Monday, October 30, 2017

GODZILLA STORE OPENS! But Will Tokyo Ever Be the Same?

 In case you didn't know... Photo by Brett Homenick.

October 30 marked the grand opening of the Godzilla Store Tokyo. Located on the first floor of the Shinjuku Marui Annex Building (just outside Shinjuku-sanchome Station), it brings the latest Godzilla goods directly to you in convenient, one-stop shopping. 

It's actually more like a corner than an actual shop, but the line to get in was so long that I just snapped photos from the outside. Truthfully, I didn't see anything there that particularly interested me. (And I wasn't going to wait in that line even if I did!) If you're a hardcore collector, the Godzilla Store will likely appeal to you, but for non-collectors like me, it was easy for me to walk away empty-handed. Anyway, here's what you can find there.


Two Godzillas?! What does it mean? Photo by Brett Homenick.

The promotion for next month's Godzilla: Monster Planet has kicked up into high gear, which is rather evident at the Toho Cinemas in Shinjuku. Here's how things look there.

HALLOWEEN X GODZILLA! Shinjuku's Marui Gets in on the Fun!

Godzilla wishes you a Happy Halloween! Photo by Brett Homenick.

The Marui campaign promoting Godzilla: Monster Planet has come to Shinjuku in a big way. How big, you ask? Check out the photos I took today, and see for yourself!

GODZILLA SEZ: "Visit Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park!"

An advertisement for Odakyu's Tanzawa-Oyama Freepass at Seijogakuen-mae Station. Photo by Brett Homenick.

It looks like Odakyu Electric Railway has found the perfect spokesman to advertise its Tanzawa-Oyama Freepass -- the King of the Monsters himself! So if you're wanting a convenient pass that will get you into all the best spots in the Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park (yes, that's its real name), Godzilla's got your hookup.  

As you can see from the poster, the campaign runs from November 1 until December 10. Maybe I'll check it out; it sounds like a beautiful area to explore in the fall. In any case, that's one heck of a poster!

A Pleasant Afternoon with a Toho Director

With director Tom Kotani.

This afternoon, I had a pleasant lunch with director Tom Kotani (The Last Dinosaur), who shared many stories about his directing career at Toho and Tsuburaya Productions. I certainly hope to have the chance to see him again soon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SUPER SENTAI IN A FLASH! Flashman Alums Team Up with the Toei All-Stars!

Now that's a photo that puts the "super" in Super Sentai! Who are all these actors? Keep reading to find out! 

Today I attended another performance by various alumni of the Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series. It was a lot of fun, as usual, and in particular I enjoyed a rather lengthy chat with actress Hitomi Yoshii. Anyway, with that said, let's get on to the photos!

A Flashman reunion! With Tota Tarumi (Red Flash), Miyuki Nagato (Wolk), Sayoko Hagiwara (Leh Nafel), and Kihachiro Uemura (Green Flash).

The ladies of Toei! Mai Oishi (Change Phoenix from Changeman), Miyuki Nagato, Sayoko Hagiwara (Dyna Pink from Dynaman), and Yumiko Tanaka (Harumi Kusanami from Kamen Rider Super-1).

From left to right: Koji Unoki (Dyna Blue from Dynaman), Mai Oishi, Hitomi Yoshii (High Priestess Bishium from Kamen Rider Black), and Kenju Hayashi (Prince Megiddo from Dynaman).

From left to right: Ryosuke Sakamoto (Red One from Bioman), Lisa Komaki (Peggy Matsuyama from Goranger), Hiroyuki Takano (Kentaro Shiratori from Barom-1), and Toshimichi Takahashi (from just about everything!).

GODZILLA GENERATION! Celebrating the Work of Three Major Godzilla Artists!

Godzilla Generation! Photo by Brett Homenick. 

When thinking about the most talented artists in the world of Godzilla, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a name other than Noriyoshi Ohrai, Yuji Kaida, or Shinji Nishikawa. So, with the release of the first animated Godzilla movie less than a month away, a special exhibit on the 8th floor of Tower Records in Shibuya gives Godzilla fans the opportunity to study their original paintings up close.

And what excellent work it is. All sorts of kaiju are in display. Even Jet Jaguar gets his due! There are even some design sketches, most notably for Biollante. Shin Godzilla was also well represented among the artwork.

But the highlight for me by far was seeing Noriyoshi Ohrai's paintings for the Heisei- and Millennium-era movie posters. The detail was incredible, and I'm not sure I'd ever seen the paintings without the movie titles at the bottom. Suffice it to say, those paintings received the bulk of my attention.

As you buy your ticket (800 yen), you can choose from several Nishikawa-illustrated kaiju coasters free of charge. I chose the Space Godzilla one.

At the end of the gallery, of course, was a gift shop with lots of goodies for sale. I even picked up a couple of items. Nothing too expensive, natch. Just some postcards with Ohrai's Heisei-era poster art and a file folder with Ohrai's Godzilla 1985 poster art.

Godzilla Generation runs from October 27 until November 19. Be sure to check it out while you can!

GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET IN SHIBUYA! Godzilla and Halloween Join Forces This Season!

While in Shibuya tonight (braving yet another typhoon), I noticed that Shibuya Marui is decked out in its Godzilla: Monster Planet/Halloween cross-promotion. Of course, the I saw essentially the same thing in Machida a few weeks ago, but I snapped some pictures of what I saw in Shibuya. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

ATTACK OF THE TOHO TITANS! A Trio of Toho Greats Converge for the Evening!

From left to right: Toshio Miike, Fuyuki Shinada, and Shinji Nishikawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight, I was privileged to spend the evening in the company of three Godzilla series alumni who work behind the camera.

Shinji Nishikawa shows off his amazing Biollante rendering. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Kaiju designer and illustrator Shinji Nishikawa was on hand, and I found myself the proud recipient of the above Biollante illustration. It is truly remarkable!

Toshio Miike. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Also there was SFX art director and production designer Toshio Miike, whose credits date back to the Heisei series of Godzilla (and Gamera) movies, though his most recent credit in the series is Shin Godzilla (2016).

I've run into Miike-san a few times this year at various events, and he is always a great guy to chat with me. It was enjoyable talking about our favorite Godzilla movies. (Miike-san is quite partial to Monster Zero and Destroy All Monsters).

Fuyuki Shinada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

In a bit of a suprise, Fuyuki Shinada returned and joined the festivities. I guess he must have enjoyed himself last week enough to come back!

As always, he (like the other guests) was a blast to hang out with.

I really enjoyed seeing Nisjikawa-san illustrate Biollane, but I was floored when he gave the illustration to me. If anything is too cool to have, that would have to be it.

Suffice it to say, tonight was a lot of fun!