"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, November 29, 2016

Akira Takarada Goes to a Galaxy Far, Far Away!


The star of the original GODZILLA performing "Bendu" for REBELS.

Toho's top leading man of the '60s, Akira Takarada, has joined the Japanese voice cast of STAR WARS: REBELS! Starting with the third season, premiering on December 11th in Japan, Mr. Takarada can be heard intoning the character of "Bendu". In the English-language version, the imposing creature is played by Tom Baker of "Doctor Who" fame.

Tom Baker, best known as the Fourth Doctor, in a recent photo.

After recording, Mr. Takarada said, "Bendu is like a merciful father, so I felt like a good guy, but I had to remind myself to speak to Kanan [Jarrus] right from the bottom of my heart. After recording for eight hours, I felt as though it was a tough job, especially after such a long absence [from voice acting]. But it was very fulfilling." Previously, Mr. Takarada played "Jafar" for the Japanese-language version of Disney's "Aladdin", released in 1993.

Bendu of Atollon, a being who exists at the center of the Force.

Ecstatic was the reaction from REBELS producer-director [and diehard Godzilla fan] Dave Filoni, "Godzilla and Star Wars are both beloved in fans' hearts around the world, and are both similar in that respect. I was really happy to hear that Mr. Takarada was cast, then got to see him recording, which was amazing. The character was magnificently expressed by his voice, and I'm extremely satisfied with the results." Filoni suggested Takarada for the role in the first place.

Yes, REBELS producer-director Dave Filoni loves him some Godzilla.

STAR WARS: REBELS is broadcast nationwide in Japan on Disney XD, over Cable and Satellite Cable, Saturdays at 1:00 pm, with an encore broadcast on Sundays at 1:00 pm.

Original article published November 30, 2016 on Oricon Style (Japan Time), translated by August Ragone.