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

“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!

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!

 

 

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.

2018 Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival Recap

by Nathan Marchand

On May 20, Brian and I attended the Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival, a local event that celebrates Japanese culture.  It was held at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library.  It’s essentially a free one-day convention.  This was the event’s 11th year.  As we’ve mentioned before, one of Fort Wayne’s sister cities is Takaoka, so it makes sense to hold a festival each year centered on Japan.  It was my second time at the event and Brian’s first.

As the event’s website proclaims, “Five hours…so little time and so much to do!”  That was definitely true.  We had to choose our activities carefully.

First, we watched a performance by Fort Wayne Taiko.  As explained on their website, “Taiko is a Japanese musical tradition that means ‘big drum.’ The large, hollow, skin-covered drums used in taiko are played vertically, horizontally or diagonally to create a range of vibrant rhythms. But taiko isn’t simply about sound. Its characteristic beat is achieved through choreographed arm movements, as drummers ‘dance’ their sticks from drum to drum.”  They’re the only such group in Fort Wayne and one of the few in the Midwest, which makes them unique in our area.  I love watching them. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Next was the opening ceremony presided over by Fort Wayne’s mayor, Tom Henry, and Consul-General Naoki Ito.  After a quick lunch from some local Japanese restaurants, we watched a performance from the Minyo Club of Indianapolis.  Minyo is a style of Japanese folk music and dance originally practiced by people as they worked.

Minyo Club of Indianapolis.  (Photo by Brian Scherschel)

Next was one of the highlights of the day: the planting of a cherry blossom tree.  Consul-General Ito brought five that were to be planted all over the city, including one in front of the library.  Both he and Mayor Henry broke ground with shovels and Laura Stine of Laura Stine Gardens planted it.  (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Afterward, we had the privilege of meeting Ito-san and telling him about our podcast.  He seemed impressed with our work and told us to keep it up.  It was also one of the few times I’ve seen Brian starstruck, and it was for a Japanese diplomat! (Which, honestly, isn’t surprising if you know Brian).

Brian (left) with Ito and me (right) with Ito.  (Left photo by Nathan Marchand, right photo by Brian Scherschel)

We next saw Heartland Sings, a local vocal group, perform acapella versions of several video game and J-pop songs.  My favorite was their Super Mario Bros. medley.  Interestingly, they went from the festival to a local church to perform liturgical songs. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

After mingling with the vendors, we attended an event Brian wanted to make sure we didn’t miss: the tea ceremony.  This is a tradition that goes back centuries and involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of a powdered green tea called matcha.  We were able to watch a condensed version of the ceremony while a young woman, who was a student of tea master, explained everything.  It was fascinating to watch.

The Japanese tea ceremony.  (Photo by Brian Scherschel)

Then we saw a martial arts demonstration by the Indianapolis Kendo Club.  I’ve long been interested in martial arts, so I always make sure to watch demonstrations like this.  I was surprised at how noisy kendo is, but even that has the purpose of releasing the practitioner’s energy.  The most thought-provoking thing I learned was that a strike in kendo is only to illustrate that the practitioner has already won the fight. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Brian left after that, but I stuck around for the cosplay contest.  This featured a parade of anime and video characters.  The top three consisted of two Pokemon characters and a female rendition of the dragon Shenron from DragonBall. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Overall, it was a fun and educational experience.  Not unlike our podcast!

 

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

Episode 36: Godzilla (US) (2014)

In the penultimate episode of Road to Shin Godzilla Month, Nate and Brian discuss Godzilla’s return to America with Legendary Pictures’ 2014 reboot directed by Gareth Edwards.  Your hosts channel Siskel & Ebert again, only in reverse: Nate loves this film but Brian thinks it’s a mixed bag.  They also draw several literary and historical parallels—including Riki-Tiki-Tavi and Saigō Takamori, the real-life last samurai—to this movie, which launched the MonsterVerse.  While this is an American film, our related topic is the 2014 reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution.

Here’s the episode of the Strangers and Aliens podcast where Nate reviewed this film in 2014 with Ben Avery: http://strangersandaliens.com/2014/05/godzilla-summer-movie-series-sa127/

Next week, our Godzilla Journey comes to a head with the most in-depth analysis of Shin Godzilla you’ll hear in English.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:02

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:02 – 7:32

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:32 – 1:18:42

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:18:42 – 1:43:30

Closing: 1:42:30 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Nathan Marchand and Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Pisgah Marsh (Pisgah Lake), Pierceton, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved