Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure (1969)

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Konto 55: The Great
Outer Space Adventure
See alternate titles
The Japanese poster for Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Producer Kikumaru Okuda, Ryoji Asai,
Tadahiro Teramoto
Written by James Miki
Music by Kenjiro Hirose
Special
effects by
Yoichi Manoda[1]
Production company Toho
Distributor Toho
Running time 72 minutes[2][3]
(1 hour, 12 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1[3]
Rate this film!
1.33
(3 votes)

A violent duo abducted into space! The Federation of Planet Pallad surprises with laughs and action!
(宇宙に誘拐されたモーレツ・コンビ!爆笑とアクションでびっくリかえるパラト星連邦!)
„ 

— Tagline

Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure (コント55号 宇宙大冒険,   Konto Gojūgo-gō: Uchū Daibōken) is a 1969 tokusatsu science fiction comedy film directed by Jun Fukuda and written by James Miki, with special effects by Yoichi Manoda. Produced by Toho, it is the company's fourth and final film to star Kinichi Hagimoto and Jiro Sakagami of the titular comedy duo Konto 55, and the only of the series to incorporate sci-fi elements. Other stars include Dankichi Tanku and Ganta Iwata of the companion group Konto 0, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, and Noriko Takahashi. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 20, 1969[a] as part of the winter Toho Champion Festival, alongside All Monsters Attack and the anime film Star of the Giants: Go, Go, Hyuma.[3]

Plot

In Bunkyū-era Kyoto, samurai Keima Sakamoto asks a geisha, Kogiku, for her hand in marriage, but is challenged to a duel for her love by Shinsengumi Kaku Serizawa. Before long, the men are broken up by a mysterious figure who informs them that Kogiku has decided to become a nun to escape the pain of their love triangle, and fled to a convent. The stranger leads them to this supposed convent, which is in fact an alien spacecraft that takes off into space with they and Kogiku onboard. Their captor introduces himself as Dogma, a visitor from the planet Pallad who intends to bring them back to his people to save them from the brink of extinction. However, because each day spent traveling through space is equivalent to roughly one year on Earth, he gives the trio "time pills" which slows their aging.

The group eventually make a landing on a Palladian energy station to refuel, but find that all of its personnel have been killed. The ground beneath Sakamoto and Serizawa gives way, and they fall into the subterranean throne room of Bluebeard, an alien who has conquered the station for himself. After freezing the men solid with a ray from his staff, Bluebeard's attention is turned to Kogiku, who descends into the room. Bluebeard insists that Kogiku become part of his "collection," but she challenges him to a strip game of rock paper scissors, and finds an opening to freeze him with his own staff. After Kogiku dethaws Sakamoto and Serizawa with her body heat, they stumble across a vault filled with women from across history who have been revived by Bluebeard and frozen in ice blocks. The men dethaw five of the most beautiful to take along with them on their journey: Yang Guifei of China, Cleopatra of Egypt, Joan of Arc of France, Marilyn Monroe of the United States, and Ono no Komachi of Japan. However, because Dogma does not have any further time pills for the new passengers, within hours they rapidly age, die, and decay into skeletons which are jettisoned into space.

After passing by an American satellite resembling a giant Coca-Cola bottle, the ship finally arrives on Pallad. A meeting is held by the government council of the Palladian Federation, in which it is explained that, because of the planet's eight centuries of total peace, its citizens have become apathetic and are no longer making advancements in education or technology. The Palladians intend to study Sakamoto, Serizawa, and Kogiku in order to relearn violence, and so trap them in a glass cell. However, because the trio do not display any violent or sexual urges during their stay, the government determines that they must not really be Earthlings, and rules to have Dogma put to death for deceiving them. Just before Dogma is to be beheaded, Sakamoto and Serizawa announce that they will display their true nature, and begin to stage a fight for the Palladian onlookers. Pleased, the government offers to provide them with any weapons or environments they so choose, in exchange for the winner getting to take Kogiku for himself. The pair challenge each other to various events, including a Mexican standoff, a boxing match, a game of chō-han, and a go-kart race. Their feud comes to an end when they crash their go-karts, fracturing their skulls and requiring emergency surgery. Though Pallad's doctors are able to patch them up without a hitch, they take it upon themselves to extract the very essence of the men's violent tendencies. The Palladians succeed in reproducing this violence, and condense it into a pill which is given to the masses. As a result, various conflicts break out across the globe, and the nation of Kireji Island secedes from the Palladian Federation and begins experimenting with nuclear weapons. In retaliation, the government rules to bomb Kireji with a nuke of their own.

Dogma informs Sakamoto and Serizawa, now completely tranquil, that the planet will be imminently destroyed. He rushes they and Kogiku back onto his ship, but pledges to stay behind and see the planet through to its end. The trio depart for Earth as a nuclear holocaust unfolds on Pallad, wiping out all life. When they arrive on Earth, now roughly 100 years in the future, two additional passengers step off of the ship: a son from both men, mothered by Kogiku. While making their way through Ginza, Sakamoto and Serizawa bump into a group of protesters who inform them that Earth is on the brink of nuclear war. Having seen firsthand the effects of nuclear weapons on Pallad, the men beg on the doorsteps of the U.S. and Soviet embassies, but are arrested. Unbothered, they play pat-a-cakes in their cell, and are promptly committed into a mental hospital. Standing in front of the asylum with her two sons, Kogiku wonders if there is a planet good enough to raise them on.

Staff

Main article: Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure/Credits.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Jun Fukuda
  • Written by   James Miki
  • Executive producers   Kikumaru Okuda, Tadahiro Teramoto, Ryoji Asai
  • Music by   Kenjiro Hirose
  • Cinematography by   Yuzuru Aizawa
  • Edited by   Fumiko Ohashi
  • Production design by   Shigekazu Ikuno
  • 1st assistant director   Masayoshi Nemoto
  • Director of special effects   Yoichi Manoda[1]
  • 1st assistant director of special effects   Takeharu Ikebuchi

Cast

Main article: Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure/Credits.

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

Appearances

Aliens

  • Palladians
    • Dogma
    • Dr. Dodome
  • Bluebeard

Weapons and vehicles

  • Palladian UFO
  • Palladian energy station
  • Kid's Meal satellite

Development

The Great Outer Space Adventure was intended to appeal to a wide range of ages, mixing science fiction with the comedic stylings of Konto 55, who had garnered popularity even among children.[5] According to the book Godzilla Toho Champion Festival Perfection, the film's inclusion on the first Champion Festival bill may have been an attempt at offsetting potentially low financial returns on All Monsters Attack, as pairings of kaiju and comedy films had proven popular during the Golden Age.[5]

Production

The film's special effects were directed by Yoichi Manoda, who otherwise worked as a cameraman on movies like Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and Destroy All Monsters.[1]

The climax makes use of stock footage from various prior Toho movies including The Last War, Dogora, The Crazy Adventure, and Latitude Zero.[2][3]

Gallery

Main article: Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure/Gallery.

Alternate titles

  • Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure (alternate translation, used on Toho Kingdom)
  • Konto 55: Space Adventure (alternate translation, used by Showa Video)
  • Konto 55: The Great Space Adventure (alternate translation)

Video releases

Toho DVD (2006)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Tsutomu Sekine
  • Notes: Also available in a box set with the other Konto 55 films. Re-released in 2014 for the Toho DVD Cinema Fanclub.

While Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure is unavailable officially in the West, a fansub has been released on Blu-ray by Showa Video.

Trivia

  • The Great Outer Space Adventure was preceded by three other Konto 55 films, all but the first of which were also directed by Jun Fukuda. These are:
    • Konto 55: The Weakness of the Century (コント55号 世紀の大弱点,   Konto Gojūgo-gō: Seiki no Daijakuten), released November 2, 1968
    • Konto 55: The Weakness of Humanity (コント55号 人類の大弱点,   Konto Gojūgo-gō: Jinrui no Daijakuten), released August 13, 1969
    • Konto 55: I Am the Grandson of the Grandson of a Ninja (コント55号 俺は忍者の孫の孫,   Konto Gojūgo-gō: Ore wa Ninja no Mago no Mago), released October 10, 1969
  • The writer-director duo of James Miki and Jun Fukuda would be reunited for two episodes of International Television Films' Monkey (TV 1978-1980).
  • Close to a decade after The Great Outer Space Adventure, in 1978, James Miki would reuse the name of the Pallad aliens for a sci-fi segment in Pink Lady's Motion Picture.
  • Midori Uchiyama, who has a bit part in this movie as a pedestrian, voiced Minilla in the Toho Champion Festival co-feature All Monsters Attack.
  • While Sakamoto and Serizawa are playing chō-han, a tattoo of a firebreathing monster resembling Godzilla is shown on the former's back.
  • When Dogma asks his ship's computer to foretell Kogiku's future lover, it responds with Yuzo Kayama, the star of Toho's long-running Young Guy film series.

External links

Notes

  1. Some sources list the date of the film and/or its accompanying festival as December 10.[3][4]

References

This is a list of references for Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

Bibliography

  • Kawakita, Koichi; Sugita, Hiroki; Toya, Koichi; Kamatsu, Tadashi; Sasaki, Yu, eds. (1 January 1990). Encyclopedia of Godzilla. Gakken.
  • Nakamura, Satoshi (1997). "Konto 55: The Great Outer Space Adventure". Japanese SFX and Fantasy Movies. Keibunsha. ISBN 4-7669-2706-0.
  • Nakamura, Satoshi; Shiraishi, Masahiko; Aita, Tetsuo; Tomoi, Taketo; Shimazaki, Jun; Maruyama, Takeshi; Shimizu, Toshifumi; Hayakawa, Masaru (29 November 2014). Godzilla Toho Champion Festival Perfection. Kadokawa. ISBN 978-4-04-866999-3.
  • "Toho Special Effects Film Productions List". Complete History of Toho Special Effects Films. Supervised by Tomoyuki Tanaka. Toho. 10 December 1983. ISBN 4-924609-00-5.CS1 maint: others (link)

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