Giant cockroaches from a dying Earth-like planet in the Space Hunter Nebula M plot to colonize the Earth and destroy all cities to make it more "peaceful" (peace and technology being the themes of this film). They inhabit the bodies of recently deceased humans, thus resembling them, and work as the staff of the Japan branch of the peace-themed theme park World Children's Land (based in Switzerland), the centerpiece being the Godzilla-shaped "Godzilla Tower". The plan of the Nebula M aliens is to use the space monsters King Ghidorah and Gigan (guided by two "Action Signal Tapes") to wipe out civilization. A cartoonist named Gengo Kotaka stumbles onto their plan after being hired as a concept artist for them. When Gengo and his friends play one of the incomprehensible Action Signal Tapes (which he obtained by accident) on their tape player, only Godzilla and Anguirus hear it from afar and catch on to this evil plot as well. Godzilla sends Anguirus to the source of the sound to make sure nothing's wrong, but once Anguirus arrives at Tokyo Bay, the Japanese military, having no clue on the monster's intentions, drives him away. Anguirus goes back to Monster Island, and Godzilla then follows him back to the city. Both monsters try to save the Earth from King Ghidorah and Gigan, though the Nebula M aliens plan to lure Godzilla into a shocking fatal trap via placing an extremely powerful laser cannon inside the Godzilla Tower's mouth and firing it at Godzilla. Once the tower is destroyed by the main human characters, Godzilla and Anguirus drive Gigan and King Ghidorah into a retreat back into space and saved the world.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
In 1977, Cinema Shares released an edited cut of the international version of Godzilla vs. Gigan in North America. This version was re-titled Godzilla on Monster Island despite the fact that about a minute of the film actually takes place on Monster Island.
Very few edits were made, although Cinema Shares made several cuts to obtain a G-rating from the MPAA:
The title card reads "GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND" and the laser beam effect from the Japanese credits sequence is gone.
Gengo calls his girlfriend "a hard bitch" under his breath. Cinema Shares muted the entire soundtrack when the word "bitch" is muttered.
Two scenes of Godzilla bleeding from Gigan's attacks are trimmed. Gigan also cuts Anguirus in his snout with his abdominal saw, which is also edited out. However, the scenes afterwards, despite having Godzilla and Anguirus covered in blood from their wounds, were unchanged.
While Godzilla and Anguirus swim away at the end of the movie, Godzilla turns and blasts the camera with his radioactive breath, lifted from the opening of the film. The energy beam fills the camera, over which the words "THE END" are superimposed.
Another change in the English version was a scene where Godzilla and Anguirus talked. In the original version, speech bubbles pop out of their mouths, but in the English version, the speech bubbles are removed.
Godzilla On Monster Island was frequently shown in television syndication throughout the 80's, and it aired several times on The Sci-Fi Channel before being replaced by the widescreen international version in 2002. In 1988, New World Pictures picked up the home video rights to Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. Toho provided New World Video with prints of the international versions, now titled Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, respectively. The dubbing was the same, but both films were now restored to their full length. These versions were subsequently re-released on video in 1992 by Starmaker Video, in 1997 by Anchor Bay and in 2004 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The Sony DVDs feature newly remastered prints of Toho's original international versions.
When Godzilla vs. Gigan was released to Japanese theaters on March 12, 1972, it received an attendance of 1,780,000.
This movie is often criticized due to its slow pacing, heavy use of stock footage, and an inconsistent tone. Many fans though enjoy the monster tag team battles, stock use of Akira Ifukube's music, introduction of Gigan and the return of King Ghidorah and Anguirus.
The music used in this film was entirely stock music from previous Godzilla and other kaiju films.
This was Haruo Nakajima's final time playing Godzilla, a role he had played since 1954.
Gigan is the first monster to make Godzilla bleed. The previous Godzilla special effects director, Eiji Tsuburaya, had been extremely opposed to having the monsters bleed in the films, as he did not wish for the series' younger viewers to see such graphic images. After Tsuburaya's death, Taruyoshi Nakano took over as the head of the special effects department, and many of the Godzilla films he worked on, including Godzilla vs. Gigan, included scenes of monster bloodshed.
This is the second time Anguirus bleeds. The first time is when he fights Godzilla back in 1955 which was his first appearance and the third is when he fights MechaGodzilla in 1974.
Due to the slashed budget for this film, special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano used stock footage from previous Godzilla films (as well as some other Toho sci-fi films) for many of the special effects sequences. Clips from the Godzilla films Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Hedorah, as well as Rodan and War of the Gargantuas, can be seen in this film.
Godzilla: Somethin' funny's going on, you better check! *Motions his left arm forward*
Anguirus: Oh, yeah! *crawls away*
Scene Two *Godzilla and Anguirus swimming towards Japan*
Godzilla: Hey, Anguirus, come on! There's a lot of trouble ahead. *points his hand forward in a straight direction* That way!
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