The Greatness of Toho Classic Sci-Fi

by Brian Scherschel

On September 19th, Kaijuvision Radio will begin its 2nd season.

Now that the Godzilla journey is over, it’s time to visit the kaiju we didn’t get to last season.  In this new chronological journey, I’ll be tackling many of the classic Toho sci-fi movies that don’t have Godzilla in them.  That includes non-Godzilla kaiju movies as well as non-kaiju tokusatsu movies.  The time period is 1955-1977: 22 years of fun, fantastic, and underrated Toho classics.  There will be episodes for the new Godzilla movies as they come out too.

The Submersion of Japan (1973)

Kaijuvision is sticking with the creative community that brought us the Showa Godzilla movies, including Ishiro Honda, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shinichi Sekizawa, Akira Ikufube, Masaru Sato, and Teruyoshi Nakano.  Of course we get to see many of Toho’s contract actors like Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura.  We even get to see Toshiro Mifune in this season!  Haruo Nakajima often played the kaiju depicted in these movies.

I love the concepts and ideas that these movies present to the viewers.  These movies are intriguing and fascinating.  They make you want to watch them again and again.  Almost all of them are in wonderful color, and many are filmed in Tohoscope.  Additionally many of Toho’s best actors were in these films.  In contrast, American sci-fi movies were often relegated to black and white film, and good actors often avoided them.

These films are not only interesting, but they’re also culturally relevant.  They tap into the Japanese cultural zeitgeist like many of the best Godzilla movies do.  Since Kaijuvision excels in examining these kinds of connections, they make perfect sense to analyze.

What’s great is that these movies are more available and more affordable than they ever have been before.  Many of them used to be “rare DVDs”.  The DVD guide for these movies came out last week, so check out where to buy them.  As current listeners know, Kaijuvision Radio prefers the Japanese versions with English subtitles.  It’s much closer to the real thing than these sometimes horrific English dubs.

So strap yourselves in for another season of movie greatness!

Here again is the list:

Half Human (1955), The Mysterians (1957), Varan (1958), The Three Treasures (1959), 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), War of the Gargantuas (1966), Latitude Zero (1969), Space Amoeba (1970), The Submersion of Japan (1973), War in Space (1977).