Yours truly in between the two stars of Destroy All Monsters (1968): Akira Kubo and Yukiko Kobayashi.
I was lucky to attend a special event on Saturday March 28, in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, at the Toshima Public Hall. The event hosted a reunion of three Destroy All Monsters (1968) cast members: Akira Kubo (Katsuo Yamabe), Yukiko Kobayashi (Kyoko Manabe), and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla). Other special guests from the superhero genre were on hand, but the meat and potatoes of the event was most certainly Toho's monster romp.
Ultraman Jack suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi talks about everything from James Bond to Ultra Seven. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The event kicked off with Return of Ultraman (1971-72) suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi taking the stage and talking about his work in the Ultraman Jack suit. He also discussed appearing in a fight scene in the James Bond thriller You Only Live Twice (1967) as well as playing Ultra Seven for a couple of episodes in the 1967-68 series of the same name.
Actress Yukiko Kobayashi listens intently as Haruo Nakajima talks shop. Photo by Brett Homenick.
After Kikuchi-san finished talking about all things Ultraman, it was time for the three Toho favorites to make their appearance and reminisce about Destroy All Monsters. Two tables were quickly set up for the guests, with Kubo-san and Kobayashi-san sitting next to each other, and Nakajima-san and Kiuchi-san paired off together.
Actor Akira Kubo was in great spirits for the reunion of his most celebrated movie role (at least to kaiju fans in the West). Photo by Brett Homenick.
The most interesting story (for me) happened when the moderator asked the guests if they had seen the new American Godzilla movie. Kubo-san said that he didn't like it very much, and while I share Kubo-san's sentiments, I must admit that it was Kobayashi-san's answer that really made me take notice.
Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima shares his memories inside the latex Godzilla costume. Photo by Brett Homenick.
When asked if she had seen the new movie, she answered no, but that she likes dinosaurs (especially T-rexes) and that she is a fan of Jurassic Park (1993). Her answer was surprising to me, but entirely delightful. I never would have guessed her to be a dinosaur buff!
Space Sheriff Gavan himself (Kenji Ohba) made a surprise appearance onstage. Photo by Brett Homenick.
After the Q&A wrapped, a surprise guest came onstage and addressed everyone in the auditorium. It was none other than Kenji Ohba, the star of Space Sheriff Gavan (1982-83) and other Toei Metal Hero shows.
It's all smiles whenever Haruo Nakajima and I get a chance to meet!
Following that, the autograph session began, and I was able to get numerous items signed by the guests. the show's organizer and promoter (Dr. Abbey) cheerfully introduced me to Kubo-san and Kobayashi-san, but Kubo-san recognized me from the Kyoto event from December 2011.
One of the items Kobayashi-san signed for me was a booklet from a 1969 Konto 55 comedy she appeared in. At first, Kobayashi-san didn't seem to remember she was in it until I pointed out her photo inside the booklet. Then she remembered. She was truly a wonderful lady!
Nakajima-san was great, as usual. His daughter, Sonoe, was assisting him, as she always does at these shows. When I was getting my items signed by Kobayashi-san, Nakajima-san greeted me by name! I was so surprised that went over to him and greeted him back, but I wasn't even finished with Kobayashi-san yet! Nakajima-san is always very friendly and kind, and I hope I have many more chances to see him.
That's a wrap! The principal guests take the stage for a group photo op. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Overall, it was a fantastic event, and it was organized by people who wanted to let the fans have a great time. I must give credit to Dr. Abbey and the others for putting on a great event and giving the fans so much access to the guests. I look forward to the next events in the future!