"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, March 31, 2015

Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi Revive the King!

2016年新作『ゴジラ』脚本・総監督 庵野秀明&監督 樋口真嗣 !

First promotional icon for upcoming film to be released next year!

The news only broke a short time ago in Japan as I begin to type (2:00 PDT), but according to the regarded film site, Oricon, not only has the author of the screenplay for Toho's upcoming, yet untitled, domestic Godzilla movie been announced (of which I first reported outside of Japan, here), but that the film boasts two directors; one credited as the "Supervising Director" and "Screenwriter," while the other has the "Director" and "Visual Effects Director" credits.

The new Godzilla will start shooting this fall and is slated for release in Japan next summer. Both of these exceptional filmmakers are life-long friends, and are very well-known outside of Japan, mostly for their work with the Gainax animation house on such hit anime series as NADIA, SECRET OF THE BLUE WATER (1990) and NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (1995), but they are also no strangers to the world of Tokusatsu (visual effects films): Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.

Perhaps you don't realize what this means. It is momentous.

Higuchi at Tokusatsu Exhibit conference in 2012. Photo: C/Net Japan

Director Higuchi (b. 1965), who posted photos of an empty Toho Studios conference room this past weekend, is no stranger to the realm of the giant monster movie, supervising and directing the visual effects for highly-lauded "Gamera Trilogy" of the 1990s. His revolutionary vision of miniature effects stunned audiences and turned the industry upon its head. Higuchi has helmed such films as THE SINKING OF JAPAN (2006) and upcoming two-parter ATTACK ON TITAN (2015).

And before you ask, Higuchi's association with the Big G goes back to his serving as an effects assistant on RETURN OF GODZILLA (1984). But, since he was swept up with Gainax, drawing storyboards for Hiroyuki Yamaga's WINGS OF HONNEAMISE (1987) and then NADIA, it wasn't until 1995 that he returned to visual effects, with the ground-breaking "Gamera Trilogy" directed by Shusuke Kaneko. This time, Higuchi's getting his own Godzilla.

Anno at Tokusatsu Exhibit conference in 2012. Photo: C/Net Japan

Coming into the field as a loyal fan of Eiji Tsuburaya's visual effects films, Director Anno (b. 1960), was one of many Tokusatsu Maniacs who was captivated by the Anime Boom of the '70s and '80s, being a hardcore fanatic of the seminal Space Battleship Yamato franchise, Anno would channel most of his energies into that field, creating the singular anime series of the last 20 years. And now, Hideaki Anno is making a Godzilla film. Let that sink in.

On Toho's official Godzilla website, the directors were asked to give a message to fans concerning this latest resurrection, some of which details Anno's conflict in having to delay proceeding on the next (and final) EVANGELION film in order to take up the Big G's reigns, while Higuchi expressed his passionate "Love of Godzilla." But, while both men are determined in their solidarity, what is their state on mind going into this production with so much at stake?

Read the messages from Hideaki Anno & Shinji Highuchi, here!


Toad said...

I actually have goosebumps. I am not easily excited about anything. This did it.

John Pescoran said...

As a super-fan of tokusatsu films & TV shows, anime, manga, and anything, everything by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, I can safely say my head is gonna burst with joy from reading such amazingly awesome news!

***Now I'm still hoping for Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno to create that Ultraman, Tsuburaya Productions original or inspired, TV show that I have envisioned in my wacky mind.***