Sunday, February 26, 2017

BEAM ME UP! Sadao Iizuka Talks Making Beams in the Ultra-verse!

The energetic Sadao Iizuka explains how he animated the various beams seen in the hit TV series Ultraman. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I attended another fascinating event with Sadao Iizuka, the optical effects expert who animated Godzilla's ray, King Ghidorah's gravity beams, and Ultraman's Specium Ray. The bulk of the event focused on Iizuka-san's work on Ultra Q (1966) and Ultraman (1966-67).

Sadao Iizuka talks to his fans during a break outside. Photo by Brett Homenick.

There were certainly beams aplenty in the various Ultra-series, but Iizuka-san also discussed the other optical effects he worked on. Several visual aids were used to demonstrate how the effects were done. All in all, it was quite intriguing! 

Art director/production designer Toshio Miike. Photo by Brett Homenick.

But that's not all! On hand were several tokusatsu VIPs. Toshio Miike, an SFX art director and production designer whose credits include: Gunhed (1989), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Zeiram (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2 (1996), Gamera 3 (1999), GMK (2001), Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003), Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and Shin Godzilla (2016). Of course, even those credits just scratch the surface of what he has done!  

Yours truly with artist extraordinaire Yuji Kaida. 

Another attendee was the celebrated artist and illustrator Yuji Kaida, who has recently garnered international attention for his dynamic Japanese-release poster for Kong: Skull Island. I've met Kaida-san at several of these events, but this was the first time we actually posed for a photo.

With Heisei-era assistant director Yoshiaki Konndo.

Another Godzilla series alumnus at the event was assistant director of SFX Yoshiaki Konndo. Having worked on Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994), Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), Mothra (1996), and even Godzilla 2000 (1999), he was a key member of Toho's SFX staff during the 1990s.  

If you're into Japanese special effects, this was truly the place to be! The SFX side of the industry was well represented here, ranging from Godzilla (1954) to last year's Shin Godzilla. What a great time it was!

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