"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

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...