Interviews

  • In 2019 Playmates Toys ventured into releasing Godzilla figures. Initially launching with 12 inch figures, with later ones closer to 11 inches, the company also branched out into a six inch line. Their releases have included those from classic films, such as the Showa and Heisei eras of the Godzilla franchise, to an extensive line around the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong movie. To get more information on past and upcoming figures from the company, we sat down for an interview with John Stelzner, Vice President of Marketing at Playmates Toys.

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    Interviews // November 13, 2020
  • In celebration of the recent Gamera: The Complete Collection box set on Blu-ray, contributor Jeremy Williams interviews James Flower. A producer at Arrow Films and project manager on the Gamera collection. Arrow has released a number of Toho films in the last decade, including The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, Dark Water, Pulse, the One Missed Call Trilogy and the Ringu Collection, one of Flower’s favorite Arrow Video titles from last year. (more…)

    Interviews // August 22, 2020
  • For this Toho Kingdom interview, I am speaking with Reiko Yamada, principal keyboardist of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Miss Yamada was a piano major at the Tokyo College of Music in the 1980sat a time when famed composer Akira Ifukube served as president of the school. She attended four years of his composition seminars and came to know him very well through the last few decades of his life. She has performed Ifukube’s music in concerts both in Japan and in the United States—most notably his classical piece Ritmica Ostinata for Piano and Orchestra. We will be talking about all of this and more in the course of this interview.

     

    Patrick Galvan: In starting this interview, I would like to ask about your background.  When did you first become interested in music? Did you have family members who were professional musicians?

    Reiko Yamada: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old. My father was a traditional folk song (minyō) singer when he was young.

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    Interviews // July 5, 2020
  • For this Toho Kingdom interview, I am speaking with Norman England, the director of the documentary Bringing Godzilla Down to Size and a writer/photographer with twenty-two years’ experience working on Japanese film sets. He reported on a number of kaiju movies for Fangoria magazine in the late ‘90s/early 2000s, many of his articles documenting set visits—including several for Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999). His time on this particular film will be the main subject of our conversation today.

    Norman’s Fangoria articles on Kaneko’s Gamera trilogy will be reprinted in the upcoming Gamera Blu-ray collection by Arrow Video, so now is an ideal time to delve into what he saw on the Gamera 3 set and learn more about the production. We will also be discussing a science fiction film Norman himself directed, called The iDol (co-starring an actor from Gamera 3), available for preorder from SRS Cinema, LLC.

     

    Patrick Galvan: In starting off, please tell us about the first time you met Shusuke Kaneko, and how you got onto the set of his third Gamera film.

    Norman England: I met Kaneko in December 1997, when I interviewed him for Fangoria. At the time, he was at Nikkatsu, in the midst of post-production on F, a film he shot in-between Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999). To be honest, the interview didn’t start out particularly well. For example, when I asked why he became a director, he said something to the effect of: “I like movies.” The interview wouldn’t turn out very good if we kept this up. I’d learned beforehand that Kaneko had gone to school to be a teacher—his backup plan in case he couldn’t get a job in movies—so I changed tactics and asked him about the history of filmmaking in Japan. That got him out of his shell, and we ended up talking for hours.

    Fangoria really liked the Kaneko piece. They also really liked my second article, in which I spoke with Haruo Nakajima and Kenpachiro Satsuma. Since I’d now interviewed people who’d worked in kaiju films, the next thing Fangoria wanted was for me to get onto the set of a kaiju film. And because I had a healthy relationship with Kaneko and I knew a Daiei public relations man from the first interview, I was able to visit the production of Gamera 3 in summer 1998.

     

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    Interviews // June 13, 2020
  • This past May saw the release of the comic book Godzilla: Aftershock by Legendary comics. This publication is a prequel of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), picking the story up shortly after the events of Godzilla (2014). Below is a short exclusive interview with the comic’s artist, Drew Johnson, on his work. He has also provided exclusive sketches as well.

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    Interviews // November 16, 2019
  • An exclusive video interview with N.E.C.A. (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) Toys Production Manager Stefan Folkins. We talk about their Godzilla line and future plans as well for the King of the Monsters. The interview was conducted July 19th, 2019, at San Diego Comic-Con. (more…)

    Interviews // July 21, 2019
  • A few months ago I had the great honor of interviewing costume-design legend Keizo Murase in the actual studio at which many of the classic Toho monsters were created. We had an amazing two-hour conversation ranging over kaiju history and covering dozens of stories, and I am looking forward to getting the video translated and posted for fans in the West to enjoy. Chris Mirjanhangir set up the interview in conjunction with Daisuke Sato, who was also the mastermind behind Howl from Beyond the Fog, a Kickstarter-funded tokusatsu short film set in ancient Japan and featuring a cast of puppets—and a film which will soon premiere at G-Fest! After interviewing Mr. Murase, I got to talking with Mr. Sato (who we also interviewed here on TK in the past), and he casually mentioned that he was the one who assembled the Godzilla costume in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), which was designed by Shinichi Wakasa. I was flabbergasted and asked if it would be possible to interview Mr. Sato personally as well, and he graciously agreed. That interview took place on June 22, 2019. (more…)

    Interviews // July 12, 2019
  • An interview with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019) actor Justice Smith, who played Tim Goodman in the film. Smith previously appeared in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Every Day. The interview was conducted by phone on May 3rd, 2019, and transcribed by Jeremy Williams.

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    Interviews // June 28, 2019
  • An interview with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019) director Rob Letterman, who previously worked on Goosebumps and Monsters vs. Aliens. We talk about the film and his past experience with the long running Pokémon franchise. This interview was conducted by phone on May 3rd, 2019, and transcribed by Jeremy Williams.

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    Interviews // June 23, 2019
  • An interview conducted by Toho Kingdom staff with Japanese artist Shinji Nishikawa, known for his work on the Godzilla series from the late ’80s into the early 2000s. The interview took place through e-mail beginning January 11th, 2018 and concluded later that year in November. A majority of the questions are one-offs, with the theme of the interview initially being about “lost projects,” though some of Nishikawa’s other works outside of Toho are briefly discussed as well. Translations by Noah Oskow and Joshua Sudomerski, and special thanks to Matt Frank for helping get this interview together!

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    Interviews // June 2, 2019