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

“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!!

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!

G-Fest XXV (2018): Daniel DiManna Interview

I must say this interview is an immensely impressive accomplishment of film appreciation!

At G-Fest XXV, Nate and Brian recorded an interview with Daniel DiManna of the Godzilla Novelization Project.  His goal is to complete novelizations of every Japanese Godzilla movie.  We discuss putting oneself in the minds of the many great characters in the movies, which films will be the most challenging to novelize, and what other challenges emerge when undertaking this long-term project.  We had an enjoyable time and you will too when you listen to this.

You can visit the Godzilla Novelization Project homepage here.

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

MP3:

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

G-Fest XXV (2018): John LeMay Interview

At G-Fest XXV, Brian and Nate interviewed kaiju author John LeMay.  His latest book is called “Terror of the Lost Tokusatsu Films!”.  We address a few lost Godzilla films, his research process, why some of these lost films didn’t get made, and how some elements of these films could still end up in newer movies.  Some titles we discuss include “Bride of Godzilla”, “Batman Meets Godzilla”, “Tokyo S.O.S.: Godzilla’s Suicide Strategy”, and “Godzilla: Legend of the Asuka Fortress.”  Check out all of John’s books on his Amazon site here.

Nathan Marchand (Left), John LeMay (Center), Brian Scherschel (Right)

MP3:

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video: Brian Scherschel

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved