"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHUNSUKE IKEDA!
November 11, 1943

池田駿介さん、お誕生日おめでとうございます!


As Ippei Hanagata in EMERGENCY COMMAND: 10-4/10-10 (1972)

Shunsuke Ikeda, born as Norio Ikeda, is best known to tokusastsu fans for starring as the android "Ichiro" in the superhero series KIKAIDA 01 (1973-74). His early interest in motion pictures was instilled by his father (respected swordfight choreographer, Tatsuo Ouchi), and after studying with the Bunka-za Theater, was accepted in Toei’s "New Faces" competition in 1961. In 1963, Ikeda made his credited debut as baseball player Shinohara in Kyoshi Saeki’s FASTBALL, and while other films followed, he was also cast in several television series, including ZERO FIGHTERS: BLACK CLOUD SQUADRON (1964).

While expanding his acting, Ikeda also continued with his higher education, and graduated from Hosei University’s Department of Economics in 1967. He also guest starred in the television series MR. DETECTIVE (1966-68), LONE WOLF (1967-68), OPERATION: MYSTERY (1968-69), MITO KOMON (1969- ), MY DAD IS A FRESHMAN (1969), SILVER MASK (1971-72), HEARTLESS LICENSE (1973-77), RUN, SECRET SAMURAI! (1973), ZATOCIHI (1974-79), FIGHT! DRAGON (1974), THE GORILLA 7 (1975), SECRET TASK FORCE: GORANGER (1975-77), PRO WRESTLING STAR: AZTEKAIZER (1976-77), VIGILANTE ZUBAT (1977) and STARWOLF (1978).

Ikeda also appeared as regular characters in three other notable tokusatsu roles: Monster Attack Team officer Takeshi Minami in RETURN OF ULTRAMAN (1971-72), Radio Investigation Team officer Ippei Hanagata in EMERGENCY COMMAND: 10-4/10-10 (1972), and Kensuke Mitsuya in CONDORMAN: SYMBOL OF JUSTICE (1975). Ikeda is currently a fashion model and commercial spokesman for Toshiba, and has appeared in several notable stage productions. His most recent screen appearance was a cameo reprising his role as Takeshi Minami in Kazuya Konaka’s theatrical feature ULTRAMAN MOEBIUS & THE ULTRA BROTHERS (2006).

Monday, November 10, 2008

"CATCHING UP WITH MYSELF!" or "MANY MONSTERS!"


Over the last two months, I've been slammed with getting my work completed for the upcoming INAZUMAN Complete Series DVD box set, as well as finalizing and running our horror film festival, SHOCK IT TO ME!, which caused me to fall behind on this blog, and especially the "Monster of the Month" feature. But, now that I have them out of the way, I can play catch up. And after a few weeks, I will settle each of these new entries into their proper dates to fill the delinquent gaps. So, stay tuned for more monsters!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monster of the Month
Shocker Mutant: SHIOMANE KING

ショッカー怪人 シオマネキング 「仮面ライダー」より


©Ishimori Productions/Toei Company

Height: 187 cm • Weight: 86 kg • Origin: Mindanao, Philippines • Original Appearance: KAMEN RIDER (1971-73) Episode 72 "Bloodthirsty Mosquiras vs. Two Riders" & 73 "Double Riders: Defeat Shiomane King!" • Suit Actor: Isao Sato • Voice Actor: Ritsuo Sawa • Design: Shotaro Ishimori/Akira Takahashi • Fabricator: Ekisu Productions

Another Shocker cyborg mutant created to defeat the Kamen Riders at the Kii Peninsula during Operation: Key Hunt. This abomination of genetic engineering was spawned by splicing the genes of a Fiddler Crab with a human being, and augmented with cybernetic implants. Like all Shocker Mutants, he possesses the relative physical strength of his namesake, and is resilient to all conventional weapons. This amphibious creation can also spit a deadly and highly flammable foam from his mouth, while the mutant's left hand is a razor-sharp, electromagnetic claw.

Shiomane King ranks as one of the best (and coolest) designed Shocker Mutants featured in the final phase of the original KAMEN RIDER series, and because it took the combined strength of Kamen Riders One and Two to bring him down, has only added to the appeal of this monstrous crustacean. This marine mutant was later revived for a two-parter of KAMEN RIDER V3 (1973-74): Episode 27 "Zol, Death, Hell & Black Rise from The Grave" & Episode 28 "The Five Commandants' All-Out Attack!!".