The Mysterians (地球防衛軍?, lit. Earth Defense Force) is a Chikyū Bōeigun1957 tokusatsu kaiju film created by Toho Company Ltd. It was released to Japanese theaters on December 28, 1957 and to American theaters on May 15, 1959.
The films starts with Astrophysicist Ryoichi Shiraishi, his fiancee Hiroko, his sister Etsuko, and his friend Joji Atsumi witnessing a festival at a local village near Mount Fuji. Shiraishi then tells Atsumi that he has broken off his engagement with Hiroko but gives no reason other than an undisclosed obligation to remain in the village. A mysterious forest fire is then seen near them. Shiraishi rushes out to investigate and disappears during the confusion.
The next day, Atsumi is at the local observatory, where he meets the head astronomer, Tanjiro Adachi. He hands the doctor a report written by Shiraishi. The report concerns a newly-discovered asteroid that Shiraishi theorized was once a planet between Mars and Jupiter. He has named it Mysteroid. However, Adachi does not believe in his radical theory and also points out that the report is not complete.
Meanwhile, the village in which Shiraishi was staying is completely wiped out by a massive earthquake. While investigating the area, Atsumi and a group of police officers stumble upon a giant robot, Moguera. The robot then advances on a town near Koyama Bridge that night, and is met by heavy resistance from Japan's self-defense force. However, the conventional artillery and other weapons has no effect on the war machine, and the automaton continues its rampage until it tries to cross the Koyama Bridge, which is detonated sending the machine crashing down to the ground below, destroying it.
At the Diet Building, Atsumi briefs officials on what has been learned about the robot. The remains of the giant machine reveal that it was manufactured out of an unknown chemical compound. Shortly afterwards, astronomers witness activity in outer space around the moon. They alert the world to this discovery, and not long after the aliens emerge, their gigantic dome breaking through the Earth's crust near Mount Fuji.
A group of scientists are politely ushered into the dome, where the Mysterians, a scientifically advanced alien race, list their demands from the people of Earth: a two-mile radius strip of land and the right to marry women on Earth. The reason for this is that 100,000 years ago their planet Mysteriod, the once fifth planet from the sun, was destroyed by a nuclear war. Fortunately, some Mysterians were able to escape to Mars before their planet was rendered uninhabitable. However, due to the nuclear war, Stronium-90 has left 80 percent of the aliens' population deformed and crippled. The proposed interbreeding with women on Earth would produce healthier offspring and keep their race alive. The latter part of their demands is downplayed as they admit to already taking three women captive and reveal two others that they are interested in, one of which is Etsuko.
Japan quickly dismisses this request and begins the mobilization of its armed forces around Mount Fuji. It's also discovered that the missing Shiraishi has sided with the advance race due to their technological achievements. Japan wastes no time, though, and quickly launches a full-scale attack against the Mysterians' dome. However, the modern weaponry is no match for their technology, and Japan's forces are easily fought back.
Distraught by this setback, Japan sends their plea to other nations that they might join together to remove the threat of the Mysterians from Earth. The nations around the world answer the plea, and in no time issue another raid against the Mysterians' dome, this time utilizing the newly developed Alpha and Beta class airships. Sadly, this attack meets failure as well.
The Mysterians then increase their demand, asking for a 75-mile radius of land, as the Earth continues to develop a new method of attack. Earth's efforts in this matter pay off as the Markalite FAHP (Flying Atomic Heat Projector), a gigantic lens that can reflect the Mysterians’ weaponry, is designed. Meanwhile, the Mysterians kidnap Etsuko and Hiroko, causing Atsumi to search for, and locate, a back entrance to the Mysterians' dome.
In the meantime, the Markalite FAHP's are deployed by large Markalite GYRO rockets and the final battle against the Mysterians' base of operations commences. During the battle, one of FHAP was destroyed by flashing floods and another FAHP was destroyed by second Moguera which burrowed next to it, causing the cannon to fall on top of Moguera, destroying the robot. As Atsumi, later joined by Shirashi who sacrifices himself in a final attack on the Mysterians after learning of their true ambitions, attacks the base from the inside, the Markalite FAHP's assault the base from above ground. Together, the structure is finally destroyed, the kidnapped women are rescued, and the Mysterians expelled from Earth forever..
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Written by Shigeru Kayama, Takeshi Kimura, and Jojiro Okami
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Stock Music by Hector Berlioz and Edvard Grieg
- Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
- Edited by Koichi Iwashita
- Production Design by Teruaki Abe and Akira Watanabe
- Assistant Directing by Koji Kajita
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Kenji Sahara as Joji Atsumi
- Yumi Shirakawa as Etsuko Shiraishi
- Momoko Kōchi as Hiroko Iwamoto
- Akihiko Hirata as Ryōichi Shiraishi
- Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kenjirō Adachi
- Susumu Fujita as General Morita
- Hisaya Itō as Captain Seki
- Yoshio Kosugi as Commander Sugimoto
- Fuyuki Murakami as Dr. Nobu Kawanami
- Tetsu Nakamura as Dr. Kōda
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Mysterian Leader
- Main article: The Mysterians (1957 film)/Gallery.
- Main article: The Mysterians (1957 film soundtrack).
- Earth Defense Force (地球防衛軍; Japan)
- The Barbarians Invade Earth (Los bárbaros invaden la Tierra; Argentina, Os Bárbaros Invadem a Terra; Brazil)
- Space Beasts (Weltraum-Bestien; Austria, Germany)
- Prisoners of the Martians (Prisonnières des Martiens; France)
- Mars vs Earth (Άρης εναντίον Γης; Greece)
- Invasion of the Moon (Εισβολή από τη Σελήνη; Greece)
- Flying Saucers Hit Earth (Ιπτάμενοι δίσκοι χτυπούν τη Γη; Greece)
- The Unknown (De ukjente; Norway)
- Earth is Under Attack (Jorden angripes; Norway, Jorden anfalles; Sweden)
- Mysterious Strangers (Tajemniczy przybysze; Poland)
- Space Monsters (Monstros do Espaço; Portugal)
- Phantom 7000 (Germany)
- Japan - December 28, 1957
- United States - May 15, 1959; July 1, 1959 (Re-Release)
- Norway - 1960
- West Germany - February 5, 1960
- Denmark - March 2, 1961
A November 1, 1957 report states that Southeast Asian distribution rights to The Mysterians were sold to Shaw & Sons of Hong Kong for the highest amount paid for a Japanese film of that time. Rights to other parts of the world were sold for a record price for a Japanese film to Topaz Film Corp. in February of 1958. Lobby cards for the 1959 U.S. release of The Mysterians film were released to the U.S. in May of 1959.
In July, The New York Times called the film, "an ear-splitting Japanese-made fantasy, photographed in runny color and dubbed English," and concluded with, "This Metro release is crammed with routine footage of death rays and scrambling civilians, not one of whom can act. Tomoyuki Tanaka produced the mess and Ishiro Honda directed it. Peter Riethof and Carlos Montalban are responsible for the 'English version,' and may it spread no further linguistically."
- Released: 2001
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Released: March 1, 2005
- Region: Region 1
- Language: English, Japanese
- Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Surround Sound
- Other Details: 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 85 minutes run time, 1 disc, American version
- Released: February 23, 2007
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen
- Other Details: 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 88 minutes run time, 1 disc
- Released: March 19, 2010
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese (LPCM Mono), Japanese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Remix)
- Format: Blu-Ray
- Other Details: 2.35:1, 88 minutes run time, 1 disc
- The Mysterians is notable for being the first tokusatsu filmed in TohoScope and the first Toho film to use Perspecta stereophonic sound.
- It is also known for its use of color, in particular its heavy use of day-for-night shots and bright alien costumes.
- In Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, special effects director Koichi Kawakita redesigned the giant robot Moguera into an anti-Godzilla mecha for the later film, called "M.O.G.U.E.R.A." (Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aerotype).
- The Earth Defense Force is also featured in Godzilla: Final Wars.
- Moguera's inclusion was a last minute idea as producer Tomoyuki Tanaka felt the film needed a monster.
- Moguera was originally conceptualized as a living breathing monster, however director Ishiro Honda reworked it into being a robot as a way to further demonstrate the technological power the Mysterians possessed.
- Moguera's original concept can still be seen in story board stills, which depicted him as a half mole half reptilian monster. Though the design was never used, some key details were later used in the monster Baragon for the film Frankenstein vs. Baragon. Most notably was the monsters burrowing ability, heat ray, and a ridged back.
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