To invade Earth...
Abduct its women...
And level its cities!
The Mysterians (地球防衛軍, Chikyū Bōeigun, or Earth Defense Force) is a 1957 alien invasion film from Toho, directed by Ishirō Honda, with music by Akira Ifukube, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, and was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. If these names sound familiar, that's because these four men are the four fathers of Godzilla and are collectively known as the Toho dream team. The film stars Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kochi, Takashi Shimura, Susumu Fujita, Tetsu Nakamura, and Yoshio Tsuchiya.
The Mysterians is the first tokusatsu film to be released in Toho Scope and was the first Toho film to use Perspecta stereophonic sound. The movie also introduced Moguera, who would later be featured in Godzilla Vs Spacegodzilla.
This film contains examples of the following:
- Alien Invasion: Played with. At first, it certainly seems like an invasion, but then later the Mysterians explain that they only want a small piece of land to live on, as well as some women to marry, since their history of nuclear war has left them with some truly horrific genetic problems. However, it soon becomes apparent during the later part of the movie that, OF COURSE, it is in fact an invasion.
- Cool Airship: The Alpha and Beta class aerial warships.
- Death Ray: Would you like the hand-held ones, the ones fired by Moguera's eyes, the big one fired by the Mysterian dome, or the Markalite FAHP? There are plenty to go around.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Mysterians have one, and they plan on expanding it.
- Eye Beams: Moguera has them.
- Face–Heel Turn: Ryoichi Shiraishi (played by Akihiko Hirata), sort of. He initially sides with the Mysterians because of their advanced technology and out of sympathy for their situation, not even disagreeing with their kidnapping of his own sister and his ex-fiancee. He even makes some private television appearances to his friends, attempting to get them to cooperate with the Mysterians. They only want a place to live... at first.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Averted. The Moguera is practically immune to most weaponry, but being a machine, it still succumbs to physical damage when it falls into a ravine, and the second Moguera is destroyed by the very Markalite FAHP that it was tunneling under when it falls ontop of it.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Literally the first line of the RKO version:Hiroko: "They're all so gay!" Etsuko: "Do you think they will dance all night?"
- Heel–Face Turn: Ryoichi Shiraishi, again. After the Mysterian Leader, played by Yoshio Tsuchiya, reveals his plans to take over all of Japan, Shiraishi changes sides, and helps Atsumi (Played by Kenji Sahara) rescue the dozens of women that the Mysterians have abducted, including his own ex-fiancee and his sister, which leads to...
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ryoichi Shiraishi destroys the Mysterians' base from the inside, but at the cost of his own life.
- Human Aliens: The Mysterians
- Humongous Mecha/Robeast: Moguera, who is such an early appearance for both tropes that he could be considered the most recent common ancestor for either.
- Immune to Bullets: Being made of metal, the Moguera qualifies. It is not, however, immune to falling over, or having other things fall ontop of it. The Mysterians' dome also seems to be immune to bullets, but not to heat or temperature-based weapons.
- Mars Needs Women: Kinda the whole point of the invasion. Also played straight in that these Mysterians were originally colonists from Mars.
- Recut: The second Moguera was removed by RKO for the U.S. release. This arguably improves the film, because the final battle dragged and repeated itself at times, paving the way for a smoother, fast-paced climax. The music was altered at times too, with better timing and less jarring edits during the final battle (Ifukube's march rages on as the dome is destroyed from the inside).
- Rent-a-Zilla: Moguera
- Space Is Noisy: Played straight in the Japanese cut during the credits sequence, where both the Universe Station and the saucers hum eerily. Averted in the U.S. cut, where only Ifukube's ominous score is heard.
- Touch of the Monster: Displayed prominently on the U.S. theatrical poster.
- We Come In Peace: Subverted. The Mysterians use this as a ploy, saying that they were attacked first, although this is blatantly untrue. They do manage to sway Shiraishi to their side with this ploy, but everyone else is unconvinced. Near the end of the film, the Mysterians drop the whole act and reveal their true intentions.