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Chikyu Boeigun, or Earth Defense Force. Known in the US as The Mysterians.
From behind the moon they came...
To invade Earth...
Abduct its women...
And level its cities!
~Tagline from the American theatrical poster and the back of the Media Blasters US DVD.
The Mysterians is a 1957 alien invasion film from Toho, directed by Ishiro Honda, with music by Akira Ifukube, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, and was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. If these names sound familiar, that's because these four men are the four fathers of Godzilla and are collectively known as the Toho dream team. The film stars Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kochi, Takashi Shimura, Susumu Fujita, Tetsu Nakamura, and Yoshio Tsuchiya.
The Mysterians is the first tokusatsu film to be released in Toho Scope and was the first Toho film to use Perspecta stereophonic sound. The movie also introduced Moguera, who would later be featured in Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla.
This film contains examples of the following:
- Alien Invasion: Played with. At first, it certainly seems like an invasion, but then later the Mysterians explain that they only want a small piece of land to live on, as well as some women to marry, since their history of nuclear war has left them with some truly horiffic genetic problems. However, it soon becomes apparent during the later part of the movie that, OF COURSE, it is in fact an invasion.
- Cool Airship: The Alpha and Beta class aerial warships.
- Death Ray: Would you like the hand-held ones, the ones fired by Moguera's eyes, the big one fired by the Mysterian dome, or the Markalite FAHP? There are plenty to go around.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Mysterians have one, and they plan on expanding it.
- Executive Meddling: Ishiro Honda originally wanted to make the film without a giant monster, but Tomoyuki Tanaka insisted that there be one. Thus, the Moguera was born. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.
- Eye Beams: Moguera has them.
- Face Heel Turn: Ryoichi Shiraishi (played by Akihiko Hirata), sort of. He initially sides with the Mysterians because of their advanced technology and out of sympathy for their situation, not even disagreeing with their kidnapping of his own sister and his ex-fiancee. He even makes some private television appearances to his friends, attempting to get them to cooperate with the Mysterians. They only want a place to live...at first.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Averted. The Moguera is practically immune to most weaponry, but being a machine, it still succombs to physical damage when it falls into a ravine, and the second Moguera is destroyed by the very Markalite FAHP that it was tunneling under when it falls ontop of it.
- Heel Face Turn: Ryoichi Shiraishi, again. After the Mysterian Leader, played by Yoshio Tsuchiya, reveals his plans to take over all of Japan, Shiraishi changes sides, and helps Atsumi (Played by Kenji Sahara) rescue the dozens of women that the Mysterians have abducted, including his own ex-fiancee and his sister, which leads to...
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ryoichi Shiraishi destroys the Mysterians' base from the inside, but at the cost of his own life.
- Human Aliens: The Mysterians.
- Immune to Bullets: Being made of metal, the Moguera qualifies. It is not, however, immune to falling over, or having other things fall ontop of it. The Mysterians' dome also seems to be immune to bullets, but not to heat or temperature-based weapons.
- Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition: While not billed as such, and certainly not when compared to collector's editions of other films, the US DVD from Media Blasters might as well be called it, since it has so many special features, including five audio tracks, one of which is a Japanese audio commentary with optional English subtitles, trailers, image galleries, and an anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film. Back when the DVD was released, seeing so many features on a US DVD of a Toho film was almost unheard of, with the exception of ADV's DVD releases of the Heisei Gamera Trilogy.
- We Come in Peace: Subverted. The Mysterians use this as a ploy, saying that they were attacked first, although this is blatantly untrue. They do manage to sway Shiraishi to their side with this ploy, but everyone else is unconvinced. Near the end of the film, the Mysterians drop the whole act and reveal their true intentions.