Sunday, August 20, 2017
A brand-new, roughly two-meter-tall Godzilla model was recently unveiled in Kawasaki's La Cittadella shopping center (near the area's Cinecitta movie theater). A short walk from Kaiju Sakaba, it gives us our first clear look at how Godzilla: Monster Planet's titular kaiju will look. I visited the kaiju-size model today and snapped a few photos. Enjoy!
Signage leading the way to Kaiju Sakaba. Photo by Brett Homenick.
While in Kawasaki today, I decided to pay a visit to the original Kaiju Sakaba location. Believe it or not, this was my first time to visit the establishment since just after it opened, more than three years ago. Here are my photos. Enjoy!
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Teruyoshi Nakano gets a new tag-team partner. Photo by Brett Homenick.
We were told the rainy season was over. Of course, not only has it rained virtually nonstop since that announcement, but today saw what had to be one of the worst rainstorms of the year. By the time I arrived at tonight's event, I was drenched. (And that was with my umbrella!)
Teruyoshi Nakano. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Still, the rain didn't dampen the mood, and we all managed to have a great time. Shortly after I arrived, Nakano-san and I gave a toast to Haruo Nakajima, who passed away earlier this month.
Takashi Naganuma. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I spent quite a bit of time speaking with Takashi Naganuma. I was especially intrigued by his talk about creating the flying saucers in Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), a personal favorite. Naganuma-san began his tokusatsu career with Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) and designed and built mechanical miniatures for Toho SFX films until the early '90s.
And that's a wrap!
See you next time!
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
I just returned from viewing the new Ultra Seven 50th anniversary exhibit on the 8th floor of the Takashimaya department store in Yokohama. Overall, it was a nice exhibit, although with Ultraman Festival currently happening in Ikebukuro, it felt a little redundant. Many of the displays were similar to the ones there. Photography was not allowed in most of the exhibit (except for a couple of spots), so that was another drawback. Still, if you're in the area, it's worth checking out. The exhibit runs through the 28th of this month. Here are the highlights.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Shinichi Yanagisawa, giving it his all! Photo by Brett Homenick.
It was that time again. I returned to the HUB Asakusa to catch the live performance of Shinichi Yanagisawa and His All-Stars. As usual, they were great.
Yanagisawa-san on the drums. Photo by Brett Homenick.
If you're not familiar with Yanagisawa-san by now, for shame. He played Miyamoto in The X from Outer Space (1967), but these days he keeps busy as a jazz singer and drummer. I've been attending his shows for almost three years, and he never misses a beat.
He's also a heck of a nice guy. It's always wonderful to pay him a visit. I'll certainly be back in two months, and I can't wait!
Posing with his co-star, Kamen Rider. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I had a holiday on Monday, August 14, so I went to see Ulf Otsuki at his home. We watched a few episodes of Kamen Rider Drive (2014-15), on which he guest-starred in two episodes as Harley Hendrickson. Suffice it to say, Drive isn't my favorite show, but it was great to see Ulf in a recent tokusatsu project.
After that, it was off to dinner at a family restaurant with Ulf's family. A great time was had by all. Looking forward to doing it again soon!
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Yours truly at the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I've done countless interviews over the years, but it's a much rarer occasion (to say the very least) for me to be the subject of an interview. So I'm very pleased to share Patrick Galvan's interview with me that has just been published on Toho Kingdom.
Patrick did a fantastic job with his interview, and it was great to have the opportunity to address the questions he asked.
Check it out, and let me know what you think.
The movie lineup at Ikebukuro's Shin-Bungeiza. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Shin-Bungeiza in Ikebukuro hosted an all-night Godzilla move marathon on the evening of August 12 through the morning of August 13. While I don't usually go for all-night events (for what I hope are obvious reasons), this one was an exception.
The marathon kicked things off with a rare screening of the 4K-remastered King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This was something I certainly wanted to see, so I braced myself for a bleary-eyed evening (and morning) of no sleep.
I was surprised at the turnout. The theater, which holds 264 people, seemed nearly sold out. I couldn't believe so many others wanted to spend a muggy August evening in a crowded movie theater, but I guess I wasn't alone. The digital projection of King Kong vs. Godzilla in 4K was truly a revelation, and there were many small details I'd never noticed before.
Also, the movie was loud. The monster roars and other sound effects were about as noisy as any you'd find in Hollywood these days. Seeing the movie so clearly was a reminder of what a lavish production the film really was, which often gets ignored by fans who'd rather focus on the King Kong suit. The number of extras, locations, and special effects stand out more than ever before.
The next screening was Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971) in 35mm. Before the movie played, Japanese trailers for Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla (2014) were shown. I don't believe I'd ever seen Smog Monster projected in Japan before, so I was pleased to have the opportunity. Having lost Yoshimitsu Banno and Haruo Nakajima recently, it was a great way to pay tribute to their careers.
After another break, a few trailers were shown. These included original Japanese trailers for all the '70s Godzilla films, as well as the ones for Son of Godzilla (1967) and Yog Monster from Space (1970). Once those were finished, it was time for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) in 35mm. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love this movie. After having first seen the movie more than 30 years ago, it's part of my DNA. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it, but it never gets old.
Last but not least, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) screened in 35mm. Unfortunately, this was the Japanese version, so all the English lines were dubbed over in Japanese, taking away a lot of the fun of the movie. With maybe about 20 minutes left, I have to admit I left the theater early to go home. Not because I hate the movie (far from it), but by this time it was almost 6:00 a.m. (!) and I needed to get some sleep.
The Godzilla statue at Toho Studios. Photo by Brett Homenick.
In 1954, Japanese audiences witnessed fire and fury (and frankly power), the likes of which movie audiences had never seen before. Godzilla's legacy as a groundbreaking monster movie continues to be felt to do this day, with various remakes, reboots, and reimaginings being produced on both sides of the Pacific.
In light of recent events, I paid another visit to Toho Studios to celebrate this legacy as well as the life of the man who brought Godzilla to life.
A fan-made tribute to Haruo Nakajima was left at the studio. I can't say for sure who made it, but whoever it was probably used to make expressions in animation.
And here is a closeup of a Godzilla figure placed among the flowers and photos. Rest in peace, Mr. Nakajima.