Monday, February 13, 2012

Mr. Takarada at Tokyo Station

If you don't know us by now, why are you even here?!

Before heading out to Wonder Festival, I had the opportunity to meet very briefly with Akira Takarada at Tokyo Station. Mr. Takarada was in transit from one acting job to another, so we only had a few minutes. Still, any time spent with the living legend is worth the trip to Tokyo.

It's the envelope!

I needed to finalize some G-FEST-related business with Mr. Takarada, which easily took the majority of the time. (Mr. Takarada headlines G-FEST in Chicago this July. For more information, go here.

Two dudes with attitudes.

It was all too short but (as always) very enjoyable. We'll see you in Chi-town this summer!

Wonder Festival 2012

February 12, 2012, brought Kaiyodo's Wonder Festival to its usual base of activity, the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex. Just a few minutes (okay, over a half hour) from Tokyo Station on the JR Keiyo Line (which is different from the Keio Line), Wonder Festival offers all sorts of goodies for model builders and connoisseurs. Being neither myself, I wanted to look around, anyway.

To be sure, there were many impressive model kits on display. That said, I know nothing about sculpting, sculptors, or anything else that's relevant to this particular hobby, so I'll let the photos do the talking for me.

Okay, I'll say a few words! Here I am with Katsumi Shiono, a Kamen Rider and Super Sentai voice actor.

And here's yours truly with my good friend Kumi, one of the sweetest ladies you're likely to find anywhere!

Anna Nakagawa discusses Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Actress Anna Nakagawa poses with a copy of G-FAN magazine. Photo © Brett Homenick.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah has long been one of the genre's most popular entries. The film's star, Anna Nakagawa, played one of the best characters in the Heisei-era Godzilla series, Emmy Kano. However, Ms. Nakagawa's stories have never been covered by Western sources. Until now.

On February 11, 2012, I had the privilege of interviewing Anna Nakagawa for G-FAN magazine. We met at Ulf Otsuki's cafe in the morning and had a laid-back, informal interview (more like a chat, actually) that lasted about 30 minutes. After interviewing so many of the cast and crew of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, I wasn't sure there was anything new for me to learn about the movie. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how wrong I was!

The interview in progress.

As tempted as I am to share some anecdotes, I've got to save something for publication! I think everyone who reads the interview will be as impressed as I was. Ms. Nakagawa had many fond (and funny!) memories to share.

That's a wrap! Yours truly with Anna Nakagawa (and G-FAN).

Keep an eye out for the interview in the next few issues of G-FAN! It'll certainly be worth the wait!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


G-FEST XIX is proud to announce that two of kaijudom's most iconic figures will headline this summer's convention, July 13-15 at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, IL.

Making his triumphant return to G-FEST is AKIRA TAKARADA, who in 1954 starred in the original Godzilla as Hideto Ogata. Mr. Takarada also stars in Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), Monster Zero (1965), Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), and co-stars in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Mr. Takarada lent his acting talents to many of Toho's other tokusatsu eiga, including Half Human (1955), The Last War (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967), and Latitude Zero (1969). Mr. Takarada remains active in the entertainment business in Japan and, as he did in 2010, will miss rehearsals of a play he is working on to meet his American fans again.

Born in 1934, Mr. Takarada joined Toho in 1953 through the studio's New Face program. Fellow kaiju eiga alumni Momoko Kochi, Kenji Sahara, and Yu Fujiki were classmates of Mr. Takarada's in the program. Mr. Takarada's third film was his starring role in Godzilla (1954), which was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray by Criterion. G-fans in attendance can have their Criterion discs signed by Ogata himself!

Appearing for the first time in the United States is BIN FURUYA, best known for playing television's greatest superhero, Ultraman. As a suit actor, Mr. Furuya played Ultraman in all 39 episodes of groundbreaking 1966-67 Ultraman series. Following the success of the original Ultraman, he was cast as Ultra Garrison member Amagi in Ultra Seven (1967-68). Born in 1943, Mr. Furuya's acting career dates back to the early 1960s, during which time he had small (and mostly uncredited) background roles in many Toho features, such as Mothra (1961), The Last War (1961), Gorath (1962), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (1963), Atragon (1963), Dogora the Space Monster (1964), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), Monster Zero (1965), and War of the Gargantuas (1966). Before Ultraman, Mr. Furuya worked as a suit actor on Ultra Q (1966), playing Kemur in episode #19 and Ragon in episode #20. More recently, Mr. Furuya appeared alongside fellow genre legends Yosuke Natsuki and Susumu Kurobe in Minoru Kawasaki's Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (2008). Mr. Furuya looks forward to meeting his American fans at his first U.S. convention appearance.

More updates will follow in the coming weeks. G-FEST XIX takes place on July 13-15. Make plans to attend this monstrous convention now!