Deep Sea Monster Reigo (Review)

Deep Sea Monster Reigo

aka Shinkaijû Reigô

Directed by Shinpei Hayashiya
Written by Shinpei Hayashiya and Keita Toriumi

Thanks to the wonders of Chinese DVDs we get a copy of Deep Sea Monster Reigo, which information has been leaking about this film for five years! Much of the initial filming was done around 2004-2005, and since then it has been mostly effects work done in spare time by director/writer/effects man Shinpei Hayashiya, who is a major effects guy in Japanese cinema and enjoys working on giant monster films so much he has been making his own for that past few years. He has been known to have made Gamera 4: Truth (Gamera 4: Shinjitsu) which features a white Gyaos; and also the Godzilla fan film Godzilla x Desugirasu (which is probably Godzilla VS Seadora.) So this guy lives for this stuff. In fact, we are already getting a sequel, Deep Sea Monster Raiga!

Over the years, the project has gone through several names, including A-140F6: Shinkaijû Reigô sakusen (A-140F6: Operation Deep Sea Monster Reigo), Reigô tai Yamato (Reigo, the Deep-Sea Monster vs. the Battleship Yamato) and finally Shinkaijû Reigô (Deep Sea Monster Reigo.) In 2004 Shinpei Hayashiya was negotiating two other cast members, former pro-wrestler turned politician Hiroshi Hase and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. Neither of them signed on, but it would have been cool. We wrote an article about Deep Sea Monster Reigo a while back, so it has some more tidbits.

Reigo requires some background information so we don’t just jump in with no clue what is going on. The Yamato was a Japanese warship that served in World War 2, at the time it was the heaviest warship ever built displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load, and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns. The Yamato was sunk in April 1945 during Operation Ten-Go. None of the historical officers mentioned in the Wikipedia article show up in the film (at least as far as I could tell) so everyone seems to be purely fictitious. But, then, subtitles… The film takes place in the days just after US involvement in World War 2 and the Yamato faces its first powerful opponent, a sea monster named Reigo. Reigo is a little ticked that the Yamato killed its baby, so she sets out to starts smashing up the Yamato and its battle group (Battleships sail with several smaller ships for support, mostly destroyers/cruisers.) Battle is joined, people get killed, ships get sunk, the monster roars a lot, lighting flies all over the place, your general kaiju stuff.

This Chinese DVD has no English subtitles, so it is either Japanese language or Chinese subtitles, so we shall just wing it. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! The film is pretty easy to figure out without subtitles, so no worries there.

Ensign Takeshi Kaido (Takayasu “Taiyo” Sugiura) – Our lead character is Ensign Takeshi Kaido, a newly graduated cadet out to sea on his first mission right when the US declares war on Japan. He has a girlfriend and will be around during a lot of the action, but doesn’t really do a lot. Taiyo Suguira starred in Ultraman Cosmos and several other productions.
Officer Noboru Osako (Yukijiro Hotaru) – is the father of detective Osako from the Heisei Gamera trilogy, so this is a neat little surprise. Osako runs one of the gun crews on the main battery. Yukijiro Hotaru also starred in Shinpei Hayashiya’s fan film Gamera 4: Truth (aka Gamera 4: Shinjitsu)
Chie Kojima (Mai Nanami) – Takeshi Kaido’s love interest. Not a big role. Besides having a photobook Mai Nanami hasn’t really done much of anything.
Captain Yamagami (Susumu Kurobe) – Ultraman?!?!?! Yes, it is Susumu Kurobe as Captain Yamagami, the captain of the Yamato who can’t handle losing so many men, then mysteriously disappears. Susumu Kurobe was Hayata, Ultraman’s human alter-ego in the original Ultraman series. Susumu Kurobe starred in numerous other Ultraman productions, and was also seen here in Ghidrah and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
Crewman Kanai (Yoji Tanaka) – Another Yamato crew member. Yoji Tanaka was in a lot of cult films including Cutie Honey.
Benkei (Ukon Ichikawa) – aka Saito Musashibo Benkei (1155 – 1189), a legendary warrior monk who is in a bunch of kabuki and Noh plays, so maybe you should learn some culture and go see one. Or just watch him dance around on the deck of the Yamato as the entire crew is slaughtered. Ukon Ichikawa is a renowned kabuki actor.
Reigo – Reigo is a mama mad about her dead baby and attacks the ship foolish enough to make her childless, the Yamato. Reigo has electricity powers, lightning strikes her all the time and she can conjure up little electric Reigos to tear people up. Not immune to battleship weapons. Reigo was designed by Amemiya Keita (the director of Zeiramu) and then developed by Haraguchi Tomoo, who worked on the Heisei Gamera trilogy.

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