Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kamen Rider: The Diner

Kamen Rider has his own restaurant? What a SHOCKER!

When in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, be sure to visit this fine dining establishment.

Kamen Rider: The Diner
is a theme restaurant that any self-respecting tokusatsu fan should visit. Where else can you eat among such cool SFX memorabilia in Japan?

Sure, the prices are higher than comparable restaurants, and the portions are smaller (even for Japan!), but in a place like this, the food's not the point. What can you do there? Well, let's see...

You can meet Kamen Rider himself!

After finishing your meal, you can maniacally cackle as you plot to take over the world.

You can have Kamen Rider help you choose the best drink!

Kaiju fans, be sure to add this great place to your Tokyo travels. Even if henshin heroes aren't your cup of tea, you'll love the ambiance.

The diner's official Web site can be found here. Check it out!

Yoshimitsu Banno's Genji: The Shining One

Your humble blogmeister meets director Yoshimitsu Banno for more than just the first time.

Article by Brett Homenick
Source: Yoshimitsu Banno

Genji Monogatari (a.k.a. The Tale of Genji) is a celebrated masterpiece of Japanese literature, and it is perhaps the first novel ever written. The story has been told and retold many times in Japan, most recently as a film distributed by Toho just last month.

However, director Yoshimitsu Banno wants to update it for the 21st century.

Mr. Banno's production company Advanced Audiovisual Productions, Inc., is proposing 3-D musical version that will take place in 11th-century Japan and present-day America.

This version will be called Genji: The Shining One.

The film will depict the conflict between a father and son who have very different ideas about the direction of the son's future. The theme of forgiveness plays out during the movie's compelling drama.

Mr. Banno takes notes during our conversation.

The screenplay has already been written by Australian scribe Bob Ellis. Mr. Banno is seeking investors for this project, which he hopes will bring The Tale of Genji, one of the most important literary works in human history, to a worldwide audience for the first time ever. Here is information for potential investors, courtesy of producer Yoshimitsu Banno:
As the second project of 3D movie, we are developing “GENJI – The Shining One 3D” and look for the first investor of 15,000,000 (yen).

The Privilege of the first investment is as follows,

As a bonus of the risk of the first investment, AAP remits 15,000,000 to the account of investor on the next day of the start of filming.

(2) The investor could have the position of planning producer and gets 2,000,000 payment on the next day of the start of filming.

(3) Investor possesses the share of 10% of net income of AAP as a privilege of the first investor.
As always, I am happy to pass on any serious inquiries to Mr. Banno. You can help expose a significant part of Japanese history to the world at large!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two Kamen Riders! What does it mean?

Yours truly with Keisuke Kato, who played Kamen Rider Ixa on the series Kamen Rider Kiva (2008-09). I interviewed Mr. Kato for G-FAN magazine on January 4.

My trip to Tokyo wasn't just sightseeing and meeting up with friends. I had some business to conduct, as well. A friend of mine put me in touch with not one but two Kamen Riders, both of whom requested to be interviewed by me for G-FAN magazine.

And who am I to turn down a request by Japan's most popular hero?

Standing with Kazuki Kato, who starred in the series Kamen Rider Kabuto (2006-07), as well as the films Kamen Rider: The Next (2007) and Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (2008). This interview was conducted on January 5.

Suffice it to say, the interviews were entertaining and informative, and I look forward to seeing them published in G-FAN.

Oh, and before I forget...

Kazuki Kato is also a popular singer in Japan. When he was discussing one of his recent concerts, I asked him if he performed the Take-Majin song. Since he wasn't aware that I had even heard of Guilala, he laughed and expressed surprise that I had seen the movie! Naturally, I asked him several questions about the film.

The Tokyo Sky Tree conquers Asakusa

The Land of the Rising Sun lives up to its name: A view of the Tokyo Sky Tree (and the Asahi Flame) right before 7:00 a.m.

The Tokyo Sky Tree was recently determined to be the world's largest free-standing broadcast tower. You can read all about it here.

While visiting Tokyo from January 2 to January 5, I stayed in Asakusa, which provided me a great view of the Tokyo Sky Tree every time I stepped outside.

I managed to take a few shots just before 7:00 in the morning. (I had an early morning interview to conduct on the 5th.) I was impressed with the photos, and hopefully you will be, too.

Ah, and here's a daytime shot for your viewing pleasure!

Notes on Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, Last Days of Planet Earth

Your humble blogmeister poses with director Yoshimitsu Banno on January 3, 2012, in Tokyo.

Over on a horror-related message board, tokusatsu fans were discussing Yoshimitsu Banno's role as screenwriter and assistant director on Toho's 1974 disaster epic The Last Days of Planet Earth (a.k.a. Prophecies of Nostradamus).

On my most recent trip to Tokyo, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Banno over drinks. We discussed a variety of topics, and I made sure to ask him about his involvement in the ever-controversial Last Days.

Mr. Banno, to this day, remains very active in the movie business.

I was particularly impressed with the information Mr. Banno gave me about Last Days (as well as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, his best-known work by far). I posted the following on the board, but I felt I should also share Mr. Banno's memories with you, my loyal readers:

He told me he wrote the screenplay for Last Days of Planet Earth over the course of about 10 days in a Shibuya hotel, with an assist from Toshio Masuda (though Masuda wasn't present the whole time). He mentioned the Ben Goto book as a basis for the screenplay but not (for what it's worth) The Last War. Mr. Banno doesn't remember what scenes he directed except for (as mentioned above) the scenes in New Guinea.

As an aside, he also said that he wrote the script for Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster in about one week with Takeshi Kimura in a cheap hotel in Nagano prefecture. This was, of course, after Kimura turned in a poor first draft that Mr. Banno rejected. (Kimura apparently never gave his all to novice directors.)

One more thing. Mr. Banno cast Hiroyuki Kawase in Smog Monster after auditioning about 50 or 60 child actors. He had nothing but praise for Kawase's acting ability, and he even said that Kawase was the best actor in the movie when it came to dubbing the lines for scenes shot on location.
More information on Mr. Banno will be posted on this blog in the coming days. Stay tuned!