Weekend news recap for Dec 12

There’s an elephant in the room, so let’s drop the bad news before moving on to more pleasant subjects. Earlier this week, kaiju fandom was shaken by the news of Koichi Kawakita’s passing.

kawakita_EX21

When Toho builds statues and paints murals of their monster icon, they don’t usually use Tsuburaya’s Godzilla design; they use Kawakita’s. His is, in many ways, the definitive Godzilla.

The special effects director for most of Toho’s Heisei-era science fiction and fantasy projects had made no less than three trips to the US over the past year, so he was fresh in the minds of numerous American fans. Personally speaking, the brief interaction I had with him at G-Fest was an honor, as his era made up my formative years, and it’s sad to lose such a visionary. Hopefully his legacy will live on through his students at Osaka University of Arts; to that end I’ll leave this subject with a promo for Kawakita’s final project with them, Gunbot: The Armored Robot, a miniseries which finished airing on Japanese TV earlier this month.

On to brighter topics:

  • Ultraman 80 is on crunchyroll! They keep adding more and more Ultraman faster than we can watch it. (What a *terrible* problem to have!)
    Ultraman 80 is rarely pushed to the forefront of the Ultraman roster, but I’ve met more than one Ultra-fan who claims it as their favorite show, so it’s pretty exciting that thewhole thing’s finally readily available in translation. Who wants to take bets about what series goes up next?

  • Mamoru Hosoda’s next film, The Beast and the Boy (Bakemono no Ko), has been announced for a July 11 release. Between this, Wolf Children, and Summer Wars, I’m sort of noticing a recurring kids-&-dog-people theme, here.

  • The Colossal Titan is apparently doubling in height for Shinji Higuchi’s live-action Attack on Titan films. This seems like a strange move to me: working at a steeper scale makes miniature work more difficult (that’s why the Millennium Godzilla movies decreased the monster from 100 meters down to 55), but this monster’s getting boosted from 60 meters to 120. It makes interaction with human characters more difficult, too. (Reactions online seem to suggest that it’s a direct pissing contest with Godzilla’s size, even though Japanese media has already seen much, much bigger.) [via eigapedia]

attack-on-titan-poster-visual

  • Here’s a trailer for the ToQger vs. Kyoryuger movie, which hits January 17th:

  • Kamen Rider Drive‘s second rider, Kamen Rider Mach, has been revealed. He’s got antennae, a scarf, and most importantly, a motorcycle… wow, it’s like he’s an actual Kamen Rider. [via tokunation]

Kamen-Rider-Mach-Full-Reveal

  • The first trailer for Studio Trigger’s Ninja Slayer looks…. sort of cheap, I guess? I wonder if that’s a deliberate commentary on anime-inspired western animation?

  • More details about the 15th anniversary Digimon Adventure project, now titled Digimon Adventure tri., have surfaced: Cencoroll‘s Atsuya Uki is doing the character designs and Keitaro Motonaga (of the Kikaider 01 and Rayearth OVAs) is directing. I’m sure a lot of folks are already upset by the aesthetics change, but keep in mind: the theatrical films that Hosoda did while the series was current also looked nothing like the TV designs, and they were awesome anyway. Anyway, looking at Takeru and Hikari’s uniforms, it looks like they will be incorporating at least some stuff from Digimon 02 into the project (as if the “tri” in the title wasn’t a dead giveaway). [via ANN]

digimon15key

  • Rounding things out for this week is the news that Toynami’s new version of the Shogun Warriors Godzilla figure is up for preorder (for a hefty $249.99). It comes with all the features of the classic 1978 Mattel model: wheel feet, the fire tongue (which is now blue), and, of course, a spring-loaded rocket punch. A relatively new feature is that it actually looks like Godzilla (the face, spines, and coloring on the original were sort of heinous), though oddly, not on the 2014 design. Since the WB logo is visible in the marketing material, I have to wonder what that’s about. [via kaiju battle]

shogun godzi 2015For comparison:

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