Gojirathon 10: Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki (1969)

G: minus 20 days

Gojirathon is me just writing up some thoughts about the movies I see while I conduct my little marathon of Godzilla-movies in anticipation of the new Hollywood retooling. Why Gojirathon and not Godzillathon? Well, because Rolfe already did his Godzillathon as part of his Monster Madness, and I don’t want to steal his work. I’ll be using the terms, G, Big G, Godzilla and Gojira somewhat interchangeably… since I can be a bit lazy at times, when it comes to these things.

Godzillas Revenge (1969)

So, as in the year before the one in this one they were going to the moon on a daily basis. What now in the year where we actually went there for the first time ourselves? How to top the maddening amount of monsters in the last one? Well… A recap-episode…

“A what?” you may be asking yourself. Well, if you aren’t familiar with some of the tropes of anime you may well be forgiven for that ignorence. Let me explain.

In the world of anime, TV-series are often produced on a season by season basis. Nothing strange here. But what makes it a bit uncommon is that most of them actually continue on in one long story. Not really that common for an animated series in the states (not counting the Airbender franchise of course as these kinds of shows are coming more to the west as of late). So in a season of 20-something parts there are generally three types of episodes that most of them have in common. 1 is the main story episodes, 2 are the fillers when some monster of the week or something comes in more to fill a timeslot than to really add to the story. And then we have the 3. The recap episodes. Even shows like 24 or X-files had both 1 and 2. But as I recall none of them had the recaps.

The Recap Episodes are essentially a highlight-reel of cliff-notes about the episodes that have gone by up until this point. They served a purpose when it was common to find a series midway through and not having the ability to go back and get up to date with all the plot-threads made it hard for a newcomer to understand what was going on. So every 10-12 episodes there’s usually a recap episodes where nothing really happens and we get some contrived frame-story as the characters find an excuse to sit around and reminisce about the adventures they’ve been through. Very little new animation is needed for this so I guess the animators look at these as a sort of reprieve of sorts from the usual grind of graphite on paper.

Why do I call it a recap? Well. Let’s just check off the trademarks… We are a bit into the series, Check. There’s nothing really new revealed. Check. And it’s mostly a contrived backstory to justify a mashup of clips from previous entries. Holy crap yes.

We follow a small boy who is bullied on his way to and fro school. He is an avid fan of monsters so he starts daydreaming (archival footage AHOY!) In those dreams he sees some of the latest Godzilla Battles (remember, back then there was no videotape for the masses, this was the best way to relive the adventures of yester-movies) before he befriends Minira (who now can talk now because, screw you we need the kids to go to our movies) who has to contend with his own bully, Gabara. Who basically looks like Godzilla with red hair and a strange cat-face… We get to relive the the scenes where Minira trains under his father (Ok, I guess we can establish this now) and finally manages to thwart the strange Gabara. Who as a strange coincidence is named exactly the same as the kids real life bully. It’s about as subtle as Godzillas foot, yes. But the metaphor is there to analyse for those who want. It doesn’t escape the protagonist however as he finally grows a pair and manages to escape the clutches of some bank-robbers and then as a hero he beats up his bully.  Well, at least it’s mercifully short at its 69min running time (all the others so far have kept pretty strictly to the 90 min runtime) .

But ok. I actually welcome the change of pace  every once in a while. Watching what other things can be explored in the franchise. And this one did hold my interest surprisingly long without any city-destruction (most of the archival footage are from the island-bound kind). And the characters are simple but believable to a certain degree. If there is only one thing I’d be allowed to question it’s the kind of universe this is supposed to be. I’m not even sure that the Monster Island that he dreams of, that the last movie details, that the whole thing revolves around, I’m not even sure they exist outside of his own feeble imagination.

Anyways. One more down and 19 titles left. Now it’s Godzilla vs SmogMonster as we catch up with the big green one s as he suddenly becomes an outright environmentalist as he enters the 1970’s? Can I possibly cram in one more “as he” in that sentence? nnnope, I do not think I can

Be Seeing You!

Gojira69

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