"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


Friday, February 12, 2010

THE COLOSSAL CHELONIAN LIVES!
Shout! Factory Unleashes GAMERA on DVD!


©Kadokawa Pictures/Package design: Shout! Factory

Some of you may have wondered why the frequency of my blog entries have been somewhat sporadic of late, and finally I can share why. Late last summer, I was tapped as the Special Features Producer by Cliff MacMillan at Shout! Factory as they were negotiating with Kadokawa Pictures for the North American DVD rights to the original eight Gamera films. I had previously worked with Cliff over at BCI on the R1 DVD releases of the classic tokusatsu series IRON KING (1972) and SUPER ROBOT: RED BARON (1973). While I can't reveal too many details at this time, I can say that these will be DVDs that any self-respecting kaiju eiga fan shouldn't pass up!

Here's a snippet from Shout!'s press release: From Japan, the country that brought us such mythical movie monsters as Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra, storms Gamera, the titanic terrapin feared by adults and loved by children. On May 18, 2010, Shout! Factory will unleash GAMERA, THE GIANT MONSTER Special Edition on DVD for the first time in its unedited, original version, with English subtitles — in anamorphic widescreen from an all-new HD master. The DVD includes a 12-page booklet with an essay by the late director Noriaki Yuasa, a photo gallery, trailers, and more. The collectible GAMERA, THE GIANT MONSTER Special Edition DVD is priced to own at $19.93.

For Shout's Gamera releases, I've assembled an international rag-tag unit of die-hard fans, known as the "Z Plan Team", who have been working overtime in gathering as much information and materials on the original films as possible for the on-disc Special Features supplements (as well as the corresponding printed booklets), and we have uncovered tons of fascinating facts and trivia about the production of Daiei's beloved series. The Special Features will also include Audio Commentaries, with the first recorded by none other than Yours Truly. I hope that it will be entertaining and informative for new and old fans, alike (and I'm pretty sure that I'll get an earful from many of you once GAMERA streets on May 18th)!

Oh, and I've already seen the proofs of the full jacket design and booklet, and I have to give props to Kerrie Stouffer for some knock-out work! I think that you'll turn over on your shells when you see it! Stay tuned for more titanic terrapin DVD news as it develops...

GAMERA LIVES!

17 comments:

BlUsKrEEm said...

That's fantastic news. I've been waiting to update my Gamera collection for ages.

..wait... original eight?! I heard that Shout! was doing Gamera, I thought they were just doing the original.

cologeek said...

Great news! I would love to have good quality copies of the original Gamera series. The addition of info booklets like the Iron King and Red Baron series had is just gravy.

Rob G. said...

Will all the bootlegs out there and the difficulty people are having selling cult stuff anymore, I thought we'd never see R1 Gamera DVDs worth anything. But it looks like that's going to change. Cool. I shelled out for all the old Toshiba DVDs, but I'm pre-ordering these as soon as I can.

I'm sure you can't say anything, but I'm hoping Shout is doing these like Classic's Godzilla discs, with US and JPN versions. I'd really love a widescreen Gammera the Invincible (my old VHS has just about had it) and the dubs aren't without charm (though we all know how horrible the Sandy Frank tracks are.) I'm sure they're going to do a great job based on their past efforts.

Please give some more info when you can!

rogue evolent said...

This is incredibly good news. What's even BETTER than getting GAMERA on DVD? It's getting August Ragone into the production and commentary end of things. Hot diggety!!!
r/e

Pigmon said...

Let's support this project. It would be nice to make it successful enough that Shout could produce other Japanese series. I have bought almost everything on August's blog and would love to discover other new series to enjoy. Kikaida rules!

prof. grewbeard said...

i never thought this would happen but now that it is i couldn't be happier, especially knowing that you're heavily involved in and doing commentaries for the films, you and the late Guy Tucker are/were the real experts and a will be a welcome change from the the usual cast of characters you heard on the Classic Media Godzilla discs. this will make my year! thanx so freakin' much!!!

Cunningham said...

I remember meeting Cliff several times at various occasions. Glad to see he's moved over to Shout Factory.

Cunningham said...

And congratulations on bringing your expertise to DVD...good show!

Michael Barnum said...

Absolutely fantastic news August! I especially look forward to seeing the Japanese language versions of the Gamera sequels, perhaps it will make me appreciate them a bit more.

Tim said...

I noticed that the dvd is from "an all new hd-master". Will there be a blu-ray release as well? That would be fantastic news!

August Ragone said...

Group,
Thanks for all of the kind words. We do want to include the US versions on these releases, most likely in the form of the US audio tracks. It will depend on what Shout! Factory is able to obtain. As for Blu-ray releases of these, this may happen in the future. Stay tuned for more details...

Cheers,
August

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Terrific news. From the sounds of your update we can look forward to more than just Gamera The Invincible. Great to hear and best of luck to you.

Michael said...

I just got the 45 from that movie.

Tom said...

Did Shout! Factory get the rights to Gamera vs. Gyaos and Gamera vs. Monster X? I was under the impression that Image Entertainment still had the American rights.

August Ragone said...

Tom,
Shout! has the rights to all eight of the original GAMERA films straight from the copyright holders, Kadokawa Pictures. Image Entertainment has no rights, since all of them reverted to the original copyrights holders due to NAFTA.

Cheers,
August

Justin M... said...

Fantastic news! I will pick this up as soon as it's released just like I did with the Classic Media Gojira set.

BTW August will this be your first time doing audio commentary?

August Ragone said...

Justin,
Yes, this was my first time helming an audio commentary. You can read the reviews of the special features and the commentary elsewhere on this blog.

Cheers,
August