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Showing posts from June, 2012

Get A Gundam Hotel Room!

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by Armand Vaquer Above ,  Armand on the Gundam Lift at the Bandai Museum. Fans of Gundam characters can now get a hotel room decorated in a Gundam motif. The Japan Times reported: Grand Pacific Le Daiba, a hotel in Minato Ward, Tokyo, will be offering three guest rooms starting Friday with interior decorations featuring characters from the popular "Mobile Suit Gundam" animated series. Gundam Front Tokyo, which features a huge, life-size Gundam statue and a museum, opened April 19 in the neighborhood and has turned out to be a popular attraction. The hotel's campaign is part of an effort in the area to take advantage of Gundam's popularity. For more, go here .

Report: Legendary's Godzilla To Be Unveiled At Comic Con

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by Armand Vaquer There's been hardly any information on Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers' Godzilla project for quite some time. That is about to change if a report from Latino Review is accurate. In their post, they claim that Legendary's vision of the Big G will be unveiled at Comic Con in two weeks: You know what big Hall H surprise Legendary is bringing along with Pacific Rim ?  Ready? Godzilla!    Not only is Legendary bringing the Lizard to comic con but get this, I hear the presentation is SICK! I’m not going to get into specific spoiler territory because then what’s the point of attending the panel, but take this one to the bank.  Godzilla will stomp both the audio and video systems within Hall H two weeks from this Saturday! I’ll be there to witness it myself. I can already envision them shutting down the lights, hearing Godzilla’s roar, and the crowd going wild!  Anyway, Max Borenstein is currently re-writing the script from David Goye

20 Years of "Godzilla vs. Mothra"

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by Armand Vaquer An example on how quickly time marches on is by noting that 2012 marks 20 years since Toho's Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) was produced and released.  It was released in Japan on December 12, 1992. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: Godzilla vs. Mothra ( ゴジラ対モスラ , Gojira tai Mosura ) is a 1992 Japanese Science Fiction Kaiju film produced by Toho . Directed by Takao Okawara with special effects by Koichi Kawakita , the film starred Tetsuya Bessho , Satomi Kobayashi and Akiji Kobayashi . The 19th installment in the Godzilla series of films, the film remains the highest grossing film of the entire Godzilla series (unadjusted for inflation). [I'd hazard a guess that King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) is still the boxoffice champ if adjusted for inflation. - A.]  After the success of the previous year's Godzilla vs King Ghidorah , Toho decided to bring back their second most famous creation Mothra into the new series. Composer Akira Ifuk

Superman Plaque Project 2014

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by Armand Vaquer Things are moving pretty fast and productive with the Adventures of Superman historical marker/plaque project. Plans are taking shape to celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Reeves's birth in 2014 and part of the celebration is to dedicate a plaque at the spot of a location shoot for the 1953 episode, "The Man Who Could Read Minds." Today, I am pleased to report that I obtained the verbal okay from the property owner of the house where the stake-out for The Phantom Burglar was set up to place the marker/plaque on his property in Tarzana, California (above photos).  We will formalize this later. The plaque dedication will take place in August 2014.  The actual date will be on or about August 16. Besides this, what remains to be done is to set the dedication date, raise the funds to have the plaque made and make it, and organize the dedication ceremony.  Jack Larson has already indicated that he will participate in our

Shopping For Toys In Tokyo

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by Armand Vaquer Above, the entrance to the Broadway Mall in the Nakano section of Tokyo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer. One of the things that attracts fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies to Japan is to fill in gaps in their collections of character toys and movie memorabilia. There are two sections of Tokyo that are my favorite sources for collectibles. The Nakano section of Tokyo is one major source for monster goods.  Near Nakano's JR Chuo Line station (north exit) is the Broadway Mall.  In the mall (in the upper floors) are several stores of Mandarake .  Each store specializes in genre collectibles.  One store would specialize in manga.  Another would specialize in toy collectibles.  I last went there in December 2010 and purchased a porcelain figure of "Nipper," the RCA Victor dog ("His Master's Voice"). Over the years, I've made many purchases of Godzilla and Gamera-related toys at Mandarake.  (See page 26 in The Mon

"Space Battleship Yamato" In New York

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by Armand Vaquer During my December 2010 trip to Japan,  I was able to see Space Battleship Yamato in Tokyo at the Toho Cinemas Nichigeki in the Yurakucho Mullion Building (above photo). You won't have to travel that far next month as it will be the closing feature at the Japan Society's Japan Cuts 2012 Film Festival on July 28 at 9:00 PM in New York. The landmark 1974 animated series Space Battleship Yamato finally gets a live-action treatment from director Takashi Yamazaki! In the year 2199, earth has become a wasteland after five years of radiation attacks from an unseen alien enemy called the Gamilons. One of the survivors is Kodai Susumu (Kimura Takuya), who picks up a mysterious device one day while hunting for scrap metal. After discovering a map to a planet inside the device, the military sends out its last battleship--the Yamato -- in the hopes that it'll be the key to save humanity. Kodai joins the Yamato crew and quickly proves to be a

ANIME EXPO 2012 WELCOMES THE MADHOUSE CREATIVE TEAM OF “CHIHAYAFURU” -- ASAKA MORIO, KUNIHIKO HAMADA, AND TAKUYA TSUNOKI – AS OFFICIAL GUESTS OF HONOR

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 14, 2012) – Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture celebration, today announced three members of Madhouse studio’s “CHIHAYAFURU” creative team – Director Asaka Morio, Animation Director Kunihiko Hamada and Animation Producer Takuya Tsunoki – as Official Guests of Honor when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012.  Asaka Morio joined Madhouse’s creative department after graduating from Osaka Designer’s College.  Morio made his debut as an episode director on the television series “YAWARA! A FASHIONABLE JUDO GIRL!.”  He is the director of “CARD CAPTOR SAKURA,” the highly regarded TV anime series adapted from CLAMP’s popular manga series of the same name.  He has also worked on “POPS”, “MERMAID SCAR”, “GALAXY ANGEL”, “CHOBITS”, “GUNSLIGER GIRL”, “CLAMP IN WONDERLAND”, and “NANA”.  Morio’s most recent directorial work is the criticall

Anime Expo 2012 Kicks Off With Star-Studded Red Carpet And Opening Ceremony

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 13, 2012) – Anime Expo®  -- North America’s largest anime, manga and Japanese pop culture celebration -- officially kicks off Thursday, June 28 with a star-studded Red Carpet and Opening Ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Anime Expo Official Guests of Honor will greet fans on the red carpet at 6 p.m. with the Opening Ceremony to follow at 7 p.m. Now in its 21st year, Anime Expo 2012 (AX) will present some of today’s most exciting anime, manga, musical, game and fashion artists from Japan and the U.S.; main event concerts and contests such as the crowd favorite Masquerade; new and exciting interactive offerings and even Lounge 21, where over-21 attendees can enjoy wine, beer and cocktails. Announced Guests of Honors include composer Yuki Kajiura/”FictionJunction;” anime-inspired heavy metal band ANIMETAL USA; Culture Japan’s Danny Choo; Fate/Zero” creative team Hikaru Konda, Ei Aoki and Rikiya Ko

Japan Culture Tour Returns

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Above ,  the Wako Department Store that was trashed by Godzilla in 1954.  Photo by Armand Vaquer. by Armand Vaquer For years, Digital Manga has been offering up tours of Japan.  The Great East Japan Earthquake caused a major disruption in Japan's tourism industry.  There's now good news on the tourism front. Now, the Japan Culture Tour resumes.  According to Animation Insider : One year and two months ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake rocked an island nation, and tens of thousands of lives were lost -- countless more displaced. Long since, regional and national rebuilding efforts have sought to clean up and resurrect Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, and its surrounding areas. Also long since, efforts to re-ignite tourism in Japan have been popping up, lending hope to certain industries whose bread-and-butter rests in keeping close relations with the land of the rising sun.  All this to serve as a little reminder that manga publisher and culture authority

ANIME EXPO 2012 ANNOUNCES VOICE ACTOR NOBUHIKO OKAMOTO AS AN OFFICIAL GUEST OF HONOR

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2012) – Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture celebration, today announced award-winning voice actor Nobuhiko Okamoto as an Official Guest of Honor when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012.  A Tokyo native, Nobuhiko Okamoto has a rich background in voice acting. His credits include being the voice of Rin Okumura, the hero of “Blue Exorcist,” Eiji Niizuma of “Bakuman,” Ivan Karelin a.k.a. Origami Cyclone of “Tiger & Bunny,” and Accelerator of “Toaru Majutsuno Index” just to name a few.  He won the Best New Actor Award on the Third Annual Voice Actor Awards and later received the Best Supporting Actor Award on the Fifth Annual Voice Actor Awards. As an Official Guest of Honor, Okamoto will participate in a meet-and-greet, autograph signing and focus panel Nobuhiko Okamoto joins the previously announced Anime Expo 2012 lin

ANIME EXPO 2012 WELCOMES “DRAGON BALL Z” VOICE ACTOR RYO HORIKAWA AS AN OFFICIAL GUEST OF HONOR

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2012) – Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture celebration, today announced legendary voice actor Ryo Horikawa as an Official Guest of Honor when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012.  Best known for the voice of Vegeta in “Dragon Ball Z,” Ryo Horikawa has been performing in movie and TV dramas since grade-school.  He has over 28 years experience as an voice actor and over 45 years experience as an actor. His other credits include, “Saint Seiya” (Andromeda Shun); “Detective CONAN” (Hattori Heiji); “Legend of Galactic Heroes” (Reinhard); “Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 STARDUST MEMORY” (Kou Uraki( and “YuYu Hakusho” (Karasu). In addition to using his acting talents in animation, Horikawa frequently works on stage, in voice drama, games and other mediums.  He is also a singer and his latest tune is the theme song “Saiyan Brad” of Drag

Kaiju In Tony's Tips

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The current issue of Comics Buyer's Guide (#1691) contains Tony Isabella's column, "Tony's Tips."  In this issue's column, Isabella spotlights The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan . After I found that the local comic book shops weren't carrying CBG , Isabella came to the rescue by sending me a photocopy of his column (four pages of interesting items). Here it is (click on image to view larger): The other publication on the page, MM9 , is one that kaiju fans should also check out. Many thanks to Tony Isabella!

ANIME EXPO 2012 WELCOMES THE “FATE/ZERO” CREATIVE TEAM OF HIKARU KONDO, EI AOKI AND RIKIYA KOYAMA AS OFFICIAL GUESTS OF HONOR

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 1, 2012) – Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture celebration, today announced three members of the “Fate/Zero” creative team -- Producer Hikaru Kondo, Director Ei Aoki and Voice Actor Rikiya Koyama -- as Official Guests of Honor when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012. Hikaru Kondo established the animation studio “ufotable” in 2000.  As a producer, he worked on the 7-theatrical movie series “The Garden of sinners,” “Futakoi Alternative,” “Manabi Straight,” “Tales of Symphonia” and others. Most recently, he produced the TV Series “Fate/Zero,” “the Garden of sinners –Final Chapter-“ as well as directed “Black Rock Shooter the Game.” In Japan, ufotable opened the first “ufotable café” at its Koenji Studio to promote interaction with fans.  With the success of the first shop, the company opened a second café at Tokushima Studio,

ANIME EXPO 2012 ANNOUNCES ANIMATION DIRECTOR TATSUO SATO AS AN OFFICIAL GUEST OF HONOR

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Source: Anime Expo News Release LOS ANGELES (June 1, 2012) – Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture celebration, today announced animation director Tatsuo Sato, as an Official Guest of Honor when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29 – July 2, 2012. Tatsuo Sato started his career as an animator and an assistant director at Asia-Do. He made his solo directorial debut with the TV series "Soar High! Isami" and has since gone on to direct the TV series "Martian Successor Nadesico" and its sequel feature film "Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture - Prince Of Darkness." Tatsuo collaborated on the avant-garde animation film "Cat Soup" with an old friend, animator/director Masaaki Yuasa. The film won double prizes in the 6th Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal: "Best Short Film" and "Film Critic's Association Prize". It was also the winner of the 20