Imagine: Iwaizumi having a monstrous cluster of Godzilla keychains to one key.
It’s like a ball of 11 different little Godzilla figures attached to 2 keys (one to his home and one to the Oikawa’s). 90% of the keychains are gifted by Oikawa and with really good quality except that oldest one, a plastic poor-made Godzilla keychain Oikawa got from a gachapon and gave it to Iwa.
The cover to the Heisei Era New Monster Guide Book published in 1992 by Ultra Books. This cover features not only Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and Shin Kamen Rider but monsters from Ultraman (the Baltan Alien) and Ultraman Great (a.k.a. Ultraman: Towards The Future) plus Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Gamera, Zigra and Zeiram!
The great Haruo Nakajima passed away today. Renowned the world over for his role as the King of the Monsters as well as starring in almost every single non-Godzilla Toho kaiju film as various monsters, Nakajima was a legend and quite possibly the most famous suit actor in the world.
To remember his legacy, I will be streaming the original 1954 Godzilla today at 8:00PM EST. The stream will be held in my Rabb.it room (which I will post on my dashboard about twenty minutes before the movie) and feature some interview segments and documentary footage before the movie.
After Godzilla, we will be heading over to @callie-the-kaiju-enthusiast‘s room for War of the Gargantuas, Nakajima’s favorite role behind Godzilla.
I hope you’ll all join us in remembering Haruo Nakajima’s legacy. RIP to the Man of a Thousand Monsters.
A Japanese perspective on imagery in Mothra vs Godzilla
Great job on the podcast, guys, I just recently started listening as I am midway through my own non-chronological run through the bulk of Godzilla films. I was glad to see you both enjoyed Mothra vs Godzilla as much as I did. It is one of the very best in my opinion also. I just wanted to add a little wrinkle from my Japanese cultural background that might not be obvious but might make MvG that much more poignant to the non-Japanese observer.
Two points to make, really…
One: The scene when the kindergarten/primary school teacher is fleeing Godzilla with the pupils to the other side of the island.
This scene, needless to say, is incredibly affecting just on the surface of it. The scene sells the high stakes - losing innocent children to the monster (rather than just greedy/stupid fishermen and their homes) and the manic desperation of the headmaster ashore on the mainland. However, in addition to that, some cultural background makes this scene even more chilling. By way of explanation, first, indulge me a short paragraph of history.
During WWII, Japan’s battlefront with the US was mainly aerial bombing of strategic targets, and the main ground warfare avenues were in Japan’s imperial conquests, the Pacific islands, famously Guadalcanal in the Solomons. The only time US-Japanese forces clashed on either country’s home turf was in the closing stages of the war when American forces reached Okinawa. For the first time civilians were forced to reckon with a physical enemy presence in their towns and homes, and the self-sacrificing, brainwashed nature of contemporary Japanese society would manifest in unimaginably awful incidents.
You can Google “Okinawa children mass suicides” for details (Reuters, The Guardian, NY Times have covered it), but in a nutshell, the military would hand out two grenades to classroom teachers to use when cornered - one to throw at the enemy, and the other to commit suicide instead of being taken alive. On small islands like in the Okinawa archipelago, there’s only so far you can run before the enemy catches you.
Of course, the Godzilla movies are no stranger to stoic death (the family in the 1954 original accepting their fate at the mercy of Godzilla so that they could meet their deceased father comes to mind) but the mechanics of this scene really stand out to me as the product of deliberate, conscious choices:
• The fact that the scene plays out on an island, with the mainlanders unable to offer support to the women and children - an obvious reference to Okinawa’s physical separation from mainland Japan
• The children, crying as their female teachers console them, are forced to grow up before their time, being made to “march” over a steep hill to get to the far side of the island
• Godzilla, the embodiment of atomic might (wielded by the United States over Hiroshima & Nagasaki in the context of WWII) is the force of doom
• The children and teachers hide in a cave on a sandy beach - in popular culture, the child and infant suicides from WWII are often depicted taking place in hiding spots at the edges of islands - usually stone cliffs and coastal caves
Even without straying from the text of the film, the scene is an emotionally wrenching one, but with the added historical and cultural background (women and children in peril at a coastal cave), the effect is a bone-chilling pathos and dread.
(sorry if that got a bit heavy!) Now for the second point, which I swear will be shorter…
Two: the Japan-specificity of the criticism of (a) theme park construction and (b) over-development of coastlines.
As you’re doubtless aware, in the immediate post-war period following the rewriting of the new demilitarised constitution in 1947, Japan experienced high economic growth, basically from the 1950s through the 1980s. This included wholesale embrace of American pop cultural entertainment-business products such as the movie studio system, Disney and Warner mascot characters, and theme parks.
Even today, Japanese theme parks and extreme rides rank highly in international lists of extreme rides, and Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disneyland in Asia, even before Hong Kong or Singapore, international playgrounds of the Asian affluent. I appreciate you touched on the criticism of capitalism, but I might just add that theme parks are particularly central to Japanese society as an affordable entertainment venue.
Lastly, I’m not sure if you’ve been to Japan, but many coastlines are covered in concrete “tetrapods” as a measure against coastal erosion and tsunamis. These sorts of large-scale, concrete-heavy (in many cases) white elephant projects in rural areas came under intense criticism, especially in the 1990s, as it was revealed that many projects had been fronts for yakuza-related local government corruption. It was also in the 1990s that many opulent theme parks that had sprung up in economically unviable situations in the 1960s through the 1980s went out of business and decayed (the inevitable hangover from three decades of heady development).
The principled messaging of Mothra vs Godzilla, and its optimistic depiction of the idea that the press could influence the people for good, should be commended, especially with a view to how specifically Japanese the major social-economic problems raised in the film are.
Anyway, sorry about the long message. Keep up the good work! Loving the podcast.
Pitch a baragon and godzillla movie (any 'era' ie. In the legendary universe or heisi, etc)
I LOVE THIS ASK, THANK YOU! Get ready for…
GODZILLA vs. BARAGON (1966) Dir. Ishiro Honda
This film is something of a counter to War of the Gargantuans and an alternative followup to Frankenstein Conquers the World.
American title: Baragon, the Hollow Earth Monster Literal Japanese title: Godzilla vs. Baragon: Great Battle at Earth’s Core International title: Godzilla vs. Baragon German title: Frankenstein und die Ungeheuer aus der Kern der Erde
Cast: Hanayo Sumi as Yuriko Sagawa Susumu Kurobe as Dr. Hoshi Takashi Tadao Takashima as Dr. Ken'ichiro Kawaji Akira Takarada as Police Chief Kazuo Matsuno Kumi Mizuno as Dr. Akemi Togawa (cameo appearance akin to Dr. Yamane’s in Godzilla Raids Again)
The movie begins with a giant sinkhole collapsing in the middle of Akita due to a battle between Baragon and the Frankenstein monster. Rumors of a lost city spread as a gentleman thief known as the Starry Night steals an ancient scroll from a Tokyo museum. What was so special about this artifact? It had a prophecy written on it that a giant hole leading to a lost subterranean city would appear on the exact day the Akita sinkhole appeared, along with a map to the city’s treasure. It also contained a warning: the many cities beneath the surface are protected by monsters. (Seatopia is briefly mentioned as one of these subterranean civilizations.) This city is protected by Baragon, the giant monster who attacked Akita one year prior. Against the judgment of police chief Matsuno, Dr. Takashi and Dr. Kawaji (an obvious pick considering he dealt with Baragon before) lead the expedition to find the lost city and find a way to put an end to Baragon. As they enter the sinkhole, Godzilla emerges from the ocean and approaches. To escape, the scientists have no choice but to go deeper and try to lose the monster somewhere in the gigantic subterranean caverns. Now on the run from Godzilla, the team rescue a young woman from a swarm of Meganulon. Astounded, they discover that she is the Starry Night thief searching for the lost city’s treasure. Her name is Yuriko Sagawa, a rich heiress who steals purely for the excitement. As the team and Sagawa make their way to the lost city, they discover a massive subterranean sea they believe must have passageways connected to the ocean above. Over the course of their adventure, Sagawa and the scientists form an unlikely friendship. When they finally reach the city, they encounter a young Baragon and its dead mother, killed by the Frankenstein monster. The creature attacks the humans, but is thwarted by Godzilla. Meanwhile, Sagawa finds the treasure at the heart of the city: a massive golden statue of Baragon, encrusted with priceless gems. She steals it and meets up with the others as they try to escape. She’s nearly killed trying to take the statue with them. At last, she throws away the statue and they all make their escape. Godzilla defeats Baragon, who will stay underground until rounded up years later for the Monsterland project. Godzilla walks into the underground sea, which the scientists note could lead him to any lake or ocean in the world. As the team returns to the surface, police chief Matsuno captures Sagawa. She escapes nonetheless.
This was a lot of fun to write, thank you so much to whoever sent it!!
alright so it’s been a long time since i’ve posted art and i feel terrible about it,(in kaijuly no less) so i figured for the last 10 days of july i could do some daily art of my favorite kaiju stuff (godzilla, gamera, pacific rim, etc.), complete with my opinions nobody asked for! now, without further adieu…
KAIJULY KOMPENSATION DAY 1: FAVORITE GODZILLA DESIGNS