News recap for the end of November

It’s been a wild few weeks with Thanksgiving and year-end festivities, but this previous weekend I made it out to Anime NYC, where I learned that:

  • The English-dubbed episode of Godziban was very difficult for its Japanese voice actors, suggesting that future dubbed ones are unlikely, but the producers did seem happy that someone in the West is watching the show.
  • Strega is getting an English dub, which Garage Hero will eventually distribute. That whole panel was great.
  • Megalobox is going to be getting a sequel.

But, what else has been going on? Well, we can find out in this news recap:

  • First of all, Godzilla vs Kong was delayed until November 20. No surprise there, since it never really seemed right that another huge expensive Hollywood Godzilla flick would hit less than a year after the previous one, and we haven’t gotten so much as a poster yet.
  • While the delay was a little bit of a bummer, we can’t get too down, since the same day we got more information about the Godzilla collaboration in the Symphogear XD mobile game. As I’ve said many times, Symphogear is a superb, sublime, phenomenal, action-packed magical girl anime, and after the SSSS.Gridman collaboration that they did for the mobile game, a Godzilla one is quite exciting. Oh, and that game is getting an English-language release soon!

I love the character combinations here. Godzilla is paired with the scrappy, aggressive Kanade, rather than defaulting to the main character Hibiki. Hibiki, being the strongest character and gold in color, is paired with Ghidorah. The silver-armored Maria originally had a copy of Kanade’s armor, so Kiryu is a good fit. Shirabe is reincarnated from a very powerful ancient character, so the reincarnation-prone Mothra is a reasonable match for her, and since Shirabe is frequently paired with the scythe-wielding loser Kirika, Kirika is of course Gigan. This leaves questions of who Tsubasa and Chris could be….maybe Rodan and Showa Mechagodzilla? Space Godzilla and Moguera? Ebirah and Zone Fighter?

I demand action figures of all of these.

  • Marvel has announced that they’ll be doing some Ultraman comics. It’s exciting to see what they’ll involve, though the approach has been strange. The announcement included no new artwork, but old DVD art by Alex Ross, who has said on his YouTube page back in September of 2018 that he was “looking to do new artwork featuring the character” not for the Asian market. The image’s filename even suggests that Ross was hired to work on the book, but it’s not actually part of the press release. At any rate, more exposure and a new take is definitely a net positive, and even a lousy Marvel book can be entertaining.

  • Return of Ultraman and Ultraman Orb Origin Saga Blu-rays are up for preorder, so you know what to do.
  • In twelve days, we’ll get more information on Toei and Tsuburaya’s upcoming anime Kaiju Decode. Toei can be quite janky, especially on “sure things” (see Sailor Moon Crystal, Digimon Tri, the early parts of Dragon Ball Super), so hopefully they put good animators on this one.

  • The Redman: The Kaiju Hunter comic just announced a new antagonist Bemdora, who’s totally based on the original Bemular (as in the original concept for Ultraman) design. Kudos to Matt Frank for reviving that deep cut, and in a way more organic than the ULTRAMAN manga’s doing!
  • Chris of the Kaiju Kingdom Podcast was at DesignerCon, and noticed that Mondo has a line of Pulgasari toys upcoming! I really wonder how licensing works for that batch.

  • A poster for the four-part “Daikaiju Gomera vs Kamen Yaiba” storyline in Detective Conan next month:

  • The Evangelion train may be gone in real life now, but at least it’s still showing up in the Shinkalion movie:

  • An ad for the Kamen Rider Zero One movie:

  • The Island of Giant Insects got a live-action promo:

  • Viz is releasing Junji Ito’s short story collection Venus in the Blind Spot in August. It’s a little concerning that they’re advertising it as including “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”, since that was already included in their release of Gyo, and I hope we don’t get too much redundancy among the collections that they put out.
  • As a no-brainer cross-promotion, Zombie Land Saga is being used to promote Zombieland: Double Tap in Japan.

  • Finally, a new ad for next year’s Sorcerous Stabber Orphen remake. I hope it does well enough to see some other “vintage” light novels get pulled out for revivals, too.

That’s a wrap for the moment; until later! I promise that the next post will probably not be as delayed as Godzilla vs. Kong.

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Two-week news recap: Godzilla turns 65 in style

November 3rd was Godzilla’s 65th birthday, and it was a wild Godzilla Festival in Tokyo this year.

  • The Nijigen no Mori theme park, best known for ziplines and a replica of the village from Naruto, is adding a life-size Shin Godzilla attraction. This looks like a pretty fun day trip for folks staying in the Kansai area, but I don’t know if anything will top Universal’s Godzilla vs Evangelion ride.

  • Professional cosplayer Enako got to make gijinka an official part of Godzilla marketing with her “Enagodzilla” exhibit and merchandise.

  • I thought Symphogear XD Unlimited couldn’t get any more awesome after that SSSS.Gridman crossover…now it’s got Godzilla showing up in game!

  • Several directors got on stage and discussed the movies that they had wanted to make. Bagan never really goes away…

  • There’s…whatever this is:

  • A Godziban live show:

  • Also, Godziban got an English dub, for one episode, at least.

Other neat stuff:

  • Mandarake is opening up a Sofubi specialist store. If you have the funds, swing by and pick up one of their ugly original Megagorilla figures.

  • We now have a video for the Osomatsu brothers meeting Pennywise as promotion for It Chapter 2.

  • A trailer for Dino Girl Gauko:

  • Finally, a trailer for the upcoming remake of The Grudge. Or, re-re-remake?

That’s a wrap for this week, until next time!

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Maser Patrol podcast episode 45: We’ve got the seasonal Blus…

On this episode of the podcast, Kevin, Justin, and Byrd sit down to discuss some of the exciting recent tokusatsu home video releases from Criterion, Mill Creek, Discotek, Section23, SRS, Shout Factory, Arrow, Kino Lorber, and Synapse. We also go into the overall home video market landscape, distribution, why we still collect physical media, and the convoluted history that Godzilla has had on North American home video.

Direct download

Show notes:

There are other cool new titles out there, from Legend of the Demon Cat to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but I think we hit the major tokusatsu releases. Hopefully this helps someone to make good decisions with their holiday shopping, add to their personal collection, or just feel more educated about the products for knowledge’s sake!

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Slow news week recap

Not a whole lot to report for the past couple of weeks, but here goes nevertheless.

  • Starting on a sad note, RIP Hiroshi Sagae. He had a lot of fantastic ideas, and was always an enthusiastic and friendly fellow, and it seems like he left far too soon. The silver lining is that his Gotouchi Kaiju project will continue without him, so his legacy will live on.

  • In happier news, SSSS.Gridman finally has a north American Blu-ray release incoming in January. There’s a standard edition and a deluxe one with an art book. It’s hard to say if that’ll justify the additional price for those who already have Japanese art books, but at least the deluxe one actually has Gridman on the cover.

  • Speaking of Gridman, the spinoff manga Hime & Samurai and Neon Genesis Junior High Student Diary just started. There are honestly too many spinoff manga for this franchise to keep track of them all!

  • Lupin III has threatened to steal Godzilla’s “treasure” in time for the kaiju’s 65th anniversary on November 3rd. I feel compelled to point out that the new Lupin movie, Lupin III the First, is directed by Takashi Yamazaki, a Godzilla fan who also included Godzilla in Always Sunset on Third Street part 2, though there’s also a new TV special with the legendary phantom thief.

  • Netflix has an upcoming children’s show titled Dino Girl Gauko, about a girl who can turn into a dinosaur when she gets upset. Seems like a fun enough premise…. I wonder if she’s related to the heroine of Kaiju Girl Caramelise?

  • Not sure about Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 based on this trailer, but it is interesting to see the franchise’s continuous evolution.

  • Speaking of other artist’s takes on Hyakkimaru, Rumiko Takahashi did a poster for Festival d’Angoulême that covers him and several other classics. It’s neat to think about how each of these titles may have inspired her work.

  • Yu Yu Hakusho‘s Yusuke is getting Nendoroid treatment. I wonder if they feasibly could do something like that with Toguro, seeing as how his head is so very small?

  • A promotional collaboration is underway for It with Mr. Osomatsu, because…yeah, I got nothing. This is way weirder than the Osomatsu/Ultraman collab.

That’s a wrap for this edition; until next time!

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Mid-month news recap

Time for a quick recap of some of the interesting happenings in tokusatsu and anime in the past couple of weeks:

  • Tsuburaya’s latest Ultra Fight series, Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes, is looking pretty interesting on a couple of fronts. First, it’s being streamed weekly on YouTube with both English subtitles and an English dub (it’s ironic that these seem much more available in dubbed format than any of the Ultraman TV series).
    Secondly, it features Ultraman Ribut, who previously has only appeared in animated form in a few episodes of the Malaysian cartoon Upin & Ipin. I love how the Ultraman franchise is so willing to incorporate its more seemingly apocryphal content into the main continuity; I can’t think of any other franchise that’s so integrated.

  • After a successful release of the first two Deep Sea Monster movies from Shinpei Hayashiya, SRS has announced that they also licensed the third, Deep Sea Monster Raiga vs Volcano Beast Ohga. This is quite exciting, as there’s no Japanese home video release yet, and this movie was directly inspired by US fandom (including cameos by Kaijucast’s Kyle Yount and Kaiju Gaiden’s Mark Jaramillo).
    I would encourage them to translate the credits and center the subtitles this time, though.

  • A new monster has been revealed for the upcoming (as of yet untitled) MonsterVerse comic that leads into Godzilla vs. Kong. They’re going with “Camazotz”, which, being a traditional deity name, suggests some stylistic continuity between this and King of the Monsters. So far the comics always seem to muddy the continuity more than clarify anything, so we’ll see if this continues the trend.

  • There’s a new Chinese giant monster movie announced called Spiders, which will be confusing, especially since there’s already giant monster movies titled Spiders (2000) and Spiders 3D (2013).

  • Hit science fiction/horror franchise The Promised Neverland is getting a live-action adaptation. The characters have been aged-up significantly from the source material (a 19 year-old actress for a character that’s 11?), which removes a lot of the impact, and I don’t think is a great idea.

  • Ultramechatron Team Go looks like another edgy Power Rangers parody, to go down with Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers, Gigabots, Mystic Cosmic Patrol, Meet the Putties, Power/Rangers, etc. (Not that Japan has any shortage of similar Sentai parodies…)

  • Gen Urobuchi has a new mecha series titled Obsolete for YouTube Premium starting in December.  Presumably this means that it won’t get a physical release, but I’m not particularly familiar with YouTube Premium’s business model.

  • Mappa’s Dorohedoro series has drawn my attention in a way that the manga never did, but since it was licensed by Netflix I assume we won’t see it stateside for at least a year.

  • Drifting Dragons is also a Netflix acquisition, for those who want to watch a dragon-themed cooking show.

  • Netflix is also producing a new Masaaki Yuasa series (Devilman Crybaby did make quite a splash), this one based on Sakyo Komatsu’s Japan Sinks. It’ll be interesting to see how Japan Sinks 2020 compares to the 1973 Submersion of Japan movie and Shinji Higuchi’s 2006 Japan Sinks adaptation. Maybe if it’s popular enough, someone will release the original movie in English?

That’s a wrap for the time being; we’ll see what the upcoming weeks bring.

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Halloween Hijinks: Kaiju Horror

I was racking my brain trying to think of what to do for this year’s Halloween Hijinks, since we’ve already discussed Japanese media depictions of most of the staples: vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, yokai, and Lovecraft creations, plus horror anime. Before I resigned myself to watching half a dozen Japanese invisible man flicks, Nick Driscoll made a wise suggestion, that so long as I have kaiju on the brain 99% of the time anyway, this might be a fine time to run through some of the spookiest daikaiju horror material on the market, so here we are.

Now, this is hardly new ground to cover, since there’s a sizable overlap in monster fans and horror fans. Most horror outlets cover kaiju on occasion, and there’s been a panel or two at G-Fest covering the subject of horror (I recall a particularly great one with Jörg Buttgereit), so I don’t think I need to cover the real basics… everyone already knows about the grotesque transformations in Shin Godzilla, the human bodies dissolving away to skeletons in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, the implacable undead Godzilla of Giant Monsters All-out Attack, the found-footage survival horror of Cloverfield, or the colossal, man-eating creatures of War of the Gargantuas, Attack on Titan, and the 90s Gamera trilogy.

Instead, let’s talk about a few examples a little more off the beaten path. These shouldn’t be huge revelations for long-time kaiju nuts, but for casual fans looking for something to scare up their Halloween season or horror junkies who’re looking to diversify their kaiju portfolios beyond the basics, there might be a title or two worth checking out.

Redman

This first example is cheating…kind of. See, Redman started off as a children’s show in 1972, basically as an extremely low-rent superhero program in the vein of Ultraman. It was super cheap, so instead of filming on sets with miniature cities, the show was filmed out in the wilderness. This is key to how Redman became a bit of a meme and saw a resurgence in recent years: because the monsters aren’t threatening anyone, and there’s no dialogue in the show, it appears to be a series just about a man in a mask showing up an slaughtering creatures that aren’t hurting anyone. Some of the shots are even framed like something out of Friday the 13th.

It probably doesn’t help that the “hero” also has a tendency to chase after the monsters that are running away from him, keep hitting monsters when they’re down, or that he essentially fights with a machete, either. Basically every shot in the show feels like you’re witnessing a murder.

Also by nature of being a cheap show, the monster suits are often in rough shape, adding to the sense that something is fundamentally wrong with what you’re watching. Seriously, what happened to Kanegon?!

Fandom latched onto the idea that Redman was basically a sociopathic slasher, and Tsuburaya is never one to let a merchandising opportunity pass. The character has since shown up in stage shows where Ultramen have to stop him from attacking peaceful monsters, on t-shirts with blood-stained logos, and most recently, in Matt Frank’s excellent ongoing comic series Redman: The Kaiju Hunter, which delves deeper into the unsettling world that the series never elaborates on.

Redman episode 1 on YouTube

Redman: The Kaiju Hunter volume 1 on Amazon

 

Creature! (AKA Hakaiju) by Shingo Honda

Shingo Honda’s brutal survivalist monster manga takes place in a town completely overrun by a wide variety of abominations, from the smaller human-sized threats, all the way up to well…bigger.

The creature designs alone are certainly nightmare-fuel, but the horror covered in the series is diverse, ranging from the graphically violent monster-eating-people action, to body horror as humans are infected with monster elements, to good old-fashion human-on-human inhumanity. The manga gets crazier as it goes along, with elements of government conspiracy and apocalyptic sequences reminiscent of Evangelion and Devilman.

The series ran for 21 volumes from 2010 to 2017 (only 19 volumes have been released to Kindle as of this writing, though you can read the first 13 as a self-contained story), and it also inspired a short live-action promotional prequel, which makes up the first two minutes of this video:

Creature! volume 1 at Amazon

 

Henge (2011, dir Hajime Ohata)

Since the promo for Creature! had an ad at the end for Henge, I figure that’s a good segue. I’ve written about this movie before, both in Kaiju for Hipsters and an error-filled blog post from when I first saw it, but this The Fly/Tetsuo-inspired body-horror piece is described by the director as a “love story between husband and wife”, since it’s about a wife who helps her husband eat people as he’s increasingly taken over by possibly-demonic (?) forces. He gets pretty gnarly towards the end:

It’s worth bringing up in the kaiju context due to the final sequence, where he grows enormous and goes through a rampage through Tokyo. The effects scenes were clearly done on a budget, but Kiyotaka Taguchi’s creative framing (and some nice blood splatter) make it fun enough to watch.

Henge streaming on Amazon

 

Kagewani

A moody paranormal investigation anime in the mold of The X-Files, each eight-minute episode is relatively crudely animated (basically one step up from Yamishibai), but has a great art style that lends itself to amping up the tension. The format is at first glance monster-of-the-week, with a professor who specializes in kaiju traveling the world while learning about a variety of creepy cryptids (ranging from dinosaurs to man-assimilating jellyfish to Tremors-ish land worms), but there is an underlying plot running throughout involving his backstory with the titular “shadow crocodile” and an organization that intends to weaponize the monsters. Since the episodes are short, each of the 13-episode seasons will go by briskly, and the stories never overstay their premise.

Watch Kagewani on Crunchyroll

 

7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano

Nominally based on Hal Clement’s 1950 science fiction novel Needle, this 2008 manga series has a lot in common with Ultraman the Next, in that a bad alien comes to earth and starts absorbing various lifeforms into a fleshy collective, while a good alien pursues it and fuses with our protagonist. Much like the amorphous blob that Tetsuo becomes in Akira, the amalgamated meat monster in this is probably not something you’ll be seeing in action figure form any time soon.

7 Billion Needles volume 1 on Amazon

 

Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island

While the manga Higanjima by Koji Matsumoto is about people trying to survive an island full of vampires, there’s no shortage of other grotesque monstrosities that show up along the way, as the vampires tend to mutate into other nasty things.

The manga inspired a 2009 live-action movie, which is currently available in the US from Funimation, and not a bad watch.

For the most part, the movie sticks to mundane vampires, but the kaiju connection in this film is a big beast that shows up at the end for a climactic battle. It doesn’t go quite as wild as the manga, but it was still early in the story when the movie was made.

There’s also a 2013 Higanjima TV series, which led into a second theatrical movie, Higanjima Deluxe (Nirvana Island: The Last 47 Days). This one has a lot more monster action and some really grotesque looking creatures (think giant Street Sharks covered in eyeballs), but sadly neither that TV series or this film have been made available in English.

Buy Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island at Amazon

 

Devilman Lady

Much like how the original 1972 Devilman anime only sort of took rough concepts from the concurrent manga, the 1998 gender-flipped Devilman Lady is only a loose translation of its own, from Go Nagai’s 1997 Devilman Lady manga. The anime is from excellent director (and noted kaiju fan) Toshiki Hirano (Iczer 1, Dangaioh, Godzilla 1990, Rayearth), so the first difference that’ll leap out at folks who did read the Devilman Lady manga (aside from the fact that there’s a fair deal less rape in the anime) is that our heroine has a tendency to turn Ultraman-sized to fight a lot of the monsters of the week.

It’s rather the same setup as the original Devilman at the end of the day: Rather than following schoolboy Akira Fudoh, who gets possessed by a demon and goes out hunting other demons with the help of his crazy quasi-boyfriend Ryo Asuka, this series follows model Jun Fudoh, who gets possessed by a demon and goes out hunting other demons with the help of her crazy quasi-girlfriend Lan Asuka. Lots of gore, tragedy, and crazy plot twists ensue (spoilers for an almost half-century-old comic?), so if you’re a fan of the original manga, or the Devilman Crybaby series on Netflix, I’d certainly suggest giving this anime a spin.

Watch Devilman Lady on Amazon Prime

 

Gyō by Kazuo Umezu

Gyō is a manga about a giant fish monster by Kazuo Umezz (Drifting Classroom, Cat Eyed Boy), not to be confused with Gyo, which is a giant fish monster manga by Junji Ito (we could talk about that one, but it’s gross). Umezz is a legend in the horror manga community, having inspired the likes of Ito and trained the likes of Rumiko Takahashi, and in the kaiju space he’s be known for his characteristically disturbing take on Ultraman. However, he also has a somewhat well-known short 1971 kaiju-centric manga, and that’s what we’ll talk about here. There are rumors that the manga may have been inspired by an unused concept from Ultra Q, as one of the unmade episodes was “Pagos vs. Gyo”, and a monster named Kaigyo (“strange fish”) did show up in one Ultra Q monster list in Shonen Magazine.

Anyway, the story itself is pretty simple, that of a bullied child who befriends a weird fish when he can’t make other pals. The kid gets sick, the parents blame the fish and throw it away. Decades later, it’s huge and comes back looking for his friend.

It also destroys the then-new Fukushima reactor, which might be awkward to view in a modern context, or might just play into the long-lasting relationship between that site and the kaiju genre.

Of course, the real sign that Gyō has a lasting kaiju legacy, several vinyl figures have been produced:

Unfortunately, Gyō is not available in English at the time of this writing.

 

Series Kaiju Ward: Gyaras

There was a lot of buzz for this exciting original series for Toei’s Tokusatsu Fan Club streaming platform, however, it’s not currently clear whether it’ll be a series at all: the first episode debuted back in February and there’s been no further news about it (there’s even a Twitter account tracking the days since it dropped). What it appears to be about (based on the episode that did air) is smug jerks getting their karmic comeuppance in monster form, as the pilot has a playboy jerk get stalked by a giant crow, all the doing of a mysterious traveling saleswoman. So far so good, but I wish they would make more of it.

There’s no North American release for Gyaras (or “Gallas”, as it’s better known), but MegaBeast Empire is fansubbing it.

 

Gantz by Hiroya Oku

Hiroya Oku’s brutal survival horror/sci-fi action series Gantz is an institution, with 37 volumes, a three volume spin-off, live action films, video games, an anime TV series, and more. The premise is that after death, certain individuals don’t go to the afterlife, but have a chance to win their lives back by battling various dangerous alien creatures using high-tech weaponry. The aesthetics are cool, the enemies are memorable, and the constantly rotating cast keeps the stakes high and will really lead you to cheer in the heroic moments and wallow in the crushing defeats.

I think that the best way to experience the series is to read the manga start to finish, but not everyone has time for that. As a compromise, there is a nicely done CGI movie that will give a flavor of the premise while also loosely adapting the popular Osaka arc from the manga: Gantz: O. It’s got both evil yokai and Pacific Rim-style giant robot battles (and a giant monster made of naked ladies)!

Oku’s latest manga Gigant also has some tense scenes of giant humanoids attacking Tokyo, but it’s more of an Ultraman pastiche-meets-romance (giant porn star!) than an action horror series.

Buy Gantz omnibus 1 on Amazon

Watch Gantz: O on Netflix

 

King of Thorn by Yuji Iwahara

Surprise, another manga about a group of people cut off from civilization struggling to survive and being hunted by monsters! Yeah, this seems to be a recurring motif in kaiju-related horror. King of Thorn sees survivors of a rare disease coming out of cryogenic freeze unexpectedly, only to find that the lab they were in is overgrown with vines and there are dinosaurs and other strange beasts roaming the area. I was already on board with that post-apocalyptic premise, but the plot keeps clever twists coming in a way such that you can never quite predict where it’s heading. The manga version does feature giant monsters arising all over the globe towards the end, but the movie adaptation concentrates that down into only the titular King of Thorn, a dragon made of vines:

The 2010 movie adaptation does condense a lot from the six volumes of source material, and loses a fair deal in the process (including many monsters), but it’s still a gorgeous picture (CGI aside) that restructures the plot in a way that will keep even fans of the manga guessing. Also, the soundtrack is fantastic.

Buy King of Thorn (manga) volume 1 on Amazon

Buy King of Thorn (movie) on Amazon

 

Honorable mentions:

  • Godzilla in Hell – does what it says in the title
  • Legend of Dinosaurs & Monster Birds – Toei’s Jaws-inspired killer cryptid pic
  • Neo Ultra Q – probably the most off-putting of Ultra Q titles
  • Ki-gai – a four-episode monster show culminating in a kaiju climax
  • Giant Monster – a comic from 30 Days of Night‘s Steve Niles
  • Shibuya Goldfish – even more killer fish in this manga, this time attacking the heart of Tokyo
  • Island 731 – the Island of Doctor Moreau-inspired lead-in to the Project Nemesis “Kaiju Thriller” novel series
  • Koujin – the titular creature in this samurai flick is Shin Godzilla-level creepy looking
  • Hellstar Remina – I felt like I needed to mention something by Junji Ito, so can a killer planet count?

Caveat: Island of Giant Insects

Crunchyroll licensed Island of Giant Insects months ago, but still isn’t streaming it, and I can probably guess why: much like High School of the Dead, it pretty much pornographically fetishizes its gruesome kill sequences. Even hardened gorehounds cringe at this blend of violence and sex, so be prepared for that if you decide to check it out.

 

On that note, that’ll be a wrap. Hopefully this has been helpful in expanding your creepy kaiju horizons. Until next time, Happy Halloween!

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At long last, a news recap!

Long time, no post! It’s a busy time to be an otaku, as this last week saw the North American theatrical releases of Tokyo Ghoul S, Takashi Miike’s First Love, and Promare, which are all pretty fun (well, Promare was a tad cliche, but a lot of other folks really dig it). More broadly, since the last news recap, the solid Ultraman Taiga and Kamen Rider Zero One have started, the stellar Astral Chain dropped, and Discotek’s release of Juspion, not to mention the ridiculous hype that Symphogear XV has been dealing each week. But, bloggers gotta blog, so let’s take a look at some neat developments since last we recapped!

  • The coolest thing to happen while I was out was the premiere of the Gojiban series on YouTube. The result of that Gemstone competition from a few months ago, it’s a weekly puppet show in the style of GekiGoji, and it being easily available on YouTube is a blessing. (Aside from UNFIX it may be my favorite YouTube tokusatsu series.)

  • The most unexpected bit of news was that Toho’s Snow Man, banned from home video release for decades, is somehow getting an extremely limited Blu-ray release in Germany. It’s being put out by Marumi HighVision, who strangely don’t mention the controversy surrounding the movie in their post, but do call it a Gamera flick (?)

  • Unexpected in a completely different way: Hellboy taking part in Japanese pro wrestling, promoting the new movie’s Japanese release. There was also a crossover promotion between Hellboy and Devilman.

  • Mill Creek’s Ultraman releases are going to be coming fast and furious, according to this leaflet that’s circulating on social media. Reality looks just slightly off from it so far, with Geed and Orb coming in November, but Ultraseven in December. Walmart will have the Geed and Orb movies separately, if for some reason that’s all you want.

  • Toshiki Inoue is writing a Kamen Rider 555 spinoff manga about Kaixa, titled Kamen Rider 913. It’ll be interesting to see whether he’s as big a jerk in the manga as he is in the show; potentially entertaining if so.

  • SRS has licensed Attack of the Giant Teacher, doing the same thing that they did for Reigo and Raiga, releasing it on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. This is pretty fast, considering how the film premiered at G-Fest two months ago and only hit Japanese theaters last week; funny how low-budget independent movies get US releases so much more smoothly than bigger-budget Japanese effects films.

  • Minoru Kawasaki has a new kaiju flick on the horizon, whose English title is either Monster Seafood Wars (according to publicist Avery Guerra) or the more literal translation Three Monsters Gourmet (according to the crowdfunding campaign for the movie). The publicity linking the movie’s concept to Eiji Tsuburaya’s unused pre-Godzilla giant octopus movie pitch is a nice touch.
    The concept art looks like the movie might reuse suits from The Calamari Wrestler and Crab Goalkeeper, but we’ll see…also, it’s supposed to get a manga adaptation in Web Comic Gamma!

  • Another new ad for the Thunderbolt Fantasy movie:

  • By the way, if you’re craving something else along the lines of Thunderbolt Fantasy, another Pili show, War of Dragons, is on Netflix. If you watch just one puppet show on Netflix this year…well, make it The Dark Crystal, but if you watch another, you could do worse than War of Dragons.

  • Junji Ito’s Uzumaki is getting an anime miniseries adaptation for Adult Swim. The Junji Ito Collection got a lot of flak for adapting the hyper-detailed look of Ito’s manga to animation, so it’ll be interesting to see how this is received.

  • Detective Conan is getting a four-episode arc about a murder mystery taking place on a film set for “Daikaiju Gomera vs. Kamen Yaiba”. Both the kaiju spoof and the hero pastiche have featured in the anime before, but this is notably the longest arc to feature either…possibly worth lumping together and considering as a movie?

  • I was late to the party on Peter Tieryas’s Seiun Award-winning alternate-history dystopian scifi novel series United States of Japan, but they’re pretty interesting. The third part, Cyber Shogun Revolution, was announced for March.

  • Shudder added One Cut of the Dead, so if you haven’t checked out what the fuss is about, just watch it.

On that note, let’s call it a wrap for now. Hopefully the next news recap comes a little more quickly than this one did…otherwise I’ll have to start planning for Halloween. But, only time will tell what the world of Japanese-style genre fiction has in store for us in October.

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