304. Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)

And THAT’s why this is my favorite of all the Kaiju episodes.

Not a fan of the genre, and wouldn’t dream of watching them unriffed… apart from this one. I really like the Jim Thompson-esque drama of the conniving jewel thieves, and one of them sort of being redeemed by his feeling of connection to Native Creepy Girl. Much more involving than some bratty kid crashing a military conference to screech about Gamera. The villain’s death almost seemed like an afterthought, though he certainly had it coming. (Also, that might be the editing of this version. I’m not sure.)

Also, T.G.I. Tokyo is one of their best sketches ever, and I will die on this hill. Or in this scorpion-ridden cave. Whatever. I’m still tickled that I used to know fans who completely failed to get the joke. Maybe it was easier for me because I used to wait tables. Thankfully, that was a long time ago. :sweat:

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Crime is a passion of Japanese Cinema and it appears in so many genre pictures including monster movies. The seedy events and escapades that set off larger ramifications and force certain things to boil over. It makes sense those tropes might be the impetus of a rubber suit production. The gangster/yakuza culture is so popular in the filmmaking their inclusion isn’t a surprise.

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How the bots captured the clientele chttering, the decorations on the table, Joel as the waiter. T.G.I. Tokyo’s is the theme restaurant experience. It symbolizes what MST is capable of and often achieved.

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I love that sketch so much. Especially the reference to “24 Mohawk Indians” which was taken verbatim (third from the bottom in the Here’s What You Get column) from this old comic book ad that I saw a lot as a kid:

image

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It’s astounding what the Best Brains team knew. They truly found their niche turning trivia into entertainment. And that’s a compliment.

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Looking at that skit, I have to ask, how long did it take to set that all up and did they spend an afternoon playing with it?

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Had to. So that it looked right. Best guess “an afternoon playing with it” at least to achieve the look they wanted.

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@optiMSTie How is this measured next to the later Gamera episodes?

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Gamera must have a great agent. He’s hardly in it and still got top billing!

This one is alright. It’s another example where I’m impressed how much humor they were about extract out of it, because this is a really harsh movie. I appreciate the earnest attempt at a more thoughtful and serious narrative, though.

Definitely has it’s moments and the host segments are fun! :slight_smile:

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This might be my favorite Gamera. It actually seemed to be aimed at adults, not bratty children. Gamera doesn’t appear until late in the movie, but the “spooky chick” that sucks the guys blood might be the most beautiful woman EVER in an Mst3K episode! And that’s not a small feat (considering my love for Valeria in Robot Holocaust).

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Opinions will vary, but for me, this is probably my least favorite of the Gamera episodes.

That’s not to say that this is a bad episode, certainly not. It’s just that it feels like Gamera has a minor supporting role in his own movie, and all things considered, I’d rather spend more time watching the giant turtle and his deadly adversary than the squabbling opal thieves.


Because Gamera’s involvement is mostly limited to the concluding act, it falls to Barugon to carry the giant critter mayhem, and I enjoy the SOL crew’s treatment of this character.

Almost as kind of a foreshadowing of what they would do with the Giant Gila Monster in his respective movie, the gang has a field day ventriloquizing the big ol’ crawling lizard.

Joel in particular has an all-timer comment in his folksy showman riff: “Hey, I’m doin’ my own stunts! If wholesome family entertainment is old-fashioned, then call me old-fashioned!”

It’s not just the great stuff being said AS Barugon, but also the fun riffs being said ABOUT Barugon, too. What comes to mind is a general saying that “The monster can destroy everything with his tongue,” prompting Crow to retort, “YOU try saying that without laughing!”

It’s a monster that draws an array of fun jokes, whether it has to do with his deadly tongue (Crow: “That’s it, we’re licked!”) or his rainbow laser rays which are likened to a Skittles commercial.

This movie has such a seriousness about it that you NEED the film to supply goofy inspiration for the riff gang, and thank goodness that Barugon delivers.


Even as the movie is a little too serious outside of the giant monster mayhem, the episode doesn’t come up short elsewhere, as Joel and the Bots do come correct against the human characters that aren’t quite as interesting as the monsters, noting how one character “died as he lived: goofy.” Also memorable is how one strategist’s plan to snuff Barugon has Crow protesting: "Hey, I listened to the diamond thing, but I’m not going to arouse him!


Final word: this episode has one of the most brilliant riffs in the series: “Solipsism is its own reward.” I mean… damn. Can you argue with that?

I.
Love.
This.
Show.

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Silliness reigns in these host segments, even more so than usual, which serve as a perfect counterbalance for a drier movie.

Servo’s 5000-piece Fightin’ Men and Monster Set is a magnificently goofy showcase for Kevin Murphy’s mad genius narration and has a genuine charm.

The TGI Tokyo sketch has that something that we love to see on the show. I’m talking about that Midwestern sensibility infused into the comedy with Crow and Servo getting their Minnesota on as two monstrous customers at a kaiju-themed restaurant. What these Bots do in this host segment is a hoot, and Joel rises to meet them as the waiter who goes out of his way to please but ends up cheesing them off at the end.

But what I particularly love is the host segment where Joel picks out the famous stars in the movie but ends up getting stuck in a fit of silliness. Joel’s descent into madness is a treat to watch and a welcome subversion of how often we see Joel try to rein in the Bots at sillier junctures.

Ultimately, I see these host segments as the direct result of a need to add a multitude of goofy thrills to the proceedings, and Joel and the Bots come through massively in these terrific interludes!

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It’s another thing to be wrong about, when you think about it. On top of everything that can look bad about special effects, if you don’t get the color of your radioactive lizard just so, or the blood looks the wrong shade of red, or even the paint on the models doesn’t match what people it should look like–it all falls apart.

In music school, we called them “happy accidents”, and only recently did I learn that was a Bob Ross thing.

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