What I loved about the cherished Godzilla movies of the youth: Since I was old enough — and Mom and Dad had no interest — I could be dropped off at the theater and be my own man. That’s a pretty big deal . . . and back then, you could drop a kid off at the theater with no worries. So, there I was, in the summer of 1976 at the local twin cinema, getting my dose of not only Godzilla — but the introduction of the Ultra Man-esque Jet Jaguar. At the time, I was all about Ultra Man, which you could watch on Saturday mornings and watch during the weekdays after school in U.S. syndication.
Can you imagine being a kid and creating a character for a Godzilla film: Toho held a contest for children in mid-to-late 1972. An elementary student submitted a drawing of a mecha-robot called Red Arone, which Toho developed into Jet Jaguar. Awesome.
The 13th film in the franchise, the film also features the battle royale of ol’ Zilla with Megalon and Gigan as, once again, man suffers the err of their nuclear ways when a South Pacific underground nuclear test sends shockwaves across Monster Island that plummets Rodan and Anguirus into the depths of the Earth.
Just as the undersea kingdom of Seatopia call up their civilization’s beetle god, Megalon, to destroy mankind to stop the testing, the Japanese Self Defense Force has completed testing on the humanoid robot, Jet Jaguar.
Then all Kaiju breaks loose.
Megalon is no match for Jet Jaguar and Godzilla, so the Seatopians put out a distress call to their allies in the Space Hunter Nebula M (from 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan, which played in the U.S. in 1977 after Godzilla vs. Megalon) to bring in Gigan for the assist. Now, while Godzilla is off fighting Megalon, Jet Jaguar is left to contend with Gigan — and the match evens up as Jet Jaguar develops his own powers and can now enlarge himself to Kaiju size.
No, Godzilla nor Megalon — as did not King Kong in 1976 — ended up on top of the World Trade Center — at least not like in the theatrical one-sheets. You think I would know better after being bamboozled by the theatrical one-sheets for Yog – Monster from Space (1971) — with a giant space octopus clutching the Earth in its tentacles.
Live and learn, you hoped-up-on-Pixie Sticks-and-Mr. Pibb brat.
Hey, wait! Do you need a little more Godzilla in your Kong?
Then check out our “Kaiju Week” reviews from last March 2020 for Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), which also ran as a two-fer review from our January 2020 “Ape Week” blow out to celebrate Disney green-lighting their entry in the Planet of the Apes saga.
And that’s why were are here today: To celebrate the release of Godzilla vs. Kong — finally — in theaters on March 25, 2020.
Screw you, COVID!
Here’s some of the other Kaijus (and sort of Kaiju) that we’ve reviewed. For the rest that we’ve recently reviewed to commemorate the March 2021 release of Godzilla vs. Kong, enter “Kaiju Day Marathon” in our search box to the left to populate that list of films (you may see a few reposted Godzilla reviews, but many new film reviews concerning Godzilla, Kong, and other creatures from the Lands of the Rising Sun).
Gamera vs. Barugon
Gamera vs. Gyaos
Gamera: Guaridan of the Universe
Gamera vs. Guiron
Gamera vs. Jiger
Gamera 2: Legion
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Gamera Super Monster
Gamera vs. Viras
Gamera vs. Zigra
Godzilla: Final Wars
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi
The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Gakidama: The Demon Within
Gappa: The Triphibian Monster
The Iron Superman
The Great Gila Monster
Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
Planet of Dinosaurs
War of the Gargantuas
Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts
Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare