Weekly news recap for May 30: Cons and such

Nearly every summer, kaiju fans are struck with a difficult decision: San Diego Comic Con or Godzilla-Fest? Being the monolith of pop culture that it is, SDCC frequently has the biggest announcements, exclusive merchandise, and attractions like the Godzilla Encounter or those teaser trailers that never manifested online. The comparably tiny G-Fest lacks such mass headline-grabbing incentives, but instead concentrates its focus exclusively and deeply on Japanese monster movie material. Is it goofy that SDCC gets the exclusive MonsterArts, the new kaiju comic series announcements, the exclusive Godzilla trailers when a convention literally full of nothing but kaiju fans doesn’t? Absolutely, but that’s the way mass marketing is played. As a team effort, Maser Patrol is fortunate; we split up, so usually Andy attends SDCC while Kevin and Amanda go to G-Fest. What we know right now is thus:

At this year’s SDCC, Viz is bringing in Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, further evidence that they’re really pushing the upcoming English release of the 2011 Ultraman manga. It’s a bit of a strange move, however, since the manga’s not supposed to be released in time for the show, and the duo’s other work (Linebarrels of Iron, Hybrid Insector) hasn’t been licensed at all, so I wonder how much fan interaction will be of the “I really love reading illegal uploads of your comics!” variety. Kazuki Takahashi will be there as well, a little more understandable since quite a few people have heard of Yu-Gi-Oh.

Then there’s the Hollywood guests, and the first chances to hear about big upcoming projects (my money’s on some Skull Island reveals). Of course, Guillermo del Toro will most likely let something slip about new Pacific Rim projects while he’s promoting Crimson Peak as well. As we mentioned before, SDCC also has exclusive chibi figures from NECA, reproductions of the toys from the movie’s opening prologue:

pacrim chibis


On the flip side, there’s G-Fest. The biggest guest of honor this year is Masaaki Tezuka, director of Godzilla x Megaguirus, Godzilla x Mechagodzilla, and Tokyo SOS. Actor Yukijiro Hotaru will be there (for his part in the Heisei Gamera trilogy), a performer who I’ve been wanting to grill since our recent Keita Amemiya marathon nearly turned into a “spot Yukijiro Hotaru” drinking game. Also featured is composer Kow Otani, there for the concert of his Gamera trilogy/Giant Monsters All Out Attack scores, but I hope he’ll do some panels/autograph signings as well (if only I had the soundtracks for Outlaw Star, City Hunter, or Another; it’d be so boring to just hand him the GMK CD to sign!).

The film festival at G-Fest is also looking sharp. There will be a preview of Kaiju Gaiden, and Mark Jaramillo announced via The Kaiju Kingdom Podcast that he’s got a premiere trailer for Shinpei Hayashiya’s Deep Seas Monster Raiga vs. Volcano Monster Ohga, and a half-hour long “trailer” for Shizuo Nakajima’s The Legendary Wolfman vs. Godzilla. I’m also excited by the presence of Space Monster Numagirasu on the schedule, as I believe that’s making its English language debut. (Zella: Monster Martial Law will also be back, for folks who missed it last year.) Kyle Yount’s new documentary, Hail to the King, is sure to draw a crowd as well. Most of the other 20+ films on the line-up I’m unfamiliar with, but it’s already pretty tough balancing going to screenings with all of those panels and the dealers room!

In other news:

  • A lot more stuff is surfacing online about Ultraman X. I’m a little disappointed that they’ll continue using Bandai’s cheap vinyl dolls as the transformation device, but it’s delightful that this series’ science patrol (XIO, short for the Engrishy “Xeno Invasion Outcutters”) includes a Fanton alien, who should probably eat them out of house and home. Maybe it’s the Trekkie in me, but I do love when the team has an extra token alien/robot/gaijin character.

ultraman x scans 1ultraman x scans 2

  • Ajin is getting a movie trilogy adaptation, but in a somewhat surprising move, it’ll be an animated trilogy (generally anime gets made as TV shows nowadays). The premise of immortal people who psychically project invisible humanoids (think stands in Jojo) wouldn’t be that difficult to render in live-action, either.

ajin anime

  • Toei filed a trademark for Kamen Rider Ghost, which generally means that we can expect that to be the next series. I guess we can safely assume the next season will be supernatural in theme…. but in a wildly irresponsible move, I’ll predict that it’s either based on the 1990’s Dark Horse superheroine or the Patrick Swayze romance film. Or maybe it’s about the short-lived visual kei rock group?
  • While 99% not science fiction/fantasy (at least not before Angel Heart), we at Maser Patrol still love the crap out of City Hunter. The manga is getting a new OVA for people buying the new manga reissue, so hopefully it’s wild & tough, chance & luck! Now if only ADV fansubs was still in business….
  • Paramount has acquired rights to make a live-action movie based on Beyblade. I’d say this is ridiculous, but then I remember that Battleship got a movie, too.

That’s it for this week; let us know if there’s some cool SDCC/G-Fest-related stuff that we might have missed!

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