Some space agency or another sends up several rockets to Mars. They all get destroyed by a pesky UFO. Not to be deterred, they send up yet another rocket because, hey, maybe it'll work this time. The crew consists of a lump of wood named Sano (captain), some fat guy (Masaki? Miyamoto? Who cares?), a worthless doctor (ditto), and a blonde white chick (Lisa). The rocket, AAB-Gamma, makes it about to the moon before they encounter a giant, fried pie. No, really. The prop for the enemy UFO is literally some sort of fried pastry. Doctor (or perhaps his actor) decides to hell with this s**t and fakes an illness to force them to land on the moon so he can escape from
While on the moon, Lisa meets Michiko. Michiko is allegedly Sano's girlfriend but he doesn't pay attention to her at all (I mean, even less than he pays to anything else, which is really saying something). Michiko doesn't seem all that interested in him, either. Who Michiko is
interested in is Lisa, and her affection is reciprocated. They both gush at finally getting to meet after hearing so much about each other. Lisa has smuggled earrings aboard the AAB-Gamma just because she thought Michiko would like them. They go for a moonwalk together. They take turns teasing each other by pretending to have the hots for Sano. They even take a shower together. Pay close attention to the shower scene. Lisa drops her soap. Michiko glances at her, practically daring her to bend over and pick it up. Instead, Lisa kicks it over to Michiko, who grins and goes back to washing her hair, not rising (lowering?) to the bait. Then they resume talking about how great it is to have spent time together. Then they get dressed up to go dancing. After they both proposition Sano (who makes excuses and runs away as quickly as possible), they figure they'll just have to dance with each other (wink wink) but the fat guy offers to dance with them in Sano's stead. Well, darn.
Anyway, that's about the extent of the story here: the brief, near-sapphic lunar adventure between Lisa and Michiko. After the moon layover, there's like five more minutes of plot where the AAB-Gamma meets the flying pastry again, gets coated with spores, and returns to Earth without ever having gotten anywhere remotely near Mars. But, hey, they didn't die so the mission is sort of a success. Time for some booze! One of the spores grows into, well, this:
Lisa immediately dubs the monster "Guilala" (GWEE-la-la) for no evident reason. The rest of the movie is random scenes of Guilala knocking over fairly decent model sets while JADF pilots dispose of surplus aircraft by crashing them directly into his head. Eventually, Lisa invents some kind of insulating material called "Guilalalanium" (that hurts just to type). The movie ends with Guilala being bukkak
ed to death by missiles loaded with Guilalalanium. Again, I'm not joking. The effect is obviously achieved by spraying shaving foam all over the poor stunt man in the monster suit, but under the studio lights the foam starts melting, resulting in a consistency and appearance almost exactly like ... you know.
Speaking of the poor stunt man in the Guilala suit, he earned every damn yen they paid him. The suit is barely mobile, must have been enormously heavy, and I could not detect any eye or even air holes for the poor guy. You can see
how hard it is for him to figure out where the next prop he's supposed to smash is. This gives the impression that Guilala is one nearsighted and uncoordinated monster. He doesn't rampage so much as stumble. There's one scene where Guilala suddenly develops the ability to turn into a ball of cheaply animated energy which flies back and forth across the city set, blowing it up with its mere proximity. (That's actually a pretty gnarly power, now that I think about it.) I imagine this scene was hastily conceived when the monster-suit guy finally said, "That is it!
I am so done with this bulls**t!", and they still had a couple of expensive city sets left to smash.
There is one unexpectedly impressive element to this movie. You may have noticed that Lisa is the one who comes up with the weapon to defeat Guilala. Well, Lisa is also the one who does pretty much everything else of importance. What few important actions she doesn't get to do are given to Michiko. It is Michiko, for example, who comes to the rescue when the AAB-Gamma is stranded after that second run-in with the space pastry. (She says hi and winks at Lisa when she arrives.) The closest Fat Guy and Sano ever get to being heroic is when they use some radioactive material to lure Guilala away from the Space Center ... and they fail. Completely. Guilala smashes the Space Center anyway before chasing them, then comes back to smash it even more
after he catches them and eats the precious radioactive fuel that they must keep away from Guilala at all costs lest he become invincible.
Yeah. There's a Japanese monster movie from 1967 that has competent women as the main characters and mostly useless males as their sidekicks. Perhaps even more amazingly, the romantic subtext between them is presented in a completely non-exploitative and non-judgmental manner. They're just a couple of women who are into each other and go on a date. The only concession to the expected norms comes at the end, when Lisa decides that she won't stand between Michiko and Sano. However, this is clearly presented not as the end of a fling or growing out of some kind of phase, but as the two women being far too honest with themselves to believe they can have a happy ending as a couple. Not in the '60s. Not in a movie shot with an eye toward release in the American market.
It's kind of weird but, if someone knocked on my door and told me they'd fund any movie I wanted to make, no question asked, I'd give serious consideration to remaking The X From Outer Space
just so that Lisa and Michiko finally could have their happy ending.