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TOHO’s GODZILLA 2016 NEWS ROUNDUP: SCRIPT IS FINISHED, FILMING BEGINS, AND NEW VINYLS FROM BANDAI!

Hey all, Jon D. B. here with a roundup of recent news for the highly-anticipated return of Toho’s most famous creation in 2016!

1gojihoneybonesAfter a long dry spell, production on Toho’s upcoming Godzilla film is finally picking up steam. Well, that may be an unfair statement as it’s really the press who’s finally picking up said steam. The acclaimed studio has been hard at work on this film for over a year now, and we’re just now to the point where the public will be made aware of some behind-the-scenes happenings. This first and most recent article is a good example of this: Toho’s team is still, of course, sworn to secrecy – but the following Associated Press article via ABC News features an excellent chat with special effects legend and co-director of the upcoming picture Shinji Higuchi. Higuchi tells us a lot without spoiling anything for the film, confirming that:

  • 7758880e3b3d4311ab6c38bd7368e1b0_16x9_992The script is now complete!
  • Shooting begins in September 2015
  • His team will be employing “hybrid effects” – a mixture of suitmation, miniatures, and other classic tokusatsu technicques along with modern CGI.
  • He promises the most terrifying Godzilla that Japan’s cutting-edge special-effects movie-making can muster.

Be sure to check out the full interview for more great quotes from the team by clicking this link, or the photo above. Photo and article courtesy of Associated Press.

Scified also brought us some great collector’s news recently, stating that Bandai will be producing new figures for the 2016 Toho film, as well as Legendary’s 2018 film! Both Bandai Japan and Bandai America will be producing brand new lines of vinyls for these two films, with releases scheduled as soon as next year. I would expect a line of 6 inch tagged figures for both films. It is, as I always say – a damn good time to be a fan. The full article can be found by clicking this link, or the image of Bandai Japan’s great 2014 releases below.

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Our good friend August Ragone has also released some tantalizing rumors from his own personal contacts on his blog The Good, The Bad, and Godzilla – citing that we just may be in for a terrifying Godzilla designed by acclaimed illustrator and conceptual designer Mahiro Maeda. Ragone goes on to share some of the artist’s impressive background:

Maeda_Design_blogWord has it that celebrated animator and designer, Mahiro Maeda, has visualized the new Godzilla. Maeda’s long and distinguished career started by working with Anno in 1982 on SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS, followed in 1983 by the famous Daicon IV opening anime film, a mecha designer on ROBOT CARNIVAL (1987), then in 1988 with both Anno and Higuchi on HONEAMISE: THE ROYAL SPACE FORCE and GUNBUSTER: AIM FOR THE TOP, which forged the creation of Gainax.

If true (which all things considered, it certainly looks to be), this is beyond exciting news. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, Ragone’s sources also cite prolific sculptor Takayukia Takeya as the creator of the macquette to be used for the Big G’s latest look. Ragone’s sources also reiterate Shiguchi’s quotes from the past, stating that ““(This new) Godzilla is based on the original (1954 version), but is going to be… frightening.” Yes, please. Be sure to read all of August’s original article here.

This leads us to our last tidbit, where I posted a photo of the excellent Honey Bones Godzilla sculpt on our Facebook page (the same featured at the top of this article) to give people an idea of what the new Godzilla may end up looking like, given all we know now. I am expecting something similar to this design, if not even a bit more radical, nightmarish, and demonic (think Nightmare Gamera from the Heisei Gamera trilogy – all Shiguchi’s work.). The post was met with over thirty comments and well over 100 likes in just a day’s time – so it goes without saying that the interest is 100% there within the fandom to see a truly haunting King of the Monsters… Something we haven’t seen since 1954.

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Legendary’s 2014 film was a box office smash, partially thanks to a dynamite marketing campaign – and partly due to it being a genuinely entertaining, well-received entry into the series. The design was a bit radical for some: a bit too stumpy and realistic – yet foreign. Personally, I loved the design for how different and “natural” it was. As a natural history buff, I’ve always wanted to see what Godzilla would truly look like as a towering, lumbering product of nature. What Edward’s team gave us was just that – an enormous, heavy archosaur from the depths of prehistoric oceans. While I do feel they also got his character and demeanor absolutely right – the film itself left a lot to be desired (minimal screentime for the titular monster, lackluster characters across the board outside of Cranston and Watanabe’s roles, etc.). These shortcomings are present in several of Toho’s efforts as well; the franchise has always been a mixed bag of hits and misses. Godzilla was, however, Godzilla in Legendary’s outing. From any angle, you could tell their design was the Big G and not a generic saurian monster. 2016, however, marks the return of GOJIRA – the return of our beloved monster’s heart and soul from a team of craftsman who know him better than anyone else. As hard as any U.S. studio may try – they will never be able to capture the same magic as the tokusatsu masters of Toho, the big guy’s one and only house of birth. To see Godzilla appear once more within a physical, hand-crafted world – Well I don’t know about you, but that makes me incredibly excited.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for up-to-the minute news releases for these films. We’ve been the first to get many of these stories out there, and will continue to do so! Stay tuned as there’s a lot of exciting stuff headed our way!

Jon D. B.

G-TUBE: SKREEONK.com REFLECTS ON G-FEST XXII 2015!

Hey all, Jon D. B. here and a happy Sunday to you!

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Three Kaiju Amigos: Myself, Kyle Yount of Kaijucast, and David E. Dopko of DED Photography.

11709736_10204658679736008_7423943863772211774_nThis past weekend was one for the record books. G-FEST XXII was a tremendous success for all involved, including us here at Skreeonk.com and our many friends within the Kaiju Fan Network. While it is tempting to write a lengthy article about the entire experience – I’m struggling to find any true reason to do so. G-FEST is meant to be lived and experienced, not read about secondhand. What I would like to do instead is show you:

A dear friend of mine, David E. Dopko, is a phenomenal photographer and was kind enough to photo-document the entire four day span of our trip. The result is, without a doubt, the best possible way to show others who did not attend just how much of a fantastic time we had together. G-FEST is, as another friend put it, “like a huge family reunion every year” – and the more I look at David’s superb photography the more true this statement rings with me. If you are on the fence about going, make the trip; it is something you will not regret. Hopefully the following will help in swaying you to do so.

Clicking the following link and/or the photo below will take you to Mr. Dopko’s Photo Gallery of G-FEST XXII. Inside you’ll find everything you’d ever need to know about the time we had: Comradery, smiling faces, once-in-a-lifetime concerts, panels, fans, and of course – kaiju vinyls.

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11263922_10204658679015990_1097014125791656601_nNow onto the G-TUBE part of things! To give you a sense of the spirit of the Fest, first up is Mark Callaway‘s summary of his G-FEST experience as well as his interview with both myself and David. Mark prepared some great word-association questions for guests he wanted to interview, and gives some great insight for others hoping to make their first trip (as G-FEST XXII happened to be his first). His reflection on the event is the first four minutes of the video. If you are interested in just the interviews they begin at the 4:35 mark:

11542116_10204674778818475_8935890762818890601_nNext up is a sampling of the fantastic SYMPHONIC FURY concert. The event had a large turn-out, was a great success, and was attended by Kow Otani-san himself. I was fortunate enough to attend the dress rehearsal the night before and spend time with Otani-san while he relished in the joy of a live orchestra performing some of his music for the first time. His enthusiasm and passion extends far beyond music into the fandom of kaiju eiga itself and the fans within. Otani-san was, hands down, one of the most genuine and humble superstars I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around. Here is a sampling of the concert with friend and Maestro John DeSentis doing what he does best. Wait for Otani-san’s Gamera III score to swell up at the end and just imagine hearing it in person; such an incredible experience!

11755234_10204674786818675_1066736631978133772_nAnother fantastic project had its world premiere at this year’s Fest, with the long awaited documentary HAIL TO THE KING scoring several showings throughout the weekend. To say Kyle (of Kaijucast) has put a tremendous amount of work into this dream project is an understatement, and the final product showed such with flying colors. For those unaware, HTTK is a superb look into the mindset of Japanese Godzilla fans. Kyle and his team set out to the kaiju motherland in search of insight, both into the minds of Tokusatsu fans on the other side of the Pacific – and how the genre is perceived today (and specifically for The Big G’s 60th anniversary last year when the doc. was shot) by those still living in the country responsible for the art form’s birth. David also traveled along with Kyle to photo-document the journey, and what follows is a string of excellent interviews – with one inparticular that will absolutely leave your jaw on the floor. HAIL TO THE KING is something you will not want to miss, and luckily you don’t have to as we’ve included the Youtube release right here for yah!

11755645_10204674787458691_4887641905636165316_nLast up we have the FRESH VINYL LIVE 2015 Panel in which myself, David, Rich Eso of Fresh Vinyl, Kyle Yount of Kaijucast, and our fellow collectors Christine Chapin and Samson West delved into the newest collectibles on the market today. We covered everything from Marmit and Medicom to X-Plus releases and SHMA. The panel was a tremendous success with a standing-room only crowd lined out the door. If you came and are reading this, we thank you so much for making the first FVL panel such a roaring success. We will, without a doubt, be back next year! A huge thank you to our friend Jessica Etchells for recording the panel for us so it could be edited and uploaded.

Another huge thank you is in order for all of the G-FAN/G-FEST crew for making such a fantastic event possible each year. A lot of people work hard year round to ensure that we get to have such a fantastic time in Chicago each year so from all of us here in the Kaiju Fan Network: Thank You.

11760094_10204658682336073_5957100892585853682_nI’ve included a few of my own personal photographs (of much lower quality) from the trip within the article and in a gallery below to give readers a sense of other highlights of G-Fest.including our fantastic special guests this year Masaaki Tezuka-san and Noboru Kaneko-san, and friends yet highly-esteemed members of the fandom August Ragone and Bob Eggleton. The amazing thing about G-Fest is, after all, the people. Our love of kaiju eiga is what the fandom is all about – but there are few things in this world that can compare to sharing a drink and laughs with others who passionately love what you love – and then some. Again, if you’re on the fence about coming – make it happen! You won’t regret it and will find yourself in Chicago for G-Fest again, guaranteed.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and for being a part of this terrific fandom.

Jon D. B.

(Jon @ UnCanny)

The Schedule For G-FEST XXII Is Up! FVL Panel! Special Guests! Symphonic Fury! Time To Plan Your Awesomeness!

Hey guys, Jon @ UnCanny here with some exciting news!

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photo courtesy of David E. Dopko!

The schedule for G-FEST XXII a’la Summer 2015 is up, and some fantastic things are happening! I can’t remember if I gave the official “wohoo” on this or not, but I will be on the FRESH VINYL LIVE Panel with our good friend Rich Eso of Fresh Vinyl Reviews, Kyle Yount of Kaijucast, and David E. Dopko of DED Photography! We have some other friends joining us, and needless to say – it is going to be an absolute blast! Check out the rest of the schedule, there’s some amazing things happening with tons of other excellent panels and events scheduled! Kyle of Kaijucast alone is doing a good half-dozen fantastic panels, as well as several live Kaijucast recordings, so don’t miss out on those, either! As for our FVL panel, here’s the full details and time:

Fresh Vinyl Live!

(12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Kennedy) – Fresh Vinyl Live debuts at G-FEST XXII with the most recent toy news from X-Plus, S.H. Monster Arts, Marmit, Diamond, and NECA! Have you been on the fence about preordering that new figure you have been interested in? Are you curious to find out why the newest collectibles are fresh? Then Fresh Vinyl Live is where you need to be! Panelists: Richard Eso, Christine Chapin, David Eric Dopko, Kyle Yount, Samson West, and Jon Bumpus.

11062137_10204499180428625_5802057274497506576_nA few weeks ago we were also met with the unfortunate news that one of G-Fest’s special guests, actor Yukijiro Hotaru of the Gamera Trilogy, had to cancel due to a last minute filming schedule conflict. Our good friends at G-FEST delivered, however, and actor Noboru Kaneko of the Kiryu films will now be making his first U.S. appearance! Joining him, of course, will be the guest of honor and Kaneko-san’s director on said Kiryu movies, Masaaki Tezuka! I’m bringing several figures to get signed, very excited for this news as I really dig the Kiryu films.

Don’t forget that the incredible SYMPHONIC FURY is happening, and kaiju composer KOW OTANI himself will be present as a guest of honor at both this concert and G-Fest! Some great friends of the Kaiju genre put this concert-sequel-of-sorts together after the wonderful success of last years Ifukube symphony, so be sure to grab tickets if you’ll be attending G-Fest. You won’t want to miss hearing Otani-san’s scores for the Gamera Trilogy and GMK performed live by an orchestra for the first time ever! To purchase tickets, please visit: http://symphonicfury2015.brownpapertickets.com/  – or click on the image below (which also includes the time and date for said amazing concert!):

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This is all just the tip of the iceberg my friends, so be sure to check out the G-FEST SITE BY CLICKING HERE and getting all the information you need and/or desire! Less than two weeks to go! We’ll have plenty of updates, photos, videos, and all the rest for you as we attend! Until then, true believers!

Jon @ UnCanny