Thursday, July 30, 2009
Anyway, straight from G-Fest 16, here is our 1991 Bandai Minya, in very decent shape, ready to blow a smoke ring your way if you mess with him.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Ultraman Gaia is unapologetically intended for children who would love nothing more than for Ultraman to become part of their reality and protect them, and in that respect it successfully delivers the goods. With surprisingly snazzy spfx and a lot of good will, Ultraman Gaia: The Battle for Hyperspace is a seventy-four minute Saturday afternoon smile-maker.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Also appreciated was the friendly service provided by Chibi Goji Toys. Visit http://chibigojitoys.com/ to see more of their fantastic merchandise.
Andy says about this item: "It's cool--wow--awesome--incredible--all at the same time!" Dad agrees!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Pictured above is "Godzilla" by Ian Thorne, which during my second grade year became a precious tome--the archive of all monster archives. I have distinct memories of reading Thorne's book in a laundromat in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and being the happiest kid on earth. Even though some of the information is of dubious quality, it is still jam packed with amazing still photographs, and I use inter-library loan to borrow it for my son and me. It is mind-blowing to consider how very little Godzilla information was out there for a youngster to find in those days, in contrast to everything that is available now. The lack of "hard data" allowed the imagination to fill in the blanks, and resulted in homemade stories, self-drawn pictures, and the like. There was an exotic quality to Godzilla--it was as if you were always "on the hunt" to find a sign of him in American culture. That spirit of liking something that barely registers with your peers--that He is your little (gigantic) secret--goes a long way in explaining my continuing enthusiasm for the kaiju realm.
So here's a tip of the cap and a hearty thanks to those libraries that kept our Godzilla daydreams alive. Where they were a lifeline before, they are a treasure trove now, and they're there for us and our communities to enjoy. The Imperial Godzilla (1985) that you see here is an active member of our children section's hands-on dinosaur collection. And I am happy to report that our library has a dog-eared copy of J.D. Lees' "Official Godzilla Compendium" that is often checked out (not necessarily by me). That is a good sign for G-fandom, don't you think?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
That night, Andy and I made our first late-night trek to the Pickwick Theater, a grand old movie palace in nearby Park Ridge, Illinois. The movie of the night was "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah; Giant Monsters All Out Attack." I was very excited to see this film on the big screen for a number of reasons. First of all, "GMK" is the G-film that pulled me back into active fandom. A few years ago, my wife kindly recorded it for me off of the SciFi Channel (she is a great satellite TV searcher) and as I started to view "GMK" I became totally enthralled. The only Millenium series film I had seen up that point was "Godzilla 2000," and that movie was hard for me to watch because of its proximity to 9/11. (More about that in a later post.) I was awestruck by GMK's style and visual wizardry, so much so that it transcended the "real world" issues that were still very much in play, and made it feel OK to watch a monster movie again.
Secondly, I was keenly interested in seeing how the incredible effects work played out on the big screen. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. This Godzilla suit is one of my absolute favorites--in conveys a mass and power and deadly intent that closely corresponds to the Godzilla of my childhood imagination. The scene where he comes ashore and knocks a construction crane over with a belligerent swipe of the hand seemed to have lept out of my grade-school daydreams and onto the screen. A scene that come soon afterwards depicts a man looking up through his car's windshield at Godzilla, and it is a perfect example of Shusuke Kaneko's expert use of street-level perspective to enhance the realism of a huge creature entering an urban setting.
Finally, I knew Andy was looking forward to the Baragon/Godzilla battle, which fortunately (due to the late hour) takes place relatively early in the film. That battle is preceded by one of the most humorous scenes in any Godzilla movie--one in which a tourist races to get her photo taken with Baragon approaching in the background, and gets a rather large surprise! The battle scene that follows is everything a G-Fan could ask for, including an extremely explosive blast of Godzilla's renowned atomic breath. Not long after that portion of the film wrapped up, Andy was fast asleep. (We came equipped with pillow in hand.) Carrying my sleeping G-Buddy back to the car and then up to the hotel room, I knew we had just experienced something special--and this was just a prelude of the fun to come!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Later last night I watched two randomly selected episodes from the 2005 series "Ultraman Max." This show just looks good on the screen, and features Susumu Korobe (the original Hayata) and Hiroko Sakura (the original Fuji) in recurring roles--I love the fact that they are still involved in the telling of Ultra-tales.
The first episode I saw was "The Prophecy of Varaji," and the real star of the show is a fantastic updated version of Antlar, a humongous beetle that made his debut in the original Ultraman series. I was surprised to see Ayako Fujitani, the young star of the Gamera trilogy, in a guest starring role, but then discovered that her director in that series was the director of this episode--Shusuke Kaneko (who also directed one of my fave G-films, "GMK"). I began to suspect something when Antlar's sand destroyed a "Kaneko Oil" gas station in the opening scenes. That makes the first shot a real hoot--two little kids are playing "Gamera vs. Godzilla" in a sandbox!
The second episode was the next in the series, "The Supersonic Attack." This light-hearted story centers on a Japanese heavy-metal band, "The Bad Scanners," and they are the scariest thing we see on screen! (Their "hit song" is admittedly catchy. I have no idea if they are a real band or not.) And the supersonic bird-monster's name? Halen! Ultraman Max rocks!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The element of surprise added to the enjoyment, but it did pose some dilemmas: there were plenty of programs that I have only heard about but never seen ("The Green Slime," "The Manster,"Go! Go! Godman") ...do you go to the panel discussion, the dealers room, or watch the movie? These are the tough value decisions one must make at G-Fest. Making the discovery of G-Fest TV got things started on a monstrously great note.
Monday, July 20, 2009
This new blog is about one thing: fun! And my idea of fun is watching Godzilla and friends with my son. There will be no systematic approach to my posts; my main objective is to chronicle films we've watched, look for signs of kaiju life in popular culture, and of course, talk about some really cool toys and collectibles.
In the very near future, I will post my reflections on G-FEST 16, which my family attended this summer in Chicago. (G-FEST is the premier Godzilla fan convention in North America.) Keep your eye on Monsterland Ohio and share the fun of monster fandom with me!