Episode 53: Space Amoeba (1970)

It’s the last Toho classic kaiju movie, and there’s so much to like! The engaging cinematography and Kenji Sahara’s performance as Obata are two of the best things. And there aren’t any annoying squeaky-voiced little kids either! The subtle symbolism regarding Chinese Communism in the story and the kaiju is fascinating. Celebrate the end of an era with me, as I elevate this overlooked yet fun kaiju entry.

The related topic for this episode is Japanese Colonialism in Oceania.

This episode is dedicated to Akira Kubo.

I’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff. Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:22

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:22 – 14:28

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 14:28 – 45:16

Part 3 – Related Topic: 45:16 – 1:07:58

Closing: 1:07:58 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: St. Mary’s River, 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

G-Fest XXVI (2019) Panel: Alien Invasions w/Giant Monster Messages

This is our G-Fest Conference panel, which took place at 12:00pm (CDT) on July 14, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. In it, we compare and contrast alien invasion stories in movies from the Godzilla franchise and from American kaiju/sci-fi movies. I connect the stories from the Godzilla movies to events and trends in Japanese history, while Taylor connects the stories from American films to events and trends in American history. I highlight events from World War II, post-war globalization, nationalism, and the Japanese stock market crash in 1989/1990. Taylor highlights events from the Great Depression, the Red Scare, resource management, and technology.

I’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi, Sean Stiff, William Mize, and Eric White. Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it.

MP3:

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Taylor Hensley

Editor/Director/Video: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Crowne Plaza O’Hare, Rosemont, Illinois

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

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

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 46: Atragon (1963)

Come for the Gotengo.  Stay for the patriotism vs. nationalism/imperialism parable. What do you get when you combine Ishiro Honda, Shinichi Sekizawa, and at least seven different sea-related fictional stories? This movie, that’s what. It’s filled with juicy layers of rich historical symbolism, so Kaijuvision Radio is the place to get the full analysis. The related topics for this episode are Hiroo Onoda and Japanese Holdouts.

This episode is dedicated to the great character actor Jun Tazaki.

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 – 1:30

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:30 – 8:52

Part 2 – Opinion and Analysis: 8:52 – 33:19

Part 3 – Related Topic: 33:19 – 47:17

Closing: 47:17 – End

 

Host/Editor/Director/Scenic Videos: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: The PNC Building (left), Allen County Courthouse (center), and Lincoln Bank Tower (right)

Video Notes: Wind advisory conditions made the clouds move fast for this video.

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 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