Released in 1966 by Daiei Pictures, famous for releasing the Zatoichi series, The Daimajin Trilogy was their foray into the Kaiju (Giant Monster) genre and radically stands out as one of the genres shining moments. A mix between a Kaiju film and a Jidai-Geki (Period Film), The Daimajin Trilogy loosely follows a giant stone mountain god, that is summoned by a people oppressed by authoritative figures, whether they be a forgotten princess, poor villagers or young children. After the god has heeded the call, The Daimajin wrecks havoc to anything and everything in its way and disposes of the evil doers in a fitting way. Presented for the first time on Blu-Ray by Mill Creek Entertainment, The Daimajin Trilogy is a fantastic foray into the Kaiju genre and with the presentation that Mill Creek has presented on this disc, its a fantastic Blu-Ray that any Japanese cinephile should own.
Much like Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla, with the giant monster being a physical manifestation of nuclear destruction, the Daimajin films are just as thoughtful. With the setting being part of the Sengoku (Warring States) era of Japan, its fitting both in the context of the setting and the time of the actual release of the films, the radical 1960’s, that the giant mountain god is a representation of social injustice and upheaval. While each the films plot may seem repetitive, all of the situations and characters are different enough in each of the three films that present a balanced distinction between each film. The first film can be seen as a sort of revenge tale, the second (My Personal Favorite) shows a struggle with not only an oppressed people, but the lovers that will unite them and the third film shows the perspective of oppression through the eyes of children and the effects it has on the innocent.
The presentation that Mill Creek has placed on their Blu-Ray for The Daimajin Trilogy is astounding, especially with the video and extras included. The video is presented in a 1080p, AVC encoded video track, with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. All three films manage to retain solid grain structure, balanced colors and a visual presentation that seems fitting for these films. The audio comes in two DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo tracks, one in English and the other in the original Japanese. While both tracks are well rounded mixes, in terms of clarity, effects and presentation, I mostly stuck with the original Japanese track to experience all three films. All three films come with a behind the scene’s look with Cinematographer Fujio Morita, that covers more than just The Daimajin Trilogy, but his work with Daiei Studios as well. The insight contained within these interviews are some of the best I’ve ever seen, that give plenty of insight to the effects processes, VistaVision and plenty of other things that make these featurettes feel like an incredible film class. Each of the segments are about 30 minutes a piece and are worth anyone’s time, if they’re at all intrigued at the process of the making of these classic films and filmmaking in general.
With things like Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim and Gareth Edwards’ remake of Godzilla for Legendary Pictures around the corner, it would be wise to get a head start on the upcoming Kaiju craze and I can’t think of another place to start than with this trilogy. Filled with some incredible featurettes and a fantastic presentation, Mill Creek’s Daimajin Trilogy is something that no one should miss! Highly Recommended!