The Mysterians (1957 film)

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Toho Kaiju Film
Chikyu Boeigun poster
The Mysterians
Directed by
Ishiro Honda
Produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by
Shigeru Kayama
Takeshi Kimura
Jojiro Okami
Music by

Akira Ifukube

Distributed by
Toho Company Ltd.JP
RKO Radio PicturesUS

Box Office
Running Time
88 minutesJP
(1 hour, 28 minutes)
85 minutesUS
(1 hour, 25 minutes)
Designs Used

The Mysterians (地球防衛軍,   Chikyū Bōeigun?, lit. Earth Defense Force) is a 1957 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.


Scientifically advanced wanderers from the destroyed planet Mysteroid request a patch of land on Earth and the right to marry earthling women. After a demonstration of their destructive abilities from the help of their giant robot Moguera, mankind must decide whether to capitulate or to resist. Predictably, the earthlings choose to resist. The Mysterians have giant burrowing dome/bases that can come up out of the earth and deploy death rays that emanate from the dome's crown and can melt tanks and jeeps as if they were plastic.

Miraculously, the earthlings develop their own death-ray equipped, agile rocket-aircraft, which enable them to blow up the domes.


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   Jōji 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



Weapons, Vehicles, and Races


Main article: The Mysterians (1957 film)/Gallery.


Main article: The Mysterians (1957 film soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • 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)

Theatrical Releases

International Distribution

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."

Video Releases

Toho (2001)

  • Released: 2001
  • Region: Region 2
  • Language: Japanese

Tokyo Shock (2005)[1]

  • 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

Toho (2007)[2]

  • 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

Toho (2010)[3]

  • Blu-Ray
  • 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.


This is a list of references for The Mysterians (1957 film). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]


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