News from Kochi-power Research Institute
At the Kochi-power Research Institute at the flying mobile base Jean-Paul Phoenix, the director, Professor Kochitarō, and the associate professor Kochijirō , are conducting research every day for the purpose of peaceful use of Kochi-power. Even today, the two had a hot discussion while watching a World Cup soccer match on TV.
■Professor encounters Tsuburaya Productions Chairman
♪Water～～Water～～Water Stick in hand ~~ Chill! Chill! I’ll pour cold water on you, Waterman~ ♫
Huh? What is Waterman?
Fire! Flash! (suddenly throwing fireballs)
Aah! What are you doing!
You country bumpkins who have never left Japan! When native speakers say “water," we Japanese hear “wallah." Therefore, it is correct to call Waterman “Wallahman."
Kind of like “Mirrorman," but a lame name anyway… So what is this Waterman?
It all started back in October when I met the chairman of Tsuburaya Productions.
However, I only went to see the premium lecture given by Takayuki Tsukakoshi, Chairman and CEO of Tsuburaya Productions, on the first day of the Industry Exchange Show 2022 held at Tokyo Big Site from October 19 to 21.
How did you manage to get into the venue looking like that?
Yeah? I’d be just as classy and dignified as any businessman if I wore a suit.
And what did the chairman talk about?
Yes, as the exhibition was called an “industrial exchange show," the main focus was on the search for business partners in the fields of VR and Metaverse, in which Tsuburaya Productions is trying to make a full-scale entry. But the chairman’s story inevitably becomes “Tsuburaya Productions of Ultraman." I believe that Tsuburaya Productions should aim to become the Disney of Japan, and that would require not only “Mickey Mouse (Ultraman)" but also “Donald Duck" and “Toy Story" in the Tsuburaya style.
You’re also asking him to cherish shows like “Magma Man," “Mighty Jack," and “Star Wolf" and the characters that appear in them.
That’s right. So, the chairman has asked hearers send new business plans to Tsuburaya Productions, and I am thinking of approaching him about producing a feature-length special effects movie such as “Bunyo (not Ponyo!) on a Cliff by the Sea" or “My Neighbor Todola (not Totoro!) " or a TV series featuring the new hero “Waterman."
Bunyo and Todola ,what in the world are you talking about… And then Waterman looks like the eyes of Magma Man attached to the ”Dash 3," the incarnation of water, of “Rainbow Man" no matter how you look at it…
Of course, Waterman is also “Warrior of Love," so he can transform into seven different forms. Everyone’s favorite, Magma Man, starring Naoya Makoto, is the incarnation of fire, so “Dash 2!"
Director Kazuki Ōmori passed away
Director Kazuki Ōmori passed away on November 12 from acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 70.
From the point of view of special effects fans, he is a great benefactor who brought Godzilla back to life in the true sense of the word and laid the foundation for a series that continues to this day. The 1984 movie “The Return of Godzilla" was a film that Toho put a lot of effort into selling, but it was not quite what fans of the time wanted. Five years later, Director Ōmori delivered a completely new Godzilla film that was reminiscent of “Godzilla vs. Mothra" (1964) and other Godzilla films of his heyday, but also had the feel of a trendy television drama.
That would be “Godzilla vs. Biollante," released in 1989.
Although some parts of the film look old-fashioned when viewed on DVD today, the effective use of Akira Ifukube's music was a success, and the film, including the battle with the Self-Defense Forces, was well received by fans at the time, who said, “This is the kind of Godzilla we have been waiting for.” Although he left the director’s chair after the next film, “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" (1991), he contributed to the success of the so-called ”VS. series” by writing the screenplays for “Godzilla vs. Mothra" (1992) and “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah" (1995), and has truly made a significant contribution to making the Godzilla movies a series.
Sue-chan (Yoshiko Tanaka), who passed away in 2011, plays the main character’s girlfriend, and she is young and pretty! Tōru Minegishi, who also passed away in 2008, also played a JGSDF member, but in a wild and cool role.
It’s sad to see them all go. We will die someday, but I hope Godzilla and Ultraman will live on for a long time to come!
■In addition, I watched two Godzilla famous movies.
“Godzilla vs. Mothra" (1964)
This is the most representative Godzilla movie of the 1960s, and many fans say it is their favorite. The size of the sets and the large number of extras are astonishing in a scale that is unimaginable today. The scene of Godzilla’s rampaging tail in the appearance scene is so full of life that I mistook it for the appearance of a new monster when I was a child. Mothra’s movements and flight scenes were also better than the Computer Graphics in later films. Godzilla is occasionally shown in close-up, and it is amusing to see him looking so villainous.
“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" (1974)
This is a film commemorating the 20th anniversary of Godzilla’s birth and is representative of the 1970s. The direction is so brilliant that one gets the feeling that director Jun Fukuda wants to direct spy action movies for adults, not for children. Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano also suffered from the low budget of the time, but the attack and defense scenes between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla are a series of tremendous explosion scenes, creating powerful special effects scenes. I also personally like “Miyarabi’s Prayer," a song to bring the Okinawan monster King Caesar back to life.
Eidai’s plastic model “Benkei Crab"
Since the season of delicious crabs has arrived, I would like to introduce you to Eidai's plastic model “Benkei Crab." This is the “Water Creature Series" and the other is the “Hama Crab." It is claimed to be 4 times the precision scale. There is also an “Insect Series," which is claimed to be three times the precision scale. According to the box art, the lineup includes “Large brown cicada," “Robust cicada," and “Stag beetle."
The “Benkei Crab" cost 350 yen, and at the time I traded for one that belonged to an elementary school friend of mine. I remember being impressed as a child that it was a wonderful plastic model because it walked like the real thing while moving its scissors with a mainspring, and it was pre-painted.
The one I have was acquired unassembled at auction in 2006 and assembled. Various parts have been damaged over time, and have been considerably and manually reinforced. The mainspring has deteriorated and it only walks for short periods of time, but what can be said is that the modeling is excellent and it is a wonderful plastic model that is fun just to look at.
Obituary Ichirō Mizuki
Ichirō Mizuki, aka “Big brothers," the king of anime songs, passed away on December 6 due to lung cancer at the age of 74. Most recently, he sang a wonderful song, “Prayer for Orb" (2016), the theme song for “Ultraman Orb." May his soul rest in peace.