If you have not yet watched GoShogun: The Time Étranger, close this window and go watch the movie before reading this. You are doing yourself a massive disservice otherwise.
Takeshi Shudo is the original creator and screenwriter for the movie GoShogun: The Time Étranger and the GoShogun TV series. He is also the author of the novel version of GoShogun: The Time Étranger. Neither seems to necessarily be considered the original work. He himself would probably have considered the screenplay he wrote to be closest to his vision, unsurprisingly.
Below is a compilation of differences that stood out to me between the novel and the movie. This is not a comprehensive list of differences. The movie section references the corresponding scene to the novel pages. For differences where a novel contains a scene that was omitted from the movie, the indicated movie section spans adjacent scenes in the movie. If the omitted scene had been included in the movie, it would take place in between the referenced adjacent scenes. Given the lack of chronological linearity in this story, this means that sometimes an omitted scene would have been shown between two adjacent scenes in the movie belonging to unconnected sections of time.
Brief Scene Description: Remy walks in on her mother and a man in the middle of intercourse.
Novel Page(s): 40 – 42
Movie Section: 00:10:51 – 00:11:20
In the movie Remy’s mother and the man are done having sex before Remy comes into the room. In the novel Remy opens the door and makes eye contact with her mother, who is in the middle of intercourse and underneath the man. During this eye contact Remy’s mother sheds a single tear.
Brief Scene Description: A used car salesman pays a visit to the GoShogun team at the hospital.
Novel Page(s): 91 – 93
Movie Section: 00:32:20 – 00:33:00
The movie omits a scene which would have been inserted between 7 year old Remy falling in the pit and the cops and old lady explaining the fated death customs of the town. In the omitted scene, Remy’s 5 hour long surgery has just finished. A used car salesman comes to the waiting room to deliver money to Remy for car scraps sold. The other five members of the GoShogun team are in the waiting room. As a consequence of the car accident, the used car can no longer be sold second-hand as intended by Remy.
The car salesman says that “Remy joked that it should be enough to cover the cost of a funeral… but for this to happen…” When the team finally realizes why he is here, Killy gets up and yells at the car salesman “get the fuck out.” Shingo calms him down and composedly accepts the money on Remy’s behalf. Kernagul asks in response to Shingo’s actions, “No way… You haven’t given up on Remy have you?” Shingo responds “No, it’s not that. This is the money that Remy prepared, the Remy who lived on her own until now. She must have been aware of her illness. She was probably prepared to die. That’s why 40 years since we were all together she tried to meet with us…” During this exchange, Bundle stares silently at glowing “NO VISITORS” sign above the entrance to Remy’s hospital room.
Brief Scene Description: Cuttnal points out to Shingo that the desert townspeople do not bleed.
Novel Page(s): 107 – 109
Movie Section: 00:38:33 – 00:39:54
After the police brutally shoot the townspeople that tried to attack the GoShogun team in the hotel, Cuttnal explicitly points out to Shingo that the townspeople do not bleed. Although this exchange between the two is not shown in the movie, the movie’s portrayal of the harmed or killed citizens is consistent with this.
Brief Scene Description: Remy gives a goodnight kiss to her GoShogun teammates.
Novel Page(s): 140 – 142
Movie Section: 00:56:15 – 00:56:43
The movie omits a scene that would have taken place in between the scene where Remy is unable to escape the desert town with Bundle, and the hospital scene where the head doctor tells the nurse “you’d better make the arrangements.” After the failed town escape, the six members of the GoShogun team return to the hotel and transition from talking about the letters decreeing their respective fates to a humorous exchange about fan letters. Remy decides to go to bed and gives all the other members, one by one, a goodnight kiss (the novel explicitly notes as being not on the lips). This is the first time Remy has ever done something like this.
Brief Scene Description: The nurse arranges for the highest class hearse available.
Novel Page(s): 143
Movie Section: 00:56:43 – 00:57:05
In the novel, the hospital scene where the nurse is told to make arrangements is extended. The arrangements the nurse makes are to reserve the highest class hearse for Remy. Such a hearse is typically only reserved for famous individuals. Kernagul and Cuttnal notice the hearse upon peering through a window from the men’s room. Cuttnal remarks that such a hearse is only reserved for famous individuals and hence such a person probably died. He also adds that such a thing is a bad omen for Remy.
Brief Scene Description: Remy reflects upon the extremist religion in the desert town.
Novel Page(s): 146
Movie Section: 00:57:48 – 00:58:25
The movie omits Remy’s pondering of the desert city and its people. This happens after she wakes up, gets out of bed, and looks out the window and says “Tomorrow’s the day” but before she enters the bath and afterwards prepares for the raid on the central tower. In the modern political climate (different from that of 1985, when the movie came out), it’s hard to not notice that the movie contains somewhat of a damning portrayal of Muslim extremism. More so than trying to target actual Islam however, the movie uses a made-up fantasy Islam to convey the concept of extremist religion. This sort of behavior is juxtaposed throughout the movie to Remy’s free willed spirit. In the novel Remy notes to herself that earth is not unlike this desert town. Even without the existence of this desert god, earthlings submit their free will to various greater powers and are unable to live freely as a result.
Brief Scene Description: Remy remarks that perhaps everything will be over, with her locket empty in the end.
Novel Page(s): 152
Movie Section: 01:00:25 – 01:01:04
In the movie during the night before the GoShogun team heads towards the central tower, Remy prepares by loading her gun and replacing the locket around her neck with her last bullet, merely remarking “an empty locket” before she takes it off. In the novel Remy further adds “perhaps it’ll be all over, with this locket empty in the end.”
Brief Scene Description: The 7 year old Remy trapped in a pit meets the shadows of her future comrades.
Novel Page(s): 167 – 168
Movie Section: 01:05:17 – 01:06:51
In the movie the 7 year old Remy who is trapped in the pit sees and talks with shadows of the future GoShogun teammates (who too are children) which she has yet to meet. The novel elaborates further on each of their backstories.
One boy (Killy) says “I had nothing. From the day I was born I had no parents, no siblings, nor even a house with a light. I’d run away and be caught and taken back to orphanage in the Bronx, my home.”
Another boy (Shingo) says “My parents died when I was young. I’m now studying to be a spy, fitting for me as I have no relatives. That’s also why I have no friends…”
A soft spoken boy (Bundle) says “I don’t like to talk about myself to others. There’s no difference even if I said anything. However what is certain is that I am alone. Even if we live in different places, we are all alone.” The boy is of European nobility. His weak mother passed away immediately after giving birth to him. The woman to which his father remarried and soon gave birth tried to make her birth son the successor to the family. That is why the boy (Bundle) from a young age was regarded as a hindrance in the middle of a battle for successorship, and proceeded through the days in isolation.
Another fast-spoken boy (Cuttnal) then says “Even if we are all alone, perhaps one day we will meet.” The other boy’s father, President of the United States, was killed in a terrorist bombing. The boy too was wrapped up in this terrorist bombing, and lost an eye as a result. The mother which the boy loved then abandoned the boy to remarry with an extremely wealthy Arabian. Through a specialist lawyer he received plenty of money in child support, but the days without his mother jaded him as he proceeded to live without friends.
Another boy with a large frame (Kernagul), was born a war orphan in the middle of an internal conflict in Africa. A wealthy Hollywood actor flaunting his charitable actions brought him and 30 other orphans to America. However the boy with his excessive size, power, and violent personality was feared by the other orphans. Consequently he was hated by the charitable actor. The boy fled from his home and wandered the the slums and became a delinquent bodyguard. The boy had no choice but to rely on his wild strength to live. The boy eventually saw a torn up flyer for boxing and learned that there was a way to live honestly whilst relying purely on strength. The boy dreamed of the day he would become a boxer. However, even now the boy was seen by those around him as nothing but a grotesque and powerful monster. The boy impudently says “If we are able to meet in the future, don’t be afraid of my rough exterior.”
Yes, that is correct. Kernagul is not a blue skinned alien. He is just African. Okay maybe he had immigrant alien parents, who knows.
Brief Scene Description: Before entering the clock room, Remy perceives the interior of the central tower differently from Shingo and Killy.
Novel Page(s): 175
Movie Section: 01:10:33 – 01:11:05
The GoShogun team, except Kernagul and Cuttnal who are still outdoors, enter the imposing tower in the desert town. The novel notes that Remy perceives the room to contain grotesque and abstract art, which offends her appreciation of art developed from living in Paris and playing in art galleries. However, Shingo and Killy see the room differently. They see none of the art that Remy does, but instead see moving monuments and modern floors that remind them of a library or a museum. All three of them have a vague feeling that they have seen these things in the past. They then proceed to blast the door open to a room with the old lady and the clocks on the walls.
Brief Scene Description: In the clock room, the history of Remy from the past to the future is laid out in front of her.
Novel Page(s): 179 – 180
Movie Section: 01:13:12 – 01:13:16
In the clock room, Remy sees the history of her own struggles throughout her lifetime (in the movie, one of the clocks even shows her on her hospital deathbed in the future). The novel further explicitly notes that in that moment she can see the car accident she faces in the future. Also mentioned in the novel is a sculpture in the room that is melting in flames, and shape-shifts into a depiction of Remy being embraced by men. These were men who “ran through Remy and her pendant.” In addition to those, there were also “men who trampled on her.”
Brief Scene Description: The dirty cop tries to strangle Remy.
Novel Page(s): 184
Movie Section: 01:14:23 – 01:14:47
The movie is more subtle about the fact that the cop who attempts to strange Remy, after the central tower is blown up, appears to be the same person as the man who slept with Remy’s mother. The movie clues you into this by the similar character design and the fact that the cop says to Remy: “You cannot change your fate, little streetwalker!” The novel is more explicit about this connection. The cop instead says “You became quite the beauty after all. But you cannot change your fate, little streetwalker!”
Brief Scene Description: Remy comes back to life in the hospital.
Novel Page(s): 206 – 207
Movie Section: 01:23:10 – 01:23:36
The novel lengthens the final hospital scene where Remy comes back to life (supposedly). She detaches herself from the various instruments connected to her and nonchalantly shrugs and walks past the chief doctor, who has fallen from shock and disbelief. The nurse also has to cancel the reserved hearse. Upon trying to clarify what she means by cancel the hearse, she explains happened the intended recipient unexpectedly came back to life. This was an unprecedented occurrence.
Brief Scene Description: One Remy reminds another Remy that as long as you stay alive, you may one day find people who will be special to you.
Novel Page(s): 208 – 209
Movie Section: 01:23:37 – 01:24:02
In the movie the adult Remy is talking to the 7 year old Remy in the desert graveyard, telling her that as long as you stay alive, even if you’re not sure you will ever meet these people, you may find people who will be special to you. In the novel, the mysterious antagonist girl and old lady are standing in the desert graveyard, and the 7 year old Remy says this dialogue to the mysterious girl. Basically for this scene, novel 7 year old Remy is equivalent to movie adult Remy, and novel mysterious antagonist girl is equivalent to movie 7 year old Remy. The dialogue in this scene is almost entirely the same between the novel and movie. The novel does extend the scene a little, explicitly noting the desert graveyard was disappearing before their eyes.
Brief Scene Description: Six people wander a desert storm, and continue to live as they please.
Novel Page(s): 214 – 215
Movie Section: 00:00:05 – 00:01:33
There is an epilogue in the novel which is not quite shown in the movie. It would take place after the surreal scene where the GoShogun members walk off into the distance with the (supposedly) revived Remy but before the onscreen text preceding the credits roll. This epilogue picks up from the middle of the prologue of both the novel and movie. This prologue shows Remy looking for her comrades. She fires a gunshot into the desert storm in an attempt to broadcast her location. In the overlapping section between the prologue and epilogue, the scene is described slightly differently. One difference is that the prologue explicitly names the male GoShogun members, whereas in the epilogue they are unnamed. The epilogue adds that the six people who wandered the desert will not be stopped. Those six people would continue to live the way they want, and never stop doing so. Overall, Remy in the prologue seems to be more concerned about her situation whereas Remy in the epilogue is more carefree and composed.
Brief Scene Description: AND SEE YOU AGAIN
Novel Page(s): 215
Movie Section: 01:26:33 – 01:28:42
The movie ends before the credits roll with the onscreen text “And somewhere in endless time, their journey still continues”, with the final text after the credits roll being “SEE YOU AGAIN”. The last lines of the novel’s epilogue are as follows:
And somewhere in endless time, their journey still continues.
SEE YOU AGAIN