Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gundam Front Tokyo

As big as the life-size, 18-meter Gundam statue in Odaiba is, it's dwarfed by the Fuji TV Building in the background.

Last month, Gundam Front Tokyo opened in Odaiba, allowing fans of the popular anime Mobile Suit Gundam to celebrate their fandom in style.  

From Gundam Front Tokyo's official English-language site:
At 「Gundam Front Tokyo」, you can experience the world of Gundam, from 1979's 「Mobile Suit Gundam」 into the uncharted future!

It's been three years since the 「Green Tokyo Gundam Project」, erected to mark the 30th anniversary of 「Mobile Suit Gundam」's broadcast, drew over four million visitors to Shiokaze Park in Odaiba in just 52 days. Now, a new way to experience Gundam in 「1/1」 「real」 scale opens, creating a landmark which will draw Gundam fans from Japan, all across Asia, and beyond!
I was in Odaiba last weekend, and while I'm not familiar at all with the world of Gundam, the statue was an impressive sight, and pictures had to be taken. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Odaiba's Nostalgic Car Show

 Standing in front of the giant Gundam statue in Odaiba, Tokyo.

I attended the Nostalgic Car Show in Odaiba, Tokyo, this weekend, the first show of this type I've ever seen. On hand were Yasushi Shiroi's famous remodeled car designed to look like the Pointer from Ultra Seven and the Batmobile from Tim Burton's Batman (1989). With that out of the way, let's check out the highlights!

Standing in front of the Batmobile, while Batman keeps the paparazzi at bay.

Working on my Ultra Garrison driving test.

Ready to go after kaiju!

With Ultra Seven fan extraordinaire Yasushi Shiroi.

A fine weekend!

Taking a self-portrait with the one and only Kumi Mizuno in Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo.

I made yet another trip to Tokyo over the weekend and got to see and do many things. Here's a quick recap of the events of the weekend. 

With writer-director Kengo Kaji. I interviewed this veteran of the recent Ultra-series in Daikanyama, Tokyo.

Yours truly with my old buddy Ulf (Godzilla vs. Megalon) Otsuki at his cafe.

Da man! Mr. Takarada, totorom, and I pose for a photo after having shabu shabu in Roppongi, Tokyo.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kumi Mizuno: Nuff sed!

Your eyes aren't deceiving you: I actually am posing with Toho's most iconic actress, Kumi Mizuno!

As you can see, I had distinct honor of sitting down and chatting with Kumi Mizuno, unquestionably this genre's most popular actress. Having starred in such Toho SFX films as Gorath (1962), Matango (1963), Monster Zero (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), among others, Ms. Mizuno certainly has earned her loyal fan base with American fans.

I'm sure I'll be saying a lot more about meeting Ms. Mizuno in the coming days, but for right now, here's some footage shot by my friend Yoshi Yabe that really captures the essence of the meeting. It was really as fun as it looks!

One quick story. I told Ms. Mizuno about Brad Pitt's mentioning War of the Gargantuas during this year's Oscars telecast as a memorable movie that left an impression on him as a child. She hadn't heard about it, but was (naturally) surprised to learn that it happened. I've since sent a clip of the YouTube video to her manager. More to come later!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kenji Sahara hits the big 8-0!

Screen legend Kenji Sahara, along with yours truly, in the Hancock Building during G-FEST in 2009. Photo by totorom.

One of Toho's most prolific kaiju eiga stars, Kenji Sahara, turns 80 years old today. Born on May 14, 1932, Mr. Sahara would go on to star in such popular sci-fi flicks as Rodan, The Mysterians, The H-Man, King Kong vs. Godzilla, War of the Gargantuas, the Ultra Q television series, and many others.

In 2009, Mr. Sahara came to Chicago to meet his fans at G-FEST 2009. His translator totorom and I accompanied Mr. Sahara throughout the weekend to make sure his needs were always met. Mr. Sahara enjoyed his convention appearance and expressed his desire to make a return visit.

Let's all wish Kenji Sahara a happy and healthy 80th birthday!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Akira Takarada: Miss Universe judge?!

Akira Takarada and Brett, about to enjoy some Bob's Big Boy in Tokyo!

I spent part of my Golden Week holiday with Mr. Takarada in Tokyo. We spent much of our time planning his trip to G-FEST. Interestingly, Mr. Takarada told me he judged the Miss Universe pageant in 1966. So I did some digging around and found the clip! Mr. Takarada is introduced at about the 5:55 mark.

This man has done it all!