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+

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Daimajin

daimajin10 Today’s movie tells of a monster which doesn’t get a lot of respect in the kaiju community. Sure those who know his name know how important he is and how good these movies are. For those who don’t pull up a seat as I tell you the tale of the mountain god known as Daimajin.

The peace of a town is thrown into turmoil when Samanosuke the chamberlain to the Feudal Lord decides to overthrow his master and take control. The Lord’s two children Prince Tadafumi and Princess Kozasa manage to escape with the help of a samurai named Kogenta. He takes the children to a cave near where the mountain god statute, Daimajin sits. Ten years pass as the children grow up in isolation from the rest of the world and Samonosuke has enslaved the people for his own ambition. When her brother and Kogenta are taken hostage, Kozasa is left with no option but to pray to the ancient statue and hope for a miracle. Luckily, her wish is answered as the statue comes to life and sets forth on a path of divine justice.

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One of the most noticeable aspects of the film is it being a period piece. It takes place in ancient Japan where the country is still ruled by Feudal Lords who have samurai to enforce the laws. This also means the ways to stop Daimajin when he comes to bring his wrath are limited to what the people had in such a time. Ropes, hammers, and a few rifles are all they have at their disposal to fight against the magically possessed statue. It’s very interesting to see especially compared to other films where after a giant monster appears the audience finds themselves waiting for the army to show up to try and fight against the creature.

The scenes with Daimajin are the most striking and memorable parts of the movie. Moments like when the villains try to break his stone sleeping form to when he awakens to punish the wicked are very impressive bits of special effects which really help to make the movie distinct. Also, Daimajin has powers which he uses to extinguish flames and even travel great distances by turning into a comet. These more practical effects still retain their impressiveness even today.
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The one glaring problem with this film is its ending. It wraps up far too quickly. A little bit more of an ending showing how the people are able to recover after their time being under the harsh treatment of the bad guys would have been nice to see. Also, Daimajin waits a very long time before finally awakening to offer aid, a trend he will carry throughout the entire trilogy. The people need saving buddy, wake up a bit sooner.

The Daimajin trilogy is a very good series which all fans of giant monsters need to check out. I’ll work on getting through the rest of the films later in the year. For now, just wait and if things get bad, ask some large stone samurai statues for help.

RATING: B+