"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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Premiering During Satellite Cable Retrospective


Toho's original Japanese Theatrical Program Booklet from 1962.

STOP THE PRESSES: Yes, you heard that right! Just two years after a satellite cable broadcast of the 1962 monster mash, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, boasting it as the "complete version" (read more here), it was announced to the media last night, that a 4k restoration scan of the film was recently completed in Japan. Toho's extensive 4k digital "remaster" will premiere this July — but wait, that's not all!

The on-screen announcement (photo courtesy Kazuki Kishimoto).

Between June and August, 2016, the satellite cable outfit, Nihon Eiga Senmon Channel (Japanese Movie Speciality Channel), will be running "Godzilla: First Impact"; a retrospective hosted by several celebrities, who introduce the first Godzilla movie they saw, and what that film means to them. The retrospective commemorates the July 29th bow of Anno Hideaki and Shin Higuchi's GODZILLA RESURGENCE.

Nihon Eiga Senmon will rebroadcast the 4k restoration of GODZILLA.

In June, the 4k digital remaster of Ishiro Honda's GODZILLA (1954) will be hosted by actor and musician Ryudo Uzaki, who starred in Shusuke Kaneko's GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2001). Also that month, Kazuki Omori's GODZILLA VS MOTHRA (1992) will be hosted by gravure model-turned-actress, Manami Hashimoto (Onechanbara).

Pin-up model Hashimoto will host GODZILLA VS MOTHRA (1992).

Honda's 1954 original will repeat in July, this time hosted by Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara, the stars of the upcoming GODZILLA RESURGENCE. Film producer Toshimichi Otsuki (Evangelion: 3.0) will introduce Jun Fukuda's SON OF GODZILLA (1967), while actor Shiro Sano (Godzilla 2000) will host the premiere of the "complete digital restoration" of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA — very exciting news!

The kaiju family that stays together... SON OF GODZILLA (1967).

Judoka Silver Medalist, Shinichi Shinohara, will host Omori's GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH (1991). Nihon Eiga Senmon has stated that there will be a total of ten celebrities, meaning that more titles and hosts are to be revealed. In the meantime, they have also announced a 24-hour Marathon of Big G movies on the eve of GODZILLA RESURGENCE, including broadcasts of five features and shorts by Anno.

Those screening during the marathon are LOVE & POP (1998), RITUAL DAY (2000), METEOR MANAGER (2002), CUTIE HONEY (2004), and THE GIANT GOD WARRIOR APPEARS IN TOKYO (2012).

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991) will get an Olympic treatment.

Additionally, the celebration of Godzilla movies will also be extended to broadcasts of both Emmerich and Edwards' 1998 and 2014 feature films on Nihon Eiga Senmon's "Sunday Movie Theater". While all of this Godzilla Goodness is going to be fantastic for those in Japan to enjoy — by far, I'm the most excited by this 4k restoration of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, naturally. And so should we all.

VHS cover for the original Toho Video release from June 1985.

When I saw the first restoration (stitched together with a worn 16mm anamorphic print) on Toho Video's VHS/Beta release way back in '85, the film was only 23 years old — now, it's 54 years old! So, you could say that this 4k digital remaster of the "complete version" has been a very, very long time coming.

(Special thanks to master kaiju artist, Yuji Kaida, for the heads up!)