The new exhibit at the Morikami, which runs through October 17, is a throwback to a simpler, gentler time, when monsters came in the form of giant lizards or creatures from outer space that tore up cities with their giant feet and laser rays.
Kaijū! Monster Invasion! features more than 100 toy figurines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, inspired by Japanese tokusatsu films and TV shows. Remember Godzilla terrorizing the people, as they ran from his fire-breathing wrath? Before the days of 3D animation, CGI and other digital effects, it was a stuntman, in what was probably a really hot rubber suit, moving about on a miniature set. Back then, the special effects were called tokusatsu eiga, typically using an fx technique called sutsumeishon, or suitmation.
While my teenage sons might not be impressed by it, it seemed real enough and scary enough to me. (I was born in 1968; you do the math.)
The popularity of the show, which opened June 1, is already evidenced by the 100-plus hits the Morikami’s video garnered on YouTube in only three days. Visitors, bloggers and sci-fi lovers are appreciating the loveable charm of Kaijū! Monster Invasion!
I mean, seriously, who gets tired of toys? No matter the age or gender, everyone can relate to a good, plastic action figure ready to tear apart the city in your imagination. The show is actually part of one person’s extensive, private collection, so just consider it playtime with culture – over at the house of the friend who has the really good toy box.
To see Tom Gregersen, senior curator of the Morikami, explain the delightful allure of Kaijū! Monster Invasion!, click here.