Featuring: Eiichi Kikuchi ; Miki Kawanishi ; Ryu Manatsu ; Kota Ibushi ; Minoru Suzuki
Director: Minoru “Executive Koala” Kawasaki
Writers: Minoru “Executive Koala” Kawasaki & Takao “Amorous Ninja” Nakano
My kids! It’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” time!
So, shortly after declaring DaikaiJune to be a thing that I intended to do, I was half way through my first review when an ancient curse put upon me during the Middle Kingdom Age by a pissed off vizier (who found my dick hieroglyphs under his sister’s bed) flared up. Known as “the Elephant’s Grudge”, it involves two long hangnails forming on either side of the talon of my right index finger, resembling the tusks of an elephant. Cute, right? No. It’s not. It fucking hurts! And it makes typing with my dominant finger impossible. Though it finally did clear up and I’m able to type again, this means that Kaiju Mono will, ironically enough, be the solitary review for DaikaiJune… and is being published in the dead ass last day of
DaikaiJuly… better luck next year?
Seriously kids, I’ve been going though a typical case of the Summer Slumps, not to be confused with the Fall Flops, the Winter Woes or the Spring… Slumps… uggh, I can’t even alliterate creatively! Maybe it’s time I tried jamming a metal skewer up my nose and forcing my frontal lobe into action. Anyway, save your tears folks, as there are much worse things going on in the world right now (dying children in makeshift concentration camps at the southern border of the US, for one) and only so many salty drops of eye-water to go around. Instead, be happy that I’ve gone out of my way to conjure this giant monster romp from the farthest reaches of eastern far, going to such lengths as to spend my last $15 to acquire a copy. The things I do for you, my dears, the things I do for you. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that. Let’s do it like they do on The Discovery Channel. Gettin’ horny now.
Welcome the world of Kaiju Mono, where long extinct plants grow freely and dormant volcanoes let their magma flow like Hi-C. Where “paranormal investigators” go into the woods despite the warnings of the local Crazy Ralph, never to return. Where one of the greatest scientific minds Japan calls her own resides in the body of an elderly cross-dresser. It’s here that a giant dragon-like dinosaur-ish lizard-esque superbeast known as “Mono” has risen from the broken earth to rain terror upon the citizens of the Seitama prefecture!
But before we get into that, we’ve got protagonists to meet. Miwa (Miki Kawanishi) and Nitta (Eiichi Kikuchi) are a pair of young science prodigies (neither known for starting fires nor smacking up bitches) whom, while exploring the strange no-longer-extinct flora popping up in the area, come across what they surmise to be a egg. The proposed ovarian expulsion in question appears more like a loaf of bread out of one of Tim Burton’s fever dreams. This “egg” also has little protruding spiky bits that make my urethra groan with empathy for whatever birthed it. And I thought kidney stones were terrifying!
With the fluid extracted from their little discovery, Miwa’s father Professor Saigo (Ryu Manatsu), finally has the last ingredient he needs to complete his miracle concoction – the Setupp X Cell! What does the extra “p” stand for? I’d hazard “pro-wrestler”, since injecting the formula into Nitta transforms the emo boy scientist into New Japan Professional Wrestling star Kota Ibushi!
Actually, this version of Japan doesn’t recognize the boyishly handsome, sexually ambiguous grappler by name, so he’s just standing in as the representation of Nit’s peak physical condition as induced by SXC. Not to be confused with MXC, which tended to leave its participants in battered and broken condition. How anyone ever managed to make it to the end of that sick fuck Takeshi Kitano’s courses I’ll never know. Just thinking about it causes me massive facial swelling and moderate spinal bruising!
The titular terror of the town appears in all of its person-in-a-rubber-costume glory, eschewing modern computer graphic technology in favor of the much more practical (and affordable) means of suitmation. Colored red and green and bearing a big star-like horn on its nose, Mono looks kinda like a Cthulhumas Tree from a Jigoku Black Friday sale! Being a comedy, Mono’s unblinking eyes and total lack of mandible autonomy can be considered a net positive in terms of self-depreciating humor, but Dagora damn me if I don’t genuinely enjoy this rubbery return to form of the Japanese terrors of the ’60s and ’70s, lockjaw and all.
Despite his hesitations to become a guinea pig for an untested experiment (also, because hypodermic needles hurt), Nitta is convinced to take the monster-fighting vaccination only because Professor S bullies the lad about his wimpy physique. See, Saiga drops some sledgehammer blunt hints about how Miwa’s lady volcano gets “active” to magazines of oiled up muscle boys… keep in mind (as much as we’d all be better off not to) that this is his daughter whose sexual proclivities he’s talking about… Damn it, Japan!
And so, as most milestones of science are met, SXC’s success is brought about by a guy’s need to attract his mentor’s pimped-off daughter. Let the skyscraper skirting skirmishes begin!
… Which will have to last about as long as I do between the proverbial sheets, considering Nitta’s only able to maintain his maximum girth for a few minutes per injection. However, if it lasts for more than 4 hours, he’ll need to contact his doctor immediately. And yes, similar penis jokes are made in the movie too.
Kaiju Mono is your basic “loser becomes a hero becomes a celebrity becomes an asshole becomes a loser only to discover the power of love and training montages before finishing up as a hero again” feel good-bad-good story projected through the satirical lens of a very special episode of “Ultraman”. Like that episode where the leader of the Science Patrol got addicted to caffeine pills or the the time Ultraman insisted on flying home drunk after a party and disintegrated that busload of school children who were field tripping at the Observatory.
The overall formula skews about 70/30 in favor of comedy over science fiction. It leans heavy on the laughs like E. Honda leaning on a velvet rope. If the absurdity of watching real-life wrestling personalities practice their ballet of violence on a rubber monster suit isn’t wacky enough, there are scenes with pro-kaiju tree-huggers protesting the military’s attack on Mono, a joke-off to determine the fate of the world, a plot by the Yakuza to steal Nitta’s magic underwear (no, he’s not Mormon), a weird Dr. Phil-ian culture clash out-of-nowhere, and cameos by a plethora of former Ultraman actors shoehorned in for geek appeal. The gags only permeate the plot further so when you switch on the English dub, which tries desperately to appeal to a more “Ridiculousness” style of “lowest common denominator” audience that needed somewhere to go after “America’s Funniest Home Videos” was canceled. If you ever wondered where washed-up skateboarders retired to when their counter-culture cool factor goes room temperature, just ask Rob Dydreck.
In this case, I suggest sticking with subtitles. Not because of some imagined “preservation of the artist’s vision” film historian horse shit, but to preserve any IQ points you’d rather avoid losing to the aforementioned English dub’s script revulsions, I mean revisions.
In summation, I had fun catching this case of Kaiju Mono. It’s a fun fling of retro style camp that doesn’t dump a full can of creamed corn on our heads when we’re not looking. The Evil Dead Bride and I are big fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling, so knowing who Ibushi and the cameo-ing Minoru Suzuki are (also how we found out about the movie in the first place!) added to my personal experience. Meanwhile, your personal mileage may, as the kids say, vary. Speaking of, in case the alternate title to this review fell foul in your ballpark, here’s an example of how my brain fires – in the movie, Nitta is often called “the Titan” by the public. Generally recognized as the most memorable of the Titans in Greek mythology is Atlas, upon whose shoulders the entire planet rests. ‘Atlas Shrugged‘ is, in the most general of terms, a book (and a movie, but not yet a musical I don’t think) that I don’t want to go into the details of here. Ibushi and Suzuki are co-workers of fellow New Japan wrestler Toru Yano – a comedy character (and my spirit animal) also known as “the Sublime Master Thief” and whose signature pose is an “oh fucking well” level shrug. And so, “Yano Shrugged”.
(That’s Yano. Now ya know.)
Aside from the hit or miss humor, my only real disappointment from the feature is its nigh appalling lack of property damage! For a “giant monster vs. giant wrestler” flick, there’s oddly little (well, ZERO) building smashing, with minor vandalism being the extent to which our over-sized combatants (combat ants?) resort to. I appreciate the effort that the constructors of this minute metropolis no doubt put into its detail, but what giant monster movie doesn’t include architectural obliteration!? For Fuckenstein’s sake, the BluRay cover explicitly cites “A GIANT MONSTER EATS THE CITY!” and there isn’t an ounce of blockbusting to be had! Not a single bit of mangled masonry, not one crushed car, nary a broken window in sight! A missed mashing opportunity for sure.
(From Burning Angel, because of course it is.)
Good news though, for anyone that’s ever wanted a closer look at Kota Ibushi’s nethers without going full-on R rated: in addition to moments of implied public nudity, the Golden Star gets his own gratuitous shower scene! That one’s for you, ladies… or approximately 95% of you… and maybe 10% of the guys… and another undetermined number of dudes who swing both ways? The math’s not really solid. Neither am I.
On that note, keep pushing that rope until next time, ladles and germs! And keep your fingers crossed that DaikaiJune 2020 ends up being a bit more lively than its inaugural outing. Sayonara, kemosabes!
3 Dead Bodies
6 breasts (all male)
Old Lady Placating
Graphic Cellular Division (in that it’s an animated graphic)
Bite-Size People Snacking
Gratuitous Blair Witch-ing
Geriatric Sailor Moon Cosplay Crossdressing
Gratuitous Male Shower Scene
Literal Monster Vision
Hypodermic Needle Fu
Radio Tower Fu
Global Warming Fu
Accidental sexual assault Fu
The thong of your flip flop breaks and you fall into the pit, where the ravenous teeth of a massive crocodile leave nothing behind to identify your remains but the name tag on your underwear. Your mom takes the owners of the “Smiles on the Nile Summer Camp” to court over claims of negligence in what turns out to be a long and fruitless trial that leaves her financially devastated. Penniless, she marries your Uncle Kyle out of necessity and spends the rest of her days grieving over the mysterious death of the man she loved and the brutal dismemberment of her only child. All this because you chose to wear flip-flops instead of hiking boots back in Chapter 1 because you were too lazy to put on socks. You make me sick.
“What does ‘Service Engine Soon’ mean? Like, sexually? Is my car a Transformer trying to seduce me?!”
[Shakespearean Tommy Chong]: “Oh, what blunts this hand has held. What pipes and bongs and joints hath passed between yon fingers, man.”
Mono, your high beams are on… DAMN IT, TURN OFF YOUR HIGH BEAMS!
“Wait a minute… This isn’t my Moon Prism! It’s a Swedish deodorant crystal!”
“Are you sure you followed the instructions correctly, grandpa? I mean, I appreciate you baking me a birthday cake, but that doesn’t look right.”
Earth Defense Force boot camp doesn’t prepare the new recruits for their first exposure to kaiju genitalia.
“Dude, it’s not a homophobic thing, I just feel really uncomfortable struggling with you while you’re in your underwear!”
“What?! You’re not wearing ANYTHING, you hypocrite!”
Not to be a perv, but I’ve definitely seen that position somewhere in the Kama Sutra!
“My niece has ‘poked’ me… ‘Poked’ me? What in the burning halls of Jigoku does that mean?! You bring dishonor to my family, Facebook!”
Kota Ibushi – Now available in new “Minty Fresh Blast” flavor!
Yeah, that’ll happen when you put the wrong kind of oil in your kaiju.
“I’ll have you know this IS my grandmother’s cardigan! I wear it every year on this day to honor her passing from breast cancer, you dick!”
“Listen, lady. I can smell counterfeit Pokemon cards from a mile away. Now take your box of lies and get out of here before my guards go Hitmonlee on your ass!”
I do the same thing any time my family knocks on my door to see if I’m still alive. It almost worked one time!
“Damn, son! You clearly hit the genetic jackpot for Beach Body Bingo! Shazam!”
Ladies and gentlemen, please clear the floor so the Prom King and Queen can have their spotlight dance.
“You got my two thousand yen, Shiro? I see you got money for shiny gold head horns, but you ain’t got MY MONEY?!”
“Damn it, if you’re not going to burst that zit, I’ll do it!”
“Hey! Stop! I’m trying to grow it big enough to get an appearance on ‘Dr. Pimple Popper‘!”
Anubis will return next time in
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