Magic Serpent (1966)

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Magic Serpent
The Japanese poster for Magic Serpent
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Great Mystic Dragon Battle (1966)
See alternate titles
Directed by Tetsuya Yamanouchi
Written by Masaru Igami
Music by Toshiaki Tsushima
Production company Toei Kyoto Studio
Distributor ToeiJP, AITVUS[1]
Running time 86 minutesJP
(1 hour, 26 minutes)
84 minutesUS
(1 hour, 24 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1JP
1.33:1US TV
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Magic Serpent (怪竜大決戦,   Kairyū Daikessen, lit. "Great Mystic Dragon Battle") is a 1966 tokusatsu fantasy kaiju film directed by Tetsuya Yamanouchi and written by Masaru Igami based on the Japanese folktale "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya." Produced by Toei's Kyoto Studio, it stars Hiroki Matsukata, Tomoko Ogawa, and Ryutaro Otomo. Toei released it to Japanese theaters on December 21, 1966 and it was brought to American television syndication via American International Television in 1970.[1]


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

  • Directed by   Tetsuya Yamanouchi
  • Written by   Masaru Igami
  • Planned by   Shigeru Okada, Takesuke Shinkai
  • Music by   Toshiaki Tsushima
  • Theme song performed by   Young Fresh
    • Lyrics by   Masaru Igami
    • Composed by   Toshiaki Tsushima
  • Cinematography by   Motoya Washio
  • Edited by   Tadao Kanda
  • Production design by   Seiji Yada
  • First assistant director   Yuji Makiguchi
  • Special effects photographers   Shigeru Akatsuka, Kunio Kunisada
  • First assistant director of special effects   Akiyasu Tawarazaka


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

  • Hiroki Matsukata   as   Ikazuchimaru Ogata, aka Jiraiya
  • Tomoko Ogawa   as   Tsunade
  • Ryutaro Otomo   as   Orochimaru
  • Bin Amatsu   as   Daijo Yuki
  • Nobuo Kaneko   as   Dojin Gama
  • Izumi Hara   as   Spider Woman
  • Kensaku Hara   as   Zenbei
  • Yumi Suzumura   as   Osaki
  • Takao Iwamura   as   Koshirota
  • Toshio Chiba   as   Momobe
  • Daizen Shishido   as   Ikkansai
  • Kenji Kusumoto   as   Jihei
  • Kuniomi Kitani   as   Donen
  • Michimaro Otabe   as   Honai
  • Masataka Iwao   as   Kido
  • Shinichiro Hayashi   as   Samanosuke Ogata
  • Chiyo Okada   as   Kureha
  • Akira Shioji
  • Mitsukazu Kawamura
  • Katsuki Chikamatsu
  • Masatoshi Oya, Seizo Fukumoto   as   ninja

International English dub

  • Ted Thomas   as   Ikazuchimaru Ogata
  • Linda Masson   as   Koshirota
  • Michael Kaye

Titan Productions English dub

  • Earl Hammond   as   Orochimaru
  • Lucy Martin   as   Tsunade
  • Bernard Grant   as   Daijo Yuki
  • Bret Morrison   as   Zenbei / Momobei / Ikkansai / Samanosuke Ogata
  • William Kiehl   as   Jihei / Donen / Kido / ninja



  • Giant Toad
  • Giant Dragon
  • Giant Eagle
  • Giant Spider


Main article: Magic Serpent/Gallery.

U.S. release

Magic Serpent was released directly to television syndication in the United States by American International Television in 1970. Despite the existence of an English dub commissioned by Toei, AITV had the film dubbed at Titan Productions, where voice actor Bret Morrison both directed and gave voice to several supporting characters. AITV's version of the film is uncut, save for the opening credits: in Toei's version, the credits play over a montage of Jiraiya's training throughout his adolescence, while AITV editors Emil and Eli Haviv shortened the credits and used a montage of still shots of the Giant Dragon as a backdrop. The song "Forward, Jiraiya!" was also replaced by instrumental music from elsewhere in the film. Additionally, all of the monsters' roars were replaced with those of existing monsters: the Giant Toad uses Rodan's roar, the Giant Dragon uses both Godzilla and Gaira's roars, the Giant Eagle uses Mothra's chirp, and the Giant Spider uses Kiyla's roar.

Shout! Factory will release Magic Serpent to Blu-ray on February 27, 2024, as part of a set of seven Toei films titled Classic Tokusatsu Collection. Retitled Dragon Showdown, it will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles.[2] The company made the film available on its streaming service, Shout! Factory TV, earlier in the month.

Alternate titles

  • Great Mystic Dragon Battle (literal Japanese title)
  • The Magic Serpent (U.S. DVD title)
  • Dragon Showdown (U.S. streaming and Blu-ray title)
  • Grand Duel in Magic (international English title)
  • Grand Duel of Ninjas (Singapore English title)
  • Monsters of the Apocalypse (Les Monstres de L'Apocalypse; French theatrical title)
  • Ninja Apocalypse (French video title)

Video releases

Retromedia/Image Entertainment DVD (2004)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0, Titan Productions dub)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Cropped to 1.33:1. Packaged with Return of the Giant Monsters. Retromedia added sound effects to the film to justify the copyrighting of this "special edition."

Toei Video DVD (2004)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (1.0)
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer, textless trailer

Shout! Factory Blu-ray (February 27, 2024) [Classic Tokusatsu Collection][2]


Clip from the international
English dub of Magic Serpent
Comparison of the two
English dubs of Magic Serpent


  • Fragments of an international English dub for Magic Serpent appear on the film's French theatrical dub. The complete dub remains undiscovered.
  • Toei reused the Giant Toad and Giant Dragon suits for their 1967 TV show Masked Ninja Akakage, although the former lost its nasal horn.[3]
  • Promotional artwork featuring the Giant Toad would later be reused and heavily altered by Yamapro to become the Pachimon monster Shirako.
  • Magic Serpent was loosely remade in 1970 as Young Flying Hero (小飛侠, Xiao Fei Xia), a Taiwanese martial arts fantasy that also features a giant toad and a dragon as a major set piece.[4]

External links


This is a list of references for Magic Serpent. 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]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Craig, Rob (2019). American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 243, 429. ISBN 9781476666310.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Classic Tokusatsu Collection + Exclusive Poster". Shout! Factory. 12 February 2024.
  3. Dragon and Toad Are (Not) Friends.jpg
  4. Tarkas, Tars (22 July 2009). "Young Flying Hero (Review)". TarsTarkas.NET.


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