Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: It Came from Africa

Something I've learned from last month; don’t make promises on a blog, where you’re the only guy working on it.

As such, I’ll do whatever updates I can muster, without trying to be too ambitious in themes, or related schedules. One could accuse me of being lazy, but it’s easier on me, the lone author. And you the readers, will be getting more updates in turn.

I’m also NOT going to let the blasted holidays, or similar events and circumstances, interrupt me from doing said updates. So forgive me if I post one of my frivolous articles, while the real-world goes to Heck, in some form or another.

Though know that I often do so in innocent ignorance.


The otherwise nameless African Pachimon, or 'Afurika' for short.

Today’s Pachimon Kaiju Showcase is a fairly easy one, in that the featured monster has no name, beyond the country it’s shown menacing above.

Oh how I love to unofficially name the nameless!

The Africa Monster, or ‘Afurika’ is another entry in the ‘globetrotting’ monster bromide cards, published by Japan’s Yokopro in the 1970’s. And of whom previous spotlights Danpuraa and Wadorisu also hail from.

The country of Africa is home to many gorgeous, spectacular waterfalls, so I cannot definitively say which one that Afurika is shown standing over. But my guess would be the famous Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya, located in Southern Africa on the Zambezi River.


Image courtesy of Famous Wonders

As for Afurika / The Africa Monster itself; The head / face is a fully artistic original, but the rest of its body is directly taken from Sadora, who first appeared in episode 3 of “The Return of Ultraman”, “The Evil Monster Realm of Terror” (April 16th, 1971).


Sadora, who donated his body to Pachimon science.
Known as a ‘Rock Monster’, Sadora was one of two murderous creatures that appeared in the legendary (and fictional) summit dubbed The Misty Mountains. And has since made recurring appearances in more recent Ultra sequels, such as “Ultraman Mebius” (2006-2007) and “Ultra Galaxy: Mega-Monster Battles” (2008-2009).

More information on Sadora can be found HERE.


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Kaiju, and other Giant Monsters, are more infamous to mainstream audiences for their destructive deeds against civilization.

And although The Africa Monster doesn't look at all placid, with its protruding devil horns and sharp pincer-claws, I’d like to think it’s behaving like a more peaceful, natural animal, while standing among the beautiful surroundings of Victoria Falls.

Further Reading:

Famous Wonder's Victoria Falls Gallery
Cool Ass Cinema's Review of Sadora's Debut Adventure
Club de Monstres Pachimon Gallery

Monday, December 8, 2014

That Giant Shrimp-Looking Thing

Crap…Well, I was going to publicly announce my love for a certain sphinx lady tonight, as part of my month-long salute to Obscure and Overlooked Kaiju.

But then Anime News Network had to come along, and rain on my parade, by announcing a new series of Japanese-produced Godzilla films, to be produced independently from the Legendary Pictures series.

Now, we had a similar jump-the-gun moment with this same news earlier in the year, so I'm going to wait until more confirmation comes in (UPDATE: It's for real).

And although I’m happy to hear even more Godzilla films coming (along with the Legendary Godzilla sequels, Gamera’s 50th Anniversary, ”Kaiju Gaiden”, "Hail to the King", "Skull Island", "Pacific Rim 2", "Pacific Rim: The Animated Series", "Tremors 5", Liongate’s "Power Rangers", "Attack On Titan", and "Jurassic Park 3"), I’d rather indulge in the Monster Obscurities for now.

So let’s do a Godzilla related one, shall we?


COP OUT! COP OUT! COP OUT! COP OUT!



Giant Shrimp-Looking Thing (as it's flippantly referred to, by one character), made its minor debut in the 2014 graphic novel "Godzilla: Awakening", as one of the lesser-sized mutants to hail from the same wacky age as Godzilla and the MUTOs had.

Unfortunately, the less-than-comprehensive artwork, and pretentious nature of "Godzilla: Awakening", doesn't give this new monster (along with all the other archived beasts at a secret Monarch Museum), any decent exposure.

Though unlike ’The Saber-Toothed Gorilla’ from Dark Horse’s Godzilla comics, Giant Shrimp-Looking Thing does shows up for one more panel. And by doing so, suggests that these prehistoric sea creatures were common prey for larger monsters; like the deadly cell collective dubbed The Shinomura.


Nom...nom...nom..nom...
And yeah, these Giant Shrimps may be puny, when compared to Godzilla himself, but they’re still quite big in comparison to a human. And worth mentioning like similar overlooked ‘Minor Kaiju’, such as Giant Condor (from ”Godzilla vs The Sea Monster”), and Giant Sea Snake (from ”King Kong Escapes”).

I’d include Oodako to that same list...But considering the secret history of that giant octopus, in-and-out of the main Toho-produced monster movies, one comes to the simple conclusion that...OODAKO IS THE GREATEST MONSTER TO EVER LIVE!!!

But that, dear friends...is a tale for another time.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obscure Kaiju: Yagosu

UPDATE: Unlike some people, I'm more than open to correcting my own mistakes, and updating my blog posts if there's inaccurate information. But I hope my readers understand that we're dealing with obscure monsters from equally obscure media. So please give ME some slack, in that regard.

Thankfully, I was able to confirm with another site of Segosu's correct name and English spelling, that of Yagosu.


********

The following guy is so obscure, that I only discovered him on some long defunct (and some still active) tumblrs by chance! 

"Daikaiju Yagosu" (or "Yagosu the Giant Monster") appears to be an original manga or story book from the 1960's, featuring a crustacean-type monster. And with a bulging-eyed face that only a mother could love.



And that's all I know about Yagosu, as again, it's that obscure! Of course, if more information comes in, I'll be sure to share it in a follow-up.

However, I will say that The Golden Age of Japanese Monsters, or the 'Kaiju Boom' of the 1960's, went far beyond mere films and television shows.

Resulting in original Kaiju being created for comics, books, magazines, toys, board games, bromide cards, record albums, and advertising. There was even renewed interest for Yokai mythology (Please SEE Shigeru Mizuki), and imported movie and television from America, and elsewhere!

With Yagosu here, being only a small part of this long passed decade of giant monster mania.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tuko sa Madre Kakaw (1959)

Enshohma's going 'Kaiju Krazy', by sharing obscure and overlooked giant monsters, all throughout the month of December!




"Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" (or "Gecko in Madre Cacao") is a currently lost Pinyo (Philippine / Filipino cinema) science fiction movie from 1959. And probably one of a handful of such Pinyo films to feature giant monsters from that period. And as such, these are the only known images available from this currently lost production, courtesy of the blog Video48.

Character actor Vic Diaz plays the role of a mad biologist, who plots to conquer the world and destroy mankind, by formulating a serum (or formula) that can increase the size of animals a hundred times. He tests the serum on a ‘tuko’ (gecko), which turns into a giant menacing reptile.

"Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" is reported to be based on the novel by Clodualdo del Mundo, and was serialized in the magazine "Hiwaga Komiks". The finished film also starred Willie Sotelo, Nita Javier, Hector Reyes, Luz Valdez, and Oscar Obligacion, and was directed by Richard Abelardo.






Talented artist and fellow DeviantART member, Elden Ardiente, shared with me that he actually WATCHED this film on television, back in the day.

This brings some hope that "Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" is not completely lost from history. And might find its way onto the internet, like other lesser known fantasy movies in recent years ("The War God" for example). I posted the first half of this article over at my DeviantART page, from which Elden had this to say:


Oh my Word! 
I've watched that film when I was very little. It was one of them after-lunchtime movies that no one ever gets to watch, but only when either you're too young for school or you took a sickie from work. I thought that movie was very cool. At this point in my life, the only movie monsters I've seen were "King Kong" (1976), Sinbad Monsters from the trailers, a giant crab from God knows what movie, and this Giant Gecko. And have never known Godzilla yet. 
Thanks for showing this; brings back some great memories.

As an historian of giant monsters, to actually know someone who's seen this film, and one who's a well-liked acquaintance from DeviantART, is an awesome coincidence indeed!

So I had to ask Elden some further questions, like if there was more than one enlarged animal in the movie? And how 'Tuko' (The Giant Gecko) was brought to cinematic life?

As far as I remember, I think I was 4 years old that time, it felt like it there was a man in a suit and some puppetry involved. It was convincing enough. I think the Tuko was the only monster there. I remember the mad scientist played by a popular actor - he was quite scary. I'd love to see this movie again!

Major thanks for the information, Elden! I myself would just love to see this film period!

Based on his reply, along with the images posted above, confirms that 'Tuko the Giant Gecko' is a man-in-suit creation. And the stand alone 'mon-star' of "Tuko sa Madre Kakaw".

*******

If more details around this lost Pinyo-Kaiju-Eiga comes about, I'll be sure to share it in a follow-up article. For now however, check out the official Facebook page for "Godzilla: Heritage"; an ambitious fan-film in-development, of which Elden Ardiente is doing creature designs for.

And here's some of Elden's computer-generated renderings, done for the project:, straight from his always impressive DeviantART account:




Related Links:

Club de Monstres Gallery (whom I helped established)

My DeviantART post on the matter

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Shirako

Whoa...That last article on the giant primate Nink was really, really long!

So for today's Pachimon Kaiju Showcase, I'm going to keep things as simple as 'Enshohmaly Possible', and discuses a fairly simplistic reptilian named Shirako!

Shirako (name translated from the katakana at the upper left corner)

While going through all these different Pachimon Kaiju, I've come to discovered that even the fully illustrated characters, are taken from preexisting sources. Including some from American comics, and picture books. Such as "Boris Karloff's Tales of Mystery", and the works of science fiction illustrator Edd Cartier.

Despite my initial hopes, it looks as if these vintage bromide cards, really do live up to their modern nickname of Pachimon ('Stolen Monsters').

However, Shirako here (along with past showcase Danopura) appear to be fully original designs, made exclusively for these offbeat cards. Or at least until I stumble onto said monsters' origins, within some obscure Japanese source. Courage.


Alternate Shirako file, take #1

Not much to say on Shirako himself, other than he's a old school reptile monster, done with a healthy amount of appealing goofiness. And the chosen colors of violet-blue skin, piercing red tongue, and bright yellow eyes are nice touches.

But poor Shirako would still disappear among all the other reptile and dinosaur-inspired beasts from the golden age of Japanese giant monsters.

The photo background before Shrako, is clearly New York from the same time period (possibly the '60's). But Shirako's placement within the image raises some visual confusion for me; is Shirako standing on a skyscraper, looking down onto an already massive Big Apple, via King Kong?

Or is Shirako so ridiculously colossal, that even skyscrapers hundreds of meters in height, are literally beneath his titanic foot?

I favor the former theory, due to my appalling habit of applying logic to silly fantasy monsters, without denying base silliness.

And here's Take #2

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kaiju Images: That Destoroyah Toy Of Mine

Nothing major this time around, but thought I’d share these photos I took of a Bandai produced Destoroyah toy, which I bought super-cheap earlier this year.

I may be a massive fan of giant monsters, but I’m NOT an avid collector of their toys. Unless an extremely lucky (again, cheap) opportunity arises.



This is of course the title opponent of 1995’s “Godzilla vs Destoroyah”, who is a mutated Precambrian life-form; extremely ancient, extinct life-forms of whom the real Trilobites was apart of).

And is directly linked in its origins to The Oxygen Destroyer - the only super weapon in the franchise that can positively end Godzilla’s life.





Since these photos are originals, you’re all more than welcome to save and re-post them on your ends. And expect more impressive images, and equally as obscure monster subjects, posted at this blog, all across December!








Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Nink

Nink; today's featured Pachimon Kaiju.

From my experiences among American Kaiju fans, giant primates in the vein of King Kong are surprisingly unpopular. Maybe it’s a sort of bias against such simple monsters, when compared to more imaginative laser-blasting dinosaurs, jumbo-sized space invaders, or super robots of the genre.

That...Or a lot of die-hard Godzilla fans here in the states, are still sore about King Kong winning his famous fight with The King of the Monsters.

Kong won. Deal with it America.

I actually love a lot of these giant primates and similar simian monsters. But even I must admit, that there’s very little in the way of creative variety, within this category.

And if I was to do two separate articles separating the creative and unique ‘monkey monsters’, from the giant primates that could all pass off as ‘The Clones of Kong’, I’d probably end up with more of the latter, than the preferred other.

Such is the case with today’s Pachimon Kaiju, the suspiciously named Nink.

And I say suspicious, because there is no real name for this guy. Beyond the original file name connected to this image, when I originally ‘saved’ it from a now long-defunct Japanese web-site.

Oh yes, there is a Japanese katakana name on the bromide card itself. But obscured by such background darkness, that not even my sufficient Photoshop skills can salvage it. So we’ll just call this hairy fellow Nink!

Not counting the bright orange-colored fur, there’s not much to Nink’s simple design, thus adding to the ‘primate monsters are boring’ argument. The face is an artistic, painted original (possibly along with his one visible foot), but the body appears to be taken from photos of Goron; an arguably more interesting monkey villain from Ultra Seven.

Goron, from the classic Tokusatsu series "Ultra Seven"

Alien Goron (alias Goron-seijin) first appeared in episode 45 of “Ultra Seven”, entitled "The Great Apeman of Terror" (original air-date: August 11th, 1968).

Despite his primitive looks (and likewise fighting style), Goron is actually an intelligent alien invader. Sent from his home-planet as a vanguard, to convert humans into ape-like slaves. Or to simply mind-control others with his technology, at a Japanese zoo.

The only transformed ‘ape man’ that we’re shown is Gorry; a hapless janitor, who serves as Goron’s brutal pawn.

Goron’s nefarious plan is ultimately discovered by the paramilitary organization dubbed The Ultra Garrison, forcing the ‘Space Monkey-Man’ to reveal himself and go giant size. Goron than battles the title hero, Ultra Seven, who is a benevolent alien on mankinds’ side, often disguised as Garrison member Dan Moroboshi.

Goron made additional appearances in the television shorts of “Ultra Fight” (1970-to-1971). And more recently in cameo capacity, in the full-fledged series “Ultraman Ginga” (2013).

In the American dubbed version “Ultra-7”, which aired on TNT (Turner Network Television) in the early 1990’s, Goron was renamed The Tamberlan Lion. That’s probably a humorous reference to the real-world monkey Goron shares some resemblance to, The Golden Lion Tamarin.

Goron vs Ultra Seven
Going back to Nink itself; the Japanese landmark of which the ‘Pachimon Ape’ is shown menacing, is non other than the clock tower of the Wako Department Store, in Ginza. The same clock tower of whom Godzilla himself knocked down, during his original 1954 film debut.

Godzilla attempting to stop Marty McFly from going back to the future.
Godzilla shamelessly ripping off Mommy Gorgo's Big Ben routine.

Judging by Nink and Godzilla’s relation to the Wako Clock Tower, I'd say both monsters are roughly the same height of 50 meters (roughly 165 feet).

And finally, I end this ridiculously long-winded article with pictures of the real clock tower, in more recent times. Because effects models based on real locations only scare and confuse most mortal men. Trust me...I know A LOT of unfortunate humans in this regard.

(Please insert Godzilla and Nink above)
Yes. It's real.