Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Keizo Murase Interview Now on Vantage Point Interviews!

Yours truly with Keizo Murase in April 2018.

My interview with Toho and Daiei suitmaker Keizo Murase has just been published at Vantage Point Interviews. Suffice it to say, I'm very pleased with it. Murase-san himself told me that he shared some stories in my interview that he has never shared before in any previous interview. So I think you'll find it quite enlightening!

Over the years, for example, there has been a lot of debate about the original color of King Ghidorah. Well, as the man who painted the King Ghidorah suit, Murase-san offers what ought to be the last word on that debate. Was it originally supposed to be blue? Read the interview to find out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Return of FiveBlue!

Kei Shindachiya. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

On Tuesday, May 22, I returned to the bar owned and operated by Super Sentai series star Kei Shindachiya, who plays FiveBlue on Chikyu Sentai Fiveman (1990-91). Shindachiya-san has also made guest appearances on Choriki Sentai Ohranger (1995-96) and Ultraman Gaia (1998-99).

I was joined by a Super Sentai fan from the Philippines named Mark, who is currently visiting Japan. Naturally, he was excited to meet Shindachiya-san and had a great time at his bar. I was very happy to meet him, too , as we've been exchanging e-mails for quite some time. There's nothing like Super Sentai to bring people together!

Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi

Mount Fuji overlooking Lake Ashi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I've been to Lake Ashi in Hakone several times over the last few years, but last Sunday was the first time I was able to see Mount Fuji from the lake. On previous visits, it had always been obscured behind cloud cover. Of course, it was partially obscured by clouds this time, too, but at least I could actually see the mountain this time.

Lake Ashi is where Biollante makes her first appearance in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), and I think we're all familiar with Mount Fuji's role in various monster movies (such as King Kong vs. Godzilla). So there's quite a bit of kaiju history on display in just one shot!

Scenes from Hakone-Yumoto Station

I always enjoy taking shots of the area around Hakone-Yumoto Station whenever I'm in the area. So, with that said, here's what I took when I was there on Sunday. Enjoy!

A Great Afternoon in Even Greater Company

On May 20, I once again had the distinct privilege of meeting former Toho actress Mie Hama again. Of course, most folks know her from either her Toho days or other film roles she's had, but these days she pursues a different path and has left her acting career happily in the past. It's always great to have a chance to meet her.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grace Miyabe Speaks at Vantage Point Interviews!

Linda Mabrey as a nurse in The Green Slime. Photo courtesy of Linda Mabrey.

Vantage Point Interviews has a brand-new interview with Linda Mabrey (a.k.a. Linda Malsom), the actress who played Grace Miyabe in episode 19 of Ultra Seven (1967-68). She also appears as a nurse in The Green Slime (1968). These topics and much more are discussed in our interview. So drop what you're doing and check it out now!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle in Shinjuku. Photo by Brett Homenick.

(Some spoilers are contained below, but given all the clickbait websites that are already blaring spoilers in their headlines, you probably know everything that happens by now.)

I'll admit it: I chuckled when I went to buy my ticket for Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle about half an hour before it screened and saw that less than 10 others had bought tickets. Perhaps everyone else knew something the eight or so of us didn't.

If you read my review of Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, it more or less applies to this film, too. Stylistically, the film is exactly the same. Haruo screams a bit less, so that's an improvement. But the animation seemed even weaker here than in the first movie. One step forward, two Anigoji-size steps back.

Once again, nothing really happens of note. All the drama and even the action are tied up in the same bland characters, none of whom I cared about, and most of whom I still couldn't identify. Even after finishing the second entry in the trilogy, I still don't know who any of these people are (except for Haruo and maybe his love interest, Yuko), and I'm not interested in finding out -- there isn't anything to find out. 

Full disclosure: I started dozing off when the humans (in their Vulture mecha) were attacking Godzilla at Mechagodzilla City, so I may have missed something important. But the big tease that we were all expecting simply doesn't happen. The post-credit sequence teases King Ghidorah's appearance in the third film, but I'm still waiting for Mechagodzilla's. Wasn't it supposed to be in this movie?

There are some obvious Mothra references in some of the characters we're introduced to (two in particular), but other than that, I'm already out of things to say. The thing that surprised me most is that Godzilla seems even less relevant in this movie than in the first one. Oh, sure, he's the factor that motivates the characters to do what they do, but when Godzilla shows up, it's like he's just woken up from a deep sleep -- probably because that's exactly what he does in the movie. His lack of enthusiasm sure is contagious.

Long story short: The napping father and the restless boy sitting next to me ought to sum it all up for you.

Personally, I loved the fan-translated title "Godzilla - Decisive Battle: Mobile Breeder City" and hoped they'd keep it. Sounds like quite a title to Netflix and chill to.

The next movie is due out sometime in November. Here's hoping it gets a bit better.