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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Homerzilla

Last Sunday, The Simpson's television program held it's annual Treehouse of Horror episode in anticipation of Halloween. 2015 was the 26th such special. Although... if the show has been on since 1989... I'm pretty sure it did NOT have a Halloween special that first year as a regular show... Hmmm.

The Simpsons has long held a fascination for Japan, whether it is through its animation or its culture in general.

The second episode on this year's Treehouse of Horror was entitled Homerzilla, with an obvious homage to the king of the kaiju (monsters), Godzilla.

The episode, shot in black and white pays homage (there's that word again) to the original Godzilla movie of 1954... and takes some great potshots at how the franchise was 'ruined' when American interests got hold of it. 

I took photos from my television to give you a bit of Simpsons unique Japanese flavor.

Title done in katakana, actually spells out Ho-ma-ji-ra, just as Godzilla in Japan is actually Gojira.
Springfield-ken or prefecture. They know their Japan.
Homerzilla as a buddha-like statue. A donut must be sent out to appease the god, and when that isn't done, the creature awakes. The palanquin and costuming is brilliant, but to me, the entire scene is presented as an ukiyo-e scene.
I just wanted to show how accurate the presentation of the high school boy student attire is.
Giving Bart-san glasses emphasizes the Japanese stereotype. In the background where the bully Nelson is punching a gong, we also see the billboard for Mister Sparkle (ミスタースパーコル Misutā Supākoru). Mister Sparkle's speech bubble in the box is supposed to read as "power clean!" (パワークリーン! pawā kurīn!); however, due to a typo, the diacritic on パ is absent, turning the phrase into ハワークリーン! (hawā kurīn!).What is cool, however, is that the Mister Sparkle image is from an episode in 1997, and they KEPT the error in this 2015 episode.
I disagree, but it is a western stereotype.
Homerzilla stubs his toe - d'oh! - as he stomps through Springfield-shi, Springfield-ken.
Karaoke was a painful part of my stay in Japan, as I was forced to sing songs by Tony Orlando & Dawn thanks to the limited number of English 'words' on the karaoke videos. I also did 'My Way' but sang it off-key like Johnny Rotten. Yes, I did it MY way. I received polite applause, as my Japanese bosses figured Frank Sinatra would be rolling over in his grave even though he wouldn't die for eight more years in 1998.
Homerzilla playing with WWII Mitsubishi Zero aircraft (they have propellers!) as through they were yo-yo's... here going 'around the world'.
After Homerzilla accidentally tumbles off the burning mini city set, he is helped up by a pair of Japanese crewmen... where fantasy reality intrudes on fantasy reality. Just brilliant. After all, this is a fantasy creation of a fantasy movie in our reality.

Homerzilla battles Gamera, the flying turtle kaiju. Shot in color, this is when American movie interests have got its claws into the original concept of the anti-nuclear weaponry of Japan's Gojira/Homerjira.
If you missed it - don't worry, I'm sure it will be repeated ad nauseum every year just before Halloween as part of some Simpsons marathon. Next year.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

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