I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was very young I saw my first Japanese giant monster film. “Return of the Giant Monsters,” the re-titled Gamera vs. Gyaos. A whole, new world for my 7 year old self. Giant monsters! More importantly, there were “good” monsters and “bad” monsters. My kiddo-mind was blown!
The battles were vivid and seemed expand beyond the tiny, five-by-five foot movie screen in the basement of the church my cousin went to in Reedley. I was hooked.
Later, I would find black and white Super-8 films for sale at my local hardware store (decades before VHS or even Beta tapes were a thing). I watched them to death on my father’s little home movie editing machine.
Then another small miracle: the local station in San Francisco, KEMO, would start showing Kikaider as part of their Japanese language block of broadcasts. My mom– best ever– noticed them and told me I might be interested. Guh. The cheesy plots and clunky monster-of-the-week were just what my world needed.