Return of Daimajin (1966)

RETURN OF DAIMAJIN (1966)
aka Daimajin ikaru
Article 2290 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-2-2007
Posting Date: 11-19-2007
Directed by Kenji Misumi
Featuring Kojiro Hongo, Shiho Fujimura, Taro Marui

A warlord takes over a village, and four children escape to find the statue of Majin to help them drive off the invaders.

Is my head swimming! After watching this movie, I became convinced that I actually watched the wrong movie on my hunt list. Now I’m convinced that I have watched the right movie on my hunt list, but that there’s a bit of confusion out there as to which of the two sequels to DAIMAJIN is the first and which is the second. At any rate, it may make little difference; from what I’ve heard, all three of the Daimajin movies tell virtually the same story with only the details different. Me, I’m throwing up my hands and just saying “This is the one I saw!” If you’ve seen one Daimajin movie, you’ve seen them all.

Nonetheless, having seen two of them, I’m quite willing and eager to see the third, because Daimajin is such an impressive monster. I was somewhat hampered by the fact that my copy of this was in unsubtitled Japanese, but once I got the gist of what was going on, it was quite easy to follow. For the most part, the movie plays like an epic fantasy, with four children on the run from three hunters, who they manage to outwit almost till the end. Daimajin seems to have some spiritual relationship with a hawk in this one, but his rampage doesn’t come until the last fifteen minutes of the movie. And, like the first movie, it’s breathtaking; Daimajin may be the most terrifying of the kaiju; he is implacable and merciless, and one feels the tension and the fear with each earth-shaking step he makes. The special effects are excellent, but I’m sure discerning fans will note that Akira Ifukube’s score here bears more than a passing resemblance to his work for the Godzilla films, especially in the similarity between the themes for Daimajin and Godzilla. Still, it’s very effective, and this chapter in the Daimajin saga is definitely worth catching.

 

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