Sperhauk was nice enough to give me his old dvd set of the Diamajin trilogy. It's a Japanese series that is more Fantasy than Science Fiction but it's got a giant monster so I'm bending my SFS rules a bit. Daimajin is the first film, followed by The Return Of Diamajin and The Wrath Of Daimajin. The whole trilogy was released by Daiei Motion Picture Company April through December 1966. The same company also produced the Gamera films. Sperhauk upgraded his set when he found the BluRay for 12 bucks. A nice deal, huh. It's normally about 20 bucks on Amazon and that's still an ok deal for three movies. There are 3 editions of the trilogy in the US, plus a single disc of two of the US releases. ADV has two sets, the 2002 non-anamorphic in which all three of the movies are 2.35:1 widescreen and the 2005 anamorphic edition which has two of the movies at 2.35:1 and TWOD cropped to 1.85:1. Mill Creek Entertainment put out the current BlueRay set and Image put out a single disc of the original AIP versions of Majin, the Monster of Terror and The Return of Giant Majin, both of which are cropped to 1.33:1. I don't think I have seen the AIP versions. I did have a copy of some Video Dakaiju VHS tapes from sometime in the mid 1990's. These dvds are much nicer. Another nice thing? All three movies have scores by Akira Ifukube. If you don't know who he is? Shame on you.
Daimajin, like all the movies in the trilogy, is set in Fuedal Japan. Some villagers are observing the Daimajin rituals when the evil Chamberlain takes over. They kill the current Lord and his wife but the children escape. They are raised in secret and the Chamberlain rules with an iron thumb. The son grows to 18 and the people have had enough. The area is ripe for rebellion, all they need is the spark, which is provided when the Chamberlain tries to destroy the statue of Daimaijin. The best they can do is drive a spike in it's head. It rises up and puts the slaughter on the Chamberlain and his goons. Lord Juno and the villagers are restored to their lands. In all the movies the giant guardian only rises up in the last 15 or so minutes of the movie. You've got to wait for some monster action.
The Return Of Daimajin is set in another area. The statue of Maijin lives on an island and the locals worship there. A couple of peaceful villages are near the island. One gets taken over by an Evil Warlord. Like there are any other kind? The EW has his eyes on the next village and he blows up the statue of their god. He even tosses the village's big bell into the sea. Eventually Maijin comes calling and the Evil Warlord tries blowing him up. That doesn't work as well as it did on the statue and the EW gets squished. Maijin is tall, his feet flat, his body heavy. Aaahhh! There is some collateral damage to the buildings too but because of the time period the buildings aren't all that big.
The Wrath OF Diamajin has another Evil Warlord is planning to conquer the local area. He's capturing men from the local villages and turning them into slaves. He's forcing them to build him a nice big fortress. Some kids from a village travel into the forbidden mountain area to try to save their imprisoned dads. Maijin wakes, kicks the Evil Warlord's new fortress apart, then stabs the EW with a giant sword. Maijin can even stand up to canon fire. The village goes back to normal after the Maijin disapperars.
All in all a nice bunch of films. I've seen thems several times and have continued to enjoy them.