In Godzilla’s absence, it’s good to know that Japanese daikaiju en masse haven’t forgotten to make an occasional excursion to the Big City. We’ve had news of an Ultraman movie, then there’s the exciting discovery of Daisuke Sato’s The Fog Horn, and re-builds of the monstrous Angels and opposing bio-mecha of Evangelion — to name a few of the more prominent. But one potentially exciting giant has hitherto slipped the Backbrain’s radar. In March this year, Demeking made an appearance in Japan, heading for Tokyo with all the enthusiasm of a rabid urban re-developer.
Demekingu [aka Demeking; Space Monster Demeking] (Japan-2009; dir. Kôtarô Terauchi)
Set in a dreary port town in 1970, the story revolves around a group of boys led by the older Kameoka (Kohei Kiyasu) who form their own exploration group. One day Kameoka meets a strange man named Hachiya (Takeshi Nadagi) who works at the local amusement park. Hachiya is convinced a vision of the future he experienced is real, and one day he will have to fight a giant monster called Demeking to stop it from destroying Tokyo. When the time comes, Hachiya suddenly up and leaves. However, with the guidance of a note he leaves behind, Kameoka and his friends set off on an adventure to discover the true nature of Demeking. (Nippon Cinema)
The 99-minute live-action movie adaptation of Takashi Imashiro’s popular 1991 manga — an inspiration behind aspects of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys (which has also been filmed of late), or so it has been said — was directed by Kôtarô Terauchi (pictured at left). Terauchi also wrote and directed the sequel to Kôji Shiraishi’s Kuchisake-onna [aka A Slit-Mouthed Woman] in 2008 — based on a creepy urban legend about a ghost woman with a grotesque mouth. Demeking stars Manami Honjou (The Handsome Suit), Guts Ishimatsu (Blood), Kohei Kiyasu , Takashi Matsuo (Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe; Japan Sinks!; The World Sinks Except Japan), Takeshi Nadagi , Hiroshi Yamamoto (Exte: Hair Extensions), and was filmed around the city of Kamogawa (see on-location pics below).
Two trailers and a teaser have been released so far.
The theme song heard in Trailer 2 is by pop group Pe’zmoku. It hit the Japanese charts as a single and the DVD and Music CD are already available in Japan.
So what of Demeking itself? The trailers are rather careful not to show us the monster, though the image of its footprint can be seen as a full-size drawing surrounded by suitably tiny people. This image plays a big part in the film’s advertising, second only to the helmet, dark-glasses and bikie leather of Hachiya (Takeshi Nadagi).
From the trailers we can determine that Demeking comes to Earth as a meteor that lands in Tokyo harbour, whereupon it swims ashore to the consternation of a group of fishermen, one of whom decides to stand and gawk at it instead of fleeing.
And the monster clearly has some sort of radiation beam-weapon that it uses on its victims.
In fact, Demeking appears to be a hybrid critter, combining the long neck, toothless mouth and stalk eyes of a snail with a rough, spiky, slightly reptilian, asteroid-like body. It is bipedal and has a tail. The images below (in order: an animatronic model of its head, t-shirt design, reflections in Hachiya’s glasses and rampaging on the DVD cover and on the poster that follows it) can be scoured for hints.
The film is currently available in Japan on DVD. That’s the good news. The bad news is, of course, that it does not have English subtitles. Hopefully, we’ll see a release in the West before too long.
- Sources: IMDb; Official website; Asia Media Wiki; Nippon Cinema; Kavonavi; Movie100.com; Plazahot.com; blogimg.goo.ne.jp; WalkerPlus; Vivacuso; Rakutan; www.pia.co.jp; Allcinema. Thanks to Avery for his detective work.
Gallery (with more posters and images):
Demeking‘s Camera Car: