Fantasia Festival Review: Monster Seafood Wars

The Japanese love their Kaiju or (giant) monster movies. We’re not talking about an overgrown croc or a man-size rat here. We’re talking about Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera et al, rampaging around a major city and often fighting each other to the death. There’s a whole sub-genre of Japanese culture dedicated to these mammoth beasts and recurring tropes, such as a plucky hero, a mad scientist and almost always an environmental message. Monster Seafood Wars revels in these clichés.

On his annual visit to pay tribute at a shrine, Yuta Tanuma (Keisuke Ueda), disgraced scientist and now employee at his dad’s sushi shop, has an accident which spills the contents of his basket. Whilst he can’t find the octopus, squid and crab he was transporting, they soon reappear as Takolla, Ikalla, and Kanilla, mega creatures running amok. Yuta must contend with his rival Hitomi for the affections of a data analyst, as they team up with the SMAT (Seafood Monster Attack Team) to save Tokyo.

If you’re a fan of Kaiju, then you’ll absolutely love Monster Seafood Wars.  It’s wonderful fun, from the brilliant monster suits to the hilariously knowing plot, which takes a bizarre culinary direction in the second half. Minoru Kawasaki revels in his lack of budget, using a mix of contemporary docu-drama interviews and inventive action sequences to tell the tale. Monster Seafood Wars is, above all, great entrainment and a lovely tribute to the films many grew up on.  

Monster Seafood Wars screens at Fantasia Festival.

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