SciFi Japan


    First Look at New 3 Disc DVD Collection of THE H-MAN, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE, and MOTHRA Author: Keith Aiken Source: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Special Thanks to Kai Saari and Oki Miyano SPOILER WARNING: This article contains screen shots from several movies made half a century ago.

    On August 18, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION, a three-disc DVD set containing THE H-MAN (1958), BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959), and MOTHRA (1961). These three films were produced during what is known as the "Golden Age of Toho" by the same creative team responsible for GODZILLA (Gojira, 1954); producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, and director Ishiro Honda. Honda in particular seems to be the focus of this ICONS collection, with Sony`s advertising materials referring to him as "the Father of Japanese Sci-Fi Movies" and "the Father of GODZILLA". The TOHO COLLECTION has a suggested retail price of $24.96. THE H-MAN, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE, and MOTHRA were all released theatrically in the United States by Columbia Pictures between 1959 and 1962. The studio— now a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment— has maintained the US rights ever since, following up the theatrical runs with television syndication for all three movies. Beginning in the 1980s, Columbia also released both THE H-MAN and MOTHRA on home video. The new TOHO COLLECTION release marks the premiere of THE H-MAN and MOTHRA on Region 1 DVD, and the first time BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE will be commercially available on video in any format in the United States. Sony`s ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION presents both the Japanese and US versions for each film in their original Toho Scope 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The DVD set has its faults, but the pluses so far outweigh the minuses that most fans should be very pleased. Going over the negatives first, the packaging for this collection leaves something to be desired. Back in the 1950s-60s, both Toho and Columbia produced eye-catching and colorful promotional art for these three movies so it`s a shame the ICONS OF SCI-FI cover art is such an ugly, blurry, photoshopped mess. The DVDs are also stacked one on top of the other inside the amaray case, which is rather annoying. The disc menus are functional if not particularly interesting. The biggest flaw is the lack of any supplemental materials from the Toho and Columbia vaults... there are no trailers, TV spots, advertising art, still galleries, or behind the scenes footage for THE H-MAN, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE, or MOTHRA in this DVD collection. Lastly, the English subtitles on the Japanese version of BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE are actually "dubtitles", a transcript of the US dubbing rather than a true translation of the Japanese dialogue. But the ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION does a wonderful job with the presentation of the actual films. Beginning in 2007, Michael Friend, a professor at UCLA`s School of Theater, Film and Television who also works for Sony`s film restoration department, supervised the restoration of both the US and Japanese versions of all three films. The original US film elements from the Columbia vaults had suffered decades of wear and tear, so Friend ordered new interpositives of the Japanese versions from Toho and began an exhaustive process of restoring the movies through digital image and color correction, replacement of missing and damaged frames, audio cleanup, and so on. The Sony team also referred back to the original US prints and interpositives to make sure they maintained the theatrical edits rather than later variants done for television and VHS.

    Also welcome are separate sets of English subtitles for the Japanese and American versions of THE H-MAN and MOTHRA. The above photo provides examples of the differences between the versions of each film. The ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION does include audio commentaries for BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE and MOTHRA by authors and film historians (and SciFi Japan contributors) Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski. Since 2005, the pair have worked on commentaries and supplemental features for the British Film Institute DVDs of GODZILLA and THE MYSTERIANS as well as the US DVDs of seven early Godzilla movies from Classic Media. In 2007-2008, Godziszewski and Ryfle co-wrote and produced BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE: The Art of Japanese Special Effects, a Toho-authorized documentary included with Classic Media`s RODAN and WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS DVD set. The two are currently working with the family of Ishiro Honda on a official biography of the director. Ryfle and Godziszewski have created another pair of excellent commentaries packed with information about the making of the films, from development of the stories and screenplays, to casting, the making of the special effects, the direction and themes, and the Japanese and US releases. The BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE commentary (accessible with both versions of the movie) also includes comments from Michael Friend regarding the restoration and actress Elise Richter discussing her role in the film, while MOTHRA (playable with the US edit only) features additional comments from Friend, stars Hiroshi Koizumi and the late Jerry Ito, and bit actor Cliff Harrington (best known as the helicopter pilot who spots Godzilla emerging from an iceberg in KING KONG VS GODZILLA). Both commentaries also feature additional information from interviews with cast and crew members such the late actor Robert Dunham, Ed Keane (Mayor of New Kirk City), Yoshio Tsuchiya, Toho FX legend Yasuyuki Inoue, as well as family members of several people who worked on these films.



    THE H-MAN: Japanese Version (Bijo to Ekitai Ningen, 1958) Running time: 86 minutes Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles

    THE H-MAN: US Version (1959) Running time: 79 minutes Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles



    BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE: Japanese Version (Uchu Daisenso, 1959) Running time: 90 minutes Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski

    BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE: US Version (1960) Running time: 90 minutes Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (same audio track on Japanese version)



    MOTHRA: Japanese Version (Mosura, 1961) Running time: 101 minutes Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles

    MOTHRA: US Version (1962) Running time: 90 minutes Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 English Subtitles Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski

    About Toho

    Headquartered in Tokyo, Toho Company Ltd. is an independent film studio as well as one of Japan’s biggest entertainment conglomerates. The company is best known for producing many kaiju (monster) and tokusatsu (special effects) movies, as well as acclaimed films by Akira Kurosawa. The studio’s most famous international export is GODZILLA (1954), a film that created a worldwide sensation and is known as “King of the Monsters”. Toho has also been involved in the production of numerous anime titles and other films, and is currently the biggest motion picture distributor in Japan. Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, and Rodan are described as being Toho`s Big Five due to the monsters` numerous appearances in all three eras of the franchise, as well as spin-offs. * Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Rodan, the character designs and King of the Monsters are trademarks of Toho Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

    About Sony Picture Home Entertainment

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. SPE is a division of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE`s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 100 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at For more info on Blu-ray Disc, visit

    For more information on the ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:

    © 2024 Your Company. All Rights Reserved. Designed By JoomShaper