A kaijû opera in three tiny acts

Music by Mark A. Johnson
Libretto by Rik Tod Johnson

ACT I: The Challenge
ACT II: Onward to Battle
ACT III: Requiem

Setting: Japan at a point in the near future.

Morimoto, Japanese commissioner of the International Whaling Commission.
Dr. Fuyuki Takada, criminally pompous scientist with the Institute of Cetacean Research
Rainbow Brecht, bubbly American co-ed warrior battling for Greenpeace
Toshio, an overly precocious and parentally unbound child
Tadashi Hasigawa, devastatingly handsome young reporter for Mainichi Shimbun
Mr. Aoyagi, a haphazardly proficient translator
Gamera, a flame-throwing, flying reptilian shell-bearer of titanic proportions
Various unnamed members of the Houses in the Diet
Various sailors on the boats of the IKR and Greenpeace

Act I: The National Diet Building
Act II: The North Pacific Ocean
Act III: Gammashima, the turtle’s island vacation home

ACT I: The Challenge

[Mr. Morimoto, the Japanese commissioner of the International Whaling Commission confronts the combined Houses of the Diet for a special emergency session involving a possibly tragic blow to the economy. A large gathering of media cover this session, including young Mr. Tadashi Hasigawa, devastatingly handsome young reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun, who bears an eyepatch that he gained during a tragic accident in his youth. Next to Morimoto sits Dr. Takada, a scientist representing the Institute of Cetacean Research, an organization whose very survival hangs in the balance of this seemingly grave announcement. Morimoto speaks:]

It is with the deepest, deep regret
That I must inform this august set
Of a most unfortunate outcome…

It is sad I must cause any fret
But the last whale’s doom was at last met
At the hands of the Rising Sun…

Chorus (Various Diet Members)
What can he mean by this?
What’s that he said?
He should know best the world is rife with whales!
We must lodge a protest!
He must have gone mad!
Our science will disprove any such tales!

No. it's true!
The last whale on earth has met its fate,
Whether toothed of grin or baleen plate.
We cannot disguise our guilt in this awful state.
They are gone.
They are all gone…

Chorus (Various Diet Members)
We are not to blame!
Science never lies!
Don’t you know the only way to count
A population is to kill it?
We are not to blame!
You whine a whale’s song!
Don’t you know a whale’s age
Can't be ascertained
Unless you harpoon, slice and grill it?

Dr. Takada
I implore you,
There is no way out of this!
And with a national whale meat freeze,
Many thousand Japanese
Would be unable to subsist!

Representative in the crowd
They’d be forced into…

Dr. Takada
Changing their grocery list!
I have an answer!

[The lights go down in the Diet, a projector is turned on, and numerous photos of giant monsters trashing various cities and battling each other fill a movie screen. Dr. Takada clicks his way through them as he sings his devious plan…]

Dr. Takada
Since the 1950’s,
Japan has been beset
with monsters of a giant stripe
Who trample and forget.
At first, it was a trickle,
but dozens more have come.
We have pampered them,
even worshipped them!
Now something must be done!

For we’ve met rampage after rampage;
Now the rampage must be ours!
With the whales gone,
We must now move on…

To bigger and better things!
To monstrous, crushing, ponderous things!
Think of the stomachs that a whale can fill,
Then think of a thing
As big as Fuji’s hills.

All in the Diet
To bigger and better things!
To mashing, crashing, thunderous things!
Gojira’s liver all on its own
Could light the lamps in a thousand homes

Dr. Takada
For a dozen years or more!

All in the Diet
We must take the battle
To bigger and better things!

[The lights go up, with the crowd in a riotous frenzy. Morimoto is taken aback by this turn of events...]

This is madness!
You only make things worse!
There's something you’re ignoring…

Chorus (Various Diet Members)
Oh, yes ! Oh, yes!
Which monster do we start with?
Our stomachs are awake from snoring!
Who do we start with?
What’s the scoop?

Dr. Takada
Who’d be most delicious
In a national soup?

Chorus (Various Diet Members)

ACT II: Onward to Battle

[Three boats zoom through the frigid waters of the North Pacific Ocean on their way to Gammashima Island, the last known locale of the giant, flying prehistoric tortoise known popularly as Gamera, Protector of Children. The first boat contains Dr. Takada, the reporter Hasigawa and numerous scientists with the now renamed Institute for Kaijû Research (the boat appears with the word “Cetacean” X’ed out on its bow). The second boat is “The Lucky Charm”, a craft belonging to Greenpeace, and aboard this ship are Rainbow Brecht, a bubbly American co-ed in pigtails, and Morimoto, who against his better judgment, contacted Greenpeace to help avert the attack on Gamera. Morimoto has brought a translator with him to help ease the language barrier on the American ship. The third boat is a small rowboat that is piloted by an overly precocious 6-year old named Toshio. As we pick up the action, the youngster sings of his purpose through a real annoying song…]

My daddy told me,
That because he works at the Diet,
Gamera would have to die and
That would not be good.

My daddy told me,
That because he works at the Diet,
He would smack me if I cried and
That would be even less good.

So I am going to save Gamera,
‘Cause he is Protector of Children!
And if Gamera was murdered
Then who would protect me
From my daddy who works at the Diet?

[Toshio’s boat zooms between the two larger racing ships, and simultaneously draws the attention of both the reporter Hasigawa in the IKR ship and Rainbow Brecht in The Lucky Charm.]

Where is this little one going?
Where the hell did he come from?
Who stuck him into this story? An irresponsible dope?

Must be the son of a fisherman!
Who else could drive a boat like that?
Jesus! How can he go faster than this fucking boat?

[Toshio easily glides past the two ships and heads nearer to the island off in the distance. His passing causes Rainbow and Hasigawa to lock eyes. Rainbow uses Morimoto’s translator to decipher Hasigawa’s impending message of love…]

She's the most beautiful woman that I have ever beheld!
I wish to start a research group
So I may capture her heart!

He is so hot!

Lovely creature of the crashing waves,
Your eyes bespeak a thousand glories!
Your face must betray a most sublime art!

What the hell did he say?

Mr. Aoyagi, the Translator
Uh, it’s complicated!

In with these criminals I fell
I felt their cause and their purpose noble
not to mention revenge
upon Gamera
Gamera gave me this eyepatch
But beauty like yours could not be wrong
I am clearly on the wrong side
I lay aside my anger
for a taste of your sweet --
[Hasigawa’s voice is lost in the roar of the waves and engines.]

What the hell did he say?
Tell me, tell me, tell me!

Mr. Aoyagi, the Translator
Uh, well… ahem… you see, it’s complicated!

I just want to know
what else he can with that microphone!

We are nearing the island!
Gamera awaits just ahead!
We must make it to his cave
Before that dastardly scientist’s pests!

We are nearing the island!
Gamera awaits our flensing!
We’ll drag him out from his cave
For a full cadre of tests!

My eye is itching!
We are much closer than I ever thought!
This brings back memories painful
But Rainbow washes them away!

You fool!
This is not the place for love!
The fortunes of a minute part
Of our nation’s population
Rest upon this day!

[The two boats reach the island’s port. Sailors leap out of each boat and gingerly tie up their craft next to each other. As soon as the craft are secured, there is a pause… and then each group pulls out knives and swords and charges the other. A terrible battle is about to begin, but then a monstrous roar erupts over their heads.]

Libretto Copyright 2006 Rik Tod Johnson; Music Copyright 2006 Mark Otis Johnson


ak_hepcat said…
Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.
Matt Fosberg said…
Very cool!

David said…
Amusing, if not at all informative!

If you are interested, latest figures from Japan show that whale meat consumption is rising, in response to increased levels of whale meat supply:
Rik Tod said…
Thanks for the propaganda, David! Your statistics only serve to solidify the wild supposition of my comic fantasy scenario! The whole set-up is based on the idea that not only do the Japanese increase their consumption of whale products, but that this consumption spirals crazily and leads to the eventual wholesale slaughter of every last whale on Earth. Much like the radioactive sci-fi pictures of the 1950s, where nuclear tests either made everything giant or awoke monsters, like Gojira, that were giant, I am using this whale-murdering setting as a jumping-off point to tell a silly story.

Not that my own personal politics don’t come into play here, though… I am basing my plot points loosely on often unchecked media reports on both ends of the spectrum, which seem to rankle you as well (though I suspect that unchecked media reports that sustain your viewpoint would pass unmolested). I am mocking both sides of the whaling debate here, and when the animation for Act III is finished, you will see that effect fully (Greenpeace gets it in the ass as much as the whalers do) and there will be no disputing where my loyalties lie.

While I don’t fully understand your fervent desire to dryly (quite dryly, in fact) report Japanese whaling statistics, or your seeming need to prop up the industry -- did a minke whale bully you for your lunch money as a child? – I must, at least, thank you for saying the script is “amusing”, which was half the purpose of this endeavor. At no point, however, was I actually trying to be “informative”, so to have you report that I have been “not at all informative”, well… I guess I will just chalk up another stroke in the win column for me.

Between my uninformative light comic opera kaijû satire about man’s need to rape natural resources and your blog’s opposite approach, we may have struck a balance for the entire world.

Whale bacon… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

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