War of the Gargantuas (フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ?, lit. Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira) is a Furankenshutain no Kaijū: Sanda tai Gaira1966 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd. and a loose sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World. It was released to Japanese theaters on July 31, 1966.
One night, a fishing vessel in the waters off of Japan finds itself under attack by a Giant Octopus. The creature wraps its tentacles around the ship and crushes it until a giant green monster appears from underwater and attacks it. The giant overpowers the Giant Octopus and throws the creature into the water, prompting it to retreat. Gaira then destroys the ship himself and devours the helpless crew. Authorities find the sole survivor from the attack, and during questioning, he claims that the ship was attacked by "Frankenstein." In Kyoto, Dr. Paul Stewart and his assistants, Drs. Akemi Togawa and Yuzo Majida become concerned that the monster that attacked the ship might be none other than the baby Frankenstein spawn they raised at their laboratory five years ago before he escaped back to the mountains. Akemi asserts their Frankenstein wasn't capable of committing such violence since he was gentle. Dr. Stewart says that their Frankenstein would never attack nor eat people; he wouldn't live in the ocean, and he probably died after escaping. The three scientists set out to find evidence.
Meanwhile, Frankenstein attacks another boat, and villagers see him off the coast. At the same time, a mountain guide reports seeing Frankenstein in the Japanese Alps. Dr. Majida collects tissue samples at the fishing village while Dr. Stewart and Akemi investigate the mountains and find giant footprints in the snow. Then Frankenstein comes ashore at Haneda Airport and terrorizes the citizens there. The giant smashes the airport terminals, steps on planes, and devours a helpless woman. However, when the sun appears through the clouds, the green Frankenstein runs back into the ocean. Stewart, Akemi, and Majida go to Tokyo for a meeting with the J.S.D.F. to discuss how to kill the monster, and Dr. Majida reveals the green Frankenstein's weakness to light. While continuing his rampage, the green Frankenstein briefly appears in Tokyo but gets driven away by everyone turning the lights on.
The J.S.D.F. quickly develops a plan to stop the creature with a new space-age weapon dubbed the "Maser Cannon." When Frankenstein retreats to the forest one night, the J.S.D.F. ambushes the beast with their Maser Cannons and blasts him with countless volts of concentrated electricity. The army almost kills the green Frankenstein. But then another one, bigger and brown-colored, appears and comes to his aid. The brown Frankenstein waves J.S.D.F. forces off and carries the green one off to his mountain home, and Akemi and Dr. Stewart conclude the brown Frankenstein is the one they know. After this, the army names the two Frankensteins to tell them apart: the green one "Gaira" and the brown one "Sanda." After collecting and analyzing tissue samples from both monsters, Dr. Stewart theorizes that Gaira must be an offshoot of Sanda, created when Sanda escaped from the lab; the currents carried a piece of his tissue to the ocean, where it lived off the protein-rich plankton. However, while Sanda's gentle nature is due to being lovingly raised by humans, Gaira grew up underwater in a hostile environment and became a vicious man-eater.
During a hiking trip, Stewart, Akemi, and several hikers encounter Gaira. As they're running away, Akemi falls off a ledge, but Sanda comes and saves her in time, breaking his leg in the process. Dr. Stewart and Akemi try to convince the military that they should spare Sanda and only kill Gaira, but the J.S.D.F. disregards their pleas, unwilling to risk letting either monster live. When Sanda finds Gaira again, Sanda makes a horrific discovery and sees chewed clothes beside the green monster, realizing that his "brother" had eaten people. Now knowing his brother is a threat to humanity, Sanda attacks Gaira. Gaira escapes with Sanda in pursuit and heads towards Tokyo, no longer driven away by the lights as they alert him to the presence of food. The scientists continue advocating for Sanda's life. They argue against the use of artillery fire against the Frankensteins; otherwise, their cells will spread and multiply, but the J.S.D.F. decides to stay with its plan to destroy both monsters.
During the evacuation of Tokyo, Akemi and Stewart try to save Sanda but run into Gaira instead. When Sanda arrives, he stops Gaira from eating Akemi, and Stewart carries her to safety. Sanda pleads with his brother to leave and avoid fighting, but Gaira doesn't listen and attacks him. Despite Dr. Stewart failing to convince the army to give Sanda time to defeat Gaira, the J.S.D.F. helps Sanda fight. The two Frankensteins battle through Tokyo, and eventually, their war spills out into Tokyo Bay. While the Frankensteins battle out at sea, the army drops bombs around them. An underwater volcano suddenly erupts, causing molten magma flows to consume both Sanda and Gaira; the Frankenstein brothers disappear in the eruption smoke while still locked in combat. Sadly, Dr. Majida tells Akemi and Dr. Stewart that nobody can confirm Sanda and Gaira's deaths, but the eruption likely both monsters. Sanda's sacrifice wasn't in vain; however, as he ensured that humanity would forever be safe from Gaira's reign of terror.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Written by Reuben Bercovitch, Takeshi Kimura, Ishiro Honda
- Produced by Reuben Bercovitch, Henry Saperstein, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Kenichiro Tsunoda
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
- Edited by Ryohei Fujii
- Production design by Takeo Kita, Yasuyuki Inoue
- Assistant directing by Koji Kajita
- Special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, Teruyoshi Nakano
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Russ Tamblyn as Dr. Paul Stewart
- Kumi Mizuno as Akemi Togawa
- Kenji Sahara as Dr. Yuzo Majida
- Nobuo Nakamura as Dr. Kita
- Jun Tazaki as General Masami Shinzo
- Hisaya Ito as Police Chief
- Yoshifumi Tajima as Police Officer
- Kipp Hamilton as Club Singer
- Kozo Nomura as General's Aide
- Ren Yamamoto as Sailor
- Nadao Kirino as Soldier
- Shoichi Hirose as Soldier
- Tadashi Okabe as Reporter
- Koji Uno as Reporter
- Seishiro Kuno as Fisherman
- Ikio Sawamura as Fisherman
- Somesho Matsumoto as Official
- Kasei Kinoshita as Child Sanda voice
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
War of the Gargantuas was released in the United States by Maron Films in 1970 as part of a double-bill with Monster Zero. The dialogue was dubbed to English but all mentions of "Frankenstein" were removed, and Sanda and Gaira were simply referred to as "Brown Gargantua" and "Green Gargantua," respectively. Also, various tracks from maestro Ifukube, notably the track labeled "Operation L March," were replaced with stock music from the 1957 American film, "The Incredible Petrified World," as well as Toho's own "Invasion of Astro Monster."
- Released: July 1, 2012
- Region: Region 1
- Language: Japanese
- Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC
- Other Details: aspect ratio, 92 minutes run time, 2 disc, Japanese version, double feature with Rodan
- During the film, several ambiguous references are made to the film Frankenstein Conquers the World, but the only direct link between the films is the term "Frankenstein," which appears in the Japanese title and is used to refer to the Gargantuas ("Frankensteins") in the original Japanese dialogue. Due to dialogue referring to the monsters as "Frankensteins," Russ Tamblyn had to re-dub his dialogue for the American version of the film, which removed all references to Frankenstein.
- War of the Gargantuas is referenced in the beginning of the 2002 Godzilla film Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, and stock footage of Gaira from the film is shown. Supplementary materials for the sequel to Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. reveal that War of the Gargantuas is part of the continuity of the two films, along with several other non-Godzilla films from the Showa era.
- This film marks the first appearance of the Maser Cannon in a Toho film. The Maser Cannons would go on to become famous recurring military weapons in Toho's Godzilla films over the next several decades.
- The American producer of the film, Henry G. Saperstein, had reportedly planned to make a collaborative Japanese-American Godzilla film, possibly featuring a Gargantua battling Godzilla.
- The original ending of the film was to not only have Sanda and Gaira swallowed up by the underwater volcano, but the lava was to have spread to Tokyo where it was to destroy the city as well as the remaining cells of the monsters; cited in an interview with director Honda in Guy Tucker's Age of the Gods: A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film.
- Sanda and Gaira re-appeared in Go! Godman Episodes 16 Godman vs. Sanda and 17 Godman vs. Gaira as well as in Go! Greenman Episodes 31 Greenman vs. Sanda and 4 Greenman vs. Gaira. Gaira later made an appearance in the 2008 Go! Godman movie.
- Quentin Tarantino based the fight between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill Vol. 2 on the final battle from War of the Gargantuas. He showed his copy of the film to both actresses and told them he wanted it to be "The War of the Blonde Gargantuas."
- During the 2012 Oscars ceremony, there was a segment called "First Movie Moments" where famous actors describe the first movie they remember seeing. Actor Brad Pitt (who has incidentally starred in several other of Tarantino's films such as Inglorious Basterds and Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood) stated that the first movie he ever saw was none other than War of the Gargantuas, and credited the film as the reason why he became an actor.
- For the trailer of the upcoming TLC show Inedible to Incredible, music from the American version of War of the Gargantuas plays briefly in the background.