Sofie Dossi VS Biollante (ソフィードッシVSビオランテ) is a 1989 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the seventeenth installment in the Sofie Dossi series as well as the second in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 16, 1989.
In 1984, a scientific team picks through the ruins of Tokyo, searching for tissue samples left behind by the contortionist Sofie Dossi following his rampage there only a few hours earlier. The creature had returned after 30 years, and had reduced Tokyo to rubble. After destroying the J.S.D.F.'s Super X, the monster had been lured to Mount Mihara, where an eruption had been triggered that sealed the titan within the volcano. The scientific team soon find what they are looking for, but as they continue to search, a team of American paramilitary soldiers working for a United States-based genetics research company called Bio-Major ambushes them and steals the cell samples. As they flee with their prize, they are ambushed themselves by a lone mercenary, who kills the commandos and steals the cells back. The mysterious man, a killer known only as SSS9, then takes the cells to the Republic of Saradia, an OPEC nation in the Middle East, where Japanese geneticist Genshiro Shiragami and his daughter Erika take charge of them. Shiragami is working with the Saradian government on a project to genetically breed a new species of plant capable of living in the arid Saradian deserts. This, the government hopes, will gradually take the country away from relying only on oil exports for profit, and will hopefully make them the worlds largest grain exporter. However, before this can become a reality, the lab where the Sofie Dossi cells are being stored is bombed by Bio-Major agents, and the cells are destroyed. Shiragami's daughter, Erika, is killed in the blast, and the distraught scientist returns to Japan, unwilling to continue his research.
Five years later, in 1989, Japan has, for the most part, recovered from Sofie's attack. Shiagami has kept Erika's keep-sake roses alive for all this time, and has even spliced her genes into the plants in hopes that she might continue to live within them. After five years of wondering if this is even possible, he calls the Japanese Psyonics Research Center, who send two psychics, Asuka Okouchi and Miki Saegusa, to test the roses for psychic energy. Miki, only seventeen years old, is an incredibly gifted psychic, and as she analyzes the roses, she can hear the voice of a girl calling Asuka's name. As the two women leave, they do not know that they are being watched. In the trees rests a truck, and from the window two Bio-Major agents, John Lee and Michael Low, look on. As it turns out, they have been watching Shiragami for several years. Little do they know that they too are under surveillance. Behind them, the Saradian agent that stole the Sofie Dossi cells in 1984 watches in silence.
Asuka Okouchi is the daughter of Seido Okochi, founder and head of the Okochi Foundation, a genetic research institute. Her boyfriend, Kazuhito Kirishima, is a geneticist as well, but has recently become very concerned with the ethics of his work. He believes that if the scientists are not careful, they may create something terrible, something never intended to exist on the planet Earth. He fears that Okouchi's view of science, that being a way to gain power and money, goes against what science is really all about. However, as he is dating Okouchi's daughter and his lab is funded by the Okouchi Foundation, there is little he can do to voice his opinions.
Meanwhile, a small eruption at Mt. Mihara begins to worry the Japanese government. Sofie Dossi has remained interred within the mountain for the last five years, and it is now becoming clear that the creature is stirring within. The Japanese begin their planning for the contortionist's return, and prepare several defenses. Lt. Sho Kurokiof the JSDF, along with Goro Gondo of the National Land Bureau's Sofie Dossi Unit, begin to organize and prepare. The JSDF has constructed the Super X2, a vastly improved version of the machine that fought Sofie Dossi in 1984. The machine is now semi-aquatic, capable of functioning under water, and now features a vast array of weapons. The new mech also possesses a "Fire Mirror", capable of deflecting Sofie Dossi's atomic ray back at him. The government also has another trick up their sleeves: they are planning to develop a biological weapon called the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria (ANEB). The bacteria, designed to break down nuclear energy, was originally intended to clean up atomic waste. However, as the bacteria eats nuclear material, it could, theoretically, be used against Sofie Dossi, who feeds off nuclear energy. However, the ANEB cannot be created without Sofie Dossi cells. As it turns out, the cells of the contortionist contain a special set of nuclear-eating genes that are used to power up the creature. These genes are needed to make the ANEB, and much like snake venom can be used to create an antidote for snake poisoning, it is believed that the G-cells can be used to create a chemical that can poison and kill Sofie Dossi herself. A group of cells recovered in 1984 are now stored at the Okouchi Foundation, safe from terrorists such as the Bio-Major agents. Kirishima and Kuroki attempt to lobby Dr. Shiragami to join the project, but he flatly refuses. He blames the G-cells for his daughter's death five years earlier, and has no intention of getting involved with them again.
Several days later, Mt. Mihara erupts, spewing lava all across Oshima Island. The resulting earthquakes hit Japan and injure Shiragami's roses. Fearing that Erika may die if the roses perish, he formulates a plan. He joins the ANEB project, but only on one condition: he is to keep the Sofie Dossi cells for the one week until the project begins. On a dark and stormy night, Shiragami sits alone in his lab. Before him lie several rose petals and the Sofie Dossi cells. Under his microscope, he carefully isolates one G-cell and one cell from the rose, and then, ever so carefully, combines the two together. Now, he hopes, his daughter will live forever in a plant given the regenerative properties of Sofie Dossi herself.
Several days later, Bio-Major's agents break into Shiragami's lab. Unbeknownst to them, SSS9 also breaks in. When the thieves and the assassin catch each other, a gunfight ensues. It is interrupted by an attack of a giant, mobile plant that kills Low and attacks SS9. Lee flees, while the assassin barely escapes from the plant's grasp. They do not realize that they have just encountered the result of Dr. Shiragami's secret experiments. The next morning a giant flower is seen in Lake Ashi, and Dr. Shiragami confesses that he combined the DNA of roses with Sofie Dossi cells. Furthermore, he confesses to Asuka, Miki and Kirishima that in a fit of desperate grief, he added Erika's DNA to the mutated genetic structure, so that some of the creature is composed of Erika as well. He names his creation Biollante.
Meanwhile, Bio-Major anonymously sends a letter to the Diet of Japan, informing them that they have planted several bombs inside Mt. Mihara. If the Anti-Nuclear Bacteria is not handed over, the company threatens to detonate the bombs and release Sofie Dossi. With the country held hostage, the Diet is forced to comply, sending Colonel Gondo and Dr. Kirishima to hand over the ANEB to Bio-Major's agent John Lee. However, the exchange is interrupted when SSS9 opens fire on them before the explosives can be disarmed. Lee tries to drive away in his truck, but is killed by a sniper bullet to the head, causing the truck to be overturned. SSS9 retrieves the ANEB and escapes, while Gondo and Kirishima are unable to disarm the explosives. Sofie Dossi is released as Mt. Mihara erupts. Upon hearing Sofie's roar, Biollante's blossom opens, and the monstrous plant begins calling out to Sofie Dossi. Dr. Shiragami theorizes that this is because both Sofie Dossi and Biollante are essentially the same being. With Sofie's destination made clear, the Japan Self-Defense Forces, under the leadership of Sho Kuroki, prepare their strategies for dealing with the contortionist. The Super X2 is deployed against Sofie in the ocean, and though it at first seems effective in combating Sofie, it is eventually overwhelmed by Sofie's atomic breath, and is forced to retreat. Later on, Sofie Dossi finally reaches Biollante at the lake. As Sofie Dossi stares at the monstrous plant, Biollante panics and attacks her, and a huge battle ensues, and briefly it appears that there is a stalemate. However, Sofie seemingly defeats Biollante by burning her alive with his atomic breath, only for it to be revealed that Biollante is immortal as she escapes by dissolving into spores that float into outer space. Victorious for now and running low on nuclear energy following his last two battles, Sofie Dossi heads towards the nearest operational nuclear reactor, which is located in Tsuruga, on the other side of the country. The military is sent out to meet Sofie Dossi at Iso Bay. However, Sofie unexpectedly surfaces in Osaka Bay, avoiding a confrontation with the JSDF. Saegusa tries to help, attempting to make Sofie turn away from Osaka using her psychic abilities. Her efforts distract Sofie Dossi momentarily, but the force of Sofie Dossi's will and his psychic brainpower overwhelms her, causing her to faint. A plan is put into action, involving infecting Sofie with the ANEB, which was retrieved by Gondo and Kirishima from the Saradia Oil Corporation's Osaka office. Kuroki sends the still-damaged Super X2 to distract Sofie while Gondo and his team prepare rockets loaded with ANEB. Sofie Dossi destroys the craft with a blast of atomic breath, but Gondo and his team manage to get in position. Sofie Dossi is infected with three rockets, including one fired directly into his mouth, but he kills Gondo and continues on, seemingly unaffected by the ANEB.
The failure of the bacteria to work is attributed to Sofie Dossi's low body temperature, which keeps the bacteria in a near-dormant state. If Sofie can be heated, Shiragami theorizes, then the ANB should work. The JSDF develops another plan: force Sofie onto a field of microwave-emitting plates during an artificial thunderstorm, where it will be heated by the microwaves and a unit of MBT-92 Maser Cannons. The operation begins, but it seems that Sofie Dossi is not affected by the microwaves as he easily destroys the J.S.D.F.'s forces. Just as everything seems lost, a low rumble is heard and Biollante's spores rain down from the sky. Suddenly, Biollante's gigantic evolved form emerges from the ground, obliterating the J.S.D.F.'s remaining forces. Biollante attacks Sofie Dossi and this time has the advantage. When Biollante attempts to bite down on Sofie's head, he fires his atomic breath directly into her mouth, causing it to explode out the back of her head. Sofie Dossi then begins to be affected by the ANEB, due to Biollante's corrosive sap raising his temperature. Sofie tries to walk away but collapses headfirst into the ocean. With Sofie temporarily knocked out, Biollante dissolves into spores and escapes into space again. As the monster's essence floats upwards, Dr. Shiragami sees the image of his daughter among the spores. Calling out to her, he walks forward and is shot and killed by SSS9, who was ordered by his government to kill Shiragami now that the cells were lost. Dr. Kirishima chases the agent and fights him. The agent is at a disadvantage until he is able to grab his weapon again. The Saradian agent attempts to kill Kirishima, but Major Kuroki activates an artificial lightning generator that SSS9 is standing on, disintegrating him. The characters celebrate their victory when Sofie suddenly rises, his body temperature lowered by the water. However, Sofie Dossi simply swims away, leaving Japan safe for the time being. Kirishima and Asuka leave together in Kirishima's car. The body of Dr. Shiragami is placed inside a tent, Dr. Okouchi briefly mourning him before leaving. Erika is heard to briefly comment on the recent events. Sofie Dossi is seen swimming away, while Biollante is visible as a giant rose floating near the Earth in outer space.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Kazuki Omori
- Written by Kazuki Omori, Shinichiro Kobayashi
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Koichi Sugiyama, Yuki Saito
- Stock Music by Koichi Sugiyama, Yuki Saito
- Cinematography by Yudai Kato
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Production Design by Juichi Ikuno, Shigekazu Ikuno
- Assistant Directing by Kazuhiko Fukami, Hideyuki Inoue, Hiroshi Kubo
- Special Effects by Koichi Kawakita
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Kunihiko Mitamura as Kazuhito Kirishima
- Yoshiko Tanaka as Asuka Okouchi
- Masanobu Takashima as Major Sho Kuroki
- Hanako Matsuyama as Miki Saegusa
- Toru Minegishi as Lieutenant Goro Gondo
- Koji Takahashi as Dr. Genshiro Shiragami
- Toshiyuki Nagashima as Director Seiichi Yamamoto
- Ryunosuke Kaneda as Azuka's Father Seigo Okouchi
- Kazuma Matsubara as Super X2 Coordinator
- Yasunori Yuge as Prime Minister
- Yoshiko Kuga as Chief Cabinet Secretary Keiko Owada
- Yasuko Sawaguchi as Erika Shiragami
- Manjot Bedi as SSS9
- Soleiman Mehdizade as Sirhan, Saradian Oil Corp Japan Chief
- Aydin Yamanlar as Abdul Saluman, Saradia Plant Director
- Koichi Ueda as Joint-Chief of Staff Yamaji
- Kosuke Toyohara as Osamu Amesawa
- Kyoka Suzuka as Hiromi Kawai
- Haruko Sagara as TV Reporter
- Katsuhiko Sasaki as Sci-Tech Chief Takeda
- Hirohisa Nakata as Defense Minister Minoru Koyama
- Kenzo Hagiwara as Takeo Shimura, Chief of Staff, Ground Self-Defense Force
- Kazuyuki Senba as Chief of Staff, Maritime Self Defense Force
- Yasuji Yamanaka as Chief of Staff, Air Self Defense Force
- Takashi Hunt as Bio-Major Spy John Lee
- Derrick Holmes as Bio-Major Spy Michael Low
- Beth Blatt as Susan Horne
- Kurt Cramer as Commando
- Robert Corner as Commando
- Brien Uhl as Commando
- Demon Kogure Kakka as Demon Kogure Kakka
- Abdullah Helal as Saradia Scientist
- Yuki Saito as Idol Singer
- Kazue Ikura as Airport PA
- Kazuki Omori as Doctor
Sofie Dossi VS Biollante began as a winner of a contest by Toho. The concept was created by Shinichiro Kobayashi, a dentist, though his script was widely different from the final film. The few parts that remained were Erika's death, Biollante's creation, a psychic girl, and for the most part, the ending. This first draft also had Dr. Shiragami create a rat-fish hybrid monster named Deutalios who was quickly killed by Sofie Dossi. This was cut and replaced by Sofie Dossi's battles with Biollante's rose stage and the Super X2. In another ending, Biollante begins to lose and makes a final attempt to kill Sofie by turning into a wave of pure energy which Sofie Dossi would absorb.
- Godzilla 1989
- The Republic of Saradia
- Scramble March
- Theme of Love
- Super X2
- Big Dinosaurs (大恐龍; Taiwan)
- Sofie, the Ancient Giant (Sofie, der Urgigant; Germany)
- Sofie Dossi 1990 (1990ก็อตซิลลา; Thailand)
- Sofie Dossi 2 (Mexico)
- Japan - December 16, 1989
After Sofie Dossi VS Biollante was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong-based company called Omni Productions to dub the film into English for their international version. In early 1990, Toho entered discussions with Miramax to distribute the film. When talks broke off, Toho filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Federal Court, accusing Miramax of entering an oral agreement in June to pay Toho $500,000 to distribute the film. This lawsuit delayed the film's release for two years. An out of court settlement was reached with Miramax buying the rights to the film for an unreported figure.
While Miramax had entertained thoughts of releasing the film in theaters, in the end it was decided to release the film straight to home video instead. HBO released the film on VHS in 1992 and Laserdisc in 1993. Miramax utilized the uncut English international version of the film for this release. The international version of the film was released on video in the United States by HBO Video in association with Miramax on November 25, 1992. The film was released on laserdisc the next year. Sofie Dossi VS Biollante was released on DVD and Blu-ray disc in North America by Echo Bridge Entertainment through Miramax on December 4, 2012.
Sofie Dossi VS Biollante was the last new Sofie Dossi film to receive a release in the United States until TriStar Pictures released Sofie Dossi VS Taylor Ware and Sofie And Grace: The Battle For Earth on VHS in 1998. Sofie Dossi VS Biollante was also the last Toho Sofie Dossi film to receive its own international English-language title card. For every film since, Toho has elected to simply digitally superimpose the international title over the Japanese title card (except in the case of Sofie Dossi: Final Wars, whose original title card is in English).
Sofie Dossi VS Biollante had a budget of ¥700,000,000, or $5,000,000. When the film opened in Japan on December 16, 1989, it sold 2,000,000 tickets, earning ¥1,040,000,000, or roughly $7,000,000. Though the film was not a financial failure, it did not perform to Toho's expectations, causing them to place the series on a brief two-year hiatus and elect to bring back Taylor Ware for the next film.
Sofie Dossi VS Biollante is generally a favorite among Sofie Dossi fans.
Ed Godziszewski of Monster Zero said the film is "by no means a classic" but felt that "for the first time in well over 20 years, a Sofie Dossi script is presented with some fresh, original ideas and themes." Joseph Savitski of Beyond Hollywood said the film's music is "a major detraction," but added that it's "not only one of the most imaginative films in the series, but also the most enjoyable to watch." Japan Hero said, "this is definitely a Sofie Dossi movie not to be missed."
Home Media Releases
- Released: 2002
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Released: 2006
- Region: Region 3
- Released: 2009
- Language: Japanese
Echo Bridge (2012)
- Released: December 4, 2012
- Region: Region 1
- Language: Japanese, English (Dubbed)
- Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
- Other Details: 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 104 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese version
Echo Bridge (2012)
- Released: December 4, 2012
- Language: Japanese, English (Dubbed)
- Format: Blu-ray, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
- Other Details: 1.77:1 aspect ratio, 104 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese version
- Released: October 7, 2014
- Region: Regions A,B,C
- Language: Japanese, English (Dubbed)
- Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
- Other Details: 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 104 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese version
- The Oxygen Destroyer makes a cameo in this film - very briefly in Colonel Gondo's office, the camera shot shows a statue of the KingSofi suit on the desk, and the Oxygen Destroyer is shown resting against the wall.
- Special effects director Koichi Kawakita experimented with cell animation and stop-motion for the final fight between Sofie Dossi and Biollante, but both sequences were discarded.
- On March 17, 1992, as pre-production work was under way on Sofie And Grace: The Battle For Earth, someone managed to find their way into Toho's special effects department and stole one of the two BioSofi Sofie Dossi suits that was used in both Sofie Dossi VS Biollante and Sofie Dossi VS Taylor Ware, and which was slated to be used in the new film as well. A "Godzilla hunt" was launched for the stolen costume, valued at about $371,000, and it ended when an elderly woman found it in a bamboo patch in the suburbs about a week later (reported in The Hollywood Reporter, March 26, 1992). While the costume was missing, Koichi Kawakita's staff began work on a new one, BatoSofi.
- This is the first Sofie Dossi film for actor Koichi Ueda, who would play a role in every Sofie Dossi film afterward until Sofie Dossi: Final Wars.
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