"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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 IS 1973: JUMBORG ACE『ジャンボーグA』
January 17, 1973 - December 29, 1973


Current DVD release from Toei Video. ©Tsuburaya Productions

JUMBORG ACE was the second of three visual effects series produced in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions in 1973. Jumborg Ace is given to mankind by benevolent Ultraman-like beings to fight evil invaders who threaten to conquer the Earth. Transmogrifying from an ordinary-looking Cessna aircraft, the pilot operates this giant cyborg in a similar fashion to the Jaegers in Guillermo Del Toro's PACIFIC RIM (2013). A re-imagined version of Jumborg Ace, named "Jean-bot", appeared in the feature film, ULTRAMAN ZERO: THE REVENGE OF BELIAL (2010).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Theaters April 14 & BD/DVD May 28!

『宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199』Vol. 5 BD/DVD 5月28日発売!

General and Mrs. Domel are featured on Nobuteru Yuuki's jacket!

With the fourth installment of the SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 saga, "Defense of the Galactic March", opening in twelve select cinemas across Japan this weekend (two additional from the previous releases), the official YAMATO: 2199 website has announced the release of the fifth theatrical feature, "The Sorrow of Intergalactic Space", featuring Episodes 15-18, opening April 14, 2013. The Blu-ray and DVD release will follow on May 28th.

Dynamic torpedoes away slipcase art by veteran Naoyuki Kato!

The home video release of Volume 5 will contain a total of four half-hour episodes (15-18), plus a selection of special features, clocking in at 130 minutes of content for ¥8,190 for the Blu-ray (BCXA-0489, Region-free) and ¥7,140 for the DVD (BCBA-4320, Region 2). The DVD will be presented in 16:9 Anamorphic, Dual Layer, and Dolby Digital Stereo. Conversely, the Blu-ray will be presented in AVCHD, BD50G, 1080p, 16:9 Anamorphic, and Linear PCM Stereo.

Special Features will include a conversation between director Yutaka Izubuchi and original Sound Effects Designer Mitsuru Kashiwabara, an Audio Commentary with voice actors TBA and director Izubuchi, Chapter 3 Digest, Theatrical Trailers 1, and a special insert booklet. Both releases will feature the same jacket art by character designer Nobuteru Yuuki, and a slipcase by legendary Yamato illustrator, Naoyuki Kato. While the DVD contains all of the same extras, only the Blu-ray boasts the most special feature of all: English Subtitles.

The Yamato continues on it's voyage to Iscandar as it makes it's way deeper into Gamilas territory, towards the mid-way point, planet Balun. General Domel regroups his forces to meet the Yamato head-on — while members of the crew begin to plot against Captain Okita. Will all be lost? These new episodes will be expanding beyond the original 1974 story, so we can all look forward to this fresh and fully-realized remake of SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO!

The episodes on Volume 5 will include:


Episode 15. THE POINT OF NO RETURN (帰還限界点): General Domel continues his relentless attacks against the embattled Yamato, while crew begins to voice their unrest over the feasibility of the "Yamato Plan". The Yamato quickly warps in order to dodge a Gamilas recon squadron, but warps out into the middle of a large Gamilas fleet — all an elaborate trap sprung by Domel himself.

Episode 16. ALTERNATIVE FUTURES (未来への選択): Bloodied but unbowed, the Yamato stops to resupply at Beemera, a planet with an environment closely matching that of the Earth — suitable for human migration. While Kodai leads a survey mission, the growing and restless anti-"Yamato Plan" faction aboard the ship breaks out in revolt. What will be the fate of Captain Okita and XO Sanada, whose very lives are threatened by the mutineers?

Episode 17. FROM THE FOREST OF MEMORIES (記憶の森から): Kodai returns from the ruins on Beemera with valuable data. By leveraging a Subspace Gate left by the planet's lost civilization, the possibility that a vast span of tens of thousands of light years may be achieved in a single leap. Kodai, Sanada, and Yuki go into the Satellite System in order to restart the gate, but...

Episode 18. TRANSCEND THE DWINDLING LIGHT (昏き光を越えて): Successfully engaging the Subspace Gate from Beemera, the Yamato arrives at planet Balun. A massive flotilla of Gamilas warships, numbering more than 10,000, has also gathered there. But, to reach the Large Magellanic Cloud, they must pass through Balun's Gate. Okita decides to flirt with death by making a break for it — by plunging straight through the Gamilas flotilla.

You can pre-order your copy of SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 Volume 5, by clicking here to visit Amazon Japan (with English language support)! Stay tuned to this blog and the Cosmo DNA website for more news and information on SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 as they develop — and soon, we'll be off to outer space, on shiny discs of blue!

ADDENDUM: In April 2013, the titles for Episodes 17 and 18 were officially announced as changed from those previously released and published on my blog. Those changes have been reflected, above, and the previous titles are noted, below: Episode 17: ENGRAVED WORDS, SLEEPING PAST (眠れる過去 刻まれた言葉) and Episode 18: OPERATION: BALUN BREAKTHROUGH (バラン星突破作戦).

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 IS 1973: "FIREMAN" 『ファイヤーマン』
January 7, 1973 - July 30, 1973


Original DVD pressing from Geneon Entertainment, 2004. ©TPC

FIREMAN was the first of three visual effects series produced as part of the celebration of Tsuburaya Productions' 10th Anniversary in 1973. Although short-lived with only 30 episodes, FIREMAN was arguably the best of the three, and remains a fan favorite to this day, bolstered by some introspective teleplays, a generally darker tone, and the casting of actor Shin Kishida in the main cast. An updated and re-imagined version of Fireman, named "Glenfire", appeared in the feature film, ULTRAMAN ZERO: THE REVENGE OF BELIAL (2010).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 IS 1973: "BABLE II"『バビル2世』
January 1, 1973 - September 24, 1973


Rodem, Roporos, and Poseidon join Babel II against the evil Yomi!

Toei Animation's 39-episode series was based on the popular manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, first published in 1971. A seemingly ordinary Japanese schoolboy, discovers the truth that he is the reincarnation of an extraterrestrial being, and the inheritor of latent, but tremendous psychic powers — and the command of three familiars: Rodem, a shape-shifting panther, Roporos, a flying dinosaurian creature, and Poseidon, a titanic, ocean-dwelling robot. Together, they fight the fiendish forces of Yomi. The series was remade as a direct-to-video series in 1992, and as a 13-episode series in 2001. The original 1973 boasts the first theme song from vocalist, and king of anime singers, Ichiro Mizuki.