Daigoro vs Goliath is a 1972 Japanese Kaiju movie that seems to target very young children, even younger than films like Son of Godzilla from 1967. Daigoro vs Goliath is a cutesy comedy with jokes that are punctuated by muted trumpets bleating out a cliche “Wah wah". There are lots of people getting caught in explosions and ending up with soot on their faces and smoke coming out of their hair. It’s your standard slapstick Jerry Lewis/Dick Van Dyke style of “humor".
That’s all fine and good, but there is something vaguely suspicious about the whole movie. To begin with, the title is strange. There is the obvious reference to the Bible story of David and Goliath, but Daigoro, the movie’s lead kaiju, looks an awful lot like Goliath the dog from the Lutheran propaganda cartoon Davey and Goliath.
Davey and Goliath came out in 1961. The showwas a saccharine and thoroughly creepy stop-motion nightmare provided to television stations free of charge by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It played sporadically for 20 years and even had a few holiday specials. The show trafficked in sickly sweet lessons conveyed by the plucky little Davey and his talking dog Goliath.
I still remember a particularly unnerving episode where Davey gets trapped in a freight car and the rhythmic clacking of the wheels on the tracks morphs into scratchy low voices chanting, “All alone, all alone, all alone.” Then Davey sees a church and the “All alone” voices are replaced with, “God is everywhere, God is everywhere, God is everywhere.” It’s terrifying. What is going to happen to poor Davey when he discovers masturbation? Maybe as Davey cowers under God's watchful eyes, he will remember The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s motto: “God’s Work. Our Hands.”
Maybe Daigoro vs Goliath is part of a covert plan hatched by the Lutherans to get their creepy hands on the youth of Japan? I can’t imagine it would be easy for Japanese kids to pronounce the word Lutheran, maybe Daigoro is easier. Maybe someone should call the UN.
While we are on hold, let's discuss the movie. Daigoro is an orphaned adolescent kaiju whose mother was killed by the Japanese military. Scientist/zookeeper Saito takes pity on the beast and tries to raise him on an island. Everything is fine, but Saito starts running out of money to buy food for Daigoro. He manages to build Daigoro a jumbo-sized outhouse, but then goes broke. Why a Kaiju that lived alone on an island needs an outhouse, I am not sure, but I provided a picture of it below. It’s sort of Bauhaus industrial chic.
Meanwhile, a wacky scientist/inventor, referred to in the film as “Uncle", is trying to make an invention that will earn him enough money to feed Daigoro. All of the scientist's inventions are failures and result in slapstick destruction. In a seemingly unrelated plot, there is also this big, loud, drunk guy who… I don’t really know what purpose his character serves, but I think he is supposed to be funny, which he is not.
An asteroid brings a big monster to Earth and the military does not want to shoot a nuclear missile at it because it would pollute the oceans, so they send Daigoro to fight him. Daigoro fails, but then gets something to eat, takes a rest, learns karate, and tries a second time. This time he is triumphant, which brings the movie to a close. That's it, that’s all, that’s the whole thing. Oh wait, did I mention it’s sort of a musical? It’s sort of a musical, with a few inspirational songs to cheer Daigoro on.
The film has a strong environmental message about how pollution is causing the air to thin, making it easier for kaiju-laden asteroids to land on Earth. I suppose if telling people that the Earth is warming doesn’t get them to change their ways, we could try telling them that the Kaiju are coming. If you can deny climate change or believe that the world is flat, why not believe Godzilla is real? Just tell them that NASA is trying to cover it up and they’ll believe it.
Daigoro vs Goliath was written and directed by Toshihiro Iijima, who is best known for making Ultraman movies. If you have to choose a film from Iijima’s filmography, skip Daigoro and watch either Ultraman (1966) or Ultraman Q (1966). You can’t go wrong with Ultraman. Forgive me, but I must now sing the Ultraman theme song, please sing along with me.
Ultraman, Ultraman! Here he comes from the sky!
Ultraman, Ultraman watch our hero fly!
In a super-jet, he comes from a billion miles away, from a distant planet land,
comes our hero Ultraman.
That has to be the second-best theme song ever written. First place goes to The Jeffersons.
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