Welcome In!

Eighteen Serious Questions Raised By The Tetsujin 28 Movie

Home | Toys | Video | Comics & Books | Games | Observations | About

In 2004, Yasuhiro Imagawa directs a remake of Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Tetsujin 28, thus bringing the world some well-done classic mecha and a regenesis of Kenji Murasame for the Giant Robo fandom. In 2007, Imagawa returns with Tetsujin 28: The Lingering Midday Moon, and it's so stupid and rushed that even he dislikes it.
 
I was able to get the movie's Hong Kong DVD version, but it was a year before Blue Fixer subtitled the whole thing. Blue Fixer was able to unsheath a whole septic tank of true problems with this movie. It contains so much pointless drama, violence and arguments that the first time I watched it, I thought I was on Tumblr. Showing this movie to cosplay glompers will make them realize that anime has destroyed their lives.
 
Once again, like my Eighteen Questions Raised By Giant Robo piece, this is bound to contain a lot of spoilers. But unlike Eighteen Questions, I'll probably make no effort to conceal these...me telling you what happens in Midday Moon is like telling you botulized food will turn your internal organs into a sewage treatment plant. It's what you expected, and it's not like there'll be an exception.

 
 
1. What's the deal with Shotaro and Shotaro?
 
This bath scene was going to have its own question, but I dropped it because it would be in all-caps.
 
It's not that hard when you're typing in Japanese to figure out which Shotaro you mean, as Kid Shotaro's name is in three kanji and Manchild Shotaro's name is in katakana. But if you want to speak in Japanese, speak in English, type in English, or speak and type in any other language, be prepared to tack on another three or four words to explain which Shotaro you want. Imagawa has done so many bizarre things with his characters that I'm surprised one of the Shotaros didn't turn out to be a robot and get a gratuitous ass shot.
 
 
Wait, shit, never mind. He got those in.
 
 
2. How come so much crap was jammed in?
 
You can laugh now, but your plot line will be unceremoniously dumped, too.
 
If I had to design a Tetsujin movie, it would contain all three Murasame Brothers, Shotaro and his "dads", Takamizawa, Dr. Bigfire, Monster and Black Ox. You're done. Make it simple and a fan-pleaser. On the other hand, I can't name a single person who found Velanade compelling enough to have him do next to shit in this movie. Hell, Dr. Bigfire shows up in prison, gets freed from prison, and then dies.
 
Let me sum the film up as much as I can...Shotaro has another brother who can pilot better than him. There are giant bombs that only kill buildings buried throughout town. The Murasames are rocking the party all over the place, but giant robots are appearing all over the place. There's a man with a sword trying to kill Shotaro while the robots are blowing each other up, and then the sword man turns out to be Shotaro's mom, but then a giant Tetsujin shows up. If this makes sense to you, you are a boy in sixth grade, and you should go back to playing Roblox.
 
 
3. Did Imagawa know the animation was occasionally this bad?
 
 
Look at this abomination. That's what animals with rabies see before they die.
 
 
4. Is the whole Murasame gang immortal in this version?
 
Ryusaku Murasame, getting up twenty hours after being shot in the chest.
 
About halfway through the movie, Ryu gets legitimately shot in the ribs, and is seen sometime after unconscious where he fell down. Near the end, he reappears flying a plane with absolute gusto, and the hole in his chest is gone.
 
Kenji and Takamizawa, sometime after Ryu gets shot, drive behind a shed, and a hideous explosion and stream of smoke come from the direction they went off in. But at the very end, we see them completely well and on Kenji's motorcycle in the background. Is the Murasame clan the star of some anime edition of Tuck Everlasting? Did Kenji manage to get it on with Takamizawa somehow, and she gained immortality through that? Or did he just shield her from the impact? I should not be speculating this much.
 
 
5. Why is Manchild Shotaro the biggest damn Gary Stu I've ever seen?
 
Of course he built his own control box.
 
So, he appears out of nowhere in a rushed prologue, and his whole family is dead after he went through a complex and dark past. He's described as being a better pilot than Ryu and a better controller than Shotaro, and everybody either likes him or wants to fight him. Takamizawa, a committed shotacon, suddenly finds him handsome. But he believes he is too good to exist and starts a fight over something he believes was his fault, and then finds himself in a melodramatic situation before dying an over-the-top death.
 
Back when I had no subtitles and only the Hong Kong edition, I thought he was a shy, clumsy guy who just wanted his family back. When a friend pointed out how he seemed to be great at everything he did, that was it. I just fed this son of a bitch into the Mary Sue Litmus Test, and he got Über-Sue. Two more traits and he would be Irredeemable-Sue.
 
 
6. What's the drinking song even about?
 
 
It sounds pretty, and it's easy to get it stuck in your head, but it's a pleasant kind of loop. But when you look at the subtitles, it turns out to be about two drunken morons who haven't seen each other in a long time: 
 
I don't resent what's happened in the past
Even the wind bites at these old scars
It's been a while, Otomi-san
Now they call me Cut-Up Yosa
I guess that makes us even, Otomi-san
 
It could just be a classic Japanese drinking song chosen by Imagawa to reflect on Big Shotaro and Ryu's relationship, but the fact that this song is about some guy who got his skin fucked up doing something - while his friend got messed up similarily - adds an unnecessary level of ambient creepy to the party scene, which is a shame because it's the best scene.
 
 
7. What the hell is up with everything about Tsukie?
 
I don't even have a joke. This is depressing as hell.
 
So Mantaro goes to his old apartment house and finds an old lady named Tsukie Kayano whom reminds him of his mom. She lets him stay at the apartments as a tenant and assistant, but near the end we find out she really was his mom. She simply told him that she wasn't his biological mother because she believed he was destined to have died a kamikaze pilot, and the fact that he's still alive proves him a failure. I know a lot of old Japanese people back in the day believed this about their kamizaze dropout children, but what in the fuck?
 
Also, Tsukie was obligated by a lawyer to kill Economy-Size Shotaro so Plus-Size Shotaro could own Tetsujin, according to Dr. Kaneda's will. Aside from that being a horrible way to manage property, Tsukie decides to dress up as a man and murder some bitches, but she thinks of Mini-Shotaro too closely to her real son.
 
Somehow she survives getting shot in the chest, and at the hospital, it turns out her memory was violently affected by it. She sits there, happily waiting for her son to return from the war...but at this point in the story he's just flown himself into the sky and blown himself up with a giant robot coated in six hundred bombs. And there she happily waits, senile, not even remembering she rejected him to his face. It's one of the most morbid and cruellest endings for a character I've witnessed yet.
 
 
8. Is Imagawa trying to tell us that Ryu and Manchild Shotaro slept together?
 
Just look at this Freudian bullshit.
 
Imagawa is not a subtle man. When he wanted us to know Chief Chujo was giving Professor Go regular prostate massages, he had them flirt outrageously in the second Ginrei Special, and strategically posed them in the lever-pulling scene in the last episode. Now, when Ryu and Not-A-Shota Shotaro meet each other for the first time in twelve years, they immediately clasp hands. Ryu has a banana with him and eats it so boldly that I'd almost expect him to follow up with a series of winks. When they look at each other, you can practically hear Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You" in the background.
 
Plus, there's whatever the hell is going on up there. Ryu spends most of the movie lounging around topless, like some sort of rugged half-bear, and during the party scene you get some pretty glorious shots of his crotch. Imagawa is trying to tell us something, and that something involves balls-on-balls action.
 
 
9. Does Takamizawa really need to be a shotacon?
 
"And by 'strange', I mean 'she watches me pee'."
 
Unlike Japan and maybe half of Europe, most of us find the idea of a 23-year-old woman trying to kiss a little boy totally repulsive. Takamizawa was a ditzy, semi-competent secretary in the TV series, but her appearance here had the start of a great regenesis. She's bold. She dresses normally. If Kenji tries to make a move on her, she'll kick his face in (literally, during the party scene). She's actually pretty capable when it comes to stealth and theft. But, she totally wants to ride a little boy.
 
It's supposed to be played as a gag, since a 10 in Japan is a 14 in North America, but it makes me feel dirtier than being hugged by a greasy obese man. Otaka-chan would be a great female lead if she wasn't a pedophile.
 
 
10. Where did Professor Kaneda get the time to build Daitetsujin?
 
No, it's not Tetsujin in a popcorn chicken costume.
 
Look at this motherfucker. Tetsujin is small enough to be half its index finger. And consider how it was buried beneath downtown Tokyo. He had only Big Shotaro to help him out in his lab, so how could this even happen?!
 
Stormekh on Tumblr pointed this out, along with the question of why this thing needed to exist. The characters usually say that this invention insanity was caused by the war, but if you find yourself putting together a robot that has missile acne, lives underground, and is two hundred times the size of your other robot, you have a cocaine problem.
 
 
11. Was Imagawa hinting something with Big Shotaro and Chloroform, too?
 
"So I see you're...looking for help."
 
Shotarogue is camped out on an island, looking like Ishikawa Goemon XIII, when a group of American surveyors find the island. A bit of exposition is thrown over the scene when the two see each other, both posing suggestively, and if I've learned anything from Imagaywa, a creepy rapist smile is exactly what it looks like.
 
dude pls go
 
 
12. Speaking of Chloroform, why must he be named that?
 
KUROROHUOMU-SAN
 
Imagawa isn't at fault for this, as he was following the original manga's names, but that was made during an era in Japan where it was acceptable to give American characters names like "Smith", "Johnson", or random words that sounded cool. Chloroform is a chemical that knocks a person unconscious upon inhalation, which may have had something to do with Shotarogue and Chloroform's past.
 
I find Imagawa's decision to keep Chloroform's name strange, since this is the man who found reasonable English names like "Alberto" and "Ivan". But I guess when the character looks like a whacked-out Saiyan, anything goes.
 
 
13. How can everybody withstand being shot, stabbed, or hit so easily?
 
Not even Shotaro knows, and this little trooper just took a bullet to the arm.
 
Tsukie gets shot and is able to deliver five minutes of exposition. Shotaro gets shot, and while his arm is bloody for the rest of the movie, he never seems wounded. Ryu gets shot in the stomach, and gets up after a refreshing nap. Shotaro is thrown out of a moving car onto a paved road, and he only bounces. Big Shotaro gets a katana in the middle of the back of his hand, and is somehow able to use it for a few minutes afterwards. And, there are countless instances of someone perfectly shooting a gun out of someone's hand.
 
It really seems like an unreasonable change from the TV series, where Ryu died simply from being inside a truck that hit something. For other examples, Tatsu got crushed by Tetsujin's hand, Bigfire got swarmed by Black Ox clones, Velanade got stepped on by Tetsujin a la Monty Python...all of these outlandishly insane deaths. Has surviving bizarre accidents in their past lives made everyone in this universe invincible to simple bullets and concussions?
 
 
14. Do Shikishima and Otsuka even serve a purpose in this movie?
 
 
These were extremely important men in the TV series, but here, all they do is stand around and state the obvious. (i.e. "It's flying towards us!" or "That looks bad!") Look at them; even they are embarrassed to be here.
 
 
15. Imagawa just wanted to make a movie about the Murasame Gang, didn't he?
 
It'll be too hard to explain why they're dressed like they're from Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin".
 
It's been a notorious fact on Japanese fansites that Imagawa had the hots for Ryu, and he tailor-made Takamizawa to be entertaining and a bit of his perfect girl. He's also got a lot of respect for Kenji ever since the Giant Robo days. Any scene with these three in it usually gets the best animation and writing, and you can tell he's really inspired by them.
 
Imagawa, bro...do this. Make a Murasame Gang OVA. You could also probably do a tie-in brand of tissues for all the ecstatic man jelly that would be shed. Everybody loves the Murasame Gang! But if you did this, please, let Tatsu come along too.
 
 
16. Damn, what happened to Tokyo at the end?
 
 
Like, holy assbread, people used to live and work in those buildings. They probably had pets or important personal belongings. Both Shotaros are the biggest dickwads in town.
 
 
17. How does Ryu become 30% hotter when his hair gets loosened up a bit?
 
 
I know it's part of Imagawa's master plan to enhance his husbando to perfection.
 
 
18. Why doesn't anybody but Kenji point out to Takamizawa that her behaviour towards Shotaro is inappropriate?
 
YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, OTAKACHAN
 
Earlier in the movie, we see she has a framed photo of Kid Shotaro in her apartment that she blows a kiss at every morning. She watches him work through binoculars. It's implied through flashback that Takamizawa has openly stalked him. She literally jumps on a clearly-uncomfortable Shotaro when she sees him at the party, threatening to "never let [him] go", and has a fantasy of what a date with him would be like. Kenji has ingested enough alcohol that his stoicalness has worn down, and it's clear that he really loves Takamizawa and wants her to knock it off. Ryu's solution? Set Kenji up with prostitutes.
 
Kenji attempts to beat Shotaro in a dice game over his woman, but Shotaro pulls out in disgust, making Takamizawa cry. While Kenji is barely able to contain his rage, Shotaro asks for help from Big Shotaro, who says, "Men who make women cry are headed straight to hell. Still, your future will be something to look forward to. Keep it up!" Ryu also tells the kid to "have fun", so it's clear that the two oldest men in the room don't give a crap if the little boy gets molested, certainly not if it's a female-on-male attack. Ah, Japan...
 
To be fair, though, Takamizawa is having her share of frustration trying to force Kenji from parking his drunk ass in her lap, so nobody has a healthy relationship in this movie. The closest is maybe Ryu and Grande Shotaro, but one likes eating phallic bananas and the other exploded.
 
In short, this was a weird, weird ass movie.
 
 
 
CLICK ON THIS GUT-WRENCHINGLY BRUTAL YET POINTLESS SCENE TO GO BACK TO THE MAIN PAGE
 

All written material here is ©2007-2011 Fauna Crawford, along with any images identified as such. All other copyrights belong to their respective owners and creators. Permission is required to use any original material from this site.