News recap: “Kaiju Club” show, Toku teases more Ultraman

We’ve got to start on a downer this week, lamenting the passing of Yoshimitsu Banno. In addition to his work with the likes of Kurosawa, Banno’s Godzilla vs Hedorah remains a game-changing standout in the Godzilla franchise that was never quite matched, and while his proposed Godzilla 3-D to the MAX woefully never came to pass, it remains one of the most interesting what-ifs, and it led directly to the 2014 revival. The Prophecies of Nostradamus, while officially banned, remains a chilling and grim portent as relevant now as it was four decades ago. And while his anime project Techno Police 21C didn’t have the success initially hoped for, it was reworked into Bubblegum Crisis, one of the most beloved and formative anime series of the ’80s. Banno’s career was met with much adversity, as revolutionaries often are, yet history has shown him on the side of the classics. RIP.

On to happier things:

  • Actor Kanata Hongo (Attack on Titan, Gantz) has the lead in a four-episode TV series titled Kaiju Club starting June 6. The show, set in the 1970s, is about (obviously) a club of kaiju otaku, and being produced with Tsuburaya, will have Metron, Guts, Zetton, and Ghos show up. The directors have some experience through Ultra Zone, and the writer did the live-action Yowamushi Pedal and that Final Fantasy: Dad of Light show that Netflix picked up.
  • I’ve probably watched the opening movie to the Symphogear XD Unlimited mobile game half a dozen times. You get a lot of aspects of the show crammed into under 2 minutes.

  • Toku will be airing Ultraseven X June 5-12. That’s another Ultra show that’s not available subtitled anywhere else (including Crunchyroll)! I’ve often found that late-night tokusatsu series to be unfairly maligned, possibly due to its focus on scifi/mystery plots over traditional kyodai hero action, so hopefully this helps it find a wider (more receptive) audience.
    Toku’s youtube banner also has images of The☆Ultraman (that anime with Ultraman Joneas), a series which has a few episodes dubbed, but otherwise isn’t even fansubbed, and Ultraman Cosmos, which is only subbed in cruddy bootlegs. Time to move somewhere that Toku is available!

  • Neo Parasyte F must have sold well for Kodansha USA, because they’ll also be releasing Neo Parasyte M. This anthology has Parasyte stories from the likes of Moto Hagio, Peach Pit, Takeyuki Takeya, and Hiro Mashima, so it’s even more exciting than the first collection.

That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for reading, and look forward to the ACen panel!

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Quick news recap: Some disks to buy

It’s a slow news week. Here’s a trailer for the Satria Heroes: Revenge of Darkness crossover movie, since I missed it earlier:

Oh, and the Godzilla vs. Kong release date in 2020 moved by one week. Other than that, it’s a lot of home video news.

  • The Famous Monsters website briefly mentioned an August home video release date for Shin Godzilla, but it’s been removed.
  • Kong: Skull Island hits home video on July 18th.
  • Shout Factory is releasing The Manster on Blu Ray on August 29.

  • Discotek just license-rescued Nightwalker, a severely underrated vampire detective show.

  • Norman England’s movie New Neighbor is coming out on German DVD later this month. The Idol will also be on the disc, the first home video release anywhere! The first trailer is rather work unsafe, BTW.

Short and sweet this week, but that just means more time for marathoning Carranger. Seeya next time!

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Weekly news recap: it’s all monsters this time

Everything that caught our eye this week was monster-related, varying from kaiju to vampires to the evil dead. Let’s get to it!

  • After last week’s round of toy catalog solicitations, now we have videos for Ultraman Geed. We also now know that Geed’s human form will be Riku Asakura, played by the 16 year-old Tatsuomi Hamada. Based on the character’s outfit, I think we can assume we’ve got another case of the hero not being in a science patrol team, though weirder things have happened age-wise (e.g. Hoshino in the original show). Oh, BTW: Koichi Sakamoto will be directing the series, and it’s written by horror novelist Otsuichi (Zoo, Goth).

  • The board game Smash Up has an expansion coming titled “Big in Japan”.

  • My inner Dance Dance Revolution aficionado is already addicted to free-to-play rhythm game Super Kaiju Dunk City.

  • Sion Sono’s Amazon Prime series Tokyo Vampire Hotel looks pretty awesome. Seriously, when are we going to get some of the Japanese Amazon shows brought over?

  • Here’s a trailer for the live-action Ajin movie. Or, should I say “Demi-Human”?

  • Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell, AKA Japanese Evil Dead, is out on home video in the UK now. It’s a very long time coming, so I might have to import it soon.

  • Yusaku Kitano, author of the surreal scifi novel Mr. Turtle, has a new monster novel out in Japan, descriptively titled Daikaijuuki, or “Daikaiju Chronicle”.

  • I wasn’t paying close attention to the latest Digital Manga kickstarter campaign, for Wonder 3, even though it is one of Osamu Tezuka’s sci-fi manga classics and all. Good news, it was funded, but it also had a bunch of reward titles, including Ambassador Magma, Metamorphose, and Say Hello to Bookila! Hopefully these will be available in some other format later, since the campaign is closed now.

That’s a wrap for this week; please leave a comment if we left anything out!

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Weekly news recap: Ultraman Geed, plus panel announcements!

Time for the news recap of the week!

  • The big thing this week is the reveal (through toy catalogs, of course) of Ultraman Geed (we’d all been assuming is was “Zeed” or “Xead”, but Geed it says), from this July’s new show.
    Our weird-looking hero is the son of Ultraman Belial… he sort of reminds me of Chaiyo’s Ultraman Elite, though, doesn’t he?

    Anyway, Geed’s gimmick appears to continue Orb’s by fusing disparate Ultramen together to gain new forms. Not only that, but classic kaiju will also be fusing:

Is it cynical that I suspect we’re only getting a new Zandrias because she was in Kaiju Girls?

  • Ultraman Neos is starting on Toku in May. Unlike the other shows they’ve aired, Neos has never been on Crunchyroll, so this is the first legit English version of the show.

Speaking of US broadcasts, TV Japan is airing Kamen Rider Wizard. My understanding is that that’s not subtitled, though, and I don’t feel like shelling out $25 per month to try it out.

  • Shin Godzilla is getting an English-subtitled home video release through Madman in Australia, hitting July 19th. Looks like it’s got behind the scenes stuff, which is more than I’d expect from the Funimation release. It also comes out April 22 in Hong Kong.
  • Gun Calibur has a limited Blu Ray release (100 units) up for purchase now. Or, VHS.

  • Seven Seas licensed ToLOVEru. The manga is a major hit in Japan, but it’s understandable that it hasn’t come stateside, being a Shonen Jump title that flies in the face of the much more wholesome image that Viz has built for the brand. As a service-heavy monster girl property, though, it’s right up Seven Seas’ alley. It’s a divisive manga, even in my own mind: on one hand it has great art and callbacks to Black Cat, on the other it shamelessly steals from Urusei Yatsura and borders on pornography in the most literal sense of the word.

  • Kiyotaka Taguchi is now listed as a guest on the G-Fest website. Between him and Shinji Higuchi, we’re pretty much gathering the best living special effects technicians who work in tokusatsu. Speaking of which….

We may just have a panel or two at that con; stop by Friday July 14th for “Anime for Kaiju Fans”, and Sunday for a repeat of last year’s “All Manga Attack” (or, just watch last year’s on youtube).

But that’s not all! There’s also “Godzilla vs. Anime” on Saturday, May 20th at Anime Central. There’ll be a little overlap with the talks, but since they’re for different crowds they won’t quite be the same; for example the ACen talk will be exclusively Godzilla/Gamera and go into production background, while the G-Fest one will have more unconventional titles like Dragon Dentist and Dinosaur War Izenborg. (Comprehensive from Kyoju Wakusei to Kaiju Wakusei!)

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Weekly news recap (+ a couple quick reviews)

Long time, no post! Monsterpalooza was a blast, making new friends and getting to meet a few of my favorite artists, especially getting a commission from Keita Amemiya. Apologies for this terrible photo of Amemiya and Mizuho Yoshida where you can’t see either of their faces:

Being out in the LA area, I took advantage of the limited releases they get to check out a couple of films. First, Colossal was a pretty solid little indy flick about giant monsters and the irresponsible alcoholics who can control them. The usher who introduced the film made a rather grievous faux pas by claiming this was “the first kaiju movie written by somebody with a brain”, but crappy hipster fans aside the movie was entertaining enough. Not sure if it’s quite good enough to justify buying one of those expensive statues, though.

Also, Your Name, best known for making several gazillion yen and *still* playing in Japanese movies theaters, is actually really, really good. It reminds me a bit of older pictures like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Exchange Students, but also taps into some of the same contemporary Japanese angst that drove Shin Godzilla‘s success. It kept me on the edge of my seat, so if you haven’t gotten to check it out, do so (the other members of the Maser Patrol crew echo the sentiment; Amanda’s even read the novel).

I also saw Shallow Water… meh, that’s outside this blog’s scope. But, one thing that’s hit this week is in scope: the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix. On top of Reptillicus, they’re also riffing on Yongary and The Beast of Hollow Mountain, and they’re nailing it.

On top of the likes of Atom the Beginning, Kamen Rider Amazons season 2, Attack on Titan season 2, and more… it’s a busy time for a TV watcher. Anyway, on to the news of the week:

  • A trailer for Masaaki Yuasa’s Lu Over the Wall, full of mermaid-y drama:

  • Another Fullmetal Alchemist trailer:

  • A teaser for Tokyo Ghoul:

  • If nothing else, the new Hollywood Ghost in the Shell movie has inspired Production IG to make a new anime. (For the record, our thoughts on the live-action film generally ranged from “meh” to “okay” to “alright”, though it really should have tried to either do its own thing entirely or be a shot-for-shot remake, not both….I don’t think there was quite enough enthusiasm there for a podcast review.)
  • Kaiju Sakaba has a crossover promotion with the Yuichi Fukuda superhero comedy TV series Super Salaryman Mr. Sanae (based on the Fujiko Fujio manga). Read here for more details.

  • Nigh-forgotten 70s super robot shows Ginguiser, Daiapolon, Blocker Corps, and Mechander Robo are getting re-released in Japan, along with a promotional project Miracle Robot Force crossing them all over.

  • Seiun Award nominees were announced; I bet either Shin Godzilla or Your Name takes the prize, but it’s cool to see Concrete Revolutio nominated, and I guess I should check out Kuromukuro. Erased might take the comic category, but we’ll see.
  • Carranger isn’t even out yet, but Shout just announced Megaranger hitting August 15! Things are speeding up, and I’m along for this ride!

  • Discotek just license rescued Midnight Eye Goku (good stuff) and Psybuster (not so much), and got the rights to underrated super robot show Dancouga!

  • There’s apparently a King Kong TV series in the works from Bye Bye Man director Stacey Title. With both the show on Netflix and the film series, I’ve got to wonder where that will fit in.
  • Here’s a cute Cartoon Network short about the pressures facing kaiju children in predominantly human school districts:

  • Well, this cracked me up:

That’s a wrap for the news, as always, leave a comment if there’s a glaring omission. Seeya later!


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Weekly news recap: No foolin’

There was some great stuff to come out of various Japanese studios this April Fools’ Day, including:

  • There was a Super Sonico video titled “UltraSonico”, featuring Sonico as a giant fighting Eleking. Nitro yoinked it from Youtube after a day, sadly. Were they afraid that claims of it coming out in 2106 were true, or was there some sort of rights issue?

  • The Kamata-kun phone case has a page well-worth viewing, as it’s got some great in-jokes (e.g. the instruction manual comes as origami).

Okay, on to non-joke stories:

  • Katokutai has a new album Ultraman the Rock, with a whopping 25 Ultraman song covers!

  • Based on this tourism ad, I guess Ultraman is core to the Tokyo experience:

  • Another tourism ad, this one for the Kanmon strights:

  • A behind-the-scenes promo for Godzilla: Monster Planet. Be prepared to freeze-frame and read little text in the corners for ambiguous and mind-blowing details. Speaking of the movie, Anime Now has some details from a Q&A the director did at AnimeJapan.

  • The Asylum is working on Atlantic Rim 2. Did they forget that they had to rename the first Atlantic Rim when they released it?
  • The fourth Symphogear season, Symphogear AXZ, is hitting in July. This is a show that literally shoots for the moon, so it’s exciting news.

  • Also, a trailer for the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection movie:

  • A prequel to Thunderbolt Fantasy focusing on Sha Wu Sheng (or Setsumushou.. or “Screaming Phoenix Executioner”) is in the works. It’s based in part on the gaiden novel coming out this week.

That’s a wrap for this week! Expect next week’s recap to be delayed due to MonsterPalooza.

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Weekly news recap: A whole lotta Monster Planet news; a whole lotta other news

If this were a typical week, the highlight of Godzilla-related discussion might have been the two new sculpts coming out for the Bandai Movie Monsters series. The frozen Godzilla is the first real merch we have for Godzilla’s fifth form, after all.

Or, y’know, the Japanese Blu-Ray release of Shin Godzilla. They tweaked some scenes from the theatrical version, and there was also copious behind the scenes stuff and deleted scenes. (Dear Funimation: I know you’re going to skip on extras, but we’d be happier if you didn’t.)

But all of that went out the window with Anime Japan’s booth reveals for the new Godzilla anime.

As we previously noted, the film will be titled Godzilla: Kaijuu Wakusei (from here on, I’ll just say “Monster Planet”), but that’s just the start; it’ll be released in November and be the first film in a trilogy! Right away this is exciting and somewhat concerning – do they have all the scripts written? What sort of release cycle are they shooting for? Hopefully we don’t wind up in a Rebuild of Evangelion scenario, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

There was a lot of neat stuff at Anime Japan, including a human-sized model of one of the anime’s mecha suits. Visitors were also given a file with a history of the world in-universe, which is certainly intriguing, listing various monster attacks throughout the early 21st century (there’s Godzilla, Rodan, and Anguirus, but also some deeper cuts like Orga, Dagahra, Dogora, and Kamacuras. Also, “Operation Hedorah” involving biological and chemical weapons, which sounds like a great idea), and first contact with two(!) different alien races, the Birsard and the Exif. Wondering what the Exif look like? We’ve got one in the released character profiles:

The whole planet gets evacuated by 2048, but 20 space-years (20,000 earth years) later, humanity returns to reclaim the Earth from the monsters when their target world winds up being pretty inhospitable as well. The whole thing gives me shades of World Without End, Gunbuster, Planet of the Apes, and more, but it’s definitely taking the Godzilla franchise into unexplored territory. Here’s looking forward to November!

There was also a lot of non-Godzilla stuff this week!

  • We have a trailer for Adam Wingard’s Death Note movie. I think Light looks a little gothy as opposed to the pretty boy of the source material, but we’ll see how it turns out.

  • A trailer for the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, complete with Reptilicus and an Inframan nod.

  • Netflix is also getting a live-action show based on Blazing Transfer Student, AKA “that Kazuhiko Shimamoto manga adapted into one to the greatest OVAs never commercially available stateside”. My mind is sort of blown; posting the anime OP since there’s no trailer or anything yet for the live-action one.

  • A teaser for the new Mazinger Z movie:

  • The trailer for the live-action Blood C movie could use more monsters:

  • The Astro Boy prequel Atom the Beginning continues to look like a show to watch next season.

  • Toku will be airing Ultraman 80 in the US starting tomorrow (for the handful of people who actually get the channel).

  • Sentai Filmworks licensed Gatchaman Fighter. They just need to get the live-action movie to complete the franchise now, right?

  • Speaking of Gatchaman, we’ve got a new trailer for the Tatsunoko mash-up Infini-T Force.

  • I guess the Eagle Talon crossover ads for Suicide Squad must have gone over well, because now a whole DC Super Heroes vs. Eagle Talon movie is in the works. It looks amazing.

  • Want to see Stan Lee in full hype mode? See the latest trailer for The Reflection:

  • Mamoru Oshii got interviewed about the Hollywood Ghost in the Shell flick (I keep wanting to say “the new movie”, then remembering that’s actually the title of a different GitS picture), and pretty much had only good things to say. Then he tried to pitch his other famous cops-&-mecha opus Patlabor, so here’s hoping Hollywood is listening.
  • A pretty fun fan film for Chroma Squad:

Whew, that’s a lot of cool stuff. Let’s call it a wrap for this week; as always leave a comment if we missed something and seeya next time!

Update: sure enough, something slipped by – Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewsky’s biography of Ishiro Honda is up for preorder!

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