The New Official Kaijuvision T-Shirt

by Brian Scherschel

Presenting the new official Kaijuvision Radio donor T-shirt!

Donate on Patreon at the Kaiju Visionary level ($10) for 4 months, at the Kaiju Connoisseur level ($20) for two months, or the Kaiju Scholar level ($50) for 1 month.

This black shirt has the “Torii Gate” banner on the front, and the official logo with “Get your Sekizawa on!” on the back.  “www.kaijuvision.com” is printed on the sleeves.

“The Mysterians” and Japanese-Soviet Relations

by Brian Scherschel

At the Eastern Economic Forum this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, “Let’s conclude a peace treaty before the end of this year, without any pre-conditions.”  PM Abe did not reply directly.  Some media outlets wrote that Putin was merely “trolling” the Prime Minister.

The Japanese government later stated that their position on the Kuril Islands has not changed.  The majority of Japanese polled said that they did not support the idea of “no pre-conditions”.  Russia and Japan have still not signed a peace treaty, even though World War II ended 73 years ago.

Japan and the Soviet Union restored diplomatic relations in October of 1956.  The Sputnik satellite was launched in October of 1957.  The landmark Japanese tokusatsu movie “The Mysterians” came out in late December of 1957 for New Year’s Holiday.

“The Mysterians” is a tokusatsu treasure.  It’s so exciting, polished, and fresh!  I’ll analyze the topic of Japanese-Soviet relations up to 1956, because the issue was on the minds of many people in Japan in the two years before this.  I’ll examine the agreement the two countries signed in 1956, and then what the obstacles are to a future peace treaty.

Check Kaijuvision Radio at noon Eastern next Wednesday to listen to this incredible episode for an incredible movie!

Update: Kaijuvision Raids Again! 1 Week Remaining until Season 2 Premiere

Only one more week until Kaijuvision raids again!

I am working hard to create episodes for our exciting Season 2 of spectacular non-Godzilla Toho movies.

Check out the recent entries on the website for the Season 2 DVD guide and the list of all of the fun Japanese films that the kaiju community loves.

Also visit the Patreon site to donate to the cause of this unique and high-quality kaiju podcast.  Currently donations are not covering the data transfer fees to distribute the episodes.  Donors get the inside track on what’s going on with the podcast.  Extra features, pictures, and content are included!

Episode 38 will debut at 12:00pm on Wednesday, September 19th!!

The Greatness of Toho Classic Sci-Fi

by Brian Scherschel

On September 19th, Kaijuvision Radio will begin its 2nd season.

Now that the Godzilla journey is over, it’s time to visit the kaiju we didn’t get to last season.  In this new chronological journey, I’ll be tackling many of the classic Toho sci-fi movies that don’t have Godzilla in them.  That includes non-Godzilla kaiju movies as well as non-kaiju tokusatsu movies.  The time period is 1955-1977: 22 years of fun, fantastic, and underrated Toho classics.  There will be episodes for the new Godzilla movies as they come out too.

The Submersion of Japan (1973)

Kaijuvision is sticking with the creative community that brought us the Showa Godzilla movies, including Ishiro Honda, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shinichi Sekizawa, Akira Ikufube, Masaru Sato, and Teruyoshi Nakano.  Of course we get to see many of Toho’s contract actors like Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura.  We even get to see Toshiro Mifune in this season!  Haruo Nakajima often played the kaiju depicted in these movies.

I love the concepts and ideas that these movies present to the viewers.  These movies are intriguing and fascinating.  They make you want to watch them again and again.  Almost all of them are in wonderful color, and many are filmed in Tohoscope.  Additionally many of Toho’s best actors were in these films.  In contrast, American sci-fi movies were often relegated to black and white film, and good actors often avoided them.

These films are not only interesting, but they’re also culturally relevant.  They tap into the Japanese cultural zeitgeist like many of the best Godzilla movies do.  Since Kaijuvision excels in examining these kinds of connections, they make perfect sense to analyze.

What’s great is that these movies are more available and more affordable than they ever have been before.  Many of them used to be “rare DVDs”.  The DVD guide for these movies came out last week, so check out where to buy them.  As current listeners know, Kaijuvision Radio prefers the Japanese versions with English subtitles.  It’s much closer to the real thing than these sometimes horrific English dubs.

So strap yourselves in for another season of movie greatness!

Here again is the list:

Half Human (1955), The Mysterians (1957), Varan (1958), The Three Treasures (1959), Battle in Outer Space (1959), The Last War (1961), Gorath (1962), Matango (1963), Atragon (1963), Dogora, the Space Monster (1964), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), Latitude Zero (1969), Space Amoeba (1970), The Submersion of Japan (1973), War in Space (1977).

Season 2 DVD Guide (+2 additional films)

by Brian Scherschel

Season 2 will begin on September 19th with “Half Human” (1955).  That’s right, not one, but two more movies have been added to the season: “Half Human” and “The Three Treasures” (1959).

To help you with finding all of the movies for this great season of Toho sci-fi classics, I have written this DVD guide.

Some of these movies are still considered “rare” DVDs, but they’re not hard to find.  I suggest you Google the harder to find titles and grab the original Japanese versions where you can find them.  Let’s get started!

Half Human (1955)

DCA (American Cut)

Directed by Ishiro Honda, and released only one year after the original Godzilla.  This movie is banned in Japan due to its portrayal of natives as savages.  There is a really bad American version of this.  Though Toho has never released a home video version of this movie, see if you can find the Japanese version with English subtitles.

 

The Mysterians (1957)

Tokyo Shock

Released in 2005, this Tokyo Shock version has the Japanese language option with English subtitles.  One of Ishiro Honda’s (and Toho’s) absolutely best sci-fi classics.  You can buy it here.

There are also Japanese versions with English subtitles available if you search for them.

 

Varan (Daikaiju Baran) (Varan, the Unbelievable) (1958)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released their version of this movie in 2005 with optional Japanese language and English subtitles.  You can buy it here.

Reel Vault

The American English language version of Varan is available and is quite cheap.  You can buy it here.

Cory Film Corporation

There is an English only version of Varan on Amazon video as well.  You can get it here.

There are also Japanese versions with English subtitles available if you search for those.

 

The Three Treasures (The Birth of Japan) (1959)

Toho

Also a hard to find movie, but it’s great.  It’s a religious epic about the founding of Shintoism.  Toshiro Mifune is one of my absolute favorites.  See if you can find the Japanese version with English subtitles.

 

Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Sony Pictures

The “Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection” by Sony Pictures is an affordable way to get three good movies in one purchase.  It’s included with “The H-Man” and “Mothra”.  “Battle in Outer Space” is in Japanese with English subtitles.  You can buy it here.

Mill Creek Entertainment

I haven’t seen this before, but there is also a “Vintage Sci-Fi 6 Movie Collection” that includes “Battle in Outer Space”.  The whole collection is just two discs.  It’s affordable, but I cannot vouch for the quality.  You can buy it here.

 

The Last War (1961)

Toho

There has been only one VHS release of this movie in the US decades ago.  However, you can Google it and see if the Japanese language version with English subtitles is floating around.

 

Gorath (1962)

Toho

This is another great Toho sci-fi movie that hasn’t been widely released enough in the US.  You can find the Japanese language English subtitled version though.

 

Matango (1963)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released its DVD of Matango in 2005.  There are Japanese language and English subtitle options on it.  You can buy it here.

The original Japanese version with optional English subtitles is also available if you search for it.

You can see the English dub version (“Attack of the Mushroom People”) on Amazon Video here.

 

Atragon (1963)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released its DVD in 2006 with Japanese language and English subtitle options.  You can buy it here.

There is also a Japanese version with a English subtitle option available if you search for it.

 

Dogora, the Space Monster (1964)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released its DVD of Dogora in 2005.  It has Japanese language and English subtitle options.  You can buy it here.

There is also a Japanese version with English subtitles available if you search for it.

 

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

MBL

MBL released this DVD but the year of release is not noted on Amazon.  It lists Japanese language option and English subtitles.  You can buy it here.

The Toho version with Japanese language and English subtitles is also around if you search for it.

 

War of the Gargantuas (1966)

Vivendi Entertainment

Starz on Amazon Video has the English language only version of this movie.  You can view it here.

Classic Media

The Classic Media version of this movie was released with Rodan in 2008 and again in 2012.  However it’s a collector’s item now, and it’s expensive.  You can buy it here.

There is also a Toho version of this movie with Japanese language and English subtitles around if you search for it.

 

Latitude Zero (1969)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released a 2-disc version of this movie in 2007 with Japanese language and English subtitle options.  You can buy it here.

There is a Toho version of Latitude Zero available via Internet search.  It has Japanese language and English subtitle options as well.

 

Space Amoeba (1970)

Tokyo Shock

Tokyo Shock released their version of this movie in 2006 with Japanese language and English subtitle options.  You can buy it here.

The English language only version of Space Amoeba is available on Amazon video.  You can see it here.

There are Japanese versions with English subtitles of Space Amoeba on the Internet so check those out if you like.

 

The Submersion of Japan (1973)

Toho

This film was released in the US as “Tidal Wave”, which was heavily cut.  That version isn’t very good.  If you search for the original Japanese language with English subtitle options, you will hopefully find it.

 

War in Space (1977)

Discotech Media

Discotech Media released this DVD in 2006.  It has Japanese language and English subtitle options.  It includes an interview with special effects genius Teruyoshi Nakano.  You can buy it here.

There are also original Japanese versions of this movie with English subtitles available if you search for them.

 

Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock

There is a 3-movie DVD set released in 2007 that contains “The Mysterians”, “Varan” and “Matango”.  There are English and Japanese language versions of all of the movies in this box set.  However it is quite expensive at the moment.  You can buy it here.

 

This concludes the DVD guide.  Good luck and start viewing and reviewing these great film treasures!

Announcement of Season 2 Episode List / “My Farewell Address”

by Brian Scherschel

What’s Next

Get ready for a season of great classic Toho movies starting next month!!!

Season 2 of Kaijuvision will premiere on Wednesday September 19 with “The Mysterians”.  Episodes for the newer Godzilla movies will debut shortly after the movies are released.

The new episodes will follow the same 3-part structure (Description/Opinion and Analysis/Related Topic).  Episodes will debut every other week on Wednesdays at noon Eastern.  I’ll release the DVD guide for these movies next week.

Season 2 Lineup:

The Mysterians (1957)
Varan (1958)
Battle in Outer Space (1959)
The Last War (1961)
Gorath (1962)
Matango (1963)
Atragon (1963)
Dogora, the Space Monster (1964)
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)
Godzilla Anime Trilogy (all in one episode)
War of the Gargantuas (1966)
Latitude Zero (1969)
Space Amoeba (1970)
The Submersion of Japan (1973)
War in Space (1977)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

My Commitment to the Fans of Kaijuvision Radio

As the show continues, many things won’t change, but a few things will.

I may be disabled from a number of physical health issues and I may be acting as a caregiver for my 96-year old grandmother, but those two things didn’t stop me when I decided to create this podcast, and can promise you they won’t now either.  My devotion to my grandmother, maintaining my health, and this podcast is unwavering.

I will be taking on sole responsibility for the podcast here on out.

Currently our Patreon donations are not fully covering the monthly data fees and storage for the distribution of the podcast.  Please visit the Kaijuvision Radio Patreon site to see just what you will get back for your donation.

I knew I wanted to create something different and unique.  Mission accomplished there.

Thank you Nathan for your many visits to Kaijuvision Radio HQ and for your contributions to the podcast.

Thank you to all fans of Kaijuvision Radio for watching/listening, and for your positive responses to this truly great show!

If you like what you’ve seen and heard so far, you’ll love what comes next.

-Brian


“My Farewell Address”

by Nathan Marchand

It is with a heavy heart that I tell all of you, G-fans and kaiju lovers, that I am stepping down from Kaijuvision Radio. I will be starting grad school, working at the university as a teaching assistant, and moving to a new apartment. While I’ll still be in our local area, all those changes would make it difficult to produce the high-quality content that is the staple of this podcast.

I was determined to make it work, but upon further consideration, I’ve realized that I need to take time to get used to my “new normal.” I simply wouldn’t be able deal with the additional pressure during this time of adjustment. I believe in the work we’ve done on this podcast, and I love our listeners. So, as much as I wanted to discuss some classic Toho tokusatsu, that just isn’t in the cards right now.

On the bright side, this will give me a chance to finish some writing projects. I have some books in the works, so my spare energy for the time being will be diverted to those. Feel free to follow my progress on my website (www.NathanJSMarchand.com) Facebook (www.Facebook.com/nathanjsmarchand), and Twitter (@NathanMarchand7).I do plan to stay involved with the kaiju fandom. I’ve spent too much time and effort researching these films not to be. So, don’t worry: I’m not disappearing. Like Godzilla himself, I’ll still be around, even if I’m just hanging out on Monster Island and not stomping through cities.As I often say at the end of a KVR episode…Sayonara!

Kaijuvision Radio Published in Nippon Quarterly – Fort Wayne’s Japanese Language Newsletter

by Brian Scherschel

As you know, Kaijuvision is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The local Japanese language newsletter in town is called the “Nippon Quarterly”, and they published Brian’s description of our podcast – AND they translated it into Japanese!

The Nippon Quarterly’s motto is “Everything Japanese in the Fort Wayne Area”, and is edited by Michele Yamanaka.  The newsletter is sponsored by the Japanese-American Association of Indiana, Inc. (JASI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1988.  The JASI also sponsors the yearly Cherry Blossom Festival in Fort Wayne, which Nate and I visited this summer.

You can learn more about the JASI and their mission here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/japanindiana/about/?ref=page_internal

One of Kaijuvision’s goals is promoting cultural understanding between the United States and Japan, one of our most important allies in East Asia and the world.  Yes, our podcast is about kaiju and other Japanese movies, but as our listeners know, we do so much more than that.

And the newsletter page looks so nice!

 

 

Kaijuvision Radio at G-Fest XXV

Another G-Fest has come and gone.  I (Nate) am still recovering from the post-convention blues.  Reality has been slowly sinking back in as I go back to my jobs. One would think I’d be used to this by now, what with all the conventions I attend, but it’s never easy.  Regardless, the consensus is this was the biggest and best G-Fest yet.  For a convention its size, there’s lots to do.

If you were one of our patrons on Patreon, you got exclusive up-to-the-minute access during the weekend.  If you’d like to have that and other exclusive content, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Panels

Brian and I upped the ante this year, signing up to be part of five panels between us—including our own!  In case you didn’t know, it was titled, “Godzilla and the Japanese National Spirit.”  At least several of the attendees were listeners, who we met beforehand and after the presentation.  It really humbled us upon learning how many fans we got to be able to meet.  Our presentation went well, and our audience asked some great (and fun) questions.  One attendee was a university professor from New York, who was impressed with us.

A special thank you to everyone who attended!  For those who couldn’t make it, we’ll be sharing the audio and video July 25.

I (Brian) was a member of the “GINO” Panel, which discussed Godzilla 1998 on its 20th anniversary.  It was my first panel ever, and I shared some of the wisdom from the episode on the movie.  My main points included how the ad campaign was better than the movie, that it should have ended at 90 minutes, how no one could say those lines and sound good, and how there are many far better movies out there if you just want a good popcorn movie.  Half of the audience said they hated the movie, so I felt like I represented them well.

Saturday was a busy day for me (Nate).  I was on three panels, with two of them in a row! The first was “Godzilla Stories,” an annual panel where people share their fanfictions and/or how Godzilla has impacted their lives.  There were several touching stories—including one from a mother who lives in Fort Wayne!—and I got to encourage some young writers with their fanfictions. The second was the similar “Art of Kaiju Writing.”  You may remember this as the panel I got myself on at the last minute last year.  This was a writing advice panel, and I was one of four “pros” answering questions.  This was immediately followed by the “Pacific Rim 2” panel.  I was one of four people who discussed the film.  By “discuss,” I mean, “utterly destroy.”  Nobody on it liked it much, and I was quite outspoken about it.

Celebrities

We were all saddened when the great Akira Takarada, the “Godfather of G-Fest,” was unable to visit us.  However, J.D. Lees and the organizers were able to book not one but two great replacements: Don Frye and Kenpachiro Satsuma. Brian and I made sure to meet them as well as Megumi Odaka and G-Fest staple Robert Scott Field.  I’m happy to say my Blu-ray of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah has been signed by three of its stars.

I (Brian) was really happy to meet Megumi Odaka for the first time.  Incidentally, Godzilla vs. Biollante was selected in another panel to be the “Greatest Godzilla Movie of All Time”, which seemed fitting, as this was her first of the six movies she appeared in.  It was fun meeting Don Frye and his panel was overwhelmingly entertaining and fun.

Here are some photos of our meetings:

We meet Don Frye.

Brian meets Megumi Odaka.

Interviews

For the first time, we interviewed guests for the podcast at this year’s G-Fest.  The first was John LeMay, author of 18 books, including The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies: The Lost Films and his newest book, Terror of the Lost Tokusatsu Films.  Our second interview was Danny DiManna (aka Danzilla93), a listener and, more importantly, the creator of the Godzilla Novelization Project.  His goal is to write a novelization of all 30+ Japanese Godzilla films.

Both of these interviews will be posted sometime in August.

Personal Anecdotes (Nate)

I’m glad I went to last year’s G-Fest because it helped me understand the convention’s unique personality.  That made it easier to “break in,” so to speak, this year.  It also helped that Brian and I stayed in the Crown Plaza Hotel, where the convention was held, which also allowed us to experience another part of G-Fest: the in-house TV station.  Starting Thursday and running until Monday morning, the hotel’s informational channel broadcast various tokusatsu films, TV series, and documentaries.  Brian and I were able to watch things like Super Inframan, Yokai Monsters, and Agon: Atomic Dragon.  It was fun.  As the G-Fest program put it, turn off sports and news for a few days.

I also attended many of the film screenings at the Pickwick Theatre.  The first double-feature on Thursday was The Valley of Gwangi and Dinsosaurus!  I’d not seen either one, so it was a treat to see them on the big screen.  Gwangi is a legitimately good film while Dinosaurus! is asking to be on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (it kinda has been already).  I haven’t laughed at or riffed a film so much at the theatre in my life as I did at the latter.  What made it better was my fellow theatre-goers were also riffing it, adding to the fun.  Friday night I went with Danny and his friends to see Rampage, which I hadn’t seen yet.  It wasn’t great, but it was better than it had any right to be.  Saturday I was joined by them again to see the main event: a screening of Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, which was introduced by Satsuma.  While I’ve seen this film many times, I went primarily for the experience.  Did it help the Heisei film seeing on the big screen?  Not really.  It actually made the flaws more obvious.  However, I saw it with a crowd of fans, which made the screening exciting.

One of the things that makes G-Fest special is it feels like a family.  It’s a small and active con that is slowly growing.  Everyone knows everyone and is welcoming to newcomers.  Now that we’ve gotten more involved with the show, Brian and I feel even more like a part of that family.  We love it.

Here’s to another 25 G-Fests…and beyond!

Sneak Preview for Our G-Fest XXV Panel

by Nathan Marchand

Hello, G-Fans and kaiju lovers!

Are you a longtime listener who wants a refresher on what Brian and I will be discussing at our G-Fest XXV panel? Or are you visiting our website for the first time after attending our panel? (If so, welcome to our little corner of Monster Island!) This blog is for all of you!

Our panel, “Godzilla and the Japanese National Spirit,” will be in the Kennedy Room at the Grand Plaza Hotel Friday, July 13, at 3pm (CST). The Japanese national spirit is a hallmark topic of our show and one of the things that separates us from other kaiju podcasts. The panel will distill much of what we’ve discussed in several episodes into a 40-minute presentation. However, if you’d like to get more details on the subjects we cover, here are the episodes we recommend you binge-listen during your trip to and/or from G-Fest this year.

Episode 1: Introduction to the Godzilla Journey

A journey of 37 weekly episodes begins with one small step. In our first episode, we introduce ourselves and explain our philosophy for the podcast as we move ahead. The basic groundwork is laid here.

Episode 3: Gojira (1954)

There’s a lot to cover in the first film, so we had to split it into two episodes. In this one, we discuss the original masterpiece, focusing on the political and historical references and cultural significance. For the related topic, we explain the basics of the U.S. Occupation of Japan and how it changed the nation.

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

Appropriately, we discuss the negative aspects of the Occupation—such as the War Crimes Tribunal—and how it affected U.S.-Japan relations in our episode on the Americanized version of the original film. These aren’t easy things to talk about, but they are important to know to understand the context in which Godzilla was created.

Episode 17: Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

Not only is this one of Brian’s favorite G-films, it’s arguably one of the most underestimated entries in the franchise. While created at a time when the Godzilla series was in decline, it’s full of hidden meaning. Beneath the surface careful viewers will see screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa’s meta-commentary on Godzilla as a pop culture icon and, more importantly, a satirical examination of globalization as it related to early 1970s Japan.

Episode 21: The Return of Godzilla (1984)

For this modern classic, we show how Japan found itself in a much different place than in the mid-1950s. This film is entrenched in the Cold War era, depicting a Japan caught between U.S. and Soviet Union as they pressure Japan to allow one of them to nuke Godzilla. Now they must choose between their greatest ally and an immediate threat to the north.

Episode 37: Shin Godzilla (2016)

We can’t say this enough: This is our greatest episode. There’s so much to discuss in this film—especially the misperceptions the American Godzilla fandom has about it. And we still probably didn’t catch everything! The 3-11 Disasters. The JSDF. Japan’s place in the modern world. Americans are separated by time and culture with the previous films and saw them with the benefit of hindsight, but Shin Godzilla came to us quickly and unfiltered. We hope this episode changes how American fans view this film.

This is a great sampler of our podcast. We hope you’ll listen to all of our episodes and continue to listen when season two starts in September.  We’ll be covering classic Toho tokusatsu and new Godzilla films as they’re released.

See you at G-Fest!

Or if you’re reading/listening after the con, thanks for coming!

If you like what we’re doing, please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have some great rewards/benefits!