Friday, October 17, 2014

Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: Godzilla vs The Sea Monster

Holy crap! I forgot to share these!

Title Card for Brandon's Video Review

For well over a year now, I've been the lead title card artist for a one name Brandon Tenold - a Canadian film critic and musician, whose started a video series of cult movie reviews, delivered with a comical bent of course.

These online video-comedy-reviewers are obviously the unholy spawn from a long abandoned Satellite of LoveAnd the sheer number of them that keep popping up across the web is getting redundant, I must unfortunately say.

However, Brandon is one of the few such people to tackle a wider variety of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films, especially from the olden days of the 1960s and 1970s.

Including the colorful and imaginative world of (what else) Japanese Monster Movies!


Text-less Version

“Godzilla vs The Sea Monster” (1966) is an underrated entry into the Godzilla franchise, as it tells a great island adventure tale, filled with likable human heroes and 'levelheaded levity'.

Sadly, where the film somewhat fails is in the Kaiju / Giant Monster department.

I have nothing against a gigantic shrimp / lobster amalgam as the title nemesis. And as such, I’m a bigger Ebirah (the shrimp / lobster amalgam) than Brandon acts as, within the following video. Or at least I think he's acting...?

But the monster action is limited, and takes a back-seat to the otherwise entertaining (at least this time around) human drama. That tends to be the common complaint with giant monster movies in general. But again, “Godzilla vs The Sea Monster” is one of the more acceptable examples of such.

Go Team Yentah!

Enjoy Brandon’s more extensive thoughts / rants / gags in live action video form below:



Direct Link, in case the embedded video isn't your respective bag.

I'll be sharing more Brandon videos, both new and old, in future blog posts. And until than, please check out his Patreon account.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Daigoras

I know I promised the weird vampire critter Kyuradoros, but my hopeful collaborator Dr Zock is currently unavailable. And I wish not to showcase that monster if Zock has some unique, additional information to share. Needless to say, Kyuradoros will have to wait.

And besides, I have TONS of other Pachimon Kaiju to share until then.


Daigoras, also known as Dygorus - possibly from 1968

This handsome fellow is known as Daigoras, or Dygorus as it’s sometimes spelled.

Daigoras is a reworking of the character of Eleking; an electrical Space Kaiju who made his debut in the classic series “Ultra Seven” (1967-1968). And like all popular Ultra Monsters, Eleking would make multiple reappearances throughout the franchisee. Including that of a ‘Hero Kaiju’ in Ultra Galaxy: Mega-Monster Battles” (2007-2008).


Eleking; the popular “Ultra Seven” character whom Daigoras is taken from

Daigoras...would not.

Like a lot of the Pachimon Kaiju, Daigoras has only this lone bromide card to be remembered by. Though there might be some Daigoras vinyl figures, made for the modern collector markets.

Actually, that’s a little unfair for me to say, as Daigoras is one of the more recognizable Pachimon Kaiju since the frivolous internet began! And this bromide is an admittedly impressive piece of pre-digital photo art, at least where the lead monster is concerned.

It might be an altered Eleking photo. But the execution is so solid (compared to other Pachimon), that I was honestly convinced Daigoras might have been an actual creature suit. Instead of just well done airbrushing.

The only major give away (beyond the disconnected background), is Daigoras’ mouth and eyes, which is the most obvious in the airbrushing department.

As stated before, the background, and the foreground for that matter, suffers from a clear disconnect with the central monster figure. But it’s still quite dynamic, complete with a gorgeous fireball explosion, which almost dwarfs Daigoras.


Alternative version of the first Daigoras file

And if that tower (which Daigoras is crushing in one of its hands) seems familiar to you Kaiju fans, well then you’re not mistaken. It’s none other than Kobe Port Tower, located in Japan’s Port of Kobe.

Both the port and its iconic tower are very real places, which have been recreated in model form for both Gamera vs Barugon(1966), and episode 15 of “Ultra Seven”, “The Ultra Garrison Goes West, Part 2” (January 14th, 1968).

In the latter example, Ultra Seven defends Kobe Port Tower from the flying saucer robot King Joe. While in the former film, Kobe Port Tower has a far less fortunate fate, being destroyed by the reptilian demon BarugonClearly, Daigoras is taking a page out of Barugon’s playbook.


A compilation of Daigoras images, taken from ancient floppy disc storage

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Garigari vs Berobero (Nippon Television, 1971)

I’m freaking done with wikis! All of them!

I am done with these blasted information ports, where it's either impossible to contribute, or some ‘veteran member’ deletes your work, without any consideration. Especially since my additions to sites like Wikipedia and Wikizilla were far from fanciful non-sense.
And my own attempts at creating an original Kaiju wiki, was constantly undermined by hackers, spam-text, viruses, and similar digital vandalism. This seems to be a problem for a lot of other people's better made wikis. Anime ones in particular.

So screw it! And happily so I might add!

All the amazing Kaiju information and images that I've collected since I was nine-years old(!) will be shared here, and here alone!

Long live my rarely visited blog!



Had you frequented giant monster-related ‘image dump sites' like Tumblr or Pinterest, than you might have come across the humorous rivals shown above.

Garigari vs. Berobero was a segment (or series of segments) from “Machaaki Maetake Hajimaru Yo” (literally “Begins Only with Machaakimae”); a 1971 Japanese comedy series which aired on Nippon Television (or NTV for short).

Garigari is the three-legged bird monster, while his more colorful opponent is Berobero, who's an overweight (fat) Chinese Dragon.

And that’s all I really know about these two rather obscure TV monsters,  though if more information comes my way, I’ll be sure to post a follow-up.

Until such a day arrives (if ever), here’s some more images for your viewing pleasure. Including vinyl toys of Garigari and Berobero, done for contemporary hobby collectors.



Special thanks to Famicomblog, Astro Monsters, and Nerd One at Flickr for these images.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Moguera Was Once A Real Boy!

As mentioned in my previous post on Roboes,  robots and other similar automatons are awesome! So I think I’m going to continue that line of thinking.

Because again, ROBOTS ARE AWESOME!


Despite the success of 1954’s “Gojira”, and its American adaptation “Godzilla, King of the Monsters” in 1956, Toho Studios didn't exactly begin the Godzilla franchise in full, until 1962.
Especially after the sequel “Godzilla Raids Again” (1955), failed to click with audiences, along with its pretty terrible 1959 American version “Gigantis the Fire Monster”.

“Gigantis” is a whole article of woe all on its own. But let’s just say that the renaming of a popular character like Godzilla, in an decade without the internet, or reliable entertainment news sources, did not go over well.

Thankfully for fantasy fans, Toho continued their string of science fiction and monster movies throughout the fifties. They just did it without Godzilla.

Among these were 1957’s “The Mysterians” (alias “Chikyū Bōeigun”, or "Earth Defense Force"); a Japanese take on the attempted alien invasions of Earth narrative. And one that also manages to do some things different, from the older American efforts which inspired it.

It was filmed in glorious color, and had a very decent budget, as it's often forgotten that Japanese monster movies were technically A-level productions. Until the downgrading of the 1970's. And featured plenty of cool super weapons and vehicles on both sides of the  interplanetary conflict.

Much more intriguing than how these alien invasion film’s usual play out, with the aliens having all the fun toys, and the human heroes only whipping up one useful, but otherwise unimpressive trinket to defeat the invaders at the end.
Including computer viruses programmed by David Levinson, and yodeling from vintage country music albums.

And straight from The Mysterians’ toy chest, comes the giant burrowing robot dubbed Moguera.



Moguera (as in Mole), may not be the first robotic Kaiju in Japanese fiction, but he is the first prominent one featured in the Kaiju film genre.
And although he / it has not appeared in more than two films, the original 1957 version of the character remained a mainstay in Kaiju / Godzilla merchandising for years.

Moguera is a giant burrowing robot used by The Mysterians to first help construct their underground headquarters on Earth. And then later, unleashed upon the surface as the first violent example of their otherworldly power. Despite the robot’s destructive presence and laser beam eyes, Moguera is taken out with multiple explosives across Koyama Bridge.

A second Moguera unit is briefly seen during the climax, as it creates ground fissures to swallow up the human’s own gigantic super weapons dubbed Markalites (mobile energy-shooting satellite dishes). Only to be destroyed by its own handy work, as one of the Markalites falls on top of it.

'Moguera 2', about to be crushed by a falling Markalite Cannon

A heavily reimagined Moguera, now called M.O.G.U.E.R.A (an acronym for Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero-Type), appears in “Godzilla vs Space Godzilla” (1994). This human-built military machine is a successor to the previous year’s Mechagodzilla, whose pilot crew fights alongside Godzilla (however reluctantly), against his cosmic doppelganger.

I’m pretty supportive of almost any giant monster out there, but given a choice between the two Moguera automatons, I’ll take the 1957 vintage any old day.

Moguera (the first one) on the warpath!

The original story for “The Mysterians” had no monster in it, as Mogera's inclusion was a last minute idea from producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, whom felt the film needed a Kaiju. Bless him.

The original concept for Moguera was to have him / it be a half-mole, half-reptilian creature. Though the design was never brought to special-effects-suit life, some key details were later used for another burrowing giant, Baragon, from the 1965 film “Frankenstein Conquers the World”.

Director Ishiro Honda reworked Moguera into being a robot, as a way to further demonstrate the technological powers that The Mysterians possessed. Below is a compilation piece I put together, featuring design art and storyboards of the abandoned flesh and blood Moguera.


And plenty of alternate files of the unrealized Moguera, that you readers are welcomed to collect and share elsewhere online.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Roboes

By this point, you all know the drill of what a Pachimon Kaiju is, and the story behind these odd bromide cards. However, I’m starting to realize that the term itself (which translates as ‘stolen monster’) might be true even for the original monster designs, and their related artwork.

There was a lot of Japanese picture books made for children during the Golden Age of Japanese Giant Monsters (the 1960’s Kaiju Boom). And a lot of said illustrations could have been re-purposed (borrowed) for these bromide cards.

But then again, maybe I’m just being paranoid here. And last showcase’s Danopura may have made his exclusive debut, in the same Pachimon card which featured him. And that’s my thought process behind today’s subject - the highly unimaginatively named Roboes!


Roboes (also known as Robosu), is probably one of my more favorite characters from these wacky cards.

I would argue that fictional robots are the coolest monsters in all of worldwide fantasy. Especially since they have a greater variety than other monster types, like Zombies, Vampires, or Werewolves, who often must abide to their respective and rigid genre rules.

Make a Zombie that can utter a single word of basic English? Zombie purists and the casual horror fans alike will give you unjust Hell for this one little detail!

But create magical clockwork robots in a fantasy fairy tale kingdom? Or demonic techno-organics (a more extreme take on the cyborg concept) for a grim space adventure? The only real guff you may get will be from the handful of sulking weenies who simply don’t like robots to begin with.

Despite all the ‘Giant Monster vs Giant Robot’ debates you'd find across the internet (First World problems indeed), for someone like myself, its a mute argument. Because there’s giant monsters out there who also happen to be giant robots! The best of both worlds!

And like the aforementioned, these too can come in a wide variety of shapes and story possibilities.

And that’s why I have a certain affinity for Robosu and his jumbo-sized mechanized ilk, because giant robots are almost always better than the regular sized ones.

But even if that wasn't the case, Roboes has a very fun design. Highlighted by an awesome red-coloring scheme, which separates him from the silvers and grays of most other robotic Kaiju.

The retro-pulp feel of Roboes makes it feel like it could exist as an actual creature suit. Or the chosen battle mecha of choice for Ming the Merciless, of “Flash Gordon” fame.

If there is one thing I don’t like about Roboes’ otherwise cool design, is the huge ‘spoon fingers’ on its hands. But that’s a minor complaint, and would still keep them if I could translate the artwork above into physical cosplay (convention costume) form.

Alternate file version of the same Roboes bromide card.

Next Time on the Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: as promised to a fellow Pachimon fan Dr Zock, we'll be discussing the bizarre vampire ace of spades known as Kyuradoros.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Danopura

Although only the third entry into this series, this is the first fully original monster featured in our Pachimon Kaiju Showcase, as opposed to photo-edited redesigns of existing movie, or television characters.

Danopura (or as best as I could translate the name) is a plump quadruped, with heavy mammalian features, like some sort of wonderfully freaky walrus beast from a “Flash Gordon” comic strip. And despite not being as large as most Japanese giant monsters, Danopura is nonetheless causing destruction by crushing cars, and setting off nearby explosions.



Of course, the stiff upper lipped London pedestrians could care less, as they casually walk away from the mayhem. And virtually giving Danopura little, to no attention what-so-ever.

Now I don’t like to harp upon the limitations of artists back in the day, especially since they were able to accomplish a lot with said limitations, than most computer savvy photo-shoppers of today could do with more (myself included).

But little oddball details like the unamused Londoners are still kind of fun to point out.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pachimon Kaiju Showcase: Tobozu

Pachimon is the collective shorthand used for various Japanese postcards, playing cards, and trading cards, from late 1960's and early 1970's. Featuring original Kaiju (giant monsters), created through both drawn illustrations, and photo manipulations of more famous creatures from Japanese films and television.

Despite the wealth of fully original characters from these bromide cards, it was the 'rip-off photos' that gave Pachimon (Japanese for 'stolen monsters') its more infamous name and reputation. Terrible shame of inaccuracy and people's misconceptions, really.

And I'm no better either, by continuing my series of Pachimon Kaiju articles with said borrowed infamy.

Today, we have Tobozu (sometime called Tohboze), who seems to be some kind of sea monster, invading a ship filled harbor. And many of you will immediately notice that Tobozu is a thinly disguised Gamera, lacking his original turtle shell, given brown / orange-ish colored skin, head spikes, and an extended set of lower jaws.


But what really gets me is the small group of vacationers by Tobozu's hands / feet, who haven't noticed the monster, or simply just doesn't care. And if you think that tidbit is hilarious, I'll introduce you all to the London-based Danopura next time!

UPDATE: Found a slightly superior scan of the Tobozu card, as well as doing my own artistic interpretation of the monster and its full-body. Less of an educated guess on the latter, than me simply copying Japanese fan art of Tobozu - most notably the Mugen video game version.




Further Reading and Viewing Online:

Wikipedia Article on Gamera
Trailer for Gamera's 1965 Debut
More Pachimon Kaiju Images