Return of Daimajin (1966)

Never released theatrically in the United States — it was shown on TV by American-International Pictures in 1967 — the second film in the trilogy finds Daimajin concerns an evil lord who takes over the villages of Chigusa and Nagoshi. He also shatters the statue of Daimajin with gunpowder, sending what’s left of the spirit to the bottom of a lake where it comes back to life to save the villagers who pray to him.

All three of these movies were written by Tetsurô Yoshida, with this installment being directed by Kenji Misumi, who made four of the Lone Wolf and Cub films. While this is similar to the first film, it does have a scene where the giant Daimajin parts the seas as well as an amazing scene where he rescues a crucified woman while stomping an army of samurai into puddles of bone and blood.

The effects in this film are gorgeous, with the stone spirit looking as if it was a real kaiju and not just special effects. These movies aren’t as well known in the U.S., but they certainly deserve to be.

You can get this movie as part of Arrow Video’s new The Daimajin Trilogy. Return of Daimajin has commentary by Japanese film experts Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp a discussion of the movie’s storyboard, an interview with Professor Yoneo Ota (director of the Toy Film Museum, Kyoto Film Art Culture Research Institute) and opening credits for the U.S. release of Return of the Giant Majin. Get it now from MVD.

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