For those who want to see English sub-titled Japanese versions of not only all the G-films of all three film series, but also the Gamera, Dai Majin, and Ultraman movie, as well as many other classic Japanese kaiju, sentai, "mutant," horror, and sci-fi flicks, this is the company to contact, and the only one that I will personally recommend for acquiring the tapes. Video Daikaiju’s tapes are high-quality, packaged in beautiful full color boxes (if the movie itself was in color), usually feature a letterbox format for the movies, include both the Japanese theatrical trailers and a host of other interesting stuff, and it’s all in Dolby Stereo. The regular Japanese language tapes are from $10.00-$13.00, while videos in DVD format are usually $18.00 each. The purchase of just one tape requires a $4.00 shipping and handling charge, but if you purchase at least two tapes with each order, then you are exempt from any postage and handling charge; further, the company frequently offers numerous special deals, such as buy five tapes and receive one free, cheaper prices for each tape with the purchase of more than two tapes, etc. In other words, Video Daikaiju always offers extremely good deals, and these tapes are truly a dream come true for all G-fans!
Before I give with the address, however, I’d like to issue a combination warning and disclaimer out of respect for the many G-fans who are morally opposed to ordering unauthorized, bootleg tapes. These tapes are made and distributed without the authorization of Toho, reportedly by camcording the films at Japanese theaters, and then personally copying and sub-titling them. Thus, Toho makes no money whatsoever off of the sale and distribution of these videos. As a result, the manufacturers of these bootlegs have often been lambasted as “video pirates” who steal other people’s work. Hence, many G-fans feel that it constitutes a breach of moral conduct to purchase these tapes, and J.D. Lees, for example, refuses to run ads for these video companies in the pages of G-FAN anymore for precisely this reason.
Now, for my opinion as to why I did choose to provide the address here.
I feel that Toho has let its fans down by not only taking too long to release the latest G-films to the U.S., but also for not otherwise making the usually superior Japanese versions of these films readily available to Westerners at an affordable price (they could have made a nice chunk of change by selling these tapes via mail order to all Western G-fans). When Godzilla vs. Biollante was released here legitimately on home video in 1992 (three years after its Japanese theatrical release), we had to contend with terrible dubbing without the option of sub-titles, the film being recorded at an inferior EP speed, the sound was in mono, no theatrical trailers or unused footage was included as a bonus, and the product was greatly overpriced at $70.00 compared to Video Daikaiju’s superior copy at a mere $18.00 (at the time)!
However, since Toho made money on the deal, it’s considered perfectly acceptable for HBO Video to rip us off with no questions asked (the price has since been wisely reduced to about $20.00, and sometimes lower, depending on the individual market outlet). That’s legal, but is it moral? Is Toho’s bottom line only politics towards its fans, however understandable considering the “realities of business,” as J.D. Lees once called it in defense of Toho’s actions, categorically moral when we examine the subject of business ethics from both sides of the fence?
Listen, folks, legality and morality are completely different concepts, and the law is primarily concerned with protecting the almighty buck over our rights to have access to what we consider art at a reasonable rate [just look at cable television law, and how it defends the “rights” of the cable companies to rip us off and suck our pocketbooks dry over our moral right to find alternate, more affordable means of acquiring cable, i.e., “cheater boxes” and such]. This leads to the age old question of appreciation of art versus the bottom line dictates of business, and most of us G-fans are simply appreciators of an art form that is unfortunately linked to heavy business interests (as is virtually everything else in this loony capitalist society in which we currently live).
It should be noted, however, that purchasing these tapes is not against the law. The Berne Act has stated that all films not registered in accordance with the Copyright Laws of the U.S. are not protected by those laws (including different versions of an otherwise copywritten film), and are thus considered to be in what is commonly referred to in legal parlance as the public domain. The legal ambiguities connected with U.S. copyright law has often caused bootleg tapes to fall under the distinction of what has unofficially become known as the “gray market.” Thus, putting the moral issue aside for a moment, it is definetely not against the law to purchase these tapes, so the "gray" appellation given to this kind of market is more related to the ethical opinions of various individuals rather than the actual legal aspects of such practices (whether such individuals are aware of the legal intricacies involved or not). Consequently, the decision to purchase these tapes is strictly a moral, and not a legal issue.
In my personal opinion (for what it's worth), Video Daikaiju has done a wonderful service to the fans by making such high quality tapes available with so many valuable add-on accouterments at an extremely reasonable price, in marked contrast to the “legitimate” tapes that reaped a profit for both Toho and the authorized video companies at the expense of the fans, when Video Daikaiju has proven that it can be done better, and at a much more reasonable cost to the customers.
True, Video Daikaiju may be “getting rich off of other people’s work,” but I would argue that Godzilla is a cultural icon who is also an archetypal image, which to a certain extent transcends the narrow aims of big business (and please note that under capitalism, it’s considered perfectly legit for big business to make money off of other people’s work, yet it’s usually a crime when the “little guy” does it, which exposes the extremely class biased nature of these laws). Further, Godzilla through the decades has become the creation of many diverse hands, and like Superman and the Lone Ranger, he is a prominent part of both pop culture and the psychic family. His movies are a form of art, and we G-fans possess the right to have access to all of the films, with or without Toho’s approval. The aforementioned narrowness of Toho’s “business only” attitude has caused them to lose out on the huge amount of money they could have made if only they did the same thing that Video Daikaiju is now doing. Just because Toho legally controls Godzilla The Financial Copyright doesn’t mean that they also have, or even should have, equal ownership over Godzilla The Artistic Icon And Archetype.
Just as it's considered "natural" and "expected" for big business to bleed consumers dry as much as it can, in exchange for as little as it can get away with giving to its employees in return (that's the law of value there, people), then in such a system, so must consumers be naturally expected to seek cheaper and alternative means of procuring the same comforts and artistic appreciation normally monopolized by the big boys, especially when you consider that every anti-trust law in the land fails to staunch said monopolizing, as they were designed to do. Calling the "little guy" unethical for "stealing" what is today often referred to as "intellectual property" is rather odd when you consider that big business and wealthy capitalists do so as standard practice, and quite legally at that. Further, the latter are often commended on their "ability" to fleece so many consumers out of so many of their hard-earned dollars, and to have these practices rationalized as "the bottom line" or "the realities of business."
However, since it's to be "expected" that big business will invariably utilize its considerable financial clout to lobby politicians into passing laws making it illegal to acquire these cheaper and alternative means of gaining access to the movies, music, video games, and other art forms that we love, it must be "expected" that consumers will want to deal with smaller businesses who make it quite clear that we can acquire the same products and services (be it cable, music, videos, etc.) at a much more affordable rate, thus proving that however legal (or semi-legal) the activities of big business may be, they're still ripping us off, and giving us much less for a much bigger price than they could otherwise do. Where are the ethics in this? The answer: there are no ethics in business, just dollars and cents (to quote another oft-heard aphorism). So let's not suggest that legality is necessarily commensurate with morality, because the two often do not go hand-in-hand, and are frequently uncomforable bedfellows in our current materialistically based society.
One more quick disclaimer here: I'm not, nor would I ever, endorse breaking the law to acquire a certain product cheaper than buying it legally, even if at a far more expensive price, from the big boys. I am simply explaining why people often choose to do otherwise, and to point out the fact that just because what big business does is legal under the current system, this doesn't necessarily make it any more ethical than a lone individual who engages in "bootlegging" of videos or invests in a cheater box. And though breaking the law in the aforementioned matter arguably may not be unethical per se, I still must strongly discourage anyone from breaking the law to acquire any product, simply because nobody wants to end up in jail or get hit with a hefty fine in civil court. Unethical laws (and even an outright unethical system) must be opposed and changed in an entirely civilized and legal venue, and not simply broken with impunity, since the latter succeeds in nothing save a lot of jail time and fines for a lot of people, not to mention harsh state countermeasures resulting in more inclement laws and penalties for everyone in society, which leads right back to more power and control over society and its various artistic works by the big corporations. I am simply stating here that purchasing these tapes from Video Daikaiju (and other companies, such as Video Search of Miami) is not against the law, so I need not discourage you from making such a purchase, if you choose.
Finally, please note that it succinctly states in certain versions of Video Daikaiju’s master catalog that the purchase of these tapes is done from one collector to another, something most G-fans do not object to.
However, in the immortal words of political comedian Dennis Miller, “this is just my opinion...I could be wrong.” Other G-fans have a completely different outlook on these matters, so I’m going to end this pontificating anecdote with the following disclaimer: buy or do not buy these videos as your personal moral convictions decree, but if you do choose to purchase them, know that you are not breaking the law.
The address is:
Ask them for a free copy of their large master catalog.
Finally, Video Daikaiju is now officially online!! :-D
Be sure to check out their web site, as you are now able to order from Video Daikaiju online via PayPal.
Video Daikaiju official web site