News from Kochi-power Research Institute (Part 1４)
■After watching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters"
I have just finished watching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters" that I recorded.
Please tell me your impression.
I have a principle of paying homage to those who make movies with all their might and not saying bad things. However, my impression of the movie is a Godzilla version of “The Lion King."
Because, at the end of the movie, the monsters were prostrating themselves before Godzilla, the king. Besides, Godzilla’s face was somewhat angular, and it looked a bit like the headgear of Ōnishi Lion1). In the next work, Godzilla (Mufasa) will die due to the betrayal of Godzilla’s younger brother (Scar). The story of his son Minilla (Simba), who was exiled from the monster kingdom, defeating Scar after training and becoming a new king , “Uncle Godzilla vs. Minilla."
The next work is decided to be “Godzilla vs. Kong" which is about to be released!
1)“Ōnishi Lion" is a Japanese comedian who imitates the musical “The Lion King."
The photo is from the “Yoshimoto Kogyo" website.
In “Godzilla: King of the Monsters," the legs of Mothra (adult) also looked like a mantis, which made me feel uncomfortable. “The Peanuts“2) would have been surprised too. And is the giant mammoth really a monster? In Japan, a large mammoth is called ”Mammo," but there must be “Dotechin“3) near the Mammo.
After all, you’re just talking badly about the movie.
No, I think it was good that Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) died and gave Godzilla a pep talk. It’s a given in the Godzilla movie that someone will sacrifice himself to confront the monsters.
2)“The Peanuts" are twin singers who played the fairies controlling Mothra in the movie.
3)“Dotechin" is a gorilla that appears in the manga and anime “Hajime Ningen Gon (GON, THE STONE-AGE BOY)."
■"Godzilla S.P" and consideration about the future of special effects
Speaking of Godzilla, the animation “Godzilla S.P (Singular Point)" is now being aired.
At first I heard that it was an anime and made a fool of it, but when I started watching it, it was interesting and I was drawn into it. But it’s a little esoteric story for the elderly.
It is unusual for Professor to praise.
When I first heard that Godzilla was animated, I remembered “The Ultraman." Initially, the animation by the staff from Tatsunoko Production was quite high quality, but the expression of monsters and battle scenes still felt unsatisfactory compared to the live-action film. However, in “Godzilla S.P," monsters are expressed in Computer Graphics, producing a powerful image comparable to a live-action film. Moreover, in the extreme, animation and Computer Graphics are so well integrated that they are indistinguishable. I think this style is promising because the special effects is able to decline in the future.
What does that mean?
Special effects is nothing more than a “means" that connects the real world and the fictional world, but the realism of the special effects part was the most serious concern when watching the work, and above all, the faces of directors could be seen in the images. Ray Harryhausen, Eiji Tsuburaya, Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Kōichi Takano, Kōichi Kawakita, etc. In short, it is no exaggeration to say that special effects works exist in order to enjoy the “means." However, Computer Graphics technology is no longer a “means," and it even obscured the distinction between what is real and what is fictional. Moreover, in modern times, even an amateur can produce movie-like images if he / she has a high-performance personal computer. Our enjoyment, which we were excited by the name of the special effects director and talked about the success and failure of the special effects part, was completely taken away. There are others.
Recently, Computer Graphics is often used in the main part, but is it interesting to see the world where reality and fiction are indistinguishable? In the past, an actress whose hair caught fire in the explosion scene of the main part refused to appear. In the old works, there were many scenes in which the actors performed at the risk of their lives, and the main part was more tense than it is now. But even if we allow the flames to be fake, where should we feel the heat of the flames when even the burned humans are represented by Computer Graphics? In recent special effects works, I think that the ease and frivolity of relying on Computer Graphics for the main part is also a problem.
How does the discussion so far connect with “Godzilla S.P"?
There is no doubt that sooner or later, the number of “full CG (full Computer Graphics)" works that express even the humans appearing in the works with Computer Graphics will increase. In Japan, it was controversial to have the dead singer Hibari Misora appear on TV in Computer Graphics, but I heard that the already dead Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin) was revived in the “Star Wars" spin-off work. “Full CG" creates a whole work in the fictional world, so when “full CG" dominates the world of video, the bridge with the real world becomes unnecessary and the genre of special effects disappears. What remains is 1) complete live-action, 2) live-action (part CG), 3) full CG, 4) complete animation, 5) animation (part CG) 4), but it is definitely more animation than Computer Graphics that there is a wide variety of works and the creator’s individuality is strongly reflected in the video. In addition, many animators who feel the richness of talent are growing up in Japan. Therefore, I thought that hybrid works such as 5), which replaced the live-action part of the conventional special effects work with animation, are promising in the future.
4) Live-action (part animation) has been experimentally tried in Japan (such as “Aztecizer, the Star of Pro-Wrestling“), but no major results have been obtained. On the other hand, video processing such as embedding animation in the live-action background (or embedding live-action in the animation background) was seen in Disney movies in the past, but I think that it will be positioned in the Computer Graphics genre in the future.
Professor has a strict evaluation of recent Godzilla movies that express monsters with Computer Graphics, don’t you?
I don’t think Computer Graphics in live-action movies is suitable for monsters by any means. “Jurassic Park" was impressed because it reproduced the dinosaurs that actually existed with Computer Graphics, but no matter how much Godzilla is expressed in Computer Graphics, no spectator will be impressed by saying, “Seeing the real Godzilla." Rather, Godzilla played by a suit actor seems to be a living thing.
You like the movies “The Matrix" and “Resident Evil" series that make full use of Computer Graphics.
Regarding “Resident Evil", I’m a big fan of Milla Jovovich, but these two works make good use of Computer Graphics, and Computer Graphics does not interfere with the main part. Hideki Kakinuma, a novelist who is familiar with special effects, made an interesting remark about “The Matrix," so I will introduce it below.
Most of the flight scenes of Nebuchadnezzar in the third work of “The Matrix" are Computer Graphics, but the only scene that I thought it powerful was that broke through the iron door of Zion and rushed into it. It’s the only scene I’ve seen repeatedly, but it’s a large-scale miniature work. The miniature is vibrating due to the impact of the collision. Of course, there is a coincidence of miniature photography, but in Computer Graphics, all the phenomena that can actually occur are not reproduced without exception. In current Computer Graphics, the material and the frame of the target structure, the characteristics when crushing, the strength when colliding with an object, the vibration, the unpredictable accident that may occur secondary or tertiary, etc. are hardly woven. In a scene where things fly, when you actually throw a miniature, all the factors such as gravity and wind resistance will affect it and it will fly or fall, but in Computer Graphics the shadow with the texture just crosses the screen. However, if you do a complete simulation for that, it will be too descriptive …
“Character AGE VOL.02″ (Gakken): From “Fantasy Science Model Dialogue Hideki Endō x Hideki Kakinuma"
In “Resident Evil," the second work, an elaborate model of a building is used in the scene of destroying a building by a missile. I heard that it took 4 months to make the model. What both works have in common is the passion and belief of the special effects staff that they will not cut corners even in a scene of a few seconds. These guys don’t think Computer Graphics is all-purpose, so I think they can make good pictures even with special effects based on Computer Graphics.
What are your thoughts on the current state of special effects in Japan?
Computer Graphics is also used in the new Ultraman series, but there are many experimental efforts in the special effects scene, and the motivation of the staff can be felt. Anyway, Ultraman is a representative translation of humanoids, so I think it’s enough to express it in a costume even if it’s not Computer Graphics …Speaking of which, I briefly touched on “Star Fleet" last time, but it’s a good example of a special effects work that requires a lot of work. In the present age when Computer Graphics is in full swing, I thought that Supermarionation would not be produced anymore, so I just bought the DVD of “Star Fleet" on impulse. In fact, in “Thunderbirds Are Go!," which is the remake of “Thunderbirds," the marionette was replaced by Computer Graphics. The special effects of “STAR FLEET" are mainly performed by hanging miniatures with piano wires, but when I thought that the depiction of the Geruma's mother ship was powerful, I heard that a huge model with a total length of 4 m was used in filming. In addition, please see the CM video of Takatoku Toys that I recorded at the time of the main broadcast as a bonus.
You’re collecting only really weird things.
Celebration! “Return of Ultraman" 50th Anniversary.
The project to make soft vinyl monster dolls walk on batteries
（No.14 “Return of Ultraman"）
From the next time, this corner will be closed for a while, so this time I will introduce the main character, Ultraman. Previously, Billgamo mentioned that it was the first electrification project, but I wanted Ultraman as an opponent of Billgamo, so I made it. The soft vinyl doll used is from the Ginga Renpō series of the same brand as Kaijūkyō.
With the electrification of Ultraman, I didn’t want to lose to Marusan's plastic model, whose eyes were shining, the Color Timer glowed blue, and flashed red. Initially, these lightings were done with the same miniature light bulbs as Marusan, but it is not possible to express the white light that is characteristic of Ultraman, especially in the light emission of the eyes. Therefore, I decided to change the power supply from the original N batteries to CR2s and use LEDs (see Part 5). As a result, the batteries could not be stored inside the body, and I had to install a battery box at the feet outside the body, but it became an irregular style of walking with the exposed battery box.
Transparent parts are required for lighting. I could have made my own transparent parts for the eyes and the Color Timer, but this is a hassle. Paper clay is stuffed inside the body of the soft vinyl that has been split in half, and the hardened one is made into a male mold. I think it is better to press a heated transparent plastic plate against it, mold it, and then cut it out. But highly skilled modelers probably know another good ways. I don’t have such skills, so I used the soft vinyl doll with a transparent body, and painted everything except the eyes and the Color Timer in reverse. When painting the Return of Ultraman, the red double line part is troublesome. I’m not good at painting, so the finish looks like the picture. The “Special version" of the Ginga Renpō series has high paint quality, so I would like to try again using my own transparent parts. Also, when emitting light in a narrow area like this time, you may be worried about light leakage, but it is effective to paint the inside with black except for the light emitting part, so please try if there is a similar case. In addition, this walking system adopts the so-called Imai type, in which pseudo-feet enter and exit from the soles of the feet.
Left: Ginga Renpō soft vinyl doll “Return of Ultraman: First appearance version“: Eye paint removed with paint thinner.
Middle: Tamiya’s “Mini Motor Multi-stage Gear Box" was installed.
Right: Completed (light emission status by miniature light bulbs)
Left: Right side after completion
Middle: Front (Color Timer flashing red)
Right: Left side
Left: Back side after completion : CR2 battery box at the feet
Middle: “Ginga Renpō: Special version" soft vinyl doll
Right: Marusan plastic model reprint “Ultraman" (manufactured by “Nostalgic Heroes“)