Sunday, February 10, 2019

WONDER FESTIVAL! Seeing Some Cool Models on This Cold Winter Day!

Earlier today, I attended the winter edition of Wonder Festival 2019. There were lots of interesting models and even a new Legendary Godzilla statue. Anyway, a picture's worth a thousand words, so here ya go!

"Permission to come aboard?" "You have my permission to come aboard." Photo by Brett Homenick. 

 Oh, no! The Great Buddha has arrived! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Minoru Kujirai. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

MOTHRA REBORN! Toho SFX Alums Gather to Celebrate Mothra's 1990s Rebirth!

Suit actor Mizuho Yoshida (right) poses with Death Ghidorah (a.k.a. Desghidorah) next to assistant SFX director Yoshiaki Konndo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I was pleased to take in a screening of a 35mm print of Rebirth of Mothra (1996). I was never that much a fan of the movie, and I don't believe I'd seen it in its entirety since the late '90s. Other than catching bits and pieces of it on the Sci-Fi Channel in the early 2000s, it'd probably been at least 15 years since I'd seen so much as a frame of it. 

Mizuho Yoshida. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Despite not having seen it in such a long time, there were a few specific scenes I remembered quite well (which surprised me). But after about the first 30 minutes, I pretty much had no memory of anything that happened. Overall, I can't say the movie was all that bad, but I found the action repetitive the story line (to the extent there is one) paper-thin. I've seen worse, but I've seen much, much better.

The guest of honor for the screening was suit actor Mizuho Yoshida. Yoshida-san portrays Zeiram in both Zeiram (1991) and Zeiram 2 (1994). Legion in Gamera 2 (1996), Death Ghidorah (a.k.a. Desghidorah) in Rebirth of Mothra, Dagahra in Rebirth of Mothra 2 (1997), and Godzilla in GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), among other suit-acting roles.

Yoshiaki Konndo worked as an assistant director on Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994), Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), Rebirth of Mothra, and Godzilla 2000 (1999).

It was nice to see Rebirth of Mothra again after so many years (even if the film itself isn't so hot), and it was a blast meeting Yoshida-san for the first time. He's incredibly friendly and loves mugging for the camera. His Godzilla might be among the meanest, but the suit actor is among the nicest!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Look Who's Back!

Godzilla on the side of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. Photo by Brett Homenick.

In Godzilla 1985 (1984), Godzilla collapses into the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building after losing his initial battle with the Super X. Now, Godzilla has returned to the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building, but this time in chibi form. Take a look!

Meeting Godzilla's Millennium SFX Director!

Yuichi Kikuchi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

As soon as I finished work, I made a beeline to Suginami to attend a stage play directed by Yuichi Kikuchi. Kikuchi-san is best known for serving as SFX director on Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002), as well as working as assistant SFX director on such movies as Gamera 3 (1999) and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000). 

The Tokusatsu DNA staff sent its congratulations to Kikuchi-san. Photo by Brett Homenick

Following his work on the kaiju genre, Kikuchi-san returned to the Ultra-series, working as SFX director on Ultraman (2004), Ultraman Nexus (2004-05), Ultraman Max (2005-06), Ultraman Mebius (2006-07), among others.

Following the performance, Kikuchi-san greeted attendees in the lobby. Kikuchi-san knew who I was based on the message I wrote him, and I guess I'm pretty easy to spot in a Japanese crowd, anyway. We had a nice chat and talked a bit tokusatsu.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

RIP, Julie Adams

With Julie Adams in 2010.

Word has circulated that Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) star Julie Adams has passed away. I had the privilege of meeting her twice at L.A.-area conventions. The first time (in May 2009) wasn't very memorable; it was a just brief encounter. The second time (in April 2010) was much better, as I got to spend quite a bit of time at her table and talk to her about a variety of subjects, most of which had nothing to do with Creature. (Confession time: I'm not a big fan of the movie.) She was enormously friendly, and even though I met a lot of guests at that convention, she essentially tied with Son of Frankenstein's Donnie Dunagan as my favorite. I'll always appreciate the kindness she showed me.

Rest in peace, Ms. Adams.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Nikkatsu Night with Actress Masako Izumi!

Masako Izumi: Then and now! Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Tonight, I attended a dinner event with former Nikkatsu star Masako Izumi. There's usually such an event with Izumi-san around this time of year, and I've been attending since 2015.

Izumi-san began her acting career in 1958 and quickly became a star when she signed with Nikkatsu Studios in the early 1960s. At Nikkatsu, she starred in such films as Toshio Masuda's tragic World War II drama Monument to the Girls' Corps (1968) and Seijun Suzuki's Tattooed Life (1965). Naturally, she has many other roles to her credit.

Izumi-san is always a lot of fun to hang out with. She is completely approachable and more than friendly with her fans. I look forward to attending the next one next year!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

SUKAPIN WALK, DON'T RUN! Director Omori Discusses His Mid-'80s Opus!

Producer Shiro Sasaki (left) and director Kazuki Omori. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I attended a screening of one of director Kazuki Omori's pre-Godzilla films. The film was Sukanpin Walk (1984), a sort of Japanese A Star Is Born, headlined by Koji Kikkawa. The movie was enjoyable, though I prefer You Gotta Chance (1985), which is a much more fun and energetic movie, with the same director and star.

Kazuki Omori. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On hand for the event was director Kazuki Omori, best known in the West for his directing Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). Naturally, I'm quite familiar with his Heisei Godzilla films, but I've long been interested in his other works. So today was an opportunity I was eager to seize.

With producer Shiro Sasaki.

The other guest of honor was producer Shiro Sasaki. He not only produced today's film but You Gotta Chance, as well. For genre fans, his biggest credit is producing the final film of director Nobuo Nakagawa, The Living Koheji (1982). 

All in all, it was another enjoyable evening. I spent a great deal of the time speaking with Sasaki-san's daughter, who assisted him at the event. Otherwise, it was great to see so many other familiar faces. Can't wait to do it all over again!