Monday, July 11, 2016

MONSTROSITIES Reviews Godzilla vs Gigan (1972)

What's this? Enshohma's using other Kaiju fans works to pump up his own blog's content? Is this a case of spreading the monster love online? Or monster-sized plagiarism from an  untalented weirdo ultra-talented God(zilla) among men and ladies?

YOU DECIDE!

Anyhow...The boys over at the MONSTROSITIES: Tokusatsu Vlog continue their series of classic Toho monster movie reviews with their take on 1972's "Godzilla vs Gigan". And I must agree with them that there is quite a lot to love about this otherwise not-all-that-great entry into the Godzilla film series.

Give it a watch and support these guys when you can.




Direct Linkage: https://youtu.be/5MrlkzZ7558


UPDATE FOR 7/12/2016: MONSTROSITIES posted a deleted scene from main review as its own video review, discussing the bizarrely 'fan-popular' fictional monsters WITHIN the fictional monster movie, Shukra and Momagon.





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Poison Gas Monster Dorugo

As mentioned in my longer version of that overlong snails article, there's a lot of overlooked and obscure Kaiju (Giant Monsters) that need more exposure online.

And well beyond unreliable if not flimsy internet archives such as message board forums, Tumblr or Facebook, which might be fun services for those with the shortest of attention spans (common of most Humans these days), but not for the more serious-minded monster fans and 'pop culture scholars' like myself and my many(?) fans.

Today's obscure Kaiju has been featured before on numerous fan sites, but again all those being things like message boards, Tumblr and Facebook posts, and thus I wanted to give this trunk-faced fellow a more solid home so-to-speak.
I know some miserable negativists might say the same about a blog like the one that you're currently reading, but I trust that my non-negativist readers are way smarter than that.

And if you still feel otherwise, well than screw you because its my blog!


Today's monstrous subject, Dorugo.

Most modern-day Americans really have no idea just how BIG the Kaiju Boom of the 1960's and its proceeding successor of the Henshin Boom during the 1970's really was.
Not only were there fantastical and colorful monsters in movies and on television, but also board games, toys, books, newspaper articles, novels, manga, magazines, bromide postcards, trading cards, radio programs, vinyl records, a renewed interest in Yokai mythology, and even imported fantasy shows and films from other countries such as the works of Irwin Allen and Ray Harryhausen.

And our following subject is among the book-based creations of this Monster Boom.

Poison Gas Monster Dorugo originates from the Japanese book “Shin Sekai No Kaiju” (“New World of Monsters”), which was the sequel to the 1967 book "Sekai No Kaiju" ("World of Giant Monsters"). 

And sadly that's all I really know about these books and Dorugo itself (and such a long, slightly vindictive intro for this relatively short article), though the character subtitle of Poison Gas Monster gives a good impression of its deadly powers, despite the goofy elephant-like appearance. It has been heavily suggested that Dorugo might be a space alien in origin, but I can't confirm nor deny that character tidbit at the time of this writing.

Like a lot of the original monsters from these books, more recent vinyl figures of Dorugo were produced decades late, becoming collector items for people ignorant (if not uncaring) of the character's conceptual history.


Photos courtesy of Trampt.com

And something common of printed monster media from this era, here's a cross-section of Dorugo's internal workings.

Thankfully, my friend and fellow Kaiju fanatic Titanollante, one of the founders of Wikizilla, helped translate the anatomy image, as seen in the secondary version beneath the first. This reveals that Dorugo can also shoot fourth a deadly energy beam from its trunk in addition to the alternative of lethal gas, as Dorugo possess two organs (sacks) for either ability.




To all other 'Kaijuhistorians' reading this: these simplistic articles that I'm posting are simply here to make these obscurities more well known online. And with that said, if you find more extensive information on both Dorugo or his debut book "Shin Sekai no Kaiju", by all means PLEASE make your own articles and spread the obscure love across the web!

The foolish mentality of 'Reviewer Dibs' don't mean crap where the unknown and unloved is concerned.

And an additional HUGE THANKS to the tumblr site Kaijusaurus for helping me create this article in the first place.

Thanking a singular tumblr after bad mouthing the very concept itself - hypocrite much, Enshohma?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

POWERPUFF GIRLS 2016 Reboot Review by RebelTaxi

Although I subscribe and enjoy RebelTaxi's (alias Panpizza on Facebook) videos, it's more out of curiosity for lesser known animated TV shows and movies than actual review analysis and related intellectualism, especially since he seems to waste more time on sexual gags and word mispronunciations jokes, which are entertaining, but I see that kind of lowbrow stuff ALL the time in Los Angeles and from way less forgivable individuals than the aforementioned (sorry, but my home town kind of sucks).

But in his latest video, RebelTaxi turns down the flippancy dial back down to 3 (a 6?), and brings up some very reasonable points as to why the newer 2016 "Powerpuff Girls" animated series does not work, without using the 'original series was way better' trump card argument. And this shout out is coming from someone (myself) who wasn't that much of a fan of the original series, despite letting it play whenever it was on.

Yes, I know "The Powerpuff Girls" had some pretty nifty Kaiju in, SO WHAT!?!?

The following video review also touches upon a lot of what's wrong with entertainment (animation or otherwise) in general these days, including the rather disturbing trend of gleefully destructive superheroes in otherwise non-comical action-adventure films.

My hat is off to you, Mister Taxi!



Basic Text Link: https://youtu.be/QExDCEiYP7I

Monday, May 9, 2016

Renegade Cut: Godzilla

I'm really one of those fantasy film lovers who prefer the imaginative, colorful, big budgeted (yes, technically they were) and charming Godzilla films of the 1960's over the grim 1954 original which spawned them, along with the majority of Godzilla films to follow after this aforementioned 'Golden Decade'.

BUT WITH ALL THAT SAID...Even I must admit the importance of the original 1954 "Godzilla" ("Gojira", either / or) and its true purpose as a serious-minded tragedy, dark science fiction parable, and equally powerful anti-war statement within and well beyond that of the giant monster film genre.

This fact is well known to us Godzilla aficionados, but mainstream audiences in both America AND Japan, including a disturbingly large number of fellow fantasy film fans and modern day 'geeks', either ignore or are sadly unaware of the character's significant origin.

The wonderful web-series Renegade Cut (overseen by producer and host Leon Thomas) reminds us of Godzilla's ultimate importance, in this brief but detailed review. Please give the following a watch, especially if you're NOT a Kaiju movie watcher.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Progdawg's Music Reviews - May 4th, 2016

Marc Tucker is a noted music reviewer, writer, paralegal, grammarian tutor, fellow artist, and friend who's been an extremely positive influence upon my life over the past year, even going as far as saving said life after I came into legal troubles in 2015, which I prefer not to go into in detail. All these fantastic accomplishments and talents should be noted, even if our current affiliation at the time of this writing is not exactly on ideal terms, something else I also care not to go into (mainly 'cause it's my fault).

However, I did make the promise to feature the (somewhat) more recent music reviews from his ongoing newsletter Veritas Vampirus, which is what this new feature, dubbed Progdawg's Music Reviews, will be based upon. Marc's informative critiques are extremely well written, to-the-point, and honest, which is actually uncommon for music reviewers these days, who virtually seem to repeat the music publishers' liner notes to a slightly bent 'T'.

Plus, as well known as Marc Tucker is among musicians and their respective labels, his actual name of 'Mark Tucker' is…despairingly common, or, as he puts it "Hell, my name is common as dirt, dammit!" And his writings could use more exposure beyond surprisingly archaic web-sites like FAME (Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange) and OpEd News.com, which is another reason these articles are being dubbed Progdawg's Music Reviews ('Progdawg' as in 'Progressive Dog', a title both for his meta-anarchic Far Left politics and a former alliance within an anthropomorphic artists collective), until a better title is requested by the dawg in question.

One might argue the banal commonality of his name (especially if you share this same name and feel insulted by the point I've just made), but it's a problem that plagues A LOT of artists and writers these days, which of course led to my own created pen-name and chosen moniker of Enshohma, or Raf Enshohma, over my own equally despairingly common real name of Rafael Gonzalez.
I don't care what other more proud Hispanics or similarly ill-informed people from other ethnicities may say - Rafael Gonzalez is WAY TOO common a name to stand out in any crowd, even if I myself was a billion-eyed Titan straight from Mount Olympus!

And let's face it…this blog of mine needs more posts, including featuring the work of other people, which never hurts in both directions. I plan to continue this series.


PROGDAWG'S MUSIC REVIEWS for May 4th, 2016




MARIKA TAKEUCHI - Colors in the Diary
(no label cited)
Review written by Marc Tucker - 04/27/2016

Interestingly, pianist-composer-producer-arranger-copyist-educator (whew! that's a lot of hyphens!) Marika Takeuchi is synaesthesic, sees colors mentally when listening to music and literally hears musical notes when contemplating scenes of beauty. This trait can't help but imbue her work with a richness oft scamped in writers and players taken up with clustered chops, radically shifting velocities, convoluted compositions, and so forth. Much as I love those qualities, there's an entirely different experience contained in the measured approaches here, in the mindset of a spiritually-oriented existentialist rendering of tableaus sonically akin to well-considered still-lifes. In "Colors in the Diary", though, the still-lifes refuse to remain placid, to sit as though wax fruit, but instead take on vivacities wedding Satie to Glass, opening up vistas, or embodying intimate cloisters of deeply considered thought and reflection.

The 12 songs here were all written and arranged/orchestrated by Takeuchi, but that 'orchestraton' attribution is actually a matter of chamber symphonics in spare or lush manifestations, the celebrated Eugene Friesen, he of Paul Winters' past esteemed Living Music imprint and marvelous old Consort, on cello and Si-Jing Huang on violin. Sometimes the pairing results in a stripped-down mellifluous airy trio setting with Takeuchi, other times in a simul-synched many-handed ensemble backing the pianist. Will Ackerman produced the CD (co-pro'ed with Marika and Andreas Bjork), so you know without asking that this is Windham Hill quality. Nothing Ackerman touches has ever been less than that, to my knowledge.

Painter Leonid Afremov contributed an eye-fetching semi-abstract night street-scene bursting with color and light, the sort of thing Thomas Kincade wished he could've produced ('n, boy, that Kincade was a piece of work, wasn't he?), highly suggestive of a number of songs in Diary. Glints and shards of Debussy, Saint-Saens, Faure, Rachmaninoff and others rise and pass as Marika, who's Berklee trained, dances her works about in dignified pastorality and decorously restrained ardor, recalling days past within the always-now. My favorite track? Probably "Colorful Mind", a song ringing of Penguin Cafe Orchestra in a serious phase (hmmm, was PCO ever serious?), but, really, the entirety of Colors in the Diary is like sitting down with a book of cherished photographs, gliding through memories with a wistful smile, one's own history whispering seductively, entrancingly, half way between the sighs of Earth and the Paradise lurking just beneath.

RELATED LINK: Marika Takeuchi's Official Website



CARBE & DURAND - A Bridge Between
(Strangetree Productions)
Review written by Marc Tucker - 04/27/2016

Liza Carbe looks like a cross between Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin, and Maria Muldaur while JP Durand reminds me of James Musser (Underwater Traffic), but their CD isn't like any of those musicians' work, instead an almost classical affair…but with a difference: as far as I know, no classical recitations ever featured tracks by Ozzy Osbourne ("Crazy Train"), Tears for Fears ("Everybody Wants to Rule the World" [not me!]), the Stones ("Paint It Black"), and many others - Sting, Mason Williams, Jimmy Webb, etc. - as well as three cuts of their own crafting.

If you're familiar with the World fusion band Incendio, an top-caliber ensemble on a level with Ancient Future, not to mention a concert dynamo boasting a string of best-selling albums, then you already have a clue, as that's where Carbe & Durand hail from. Add to that the fact that Liza is a student of Jorge Strunz, one of two blindingly brilliant guitarists composing the untouchably virtuosic Strunz & Farah, and the icing goes straight on top of the luminescent cake. I more than once, however, was reminded of Peter Kraus and Mark Byrd and their Satie for Two Guitars (good luck trying to find that one!), a particularly cherished piece in my huge collection. Carbe and Durand are meticulous in their labors, intimate in their leads and comping. 

More than that, the two produced, recorded, and mixed the affair, catching every note and chord in full in a warm atmosphere making one feel as though listening right there in the studio. Do not for a moment, however, imagine any hint of metal or pop-charting here despite the eclectic selections, just heavily Spanish-inflected instrumentals that'd sit well amidst a high society soiree…if, that is, the attending bourgeoisie was hip, well read in modern rock, and would not be put off by such whirlwind treatments as "Paint It Black", cravats, spats, and lace catching fire. Likewise, don't let A Bridge Between near the louts who frequent bars and know the tunes from jukeboxes; you'll just wind up gritting your teeth and dumping saltpeter in their drinks. No, invite only sophisticated intimates and have a bottle of chardonnay to hand when you do. Better yet, two or three bottles, and put on some Yepes, some Tarrega, and the aforementioned Strunz & Farah on afterwards. Summer's coming, time to start getting used to hedonism again.

RELATED LINK: Carbé and Durand Official Website

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Special Announcement for April 2016

Not Final Logo Art...Or So I Hope!
So if all goes REALLY well, I'll be starting a podcast entitled "Review All Monsters" with my long-time friend and co-host Burkion (Jesse Alonso), where we will review ALMOST every giant monster movie ever made and in order whenever possible.

The pilot episode will be dedicated to the rules of our planned series, alongside the still-in-progress master list of films, including giant monster focused television shows, special edition episodes, and possible audio guest stars related to the main subject.

Expect to hear the pilot for "Review All Monsters" sometime in middle-to-late May, uploaded onto my YouTube page with all other succeeding episodes for the foreseeable future.

I am excited for the project, as it has been something both me and Burkion have been wanting to do for years now, especially since we're both disturbingly knowledgeable, respectful and fair-minded with giant monster-based media, as well as being acerbic (Burkion) and eccentric (Enshohma) comedians who also don't mind poking A LOT of fun with the material at hand.

That alone is something missing from a lot of other movie review-based series online, along with the insane list of films and TV shows that "Review All Monsters" hope to tackle.

I will keep you all updated on our progress.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My First Impressions of the New Voltron Series

UPDATE: Wow...I never realized the number of typos and absent linkage that this article previously had! I've gone back and re-edited this piece for the better.

*******

I just returned from Wondercon 2016 and attended the "Voltron: Legendary Defender" panel - a new series coming to Netflix from Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery; two directors and storyboard artists with an impressive resume of recent animation works, though I am most familiar with both through their significant contributions to "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "The Legend of Korra"


Images courtesy of The Nerdist.

Based on the three extensive clips shown during the panel, along with the given information and impressive cast of voice actors, the new series looks extremely promising, with an openly admitted combining of elements from both the original Japanese series "Beast King GoLion" and its American adaptation, brand new concepts, and added with the fun energy, appealing character designs, and high production values that both "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "The Legend of Korra" offered.

This series looks to be something special for us Kaiju / Super Robot fans.

Some of the new character design and casting choices are surprising (Rhys Darby as the new Coran?), but also brilliant in a 'thinking-out-of-the-box' sort of way (Rhys Darby as the new Coran!).

Princess Allura in particular has been re-imagined / rebooted into a dark-skinned (black) elf maiden and simply looks fantastic, like the gorgeous love-child of "The Legend of Zelda" and "Revolutionary Girl Utena".

Not much was said of the villains, other than they'll be as vile and almost as horrifying as their Japanese originals (complete with the returned name of The Garla Empire), and RoBeasts will be more significant threats over the one-and-done opponents of older Voltron series.
Plus, voice actor Neil Kaplan will be portraying the Garla's supreme leader, King Zarkon, which was a nice surprise for me, since Neil was a very kind and friendly person towards yours truly, during my attendance at the very first Power Morphicon back in 2007.

Never been that big of a "Voltron" fan from the past despite my love of gigantic monsters in all shapes and sizes, and watching the series on occasion. But this new version has me hyped, and I can't wait for its streaming premier on June 10th, 2016.

Additional Links:

Cartoon Brew's Preview
Nerdist Interviews with the Producers and Cast Details