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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

robot family monkey robot space giants

I've taken to calling the baby "the monkey robot" (pictured at left) and whenever I say "the monkey robot" I have in mind "Space Giants" which was a Japanese live action adaptation of an anime/comic series in the 70s that I used to watch after school. It was about a robot family from space ( Goldar Silvar Gam and Rodak) who were super heroes.

Goldar was giant and gold. The others were no less remarkable.

I also usually imagine "what if we were that family?" They lived in a volcano on an island.

I think two things about this:

1. Monkey robot is an inherently funny phrase because both words "monkey" and "robot" are funny sounding. I believe there is a scene in the genius movie King of Comedy where DeNiro discuses funny sounding words with a kidnapped Jerry Lewis, but I can't find the reference on the internet.

2. As a kid we all liked Godzilla and Ultraman and Gamiron (the flying turtle), and we never thought too much about it. Come to find out, the original Godzilla was a cathartic response to nuclear attack. The Japanese have a relationship with Godzilla, it (she?) isn't just a faceless monster.

Taking a step back to Space Giants we see a similar deep statement being made on structure of the family. The largest robot is Goldar. He is gold and has a thick mane. The mother is so much smaller than Goldar that I always wondered about the mechanics of their coming together to produce children. The physics don't favor Goldar.
Robot sex aside, the family unit is strictly and explicitly structured. The children are afforded a great deal of freedom to act as heroes. But when real trouble comes their way, Dad is always there to resolve the issue.

Space Giants was the sort of anti-feminist propaganda which would have been warmly welcomed in late 60's and early 70's Japan (and probably even today).
Space Giants in some way represents the logical procession from the "other" that Godzilla represented to a post-MACARTHUR Japan on the upswing.

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