Tag Archives: Eiji Tsuburaya

More Kaiju Poetry: Mothra in 1961, 1992 and 1996

11 Jul

Back on June 1, 2014, I wrote about “The Poetry of Kaiju,” as found in the 1964 kaiju (Japanese monster) film, GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (aka GODZILLA VS. THE THING), with its stunning images of Mothra eggs and the otherworldly twin fairies who guard them.

This past month I opted to watch three additional films about Mothra, the giant caterpillar-turned-butterfly, and its fairy guardians, in search of similar poetic imagery.

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American Stars in Japanese Films: Nick Adams in FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965)

8 Jul

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Today, July 8, is the 160th anniversary of Commodore Matthew Perry’s arrival in Japan to begin the process of “opening up” the island nation to trade with the West, thus beginning a process that eventually, after some serious tears in the relationship, gave us giant monster movies, anime, and J-pop, among other things. On the occasion of this anniversary, I’ve decided to focus on a landmark film which marked the first significant cinematic collaboration between the U.S. and Japan, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (1965). While it wasn’t the first co-production between the two countries (I believe that would be TOKYO FILE 212, from 1951), nor is it the first Japanese movie to import an American star (more on that below), it was the first such film to make a real dent on the international market.

Nick Adams 2

 

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“Ultra Q” – A Giant Monster Every Week

15 Feb

Once upon a time, in 1966 to be exact, there was a weekly TV show in Japan that gave viewers a different giant monster in every episode. It was called “Ultra Q” and its original aim was to be an anthology show telling different, unrelated stories about unnatural occurrences in a science fiction vein, in the style of “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits,” two American sci-fi shows that had become quite popular in Japan around this time. The producers eventually settled on a handy formula that featured a trio of paranormal investigators (two male pilots and a female newspaper photographer) as regular characters confronting unusual monsters and other kinds of phenomena.

Ultra Q 1

I managed to find a DVD containing the first four episodes of this series and, like most Japanese pre-records I’ve picked up from Japanese video stores, it was in Japanese with no subtitles. However, the emphasis on the visual aspects of the stories, rather than the scientific exposition, made them easy to follow and fun to watch, with only one episode offering an “explanation” that suffered without subtitles.

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