Tokyo Lives is a review podcast that focuses on Kaiju movies and other giant monster properties. Originally hosted by film school graduates Coleman Mcclung and Kyle Minnick, the show ran for twelve episodes (and two special reports) before Coleman left the cast. After a few months hiatus the podcast returned on December 28, 2016 with Kyle now joined by Robert New, Marisa Pickett, and Cameron Heikkila.
Each episode begins with a news segment before the hosts provide a brief description of the plot of the work being reviewed. The hosts then break down their favorite and least favorite moments, characters, monster design, cinematography, and sound design before giving their final thoughts on the work.
In addition to the main episodes that come out roughly every two weeks, the podcast also has several special segments that are not numbered as part of the main series.
- Special reports are unedited reaction episodes released whenever a new giant monster movie is released. These episodes begin with a short spoiler-free section and then follow the same format as the normal episodes.
- On The Fringe episodes are released as part of the same schedule as normal episodes and cover topics that do not quite qualify as giant monster stories, but do bear some of the hallmarks of the genere. Many dinosaur movies fall into this category, as well as films like Tremors and Reign of Fire.
- Tokyo Signals is a short episode released once a month where the hosts review kaiju themed TV episodes.
Besides the podcast itself, the website also host news articles, editorials, text reviews, and a kaiju themed recipe section called Tokyo Noms.
Tokyo Lives contains examples and/or discussion of:
- Alternate Universe: Several
- Originally a series of running gags the San Fransisco Lives universe was brought to life in the April 1st 2019 episode. In this universe Rob and Cameron host a small monster podcast, Transformers was rebooted three time in one year, and Thanos is played by Randy Quaid.
- During the review of the unmade Godzilla vs Gryphon film, Kyle outlined an alternate history of the last 20 years of the Godzilla franchise if this movie had been made instead of the Tri-Star Godzilla movie.
- April Fools' Day: Tokyo lives began releasing special April fools episodes in 2019.
- Crossover: In the summer of 2020 Tokyo lives joined other giant monster themed podcasts for two weekend-long movie marathons referred to as "Kaiju Quarantines".
- The August 2020 episodes were both crossovers.
- Horror Host: Rob played this role for the Trash Mountain themed Kaiju Quarantine.
- Guest Host: The podcast has had several guest hosts over its run.
- The actual composition of the cast varies depending on the host's availability but, for the most part, Kyle, Cameron, and Rob make up the core of the cast, with Marisa as an occasional guest host.
- Coleman returned in 2019 for the Godzilla (2014) review.
- Rob and Cameron were joined by Josh from the Legal Geeks for Gappa: The Triphibian Monster.
- Crossover month 2020.
- Hollywood Darkness: Discussed in several reviews, mostly when a movie's day-for-night effects don't quite work. The worst example they have reviewed (possibly the worst ever put to film) was in The Crater Lake Monster. Which includes a scene that was scripted as a night shot (A couple boating under the stars) but which was filmed in bright daylight with no filter applied, and the actors squinting in pain while talking about the starlight on the lake.
- Kaiju: As a giant monster podcast, most of the materials they cover include these kind of creatures. On the Fringe episodes do not always meet the popular definition of this trope but all of them do include "strange beasts" that are larger than the human protagonists.
- Tokyo Lives also has its own original kaiju. Antarctikon: The Frozen Empress. Originally created when Marisa said that her ideal Kaiju would be a giant penguin, fan art of the creature was eventually created along with a short speculative backstory.
- Sanity Slippage: Writing review articles for Kong: King of the Apes turns out to be a bit more than even Rob can handle. When Kyle informed him that he would have to review the second season he had a minor meltdown, which Marisa reenacted in the next episode. Later in the same episode Rob gave a breakdown of his reviewing process, while sounding increasingly distressed by the thought of actually completing it. By the time the mid episode break ended his sanity had clearly been reduced by a few points.
- So Bad, It's Good: Rob's favorite kind of movies. He loves showing these films to his friends, and has expressed his desire to find "The top of trash mountain." Almost every film he selects for the podcast is either a low budget movie with a less than stellar reputation or a notably goofy entry in a series.
- Special Effects Failure: Discussed fairly often in the cinematography section of the episodes. When the hosts analyze whether a movie's special effects and film techniques hold up. When an effect doesn't work they will often analyze whether is a because of the film's age/budget, or if it is just a poorly done effect.
- Running Gag: The host have accumulated a fair number of these.
- Rodan in a Hot Car, is one of the oldest and is famous enough that fan art has been created of it. Originally hypothesized as an explanation for the slightly melted look of the Rodan suit in Destroy All Monsters, variations of this phrase have become standard when talking about monster suites that are showing obvious wear and tear. It is also sometimes use to refer to suits that are poorly constructed in general.
- Rob will occasionally become confused about which movie they are reviewing. Beginning with the review of the South Korean movie The Host, where he accidentally watched the Stephanie Meyer movie instead. This was more common early on but still appears occasionally.
- The intro eventually became one, with the second half being replaced by a reference to the media being reviewed in each episode.
- Rob spent the entire review of Mothra vs. Godzilla making as many egg puns as possible. He also makes occasional call-backs in later episodes whenever the subject of eggs comes up.
- Everytime a movie with a monster too small to cover on the podcast was mentioned the hosts would say that it would need a new podcast, which they named San Fransisco Lives. This gag was eventually defictionalized for the 2019 April fools episode. After the April fools episode specified that San Fransisco Lives only covered small monsters, the hosts have begun making references to Toronto Lives as a podcast for human sized monsters.
- Rob repeatedly suggested that the cast review Critters. This one has finally been laid to rest as of the 2019 April Fools Day episode.