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The Daimajin Trilogy • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan - Archive Only

The Daimajin Trilogy

Godzilla wasn't the only daikaiju to go stomping through Asia! From Rodan and Mothra to Yongarry and Gappa, discuss other JAPANESE/ASIAN kaiju films here!

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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby lhb412 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:21 pm

^I think the aspect ratio thing was only a problem with ADV's single re-releases of the movies.

If you haven't picked it up: Mill Creek's Daimajin release is awesome! All the films look great, the original English dubs are included (the last film was never dubbed, so they actually commissioned a new dub for it), and there's some nice special features.
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:30 am

DaiMajin audiofans should be interested in this little item that dropped in my email a couple of days ago...



Kinda pricey, but at least I can put my treasured vinyl LP away (or maybe just sell it).


Just found it here: $25 cheaper
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Sat May 06, 2017 6:25 pm

Got it!!! An excellent 3-disc CD set containing ALL of the music from all 3 Majin films. Great stuff. Arksquare had it in my mailbox (all the way from Japan no less!) in about a week. Very cool.
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Listening to this all day has made me want to dig out my Mill Creek MAJIN blu-ray set and spin 'em again!
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Dai » Sun May 07, 2017 5:43 am

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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby lhb412 » Mon May 08, 2017 1:29 am

^ That's how I feel everyday!
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby lhb412 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:19 am

Seeing it reported that Riki Hashimoto, Daimajin's suit actor (and, I just found out, one of the baddies in Fist of Fury), has passed away at the age of 83.
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:59 pm

Very sad news.

There's a little less rumble in the world now. :(
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Dai » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:45 pm

Watch Osomatsu-san season 2 episode 22 on Crunchyroll for a hilarious Daimajin homage sequence near the end.
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby EricDent » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:34 pm

Toho's Godzilla Will Live Forever!
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Kailem » Mon May 13, 2024 2:15 pm

So I finally picked up the Arrow Video Daimajin Blu-ray set the other week, and spent the last three nights watching each film for the first time.

It was awesome to finally check out another classic kaiju series from the golden age that I'd never seen before. As far as I'm aware none of the Daimajin films ever got a UK release back in the day, so these were never something I was able to watch on TV growing up like I did with Godzilla and some other films. And I've always felt like the idea of real, period-set giant monster movies was a severely underutilised subgenre, so it was great to see Daimajin rampaging through feudal Japanese castles and villages.

I went into these films with the expectation that they were mainly going to be period pieces that featured a giant monster rather than strictly giant monster movies, and that definitely proved to be the right approach. I could understand some people perhaps being disappointed if they went into them expecting wall-to-wall Daimajin vengeance, but since that wasn't the case with my I really enjoyed all three of them!

I think I liked the first one the best, for a few reasons. Firstly because it's the original film it introduces all the story elements that are present throughout the trilogy for the first time, whereas in Return and Wrath you get a bit of a sense of repeating the same beats. Secondly I think I just dug the atmosphere in this one the most. It was really well shot and had some absolutely incredible moments, especially during the rampage sequence at the end. I was literally left wondering how they pulled off certain shots, since usually with composits in films this old you get the telltale black outlines and different colour grading on the separate parts (which was more often the case in the second and third films), but there was none of that here. It made me genuinely wonder whether or not they'd used forced-perspective tricks for some shots or something, because they were really, really well done.

I also just thought the build-up of all the characters was really well done. Everyone had enough time to flesh out who they were, and there was enough time spent on the bad guys that by the time Daimajin wakes up and starts going nuts, you are REALLY invested in wanting him to just wreck house. Plus the way he deals with the main bad guy was AWESOME! :D

Return of Daimajin was great too. I liked the island shrine location and the slightly faster pace, with (an albeit unseen) Daimajin wreaking a bit more havoc earlier on compared to the original. And again, a really great way of dealing with the main bad guy and introducing some new powers we hadn't seen in the original.

Wrath of Daimajin I'd probably say was the weakest, but I still enjoyed it. I think it suffered in part from just being the third entry in a series that features a lot of the same story beats, for better or worse, so by the time you get here you kinda know what to expect. Plus It didn't seem as though there was as much focus on the bad guy side of things as there was in the first two, so although you still enjoy seeing Daimajin destroy them all at the end, it didn't feel *quite* as satisfying as the first two (though once again the way he dealt with the main bad guy was excellent).

I didn't mind the focus on children as the main characters in this one, it gave it sort of a "Daimajin meets The Goonies" vibe with them all going off on an adventure to climb the mountain. But it did feel like maybe certain other aspects of the story didn't get as much focus as they did in the previous ones as a result. Still, it was good stuff, and it was still overall a good and entertaining film.

So yeah, overall I think this was a pretty darn awesome trilogy! It's crazy how much more expensive these films look than the Gamera films Daiei was putting out around the same time; and that all three of them were released in the same year, too! Did they just do successively worse and worse box office and that's why they never continued beyond these three films (besides the TV series years later and guest appearance here and there)? Or did they just figure they'd kinda done all they could do with the basic premise? Or hell, might it have been decisions like spending so much money on these films that contributed to Daiei going bankrupt a few years later?

Either way I guess the good thing about it is that these films exist as an easily-digestible time capsule, and a trilogy with a pretty consistently high level of quality. I didn't realise Akira Ifukube did the music for them either! That was a very pleasant surprise, and helped give them that wonderfully comfortable feeling of classic 60's Japanese giant monster movies.

I haven't had a chance to dive into the more substantial special features on this set yet (the commentaries and interviews etc.), but I'm looking forward to doing that soon. I'm very glad I finally checked these out though! Definitely an awesome trilogy of films, and very unique in the genre even to this day.
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby lhb412 » Sun May 19, 2024 11:46 pm

^ Some of your questions are touched on in the extras, but basically; yeah, they put way more effort and budget into these films. They were more prestigious, "A" pictures and the Gameras were all "B" projects except for Barugon which was an attempt to push Gamera into an "A" production but that was seen as a disappointment so he was knocked back to "B"! The fact Gamera movies were so much cheaper was a key factor in their viability, because by the late '60s the studio was in major financial trouble and the fact that kids were flocking to these cheaply made films suited them just fine!

Add to this the fact that the Daimajin (and Yokai) films were made by Daiei's Kyoto studio, which specualized in period costume dramas, as opposed to the contemporary set films of the Tokyo studio (which did Gamera). Even though they're under the same corporate umbrella, they feel so stylistically different because they're made by a mostly different group.
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Re: The Daimajin Trilogy

Postby Kailem » Tue May 21, 2024 9:06 pm

That makes a lot of sense. Just looking at them from the outside, if you didn't know they were released by the same studio you definitely wouldn't think those two series were made by the same people; because I guess they weren't! :lol:

Still, I guess in the long run Gamera's low budget approach paid off, since he ended up being the more popular franchise with entries still being made today! At least until they inevitably take another decade or two to give us another one, now that it seems like the animated series wasn't as big of a hit as they were hoping.
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