Regarding Our Groundbreaking Shin Godzilla Episode

By Brian Scherschel

Some reviews so far about our revolutionary Shin Godzilla episode:

Kyoei Toshi (one of our Patrons) (via Twitter): “Not only the best examination of Shin in English, but the single best podcast episode dealing with Godzilla ever done. These guys have done an incredible amount of preparation and research for their series on the Godzilla films, and it shows in the finished product. Well done!”

Geek Devotions (via Facebook): “Check out Kaijuvision Radio’s review of ‘Shin Godzilla’. It’s probably the most comprehensive and informative discussion on the film that we’ve had the opportunity to listen to. These guys did a great job breaking down the film!”

Ben Avery (host of the podcasts Strangers and Alien & Welcome to Level Seven): “Great job with ‘Shin Godzilla’. I did find it interesting that you seemed to be arguing with invisible people who didn’t like it. I kept saying, ‘I know! I agree!’ I’m just not part of the online fandom. Whenever you talked about fan response I found it very interesting.”

We expect this episode to significantly change how Shin Godzilla is discussed in the American fandom.

In our incredible, groundbreaking season finale episode on this film, we challenge some of the conventional wisdom in the American fandom about the movie’s politics. We are of the opinion that this movie is not nationalist propaganda. Patriotic, yes. Nationalistic, no. Militaristic, no.

We wholeheartedly embrace a Godzilla that changes over time, just as it always has. Since Shin Godzilla is about the here and now, we explain the situation Japan is in right now, and the challenges they face. Because of marketing (“Cool Japan”) and the exaggerated power that nostalgia has, we say in plain English just why we’re seeing these political issues in the movie.

Shin Godzilla is not all that different from many other movies in the series. It fits into current events and stays relevant. It helps people work through trauma. It channels the public’s outrage. It expresses the Japanese national spirit. Using only the military fails. There are many more reasons.

If we had received a heavily edited version of Shin Godzilla in America and then had to wait 30+ years for it to be released, fans would have been furious. However, the result of this is that the politics came through completely unfiltered. If we had to wait decades until seeing the political elements of the movie, the political messages would be dulled by the passage of time. This time around, we get the full impact, so it’s natural that some Americans would have a reaction to what they see.

Since Hideki Anno made this movie, and since it deals with complex issues, we should not mistake meditating on issues the same thing as endorsing positions. We don’t endorse any positions either, but we do explain what’s going on in the film with all of these issues. There is also a lot of satire in this movie right up against a lot of realism. We sort all of that out. I explain all of the bureaucratic elements of the movie because it’s such an important part of the movie. We then comprehensively examine the events of 3/11/2011 and its aftermath better than anyone in the Godzilla podcasting community. We link the timeline of the disasters to the events in the film as they unfold.

Anyone who’s in the American Godzilla fandom needs to hear what we have to say in this episode. I have a background in comparative politics and international affairs, and our perspective on the movie from that angle is impressive. It’s totally worth listening to.

You can listen to this amazing episode here.

Episode 37: Shin Godzilla (2016)

At last, it is time. Fasten your seat belts, kaiju fans.  It’s like this movie was made for our show.  Just as we were planning a podcast emphasizing the connection between the Godzilla franchise and international affairs, this masterpiece was delivered to us on a silver platter.  This episode is our masterpiece.  After our film description, part two is our opinion on the big picture of this incredible movie.  Part three is a detailed chronological rundown of the film, and we will tie it to the events of 3/11.  Our related topics are the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns.

This episode is dedicated to the victims of the 3/11 disaster, Plant Manager Masao Yoshida, the Fukushima 50, the U.S. service members who participated in Operation Tomodachi, U.S. Forces Japan, and the JSDF.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patron Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level.  Thank you for your support!  We really appreciate it.

Go to our website next Wednesday (June 6) to learn what we have planned for future episodes.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:42

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:42 – 9:02

Part 2 – Opinion of the Big Picture: 9:02 – 1:04:45

Part 3 – Chronological Rundown: 1:04:45 – 3:10:52

Closing: 3:10:52 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lincoln Tower and Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Lucky Dragon No. 5: Still an Anti-Nuclear Symbol

The Lucky Dragon No. 5 today. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia).

Every Godzilla fan knows the story of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 (Daigo Fukuryu Maru). It was a fishing vessel that was exposed to nuclear fallout from the Castle Bravo test. While it was outside the predicted danger zone, the H-bomb detonated by the U.S. on the Bikini Atoll was far more powerful than expected, and on March 1, 1954, the 23-man crew of the ship were contaminated by the radiation. All of them suffered radiation poisoning and one died.

This event was fresh on the minds of the creative team at Toho working on Gojira. It’s why the film opens with a scene of a fishing vessel being destroyed by a blinding flash, which turns out later to have been Godzilla, and why it was implied that Godzilla was awakened and mutated by American H-bomb tests.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun was recently granted a rare chance to tour the inside of the now 70-year-old ship, which was decommissioned in 1967 and later moved in 1976 to the Yumenoshima district of Tokyo’s Koto Ward and preserved in a museum in the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall. They took several photos and 360-degree images of the boat. You can view them here.

To this day, the ship remains a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement in Japan. Along with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, this was one of the most potent and palpable examples of the “nuclear curse” on Japan. It was a demoralizing blow to the Japanese psyche, which was suffering other repercussions from nuclear tests at the time, such as contaminated fish being caught in their waters. It wasn’t until the 3/11 disasters, which included the Fukushima meltdown, that Japan suffered as large a nuclear-related incident. These led to an increase in distrust of nuclear power and the shutdown of many nuclear plants. This is problematic given that Japan is in desperate need of domestic energy sources since, being an island nation, they have to import most of them.

You might think it’s crazy, then, that anyone in Japan would want to preserve a ship that reminds them of this “curse.” I think the Japanese do it for that very reason. It allows them a means to look back on their past and remember their convictions. These events have made indelible marks on their history and culture, and they can’t afford to forget them.