Monster Seafood Wars (2020)

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Monster Seafood Wars
The Japanese poster for Monster Seafood Wars
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Three Monsters Gourmet (2020)
See alternate titles
Directed by Minoru Kawasaki
Producer(s) Hiroyuki Fujita, Akinobu Goto,
Wataru Suzuki, Takafumi Ohashi,
Minoru Kawasaki, Minoru Iwabuchi, et al.
Written by Minoru Kawasaki (story, screenplay),
Masakazu Migita (screenplay),
Eiji Tsuburaya (original story)[1]
Music by Kogi Asaka
Production company Monster Seafood Wars Production Committee (executive), Rivertop
Distributor Pal Entertainments[2]
Rating GJP[2]
Budget ¥20 million[3]
Running time 84 minutes[2]
(1 hour, 24 minutes)
Aspect ratio 16:9
Rate this film!
1.00
(4 votes)

You'd be a baka uma to eat these monsters!! (この怪獣、食べたらバカウマ!!)
Squid, octopus, and crab monsters turn National Stadium into a seafood bowl!!
(イカ・タコ・カニ怪獣で国立競技場を海鮮丼にせよ!!)
„ 

— Japanese tagline

They are filled with tasty meat!
„ 

— English tagline

Monster Seafood Wars (三大怪獣グルメ,   San Daikaijū Gurume, lit. Three Monsters Gourmet) is a tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Dentsu, Takeshobo, Pal Entertainments, Mobacon, Rivertop, and JVCKenwood Victor Entertainment. Loosely based on a film director Minoru Kawasaki made as a student[3] and a story featuring a giant octopus proposed by Eiji Tsuburaya prior to Godzilla,[1] it was released to Japanese theaters on June 6, 2020, becoming the first kaiju film of the new decade. Its international premiere took place at the virtual Fantasia Festival on August 20, 2020.[4] SRS Cinema released it on Blu-ray and VHS in North America in April 2021.[5]

Plot[edit | edit source]

A television special on a disaster three years prior interviews Commander Hibiki, formerly of SMAT, at National Stadium, and the chief priest of Namiyoke Shrine in Tokyo. The priest discusses the yearly offerings of Yuta Tanuma, the son of a sushi bar owner, which set the disaster into motion. Most of the rest of the film is an extended flashback, shot traditionally, with interviews from the special interspersed.

Yuta encounters a neighbor while biking to the shrine and explains that his offerings are an octopus, a squid, and a crab. A passerby then knocks him off his bike, and he finds all three animals missing from his basket. The octopus and squid emerge transformed into giant monsters and begin battling each other. The Prime Minister authorizes a missile attack with helicopters, but it proves ineffective. As the government scrambles to learn the monsters' origins, Yuta’s former employer, the Institute of Super Physical and Chemical Research (ISPCR), names him as the one responsible, due to his development of a drug called Setap Z which causes dramatic growth in animals.

Yuta visits his friend Shohei Niimi, founder of Niimi Kitchenware, whose headquarters houses an enormous bust of a chef on the roof. Niimi, playing Street Fighter V while blindfolded, also concludes that he made the monsters. While entertained by the destruction, he warns Yuta that he should expect to be arrested. Yuta responds that someone else stole the animals and Setap Z prior to the monsters emerging. Niimi abruptly changes the subject to Nana Hoshiyama, a former classmate of theirs now working for the Defense Ministry, who he believes Yuta had a crush on. He also teases his near-completion of the “world’s strongest thing”, which is awaiting a final test of its rockets.

The police call Yuta in for questioning, and he is visited by Hibiki, recently named the leader of the Seafood Monster Attack Team (SMAT), and Nana at the station. She explains to Hibiki that Yuta has been obsessed with monsters since childhood. Hibiki asks him how to reverse the effects of Setap Z, but the ISPCR seized all of his research and he believes that the thief, who he finally names as his rival Shinjiro Hikoma, modified his invention. Hibiki recruits Nana to join SMAT, and Yuta convinces him to let him help as well.

The government officially designates the octopus monster as Takolla and the squid monster as Ikalla. At SMAT headquarters, Yuta proposes engineering a fight between the two monsters and helping Takora win. SMAT would then capture the tired victor in a giant octopus trap pot. Hikoma, who has joined SMAT as a technical advisor, scoffs at the plan. Instead, he calls for a rice vinegar cannon which will extract salt from their bodies, which Hibiki approves, then asks Nana to dinner in front of Yuta.

Hikoma and Nana’s date is going well until she receives a call that Takolla and Ikalla are attacking the Keihin Industrial Zone. SMAT’s Vinegar Shooters, mounted on two Jeeps, stun both monsters, but a third suddenly appears: Yuta’s crab, now grown into Kanilla. It cuts off two tentacles apiece from Takolla and Ikalla, shrugs off the Vinegar Shooters, and destroys both Jeeps with its swinging claws, though all four SMAT members fall clear of the explosions. Hibiki tries to convince Yuta and Hikoma to combine their intellects to defeat the monsters, but their hatred of each other is too strong. SMAT is soon distracted by Takolla and Ikalla’s severed tentacles, which are safe to eat and impossibly delicious. Yuta explains to Nana that the intended purpose of Setap Z is to end world hunger, not make monsters, but immediately ruins the moment by quipping that she’ll get fat from eating too much monster meat.

Dishes prepared from the three monsters become a national obsession. Nana has a chance encounter with Niimi, who reveals that his invention is a giant robot, but explains it in too esoteric a way for her to understand. He also tries to explain that Yuta has a crush on her, but she walks away. She meets Hikoma at the same restaurant for another date, but seems less interested in him. This time, Yuta interrupts to berate them for enjoying monster meat when the destructive creatures are still at large and accuses Hikoma of creating them. However, his only proof is a picture of the coat in Hikoma’s locker, which matches that worn by the passerby who knocked him over. Hikoma makes a bet with him that whoever defeats the monsters can date Nana, which she finds ridiculous. Nana follows Yuta out of the restaurant, but he calls her a slut for dating Hikoma instead of admitting his feelings for her, and they depart furious with each other.

The next plan Yuta puts in front of SMAT is Operation Seafood Bowl: luring the monsters inside National Stadium, currently the site of the World Food Expo, to make them easier targets. Hikoma refuses to allow SMAT to use the Vinegar Shooters at first, but Nana convinces him otherwise. Hibiki allows Yuta to join SMAT for the operation. Yuta modifies the composition of the rice vinegar to be more effective, while Hikoma develops a new rocket launcher to pierce Kanilla’s shell.

Hikoma falls off a ladder while trying to clean the air conditioning filter and on top of Nana; Yuta overhears and attacks him, thinking he’s assaulting her. Nana explains the situation as Hikoma storms off, vowing revenge. All three monsters soon make landfall, with SMAT successfully luring them to the stadium with the Vinegar Shooters. Kanilla is unfazed by Hikoma’s rocket launchers, retaliating with a barrage of fireballs. Suddenly, the stadium’s sprinkler system comes to life, revitalizing Takolla and Ikalla. Nana and Yuta discover that Hikoma is the saboteur as Niimi arrives, offering the use of his giant robot, Jumbo Cook, to destroy the monsters. The Niimi Kitchenware building separates to reveal that its chef statue is really the robot’s head. Powered by salt-and-pepper rockets, Jumbo Cook flies into battle.

Hikoma rages against Yuta for overshadowing him, although it was he who perfected Setap Z, made the monsters, and designed the Vinegar Shooters. Jumbo Cook touches down in the stadium and begins to rout the monsters, but Hikoma hacks its controls as Takolla and Ikalla constrict it. Kanilla cuts off its right arm, which seemingly crushes Hikoma. Undaunted, Niimi activates the giant Japanese Knife Sword hidden in the remainder of the arm. A warning light flashes red on its chest, indicating that the machine is almost out of gas. Niimi finishes the fight blindfolded, using Jumbo Cook’s jets to spin its body and kill all three monsters with the sword.

National Stadium becomes a seafood bowl filled with the monsters’ remains. Three years later, Setap Z has spread through the Japanese ecosystem, mutating mosquitoes and the farm animals they bite. With the mosquitoes a particular threat, it remains in development. Yuta, Nana, and Niimi visit Namiyoke Shrine once more to deliver a lobster, a sea urchin, and two globefish. A masked acolyte receives them, explaining that the chief priest is ill. He walks inside the shrine, where the priest is tied up, and reveals himself as Hikoma, laughing maniacally.

Staff[edit | edit source]

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

  • Directed by   Minoru Kawasaki
  • Written by   Masakazu Migita, Minoru Kawasaki
  • Based on a story by   Eiji Tsuburaya[1]
  • Executive producers   Hiroyuki Fujita, Akinobu Goto, Wataru Suzuki, Takafumi Ohashi, Minoru Kawasaki, Minoru Iwabuchi
  • Produced by   Minoru Kawasaki, Shinichi Saguma
  • Music by   Kogi Asaka
  • Cinematography by   Makoto Matsuo
  • Edited by   Yuta Kawasaki
  • 1st assistant director   Shingo Amamiya
  • Director of special effects   Minoru Kawasaki
  • Visual effects by   Kentaro Hitomi, Yuta Kawasaki
  • 1st assistant director of special effects   Yuichi Takayanagi

Cast[edit | edit source]

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

  • Keisuke Ueda   as   Yuta Tanuma
  • Ayano Yoshida Christie   as   Nana Hoshiyama
  • Yuya Asato   as   Shinjiro Hikoma
  • Shojiro Yokoi   as   Shohei Nimi
  • Reon Kurosaki   as   Kishida
  • Gota Ihashi   as   Yamanaka
  • Satoshi Kobayashi   as   Deputy Captain Koda
  • Hikomaro   as   Gourmet reporter
  • Paradise Yamamoto   as   Gyoza shop owner
  • Ukulele Eiji   as   Drunk
  • Kei Grant, Asato Izumi   as   Gyoza shop customers
  • HEY! TakuChan   as   Oni Soba Fujiya owner
  • Tomotaka Imamichi   as   Guitarist
  • Yuichi Nango   as   Shigeo Nagashima
  • Yasuhiro Takeda   as   Ibuki Gengoro
  • KoreKore   as   Ingredients-stealing YouTuber
  • Terumi Yoshida   as   Radio star
  • Hide Fukumoto   as   Prime Minister Ube
  • Tenshin Yamamoto   as   Chief Cabinet Secretary
  • Toru Muranishi   as   Chef Nobuhiro Yamashita
  • Eiichi Kikuchi   as   Minoru Hotta
  • Masami Horiuchi   as   Dr. Junichiro Iwamura
  • Ryo Kinomoto   as   Commander Hibiki
  • Masayuki Kusumi
  • Yuichi Okada   as   Takolla
  • Ryu Hariken   as   Ikalla
  • Yuya Sumikawa   as   Kanilla
  • Hiroyuki Taniguchi   as   Jumbo Cook

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Weapons, vehicles, and organizations[edit | edit source]

  • Seafood Monster Attack Team
  • Vinegar Shooter
  • Willys M38A1
  • JSDF attack helicopters (mentioned)

Development[edit | edit source]

Monster Seafood Wars was inspired by an 8mm film Minoru Kawasaki made as a student called Fut, in which "the tofu, meat, and green onion ingredients for sukiyaki were dropped into the Sumida River and turned into giant monsters, and they [were] destroyed on a baseball field."[6] Eiji Tsuburaya's pre-Godzilla proposal for a giant octopus film was also an influence.[1]

Production[edit | edit source]

Principal photography of Monster Seafood Wars took place in September 2019, while filming of special effects sequences began that October.[1]

Marketing[edit | edit source]

SciFi Japan published a preview of Monster Seafood Wars in September 2019, including concept art, an abbreviated cast and crew list, the influence of Eiji Tsuburaya on the project, and an English synopsis:

Yuta, a young master at the Tsukiji Fish Market, accidentally drops his meal of mixed seafood into the Sumida River. Some time afterwards a gigantic mutated squid monster arises from the depths and begins to wreak havoc upon an awe-stricken Tokyo. Attempts by the Japan Self-Defense Forces to stop the creature prove futile. As it seems things couldn’t get any worse an enormous mutant octopus monster emerges from the deep and heads into a clash of the titans with the gargantuan squid! As a last ditch effort, the government forms the “Seafood Monster Attack Team (SMAT)” and an all-new plan of attack is immediately put into action. But just as the tide appears to be turning in humanity’s favor, a colossal crab monster appears, joining in the Monster Seafood Wars and plunging the world into culinary chaos…

A poster and complete cast list were revealed on March 12, 2020,[7] followed by a trailer on March 15.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: Monster Seafood Wars/Gallery.

Alternate titles[edit | edit source]

  • Three Monsters Gourmet (literal Japanese title; alternate English title)[8]
  • Monster Gourmet (alternate English title)
  • Monster Cuisine (alternate English title)[1]
  • Monster SeaFood Wars

Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]

Video releases[edit | edit source]

Takeshobo Blu-ray + DVD (2020)[9]

  • Region: A (Blu-ray) and 2 (DVD)
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Blu-ray: Audio commentary by Minoru Kawasaki, Keisuke Ueda, and Ayano Yoshida Christie; behind-the-scenes featurette (10-15 minutes); and trailer. DVD: Additional behind-the-scenes featurette (length unknown) and stage greetings (approximately 60 minutes). An acrylic stand is also included.

Takeshobo DVD (2020)[10]

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Unknown

SRS Cinema VHS (2021)[5]

  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English

SRS Cinema Blu-ray (2021)[5]

SRS Cinema DVD (2021)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Unknown

Manga adaptation[edit | edit source]

Main article: Monster Seafood Wars (manga).

On September 30, 2019, a Monster Seafood Wars web comic illustrated by Nobuyuki Hori began being released through Web Comic Gamma. It concluded on April 20, 2020, after eight "episodes."

The full run was collected in paperback by Takeshobo on May 22, 2020, though all of the episode titles were changed.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Japanese Monster Seafood Wars trailer
English Monster Seafood Wars teaser

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Seafood Monster Attack Team is likely named after the Monster Attack Team from Return of Ultraman, though the former is spelled in katakana rather than kanji.
  • Monster Seafood Wars may serve as an homage to the 1970 film Space Amoeba, as it features giant squid and crab monsters similar to Gezora and Ganimes. Promotional art for the film even seems to reference Space Amoeba's Japanese theatrical poster, with Ikara flipping Kanira over his head, similar to the poses made by Gezora and Kamoebas. In addition, Matt Frank's cover art for the SRS Cinema Monster Seafood Wars Blu-ray recalls the U.S. Yog, Monster from Space poster.
  • In one concept illustration, the Seafood Monsters' appearances are based directly off anthropomorphic animal characters from two of director Minoru Kawasaki's previous films, The Calamari Wrestler (2004)[11] and Kani Goalkeeper (2006)[12].
  • The Takolla creature suit will be reused in Den Ace Q, an upcoming film based on Minoru Kawasaki's titular Ultraman parody.
  • Setap Z is reminiscent of Setupp X, which allowed humans to become kaiju-sized in the 2016 Minoru Kawasaki film Kaiju Mono.
  • Hide Fukumoto also portrayed the Prime Minister of Japan in Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. Both characters are parodies of Shinzo Abe.
  • One of the SMAT Jeeps has a drawing of Kilroy on its side.
  • The decorations at the restaurant where Yamanaka works on the side include a poster for the 1958 tokusatsu film Moonlight Mask - Duel to the Death in Dangerous Waters.
  • The film's English tagline references the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the "Gamera March".

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Monster Seafood Wars. 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 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Aiken, Keith (16 September 2019). MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS — First Look at Upcoming Kaiju Movie. SciFi Japan.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Monster Seafood Wars: Work Information. Eiga.com. Retrieved on 12 June 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chaffins, Benjamin (2020). MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS Interview With Director Minoru Kawasaki. SciFi Japan.
  4. Fantasia Festival | Monster Seafood Wars
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 SRS Cinema Acquires North American Rights to MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS. SciFi Japan (23 December 2020).
  6. Chaffins, Benjamin. MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS Interview With Director Minoru Kawasaki. SciFi Japan. Retrieved on 8 January 2022.
  7. SciFi Japan (12 March 2020). Poster and Full Cast Revealed For Minoru Kawasaki’s MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS http://scifijapan.com/articles/2020/.... Twitter. Retrieved on 8 January 2022.
  8. @smat_member (5 September 2019). ついに「#三大怪獣グルメ(仮題)」🦑🐙🦀の情報解禁となりました!河崎実監督と主演の植田圭輔さんから意気込みコメントが届いてます。そしてなんと!本作のグルメ監修に久住先生という豪華タッグ🍣。これから公開まで情報発信していくので、どうぞよろしくお願い致します。https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20190905-.... Twitter.
  9. 三大怪獣グルメ Blu-ray 限定豪華版. Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved on 18 November 2020.
  10. 三大怪獣グルメ 【DVD】. Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved on 18 November 2020.
  11. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428662/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_19
  12. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1076820/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_15

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