Episode 43: The Last War (1961)

Brian and Daniel team up for this rare and incredible tokusatsu disaster film from Toho. Find it and watch it! It’s a nuclear war scenario between stand-ins for NATO and the Warsaw Pact at the height of the Cold War – and Japan is caught in between! It’s like an Ozu film with Tsuburaya’s special effects in it. It’s also a nearly perfect film for this show (besides Shin Godzilla). Includes a talented cast including Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Frankie Sakai, and Jerry Ito. The related topic for this episode is NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

You can find Daniel DiManna’s Godzilla Novelization Project here:

godzillanovelizationproject.wordpress.com

This episode is dedicated to Yuriko Hoshi.

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

 

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:01

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:01 – 8:19

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 8:19 – 1:23:25

Part 3 – Related Topic: 1:23:25 – 1:41:36

Closing: 1:41:36 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Guest Co-Host: Daniel DiManna

Video Location: Giant American Flag, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 42: Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Daniel DiManna of the Godzilla Novelization Project comes back to the show to review this tokusatsu extravaganza. The film is based in science-fiction, action, and Ishiro Honda’s particular brand of optimistic pacifism. With the combination of superb models and vehicles, top-notch effects, and a unique fast-paced story, the movie does everything well all at once. We discuss how cool it would be to be inside the theater that gets destroyed by an absolute zero weapon in the movie you’re watching in it, Yoshio Tsuchiya’s mind control adventure, and militarizing the crap out of the space program in the name of peace. The related topic for this episode is the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

You can find Daniel DiManna’s Godzilla Novelization Project here:

godzillanovelizationproject.wordpress.com

This episode is dedicated to Eiji Tsuburaya.

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

 

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:36

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:36 – 7:10

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 7:10 – 1:41:23

Part 3 – Related Topic: 1:41:23 – 1:59:17

Closing: 1:59:17 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Guest Co-Host: Daniel DiManna

Video Location: Lincoln Bank Tower, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 41: The Three Treasures a.k.a. Nippon tanjo (The Birth of Japan) (1959)

Daniel DiManna of the Godzilla Novelization Project joins me to appreciate Kaijuvision’s first epic.  182 minutes long, it’s the Japanese response to Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).  The kaiju is Yamata no Orochi, the 8-headed dragon.  Toshiro Mifune plays the legendary Prince Yamato Takeru and the mythical god Susanoo.  Since this is a religious epic, the related topic is Shinto.

You can find Daniel DiManna’s Godzilla Novelization Project here:

godzillanovelizationproject.wordpress.com

This episode is dedicated to Toshiro Mifune.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:35

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:35 – 9:44

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 9:44 – 2:00:28

Part 3 – Related Topic: 2:00:28 – 2:31:23

Closing: 2:31:23 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Guest Co-Host: Daniel DiManna

Video Location: Headwaters Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

What’s Going on with “Kunashiroshima” in “Varan, the Unbelivable” (1962)

by Brian Scherschel

Background

I mentioned in episode 40 on “Varan” that the American version of the movie loves the word “Kunashiroshima”, as it is said plenty of times.  The creators of the American version decided to make Kunashiroshima an island.  They moved every event in the movie to this island.  In the Japanese version, the events take place in the mountains of Tohoku in Iwaya Village.  The military and scientists kill Varan at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

The island of Kunashir is in the Kuril Islands, which are called the Northern Territories in Japan.  The Japanese refer to this island as Kunashiri.  The Soviet Union invaded this group of islands towards the end of the Great Pacific War.  They have been Soviet/Russian territory ever since.

In a previous article, I mentioned how this disputed territory will likely never be resolved because neither side is budging despite what the president of Russia said to Prime Minister Abe recently.  There are currently a significant number of Russian troops on Kunashir and Iturup, because of the recent increases in global tension.  All of these islands are very close to Hokkaido.

The Kuril Islands (source: Google Earth)

Why the Location Change?

Why is the location changed and then given this name in the American version of Varan?  Shima in Japanese translates to “island”.  So the island in the movie is Kunashiro Island.  Sid Harris, the screenwriter for Varan, may have purposely changed the location to Kunashir in order to connect Varan with the Soviet Union.  Varan represents the Soviets, who are lying in wait to attack and invade.  Varan is in the lake and is ready to attack at any time.

The American version was released at the height of the Cold War in 1962.  So this type of symbolism would fit with the times.

Connection to Other Kaiju Films

This isn’t really new though.  In previous movies covered in the show, there have been connections made between Godzilla and the United States because of his relation to nuclear weapons.  Rodan may represent the Soviet Union as well.  King Ghidorah has a possible connection to China in the 1964 Ghidorah film.

While I usually expected Takeshi Kimura or Shinichi Sekizawa to do this, I didn’t expect the American remake of Varan to do it.  Viewers don’t really look for the American remakes to be smart.  It’s not necessarily “in your face” symbolism, just as the other Japanese movies have done.  If the symbolism was obvious, then it wouldn’t be as good.

If this is the case, then bravo to whoever decided to do it, because it works!  It’s even in line with what other Japanese kaiju films have done!

Episode 40: Varan (1958)

Kaiju non-fiction author John LeMay joins me for a detailed analysis on the good Japanese version of Varan, and a brief review of the pain-inducing American version “Varan, the Unbelievable” starring Myron Healey from “The Unearthly” and released in theaters by the same company that gave us “The Skydivers” and “Beast of Yucca Flats”. John tells us all about the complicated story behind the making of Varan, because it was originally meant for television. We talk about Varan and his design and complicated origin. I notice the many similarities between Yuriko from this movie and Yuri from GMK (2001). The related topic for this episode is the hisabetsu-buraku (discriminated communities), who may be represented as the natives in the movie.

You can find all of John LeMay’s books on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/John-LeMay/e/B003KTW83K/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1539779359&sr=8-2.

This episode is dedicated to master prop and monster suit builder Keizo Murase.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:02

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:02 – 8:01

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 8:01 – 54:51

Part 3 – Related Topic: 54:51 – 1:05:48

Closing: 1:05:48 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Guest Co-Host: John LeMay

Video Location: Fox Island County Park (Bowman Lake), Allen County, Indiana

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 39: The Mysterians (1957)

They want your land, your women, then more of your land, and, well, you get the idea. The aliens have even searched through binders full of women for very best ones. Listen as I analyze Moguera, the Markalite FAHPs, and those fabulous matte paintings! And then I’ll connect the story in the movie to contemporary events: The normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union in 1956.

This episode is dedicated to eminent virtuoso actor Takashi Shimura.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:35

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:35 – 10:04

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 10:04 – 33:19

Part 3 – Related Topic: 33:19 – 45:39

Closing: 45:39 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton construction site, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 38: Half Human (1955)

Season 2 at Kaijuvision Radio begins with the first non-Godzilla kaiju film from Toho Studios.  This Japanese take on the Abominable Snowman phenomenon is a story about the dark side of humanity.  The Japanese cut of the movie is effectively banned in Japan because of its depiction of the Ainu people as savages.  I find interesting parallels between this film and Disney’s “Song of the South” (1946), as well as “Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues” (1984), which was made famous by Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The related topic is The Genetic Origin of the Ainu People.

This episode is dedicated to the great Ishiro Honda.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 4:27

Part 1 – Film Description: 4:27 – 11:08

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 11:08 – 28:57

Part 3 – Related Topic: 28:57 – 40:18

Closing: 40:18 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: American Electric Power Building, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video Notes: The clouds in this video are part of the west edge of the remnants of Hurricane Florence, taken on September 17, 2018 in Fort Wayne.  We wish a speedy recovery to everyone effected by this disastrous hurricane.

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

“Torii Gate” Banners: Kevin Geary (kevincgearydesign.com)

Logos: Nanoparticles (www.fiverr.com/nanoparticles)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

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!!

G-Fest XXV (2018) Panel: Godzilla and the Japanese National Spirit

As promised, here’s the audio and video of our G-Fest Conference panel, which took place at 3:00pm (CDT) on July 13, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. We had a larger-than-expected turnout, including several attendees who were listeners and a university professor who was impressed with our presentation. If he was amazed, we know you’ll be, too!

In this, we discuss Godzilla (1954), The Return of Godzilla (1984), Shin Godzilla (2016), and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), and the international relations issues that were surrounding them when they were made.

We introduce ourselves, the podcast, and its mission. Then Nate examines the 1954 and 1984 movies with respect to the JSDF, the US-Japan Alliance, and Japanese domestic issues. Brian then updates the audience on what has happened in Japan and the world between 1984 and 2016. Nate examines the 2016 movie across the same issues. Brian analyzes Godzilla vs. Gigan and all that the movie communicates to the audience about globalization. Brian finishes the panel by mentioning what all will happen to Japan in 2019 and 2020, and gives a spirited case for defending democracy.

MP3:

 

 

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!