Sunday, January 10, 2016

SUPER FESTIVAL 70! A King Kong Escapes Reunion and More!

Akira Takarada and Linda Miller share a hug for the first time since 1967! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Japanese monster movies have always been bigger and better than American monster movies. That's what I've always liked about them. It's no exception with their special events, which are always bigger and better than their American counterparts.

Haruo Nakajima, Akira Takarada, and Linda Miller discuss the making of King Kong Escapes (1967). Photo by Brett Homenick.

Super Festival 70, taking place on January 10, proved to be the same way. The organizers of Super Festival brought together three of the stars of Toho's celebrated King Kong Escapes (1967) for the first time ever. Akira Takarada, Haruo Nakajima, and Linda Miller shared the stage to discuss the production of this kaiju classic.

Of course, there was a lot of joking around, too, which made the panel discussion so special. Others will try to imitate it, I'm sure, but there's nothing quite like the first time.

Hiroshi Sagae shows off one of his latest sculpts. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

After the King Kong Escapes interview, I walked around the convention center and ran into many familiar faces. One of whom was Hiroshi Sagae, a sculptor who has worked on numerous projects from the Heisei era. We had a nice chat, and he showed me some of his latest works.

Kamen Rider takes the stage at Super Festival! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Yuta Mochizuki was interviewed onstage about his starring role in Keita Amemiya's Kamen Rider J (1994). Mochizuki-san is well known to fans of Super Sentai and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, as he starred in the series Zyuranger (1992-93), which was Americanized as the Power Rangers.

Yuta Mochizuki addresses the audience at Super Festival. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The interviewer read a special message from director Keita Amemiya, which he then gave to Mochizuki-san. He certainly seemed impressed by it!

While walking the floor, I met Sojiro Uchino, whom I've blogged about several times. Uchino-san was a child actor who appeared in episodes of Ultra Q and Ultraman, among other series and movies. Uchino-san usually makes appearances at Super Festival.

Nobuyuki Ishida reunites with his heroic alter ego, Mirrorman! Photo by Brett Homenick.

I also caught part of the interview with Mirrorman (1971-72) star Nobuyuki Ishida. His onstage reunion with Mirrorman was particularly amusing!

Nobuyuki Ishida answers the questions posed to him about his famous TV program. Photo by Brett Homenick.

While wandering around, I bumped in to another Japanese celebrity who was not there as a guest but as a fan. Interestingly, he was one of the featured guests as the last Super Festival!

Striking a pose with Eiichi Kikuchi, a veteran Tsuburaya Productions suit actor. 

Eiichi Kikuchi was at the show, checking out the merchandise for sale and listening to the guest interviews. Kikuchi-san was the (Ultra-)man in the suit for Return of Ultraman (1971-72) and even played Ultra Seven for the King Joe episodes of the 1967-68 series.

After all that, it was time to meet the guests. It was great to see Akira Takarada again...

... as well as Linda Miller...

... and Haruo Nakajima! Whew, so much to say. A lot happened at Super Festival, so I must commend the organizers and Ms. Kojima for a job well done. It was a blast!

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