In 2005, director Shinpei Hayashiya first screened a version of Shinkaijû Reigô [aka Deep Sea Monster Reigo; Reigo vs. Yamato; Reigo the Deep Sea Monster vs. The Battleship Yamato, A-140F6]. After a subsequent upscale “re-production” period, the film was released in August 2008 in its final form — and of course we’re still waiting for it in the West.
Now Hayashiya has announced a follow-up film, featuring pretty much the same kaiju (then named “Reigo”, now “Raiga”). Where the first was set during World War 2, however, and gave us the historic Yamato super battleship as a “protagonist”, this one is placed in modern-day Tokyo, with the protagonist looking like a normal schmuck.
Actually, the main protagonist is played by veteran Yukijiro Hotaru, who gained his main daikaiju eiga cred through his role as Inspector Osako in Shusuke Kaneko’s 1990s Gamera trilogy, Gamera daikaijû kuchu kessen (aka Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, 1995), Gamera 2: Region shurai (aka Gamera 2: The Advent of Legion, 1996) and Gamera 3: Iris kakusei (aka Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris, 1999). He also appeared in Shusuke’s Kurosufaia (aka Cross-Fire, 2000) and Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidorâ: Daikaijû sôkôgeki (aka Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, 2001). Other genre credits include Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997), Zeram and Zeram 2 (1991 and 1994), Gakkô no kaidan 3 (aka School Ghost Story 3, 1997), Boogiepop wa Warawanai: Boogiepop and Others (2000), the excellent schoolgirl zombie flick Stacy (2001) and Hayashiya’s earlier Reigo film. He seems to specialise in policemen and comic relief, bringing an endearing (and sometimes slapstick) humour to his roles.
In Raiga, he shares the limelight with a group of cute actresses: Miyu Oriyama (pictured below, with Christmas bikini and cake), Mao Urata, and Manami Enosawa.
The newly released teaser trailer begins with a definite nod to Raiga’s daikaiju progenitor, Gojira (Godzilla), adding a nice acknowledgement of copyright issues in the urgency of Hotaru’s character’s denial that this new beast is the King of the Monsters. Watch it here or go to the YouTube page to choose a high definition alternative:
Global warming causes the southern polar ice cap to gradually melt, disrupting the ecosystem and luring ancient sea monsters to Japan. Eventually an enormous sea beast called Raiga enters Asakusa via the Sumida River and begins wreaking havoc on the buildings there. (Nippon Cinema)
The film is being made using traditional daikaiju eiga SFX technology (that is, suitmation and scale model buildings) — news which many will greet with enthusiasm. No doubt, as has become usual, enhancements to the image will be made using not-so-traditional CGI.
Below is a series of production shots:
Director Shinpei Hayashiya undergoes a monstrous transformation
as he dons Raiga’s spines