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Ryusei Ningen Zon 18 / Ryusei Ningen Zon 19

episodes 18 & 19 / Zone Fighter - Command: Destroy the Japanese Islands / Zone Fighter - Order: Destroy the Earth with Comet K

Japan 1973
produced by
Kimihiko Eto, Shunji Takahasi, Yoshio Nishikawa, Tomoyuki Tanaka (executive) for Mannen-Sha, Toho/NTV (= Nippon Television Network)
directed by Ishiro Honda
starring Kazuya Aoyama, Kazumi Kitahara, Takashi Sato, Shoji Nakayama, Sachiko Kozuki, Shiro Amakusa, Hideaki Ohara, Munemaru Koda (voice), Kiyoshi Kobayashi (voice)
written by Yuji Amamiya, created by Susumu Takeuchi, music by Goh Misawa, special effects by Kichio Tabuchi

TV-series
Zone Fighter

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Professor Tanzawa has developed the new energy force PS-73 for the gouvernment, an energy force that has the advantage of not being radioactive - but then again it doesn't react well to sudden impact and will explode if exposed to magnetic fields. Of course, upon having tested PS-73, the gouvernment has it driven to a local radar station with just two guards, one of which turns out to be an evil alien Garoga - and of course, the Garoga feed their terror beast of the week Gandarguirus with PS-73 so it gets all mighty. Zone Fighter (Kazuya Aoyama) tries to stop Gandarguirus and lure it to outer space, but that's not easy. Sure, Gandarguirus plays a round of rock-paper-scissors (really) with Zone Fighter then lets itself be challenged to a fencing duel, but even though it loses both times, it refuses to pay up and leave earth, instead wrestles and defeats Zone Fighter and doesn't kill him only because he gets the Garoga command to spare him. So a monster with explosive powers is bad enough, but then a comet shows up with a enormous magnetic field, and it changes its direction to head for earth on a whim (well, actually it was redirected by the Garoga, but that's not found out until later), and so once the comet gets close enough to Gangarguirus, it will blow (at least) all of Japan to Kingdom Come. So Zone Fighter has no choice but to fight the terror beast again, but once again is wrestled to the ground. Zone Angel (Kazumi Kitahara) and Zone Junior (Takashi Sato) manage to save him by giving him a remote energy transfusion, but now Zone Fighter has to change strategy - and suggests a game of ring toss (again, really), which the monster gladly accepts - but Zone Fighter has suggested this only to come close enough to Gandarguirus, mutilate and kill it, then flying it to outer space to throw into the comet and change the comet's course - and earth is saved for another day!

 

Ok, this dougle-episode is certainly not perfect, it repeats too many special effects sequences too often, features a lot of Zone Angel and Zone Junior without giving them much to do to drive the narrative, so they're basically reduced to jump in and out of their space shuttle Smokey, and actually it's astounding how long the Zone Family takes to figure out yet another Garoga conspiracy that seems clear as rain.  On the other hand, the miniature set of the final fight, an abandoned mine, is pretty lovingly built, Gandarguirus looks pretty hilarious with its sabre teeth, its eyes on stilts its energy storage on its belly that looks totally like a glass bottle, and of course, Zone Fighter challenging the monster to a series of silly games is, well, sillly, but laugh-inducingly so. So pretty entertaining, if for all the wrong reasons.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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