"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Friday, August 18, 2017

ANIME GODZILLA DISPLAY MODEL IN KAWASAKI! Promotion for "Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters"

2メートルのアニメ「ゴジラ」モデルが川崎に現る!

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A 2-meter tall model unveiled in Cinecitta' Theater, Kawasaki.

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Rear view with tail shows off amazing detail on this model.

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Left side shows distinctly different design than Legendary's Big G.

GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS will premiere November 17th in Japan, while the exclusive worldwide rights are being handled via Netflix, which will stream the picture in 190 territories following the Japanese opening (date yet to be announced). Please stay tuned to the official website - and this blog - for more details as they become available about this exciting trilogy of animated features!

Photos by @catmode2010 on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FULL TRAILER REVEALS ANIMATED "GODZILLA"! Preview for "Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters"

アニメ『GODZILLA -怪獣惑星-』ゴジラの顔と姿がついに明らかに!

GZL-V3_B1_0814
New poster with tagline: "Who Will Be Eradicated? Man Or Godzilla?"

Before this new trailer, scheduled to bow in Japanese cinemas this Friday, August 18th (Japan Time), absolute secrecy on specific details concerning the story of GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS were prohibited from the public - only a basic story outline and character biographies of this animated trilogy were released (read here). Now, more of these details have been unveiled in this new trailer - just released online by Toho Animation via their YouTube Channel and the film's official website. Featuring some of the action and the reveal of the King of the Monsters, himself.


Set the trailer to 1080p and turn up the sound as high as it can go!

The new trailer begins with a monologue by the protagonist, Haruo (Mamoru Miyano), "There came a day in the last summer of the 20th Century when mankind discovered that as rulers of the planet called Earth, they were not alone." After abandoning their homeworld, the humans return only to find, due to space-time dilation, 20,000 years have passed - and now Godzilla is the summit of all life on Earth. He's told, dispassionately, by his friend Metphies (Takahiro Sakurai), that "It doesn't miss the human race," as the ecosystem has since radically transformed because of the monster.

Godzilla Planet Boom
Mankind returns to a hostile Earth to wage war against Godzilla!

GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS will premiere November 17th in Japan, while the exclusive worldwide rights are being handled via Netflix, which will stream the picture in 190 territories following the Japanese opening (date yet to be announced). Please stay tuned to the official website - and this blog - for more details as they become available about this exciting trilogy of animated features! The fateful battle between the human race and Godzilla is about to begin...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TSUBURAYA SPEAKS OUT ON ILLEGAL ULTRAMAN Open Online Letter Unloads on China Knock-off!

中国で「ウルトラマン」無断利用の製作〜円谷プロが抗議声明!

So Long Ultraman 4x6 blog
Unauthorized Ultraman "licensed" via Chaiyo's ally UM Corporation.

BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!

The following is my own translation of an open letter, published on Tsuburaya Productions' official website, from their President Shinichi O'oka, concerning the surprising news issued last week in the Chinese media, concerning the latest feature film in the on-going and popular Chinese-produced CG Animation series, "Dragon Force", now featuring Japan's greatest superhero, Ultraman. The renown character was first created and produced by Tsuburaya Productions in 1966, creating an extremely successful, long-running franchise.

In 1997, a Thai film producer and director, Sompote Saengduenchai, produced a contract stating that he owned the rights to the first six Ultraman Series, allegedly signed by the late Tsuburaya Productions CEO, Noboru Tsuburaya, who passed away - coincidentally - two years earlier. For a decade, battles were fought and won, but Sampote and his agents (including UM Corporation, Golden Media Group Inc., Tiga Entertainment Company, Ltd., and Ultraman USA) persist in breaking Thai and Japanese court decisions (read about this history, here).

Founded by the visual effects master, Eiji Tsuburaya, with financial investment from Toho Co., Ltd., Tsuburaya Productions opened for business on April 12, 1963, and today is under the umbrella of the entertainment giant, Fields Corporation, which owns a 51% share of the company, while toy mega juggernaut, Bandai, owns the remaining 49%. Starting with the company in 1969, as a camera operator, O'oka was elected President in 2008. Now, after years of silence, Tsuburaya Productions has finally spoken out publicly in this open letter posted at 8:00 pm Pacific, US Time):

About Unauthorized Chinese Ultraman Production Announcement

On July 10th, 2017, Guangzhou Bluearc Animation Studio, a Chinese corporation based out of Shanghai, China, issued an announcement for their latest production using "Ultraman Series Characters", and entitled "Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman" [Mandarin title: Gāngtiě fēilóng zhī zàijiàn àotèmàn, scheduled for release this October].

Regarding this announcement, we were completely unaware of their production, and the picture was made without our authorization or supervision. Also, use of various Ultraman characters and footage in this presentation/trailer seriously damages the Ultraman brand, so these actions should be resolutely condemned, and likewise deemed as absolutely unacceptable.

Now, vis-à-vis the handling of usage rights concerning the original Ultraman series productions ("Ultra Q", "Ultraman", "Ultra Seven", "Return of Ultraman", "Ultraman Ace" and "Ultraman Taro"), outside of Japan; these long-term disputes are still being pursued in several territories. Regardless, in each and every judgment, so far, we have been persistently declared the legitimate producers of the Ultraman series, and holders of all respective copyrights, therein.

Furthermore, all associated rights to create new productions, such as this aforementioned [Chinese] production, or any modification or adaptation of the Ultraman Series Characters, new or existing, still belongs solely to our company.

Based on the above, we intend to take decisive measures, including vigorous legal action, against the Chinese companies who willfully participated in and made this presentation trailer, and additionally, all parties involved in the production of the picture, itself.

We are deeply remorseful if this situation has been the cause of any concern and/or inconvenience; we also sincerely apologize from the bottom of our hearts to our valued clients, shareholders, and the fans of the Ultraman Series, as we look forward to your continued patronage and support. Thank you for your consideration.

July 19, 2017

Shinichi O'oka
President and Representative Director
Tsuburaya Productions

View the trailer, here, and stay tuned for more news as it develops.

Friday, July 7, 2017

"ULTRAMAN GEED" PREMIERES ON CRUNCHYROLL New Series Begins Simulcast Tonight: July 7th!

新番組『ウルトラマンジード』米国にストリーミング、スタート!

Ultraman Geed Blog
The latest in the Ultra Series premieres tonight on Crunchyroll!

Just before yesterday's Japanese television premiere of the all-new ULTRAMAN GEED, Crunchyroll, the titanic anime streaming juggernaut announced that it would be simulcasting this latest series in the long-running superhero franchise to territories outside of Asia. The San Francisco-based company dropped notice that the new series would begin it's simulcast tonight at 6:30 pm Pacific, with the intro Episode 00 Preview Special, followed by the series premiere, "Welcome to the Secret Base".

The new series concerns the saga of the most vile creature in the cosmos, Belial, a former member of the Cosmic Guard (introduced in Koichi Sakamoto's Ultra Galaxy Legend: Mega Monster Battle). This evil Ultraman's pogeny's human form lives on Earth as Riku Asakura (Tatsuomi Hamada), who regains the memory of his father, after the event known as the Crisis Impact, which destoryed his homeworld, and gives him the power to transform into "Ultraman Geed".

ULTRAMAN GEED will be simulcast for 25 weeks on Crunchyroll every Friday evening at 6:30 pm Pacific starting July 7, 2017. Stay tuned to this blog for more news and information as it becomes available!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

FIRST TEASER! "GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET" Toho Animation Drops Trailer for All-New Film

アニメーション映画『GODZILLA 怪獣惑星』特報 1 !


Click the official YouTube video to see the first exciting trailer!

Toho Animation uploaded our first glimpse of the initial entry in a trilogy of animated motion pictures featuring the first animated Godzilla adventure produced in Japan. GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET (foreign promotional title Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters) is being produced in conjunction with Polygon Pictures (Tron: Uprising), written by Gen Urobuchi (Aldnoah: Zero) and co-directed by Kobun Shizuno (Knights of Sidonia) and Hiroyuki Seshita (Ajin: The Demi-Human). The first film will be released in Japan this November.

But fans across the globe will not have to wait as long as they did to see Hideaki Anno's SHIN GODZILLA (2016), which had a very limited North and South American release via Funimation Films (an another year before home video). According to the Japanese movie news site, Cinema Today (this past March), the exclusive worldwide rights to GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS has been picked up by Netflix, the monolithic streaming service, which will premiere the picture in an astounding 190 territories, following the Japanese bow.

Please stay tuned to the official website - and this blog - for more details as they become available for this exciting trilogy of animated features! Get ready for GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BANDAI UNLEASHES THE "GREEN GARGANTUA"! Vinyl Display Figure Breaks Loose in September

日本特撮の「サンダ対ガイラ」からガイラをバンダイソフビで発売。

Bandai Gaira blog-00
Bandai issues it's first vinyl figure of Gaira, the Green Gargantua!

COLOSSAL GARGANTUAN BREAKING NEWS! Announced earlier today via the Twitter feed of the journal, Tokusatsu Hi-Ho (Special Effects Treasures), the online-only Bandai Premium service of the eponymous global toy juggernaut, will be issuing a 18 cm (7.08") soft vinyl figure of the fan favorite Green Gargantua, Gaira, from the popular Toho spectacle THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1966).

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Iconic aggressive pose developed by suit actor Haruo Nakajima!

Coinciding with this announcement, Tokusatsu Hi-Ho’s latest issue will feature an article on the upcoming figure as well as an interview with legendary monster suit maker Eizo Kaimai, who had created the very man-eating mutant this sofubi (soft vinyl figure) is based on – so, we can imagine that this has passed his snuff. Tokusatsu Hi-Ho Vol. 6 is available from bibliopolists in Japan, starting tomorrow.

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Run to the hills... Run for your lives... Gaira's looking for dinner!

The Bandai Premium website followed suit with four very important, key, details, and lots of images; which have transposed to this report (Bandai states that the actual product will differ from these intended for illustrative purposes). Most of the text on Bandai’s page for this figure is nothing more than a stream of colorfully hyperbolic points, such as “Beware! Run from this man-eating monster!”

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My Green Gargantua's back... and you're gonna be in trouble!

But, as mentioned above, there are four key pieces of information, the first being the size of the figure, which is 18 cm - which fits in with the original Bandai "Godzilla Series", to better appeal to adult collectors (relative movie sizes notwithstanding) - and the ad copy exclaiming, "This is the figure [we] always wanted to see in stores - now, at last, it's available via the Web!"

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Sideview of the unpainted prototype for the upcoming release!

While, we've got the size of this thing nailed down, there's the matter of release date and - most importantly to all of you hyperventilating, nail-bitting, vinyl-sniffers out there - price. Each unit will be retailing for ¥3,999 JPY or $36.00 USD. Preorders through Bandai Premium's website go live at 11:00 am, June 16th (Japan Time). Scheduled for shipment this September, Gaira will be ready to  eat  meet you...

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Kenji Seki's details pop in this shot of the unpainted prototype!

Last, but not least, the graphics and press features what appears to be a series line moniker, "Kaiju Bangaichi" (which can/may be roughly translated as "Monster No-Man's Land" or transliterated as "Monsters of Unknown Realms"). Even though we haven't stopped breathing into our paper bags, yet, could we soon see the Brown Gargantua, Sanda? And... Other giant monsters Bandai had previously passed over?

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Monstrous angled view of the popular bad guy from the 1966 movie!

Stay tuned for more gargantuan information as it comes up from the darkest depths to devour you! Or will you devour it?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET" IS A G-TRILOGY! Character & Weapon Specs at AnimeJapan 2017

アニメ映画『GODZILLA 怪獣惑星』は3部作構成の大長編 !

Godzilla Kaiju Planet Cast
The main voice cast takes the stage at AnimeJapan 2017. ©Gigazine

Over this past weekend at the AnimeJapan 2017 event in Tokyo, Toho Animation made several announcements during the two presentations concerning the first animated film showcasing the "Big G", GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET, including the cast, characters, setting (in the form of special giveaway file), as well as models of the futuristic powered suits and rife. Perhaps, the biggest news of all is that this will not a standalone, but a full-fledged film trilogy, with the first installment hitting Japanese cinemas this November (followed by a global release on the Netflix streaming service).

Powered Suit Gwyn Campbell
Powered Suit on display at the Godzilla booth. ©Gwyn Campbell

WEAPON SPECS: Powered Suits deployed by the "Earth Union Tau Ceti-e Field Expeditionary Brigade". Originally, created as pioneering exo-planetary heavy machinery with drilling equipment, but is now being introduced into actual combat for anti-Godzilla operations. Heavily armored to protect the operator, both arms have been fitted with 20mm calibre Railguns. Height: 3.9 meters/Width: 2.9 meters/Total Weight: 2.5 tonnes/Maximum Speed (while walking): 80kph

Director Hiroyuki Seshita and Gun
Director Seshita with a EIRI at the Godzilla booth. ©Polygon Pictures

WEAPON SPECS: Electromagnetic Induction Rifle for Infantry. Bullpup-type Sub-railgun. The electromagnetic induction system allows rapid-firing of 6mm cylindrical pellets made from a special alloy. Distance and stopping power is equal to .338 Lapua Magnum ammo [2745 fps-4768 ft lb], making it a formidable combat weapon. In addition, since it employs an electromagnetic system, power is thereby regulated in lowering the firing voltage. While used as a rifle during peacetime, it's also possible, in an emergency, to use the forward of the rifle's grip as a pistol. Total Length: 470mm (Pistol: 120mm)/Total Height: 230mm (Pistol: 170mm)/Weight: 2.7kg (Pistol: 650g)

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Strategist Capt. Haruo Sakaki & weapons specialist Sgt. Yuko Tani.

Character Profiles: CAPTAIN HARUO SAKAKI (24), Japanese. Lost his parents during a Godzilla attack, and harbors a strong hatred against the king of the monsters in his heart. Highly intelligent, and despite his slim physique, is highly trained and able-bodied (Voice: Mamoru Miyano). SERGEANT YUKO TANI (19), Japanese. Growing up together, Yuko was Haruo's junior during their childhood schooling. Because of her slight frame, she has a complex in terms of physical prowess, but is a brilliant Armorer and Weapons Engineer (Voice: Kana Hanazawa).

Adam and Martin
Aerospace Pilot Lt. Adam Binewald & Biologist Maj. Martin Lizzari.

LIEUTENANT ADAM BINEWALD (21), German. He was a skilled hover jockey before taking the yoke as the pilot for the landing craft. One of the young officers who holds the actions of Haruo in awe. He has a high degree of mental health and thus is very cheerful (Voice: Yuki Kaji). MAJOR MARTIN LIZZARI (34), Italian-American. Former civilian environmental biologist. He is extremely optimistic with the curiosity of a scholar. As a specialist, he is able to analyze data of the altered global ecosystem in short-order (Voice: Tomokazu Sugita).

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Lt. Col. Metphies of Exif & Engineer Col. Mulu-elu Galu-gu of Bilsard.

CHAPLAIN (Lieutenant Colonel) METPHIES (50, but is physically 25), Exifian. An Archbishop on his homeworld of Exif, he is a universally-respected and admired man of virtue. He speaks philosophically in a soft tone with a gentle smile. Has a keen understanding of Haruo's psyche (Voice: Takahiro Sakurai). COLONEL MULU-ELU GALU-GU (60, but is physically 35), Bilsardian. At one time, this Chief Technology Officer was the most physically superior and unmatched of all the Bilsardian people. This has been channelled into his capability among Engineers, with his striving for excellence in science and rationalism (Voice: Junichi Suwabe).


Did the illustrator work Godzilla's dorsal plates into the teaser art?

The first trilogy in the long-running franchise, GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET is written by Gen Urobuchi (Aldnoah: Zero) and is co-directed by Kobun Shizuno (Knights of Sidonia) and Hiroyuki Seshita (Ajin: The Demi-Human). Please stay tuned to the official website and this blog for more details as they become available for this exciting trilogy of animated features!

Friday, March 24, 2017

SYNOPSIS FOR "GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET" Animated Film Gets New Title & Release Date

この<地球>を必ず取り戻す。『GODZILLA 怪獣惑星』2017年11月

Godzilla Kaiju Planet

With the tagline, "We're going to take back this planet, Earth", the official Twitter account of the animated Godzilla, shared the second teaser poster for the upcoming feature film from Polygon Pictures and Toho Animation, entitled GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET (official English title TBA). The posting also stated a description of the image, which gives a release date of November 2017 (be forewarned there are major spoilers below):

A figure of a young man, Haruo, wearing a "skinsuit" approaches, while above him multiple spacecraft descend, and on the ground there's a bipedal robot, and armed hover bikes at the ready. The planet on which they've landed upon is...

It shows the moment when mankind returns to their homeworld after a long interstellar journey, the tagline expressing the ultimate fate of mankind and the monster. In a first for the long-running movie series, what kind of war will the humans and Godzilla engage in on the stage of an vastly changed Earth in the future? In the coming months, the "evolution" of this new, unexpected Godzilla movie, will capture the imagination of fans around the world.

The official website godzilla-anime.com features a story synopsis:

The last summer of the 20th Century. The day, that human beings learned that they were not the only rulers of the Earth. Giant living creatures, "Kaiju", appeared, as well as the ultimate entity which destroys all monsters: Godzilla. After a half a century of war against these monsters, the defeated human race planned to escape Earth. In 2048, only those selected by the central government's A.I., boarded the interstellar migration ship "Aratrum" for Tau Ceti e, a planet 11.9 light-years distant. Twenty years later, however, they discover that their destination is inhospitable to human survival.

Aboard the Aratrum is Haruno, who saw both of his parents killed by Godzilla when he was four years old. For twenty years, he harbored one thought, return to Earth and defeat Godzilla. With life support deteriorating, and plans for migration crushed, he leads a faction of "Earth Returnists" to majority rule, determined to return through dangerous hyperspace navigation. However, in traveling faster-than-light, the planet they return to is an unknown world, 20,000 years older, where Godzilla reigns atop the ecosystem. Can mankind retake the Earth? And what will be the fate of Haruo?

GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET is written by Gen Urobuchi (Gargantia) based on an outline by Urobuchi and Sadayuki Murai (Space Battleship Yamato: 2199), co-directed by Kobun Shizuno (Knights of Sidonia) and Hiroyuki Seshita (Ajin: The Demi-Human). Assistant director Hiroyuki Morita (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya), production design by Naoya Tanaka (Ponyo) and Ferdinando Patulli (Ajin), character designs by Yusuke Kozaki (Pokémon GO), CG character designs by Yuki Moriyama (Ajin), art direction by Yukihiro Shibutani (The Lost Village), and supervised by Tadahiro "Tady" Yoshihira (Blame!).

Following the premiere of GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET in Japanese cinemas this November, the film will bow globally via the Netflix streaming service. Read my March 13th entry for more info. Stay tuned to this blog for further details as they develop!

Monday, March 13, 2017

NETFLIX ACQUIRES ANIMATED "GODZILLA" MOVIE Streaming Service Distributing Globally in 2017!

アニメーション映画『GODZILLA』Netflixで全世界独占配信決定!

Anigodzi Netflix March 2017
Netflix Japan's tweet announcing the worldwide deal on March 13th.

On Monday, March 13 at 6:30 pm (Japan Time), Netflix Japan's Twitter account posted an announcement, see below and in the above image, concerning the upcoming animated feature from Toho Animation and Polygon Pictures, titled GODZILLA, which was announced via this blog back in an entry on August 18th, 2016. And that announcement is not only true and verified, but also very exciting for Big G fans all across the globe, so here's the tweet, itself:

Netflix Anigodzi Tweet Blog

This is my translation: "Created by the gifted tag team of Kobun Shizuno x Hiroyuki Seshita x Gen Urobuchi and Polygon Pictures, the animated movie 'GODZILLA' will be exclusively distributed worldwide by Netflix! Release date to be announced soon!"

According to Cinema Today, and other Japanese entertainment news services, Netflix will begin streaming the film across the globe after it's theatrical release in Japan (tentatively scheduled for this July; pending official announcement, all dates are subject to change), and will see this new animated feature streaming in 190 countries. As for release on physical media for home video (DVD/Blu-ray) stay tuned to this blog for information as it develops.

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Concept art set in the mutated forest of Japan's "Old Tanazawa".

The aforementioned talents on this first animated Godzilla feature are responsible for such projects as GARGANTIA (2013), KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA (2014), AJIN: THE DEMI-HUMAN (2016), and STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (Seasons 4 & 5; 2011-2013). Set on a far future Earth, the voice cast includes Tomokazu Sugita (Gintama), Junichi Suwabe (Prince of Tennis), Kana Hanazawa (Steins Gate), and Mamoru Miyano (Death Note). No other credits have yet been announced.

Check out the official website and this blog for further news!