Thursday, October 11, 2012

GODZILLA VS. MEGALON: A Weekend with One of My Favorite Films!

Teruyoshi Nakano and yours truly. Nakano-san directed the SFX for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), the first Godzilla movie I ever saw.

I first saw Godzilla vs. Megalon around 1986. My brother and I were looking around a video store for a movie he wanted, and during our search I happened upon the Goodtimes Home Video release of Megalon on a double feature with The Snow Creature (1954). I knew the name Godzilla, but never had seen any of the films. I was curious. So I asked if we could purchase the film, which our mom graciously did.

While most fans know Kenpachiro Satsuma as the Godzilla suit actor from 1984 through 1995, it's his portrayal of Gigan in Godzilla vs. Megalon that is of most interest to me.

The movie, of course, launched a lifelong interest in Japanese SFX films, something none of us could have foreseen back in the mid-'80s. Heck, it's the reason I'm living in Japan! Who knew a VHS tape could be so influential?

 With my good friend Ulf Otsuki. His most notable role to tokusatsu fans in the West is that of the bearded Seatopian agent in Godzilla vs. Megalon

Over the three-day weekend (October 5-8), I stayed in Tokyo with a lot on my itinerary. It just so happened that Godzilla vs. Megalon would feature so prominently in my plans. No fewer than four key players from that film were a part of my plans. It was a total coincidence, but a most welcome one!

With Yutaka Hayashi (a.k.a. Hiroshi Jinkawa) in Roppongi, Tokyo. He was one of my first heroes!

I should make special mention of Yutaka Hayashi. He and our mutual friend Akio sat down and had a lengthy chat on Sunday night, October 7. We talked about his acting career and a host of other topics. It was hard to believe I was having such a casual chat with the hero of the film I endlessly watched as a child. As I told Hayashi-san, Megalon not only made me a Godzilla fan, it made me a fan of the movies. It's the first movie I remember seeing that I actually liked!

I understand there's a lot of controversy concerning the film back in the U.S. I'll let others worry about that. Me, I'm just going to sit back and cherish the wonderful memories I got from this past weekend.

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