"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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

MEET THE "GODZILLA RESURGENCE" COMPOSER
The Prolific Shiro Sagisu Picks Up the Baton!

鷺巣詩郎は『シン・ゴジラ』の音楽を作曲されました!


Recent portrait of GODZILLA RESURGENCE composer, Shiro Sagisu.

The selection of well-known arranger, composer, and music producer, Shiro Sagisu, to create the soundtrack for Toho's upcoming GODZILLA RESURGENCE, written and directed by mavericks Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, may well be the least shocking aspect of this highly-debated film. Because Sagisu has a deep connection with the Big G, which goes back before he was born.


Director Shinji Higuchi (left) with Composer Shiro Sagisu. ©Gainax

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Godzilla fans outside of Japan are either completely unfamiliar with Sagisu, or only know the composer from his scores for Anno's on-going NEON GENESIS EVANGELION series and movies or Shinji Higuchi's recent pair of live action ATTACK ON TITAN films. But, Sagisu's life has been filled with kaiju — more than anyone may have ever guessed.


Sagisu's first single from his debut album, "Eyes", released in 1978.

His father was a close friend and comrade of the master of Japanese visual effects, Eiji Tsuburaya: Tomio Sagisu (who also created manga under the pen-name Shoji Ushio). A member of Tsuburaya's effects crew, the elder Sagisu worked on numerous films at Toho (largely uncredited), until he founded his own company in the early 1960s, known as P-Productions.


"Summer-colored Diary" (1983) arranged by Sagisu for Chiemi Hori.

The elder Sagisu's company produced visual effects and animation for a number of movie studios and television networks, and pioneered their own productions, such as AMBASSADOR MAGMA (shown in the US as THE SPACE GIANTS), SPECTREMAN, LION MARU, DENJIN ZABOGA, to name a few. Today, in addition to being a composer, the young Sagisu is the President of his father's company.


Sagisu has arranged for contemporary artists such as May'n (2011).

Born on August 8, 1957, Sagisu cut his teeth working for his father's company, and was soon put in charge of directing, writing, music and sound effects for live "monster shows" to promote the P-Productions brands in the mid-1970s. He also collaborated with his father in the production of a pilot film, which was never picked up, for a proposed sci-fi film/series entitled SILVER JAGUAR in 1980.


Shiro Sagisu's Original Soundtrack for MEGAZONE 23 (1985).

The young Sagisu broke out on his own varied and wide-ranging music career in 1978, including his own instrumental releases, composing and arranging songs for some of the more successful Idol Singers, starting in the early 1980s, as well as more popular vocalists, with nearly a hundred successful collaborations over the years. Sagisu has also racked up scores of soundtracks for films and television shows.


First Soundtrack to NADIA, THE SECRET OF THE BLUE WATER (1990).

Some of his more notable television themes and scores include GOOD LAUGHS, MY FRIEND (1982-14), SAKICHI, THE FALLING STAR (1984), KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD (1986-87), NADIA: THE SECRET OF THE BLUE WATER (1990-91), MACROSS II: LOVERS AGAIN (1992), NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (1995-96), HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES (1998), BLEACH (2004-12), and MAGI: THE LABYRINTH OF MAGIC (2012-14).


Third volume in the Original Soundtrack series for BLEACH (2006).

Sagisu's feature credits are Noboru Ishiguro's MEGAZONE 23 (1985-89), Kunihiko Yuyama's LEDA: FANTASTIC ADVENTURE OF YOHKO (1985), Yoshiyuki Tomino's GARZEY'S WING (1996), Kim Sung-su's MUSA (2001), Kazuaki Kiriya's CASSHERN (2004), Jo-Dong Oh's THE RESTLESS (2006), Noriyuki Abe's BLEACH (2006-10), and Toshiyuki Kubooka's BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC (2012-14).


Poster for the South Korean fantasy film, THE RESTLESS (2006).

With more than 37 years of experience with mountains of credits to his name — and as a fan of his earlier soundtracks (such as NADIA, EVA and CASSHERN), it will be interesting to see what Sagisu will bring to the kaiju eiga canon with his music for GODZILLA RESURGENCE, which opens nationwide in Japan on July 29, 2016.

Here are my previous reports on GODZILLA RESURGENCE:
December 10, 2015: The "Godzilla Resurgence" English Poster!
December 9, 2015: Japanese Press Reveals Shin Godzilla's Size
December 9, 2015: Scoop! Teaser for "Godzilla Resurgence"
December 9, 2015: Here's Your Big G in "Godzilla Resurgence"!
November 12, 2015: "Shin Godzilla" Promo Reel Screens at AFM!"
September 22, 2015: Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

THE "GODZILLA RESURGENCE" ENGLISH POSTER!
Toho Updates Website With Trailer & Posters

英語版『シン・ゴジラ』ポスター!


English Poster unveiled on Toho's official Shin Godzilla website.

Toho's official SHIN GODZILLA website, dedicated to the film, being marketed to countries outside of Japan as GODZILLA RESURGENCE, just a day after the reveal of the teaser poster and trailer to the press, was updated with those, as well as the international English-language poster, featuring the names of the main cast and the three principal filmmakers bringing the monster back to cinematic life.

No surprise are writer-director Hideaki Anno and co-director/visual effects director Shinji Higuchi, as well as associate director/visual effects creative director Katsuro Onoue. A veteran of Toei Studios, Onoue has a lengthy list of credits, including work with Higuchi (Attack On Titan) and Anno (Evangelion 3.0), as well as visual effects under Kenji Suzuki on GODZILLA 2000 (1999).

Stay tuned for more information on GODZILLA RESURGENCE as it develops!

Here are my previous reports on GODZILLA RESURGENCE:
December 9, 2015: "Japanese Press Reveals Shin Godzilla's Size"
December 9, 2015: "Scoop! Teaser for "Godzilla Resurgence"
December 9, 2015: Here's Your Big G in "Godzilla Resurgence"!
November 12, 2015: "Shin Godzilla" Promo Reel Screens at AFM!"
September 22, 2015: Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

JAPANESE PRESS REVEALS SHIN GODZILLA'S SIZE
This Will Be the Biggest Big G of Them All!

中日スポーツは「シン・ゴジラ」のサイズを発表!


Today, Chunichi Sports revealed the new Big G's measurements!

Today has been a flurry of reports on the upcoming film GODZILLA RESURGENCE, including the reveal of the monster, the first teaser trailer, and now, according to Chunichi Sports, the specs on the new Big G's size! According to the headline of this article, the new King of the Monsters will stand (?) a whopping 118.5 meters tall — that's just under 389 feet! In comparison, the Legendary Pictures iteration stands 108.2 meters (355 feet). Not much, but it's still Godzilla.

Special thanks to Takao Yoshiba for the image and stay tuned to this blog for more information on GODZILLA RESURGENCE as it develops!

Here are my previous reports on GODZILLA RESURGENCE:
December 9, 2015: "Scoop! Teaser for "Godzilla Resurgence"
December 9, 2015: Here's Your Big G in "Godzilla Resurgence"!
November 12, 2015: "Shin Godzilla" Promo Reel Screens at AFM!"
September 22, 2015: Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!

SCOOP! TEASER FOR "GODZILLA RESURGENCE"
Japan's Cinema Today Posts First Teaser Trailer!

庵野秀明×樋口真嗣のゴジラ!『シン・ゴジラ』特報


Now, here's the "announcement" trailer for GODZILLA RESURGENCE!

While this very first teaser doesn't reveal much, except some B-Roll panic scenes, a new credit attached to the film comes up during on of the intertitles: Katsuro Onoue as "Associate Director/Visual Effects Creative Director."

A veteran of Toei Studio's Visual Effects Laboratory, Onoue has a lengthy list of credits, including work with Higuchi (Attack On Titan) and Anno (Evangelion 3.0), as well as working with Kenji Suzuki on GODZILLA 2000 (1999).

Stay tuned for more information on GODZILLA RESURGENCE as it develops!

Here are my previous reports on GODZILLA RESURGENCE:
December 9, 2015: Here's Your Big G in "Godzilla Resurgence"!
November 12, 2015: "Shin Godzilla" Promo Reel Screens at AFM!"
September 22, 2015: Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!

HERE'S YOUR BIG G IN "GODZILLA RESURGENCE"
Image Reveals the "Greatest, Worst Nightmare"!

ニッポン対ゴジラ !


Public unveiling of the new Big G with tagline "Japan vs. Godzilla".

On December 9th (Japan Time), the first image of the titular monster for the highly anticipated collaboration from directors Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Attack On Titan) to be featured in GODZILLA RESURGENCE (Shin Gojira) with the Japanese release date of July 29, 2016.

While this image has not appeared on any of Toho's official sites, this "nightmare" version of the Big G was revealed to celebrated American Godzilla artists, Bob Eggleton (Famous Monsters) and Matt Frank (IDW's Godzilla), as well as myself, just recently.

Additionally, journalist Norman England, who worked on a number of the films as a set photographer, also confirmed it's authenticity: "It's the real deal, all right. I  was able to handle the suit when I was working on a project over at Toho a little over a month ago."

In my mind, it does look like the work of noted designers, Mahiro Maeda and Takayuki Takeya, whom I profiled as the rumored artist and sculptor, back on August 1st — imparted to me from sources close to the production (see link, below).

What do I think of this design? First off, it looks like one of the early maquettes sculpted by Teizo Toshimitsu for the 1954 film. Ultimately, I will reserve any final judgements until there's more to work with. Although, I have to say that a departure from the norm — but still retaining the basic Godzilla elements — is welcome.

Now, with visual effects rendering and compositing underway, it's only a matter of time before more images are forthcoming from the new film. Stay tuned to this blog for more details as they develop!

Here are my previous reports on GODZILLA RESURGENCE:
November 12, 2015: "Shin Godzilla" Promo Reel Screens at AFM!"
September 22, 2015: Toho Announces Three Principal Cast Members!
September 6, 2015: Shooting Begins on Toho's "Godzilla 2016"!
August 1, 2015: Did These Men Design Toho's New Big G?
April 1, 2015: The Directors of "Godzilla 2016" Speak!
March 31, 2015: "Evangelion" Creator Helms New "Godzilla"!
December 7, 2014: The "Japanese Godzilla" Will Rise Again!