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GARO Red Requiem (film review)

Title: GARO Red Requiem on Blu-ray

Director: Keita Amemiya

Written By: Itaru Eda and Keita Amemiya

Starring: Ryosie Konishi, Mary Matsuyama, Masahiro Kuranuki and Hironobu Kageyama

Studio: Tohokushinsha Film

U. S. Distributor: Kraken Releasing, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray/ Feature Film / 97 Minutes

Genre: Super Sentai, Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: C-


During the ancient war against the monstrous creatures known as Horrors, many Makai Priestesses have fought and died in battle, yet no woman has ever been chosen to wear the mystic armor of the Makai Knights. Kouga, the current bearer of the gold wolf armor, Garo, doesn’t believe it’s even possible, but when his quest to destroy the Horror Karma thrusts him into conflict alongside the fiery Priestess Rekka, he’s forced to acknowledge that the female is often the deadlier of the species! Because Rekka has a personal score to settle with Karma, and she’s determined to destroy that Horror herself! It will be all Kouga and his Mado Ring Zaruba can do to keep the three of them alive long enough to do it in the GARO universe’s first spectacular feature film directed by Keita Amemiya, GARO Red Requiem.


Garo: Red Requiem is, well, how should I put this, a Super Sentai for adults. Yes, it is Power Rangers all grown up. I can’t say that the transition was all that great, but there are some scenes that contain enough nudity that it requires a mature rating. Other than that, it is just a dark, demonic, Super Sentai. The acting is in par with the Power Rangers and even some of the Ultraman series that have recently been released. It defies logic sometimes to understand how or why the acting is so bad, but it is the nature of this type of shows. Now, in Power Rangers or Ultraman the audience is young enough to see it as fun and extra cool, but in Garo; Red Requiem it just makes it a little more difficult to watch.

Overall Grade: C-

Honestly, I can be a sucker for these silly Super Sentai films because I was raised on Godzilla, Ultraman and even Johnny Socko (who does not rock). Garo: Red Requiem just falls short for me. There is a  solid story line or plot there but the fact that most of the real plot was absent, left me out in the cold. I think that if they would have followed the lead of a film like Zebraman, allowed the story to develop a little more and also added onto the love interest between Kouga and Rekk, then maybe there would have been more connection to the story. Instead there was just hints at connections and then large plot devices left up to the viewer to discover.

For as much as I found lacking with Garo: Red Requiem, I guess that I still enjoyed it enough to laugh at the goofy times and enjoy the battles in a way that is required from these over-the-top stories. So, if you are looking for a Super Sentai film with plenty of computer graphic demons and half naked women to keep you watching, then Garo: Red Requiem is just the ticket.

Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster!: Godzilla vs. Hedorah (live action review)

Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster!: Godzilla vs. Hedorahreview provided by Coyote (Batdad)

Title: Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster!: Godzilla vs. Hedorah on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshimitsu Banno

Starring: Akira Yamauchi, Hiroyuki Kawase, Toshie Kimura, Toshio Shibamoto, and Keiko Mari

Studio: Toho

U. S. Distributor: Kraken Releasing / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 6th, 2014

Original Release Date: July 24th, 1971

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 86 minutes

Age Rating: TV PG

Genre: Kaiju, Sci Fi

Overall Personal Rating: A


Forget about acid rain and global warming!  The worst ecological nightmare is actually Hedorah, which starts off small but quickly mutates into a giant flying monster capable of wiping out all life on whatever unfortunate planet it lands on! And since Hedorah grows by consuming the toxic gases and chemicals mankind has spilled into the air and water, in the early 1970’s that means that its potential growth is unlimited!  Fortunately for the human race, the Earth has the ultimate green defender who doesn’t need to sing protest songs or try to enact new laws to get things done.  Because nobody, and nothing, can stop Godzilla when he decides to push an environmental issue, and while Hedorah may be the dirtiest opponent Godzilla ever faced, his name is going to be mud by the time he’s been stomped into the whole Earth a few dozen times.  Get ready for the wildest Godzilla film ever as the social concerns and way out fashions of the seventies collide head on with the ultimate in big monster brawls in Godzilla vs. Hedorah!


Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster! is by far one of the most wildly creative Godzilla movies ever made.  It incorporates a healthy dose of metaphorical imagery and symbolism, psychedelic visions, animated cartoon interludes, and pop music that reflects the growing youth protest culture of the time.  Like the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954), this feature delivers a stern warning to viewers, but changes focus from the dangers of nuclear radiation to ecological degradation.  Perhaps the most notable innovation is Godzilla’s role as a hero.

Although this Blu-Ray version doesn’t translate the title song “Save the Earth”, this environmental message presented by Banno is clear.  During this time period, Japan was suffering from serious problems with pollution, and Banno chose to respond with a somewhat darker tone.  The film is littered with grimey imagery of fuming smokestacks below Mount Fuji and cesspools of trash, scum, and dead fish polluting the waters.  Even the cartoon interludes bear a cynical tone with it’s gritty style.  At the same time, there is a youthful spirit of activism directed at the audience with psychedelic scenes shot in a Japanese nightclub and, later, a “Let’s rock like it’s Woodstock (even though there’s like nobody here)!” protest rally.  Other novelties include backgrounds with lava lamp splatters that resemble the polluted cesspools, multi-paneled shots to convey a sense of mass frenzy, and trippy dancers with fish heads to emphasize the fishy themes.  Despite the darker tone, there is still a campy spirit that has become so popular with the genre.

Hedorah is like a strange sentient version of the Blob that feeds off pollution and chemical waste. As it grows, it changes form from aquatic tadpole with big red eyes to terrestrial slime beast with big red eyes to aerial acid-spewing, lumpy pancake…with big red eyes.  It’s corrosively crappy composition makes it particularly resilient to physical attacks.  Plus, with spewing sludge, red eye lasers, and a tricky nature, Hedorah is quite a formidable villain that loves to fight dirty!  At one point he actually burns Godzilla to the bone, and later tries to bury our beloved kaiju alive in a pool of sludge.  Hedorah’s attacks are also the first graphic scenes of mass civilian casualties since the original, adding to the darker tone of the film.  Although it is theorized that Hedorah originated from outer space, it’s never actually confirmed, and man’s polluting habits still remain as the true source of the problem.

Godzilla proudly marches into the movie before a background of the rising sun as a  hero.  He is idolized by Ken (Kawase), who dreams of the mighty lizard destroying toxic cesspools with his atomic breath and likens him to Superman, which is even more hilarious because Godzilla also uses his atomic breath to fly during the final battle.  Unlike other versions of Godzilla as a rampaging destructive force indiscriminately toppling any buildings and structures in his way, this film shows him carefully sidestepping buildings and directing his measured attacks squarely against Hedorah with very little collateral damage.  Near the end, Godzilla even figures out how to use man’s failed technological solution to his advantage.  Godzilla is truly the ultimate green defender determined to defeat Hedorah to the end!

Overall Grade: A

The overall creativity of this Godzilla movie makes it one of my favorites.  You will not hear any “Oh, no! It’s Godzilla!” in this flick.  Godzilla’s role as an intelligent defender of the Earth, although unexplained, is strangely satisfying and will have everyone rooting for him.  Also, despite the darker tone and environmental messaging, there is still plenty of campy fun and lively entertainment to enjoy.  Just like many participants of the 1970’s, you are going to see some weird stuff in Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster!, and you’ll probably love it.

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! (movie review)

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirahreview provided by Coyote better known as Batdad

Title: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster!: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! on Blu-ray

Director: Jun Fukuda

Starring: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Akihiko Hirata, and Jun Tazaki

Studio: Toho

U. S. Distributor: Kraken Releasing / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 6th, 2014

Original Release Date: December 17th, 1966

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 88 minutes

Age Rating: TV PG

Genre: Kaiju, Sci Fi

Overall Personal Rating: A-


When Ryota’s brother Yata disappears at sea, the intrepid youth and his friends join forces with a slightly trustworthy bank robber, steal a boat and go after him! Of course, there’s the little problem that Yata may be lost on a mysterious island where the evil terrorist organization Red Bamboo has enslaved natives to make heavy water for nefarious purposes. And that means dealing with the island’s monstrous, 164 feet tall guardian Ebirah, as well as Red Bamboo’s arsenal of super advanced weaponry. On the plus side, help may be at hand in the form of a nubile island girl, two tiny fairies, their giant protector Mothra and the big G himself, the mighty Godzilla. Surviving the results of all that “assistance” may not be guaranteed, but Red Bamboo will never want to tangle with teenagers and Godzilla at the same time again! Take a South Seas cruise to non-stop mayhem and giant monster destruction with Ebirah – Horror of the Deep!


Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! is a classic example of a campy Godzilla flick. Unlike the original black-and-white Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954) which was steeped in dark overtones about the dangers of the man’s use of destructive forces, this exciting feature is a straight shot sci-fi action adventure about the good guys working together to stop the bad guys. Godzilla is more rampaging anti-hero than monstrous villain. His destructive nature just happens to do more harm to the bad guys which is great for everyone else.

King Kong fans will be correct for suspecting this tale of originally being written for the big ape, who was featured just a few years earlier in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This is mostly evident in the odd discovery of Godzilla being found sleeping in a cave, and the strange allure he has for the native island girl Daiyo (Kumi Mizuno). Also, Godzilla’s first battle with Ebirah involves kicking and hitting boulders back and forth like a beach volleyball, which seemed more like a poo-flinging monkey kind of tactic. 

Despite a lot of shooting by the bad guys, the casualties are pretty low. A couple of escaping islanders are shot in the distance, and two others (as miniatures) are skewered by Ebirah, but without any bloody gore. At one point, one of the heroes escapes a volley of gunfire by accidently riding a large balloon to the neighboring Infant Island, home to Mothra (Yeah, baby!). For any parents trying to figure out what level of parental guidance they should exercise for their little Godzilla fans, I only noticed one scientist that was actually bloodied by falling debris and died, but in all fairness, he was a bad guy using his skills for evil. Godzilla’s final battle with the giant crustacean Ebirah may seem a bit brutal to some, but really isn’t anything more than what you might see at a Red Lobster restaurant.

On a brighter note, Ebirah’s choice theme music is surfer rock music. He cranks it up like whenever he’s making waves, dude. As an added bonus, Mothra provides an assist to Godzilla’s haphazard heroics. A fair amount of miniatures, the usual over-the-top voice dubbing, and a smattering of bright colors among the costumes, sets, and effects also adds to the fun, and makes for an exciting adventure without getting too dark.

Overall Grade: A-

I really had a great time watching this one with my kids. A hidden island, a not too mysterious monster, bomb-building baddies, enslaved islanders, and a ragtag group of friends to awaken Godzilla are all the ingredients you need for a little fun-in-the-sun excitement. All in all, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! is an entertaining flick that’s easy to follow, perfect for any Saturday afternoon with friends and family.