Kaiju Mischief

“I can’t run in a kimono!” screams a frustrated Japanese citizen, being evacuated as a giant monster smashes the city in the background. Nearby, draped only in towels, a couple barely escapes the rising fire, the man agitated because he was almost… finished. Raiga knows exactly what it’s parodying.

Raiga brings a wacky, at times aimless anime-like flair to its action. It’s so absurd, that by the end, the giant monster bends over and pees on buildings to mark its territory. Then again, that almost makes sense biologically.

Before Shin Godzilla took a mature approach to ridiculing the Japanese government, Raiga did much the same back in 2009 – without the maturity. Because of the micro-budget, the Defense Minister, his assistants, and gung-ho military advisers operate from a single, tiny room, chewing on their options to rid the city of Reiga. The armor-clad military team suggests the next uber-weapon, the minister boasts how this new plan will work, the assistants always agree as to not offend their boss. Like with the genre itself, there’s never a shortage of missile or bomb tech to employ. The excitability and bogus certainty in each new plan doesn’t lose the comedic charm.

Raiga’s design earns menace, comedic intent aside

There’s also a smaller story, that of a single father and his three daughters, always in the way as the rampage ensues. That thread offers a handful of gags, less successful since the purpose is limited and characters minor.

However, that group is given the best gag, where they stand on a hill looking over the now devastated city, arguing over what the monster’s appearance meant. It’s global warming. Or no, it’s clearly human ignorance. They can’t decide, so they playfully slide down the hill instead, because Raiga’s target was clearly Japan’s leaders and their incompetence.

Of director Shinpei Hayashiya’s two independent kaiju flicks (the other Reigo), this is the clear winner, dropping any pretense of taking itself seriously and genuinely drawing laughs. Plus, the use of practical effects adds charm between bouts of made-at-home digital work. Even with Godzilla-like flourishes, Raiga’s design earns menace, comedic intent aside. There’s even marginal thrills during the litany of tank/plane/helicopter attacks. Note again this is micro-budgeted, with an aesthetic lower than comparable Japanese TV series, making the successful end result an impressive feat.

Video

Note: Raiga’s Blu-ray is available direct from SRS

Moderate-tier HD video brings passable results to this Blu-ray. It’s a struggle to hold off compression artifacts, rarely coming away the winner in that regard.

Sharpness wanes and the disc can only reproduce menial definition because of the source material. Digital effects notably reveal themselves through aliasing, but texture on the Raiga suit pops out.

Color bleeds on occasion, although reaches extremes by design; Raiga is not a movie low on eccentric palettes. Likewise, contrast offers a litany of blinding sparks and fire, with dark backdrops allowing them to further shine.

Audio

Dolby Digital stereo keeps the audio intact even in the heaviest of action. It’s typically chaos too. No separation is noted, a flat soundstage. Dialog reflects the limited budget through interior echoes and middling fidelity.

Note this is Japanese only with subtitles.

Extras

An hour long making-of tours the production, but sadly is not subtitled, and it’s quite talky. Trailers roll in afterward.

Raiga
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

A giant monster comedy, Raiga’s success is in drawing laughs from its no-budget origins, and knowing the genre’s quirks helps.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 13 Raiga screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 100,000+ already in our library), 100 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.