Apologies again for the lack of regular updates; travel, academia, and personal matters have been consuming most of my time. However, keeping an ear to the ground, some neat stories have popped up recently, and I’m keen to talk about ’em:
First is the recent update that Shinji Higuchi will be taking over directorial duties from Tetsuya Nakashima for the 2015 live-action Attack on Titan movie. A lot of fans are upset about this, but I think it’s a good move; Nakashima has critically acclaimed work, but virtually no experience with kaiju effects or SF material at large, while Higuchi’s effects work on the Gamera trilogy is stunning. Granted, Higuchi’s own directorial efforts have been largely divorced from that, aside from the Japan Sinks and Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo short. I think writer Yusuke Watanabe is much more of a wild card, though. Watanabe’s done good work (Robo Rock, 20th Century Boys) and bad work (Gantz: Perfect Answer, and I haven’t heard much nice about Gatchaman), so it might come down to supervision. As for how the titans will look, there’s going to be a car commercial next month tied into the movie, so that may give some impression.
While we’re talking about manga adaptations from major Japanese directors, Ryuhei Kitamura has been selected for a live-action Lupin III movie starring Shun Oguri. Kitamura’s last two Hollywood pictures got shafted in terms of distribution, so I can’t blame him for coming back to Japan, and you’ll find few fans as enamored with his filmography as I am, but recent comments (made by Kitamura’s friend Take Yoshida) are so disturbing that even I find them a cause for alarm. The idea that Kitamura is “modernizing” Lupin to make it more realistic (e.g. removing Goemon’s sword) is pretty much a betrayal to everything the series stands for. There will always be the Lupin film Strange Psychokinetic Strategy for the series’ wacky antics in gleefully absurd live-action, so I’m more concerned about this blemishing Kitamura’s track record than it ruining the Lupin franchise.
Trailer for Sunrise’s new mecha show Buddy Complex, starting next year. Seems they’re not straying too far from the formula that’s been working for them.
Hey, remember Plex’s weird bishoujo figure of Eleking? It must’ve really gone over well, because a host of new designs have emerged for future figures, including Ultraman’s most iconic foes (sans Baltan): Gomora, Redking, and Zetton. These’re cool and all, but given the extensive roster of enemy monsters, this could get really expensive for collectors. Also, when will we see the Pigmon girl?