired effect. While that sounds like it could be terrible, it’s actually really good, the scenes are cut quickly and innovatively to keep things moving briskly along while still giving you the feeling that the characters were in long unproductive meetings.

Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi were given free reign to tell their story, the pair having collaborated on Evangelion, with Anno subsequently directing cult live action films such as Cutie Honey and Higuchi doing effects work on the Gamera trilogy and directing the Attack on Titan features. Their strong pedigree promised that we would get something unique and entertaining, and the pair delivered with a strong entry.

The effects are a bit mixed, the final form of Godzilla is well done, but the earlier forms look goofy and some effects with them seem more rushed. While most of the music is new, there is some nice Akira Ifukube put in at the right time, with tanks driving around and blasting away that helped made the scene come together, you won’t care that everything is now CG instead of models and a guy in a suit. It really is modern mixed with the past, besides the retro tank fight, we have unmanned drones attacking Big G at one point, and the final sequence has a bunch of industrial and civilian vehicles that make up the heart of Japan’s economic might being used to save Japan.
Shin Godzilla
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Mini Moni the Movie: The Great Cake Adventure! (Review)

Mini Moni the Movie: The Great Cake Adventure!

aka Mini Moni ja Movie: Okashi na Daibouken!

Directed by Shinji Higuchi

What in the name of all that is holy did I just watch?

This film is BONKERS! Members of the JPop group Mini Moni work at a bakery, and get turned into cartoon characters who have to fight an evil queen who hates cake. It’s full of trippy musical numbers, CGI weirdness, and more sugar than Frosted Flakes. And, like Frosted Flakes, it is part of a complete breakfast and is GRRRRRR-reat! First we’ll try to explain Mini Moni and JPop groups from the Hello! Project in general, and then jump into the film.

Mini Moni is a spinoff of Morning Musume, one of the biggest rotating lineup girl bands in Japan. Morning Musume is the flagship group of the Hello! Project, which is responsible for unleashing hordes of JPop singing super cute acting Japanese girls upon the nation. The juggernaut Hello! Project contributed most of the cast of Yo-Yo Girl Cop and contributes the entire cast here. Besides this being an excuse to explain the departure of one member of Mini Moni and the joining of another, the movie also introduces a new underage group named 4KIDS, the four members (Sugaya Risako, Hagiwara Mai, Suzuki Airi, Sudou Maasa)would later become members of Berryz Kobo and °C-ute. I am not making any of these band names up. (Sugaya and Sudou are now members of Berryz Koubou; Suzuki and Hagiwara are members of C-ute. )

Mari Yaguchi had an idea in 2000 for a subgroup whose members were 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 inches) in height or shorter, and they soon picked up Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji to join. The fourth member was Mika Todd, who is not native Japanese and was added to give them some international flavor. Mini Moni gained some notoriety for acting crazy during their media gigs, including grabbing people’s butts. They are also popular on the internet for their show being the source of the Dramatic Chipmunk image. The group eventually disbanded in 2004. A great loss to the music world, indeed.

Here, we have an adventure where Mini Moni is turned into little CGI girls, meet magic fairies, fight an evil queen who hates cake, befriend a refrigerator, and try to get back to their bakery in time for it’s second anniversary. So basically it is the Gone of the Wind of the JPop world. And it’s insane. Completely insane. Get a bucket, your brain will melt.
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