by Chris MaGee
Okay, there was Hitler, and Himmler and Josef Mengele. You’ve got me there, but I’m talking towering, scaled and fanged monsters like the one in first time director Shinpei Hayashiya's film "Reigo: The Deep Sea Monster vs. The Battleship Yamato". According to an exclusive and detailed report over at Sci-Fi Japan Hayashiya, a former rakugo comedic story teller, was such a huge fan of kaiju monster movies that he wanted to make one of his own, and he obviously took a little inspiration from the King of All Monster, Godzilla, when he put this one together.
Set near the end of WW2 the real-life Battleship Yamato, the subject of Junya Sato's 2005 war epic "Otoko-tachi no Yamato (The Men of the Yamato)", is on maneuvers in the islands of Micronesia when it encounters what it thinks is an enemy submarine, but you guessed it... it's no sub. It turns out that it's the offspring of a legendary sea monster that the island natives call Reigo, and once its baby has been killed Reigo seeks revenge against the most powerful ship in the Japanese Navy and its crew.
It's an intriguing if a wildly implausible what-if scenario and one that Hayashiya battled almost as hard as the crew of the Yamato to get made. Since 2004 "Reigo" has been bounced around from small production company to small production company, going through various name changes and came very close to being shelved, but Hayashiya's baby is finally getting a theatrical release, albeit a limited one, in selected Japanese theatres.
After you've read through the copious notes on the film at Sci Fi Japan make sure to check out the trailer below, one from when the film was being marketed as "Reigo: Deep Sea Monster", but it's still fun, especially if you're a fan of old kaiju movies.
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