Friday, November 30, 2018

Tokyo Comic Con 2018

 The entrance to the Tokyo Comic Con. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I attended the first day of the Tokyo Comic Con. It's the only day I could attend the convention, and my overall reaction was that it was okay. The event was held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, which is far from the center of Tokyo. I was surprised to see that the event itself was smaller in size than Wonder Festival, even though I'd say that both events are quite similar.

Aside from bumping into cult director Minoru Kawasaki, I didn't see any familiar faces from the world of tokusatsu. Anyway, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy! 

Attending a Tokyo Talk Show!

Yumi Mizusawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Thursday, November 29, I was invited to attend a taping of an online talk show hosted by actress Yumi Mizusawa. The taping location was quite far from my home, but thanks to an opening in my schedule, I was able to attend.

I was happy to see Mizusawa-san again, and she was eager to practice her English. I'm sure there will be more opportunities to come in the future.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

An Evening with Mr. Machida!

With Masanori Machida.

The second event of the day was a dinner get-together with actor Masanori Machida. Machida-san is a former child actor who is currently a voice actor, and his resume is quite impressive. I was pleased to spend an entertaining evening in his presence along with a few new friends. 

Stay tuned for more info on Machida-san very soon!

A Rare Look at King Kong vs. Godzilla!

Keiko Suzuki. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today offered a unique look at the making of a Toho classic. Former Toho SFX scripter Keiko Suzuki (born Keiko Hisamatsu) gave a presentation about the making of King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), featuring a rare look at the script and storyboard drawings. One thing that was interesting to see was that the English-language lines spoken by the Western actors in the submarine set were handwritten in the script in English, and they were essentially verbatim as they appear in the film. 

As handwritten in the script, the helicopter pilot's line, "Look there," was sans "Al." So was "Al" an ad lib? I guess we'll never know, but it wasn't in the script presented today. Moreover, I got to see the storyboards for the deleted scene in which Godzilla approaches the giant Byakue Dai-Kannon statue in Gunma Prefecture. There were two storyboard illustrations, and it didn't seem like much more to the scene than that.

Overall, it was a very fun afternoon, and it was quite amusing to see the various illustrations of Kong and Godzilla in storyboard form. If only there could be events like this for all Toho movies!

An Evening with Toho Greats!

Machiko Naka. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Saturday, November 24, I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner event with actress Machiko Naka and Toho SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano.

I hadn't seen Naka-san since the memorial event for Yosuke Natsuki in April. Naka-san doesn't attend that many events in Japan, but when she does, I always make an effort to see her. I had a great time chatting with her on a variety of subjects.

Teruyoshi Nakano. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Nakano-san was in great spirits, as usual. When the time came to take photos, he suggested I sit down while he stood. It's certainly a fun visual, and I think we all know how good at creating visuals Nakano-san is. 

And that's a wrap. Due to my work schedule, my time at the event was limited, but it was a lot of fun. Short but sweet!

Pink Jaguar in Concert!

Rushia Santo. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

On Wednesday, November 21, I attended a live performance by Rushia (a.k.a. Lucia) Santo, an actress-singer whose career dates back to the early 1970s. Santo-san is best known for playing Pink Jaguar in Daitetsujin 17 (1977), and she also can be seen in Nobuhiko Obayashi's The Visitor in the Eye (1977).

Santo-san was more than a little surprised to see that an American was familiar with her work in Daitetsujin 17. I enjoyed her show and look forward to attending the next one!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Godzilla Exhibition Diorama on Display in Shinjuku!

During Godzilla's birthday month (November, obviously) a Godzilla exhibition diorama will be on display on the 8th floor of the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. While it's there, it's well worth checking out (though the display itself is really nothing new). Here are some photos.

Hibiya's Godzilla Statue at Night!

A few nights ago, I was in Hibiya and took some night-time shots of the Godzilla statue in Hibiya Godzilla Square. Enjoy!

Ultraman and Kamen Rider Alums Gather in Nakano for a Showa Hero Event!

From left to right: Toshihiro Iijima, Nana Yanagisawa, and Susumu Kurobe. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I attended a Showa Hero event in Nakano, Tokyo. It featured the cast and crew of the film Homecoming (2011), directed by Toshihiro Iijima and starring (among others) Susumu Kurobe and Nana Yanagisawa.

Of course, all three guests are no strangers to the world of kaiju and tokusatsu, and that's what really drew the folks in attendance to the event.

Susumu Kurobe poses with a Beta Capsule. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The featured guest was actor Susumu Kurobe, who portrayed Shin Hayata (Ultraman's alter ego) in the series of the same name. Before Ultraman, Kurobe-san was a Toho New Face who appeared in a numerous films produced by the studio. Among his most recognizable monster movies are Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Son of Godzilla (1967), King Kong Escapes (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Latitude Zero (1969). In later years, Kurobe-san returned to the Godzilla series during the Heisei era and can be seen in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) and Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).

Director Toshihiro Iijima. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Director Toshihiro Iijima, who helmed episodes of Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), and Operation: Mystery! (1968-69), was also there. He also directed the Tsuburaya Productions children's movie Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972).

Actress Kyoko Yashiro. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Accompanying Iijima-san was his wife, former Shintoho actress Kyoko Yashiro. Yashiro-san worked with acclaimed horror director Nobuo Nakagawa on The Lady Vampire (1959). She also appeared in Vampire Bride (1960) and The Ghost of the Girl Diver (1960). I first met her two years ago but hadn't seen her since then. I was very glad that she appeared at this event.

Nana Yanagisawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Also on hand was actress Nana Yanagisawa, who played Phantom Thief Selene on GoGo Sentai Boukenger (2006-07) and Megumi Aso on Kamen Rider Kiva (2008-09).

With Toshihiro Iijima.

The guests were all friendly and a lot of fun to see. I'd met all of them on previous occasions (with the exception of Yanagisawa-san), and I enjoyed seeing them again. Of course, any time you can meet Susumu Kurobe or Toshihiro Iijima is an opportunity not to be missed.

With Nana Yanagisawa.

Of all the guests in attendance, the one I spoke with the most was the unofficial guest, Kyoko Yashiro. Of course, she was never announced to the attendees, and it didn't seem that most folks even knew who she was. I instantly recognized her, and was pleased to find that she remembered me, too.

With Susumu Kurobe.

Suffice it to say, the event was Ultra-good, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I just hope it isn't too far in the future!

With Kyoko Yashiro.

As always, this blog will be the place to learn about all the coolest happenings in Japan. Stay tuned!