In April 2020, when covid-19 was shutting down conventions across the United States, I was asked to join a team of people organizing a rather exciting project. Led by genre historian Steve Ryfle, we undertook the task of putting together a free online convention dedicated to informative discussion on kaiju eiga. The result was Kaiju Masterclass, broadcast to YouTube on October 2-4, 2020, featuring a number of info-heavy panels as well as original interviews with directors (Shusuke Kaneko, Shinji Higuchi), composers (Michiru Oshima, David Arnold, Bear McCreary), suit maker Shinichi Wakasa, and more! The event remains something I’m extremely proud to have been a part of; and now it is my sincere pleasure to announce that a follow-up, Kaiju Masterclass II, is around the corner!
Like its predecessor, Kaiju Masterclass II—to be held November 5-7, 2021—will be free to watch via the convention’s YouTube channel. We’ve expanded our organizational team by four people (genre historian Ed Godziszewski; his wife Mariko; translator Amanda Whalen; and Matt Burkett, creator of the popular YouTube channel MONSTROSITIES: A Vlog of Tokusatsu) and assembled a list of guests that include writer/director Kazuki Omori, Millennium Godzilla suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa, sculptor Fuyuki Shinada, illustrator William Stout (one of the personnel behind Steve Miner’s unmade Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3-D), and Latitude Zero (1969) cast member Linda Haynes.
The event will also feature interviews/presentations with people who’ve written about the genre and about the Japanese film industry: authors Jasper Sharp, Mike Bogue, Kevin Derendorf, and John LeMay; Japan Times film critic Mark Schilling; and Norman England, who covered the makings of Gamera: Revenge of Iris (1999) and the Millennium Godzilla films for Fangoria—and who is now publishing a book about his set experiences, Behind the Kaiju Curtain: A Journey onto Japan’s Biggest Film Sets, to come out from Awai Books this November!
A complete list of guests and contributors is available on the convention’s website, and a schedule is forthcoming. However, there is one last marquee guest I’d like to mention….
It is with great excitement that Kaiju Masterclass II announces a forthcoming interview with none other than Reijiro Koroku, composer of 1984’s The Return of Godzilla! Koroku’s score for the ’84 film is often cited as one of the finest in the series; and as best as our research can tell, he’s never talked about the score with an English language platform. So we are incredibly honored to have him for Kaiju Masterclass year—and hope you’ll join us in learning about the time he wrote the music for Godzilla’s 30th anniversary comeback!
Be sure to check out Kaiju Masterclass’s website and to follow the convention on social media for updates.