Godzilla vs. Gigan
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|Godzilla vs. Gigan|
Japanese theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jun Fukuda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Written by||Takeshi Kimura
|Music by||Akira Ifukube
Godzilla vs. Gigan, released in Japan as Chikyū Kōgeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan (地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン?, lit. "Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan"), is a 1972 Japanese science-fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Jun Fukuda with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, the film starred Hiroshi Ishikawa, Yuriko Hishimi, and Minoru Takashima. The twelfth film of the Godzilla series, this film featured the return of Godzilla's foe King Ghidorah. Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was displeased with the previous film, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, and wanted to return the series to the more traditional route of well known monsters and an alien invasion plot. This was the last film in which Godzilla was portrayed by Haruo Nakajima, who had played the character since the first film in 1954.
The film received a limited theatrical release in the United States in 1977 by Cinema Shares as Godzilla on Monster Island.
Giant insectoid aliens from a dying planet in "Space Hunter Nebula-M" plot to colonize the Earth. The aliens assume the forms of dead humans and work as the development staff of the peace-themed theme park, World Children's Land, the centerpiece of which is "Godzilla Tower". The Nebula-M aliens plan to use the space monsters Gigan and King Ghidorah, guided by two "Action Signal Tapes," to wipe out human civilization.
Mangaka Gengo Kotaka stumbles onto their plan after being hired as a concept artist for the park. When Gengo and his friends accidentally obtain one of the Action Signal Tapes and play it, Godzilla and Anguirus hear the signal and realize something is amiss. Godzilla sends Anguirus to investigate. When Anguirus approaches Tokyo, the Japan Self Defense Forces, misunderstanding the monster's intentions, drives it away.
Anguirus reports back to Monster Island, and Godzilla follows it back to Japan to save the Earth from Gigan and King Ghidorah. The aliens attempt to kill Godzilla with a lethal laser cannon hidden inside Godzilla Tower (the blue laser beam also resembles Godzilla's atomic breath), but Gengo and his companions use the aliens' over-reliance on technology against them, forcing the invaders to unwittingly destroy themselves. After a lengthy fight, Godzilla and Anguirus force Gigan and King Ghidorah back into space and then Godzilla and Anguirus swim back to Monster Island, but not before Godzilla turns around and gives a roar of triumph, in thanks to his human friends.
- Hiroshi Ishikawa as Gengo Kotaka
- Tomoko Umeda as Machiko Shima
- Yuriko Hishimi as Tomoko Tomoe
- Minoru Takashima as Shosaku Takasugi
- Zan Fujita as Fumio Sudo, the Chairman of World Children's Land
- Toshiaki Nishizawa as Kubota, Secretary of World Children's Land
- Kunio Murai as Takashi Shima
- Gen Shimizu as the Commander of Defense Forces
- Kuniko Ashihara as Middle-aged Woman
- Zeko Nakamura as Priest
- Akio Muto as Editor of Comics Magazine
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Kengo Nakayama as Gigan
- Koetsu Omiya as Anguirus
- Kanta Ina as King Ghidorah
An early draft of the film that became Godzilla vs. Gigan, submitted in 1971 by Kaoru Mabuchi, was titled Godzilla vs. The Space Monsters - Earth Defense Order. Miko, an alien being resembling a large brain, intends to conquer the Earth using King Ghidorah, Gigan, and Megalon (later to be re-worked into the main villain in 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon). Godzilla and Anguirus appear in Tokyo in defense of Earth. Miko uses the three space monsters to install his being into a giant statue of Majin Tuol, a fictional Incan God, which has been erected at Tokyo's Science Land. Gigan uses the buzzsaw in its chest to cut the statue, causing it to bleed. Majin Tuol, now somehow alive, allies itself with Godzilla and Anguirus. The three Earth monsters defeat the space creatures and Godzilla destroys Miko. After the decisive battle, Majin Tuol again turns to stone. 
Shinichi Sekizawa drafted a new story using many of Mabuchi's ideas. Sekizawa's pitch, titled The Return of King Ghidorah, featured Godzilla, Rodan, and Varan in combat with King Ghidorah, Gigan, and a monster called Mogu. Except for its monster cast, this draft was reportedly much closer to the final filmed version of Godzilla vs. Gigan.
The majority of the film's soundtrack consists of recycled cues from previous Toho films such as Frankenstein Conquers the World, Atragon, King Kong Escapes and several other Godzilla films. Akira Ifukube, who composed the music for those films, receives credit in the film. In addition to those stock tracks, several themes composed by Ifukube for the Mitsubishi Pavilion at Expo '70 are used throughout the movie. A new song called "Godzilla March," sung by Susumu Ishikawa and composed by Kunio Miyauchi, plays at the end of the film. Ishikawa also performed two more new songs ("Go! Go! Godzilla" and "Defeat Gigan") that were released on the soundtrack album.
In Japan, the film sold approximately 1,780,000 tickets.
Following the film’s release in Japan in March, 1972, Toho commissioned Hong Kong broadcaster and voice actor Ted Thomas to produce an English language soundtrack. As was usual with Toho’s international export versions of its films, Godzilla vs. Gigan was left uncut, although all titles, credits, and text were changed to English. One significant change was made for this international version. In the Japanese release, speech bubbles, as seen in comic books, are used to depict a conversation between Godzilla and Anguirus. The speech bubbles were removed in original prints of the English version and the conversation was dubbed into English, with Thomas as the voice of Godzilla.
In 1977, Mel Maron’s Cinema Shares International Distribution purchased the North American rights to Godzilla vs. Gigan and released the film as Godzilla on Monster Island in the U.S. Rather than going to the expense of dubbing the film again, Cinema Shares utilized Toho’s English dub. Aiming for a “G” rating from the MPAA, the company’s editors removed three instances of blood from the monster scenes and muted the word “bitch” on the soundtrack. Following the theatrical release, Godzilla on Monster Island entered television syndication.
In the ‘80s, Toho had regained control of the film’s U.S. rights and licensed video rights to New World Pictures. New World’s home video division released the international version of Godzilla vs. Gigan on video in 1988. Several budget re-releases of the film continued from New World’s successors over the next decade. Shortly thereafter, the Sci-Fi Channel began broadcasting Cinema Shares’ version, Godzilla on Monster Island, in the early 1990s. A letterboxed transfer of Toho’s international version replaced Godzilla on Monster Island on the channel in 2002.
The film received several VHS releases during the 1990s by distributors such as Anchor Bay Entertainment and PolyGram Video. The film was released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on October 19, 2004, and on Blu-ray by Kraken Releasing on May 6, 2014.
- Godziszewski 1994, p. 167.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 176.
- Godzilla Talks - Speech Bubbles confirmation
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) - Cinemassacre Productions
- Ryfle 1998, p. 175.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 153.
- Kalat 1997, p. 125.
- Sci-Fi Channel schedule for March 2002
- "VHS Box Art (1970's-1980's)". Toho Kingdom. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- "Godzilla vs. Gigan DVD". DVD Talk. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- "Godzilla vs. Gigan Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- Godziszewski, Ed (1994). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla. Daikaiju Enterprises.
- Kalat, David (1997). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786403004.
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
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