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Toho Dreams

Is it possible, in the grand age of visual and storytelling sophistication in which we live (the sarcasm is coming through, isn’t it?), to experience the exquisite delirium of an old Japanese kaiju movie, say, anything in the Godzilla-and-related-monsters series from roughly 1957 to 1975, without responding to it simply as inept camp, or as something to be immediately discounted or condescended to because of the “fakeyness” of its special effects? (In that time range I’ve deliberately left out the original Gojira, released in 1954, a movie that has always, and particularly since its original Japanese version was re-distributed in the Us in 2004, enjoyed a measure of respect from demanding genre audiences because of its status as a painful and powerful response to the devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.) Is it possible to enjoy these usually formulaic rubber-monster orgies of destruction precisely because of their artificiality?

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