Friday, October 31, 2014

HALLOWEEN IN TOKYO! Even Tokusatsu Veterans Get into the Spooky Spirit!

Hanging out with Godzilla series screenwriter Wataru Mimura in Shinjuku on Halloween.

Halloween is a holiday that is growing in popularity in Japan. Walking around Shibuya earlier tonight, I've never seen it more crowded. That is no understatement. It was jam-packed with people in various costumes, usually zombie- or superhero-related outfits. There were some Super Mario cosplayers, and even a couple of young ladies dressed up as the titular character from Seth MacFarlane's Ted! Sadly (but as expected), tokusatsu costumes were lacking among the crowds.

All that aside, I spent my Halloween in the company of two figures from the modern era of Japanese SFX movies and TV programs. First, I met Toho scribe Wataru Mimura in Shinjuku. Mimura-san penned the screenplays for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) and Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994). He co-wrote the scripts for Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002), and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). We met at the Shinjuku Piccadilly multiplex, in which a large-scale replica of Space Battleship Yamato was on display. I'm not an anime fan at all, but I just had to get a photo of it!

Mimura-san and I spent a couple of hours together, eating and chatting about movies. It was a wonderful time, and I look forward to seeing Mimura-san again.

With Tsuburaya Productions director Kengo Kaji in Omote-sando.

Afterward I met writer-director Kengo Kaji in Omote-sando. Kaji-san directed episodes of Ultraman Max (2005-06), Ultraman Mebius (2006-07), Ultra Seven X (2007), as well as the recent series Ultraman Ginga (2013). Kaji-san co-wrote the horror films Eko Eko Azarak: Misa the Dark Angel (1998) and Tokyo Gore Police (2008). We likewise spent a couple of hours together, shooting the breeze about various tokusatsu topics. It was the first time I'd gotten to see Kaji-san in person since interviewing him in 2012. I'm very glad to have seen him again!

To say the least, this was a unique Halloween for me, but one I'll always remember fondly. As if all that weren't cool enough, I even bumped into Batman in Shibuya. I wish he would have done more to keep the crowds in check! Happy Halloween!

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