Also known as
Yoka de Shinda Kaiju no Juninichi no Monogatari
Specifics
Japan [2020] - 88m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
Directed by
Shunji Iwai
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 poster

Watches

August 10, 2021

3.5*/5.0*

Iwai's take on screenlife cinema. Some parts of The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 were exactly what I was expecting from this odd combo, but Iwai has a few surprises up his sleeve. The biggest one being that this is effectively a core comedy, built on a slightly fantastical premise. Made up of Zoom calls, YouTube videos and moody black and white segments in the near-empty streets of Tokyo, the COVID-19 atmosphere is tangible.

Japan is in lockdown, people are bored. Actor Takumi Saitoh figures he should do his part to combat the virus and orders a "capsule kaiju", a small monster egg that's supposed to grow into a real kaiju and help humanity fight the virus. While tending to the egg, he checks in with friends for help and pointers.

It's a rather absurd premise, especially for people not familiar with Japan's kaiju history. Iwai's deadpan approach is delightful though and the DIY vibe works in favor of the film. There are some more arthouse-like moments (the modern dance sequences - beautifully realized) and the message at the end is a bit heavy-handed, but overall this was a very light, fun and inventive little film. Comes well recommended for fans of Iwai's work, but some familiarity with kaiju culture is necessary to enjoy this film to its fullest.