In 2003, Media Blasters, often under their Tokyo Shock label, released their first DVD of a Toho film. This was their Pyrokinesis DVD. It was followed up in 2004 with their Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle release. While the company seemed to be committed to newer releases, that changed in 2005. This was the year they released both classic Toho films, like The Mysterians (1957), alongside contemporary ones, like Dragonhead (2003). Since then Media Blasters had been on the radar for their Toho DVDs and Blu-rays. This article is a news roundup of those releases, tracking updates through their final release of a Toho film with Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) in 2014.
October 16th, 2011 update
Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters, the company behind many past Toho releases on DVD such as Frankenstein Conquers the World and Latitude Zero, will be making their first move with the company’s most iconic figure: Godzilla. The movies will be Destroy All Monsters (1968), as previously announced, and now Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) as well. In addition there will see six releases between the two films.
First up is the release of Destroy All Monsters on Blu-ray with a debut of October 25th, 2011 and is available for pre-order. The disc marks one of the few Blu-ray releases for the King of the Monsters in the US and the first time this particular movie will be released on the format. It also offers the very belated debut of the Japanese version of the 1968 movie on an American media format.
The DVD version of Destroy All Monsters, which has been delayed, is now positioned for a release of November 8th and is available for pre-order. Like the Blu-ray release, it also includes an audio commentary track by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski.
Although delayed, the DVD release will now be in good company as Tokyo Shock will be unleashing the CD soundtrack of the 1968 film on November 8th as well and is available for pre-order. The company has recently released the art, shown to the lower right, which features one of the posters for the movie with the title juxtaposed up top. Although not featured in the film, the CD title does rather creatively include two maser cannons in it.
While wrapping up the three releases for the 1968 film, Tokyo Shock also starts their first for Godzilla vs. Megalon that same day with the CD soundtrack release coming on November 8th. The disc is available for pre-order and, unlike the soundtrack for Destroy All Monsters, this marks the first time the entire score has seen a release outside of Japan.
On November 22nd, the long awaited official DVD debut of Godzilla vs. Megalon in the US occurs. The title has seen several illegal releases on the format in the country with rather horrible quality, such as Alpha Video’s 2001 release, but will finally get a licensed one in 2011. The item is available for pre-order now.
That same day, the company is outfitting for a simultaneous release on Blu-ray of the title. The cover design, seen to the right, will be similar to its DVD offering where it highlights the Jet Jaguar character who will be flanked by Megalon and Godzilla. The Blu-ray is currently available for pre-order as well.
In terms of pricing, the DVDs will retail for $19.98, the CD soundtracks for $14.71, and finally the Blu-rays for $29.98.
August 19th, 2011 update
Below is a press release from Media Blasters, announcing the DVD and Blu-ray release of the ninth Godzilla movie in the United States. This won’t be the first time this particular movie hits DVD, but will be the first Godzilla title from Media Blasters:
Media Blasters Inc. and their Tokyo Shock label are proud to announce the exciting extras and supplementary materials for the upcoming DESTROY ALL MONSTERS DVD and Blu-ray. Media Blasters have enlisted the renowned Godzilla scholars Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski to supervise and create the definitive release for the most beloved of all rubber-suit monster movies ever made.
Destroy All Monsters (怪獣総進撃, Kaiju Soshingeki, 1968) is universally considered a strong fan favorite of the entire Godzilla series! It’s an all-star monster rally of epic proportions featuring Toho’s greatest and wildest mammoth monsters in the ultimate, all-out rubber suit rumble! See Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, Minilla, Kumonga, Baragon, Gorosaurus, Manda and Varan in all their titanic glory! The film was directed by the famed Ishiro Honda, director of the original 1954 film and the last entry to feature the dream team of special effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya, music composer Akira Ifukube and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka.
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS includes an audio commentary track by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, co-authors of a forthcoming biography and film study of director Ishiro Honda, to be published by Wesleyan University Press. The commentary includes behind-the-scenes production information about this sci-fi classic, as well as special guest appearances by people who were involved the production. Steve and Ed are also constructing the ultimate image galleries loaded with stills, lobby cards, press books, poster art, trailers, radio spots, production art and vintage merchandise pertaining to the film.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray will feature the original Japanese language track as well as a choice of two English dubs. There will be more extras announced soon and many unannounced surprises! DESTROY ALL MONSTERS is on target to pulverize online and brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere on the North American continent on October 25th.
In addition, Media Blasters will release a CD of Akira Ifukube’s DESTROY ALL MONSTERS classic music score on November 8th.
“DESTROY ALL MONSTERS represents a high water mark in the Godzilla series for its sheer spectacle… It’s Godzilla movie heaven.” – stomptokyo.com
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS
DVD: TSDVD-1122/SRP: $19.98
BLU RAY: TSBD-1122/SRP: $29.98
Street Date: October 25, 2011
Street Date: November 8, 2011
September 25th, 2007 update
Media Blasters has released further details about three more Toho titles from the firm set to hit the US by the end of the year. The DVDs include the two disc set for Ishiro Honda‘s Latitude Zero (1969) and the follow ups to the firm’s Rica release: Rica: Lonely Wanderer and Rica: Juvenile’s Lullaby, both produced by Office 203 and the Modern Movie Association and distributed in Japan by Toho.
Their official word on the pending releases is as follows:
Rica 2: Lonely Wanderer (1973)
Release Date: 10/30/2007
Rica (Rika Aoki) is back to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. And it’s not long before Rica is immersed in intrigue! Several people come to Rica for help, all of whom seem to be connected to a boat that mysteriously blew up. When everyone associated with the boat starts turning up dead, it’s up to Rica to get to the bottom of it. Using her body, her karate skills and a detective also on the case, Rica uncovers a plot involving death, drugs and destruction that will pit rival gangs against each other in a violent rumble to the finish!
Latitude Zero (1969)
Release Date: 12/11/2007
Extras (Disc 1):
International English-Language Version (approx 105 minutes)
English Mono and English 5.1 Audio options
Special Announcement Trailer
Extras (Disc 2):
Japanese Version (appox 89 minutes)
Japanese Mono Audio
Deleted Scenes / Outtakes
* Seiji Tani (Assistant Director)
* Teruyoshi Nakano (Assistant Director of Special Effects team)
* Koichi Kawakita (Optic Cinematography Team)
* Mototaka Tomioka (Special Effects Team)
RICA 3: Juvenile’s Lullaby (1973)
Release Date: 12/18/2007
Reform schools are a way of protecting society by ridding it of lawless juvenile delinquents. But who’s protecting the juvenile delinquents from corrupt reform schools? Rica (Rika Aoki) could be considered a bit of an expert on reform schools, having spent most of her early life in and out of them. When Rica is dragged back once again, she gets a severe beating and is finally sent off to a mental hospital with the intention of selling her and her pals into a slave trade. Rica’s friend Jun is taken by a trader to a mountain cottage where she’s pegged for the lead in his clandestine porno film operation. Once again, it’s up to tough-as-nails Rica to bust up this corrupt racket once and for all!
Media Blasters has officially announced the pending release of the Rica trilogy of films to region 1 DVD. Unlike other Toho DVDs from the firm, such as Space Amoeba and Matango, these titles will not be distributed under their Tokyo Shock label but instead be released as part of their “Exploitation Digital” line. The first under the label will be Rica (1972).
The trilogy, produced by Office 203 and the Modern Movie Association, were distributed in Japan by Toho in the early 1970’s. The initial movie, titled Half-Blood Rica and Rica internationally, was directed by Ko Nakahira and released on November 26th, 1972, in Japan. Nakahira would return to direct the sequel, Rica: Lonely Wanderer, which would be released five months later on April 7th, 1973. For the final film in the trilogy, titled Rica: Juvenile’s Lullaby, the director’s responsibilities would be passed on to Kozaburo Yoshimura, who managed to finish the movie for a June 23rd release that same year.
Their official word on the pending release is as follows:
Exploitation Digital’s First Japanese Film!
Japanese Mono with English Subtitles
Release Date: 8/14/2007
Half-breed Rica was born under a very bad sign. Her mother was raped by American GIs and Rica was the result. Rica herself was raped by one of her mother’s johns at an early age. Scarred for life from Day One, Rica was practically raised with a knife in her hand and hate in her heart for all men! Soon Rica is mixed up in a world of trouble, running with gangs, scrapping with hoodlums and excelling in the ways of the underworld. But no matter how many times she ends up in jail or gets manhandled by thugs, nothing can stand in the way of her ultimate goal: Revenge!
Made in 1972 at the height of “pinky violence” fever in Japan, RICA (originally known as KONKETSUJI RIKA) was given a brief theatrical run in the U.S. by Toho before fading into obscurity. Exploitation Digital is proud to bring this forgotten sleazy classic to DVD for the first time ever!
Trailers for the RICA Trilogy
*RICA: LONELY WANDERER
*RICA: JUVENILE’S LULLABY”
April 13th, 2007 update
Media Blasters has released their final specifications for the upcoming region 1 release of Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), which is being distributed under their Tokyo Shock label as a two disc set. The release, which is titled after the US name for the production, will feature three versions in total that include: the US cut, the Japanese cut and the “International” cut, which appears to be the Japanese version with the Giant Octopus ending. The DVD will be released on June 26th, 2007.
Their official word on the specs, complete with an amusing introduction, is as follows:
“The construction of one of the summer’s most anticipated DVDs is now complete. We crammed this two-disc special edition of FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD with three complete versions of the film and other assorted goodies — it’s practically pregnant with entertainment! Let’s have a look, shall we?
FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD “English Language Version” (84:47)
English Mono / English 5.1
2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Special Announcement (40 seconds)
Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes)
Extra International Footage (alternate octopus ending)
Deleted Scenes (approx 5 minutes)
Photo Gallery (approx 150 images)
FRANKENSTEIN VS. BARAGON “International Version” (93:04)*
FRANKENSTEIN VS. BARAGON “Japanese Theatrical Version” (89:53)
2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Mono / Japanese 5.1 / English Subtitles
Audio Commentary with Sadamasa Arikawa (Director of Special Effects Photography) with English Subtitles
Trailers for ATRAGON, DOGORA, MYSTERIANS, MATANGO
*The FRANKENSTEIN VS. BARAGON “International Version” is the same film as the “Japanese Theatrical Version” except that it includes the alternate octopus ending included as an extra on DISC ONE. The Sadamasa Arikawa commentary appears over this version of the film.”
Looking to reminisce on the Toho DVDs and Blu-rays from Media Blasters? Feel free to leave a comment.