Life, Minutiae, Toys, Irrational Phobias, Peeves, Fiber

Strange Japanese Beer Product Placement

Posted on | December 27, 2008 at 4:52 pm | 5 Comments

The Great Yokai WarI’ve been catching up on my DVDs and Blu-Rays lately. One DVD I bought a few years ago (I believe on the recommendation of the villain) was The Great Yokai War. I finally got around to watching that one last night. It’s a live action Japanese movie geared towards kids, yet it’s directed by prolific director Takashi Miike (whom I know from Audition and Ichi The Killer, two of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen), so I knew it wouldn’t be very Disney-esque. It does have a bit of a Terry Gilliam Time Bandits vibe to it, or maybe a seriously twisted Wizard of Oz. It’s the story of 10-year old Tadashi who lives with his recently divorced lush of a mother and nearly-senile grandfather, and who gets chosen to be the all-important Kirin Rider (not to be confused with Duffman), defeater of evil spirits. The movie features a fantastic variety of Yokai, whom I gather are spirits/demons/gods from Japanese folklore. The Yokai, though ugly and weird, are mostly friendly, but someone is turning them into evil machine creatures and turning them loose on Japan. Tadashi teams up with some of the good Yokai left and it’s up to him to reclaim the Kirin Rider sword from the Great Tengu and whup up on some bad guys. Standard fantasy quest plot, not so standard execution. (Note: The DVD has an English dub, but I watched it with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles.)

The Yokai are brought to life in a number of different ways, including makeup/prosthetics, puppetry, CGI, and what appeared to me to be stop-motion animation (the machine creatures). There’s a big walking wall with a face in the middle. There’s a one-eyed, one-legged closed umbrella with a huge tongue. There’s a lady who can extend her neck like Plastic Man. And there’s an annoying guinea pig/cat creature that makes whimpering noises and is a puppet that looks less lifelike than a tribble. (Tadashi falls hard for this insufferably cute furball.) And thousands, yes thousands other. At times the special effects look really cheap and obvious (especially the people in rubber suits), but it does seem to fit the vibe of the movie just like in old Doctor Who episodes. Chiaki Kuriyama (from Kill Bill and Battle Royale) makes an appearance as the bad guy’s underling, and she sports a stunning white beehive hairdo and a clothing ensemble that spontaneously changes at will. If your movie has Chiaki Kuriyama in it, you know it’s got to be good. Or at least weird.

The movie definitely held my interest and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. I would love to show it to my niece and nephews to see what they think. There are some pretty scary and gross scenes in it, especially as Tadashi comes gradually into contact with the spirit world, but I’m sure it’s nothing worse than what they’ve seen on the screen countless times before.

The movie also features a journalist who spends much of the movie drunk (which helps him to see the Yokai), although it doesn’t appear to be Kirin Beer that he’s drinking. And hey, there’s a giant flying monster in it that crushes much of Tokyo and whom the locals mistake for Gamera, so if that’s not an enticement to see a movie, I don’t know what is. Also great: Tadashi’s reaction when he puts on the traditional Kirin Rider garb (”It’s a bit much, isn’t it?”). And the moral of the movie is “don’t throw anything away, even if it’s broken, dirty, or worthless”, which is a lesson we all could learn.


Pet Peeve of the Day: I did my first session at the fitness center yesterday, which included the fitness orientation. I learned how to use the various strengthening machines, which I’ve barely even seen before. I wasn’t sore afterwards in any of the ways I thought I would be, although the calf muscle in my left leg has really tightened up. I think that was from the run on the treadmill, although it forgetting to stretch was probably an issue. Paula, you’re right. Running on a treadmill is not like jogging. I was most surprised at how disoriented I was after dismounting the treadmill.

Disturbing Search Term Of The Day That Led To This Blog: “corbin bernsen hairy chest”.

Videogame(s) Played Recently: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS), Castlevania Chronicles (PSN), Wipeout HD (PS3)


5 Responses to “Strange Japanese Beer Product Placement”

  1. yellojkt
    December 27th, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

    I like elliptical trainers at gyms because it is different enough from jogging to not confuse my not-too-bright muscles.

  2. 2fs
    December 27th, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

    I hate elliptical trainers at gyms – why can’t they be straightforward and plainspoken, instead of all this “well, to grow a garden, you must plant a seed” hippie bullshit?

  3. InfK
    December 27th, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

    “Don’t throw anything away”? Geez, my Mom could be WRITING Japanese children’s movies…

  4. Gil
    December 27th, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    You should check out some of the original Yokai movies from the late 60’s, esp. “The Hundred Monsters”. Very..surreal.

  5. Flasshe
    January 2nd, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

    Will do, Gil, thanks!

Comments are closed.