12.13.2014: Godzilla News Roundtable

Photoshopped (clearly) image of Godzilla attacking Tokyo.

Discussing and speculating on Toho’s future plans for Godzilla. Disclaimer: This image was photoshopped and is absolutely not official.

This week has been a big one for Godzilla fans. Toho’s new Godzilla plans for a new film, the Godzilla head on top of the Shinjuku Hotel Gracery, the Guiness Book of World Records announcement and Bandai Namco’s plans for a domestic release of their Japanese Godzilla game for the Playstation 3 (and PS4). In the last episode, August Ragone shared some insight into this news blitz and made some predictions, but Jeff, Bryan and Rachel joined Kyle for a roundtable discussion of this news. Additionally, Bryan brought over his Playstation 3 so that we could all check out the new Japanese demo.

Some devastatingly terrible news was released as well. Koichi Kawakita, Toho’s special effects director from 1989 – 1997 and the founder of Dream Planet Inc. passed away on December 5th. At the end of this episode, we discuss his incredible legacy and his impact on our love for the Godzilla films. If you are unfamiliar with Kawakita, please listen to the interview from G-Fest XXI.

 

MUSICAL MONSTROSITIES:
1. Godzilla and the Polluted Ocean by Riichiro Manabe from Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (1971)
2. Godzilla 2000 US Trailer Audio
3. Mothra Metal by Isao from Mothra Song The Best (1998)
4. Godzilla The Game (2015) Trailer Audio
5. Super X Theme by Reijiiro Koroku from Godzilla Returns (1984)
6. Requiem by Akira Ifukube from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

SUGGESTED READING:
August Ragone’s New Godzilla Coverage
Hollywood Reporter’s Coverage of New Godzilla
Godzilla The Game Official Facebook Page
Koichi Kawakita Passes Away

HOUSEKEEPING:
We did not talk about this during the episode, but the 4th annual Kaijucast Emergency Broadcast date is set for January 11th! More information will be posted as it becomes available, but mark your calendars, anticipate awesome live guests and get ready for your chances to win some really fantastic prize packs!

KOICHI KAWAKITA TRIBUTE: (This is the same piece I wrote for the episode)

Rest In Peace Koichi Kawakita

Koichi Kawakita (1942 – 2014) was hired by Toho in 1962 where he worked with Eiji Tsuburaya in the composite department. In 1989, he took over for Toho Special Effects Director Teruyoshi Nakano and helmed the special effects for Gunhed (1989), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993), Yamato Takeru (1994), Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), Rebirth of Mothra (1996) and Rebirth of Mothra II (1996). While the merit of the movies as a whole could be debated by the critics and fans, Kawakita’s effects direction was nothing short innovative and inspired. He loved the movie business and it was quite obvious that he loved what he was doing. Kawakita wasn’t content to let traditional tokusatsu disappear with the advent of CGI. Even after leaving Toho, he continued to work with special effects, adopting techniques to be used and taught to a new generation of tokusatsu fans at the Osaka University of Arts. His company Dream Planet gave him more opportunities to work with other productions and to expand his interests. In 2010, Kawakita launched his own line of Godzilla collectibles in an effort to keep the King of the Monsters alive in the heart of Japan. This year, he helped spearhead the Big Godzilla Special Effects Exhibition in Japan and visited the United States for both G-Fest XXI and a special Tokusatsu event in Los Angeles. I am absolutely grateful that I was able to meet to the man who I still hold in such high regard. His death came completely out of nowhere and as such, I am still reeling from this news.

The heisei series means so much to me, and it was seeing those effects that hooked me into the kaiju genre. I’m going to use this time to celebrate the man who breathed life back into a genre that the rest of the world had forgotten about. Please join me in raising a glass in honor of a man who changed the way I look at life.

Sayonara, Kawakita-san.

12.09.2014: BREAKING GODZILLA NEWS!

Breaking news for Toho's Godzilla series  with a new movie, August Ragone has more.

Big news straight from Japan’s Toho Co. Ltd. this week, folks! I’m sure many of you have heard the news about Toho’s announcement this past weekend about their plans for a new Godzilla movie. And that’s not all, Godzilla will be making an appearance on the rooftop of a Shinjuku hotel. Still want something cool, but maybe not as cool as a new movie? Godzilla’s finally going to be part of bar trivia history be being named the Guinness Book of World Record’s “Longest continuously running movie franchise” – not too shabby, right?

To discuss this in much more detail, I asked the author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master Of Monsters, August Ragone to elaborate on his article about this news (which you can read here). He goes into a lot of detail about announcement and the history surrounding some of these plans. August also speculates on some of the unknowns as well.

I closed this show out with one singular song. It’s a cover of the Blüe Oyster Cult’s Godzilla, performed by Fighter Ishida & GYM! Enjoy this bonus episode – we’ll be recording another standard episode tomorrow night!

SUGGESTED READING:
The Japanese Godzilla Will Rise Again from The Good, The Bad & The Godzilla
Other coverage: Anime News Network, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Cinematoday.jp
The official news on Toho Godzilla’s website
Godzilla on Shinjuku Hotel from CrunchyRoll
August Ragone’s blog, The Good, The Bad & The Godzilla
August Ragone’s book, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters

Images for the Godilla replica head in Shinjuku.

Images for the Godilla replica head in Shinjuku.

 

11.30.2014: Godzilla’s Revenge Daikaiju Discussion

Rachel, Bryan, Kyle and Martin dive into the murky depths of Godzilla's Revenge/All Monsters Attack.

Rachel, Bryan, Kyle and Martin dive into the murky depths of Godzilla’s Revenge/All Monsters Attack (1969).

The movie that’s on this month’s chopping block is 1969’s Godzilla’s Revenge (aka All Monsters Attack). For decades, this film has been somewhat hated by Godzilla fans due to several factors: it’s the first film in the series to prominently feature a child actor, it’s English dub features some intensely grating voice acting and it has a very heavy dose of stock footage from prior Godzilla films. But we found a different attitude from fans that, much like Ichiiro discovering his precious vacuum tubes, they have been able to ignore the grit and grime of this film and see the beauty beneath.

It’s also been a while since we’ve had a full blown episode and there was plenty to talk about. Make sure to check out the news items below and mark your calendars for the 4th annual “Emergency Broadcast” that will be happening again in January!

ALL MUSICS ATTACK:
1. Punpunpun sung by the Tokyo Children’s Choir (1969)
2. Mothra’s Song by Yuji Koseki from Mothra (1961)
3. Crime Fiction by Ervin Jereb (1969)
4. Godzilla’s Revenge US Trailer Audio (1971)
5. Super Scary Saturday’s Monster Mania
6. Main Title by Ramin Djawadi from Pacific Rim (2013)

SUGGESTED READING:
Diamond Select Toys’ Godzilla 2000 Pizza Cutter
Kotobukiya’s Super X II
Godzilla Vinyl Records
Toho Champion Matsuri Mook
MPC Godzilla VFX Breakdown
Japan’s Godzilla Skin iPhone 5 Case

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN: Check out Joe Badon’s kaiju graphic novel Kickstarter Campaign: Terra Kaiju

HOUSEKEEPING:
*Our next Emergency Broadcast is set for January 11thmark your calendars!

heisei_poster01a_posDAIKAIJU DISCUSSION:
For December, we are going to be talking about the first film in the Heisei Gamera trilogy (completely out of order, I know)  Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995). This film is available from Mill Creek Entertainment on both DVD (in an incredible 11 movie set) and BluRay (available as a trilogy) and through some “Video On Demand” services. If you’d like to send in your thoughts, questions and reviews (aka your homework) for the discussion episode, the deadline is December 17th. We look forward to hearing what you have to say about this film!

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