The trilogy is a weird mash-up of two sub-genres of films that the Japanese film industry excelled at: the samurai film and the giant monster movie. In both films, innocent villagers are enslaved by evil warlords and forced to perform back breaking labor before being rescued by Majin, a giant stone statue of a samurai warrior that comes to lumbering life in the last reel and saves the day.
The giant monster material is held back until the very end of both films but the action is well worth the wait. Using a combination of a man in a rubber suit, mechanical puppets/statues, rear-screen projection, miniature sets and other special effects, these sequences are extremely impressive. Majin is not the comic hero that Godzilla eventually became. He's a grim, implacable force of nature that will not stop until all of the bad guys and the chief villain are utterly destroyed.
The production values are first rate, there's lots of beautiful scenery of Japanese mountains and forests and the sets, costumes and weapons are authentic looking. The first film is the better of the two with it's focus on an exiled prince and princess trying to regain their kingdom. In the second film, four young boys set off to pray to the Majin for help in rescuing their fathers and brothers who are woodcutters forced to toil in a sulfur mine.
We'll definitely seek out the third film which is also confusingly named RETURN OF DAIMAJIN in the United States. It's an offbeat concept that works surprisingly well and just goes to prove that no matter how many films I've seen, there's still more stuff out there that I don't know about and haven't seen. Thumbs up.