Raiga: The Monster from the Deep Sea is a Japanese monster movie that follows the dreadful Reigo: King of the Sea Monsters released roughy four years earlier. While the latter was disappointing regarding production values, plot and acting performances, this second film is a slight improvement but still suffers from a low budget that makes the movie look like a monster film from the late nineties in the key of the worst Gamera flicks.
The movie essentially follows an elderly widower who barely makes ends meet. He illegally sells t-shirts and other merchandise to make a living. Along with his drunk friends, he is involved in a festival focusing on traditional Japanese acting, dancing and music performances. He is elected as the treasurer for this organization against his will. When he is not out drinking and eating with his friends and wasting the little money he has, he is trying to get romantically involved with a mid-aged lady who is living next to a shrine. The most interesting element about this strange man are his three quirky teenage daughters. The eldest walks around in skeleton clothing and regularly criticizes her father. The second daughter is quite energetic and dreams of becoming an idol. The youngest daughter is rather childish but always happy and playing with a teddy bear she even brings to restaurants. This set of characters witnesses how a monster from the sea devastates their beloved hometown. At its first attempt, the monster gets chased away after a stressful evacuation and the use of military technology by two aggressive commanders and four clueless politicians. However, the monster soon emerges again and fights a second monster during an explosive showdown.
Let's stat with the positive elements worth mentioning. First of all, the characters are quite quirky, memorable and charismatic. Most parts of the movie feel like comedic slice-of-life passages. Many viewers didn't think the film was funny and thought several elements were lost in translation. I have to disagree and found some jokes truly entertaining, such as when the widower stupidly insults himself, randomly proposes elephant meat for dinner or clumsily tries to hide his love interest from his daughters. Another positive element is the colourful locations that vary from traditional restaurants over old-fashioned theaters to religious shrines that are intertwined with modern hotels and military headquarters. Up next, the monster looks quite decent even though it obviously rips off Godzilla's characteristics. Its fights against military tanks and planes as well as against the second monster are quite entertaining. The use of electricity and lightning by the monster blends in well but is at times repeated on too many occasions.
The film is however not without its flaws. The ending of the film is completely botched as it comes to a random conclusion with an even more random moral. It almost seems as if the makers of the movie had run out of money and simply shot a weird five-minute collage to conclude what should have been an extra hour of entertainment. The special effects look dated, especially the fake military planes and tanks that look as if they had been taken from the toy box of a child's bedroom. Explosions are overused in this film to a point that in certain scenes we see so many fireballs that we lose track of the monsters. The light effects could have been better as well since several scenes look either much too dark such as in the hotel or exaggeratedly bright such as on the hill in the conclusion.
At the end of the day, Raiga: The Monster from the Deep Sea is interesting for its quirky and comedic slice-of-life sections with a weird widower, his quirky daughters and their amusing friends. The monster fights are also decent but nothing to write home about. Despite cheap production values and a plot that is all over the place, this movie manages to entertain from start to finish and to stand out with its off-beat style.
0 out of 0 found this helpful