Month: July 2018

How I remember Japanese Monster Films

Growing up in Singapore/Malaysia, my childhood has always revolved around Japanese films and animation (Anime). Back in the 90’s, western cartoon shows like Rugrats, Dexter’s lab and Hey Arnold can only be accessed with an Astro cable subscription (which was new and super expensive at the time).

Source: Cartoon Network & Nickelodeon

Throughout the 90’s until the early 2000’s, the majority of kids (From my circle of friends) prefer Japanese shows like Ultraman, Gundam Series (Gundam Wing) and Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) because its accessible on the public channel every Saturday morning and Sunday Night.

Gundam Wing

Gundam Wing Endless Waltz (1998) Source: Sunrise

Every kid in the neighborhood knows who Ultraman is, we used to play pretend who’s Ultraman and who’s the monster at the playground and ended up having bruises when we get back home. I remember beating my friend so hard because he pretended to be “DADA”, my most hated monster in the Ultraman series.


“DADA” Monster from the Original Ultraman (1966) Source: Tsuburaya Production

When my family got an Astro subscription, I got the privilege to access both western and Japanese cartoons. At that moment, I was exposed to shows like Spongebob and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody where I don’t have to read subtitles to understand. At the time, that was considered as a privilege.  The idea of having 3+ Channels for cartoons was beyond my expectation.

A few days back, I saw the original 1954 “Gojira”, and cant help but to feel nostalgic because it reminds me of the good old “Ultraman” days. The sound and special effects  were similar. Have a look at this comparison :

Ultraman (1966) Source : Youtube


Gojira (1954) Source : Youtube

The original Ultraman was first aired in Japan in 1966, so its understandable to see similar values and effects from Gojira. There was an episode from the Original Ultraman (1966) that had a Gojira reference. They introduced a monster that looks and sounds exactly like Gojira and named it “Red King” as a reference to the nickname that was given to Gojira, “Godzilla: King of The Monsters”. That was the closest one we can get for a Godzilla vs Ultraman crossover.

Source: Google

We can clearly see how influential the original Gojira is to the film industry. It became its own genre (kaiju) that inspired awesome films like Ultraman, and Super Sentai. Throughout the years, this film culture has been utilized to its full potential and people tend to link this genre, to be a part of the Japanese culture. Even Hollywood are trying get a piece of the cake when they attempt to make an American adaptation of Godzilla in 1998, 2014 and the upcoming sequel to the 2014 movie.


Godzilla (2014) Source: Google

They did the same thing to Ultraman as well. There were 2 non – Japanese version of Ultraman throughout the 90’s, one from the US (Ultraman: Ultimate Hero, 1995) and Australia (Ultraman: Towards The Future, 1992).

Source: Google

From my cultural background, I can clearly spot the differences between Japanese films and its western adaptations. Maybe its just my gut feeling, but the American Ultraman has a different tone into it, even with an Asian lead character, and the same monsters from the original, it doesn’t feel the same as the original formula that the Japanese had been using from 1966 – 1980.  Same goes to Godzilla, my first Godzilla film was, Godzilla vs Mothra (1992). When I first saw the 1998 American Version, it felt different. In conclusion, both sets of film shares the same values but different approach and it could be the result of cultural difference.

‘A Country Bumkin Confused in the Presence of Culture’


Western culture is a hard thing to escape.


Growing up the main contributor to my knowledge of other cultures came from the golden chalice of all morning TV programs – Toasted TV.This gem of my past may have fuelled my obsession with Nickelodeon, but it also sparked my interest in cult anime classics such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh, all be it the watered down ‘4Kids’ versions of the original anime. Other films such as Empire of the Sun and the Last Samurai also helped to shape my easily impressionable perception of Eastern culture, however, looking back there is a common theme across all of these narrative and that is the looming presence of western culture as many of these shows were still filmed or altered to be presented from a western viewpoint.

This western glazed frame that I viewed most cultures from was also influenced by my…

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A Not So Puny God(Zilla)

The Fish Pond

13653092334_72c5f892cf_b.jpg Image Source (x)

My mother is Maltese, my father is Scottish. While they were both born here, most, if not all of their families were born and raised outside of Australia. My mother was raised in a house with 7 siblings, and two parents who cared very deeply about their Maltese traditions… and yet, I feel more Australian then I probably have the right to. The only roots I have with the Maltese side of my family is sharing the same skin tone. The language, the traditions, they both aspects of my own roots that I have have next to no experience in.

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Gojira & I

Diversity, Communication & Culture



I’ve always had an interest in cultures that weren’t my own. Throughout the course of my degree and the older I get, the more opportunities I have to unpack and utilise this interest. My BA/BINTS double degree includes a Sociology major, Culture studies minor, Global Media and Communication major AND I’m attempting my Spanish minor too (after starting in Japanese [oh dear that was WAY too difficult] in my first year) – in other words, I’m interested in people, how and why we are the way we are, where we come from, and the difficult levels of how we communicate. This I know effects everything I do, and constructs my perspective of a lot of different things. This being my third year of University, I find my analysis of ‘every-day situations’, ability to critically think and engagement with academic thinking at an all time high.

Once you start analysing…

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Gojira (Godzilla)

Natasha West

During the first seminar of the semester for BCM320, we discussed the concept of auto-ethnography and were required to live tweet during a screening of the 1954 Japanese classic GojiraI will admit, watching a movie while trying to read subtitles and live tweeting all at the same time was a lot harder than I expected. However, the black and white classic film itself was an interesting experience that I enjoyed.

I have never seen Godzilla, or any adaptions of the film, so watching Gojira was a new experience for me, I even did some googling to understand more of the plot, this lead me to find an interesting fact on how Godzilla’s roar was created, it was not done by using animal noises but was created by music composer Akira Ifukube, by taking a string off of his contrabass and rubbing it with gloves soaked in pine tar. The…

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Week 1: Gojira (1954) – Cultural and Personal Framework

No Frills Neil

This week of Digital Asia, we screened the classic 1954 film ‘Gojira’, I exemplified my interaction and immersion of the film through live-tweeting, which is a means I have encountered before in BCM325. Although I have already experienced live-tweeting, I would definitely say I did struggle in both tweeting and understanding the film at the same time.

As a full Filipino-Australian, my experience with Asian media can be attributed from early childhood, from listening to Kpop, to watching Anime and Asian dramas and comedies. I would definitely say I am a fan of Asian media and culture, specifically mainstream Korean and Japanese media – music and films. However my knowledge of Asian war history is quite deplorable to say the least. So when we screened the film Gojira (1954) I was definitely excited, yet nervous as to how I could approach and tweet about the film. Although never have I ever…

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The Matrix’s Neo Turns Up In Gojira (1954)?

Welcome to the Machine

So here I am, head down, fingers flying in my first attempt at ‘live tweeting’. How was I doing? Pretty badly-I was thinking, trying to juggle English subtitles to the Japanese 1954 movie Gojira, whilst navigating the keypad on my Iphone tweeting at the same time as coming to grips with the strange soundtrack accompanying the movie and did I mention I was supposed to be making meaningful comments, ‘liking’ and retweeting? There was a brief moment when I contemplated just putting my phone down. Enough with the multi-tasking. Its a millennial skill anyway that I have not yet mastered. The movie was about twenty minutes in and I was…

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This one is definitely one I never thought I’d be writing. Let me set the scene for you:

I am on the floor of a dingy little motel in Ipswich, Queensland. Why am I on the floor you ask? The charger to my laptop doesn’t reach the supplied workspace and to my surprise, the turtle-paced internet provided by the institution hosts a better connection down here. Welcome to my wild Saturday night in. I was called last minute to head to sunny Queensland with a motorsport team I work for, which is why this blog post comes so profusely late and why it comes from these humble beginnings.

When I thought about studying communications at uni, this was hardly what I had in mind. Yet here we are, detailing my experience of the original Godzilla film. Oh, that’s right, what you’re actually here for; Gojira.

I recently started a subject ‘Digital Asia’, and I am delighted to be analysing my consumption of the original classic as my first task. If you aren’t familiar with the film, check here for what you need to know on the ’54 original.

I have never actually sat down to watch any of the Godzilla films in any way, shape or form, so this was a first for me. Although I have never seen any of the films completely or even partially, for that matter, I had an understanding of the construct of the film and the notion of the storyline. Big, prehistoric-looking monster traumatises cityscape and destroys civilian populations and landmarks.


Little did I know there were so many more layers to the dinosaur-reptile hybrid that tromped across the skyline. A monster with hidden depths? Tell me more.

I was fascinated to discover that take away the million dollar franchise and the corny special effects, beneath lies a tale detailing an entire populations’ fear of nuclear warfare, and a bleak future outlook for the world. The personification of current social concerns and atrocities in the form of an immense, nuclear beast fascinated me, and I was able to identify it through a marketing looking glass given my specialised knowledge in the area of social marketing. The personification of a negative action or activity is a common technique to help push social cause marketing efforts on the basis of developing particular emotions within the audience. There is a possibility I wouldn’t have been able to identify the effectiveness of this method if I had seen the film earlier in my childhood.

This, of course, wasn’t the first time I had seen a black and white film. Although I did come to the realisation that nearly all had been about caucasian lifestyles and glamorous women, clean-cut men and typically western ideals. I often felt a sense of shame, having not broadened my horizons earlier and ignorantly consuming exactly what Hollywood tells us we should. I doubt this embarrassment is something that the producers aimed at for a western audience. Then again, who could have predicted the concept would branch off into million-dollar remakes across the globe? Was the film ever intended to be seen by any Western eyes?

The final point of interest for me was watching my classmates, and myself, project our own current cultural references, interpreting the ’54 original though a 21st Century framework through our platforms, our memes and often also gifs. Our understanding of a digital asia, I presume, will come through our own learning processes in our online digital environment. Captured perfectly by our tutor Angus Baille:

That’s all for now, until next time.



BCM320 – Gojira (1954) – Response

Eliza Appel

Our first week back for the semester and a classic pop culture phenomenon to get us started! I have no personal experience with the Gojira (or Godzilla) franchise. I’d not seen any of the films, any adaptations or representations, however the icon and the story was well known to me. The power of pop culture!

Gojira (1954) directed by Ishirō Honda is a science fiction cult classic from Japan. The original version in all its black and white, subtitled version! Live tweeting is always a struggle with films you haven’t seen before as you are often trying to grasp the main elements of what you are watching whilst also being involved in the online discussion! I always prefer a subtitled version of a foreign show or film however, even if some things can be lost in the translation. I believe it seems more natural and more authentic as a viewer…

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