Sushi Delight

[Note: Monster Seafood Wars‘ Blu-ray is currently exclusive to SRS]

Much of Monster Seafood War’s humor is localized. Riffs on Japanese TV programming don’t translate, and to any non-kaiju fans, countless references to tokusatsu shows and movies won’t land either.

Assuming they do hit their mark, Monster Seafood Wars still falls to ingrained boredom. Part of the micro-budget, monster movie indie scene that’s blossomed in recent years, there’s little energy to this production. Monster Seafood Wars chokes on its pacing, languishing on talkative chatter, and little of it interesting.

Monster Seafood Wars chokes on its pacing

To its credit, Minoru Kawaski’s latest comedy (following entries like Kaiju Mono), Monster Seafood Wars shows whole understanding of the genre. Japanese authorities debate how to defend themselves against enlarged ocean critters, coming up with nonsense solutions like turning a stadium into a giant cooking pot or shooting them with vinegar. When those fail, a giant chef robot is created to wrestle the enlarged beasties. Appropriately stupid, and paired with an overdone human plot involving a dopey rivalry between members of the newly formed SMAT (Seafood Monster Attack Team).

There is genuine anxiety running through the idiocy; Japan’s food comes primarily from imports, and having human-made, titanic squid on hand plays into the cultural fear. While Tarantula (and many others) used the same device in bringing monsters to life decades prior, Monster Seafood War offers more pertinence than Tarantula’s mad science escapades. In the closing moments, officials speak of an accidentally enlarged mosquito population, satirizing a failed government response to an otherwise reasonable idea. In that, there’s a little Shin Godzilla-esque humor.

That doesn’t make a better movie so much as show some thought during the creative process. Budgetary restrictions limit what’s possible, resulting in scenes where people speak of military strikes that never happen. A minuscule final battle happens so briefly, it’s a wonder why money was spent to make the kaiju suits. Given that, it’s not worth fast-forwarding to the action either.

Monster Seafood Wars Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Hyper bright contrast introduces this tiny indie flick, pouring on sunlight, artificial or real alike. It’s wild. Black levels go that route too, leading to crush though, unlike the contrast which avoids most clipping. Not all scenes aim for the purest black either, choosing a lighter approach that still works and leads to satisfying imagery from the source.

Possibly captured on consumer grade gear, the HD visuals match a TV production. Adequate, if not much else. There’s clarity aplenty, if limited fidelity. Sharpness, but lacking definition. Artifacting problems can go either way, whether blamed on the disc or source footage. It’s not terrible, but well beyond a higher-end production.

Monster suits bust out the color, reds and oranges galore. Nicely accentuated primaries add their own glow elsewhere. Flesh tones stay unaffected and neutral.

Audio

In Dolby Digital stereo, there’s not much on offer. Plain dialog scenes don’t utilize the front soundstage spread, everything stuck in the center. Action doesn’t venture out much either, although the use of classic studio sound effects gives Monster Seafood Wars an aural authenticity.

Extras

A text interview with director Minoru Kawasaki and trailer.

Monster Seafood Wars
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  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

A few fun ideas sprout from the kaiju comedy Monster Seafood Wars, but it’s let down by arduously extended, unfunny dialog scenes.

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The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 23 Monster Seafood Wars screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 120,000+ already in our library), 120 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, subscribe on Patreon.