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Japantasy Media News Bytes
Compiled by the staff of Henshin! Online
News for the week of 06/17/2004
Mixed martial arts fighter Don "The Predator" Frye has joined the cast of GODZILLA FINAL WARS. The former Ultimate Fighting and Pride Champion will play Douglas Gordon, the captain of the Atragon. Director Ryuhei Kitamura clearly has an interested in fighters as American martial artists Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, and Wes Sims have all landed rolls in GODZILLA FINAL WARS. Coleman and Randleman are said to have speaking roles, and Sims will be making a small cameo appearance. It is not known what roles the brawlers will have, but as more information becomes available, we will report it here. Source: Fightsport.com, Monster Zero News

While AZUMI director Ryuhei Kitamura prepares to amaze audiences with his vision of Godzilla, past Godzilla director Shusuke Kaneko has started shooting his 27th feature film, AZUMI 2. Cameras started rolling on April 15, 2004 and will wrap on June 10 for an early 2005 release. For a detailed report from the set, check out the Shusuke Kaneko Information Website. While there you can also access information about Kaneko's work on the televisions shows, ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY and SKY HIGH. It looks like Mr. Kaneko is continuing to keep very busy despite questionable reports to the contrary!

An amazing 60% of the world's TV cartoons are Japanese productions! Shuhei Kishimoto, a consultant at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry however, expresses serious misgivings about the future of the Japanese animation industry in "Japanese Animation will decline if nothing is changed".

Kishimoto points out that the creators of the programs that are being internationally distributed to worldwide success, are subcontractors never told by the distributors how much the program sponsors are spending for commercials. In order for this content business to develop into a strategic industry, he believes fair competition must be ensured through application of the Antimonopoly Law and an environment in which animation producers can raise capital on their own must be brought into being.

Domestic productions are allotted a budget of 8 million to 12 million yen, which is not enough to cover production costs. Producers must rely on royalties from the sale of related goods and proceeds from overseas distribution to break even.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry set up an office to look into fair trade in the media content industry in April and major commercial banks are considering taking intellectual property into account when extending loans.

Many issues still need to be addressed however, such as the absence of provisions for intellectual property in the Trust Business Law, which is holding back the creation of fund-raising schemes. Source: Foreign Press Center/Shuo Koron

Variety reports that Taka Ichise, the producer behind many of Japan's most notable recent fright films, is launching a six-movie package called J-HORROR THEATER, with Lions Gate handling distribution for all worldwide territories except Japan. The movies (titles and storylines to be announced) will be directed by a Who's Who of the country's top terror talent, including Hideo (RINGU) Nakata, Takashi (JU-ON) Shimizu, Kiyoshi (PULSE) Kurosawa and, making his debut at the helm, RINGU series scripter Hiroshi Takahashi. The films will be shot in either Japanese or English, some using key talent from other countries. Look for an in-depth interview with Ichise in FANGORIA #235, on sale in July. Source: Fangoria.com

With the fall release of the US remake of JU-ON (The Grudge) starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jason Behr on the horizon, Lions Gate and Vitagraph Films will release Takashi Shimizu's original Japanese supernatural horror film in limited theatrical release on July 23. JU- ON opens in New York and Los Angeles and will expand to other US cities shortly after. Cities that can prepare to get creeped-out in a theater near them include San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle, with more locations to be announced. More details are at the official website, which is currently under construction and a US trailer is now available for download. Source: Creature Corner Website

Dreamworks' sequel to its popular remake of THE RING, titled ironically enough, RING 2, is scheduled for release in November 2004. According to Variety, Emily VanCamp (TV's Everwood) is in "final negotations" to appear in the film. However, Daveigh Chase will not be reprising her role as Samara for The Ring 2. Daveigh was quoted as saying she would have returned for "all the ring fans out there who have been so nice to me and supported me," but noted that not only is Samara barely in the script, "she doesn't even show her face." DreamWorks will invariably go with a stand-in for the role, which is described as little more than an "extra" in the film. A poster for the film is now making the internet rounds. Source: RingWorld

"`Honey Flash!'' cries sexy Honey Kisaragi as she touches the heart button on her choker and rises into the air. Her naked body emerges as her clothes fly off, transforming herself into Cutie Honey, an armed warrior of justice" writes Ayako Karino. The Asahi Shimbun has published an English-language article about the upcoming live action CUTEY HONEY motion picture. Source: Natsume Goushin Ryu Dojo

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS - The 1968 Toho Classic will be screened at Midnight on Saturday, July 17th as part of Trash Film Orgy at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, CA.

FanTasia - The eighth annual FanTaisa film festival will be held in Montreal, Canada from July 8th to August 1st. More than 100 films and 60 short subjects will be screened. Please visit the official site for more details and a schedule..

G-FEST XI - Fans celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Godzilla will be gathering July 9 - 11, 2004 at the O'Hare International Airport Holiday Inn in Rosemont, IL for G-FEST XI. The special guest for G-FEST XI is special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano (GODZILLA VS HEDORAH, RETURN OF GODZILLA, TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA). Other featured guests include actor Robert Scott Field, artist Bob Eggleton, sculptor/author Allen Dubus and others. G-FEST XI will be screening INVASION OF ASTRO MONSTER, TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA, and GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA at the Pickwick Theater in nearby Park Ridge, Illinois and G-FEST X will also have a giant dealers room, a super Godzilla display, model instruction, video room, Destroy All Monsters Tournament, costume parade & contest, art contest, video contest and more. Details can be found the at the G-Fan website.

GODZILLA ANNIVERSARY SHOW - The Red Vic Theater in San Francisco is holding a 50th Anniversary Godzilla show, with Rialto's GODZILLA on September 3rd & 4th and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS on September 11th.

Fangoria #233 - The current issue features an article on JU-ON and its sequel JU-ON 2 by Norman England. Keep watching Fangoria as Norman provides on the set reports from the US remake!

Fangoria #234 - (On sale June 17) It is an expanded 100-page, 25th anniversary issue and has a report on GODZILLA FINAL WARS and an interview with just-named Toho President Shogo Tomiyama.

GODZILLA - Kidhaven is releasing a book for younger readers (ages 9-12) by Adam Woog titled simply "Godzilla" in November 2004. No other details known at this time.

GODZILLA ON MY MIND: FIFTY YEARS OF THE KING OF THE MONSTERS - Palgrave Macmillan publishing company is releasing a new book by William Tsutsui called Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters on October 15, 2004. No other details are known at this time. Tsutsui is a professor at the University of Kansas who will be taking part in the "In Godzilla.s Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage" symposium to be held in October 2004. Source: Monster Zero

ORIENTAL CINEMA #22 - Damon Foster has returned to publishing his long-running magazine (starting in the 1970s as a fanzine, and going to magazine format in 1994) with an issue dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of GODZILLA. The 48-page magazine features, as usual, articles and reviews on a variety of subjects, including HK and Japanese Martial Arts films, Korean and Japanese Superheroes (UREME, KAMEN RIDER KUUGA and KIKAIDER), Kaiju Eiga (GAMERA VS. ZIGRA, REBIRTH OF MOTHRA and PULGASARY), Anime (PATLABOR and CAPTAIN HARLOCK) and "cute girls" (Nina Li Chi) and more -- there are 11 pages of articles on the original GODZILLA, which covers biographies of the cast and staff, as well as review with commentary on the making of the film. ORIENTAL CINEMA #22 is $5.95 is available through magazine distributors and can be ordered directly by emailing Dracdirect@charter.net for more information.

SPIRAL - After their successful release of the original novel "Ring" by Koju Suzuki, Vertical press is now releasing the follow-up story, "Spiral". In this award-winning sequel, the story we thought we knew in "Ring" (the original novel, which inspired the blockbuster movie,) is broken down and twisted into a new reality.

ULTRAMAN TIGA- Dark Horse Comics wraps up the series with issue #10 hitting store shelves on June 23rd. The first five issues have been bound into a graphic novel, square-bound on high-quality paper. Journeying farther into Japanese films, look for the future release of a manga version of THE RING, based on the first novel by Koji Suzuki, "Rasen"!

GODZILLA: THE SERIES- Sony Pictures has announced that episodes from the 1998 animated series will be coming to DVD on August 24th. Entitled .The Monster Wars Trilogy., the disc collects the most popular storyline from the show (episodes 15-17); an updated version of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS in which aliens attempt to conquer earth with an army of monsters. The SRP is $14.94.

MALICE@DOLL- Director Keitaro Motonaga.s CGI animated feature is coming from Artsmagic in July. In a time when mankind no longer exists, prostitute robot dolls roam empty streets in search of clients. In a world of action without purpose, cleaners, guards and whores all respond to their programmed tasks until they in turn become defunct. Malice@Doll is one such prostitute, now in need of repair. In her search for renewal, she becomes aware that her world is being modified, leaving her increasingly open to attack by her former robotic guardians and in a state of increasing isolation and alienation. Suffering from an attack and ravishing by a grotesque tentacled bionic creature, she is mysteriously transformed into a human being. Overcome with joy and wonder, Malice seeks to transfer this gift through a loving kiss. But with every girl there comes a curse. See the Artsmagic site for more details and a trailer.

RING VIRUS - Tai Seng Video will release the 1999 Korean remake of THE RING on DVD in the US on August 16th. It will include Korean and Mandarin language audio with optional English or Chinese subtitles.

SABU - Artsmagic will be releasing Takashi Miike.s film on Jume 29th. The project was created to celebrate 40 anniversary of Nagoya television's existence and Miike was recruited to adapt this classic story by Shugoro Yamamoto (1903-1967), an important writer whose novels form the basis of Kurosawa's SANJURO, RED BEARD and DODES.KA-DEN as well as Okamoto's KILLl. Shot on 35mm film, a 90-minute version of SABU was presented by the TV station while the full 2-hour version gained a theatrical release and is now coming to R-1 DVD. Tom Mes comments in his book AGITATOR: THE CINEMA OF TAKASHI MIIKE that "Through its themes as well as its style, SABU, a period drama about the friendship between two boys that at first glance seems a dark horse in the director's oeuvre, reveals itself to be a characteristic Miike film". See the Artsmagic site for more details and a trailer.

GODZILLA FINAL BOX - According to the Toho-A-Park website, a DVD set called GODZILLA FINAL BOX will be released in July. The set will contain DVDs of all Godzilla films from GODZILLA (1954) through TOKYO SOS (2004), as well as the US version of GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS and two extra discs of specials.

GODZILLA X MOTHRA X MECHAGODZILLA: TOKYO SOS - GODZILLA X MOTHRA X MECHAGODZILLA: TOKYO SOS will be released on DVD in Japan on July 30 as a "Special Version". It will be a two-disc set and sell for a comparatively low price of 6,300. Extras include deleted scenes, a .Making Of. documentary, another on the recording of Michiru Oshima.s soundtrack, and a discussion with the Shobijin.

GODZILLA ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK - La-La Land Records, a company known for releasing orchestral soundtracks of mainstream movies (PUNISHER, for example) and a LONE WOLF AND CUB CD, has a soundtrack to the original 1954 GODZILLA in the works for a late July 2004 release. The disc will be released to commemorate the King of the Monsters' 50th Anniversary and for Rialto's re-release of the 1954 film in theaters across the United States. The CD will contain Akira Ifukube's orchestral soundtrack, sound effects, and a 16-page booklet featuring liner notes and production stills. The CD cover will feature exclusive artwork for this 50th Anniversary release. The CD will have a retail price of $15.98. Source: Toho Kingdom

GODZILLA BOXED SET - Also for fans' CD players, GODZILLA BOXED SET, a new special edition 6-cd boxset of the first 5 Godzilla film soundtracks (with KING KONG VS GODZILLA apparently being 2 CDs) will be released in Japan this July. Price will be 10,000. Source: Monster Zero

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