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Monster Seafood Wars: Fantasia 2020 Review

Monster Seafood Wars: Fantasia 2020 Review

Mutated marine animals that are not turtles, ninjas, nor underage minors have evolved into a gigantic threat known as Kaiju (Monsters) and have taken over one of the hottest tourist spots in Tokyo, Japan! The deadly aquatic trio of Takolla (The octopus kaiju), Ikalla (The squid Kaiju), and Kanilla (The crab kaiju), make their way into Tokyo like drunk humans disguised in wacky inflatable suits. Wreaking havoc and breaking apart the city while stumbling everywhere as if they are trying to find their balance. Each close-up of glistening, whip-like tentacle swiping about and smacking each other made me recall memories from my Japanese High school student years, so I knew exactly where this was heading!

To the ultimate destruction of Tokyo! What would any respectful, civilized society with decent universal healthcare benefits do?! If you can’t beat them or join them…why not eat them? (Duh!) Who else better to handle a national emergency than the Seafood Monster Attack Team? SMAT is there to offer their high-tech equipment like vinegar infused cannon guns, along with their expert teamwork!

Fantasia Film Festival has delivered a feast to see by presenting Monster Seafood Wars. Directed and written by Minoru Kawasaki, this film was a pleasure of mine to review as Kaiju-loving foodie. Both having grown up in Japan around the Godzilla craze, while always having an appetite bigger than Godzilla himself, watching this was nostalgic. Seeing the long credits playing from the beginning like how they used to do with old films was fun to see it done well again. Details like the trails of smoke effects leaving the Kaiju’s body after every attack shot was exactly like how it was when Kamen rider and Ultra man fought Kaiju. 

This wonderful comedy filled with non-stop food appreciation hilarity, and Kaiju related parody will keep many entertained throughout the film. Also, very hungry. The food tasting scenes are highly recommended not to watch on an empty stomach, as the dialogue is so deeply thought out and written in such an appealing manner, it’s like hearing a sommelier explain wine tasting, or watching a group of experienced food critics speak while trying not to foodgasm from oral pleasure.

As a foodie, it was entertaining to see how they imitated common Japanese food channels, while depicting stereotyped food show critics in a humorous way. I was most impressed that they even managed to throw in a shady hidden menu restaurant scene which isn’t uncommon practice in Japan. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) 

Of course, this may not be a film for everyone. Especially for those who are vegan, or those who cannot stomach some low budget effects. Monster Seafood Wars pays homage to the classic style of old Godzilla movies and Ultraman shows from my youth. If one has not been exposed to these cultural references, I can see how it may quickly turn boring. The film attempts to handle serious topics such as ending world hunger, which seems touching at first, but it is a just an excuse to have giant sea monsters decimate Tokyo. Character development takes a back burner and relies on a harmful Japanese cultural stereotype: the misogynistic male lead. The lack of chemistry between the male lead and his romantic interest trivialized the plot. Other than that, this is one of the films that is a guilty pleasure to watch. One of those it is so bad, it is so good films. 


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