Two-week news recap, plus G-Fest and SDCC!

There was no news recap last weekend because of G-Fest, which means we’ve got a doozy for this week, especially with SDCC ongoing. First I want to give a quick recap of some of the G-Fest highlights:

  • My two panels went relatively well, the first one was the better of the two (my laptop started, plus I wasn’t sleep-deprived for that one!). Both are up on YouTube now (check episodes 31 and 32 under the “Podcast” tab of this page), so you can get a decent recreation (apologies for some of the audio getting drowned out while clips play). Of course, there was plenty I intended to say but forgot (like how Shin Godzilla uses imagery from The Little Prince and the Eight Headed Dragon, or the Nautilus in Nadia looks like the Moonlight SY3), but generally they hit the big notes. Also, thanks to Kyle at Kaijucast and Matt & Byrd at Kaiju Transmissions for the on-air shout-outs, and everyone reposting links the videos!
  • It was great to see Shinji Higuchi’s talk, especially since, for the sake of comparison, he’s giving a talk at the show in Nagoya this weekend that you had to get lottery tickets a month ago for the *chance* to attend. G-Fest makes it much, much easier. Anyway, he talked a lot about his involvement in Return of Godzilla, gave some anecdotes about Orochi’s Counterattack, and then leapt straight into Shin Godzilla (he only had an hour, he probably needed three).
    He started off by talking about how no American military characters were killed in the movie (I guess he’d heard buzz about the movie being interpreted as anti-American?), but the big bombshell (despite him already mentioning this at Famous Monsters Con in Dallas earlier) was that Toho can’t make Godzilla movies while Legendary has one in development, hence Shin Godzilla getting rushed to a summer 2016 release. (Whether the anime movies are a loophole because they are animated, or because Legendary pushed back their sequel a year remains unclear.) Also, Legendary’s rights expire in 2020, which is some interesting inside-baseball.
  • Kiyotaka Taguchi’s panel was great, especially the two Tetsudon: Kaiju Dream Match shorts he debuted there. He did start the show with an entire episode of Ultraman X, which might have been overboard since it really ate into Q-&-A time, presumably because he didn’t know that the show is simulcast here.

  • I didn’t get to see Yuji Kaida present, but he had a booth in the dealers’ room, so it was great to go up and attempt some compliments in my garbage-level Japanese (Amanda wasn’t able to attend this year). Kaida is a hero, and my first exposure to Ultra Q was actually from looking through his art books.
  • Lots of good finds in Artists’ Alley, including Hiroshi Kanatani’s print of the convention getting destroyed and Matt Frank’s Gamera doujinshi!

  • Kaiju Gaiden is always a good time, but this year had some extra-special treats: screenings of Koichi Kawakita’s final projects (including The God of Clay!), and a trailer for the long-awaited Kaiju Gaiden documentary (which may have a different final English title, it sounds like). A slightly different version of the trailer will be shown at SDCC at 1 today!

  • As always, there were lots of other great panels, and one’s primary problem at G-Fest is picking between them. Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle had a great one on their Ishiro Honda biography (learning that Honda’s in-laws were initially hostile makes a lot of sense considering the recurring theme of women going against family in his films), John Lemay gave an excellent rundown of some of the unmade projects covered in his new book, Tony Isabella talked at length about Marvel and Syfy monsters, Joyce Boss did a riveting presentation on yokai in Japanese culture, the Kaiju Transmissions crew did a bang-up job talking about Gamera vs. Gyaos. Matt Greenfield even showed up and did a presentation on Garo, completely unannounced, and I’m super stoked to see that show finally getting some promotion stateside. I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting, but it’s a whirlwind of a weekend!

And of course, the real joy of the con is getting to meet and shoot the breeze with fellow fans; hope to see you all next year as well!

And then we get to SDCC, going on right now. Andy’s out at that one, sending a steady feed of info my way!

  • We got a teaser for Pacific Rim: Uprising! It’s certainly a tease; no kaiju in sight.

On that note, the Robot Spirits figures for the film were also on display at the show [pic swiped from Matt Frank]:

  • The third season of Voltron: Legendary Defender is hitting Netflix August 4, but the fourth season is fast to follow in October!

  • Legendary is going out of their way to push Kong: Skull Island, with a large display of Kong bones, among other things. I guess the idea is to keep it fresh in people’s minds, since it’s already out on home video. On a side note, the Monarch Twitter page posted this today:

  • No hints at Leopardon, Kiryu, or Ultraman in this Ready Player One trailer, but it’s promising from what is included. If nothing else, expect an Akira Easter egg…

  • Shout Factory confirmed their release of Gingaman for some time after Megaranger.

  • Hasbro is making an Optimus Prime that the designer says will take 40 minutes to transform. That’s got to test one’s patience, but dang if they’re not putting work into it!
  • Square has a toyline based on Xenogears in the works.

Other news:

  • A full trailer for Albatross’s Red Baron/Silver Mask reimagining BraveStorm has been posted! A teaser went up a few months back and got taken down pretty quickly, but since this one is still up (and it’s due for a fall theatrical run) I guess they sorted out whatever the issue was there. Anyway, it looks awesome; hope it’s made available widely! (On that note, does Mill Creek still have the rights to Silver Mask? If so, they should make that happen.)

  • A Chinese movie title Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman, presumably part of a larger “Dragon Force” franchise that I know nothing about, debuted a trailer recently featuring its own heroes interacting with our favorite red-&-silver icon, and even had an awkward talk show promotion by a dude in body paint. One problem: The producers, Blue Arc, got the rights from Chaiyo, so predictably Tsuburaya was not happy about the whole thing. The trailer has since been removed (it also used some music from Fist of the North Star, so there could be other rights issues there), but the internet will always remember. Sort of a shame that the project got this far along before crashing, but maybe it’ll make a good chapter in a future lost films book.

  • Kamen Rider Build has been revealed from toy catalogs, and it seems to be riffing on a motif from Kamen Rider W: change out one of two components at a time. This time, they seem to be themed as animal+device (see Rabbit Tank below), so I really hope we get Gorilla Guillotine at some point.

  • This poster for Garo: Kami no Kiba has some returning faces that we’ve been anxiously awaiting!

  • Takeshi Obata did art for the American Death Note movie, reviews of which should be materializing soon since it screened at SDCC.

  • The 2017 version of The Mummy has inspired a four-part manga anthology from various artists titled The Mummy: Dark Stories. Being based on a Hollywood property (albeit sort of a flop), it’d be great if it eventually got a US release as well!

  • A French live-action movie of City Hunter is in the works, directed by and starring  Philippe Lacheau. Given what radical departures the Hong Kong and Korean versions were, who knows what France may bring to it?
  • Kotobukiya has a bishoujo statue of Ask from Evil Dead 2 in production. Their other horror character revisionings have been a little hard to swallow, but this one…works really well. When can we get a full series with girl Ash?

Whew! That’s a lot! Anyway, as always leave a comment if something got left out. Otherwise, look forward to some special coverage of something else mentioned in this recap, coming soon….

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