Sunday, June 27, 2021

Tokusatsu Nights in June!

Between Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma.

On Saturday, June 26, I attended another special event with Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma.

 I think you know the drill by now, so I'll leave it there. It was a nice time!

A Entertaining Afternoon with a Toho Tokusatsu Director!

With Eiichi Asada

Today, I spent a fun afternoon with Toho SFX director Eiichi Asada. It had only been about a week since I last saw him, but it was another informative (and entertaining) time.

 And that's a wrap!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

REMATCH OF THE YEAR! Godzilla vs. Kiryu Part II!

Tsutomu Kitagawa (left) poses with Motokuni Nakagawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I was able to take in a screening of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) on the big screen in 35mm. If memory serves, I'd only seen the movie once before, which was also on the big screen. It was at a screening in the U.S. in July 2004, and (quite frankly) I never got the urge to see the movie a second time!

In between Tsutomu Kitagawa and Motokuni Nakagawa.

So how did I feel about it this time? It was well-made but not very compelling. I found myself distracted at several points during the film, even during the monster battles. I also thought the ending was a bit lackluster. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it just felt like it was going through the motions. Honestly, I can see why I never gave it a second look.

Tsutomu Kitagawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

That's OK, though, because the real highlight of the day was hanging out with the suit actors from the film! Tsutomu Kitagawa was the "man in the Godzilla suit" for all the Millennium series films between Godzilla 2000 (1999) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). minus GMK, of course. I was surprised to find that he was a Gamera fan in his youth, which one might not expect from a future King of the Monsters.

Also on hand was fellow suit actor Motokuni Nakagawa, who played Kiryu in Tokyo S.O.S., as well as King Caesar, Monster X, and Keizer Ghidorah in Final Wars. He left shortly after his Q&A sessions, so my interactions with him were very brief. Not so with Kitagawa-san, however. It was a blast sitting next to him during dinner. Even though I hadn't seen him in three years, I was flattered that he recognized me. 

Suffice it to say, this weekend was a lot of fun, and it's nice to be busy again. I look forward to an exciting summer.

Legends of Tokusatsu!

In between Eiichi Asada (left) and Toshio Miike.

In Tokyo, it definitely seems that business has been picking up. For most of the year, COVID has kept special events and other such gatherings to an absolute minimum. With the vaccines just barely getting rolled out, it seemed like this situation might continue a lot longer.

Toshio Mike. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Not so. As we enter summer, it does seem that more events are getting scheduled, and July might (emphasis on might) be about as busy as any month during the pre-COVID days. The timing's pretty good, too, as I hear that July is a good month to celebrate Godzilla and other such kaiju.

Last night was apparently the very beginning of the turnaround. I attended a fun event with Toshio Miike and Eiichi Asada. Miike-san is a veteran SFX art director and production designer who's worked on: 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).

Eiichi Asada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Also there was Eiichi Asada. As an assistant director, Asada-san's credits include: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), Submersion of Japan (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Espy (1974), Conflagration (1975), Zero Pilot (1976), The War in Space (1977), Deathquake (1980), The Imperial Navy (1981), Sayonara Jupiter (1984), and Godzilla 1985 (1984), among others. He was the special effects director on Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).

 As always, it was a great opportunity to spend an evening with two tokusatsu legends, which unfortunately has been a rarity of late. Thankfully, though, the times seem to changing.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

More Content at Vantage Point Interviews!

With Kazuki Omori in January 2017.

Plenty of new content is available at Vantage Point Interviews. First up, my 2006 interview with Heisei-era Godzilla series director Kazuki Omori has just been updated with revised and improved translations that reveal new details missing from the original version. The new version also includes Mr. Omori's responses to questions from the audience, which wasn't even a part of the original version at all. So there's some intriguing new content in this old interview.

Also available is my Q&A with animator Marv Newland, who created the classic animated short Bambi Meets Godzilla

Scriptwriter Martha Humphreys discusses her work on the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla cartoon 

Last but not least, Hong Kong voice actor Craig Allen recalls his work for Omni Productions in the '90s, dubbing Heisei-era Godzilla films. 

It's all there on Vantage Point Interviews, proving once again that content is king!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Great Godzilla Special Effects Kingdom!

Through June 27, Gallery Aamo at Tokyo Dome City will host a special exhibit called "The Great Godzilla Special Effects Kingdom." There are plenty of props, scripts, and suits on display. But, as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words, so let's check out the highlights.

'The War in Space' Comes to an Unusual Place!

A Gohten poster from The War in Space found in the wild in Ikebukuro. Photo by Brett Homenick.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting Ikebukuro's Sunshine City with a friend when I noticed something interesting. Outside a small shop was a poster from Toho's The War in Space hanging on its wall. I didn't have my camera handy at the time, but today I returned to photograph it.  

The store is called Itchomeichibanchi Yorozuya, or the First District, Block 1 General Store. The poster is tacked on the wall outside the shop, so you don't even need to enter the store to see it. It's surrounded by a lot of children's toys, which I suppose is appropriate for the movie. 

It was quite surprising to see a War in Space poster hanging in a random shop, but that's part of the fun of being in Japan!