Gengo Kotaka is a comic book artist and he is looking for a job. He applies at an amusement park called “Children’s Land” and is hired by Kubota. There is something about the people who run the place that Gengo doesn’t trust. They proclaim they want to promote monsters and world peace. The highlight of the park is a building that houses replicas of monsters. The building is a large tower surrounded by a life size replica of Godzilla. The tower is called the Godzilla Tower.
On his way in to work Gengo runs into a young woman who is racing out of the building. She drops a tape in her haste. Gengo retrieves the tape. Inside the Children’s Land offices he meets the chairman of the company. He is a brilliant but rude 17 year old kid named Fumio Sudo. Later that night Gengo again runs into the young woman and her companion. She turns out to be Machiko Shima and her friend is Shosaku Takasugi. Machiko says she is looking for her brother Takeski who is now missing. He use to work at Children’s Land and she hoped the tape would give them some information on where he is.
Unbeknownst to Gengo and his friends, the chairman Fumio and Gengo’s boss Kubota are actually aliens from a dying planet in the Space Hunter Nebula M. They have come to Earth to take over. They have assumed the identities of dead people in order to go about undiscovered. In reality they are an alien species that resemble insects. Specifically cockroaches. Their planet has succumbed to pollution and now they have designs on Earth. In order to take over the planet they plan on releasing Gigan and Ghidorah to wipe out humans and destroy the monsters on Monster Island. They control the two monsters using what they call “Action Signal Tapes”.
When Gengo, still in possession of the tape, plays it, it sends a message to the monsters on Monster Island. Godzilla sends Anguirus to investigate. The Japanese Self Defense Force thinks Anguirus is attacking and fire on him driving him away. Godzilla figures out that something is wrong and heads for Tokyo, with pet Anguirus by his side, and destined for another show down.
“Godzilla vs Gigan” AKA “Godzilla on Monster Island” was released in 1972 and was directed by Jun Fukuda. It is the twelfth Godzilla movie in the franchise and in the Showa era. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of the monster island Godzilla movies. There was a certain point during the Showa era where the stories just didn’t do it for me. It’s not that the movies were bad, although some of them were, it’s just that they weren’t what I was looking for in a monster movie.
During part of the Showa period the look of Godzilla changed. I understand that monster suits wear out and they need to be updated but I wasn’t crazy about the look of Godzilla. The suit used for the period during “Destroy All Monsters” through “Godzilla vs Gigan” was more child oriented. Godzilla’s look was friendlier and the movies were geared for children. It’s like Godzilla copied Gamera in order to get some of his demographics.
The budget is another thing that affected this movie. The cost to work Ghidorah is high. It takes 22-24 wires, depending on if he is flying or not, to operate him correctly. Budget constraints cut the special effects crew so his participation in the battles is somewhat inanimate. Although he did get a spiffy new gold paint job. Stock footage as well as stock music from previous Godzilla movies is also used to offset the smaller budget constraints. As far as the stock music is concerned that’s a good thing since much of Akira Ifukube’s scores are highlighted. And they are fabulous. The scenes with Gigan and Ghidorah trashing Japan are also good.
This is the second movie highlighting pollution. It is the first and only time Godzilla talks. It is also the first time Godzilla bleeds. So does Anguirus. By the end of this film the Godzilla suit was totally trashed. Also not a bad thing. Altogether not a bad movie, but not one of the real good ones either.