King Kong vs. Godzilla


King Kong vs. GodzillaTime to look at the legendary showdown of the Kaiju world. The King of the Monsters fighting the 8th wonder of the world. East Vs. West. The infamous international brawl of King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Mr. Tako, the head of a pharmaceutical company is looking for a way to boost the ratings of a TV show his company produces. Hearing a rumor of a monster on a far away island he dispatches two men, Sakurai and Kinsaburo to find out if the rumors are true. They soon discover the island is home to King Kong. Elsewhere, a submarine accidentally hits and iceberg and frees Godzilla.  Soon, these two behemoths will come face to face and fight until only one is left standing.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

Is this the devastating battle everyone makes it out to be? No, not really. The fact is this movie survives and is so well known because of the fact it stares these two icons. The battles themselves are not as impressive. In their first encounter Godzilla is able to scare Kong with fire from his radioactive breath. The fights are also not nearly as long as others in later movies.

The human characters are incredibly forgettable. The only one which really sparks any memories is Mr. Tako but this is do more to his cowardliness. Frankly, the film which follows this, Mothra vs. Godzilla, did a much better job of presenting a character who was trying to exploit monsters for his own benefit in the form of Mr. Kumayama. Without captivating humans to follow this film really drags at times.

King Kong vs. GodzillaKing Kong really gets the short end of the stick. Sure Godzilla is just a creature of pure destruction in this film and presented as having a tiny brain (ouch), Kong still gets off worse. Despite this being one of his better moments including having changes made to the character such as increasing his size and giving him a new ability in an effort to stand against Godzilla, Kong is exploited once again. Out of all six King Kong movies (can’t count Song of Kong because it doesn’t star him) four of them involve him being exploited as a tourist attraction. Can’t the creators find a different way to work with the creature?

Despite its lack of any of more enjoyable fight or a message, the movie is still well known. This international fight is one people still talk about today. A representation of two cultures coming together for the entertainment of the world. The rumor of an alternate ending, one where Godzilla was the winner of the final fight has been spread for years. Sadly this wasn’t true and there was only one ending where King Kong won but helped to grow the legend behind this movie. The film was a bit of a let down but its influence cannot be argued. Just wish I had more of a desire to rewatch the film when given the opportunity.

RATING: C

Finals week again…

Once again, I have come to finals at school week and I have no posts in reserve. My apologies crew. I’ll have my review of King Kong vs. Godzilla up sometime this week. For now though I have to study so you are just going to have to bear with me. Until then I give you his awesome picture of Godzilla fighting Eva-01. I love all these crossovers they keep doing with these two franchises. 

Gunbuster


Gainax as a studio has found a way to become one of the most recognizable companies in the anime industry. Thanks to their efforts titles like Gurren Lagann and Neon Genesis Evanglion exist. Let’s take a look back at what started it all. Their first mecha series, featuring one of the biggest giant robots in existence, The Gunbuster. 

The world has been attacked by an alien race known as the Uchuu Kaijuu. Now training to fight against them starts at the High School level where students are prepare to pilot giant robots. Noriko Takaya, the daughter of an infamous Admiral in the Space Forces aims for the top and to hopefully prove herself to be worthy to pilot a robot. With the help of a member of her father’s crew, Coach Ohta, Noriko will acquire the skills necessary to be able to save the world. All while wearing her gym shorts. 

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This series is well remembered thanks to three aspects: the mecha, the character development, and the scientific facts incorporated in it. The robots in the series are iconic. The Gunbuster itself is known for its iconic design, it’s insane height, and it’s incredible firepower. How big is the Gunbuster? Whatever giant robot your thinking of, the Gunbuster is bigger than it. The Gunbuster is also known for its incredible firepower. This thing is able to destroy an entire alien fleet on its own without backup.  

The series also has a surprising amount of character development in it for a series made up of six OVAs. Noriko struggles with her abilites to properly pilot a robot and if she will actually be able to fight properly for humanity. Her rival, Kazumi falls in love with Coach Ohta but Ohta himself can’t fall in love because of his past. All of these issues are addressed and developed in a proper manner in only six episodes. Some 24 episode series don’t get achieve this. 

The series also has a large amount of science behind it and it makes a point to properly address scientific issues such as how the crew must clean laser lenses so they can fire better or how much time passes in space travel compared to how much time passes on earth. Also, there are some very funny omake (extra episodes) which feature actual scientific lessons with the characters in chibi form. It’s adorable and one of the best omakes ever created for any series.  

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The series is also known for its last episode. Thanks to a lack of money for the finale, the series was made completely in black and white. Also many action sequences were thrown out in favor of showing numbers on the screen for the amount of humans killed and how many ships were lost. Yes, this is was a cheap way of  presenting the episode but at least the episode got made and a proper ending for the series was given. 

Despite all its short comings, Gunbuster still has some great moments in it and allowed Gainax to always look back at an incredible series as they keep moving foward. It is a required series all fans of Mecha should watch. The sequel, Gunbuster 2, not so much. One of these days I’ll get around to watching it. 

RATING: A-

Godzilla Raids Again

GodzillaI’m planning on using the rest of the year to try and tackle the Godzilla reviews I haven’t got around to yet. The first one is the sequel to the original Gojira. Was the King of the Monster resurrected properly or was it far from his great second coming?

Tsukioka and Kobayashi are pilots who work for a fishing company. While on a routine patrol they come across Godzilla and Anguirus engaged in combat. Despite their efforts in the previous movie, Godzilla is still on a rampage and now there is no weapon which can stop him. Will humanity be able to survive the return of Godzilla?

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The film is awkward. Its not entirely its own fault as the original Gojira was an incredible film which was able to become an iconic movie even out of the Kaiju community thanks to its message against nuclear war. In comparison, Godzilla Raids Again doesn’t really have a deep story to tell. Kobayashi wants a girlfriend, the malicious acts of humans draws Godzilla’s attention, Godzilla and Anguirus fight and someone sacrifices themselves to once again take down Godzilla. Nothing here really stands out as being exceptional. It could be argued the film is a look at how there is both good and bad in humanity but you really have to reach for this message.

This film also introduces the world to Anguirus who shows up too soon, his origin isn’t explained, and dies just as easily. They really don’t take the time to explain where Anguirus comes from, he’s simple there but they do take the time explain WHY he is fighting Godzilla. Turns out its in his nature to fight against “war-like predators” like Godzilla. After building up how Anguirus is a force to fight against Godzilla and framing it as if he will be the savior who will take down the giant monster and save the world, he is killed in the very next battle. Once he’s gone the film trudges to its ending at a very unsatisfying pace. Luckily, Anguirus would return and would find a place as being Godzilla’s brother in arms and help him to fight off many an invading threat. Unfortunately, his initial appearance isn’t really worth going back to visit even for die hard fans.

It should probably be noted this movie has the legendary “Banana Oil” dub line by George Takei in it. Yes, its a funny bit of old school dubbing but this joke is lost if you don’t watch the dub version of the film and instead try to watch it subtitled. It’s an amusing joke but still not going to save the entire movie.

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This movie was the last of the Godzilla films I watched. It took so long to track it down because of the fact its release on DVD took forever to finally come around. Frankly, it was not worth wait. The studio really didn’t know what to do with Godzilla in his first sequel and it would take a while before they really figured out what to properly do with him at all. Sure sequels which come out have to live in the shadow of what preceded them but frankly, in comparison Son of Kong was a much better film than Godzilla Raids Again ever was.

RATING: C-

Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact

maxresdefault Reboots are a necessary part of any franchise. Eventually a new installment must be introduced in an effort to bring new fans to the series. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean the show will succeed in capturing the same energy or entertainment of the original or even be a good show at all.

In the future, a new element known as Japanium has been discovered leading to a break through in energy production known as Photon Energy. The discover of the element, Dr. Kabuto has worked to create a robot which will be able to utilize the photon energy which is known as Mazinger. Before his death he entrusts the machine to his grandson, Kouji. Now Kouji will have  to master the use of the robot to be able to fight against the forces of Baron Ashura who works for the evil Dr. Hell.

groupkhrThis show’s biggest problem is how unbalanced it is. The first episode is one of those pre-recap episodes where it flashes ahead to show all the intense action which is going to be coming later down the line in the series. From their, episodes two through six are spent just introducing all of the powers at Mazinger’s disposal. The series then rushes to a final battle in the last three episodes for a final battle with Dr. Hell but introduces a new ultimate villain who isn’t properly defeated in the very last one. The series doesn’t even get a proper ending in the next Mazinger series, Mazinkaizer SKL. It just ends, which is the major flaw it posses.

The show also suffers a bit in the characters which are used. On top of reintroducing the characters from the original series the show also introduces characters from original creator Go Nagai’s other series such as Demon Lord Dante, The Abashiri Family, and Violence Jack. The characters are serviceable and help to move the story along but at the same time given the rushed ending to this series and its story telling, it seems like some of them may have been unnecessary. The show was retelling a 92 episode series in 26 (25 if you eliminate the pre-clip show one) episodes, did they really need to add more to it?

baron-ashura-finding-themselves-1The mecha are the one memorable aspect of the show. The designs are the same as they were from the original series only updated thanks to the new animation style. The Mazinger truly is a beast of a machine. The series succeeds in expressing just how powerful the robot is and how it is able to go head to head with all of Dr. Hell’s forces. Just wish it didn’t take so long to properly express all of its potential.

This series really didn’t hook me or make me become a fan of the Mazinger series. No, I attribute my urge to want to watch more of this franchise to the OVA, Mazinkaiser, which I will get around to writing the review for one of these days. For now this series is currently available to watch on Crunchyroll. Check it out, who knows I may be being too hard on it but considering this was suppose to revitalize a classic series for a new audience, I really think they creators could have taken the time to properly make the corrections needed to make this a great show.

RATING: C

Return of Daimajin

000013752_zps335f0c1fTime to check back in with the demon who uses a stone statue as his vessel. The second in the Daimajin trilogy has the statue setting up in a new location with a bunch of new individuals admiring him. What zany antics will this vengeful being get into this time?

Between the two villages of Chigusa and Nagoshi is a small island where Daimajin has taken up residency. The leader of Nagoshi, Lord Danjo Mikoshiba is brutal and cuts down any who oppose him. As he makes his move to take over the village of Chigusa, the daughter of its lord, Sayuri prays to the statue in hopes it will deliver its judgment down on the wicked. Mikoshiba knows he must crush the hope of the villagers so proceeds to blow up the statue. Their idol in ruins, the villagers may be doomed to a life of servitude unless a miracle comes to save them.

Daimajin-2-2This film really increases the tension from its predecessor. In the first scene alone, villagers trying to escape from Nagoshi are hunted down and killed. From there it just gets more barbaric. In the previous film there was a time jump to the future so there wasn’t as much footage of the villagers becoming enslaved but in this one the cruelty the villagers endure is right out front. It makes for some very memorable scenes.

The characters in this film seem much more interesting then in the first one. Again, this is probably due to the lack of a time jump. Instead of waiting around a decade for things to turn out, the attack on the island and how Juro, Sayuri, and Katsushige react to it happens in real time. They are often in great danger the entire film and it makes you hope Daimajin will come to life at any moment to help them out.

Sadly, Daimajin once again takes his sweet time to arrive on the scene to help. Its not until the tail end of the film he finally decides to show up. At least this time one can argue he has the excuse of being blown up and having to use his power to put himself back together delaying his arrival. Once he does appear he is able to display much more of the mystical powers he has at his disposal. Parting the lake so he is able to casually make his way to the shore is the most memorable moment of the movie and is a sight to behold.

6a00d8341d6d8d53ef017d3d870979970c-piThe ending to the film is also much better than it was in the previous film. Just a few more minutes at the end compared with the first was all it took to really hammer in the ending. Not like Daimajin is expected to stick around for victory cake and coffee but a little more time of reflection after the destruction and vengeance he has brought is all which is really needed.

Two down and one to go. Daimajin really is a great trilogy of films which I regret taking so long to get around to watching. Live and learn I guess. I just have to remember to spread the joy of these films to others so they don’t make the same mistake I did.

RATING: B+

Star Driver


StarAs I’ve said before on this blog, there was a time when the idea of Studio BONES producing a mecha series was a guarantee formula for success. A long forgotten age when fan waited on bated breath for the announcement of BONES doing a show featuring giant robots. Today’s anime is one which came during the time when the studio could do no wrong and despite its eccentric nature was still a series worthy of the attention of mecha fans everywhere.

A boy named Takuto has transferred to Southern Cross Island in hopes of finding his lost father. While there he becomes entangled in the plot of the Glittering Crux Brigade, who wish to use the mysterious giants known as Cybodies to take over the world. Luckily, the seal of the four maidens prevents the Cybodies from being used anywhere except another dimension known as Zero Time. To prevent the Brigade from breaking the seals and using the Cybodies as they see fit, Takuto pilots his own Cybody named Tauburn to fight and protect his new friends from the dangers surrounding the island.

star-driver-02This show is over the top in a great way. From the main character having the nickname of “The Galactic Pretty Boy” to the villains of the “Glittering Crux Brigade” this show pushes the envelope of what is acceptable but you find yourself enjoying every minute of it. The show manages to reach levels of ridiculousness but at the same time retain a level of drama where you find yourself worried for the characters and their circumstances. Each character has a properly flushed out backstory and realistic motivations. Also, almost every one of them has a special power because of being connected to their Cybodies which resulted in a lot of hi-jinks.

The robotic designs take a bit to get used to. After all Tauburn looks like a musketeer and he’s suppose to be the robot we root for. Still, the designs eventually grow on you and some of the different “robot of the week” forms which are pulled out are definitely interesting to look at.

stardriver06-05The show does suffer from a “Monster of the week” format but this is kind of to its advantage. The monster of the week format allows each of the different members of the Glittering Crux Brigade to get a bit of screen time to so they can have their own time the spotlight before Takuto kicks the crap out of their own distinct Cybody.

The show does have a few other problems with it. The main being that the series ends far too quickly and doesn’t really have a good epilogue. Frankly, I would have hoped the movie for it would add some new content but I’ve since hear this is not the case. Instead, the show just ends after the final battle without any type of conclusion to how the characters are going to react to what has happened. There wasn’t enough of a need for a second season but a few additional scenes even on the DVD release would have been all the show needed. Is a simple Omake too much to ask?

Star Driver was another example of the winning combination of having Studio BONES do a giant robot series. One of these days I’ll have to get around to watching the shows which seemed to break this winning combination. Of course I kind of did one of them already with Captain Earth but I’m beginning to think I gave that one far too much praise then it deserved.

RATING: B