SciFi Japan

    MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS Interview With Director Minoru Kawasaki

    The sea monsters Ikara, Takkora and Kanira from MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS, the new daikaiju film from Minoru Kawasaki. Photo courtesy of Avery Guerra. ©2020 Monster Seafood Wars Production Committee

    Author: Benjamin Chaffins
    Official Site: sandaikaijyu.pal-ep.com (Japan)
    Special Thanks to Avery Guerra

    Filmmaker Minoru Kawasaki. Photo courtesy of Minoru Kawasaki.

    Minoru Kawasaki is an independent filmmaker who has gained an international following for his cult movies such as THE CALAMARI WRESTLER (いかレスラー, Ika Resurā, 2004), THE WORLD SINKS EXCEPT JAPAN (日本以外全部沈没, Nihon Igai Zenbu Chinbotsu, 2006), CRAB GOALKEEPER (かにゴールキーパー, Kani Gōrukīpā, 2006), MONSTER X STRIKES BACK/ ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT! (ギララの逆襲/洞爺湖サミット危機一発, Girara no Gyakushū / Tōyako Samitto Kiki Ippatsu, 2008), EARTH DEFENSE WIDOW (地球防衛未亡人, Chikyū Bōei Mibōjin, 2014) and KAIJU MONO (大怪獣モノ, Daikaijū Mono, 2016). He specializes in comedic movies, often featuring monsters and anthropomorphized animals, that use traditional Japanese effects techniques involving performers in full body suits.

    His latest project is MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS (三大怪獣グルメ San Daikaijū Gurume), a new tokusatsu film that is set for a limited theatrical run in Japan over the next few months. Thanks to Avery Guerra, the film’s international publicist, I was hooked up with the director to learn more about this project…

    Benjamin Chaffins (ベンジャミン・チャッフインズ): What made you decide to become a film director? (映画監督になろうと思ったきっかけは何ですか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): An 8mm monster movie that I made when I was a college student was very popular, and it was fun making a movie. Next, I made a copy work of ULTRASEVEN and an original science fiction work called ESPALASER, which was shown for the first time in a professional movie theater, then became a TV and movie director after working on commercials. (大学生の時作った8ミリ怪獣映画が好評で、映画作りの面白さにはまったことです。続けて「ウルトラセブン」のコピー作品、「エスパレイザー」というオリジナルSF作品を製作し、初めてプロの映画館で上映し、コマーシャルの世界を経てテレビ監督、映画監督となりました.)

    Ben (ベン): What was your inspiration? (インスピレーションは何でしたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): It is 1960s Japanese television and movies. On TV, EIGHTMAN, KITARO, ULTRAMAN, STAR OF THE GIANTS; movies: the “Godzilla” series, the “Young Guy” series, the “Crazy Cats” series, etc. (日本の1960年代のテレビ映画です。テレビ「エイトマン」「オバケのQ太郎」「ウルトラマン」「巨人の星」映画 「ゴジラ」シリーズ、「若大将」シリーズ、「クレージーキャッツ」シリーズなどなど.)

    Ben (ベン): Did you always want to apply comedy to monster movies? (お笑いはいつも怪獣映画に適用したいものでしたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): I think that monster movies are basically based on comedy elements other than fear. Like KING KONG VS. GODZILLA became a masterpiece with comedy elements. I love it. (怪獣映画は恐怖以外にお笑いの要素が基本だと思います。「キングコング対ゴジラ」がコメディ要素で傑作となったように。わたしは大好きです.)

    Ben (ベン): What is MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS? (モンスターシーフードウォーズとは何ですか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): It’s a movie that hatched in the origins of my movie life. (わたしの映画人生の原点にかえった映画です.)

    The motivation for this production was based on the 8mm monster movie I made when I was a university student. The title [for that student film] is FUT; the tofu, meat, and green onion ingredients for sukiyaki were dropped into the Sumida River and turned into giant monsters, and they are destroyed on a baseball field. [MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS] is a modern version of that. (このほかの製作の動機は、わたしが大学生の時に初めて作った8ミリ怪獣映画が原点です。「フウト」というタイトルで、隅田川に落とした「スキ焼き」の具のトウフ・肉・ネギが巨大怪獣化し、野球場ですき焼きになり倒されるという内容です。これを現代に焼き直したものです。

    Also, during a chat with my teacher, Ultraman director Akio Jissoji, while he was shooting the TV series ULTRAMAN DYNA, there was also an idea in my mind that the defense members would defeat the monsters that appeared from the stars of the universe, but then they would eat them because they had no food. I also had a plan to use this idea. This is a movie in tribute to director Jissoji. また、私の師匠の「ウルトラマン」の監督、実相寺昭雄監督が、テレビ「ウルトラマンダイナ」を撮影しているときの雑談で、宇宙の星に現れた怪獣を防衛隊員が倒すが、食料がないので食べる、というプロットも頭にありました。これは実相寺監督への追悼の想いも込めた映画なのです.)

    Can the defense force kill the monsters? And, if so, will they eat them? Photo courtesy of Avery Guerra. ©2020 Monster Seafood Wars Production Committee

    Ben (ベン): How long did it take to write the script for MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS? (モンスターシーフードウォーズの脚本を書くのにどれくらい時間がかかりましたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): It’s took about 6 months. (半年くらいてせす.)

    Ben (ベン): Who directed the film’s special effects? (誰が映画の特殊効果を監督しましたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): Me, I am the director of the special effects. (わたし、河崎実が特撮監督です.)

    Ben (ベン): MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS uses suits and miniatures, right? (モンスターシーフードウォーズはスーツやミニチュアセットを使用していますよね?)

    MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS promo art. ©2020 Monster Seafood Wars Production Committee

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): Of course, I shot with monster suits unique to Japan (kigurumi) and a miniature set. (もちろん日本独特のモンスタースーツ(きぐるみ)とミニチュアセットで撮影しました.)

    Ben (ベン): How much was the budget for this movie? (この映画の予算はいくらでしたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): It was about 20 million yen [approximately $187,000 US]. (約2000万円です.)

    Ben (ベン): Finally, what was the biggest inspiration for you to make the movie? (最後に、あなたが映画を作る最大のインスピレーションは何でしたか?)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): Instead of just thinking about it, I try to find the essence of what is most interesting. I think that what can be realized is an invisible force that has come down to me. (ただ考えるのでなく心から面白いと思うものを突き詰める。実現するものは目に見えない、自分にない力が下りてきたものだと思います.)

    I think my movie was made thanks to the the wonderful cast and staff. It is mainly the great people of Japanese special effects television and special effects movies. (多くの素晴らしいキャスト、スタッフのおかげでわたしの映画はできていると思います。それは主に日本の特撮テレビ・特撮映画の偉人たちです.)

    Ben (ベン): Thank you for this interview. (このインタビューをありがとうございます.)

    Minoru Kawasaki (河崎実): Thank you very much. (ありがとうございます.)


    For more information on MONSTER SEAFOOD WARS, please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:


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