Sunday, March 26, 2017

CELEBRATING YASUYUKI INOUE! A Special Exhibit Salutes the Life of the Famed Toho Production Designer!

The Ebina Civic Art Gallery in Ebina, Kanagawa, is hosting an exhibition of Toho SFX production designer Yasuyuki Inoue's design work from March 25 through April 2. The event is completely free to attend, although if you're interested in spending some money, a souvenir book of the exhibit (along with other books and even DVDs) are available for purchase.

Due to my work schedule, I wasn't able to attend the opening ceremony yesterday. Godzilla series producer Shogo Tomiyama attended the opening, along with other SFX luminaries. Luckily, though, I was still able to meet a couple of them.

SFX production designer Toshio Miike. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On hand at the gallery was veteran SFX art director and production designer Toshio Miike, who has worked on: Gunhed (1989), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Zeiram (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2 (1996), Gamera 3 (1999), GMK (2001), Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003), Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and Shin Godzilla (2016). Yesterday, Miike-san hosted a special screening of Godzilla 1985 (1984) at the nearby Ebina Culture Center.

Shortly after I arrived at the gallery, former Toho model maker Akinori Takagi entered the building. I was quite surprised. I met Takagi-san (along with Yasuyuki Inoue) back in 2004 at a movie screening in Hollywood. I hadn't seen Takagi-san since. Suffice it to say, I was glad to see him again, and it was long overdue.

After viewing the exhibit, which included scripts, design sketches, and behind-the-scenes photos, I added my sketch of Godzilla to one of the gallery's sign boards, where it stands among the signatures of other fans and SFX pros alike,

Toho model maker Akinori Takagi (left) and Toshio Miike (right). Photo by Brett Homenick. 

During this time, I struck up a conversation with Miike-san. We talked about a variety of subjects, and it was nice to get a chance to have a detailed conversation with him. (When we last met, it was very brief!) When Takagi-san and his family finished viewing the exhibition, he joined our conversation. Through his granddaughter (who recently studied abroad in Australia), he talked about his tokusatsu work, particularly the details of creating Mothra's elaborate eyes.

All in all, it was a great celebration of the life of Yasuyuki Inoue. I couldn't imagine it being celebrated in any other way. I'm very glad I was able to attend, and I must thank Miike-san for his help and hospitality.

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