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 and Nathan Marchand

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 and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 35: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

At the midpoint of Road to Shin Godzilla Month, Brian and Nate come to the Millennium Series’ explosive finale, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Godzilla. Though this is the last entry of the series, it’s the first Internet Age Godzilla movie – and a valentine to G-fans. It resembles live-action anime as well as a live video game. Brian marvels at the redesign of his boy Gigan, and Nate argues that, in some ways, this is a “remake” of Destroy All Monsters that’s better than the original. Since there’s a ten-year gap in the franchise after this, our related topic is Abenomics.

This episode is dedicated to Akira Takarada.

On May 30, our Shin Godzilla episode will be the most in-depth analysis of that film in English.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:38

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:38 – 8:08

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 8:08 – 1:11:59

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:11:59 – 1:37:13

Closing: 1:37:13 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Fish Ladder Park (Grand River), Grand Rapids, Michigan

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 34: Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)

Road to Shin Godzilla Month marches on with the final entry of the “Tezuka Trilogy,” a film that astonished Nate and Brian on the re-watch.  Nate was surprised that this direct sequel to the previous film—which disappointed him—actually made good use of Kiryu having the original Godzilla’s soul grafted to it.  Brian thinks the special effects are a loving tribute to the artistry of classic tokusatsu.  Also, Mothra has never looked as good as she does in this film.  Much like Mothra vs. Godzilla, this movie doesn’t attempt many new things, but it does them all well.  Our related topic is deflation in Japan.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:44

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:44 – 8:08

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 8:08 – 46:48

Part 3 – Related Topics: 46:48 – 1:12:72

Closing: 1:12:72 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: South Side High School, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 33: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

Road to Shin Godzilla Month has begun! We’re counting down to our big episode on Godzilla’s latest reboot, starting with the “Kiryu Saga.”  Brian and Nate get a little Siskel & Ebert-ish as they discuss the second entry in the “Tezuka Trilogy,” which features the third incarnation of Mechagodzilla.  The movie has great cinematography and characters and some fun kaiju action, but Nate thinks the story missed some great potential with its wonderful new concept for Mechagodzilla.  Since this film once again features a strong female lead, our related topics are women in the Godzilla films and the firing of Makiko Tanaka.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:41

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:41 – 7:11

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:11 – 52:17

Part 3 – Related Topics: 52:17 – 1:46:51

Closing: 1:46:51 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Foster Park (St. Mary’s River), Fort Wayne, IN

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 32: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Turn of the Millennium Month comes to an end as Nate and Brian discuss an outlier of the Millennium Series and one of the highest-rated films in the franchise.  Directed by Shusuke Kaneko, the mastermind behind the acclaimed Heisei Gamera Trilogy, this is a complex film meditating on deep themes while also featuring incredible kaiju action, special effects, music, and characters.  It dared to make Godzilla purely evil and King Ghidorah a hero along with Mothra and Baragon (who’s sadly left out of the film’s mouthful of a title).  You’ll learn the “secret origins” of our podcast, which stems from us discussing GMK on our friends’ podcast several years ago.  Our related topics are the election of Koizumi, the U.S.S. Greenville collision, and the many events of 2001.

You can listen to that episode of Derailed Trains of Thought (hosted by Nick Hayden and Timothy Deal) here: http://derailedtrainsofthought.blogspot.com/2014/12/episode-50-guest-starringeverybody.html.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:58

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:58 – 8:39

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 8:39 – 1:05:26

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:05:26 – 1:21:02

Closing: 1:21:02 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Trophy Point (Hudson River), West Point, New York

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 31: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)

Turn of the Millennium Month continues with the first of three Godzilla movies which are directed by Masaaki Tezuka and becomes the standard bearer for the Millennium Series. Brian proclaims that this movie is fantastic because Tezuka brings back many stylistic elements from the Showa series. Overall, we rate this movie as fun, smart, and ahead of its time. We pay particular attention to the Dimension Tide (the black hole gun), what Godzilla’s body slam in the fight is referencing, and how many of the Heisei issues have been fixed. Brian explains to Nate how this isn’t a revenge story (though our main character is motivated by revenge). Our related topics are Energy Use and Energy Independence in Japan and Prime Minister Mori’s gaffe.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:52

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:52 – 7:56

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:56 – 1:09:22

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:09:22 – 1:29:27

Closing: 1:29:27 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: General Anthony Wayne Statue (Dedicated 1918), Freimann Square, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

All Rights Reserved

Episode 30: Godzilla 2000 (1999)

Continuing Turn of the Millennium Month, Nate and Brian appreciate the film where Japan reintroduces us to the authentic and complex Godzilla! Godzilla 2000 actually gives us subjects to think about, and it lets us get philosophical about Godzilla’s existence. We find similarities to The Flight of the Navigator, Independence Day, and Die Hard (the explosion at the Shinjuku Sumitomo building).  Our related topic is the Tokaimura nuclear accidents.

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

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:58

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:58 – 7:38

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:38 – 1:05:14

Part 3 – Related Topics: 1:05:14 – 1:16:31

Closing: 1:16:31– End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: St. Joe Dam (St. Joseph River), Johnny Appleseed Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel and Nathan Marchand