Episode 5: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Brian and Nate discuss the first Godzilla sequel, the last black and white Godzilla movie, and the first monster fight. While it’s not meant to be an epic film, it does have some strengths and significance. For our related topic, we discuss the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) and their role in the Godzilla franchise.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Fish Ladder Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 4: Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (US) (1956)

Nate and Brian discuss the Americanized version of Gojira (1954). This movie is a time capsule, very indicative of its time, which makes it somewhat difficult to discuss. We try to address the reasons behind the many alterations made to the movie. Our related topic is part 2 of 2 of our discussion about the occupation of Japan, which covers the more negative aspects of the occupation.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fact: This is the only county courthouse in the United States to have its schematics stored in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

 

Episode 3: Gojira (1954)

In this episode we tackle the original Gojira, the movie that started it all. Because there’s so much analysis of this movie at so many other places on the Internet, we concentrate on the historical and political references, story mechanics, and cultural significance of this indispensable classic. Our related topic is part 1 of 2 of our discussion of the occupation of Japan. We lay out the basics of the occupation and how Japan was drastically changed. We will address the more negative aspects of the occupation in the next episode.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Headwaters Park, St. Mary’s River, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Episode Delay and Patreon Support

By Nathan Marchand

Hello, G-Fans and Kaiju Lovers!

I know what you’re thinking (because I’m psychic like Miki Saegusa): “Nate, where’s the next episode of the podcast?”

The philosophy that Brian and I have with this podcast is: “If you’re going to do it, do it right.”  Since our next episode covers “Gojira” (1954), the original Japanese masterpiece, we want this episode to be flawless.  We’ve labored long and hard researching, recording, and producing high-quality content, so I can assure you we have great stuff in store!

But guess what else, listeners? We have some awesome news! We joined Patreon! In case you’re wondering, Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to our podcast every week and get great rewards in return. Trust me, the perks will make you this cool:

You’ll help ensure that we continue to produce new podcast episodes on our “Godzilla Journey” and beyond! We currently offer three levels of support:

$1 per month
You’ll have our undying gratitude! May the Shobijin sing a song in your honor!

$5 per month
You’ll get a shout-out at the end of the newest podcast episode and your name will be listed in the YouTube version each month you support us at this level. It’s like joining the ranks of G-Force!

$10 per month
You’ll get the previous rewards plus a Kaijuvision Radio T-shirt after four straight months of support. This is a one-time offer, so don’t be a lying Xilien!

As time goes on, we may modify and/or add more levels and rewards as our listenership increases. Be sure to share our episodes with your fellow kaiju fans!

While Brian and I love discussing these films, our podcast wouldn’t be possible without you. You’re the biggest reason we do this! Sharing our interests in Godzilla and Japan with fellow fans is why we put such hard work into this project. We hope our passion comes through in every episode that drops on your podcatcher.

Until next week…

Go, go, Godzilla!

Episode 2: Godzilla Origins: King Kong (1933) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

In celebration of G-Day, we are releasing episodes 1 and 2 today!  In this episode we discuss how these two films only within the context of how they influenced the creation of Godzilla. Both of these films significantly affected popular culture and the kaiju genre. Our thesis is: King Kong + The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms +Japanese Culture + Castle Bravo Nuclear Test = Godzilla.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand
Editor: Brian Scherschel
Video Location: Bicentennial Woods, Allen County, Indiana
Video: Brian Scherschel
Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac
)

 

Episode 1: Introduction to the Godzilla Journey

It’s G-Day at Kaijuvision Radio. Surprise! – We’re releasing the first two episodes of the show this week instead of just one. In our first episode, we discuss our philosophy of the podcast moving forward.

1) About Us

2) How we first experienced Godzilla

3) Some of our favorite non-Godzilla movies

4) Our thoughts on the Godzilla series

5) Our view of the kaiju genre

6) Why there’s more to Godzilla than meets the eye

7) Our thoughts on dubbing

8) The “and then they got silly” opinion

9) About nostalgia

10) The Japanese National Spirit

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand
Editor: Brian Scherschel
Video Location: Japanese Friendship Garden, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Video: Brian Scherschel
Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

 

Why This Is a Perfect Time to Create a Godzilla Podcast

By Brian Scherschel

One week until the premiere of Episode 1.  Brian gives us the big picture, and connects Godzilla to international affairs, history, and current events.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Metea Park, Allen County, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Transcript:

Hi, this is Brian Scherschel. I co-host Kaijuvision Radio with Nathan Marchand. We only have one week remaining until the release of our first episode next Wednesday, so as the final preparation for beginning our show, I will tell you why it’s the perfect time to create a Godzilla podcast.

I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration and I studied International Affairs and Comparative Politics. Many of the Godzilla movies express the Japanese national spirit in one way or another, whether on economic, social, or political subjects, and discussing these films is an incredibly interesting way to look at Japan. In my opinion, it’s too easy to discuss Godzilla without discussing Japan.

The world is drastically changing and a lot of us wonder what’s going to happen. The nation-state system is undergoing a partial collapse. The creative destruction of capitalism is uncontrollable. The progression of technology and artificial intelligence is reforming the world in ways previously thought impossible. The advancement of genetics will assuredly change the course of history. The world as we know it is collapsing and rebuilding itself, and there is constant death and rebirth.

The post-World War II and post-Cold War order is disintegrating, and the United States is losing its position not only as the dominant military power in the world but also as the leader of the world economic order. As the United States gives up its quasi-imperial role, we will enter a new, likely unstable, multi-polar era. This means that much of the world will go through a re-balance of power, and East Asia will likely be the epicenter of that re-balance.

Advanced industrial societies face many challenges, but in Japan, they are much more intense. Japan has a high debt to GDP ratio, which in 2016 was 250%, which is by far the highest in the world. The economy is stagnant, inflation is very low, and there are 148 jobs for every 100 applicants, which means many jobs are left unfilled. Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. Their total population could decline by about 26 million before it stabilizes to around 100 million. That’s slightly over 20% of Japan’s population predicted to disappear. Japan’s high government spending on the elderly and the pension system is a major contributor to the debt. Japan’s young people are up against the harsh reality of bearing the burdens of living in a gerontocracy. They face declining wages and higher taxes, which has caused them to delay getting married and having children, which makes the demographic crisis worse.

Aside from economic and demographic issues, Japan finds itself in an increasingly unstable and unfriendly East Asia. North Korea is a major destabilizing force in the region because of its nuclear program, missile tests, and kidnapping of Japanese citizens over the years. Japan is as far from North Korea as San Francisco is from Seattle. China has taken aggressive steps in the region, specifically its contested claim of ownership of the Senkaku Islands, which are currently administrated by Japan. The number of air defense incidents between Japan and foreign aircraft has rapidly increased in recent years. China has also established the nine-dash line which is the demarcation line of its claim to nearly all of the South China Sea as its exclusive national territory, including the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands. China has ignored a 2016 decision by a UN-constituted arbitral tribunal which declared their claim invalid. China has recently established bases on multiple islands in the Spratlys with surface-to-air missiles, long runways, and fortifications. The rise of China is one of the biggest forces of change in the world at this time.

There are many pressures on Japan to increase its military power. These include the pressure of the perceived threat of China, the pressure exerted by the United States to be a more equal partner in the US-Japan alliance because of its own debt and the shrinking of its quasi-empire, and the pressure of Prime Minister Abe’s party to strengthen the Japanese military. However, some Japanese citizens are weary of war and want the government to concentrate on the economy instead of constitutional revisions. In addition, some Japanese, particularly Okinawans, want US forces to leave but Japan, but at the same time, Japan remains almost entirely dependent on the US for defense.

What I find even more interesting is that Japan has built up a huge amount of “soft power”. This relates to the “Cool Japan” phenomenon or what’s called Japan’s “Gross National Cool”. Another nickname for Japan is the “Pokemon Hegemon”. Japan is a cultural superpower, which has an effect on how the rest of the world views them. This helps Japan’s economy, increases tourism and other foreign interest, and increases Japan’s influence around the world. So, here’s my big question: Will Japan ever be able to convert this soft power into real power, if necessary? Down the road, if a crisis in Japan occurs, what will all of this soft power get them? I think at some point we may find out.

Godzilla is an official citizen of Japan, and he is the cultural ambassador for the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo. He is one of the most visible icons of Japan, right up with Mario, Pikachu, Ultraman, Evangelion, Totoro, Lupin, Naruto, Sonic, Titan, Mega Man, and the Chocobos of Final Fantasy. Godzilla came before all of the others, and in my opinion he’s the genesis of Cool Japan, and therefore, the core of the soft power that Japan projects and exports.

The Godzilla series of films cover many Japanese issues either directly or indirectly. It’s great that these movies are not just one dimensional. Though they may appear simple, they’re often refreshingly intelligent and thought-provoking, allowing us to appreciate them on an entirely different level, which adds to the fun of being a Godzilla fan. These movies are unique, intelligent, and enjoyable all at the same time. As Japan (and the rest of the world) move forward into an uncertain and very challenging future, the Godzilla movies tell us so much about where Japan was in the past and where Japan is today.

Next Wednesday, September 20th at noon Eastern, Nate and I will release the first episode of Kaijuvision Radio. Join us as we appreciate these truly special movies in every way that we can.

Introducing Our YouTube Channel Featuring Scenic Videos

By Brian Scherschel

Two weeks to go until Episode 1 premieres. In this short video, Brian introduces our YouTube channel featuring scenic videos. The feature of every video will be either nature, like this one, or architecture. The vast majority of the videos are recorded in northeast Indiana, where Kaijuvision Radio is produced.

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Eagle Marsh, Allen County, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

3 Weeks Until G-Day: Godzilla DVD/Blu-Ray Guide, Part 2 – Heisei Series, Millennium Series, and Beyond

By Nathan Marchand

(Continued from Part One).

Long before Hollywood rebooted Godzilla (twice), Toho did it three times themselves. These later eras of the franchise are called the Heisei Series (1984-1995) and the Millennium Series (1999-2004). The current era started in 2016 with Shin Godzilla.

Godzilla movies get easier to find on DVD/Blu-Ray with these films since the distribution rights have been owned by fewer companies. Only two of these films were released stateside before 1998 when Tristar released them on home media as a tie-in with the 1998 remake (at least something good came of that, right?)

The Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985

Kraken Releasing

This one is complicated. Like with the 1954 Gojira, a heavily-edited “Americanized” version of this 1984 reboot was produced by New World Pictures. It was the only version available commercially in the states for decades. However, thanks to legal entanglements, the American version has only ever been released on VHS. But now thanks to Kraken Releasing, the original Japanese version has been made available. It was so popular, it ranked number one on Amazon’s foreign film sales for a while. The only extras are trailers for Kraken’s other Godzilla Blu-rays.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

While Godzilla 1985 would remain the only G-film released theatrically in the States for 15 years, Miramax did release this 1989 sequel on HBO and video in 1992. Heck, it’s one of the few widescreen VHS tapes I’ve seen. However, after being out-of-print for years, the film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray a few years ago. It has dual language tracks, widescreen presentation, and a few special features that seem as though they were taken from a Japanese DVD (including a making-of feature). It’s gotten a bit pricey, though.

Buy it here. (Or here with two free Asylum B-movies).

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) (aka Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for Earth)

Sony Pictures

As tie-ins with Gareth Edwards’ reboot, Sony released nearly a dozen modern G-films on Blu-Ray. These two were packaged together in a two-disc set. Unlike their previous DVD releases, they’re in widescreen and have dual language tracks. Sadly, the only special features included are several of the films’ trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Sony Pictures

 

After some oddball DVD editions, Sony released these films on Blu-Ray in 2014 as a two-disc Blu-Ray set. It’s the same as Sony’s other G-film Blu-Rays: widescreen, dual language tracks, and several trailers (including one where clever editing makes it look like Godzilla fights robots from the Toho sci-fi film Gunhed).

Buy it here.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Godzilla vs. Megauirus

Sony Pictures

This is yet another oddity from Sony. This set includes the last film of the Heisei series and the second entry of the Millennium Series. While the pairing makes no sense, it’s an improvement over the previous DVD releases. As usual, the films are in widescreen, have dual language tracks, and include trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla 2000 (aka Godzilla 2000: Millennium)

Sony Pictures

Since it was released theatrically, this remains the only Millennium Series film to get a solo Blu-Ray in the U.S. It includes widescreen editions of both the original Japanese version and the slightly re-edited dubbed version of the film (the former being released stateside for the first time with this). The special features are mostly the same as the previous 2000 DVD, including trailers, behind-the-scenes footage, and an informative commentary by the team that dubbed it.

Buy it here.

Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack/Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

Sony Pictures

The film with the insanely long “retro” title and the first of the popular Kiryu Mechagodzilla films were released together in a Blu-Ray two-pack. Like their previous DVD releases, it features widescreen presentation and dual language tracks. I hear the subtitles for GMK are improved from its DVD. The only special features are a few trailers.

Buy it here.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars

Sony Pictures

The final entries in the Millennium Series were packaged together. Like the 2004 Sony DVDs, it has widescreen presentation and dual language tracks, although the subtitles are transcriptions of the dubbed dialogue (including an instance where there was added dialogue in the dubbing). However, besides a few trailers for other films (including some other Godzilla releases), it features a 22-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that showcases the special effects techniques used in both films. Neither feature music or narration, though, which makes them a bit boring.

Buy it here.

Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla: Resurgence)

Funimation Films

I almost didn’t include this film because it was just released, making it quite easy to find. Honestly, it’s here just for the sake of completeness. The newest Godzilla film was given a limited theatrical run by Funimation Films (which normally distributes anime) in the U.S. last year. They finally put out a Blu-ray and DVD for the film August 1. It has great picture and audio, dual language tracks, and the infamous abundance of subtitles. The only special feature besides some trailers is “Godzilla vs. the Nerds,” a 33-minute interview with some of the Funimation crew that worked on the U.S. release.

Buy it here.

So my guide to collecting Godzilla DVDs and Blu-Rays comes to an end. I hope you found it helpful.

For more detailed reviews of these DVDs and Blu-rays, I highly recommend the website www.TohoKingdom.com. You’ll also find reviews of many of Toho’s other genre films on the site.

Remember, you have three weeks to start watching these films so you can follow along with Brian and I when Kaijuvision Radio launches !