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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Adventures In Tokyo With Godzilla And Ultraman

As a kid - sometime when I was in Grade 4 (but was only about seven-years-old), my friend Umberto and I would wrestle around re-enacting the fight scenes from the re-run episode of the Japanese television show Ultraman that we had just watched over at his house.

I had no idea, at the time, that Ultraman was a Japanese superhero, though I’m pretty sure I was aware that there were a lot of Japanese in it - I just assumed it was a sci-fi show, and didn’t give a crap about its origins.

All I know is that I found the show entertaining.

As a kid, I had been watching Godzilla movies since I was in Grade 1 (around when I was four, going on five-years-old), at the behest of now unknown friend, who had seen a movie one Sunday afternoon and was sure another such film would air the next weekend.

It did. I thought that Godzilla was the cat’s meow… sure you could tell that there was a guy in the suit, but the destruction! Oh… the destruction… it was epic. Japanese, sure… they mentioned Tokyo, Japan often enough, and I had heard about World war II thanks to a kid’s book I had on the subject… but Godzilla was the most exciting thing I had ever seen up until my-then boring life.

It was stunning.

Flash forward to my adulthood, and to the years when I started this blog and had run out of pre-written and pre-published blogs about Japan (around 76, I think), I needed subject matter… so what better than to examine newsfeeds and to plumb the depths of my own childlike memories? There are probably better things, which was why I began to add color to my initial diary entries by recalling the true weirdness while I could still recall it.

Before doing that, however, I began watching and re-watching some old Godzilla movies.

Aside from the actual first Japanese version which I only saw a few years ago… the rest of them are all actually pretty crap. Like really crap. Like one should never revisit their childhood ever again crap.

It made me not want to watch any old Ultraman television shows - just in case it disappointed me, too.

Now… I still haven’t seen any of the Japanese-made Godzilla movies in the 1990s and 2000s, which have never been officially distributed in North America (or anywhere else, I would imagine)… but many of these movies are purported to be quite good.

Purported like the old Godzilla movies.

I put the original Gamara (flying turtle) kaiju (big monster) movie on for my son a few years back - he seemed to like that very much… but the sappiness of it all made me throw-up in mouth… just a little mind you.

We went and saw the last U.S. Godzilla movie - and even as a nine-year-old, he complained that we didn’t even get to see Godzilla until half-past the movie.

Really… even a nine-year-old knew that was dumb.

I admit, also, that while kids today lack proper interpersonal skills (for the most part) due to too much digital media time, they also have learned that they like to be entertained… and entertained quickly. And often.

You know that old saying: “What have you done for me lately”?

Anyhow… I just needed an excuse to show off the image of Godzilla (left) and Ultraman posing for a photo opp in front of Mount Fuji.

I have no idea when it was taken or originally by whom or even why.

All I know is that I found it amusing.

I might actually try and watch an episode of Ultraman… no… I won’t do that. Maybe a Japanese Godzilla movie… maybe. How bad could it be? Sadly, I already know.

Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

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