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Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (The H-Man / Battle in Outer Space / Mothra)

151 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Toho, the most famous of all Japanese movie studios, first made its name in the West for the extraordinary masterworks of Akira Kurosawa. But they really struck box office gold with the wildly colorful kaiju eiga (monster movies) that began in 1954 with the original GODZILLA (Gojira), the creation of director Ishiro Honda and special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya. Now for the first time on DVD -- and in their original Tohoscope aspect ratios -- Sony Pictures presents three Honda classics that display the enormous breadth of the Toho magic during its glory years. The H-Man, Battle in Outer Space and Mothra are presented in both their Japanese and U.S. versions. So travel back to the days before CGI, when special effects were real and the results were spectacular!

Here's a treat for fans of classic '60s science fiction from Japan: a trio of genuinely entertaining adventure-fantasies from Toho, the company that unleashed Godzilla upon an unsuspecting world. The giant lizard is nowhere to be found in this set, but his director of choice, the underappreciated Ishiro Honda, is at the helm for each of the films included here, and thanks to the inclusion of the original Japanese version of each picture along with the American re-edit, fans can finally see his true vision for each project. 1962's Mothra is perhaps the best known of the trio--the spectacular monster-god moth was a staple in Godzilla's exploits for over four decades, and its origin story retains all the city-wrecking excitement of the best Toho monster rallies, but with a level of humor and depth that wasn't always present in their subsequent efforts. 1960's Battle in Outer Space and 1958's The H-Man may be familiar only to the most devoted Toho fans, but they both offer their respective pleasures to newcomers; Battle is a charmingly naive and pulpy alien invasion story driven by the impressive miniature work of Toho's resident special effects wizard, Eiji Tsuburaya, while H-Man is a moody thriller that addresses the lingering aftereffects of the atomic bombing of Japan through its chief villain, an irradiated gangster whose touch dissolves his victims. Tonally, it's a far cry from the other titles in the collection, but its noirish vibe, unsettling violence, and catchy score (by Masaru Sato) should make it a terrific discovery for those only familiar with Toho's monster movies.

The Toho Collection spreads its features over three discs, which have been packaged in an unfortunate and potentially damaging arrangement that stacks all three discs on a single spindle; thankfully, the extras make up for this decision (and the unappealing cover art). Toho historians and authors Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, who have contributed informative and thoughtful commentaries to Classic Media's spate of Toho/Godzilla DVDs, deliver the same for Battle and Mothra; their contributions here not only include recorded interviews with members of the film's cast and crew, but their passion for the projects and Honda's work do much to dispel the decades of dismissive criticism. Unfortunately, no commentary is present for H-Man (in its stead are trailers for other Sony collections). The quality of the restoration to both the American and Japanese versions of the films is also exceptional. --Paul Gaita

Stills from Icons of Sci Fi To Ho Collection--Battle for Outer Space, H-Man, and Mothra (Click for larger image)

Special Features

Commentary with Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski

Product Details

  • Directors: Ishiro Honda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Widescreen, NTSC, Color, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: August 18, 2009
  • Run Time: 259 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0024FAG2G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,557 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (The H-Man / Battle in Outer Space / Mothra)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By S. Boone on August 18, 2009
Format: DVD
I was delighted to go out & buy this today, because I've wanted these movies for a long time on DVD, but when I opened up the box, I was dismayed to see that the package design has all three DVD's sitting on top of each separation at all, just all sitting on the same center post. So someone at Sony probably got kudos for saving money, but we fans get an extremely cheap package & discs that will undoubtably be scratched in removal & shifting around. That is, if they're left in this configuration. I might find something better to put these in. Boo, hiss.

However, I did watch "Mothra" (my favorite of the 3) and I'd never seen the Japanese language version before, and all three films DO have the (edited and shorter) English versions, plus, the Japanese versions...which is pretty cool.

I noticed that all the other reviews for this were all "in anticipation" of this set & not from anyone that had actually gotten their mitts on it yet. I'm certainly glad to have these films, but the crappy package design did not set well with you won't see many used copies of this on Amazon posted as "like new". Five Stars for the movies, One Star for the package, which averages out to Three Stars.....
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful By D. Steigman on May 22, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD contains Mothra, H-Man and Battle in Outer Space - This DVD has both Japanese and English language versions of the movies & are widescreen transfers. I expected these to be clean & crisp letterboxed actually - in Tohoscope & that is what they are.
All 3 of these movies were made by the people who brought us Godzilla such as Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya and music by Akira Ifukube.
MOTHRA (1961) would be the main attraction starring Jerry Ito and the 1 inch Peanuts as they were called. Mothra rescues them after being kidnapped by gangsters. A magnificent movie done with style and taste.
BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE is a loose follow up to The Mysterians minus any monsters but it is a spectacular effects and an endless array of laser ray light show with rocket ships, UFOs and other space crafts. Great special effects during its day.
The H-MAN was the one I watched first since I hadn't seen this in is relatively short (under 90 minutes) and it basically about a person who becomes an H-Man (hydrogen man) as a result of hydrogen bomb testing - the h-man is a greenish blob that eats other people turning them into oozing blob monsters which also appear in a 'ghost' like form. I watched the English language version and the transfer is nice, and the film is ok,basically it is a lesser title, but still fun to watch. Great effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and lots of lovely Japanese ladies. More or less a Japanese version of the Blob..
All 3 were on VHS in full frame versions and were somewhat obscure. Now we can get them all in letterboxed transfers and see them how they were originally meant to be seen.
The DVD packaging for this is terrible. 3 discs with each movie stacked ON TOP of each other like a layered cake or pancakes. This is an easy way to damage the DVD's.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott on August 19, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The movies themselves are great but the packaging is terrible. All three movies are sitting on top of each other in a single case. They could of at least made it a double dvd case so only one would be stacked on another. Other than that they came in good condition and the movies are great. All are in original TohoScope ratios, Englis running time 259 minutes and Japanese running time 277 minutes, English subs, English and Japanese Languages. Special Features are commentaries on Mothra and Battle in Outer Space by Authors and Japanese SciFi Historians Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Grrrr on September 7, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
1. Okay, bad idea on the packaging, but
2. 3, count em' THREE Japanese science fiction classics in both Japanese and American versions!
3. On seperate discs !!
4. You guys might complain about the packaging, but some of you are probably too young to know just how precious, for us old time Japanese Sci-fi fanatics, a collection like this is! LETTERBOXED! Original Japanese versions! With commentaries to boot!!!
As a guy, like myself, who has scoured the sci-fi conventions for years for titles like these and has settled for bootleg versions on VHS tapes, this is like finding the lost treasures of Solomon! And all for only $19.95 !!!!!
Thank you TOHO! Thank you Columbia! Thank you Sony Pictures!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rainey on February 28, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This release of Battle in Outer Space is part of Columbia Pictures' Toho Collection three-pack that also features The H-Man and Mothra, all of which were originally released domestically by Columbia in the late 50s/early 60s. The DVD includes both the U.S. and Japanese versions of the film, along with commentary by Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle. The prints for both U.S. and Japanese versions are fairly good, if not excellent. The packaging, unfortunately, is severely lacking, with the discs all being crammed into one side of a single-width case. To remedy this, I just put the discs in separate cases and fixed them up with reproductions of the original Japanese one-sheets.

If Battle in Outer Space is not a direct sequel to The Mysterians (Chikiyu Boeigun, 1957), it certainly shares common characters and characteristics. It's unclear whether Dr. Adachi, played by Koreya Senda, and Etsuko, played by Kyoko Anzai, are intended to be the same characters from The Mysterians (played by Takashi Shimura and Momoko Kochi, respectively), but Dr. Immelman, played by Harold Conway in both films, is obviously meant to be the same individual. More as a result of budget limitations than creative intent, the alien spaceships are slightly modified holdovers from the former film, and the same sound effects are used while they are in flight.

Whereas The Mysterians built slowly, setting up a grim, brooding atmosphere before introducing the giant robot Mogera and then progressing to a massive artillery/aerial battle, Battle in Outer Space opens with an alien attack on a space station, immediately followed by several other violent assaults on the earth.
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Feb 26, 2014 by M. Mont |  See all 2 posts
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