Monday, March 30, 2020

In the Footsteps of Android M11!

 The spot at which Android M11 stops Emmy and Terasawa in their jeep in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On March 30, I took a trip to Keihinjima (an island in Ota Ward right next to Haneda Airport) to check out a filming location for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). It was the setting for the iconic (infamous?) scene in which Android M11 stops the jeep that Terasawa and Emmy are driving right in their tracks. The photo at the top of the post is the spot where Android M11 stops running and turns to face the oncoming jeep. It's also seen from M11's point of view as he runs toward the jeep. (It was apparently used twice, despite the obvious lack of continuity.)

The above shot is about where you see Android M11 passing the jeep while running. You can barely see a Shell station sign on the left-hand side of the photo. In the movie, you can see a sign for a different gas station at the same spot. (This was taken in the opposite lane from the first photo in this blog post.)

This photo was taken from the same lane as the previous photo, but from the opposite angle. It's the same street used for when M11 is running past Terasawa and Emmy in the jeep.

This shot was taken in the same lane as the first photo, but from the opposite direction. At the far end, you can see where Android M11 began his run after his car accident. It was also used for M11's point of view as he runs after the jeep.

And there I am, standing about where M11 ceased running to stop the jeep and lift it off the ground. After running home, I realized I didn't get some shots that I wished I had, so I might have to return there someday. It was quite fun seeing Kazuki Omori and his crew shot one of the most memorable scenes of the Heisei era.

A Visit to Toei Studios!

Toei Studios. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Over the years, I've been a part of tours of Toho and Kadokawa Daiei Studios, and I've visited Nikkatsu Studios, but the one place that I'd never visited was Toei. Oh, sure, I'd been to the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, but not the Tokyo studio. I decided it was high time for me to change that. So yesterday (March 30), I went to Oizuumi-gakuen Station and eventually made my way to the studio. It was quite interesting to see, even without going behind the studio gates. I always enjoy checking out places with so much film history. Here's what I saw. Enjoy!

A Look at Haneda Airport!

Haneda Airport. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Haneda Airport is a location that has been featured in several Toho kaiju movies, namely Varan the Unbelievable (1958), War of the Gargantuas (1966), and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). Coincidentally, I happened to be visiting an area right next to a popular sightseeing spot from which you can get a good view of planes taking off from Haneda Airport. And given Haneda's connection with monster movies, I had to give it a look myself.

Kamen Rider: The Diner!

Would you believe it had been more than eight years since I last set foot inside Kamen Rider: The Diner? Well, I certainly couldn't believe it, so I decided the time was right to return. It's just a two-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station, so it's quite easy to get to.

The restaurant was very much as I remembered it. It didn't seem a whole lot had changed. Actually, I don't have much to say about the experience, except that it was enjoyable. There isn't a ton of things to do there, but if you enjoy Kamen Rider, it's worth a visit.

A Dramatic Reading!

Masanori Machida. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Yesterday (March 30) proved to be my busiest day in a long time. So, by the end of it all, I was beat. The last item on my agenda was to see Masanori Machida's dramatic-reading. 

After the show, Machida-san thanked me for coming and, given that it was recently my birthday, even started singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Naturally, it got a big laugh out of me.

When it was all said and done, I went home and was finally able to relax.

A Bit of Tsuburaya Pro History!

Atsuko Tanaka. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Sunday, March 29, I was fortunate to be able to spend an afternoon with former Tsuburaya Productions scripter Atsuko Tanaka. Tanaka-san worked on Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), The Space Giants (1966-67), and Kaiju Booska (1966-67).

Suffice it to say, I learned a lot, and it was a great time. I hope to have a chance to do it again soon!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Very Toei Evening!

Sayoko Hagiwara. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Right ater work, I headed for Shimo-kitazawa to catch a play featuring two Toei actors: Shinzo Hotta and Sayoko Hagiwara, both of whom I've written about on this blog in the past.

 Shinzo Hotta. Photo by Brett Homenick.

When I entered the venue, I was surprised to see Shinzo Hotta hanging out in the lobby area. That's because I arrived about an hour after the production had started! He seemed to recognize me and then approached me, although he couldn't quite where he remembered me from. When I mentioned the event we last met, he remembered who I was.

As a refresher, Hotta-san's acting roles date back to the mid-1960s at Toei Studios. Among many others, his credits include: Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972), Iron King (1972-73), Ninja Captor (1976-77), and Message from Space: Galactic Wars (1978-79).

Despite having blogged about Sayoko Hagiwara countless times here, I might as well put in a reminder about her, too. Hagiwara-san essayed the role of Ryoko Hoshi, Yullian's human form, on Ultraman 80 (1980-81) from episode 43, as well as Dyna Pink in Dynaman. She also appeared on Flashman as the villain Leh Nafel.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Godzilla Pop Up in Ikebukuro!

Signage outside Godzilla Pop Up in Ikebukuro. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Between March 17 and March 26, a Godzilla shop in the middle of Ikebukuro Station will be open to the public. The goods being sold are very similar to the ones offered at the Godzilla Store in Shinjuku, although I did notice a few interesting differences. (Unless I just haven't been paying close enough attention at the Shinjuku location, the photo at the bottom is the most notable difference.) However, the main attraction for me was seeing the Godzilla display. Anyway, enjoy!