SciFi Japan
    Dinosaurs, Dragons, & Drama—The Odyssey of a Trickfilmmaker—Volume One —An Illustrated Memoir by Jim Danforth. Author: Loren Portillo Special Thanks to: Ernest Farino Official Website: Archive Editions One of the most anticipated Book/CD on stop motion animation, and the incredible career of special effects genius Jim Danforth, will finally be made available to the public this month, on November 13th. To stop motion fans the world over, this memoir (Vol 1) will cover Jim`s career from his humble beginnings as young artistic teenager, to his work with Art Clokey on the famed GUMBY series. This book also will cover Jim`s early film work such as JACK THE GIANT KILLER and end with his work on WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH. Lavishly produced, the book has an incredible array of never before published photographs from Jim`s personal collection. This is a must have for all stop motion aficionados,

    Clawmark Does Wonderfest Author: Tom Dougherty, Clawmark Toys WONDERFEST! The name says it all! I have had the good fortune to experience many Japanese Toy and Model shows in both Osaka and Tokyo over the years, but nothing quite compares to Wonderfest. An enormous event like Wonderfest is of course held in the enormous complex called Makhuhari Messe. I only had to ride a train for about two and a half hours through Tokyo and past Disneyland to arrive at the station and begin the walk. After another 15 minutes worth of walking with the rest of the expectant masses I was finally in line to get my ticket. The ticket cost a mere Yen 2,000 or a mere $24.00 at today’s exchange rate. The ticket is actually a booklet about the size of a small town phone book. The booklet is in Japanese… presenting a bit

    Cult Favorite Rankin/Bass-Tsuburaya Co-production Available March 22nd Author: Keith Aiken Source: Warner Archive Collection Special Thanks to Gabriel Vicuna and Ed Godziszewski “It eats meat! Us!!” It is a Tyrannosaurus, ruler of a lost world hidden within a dormant polar volcano. Us are members of expedition led by a big game hunter and überzillionaire (Richard Boone). And eats – well, you get the idea, tyrant lizard fans! Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass, who charmed families with THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS and more animated and stop-motion holiday heartwarmers, relied on dinomight for THE LAST DINOSAUR, the sort of thrill-a-minute popcorn-seller that gives bad movies a good name. Join the adventurers as they encounter a perilous array of prehistoric beasts, a tribe of savage cavemen and a T. rex who, despite its less-than-special effect appearance, can kick some serious Triceratops butt. -synopsis courtesy

    Source: MediaLab, BAM! Marketing, Publicity & Promotions Special Thanks to Erik Jansen and Chase Wang SciFi Japan has been receiving press releases and statements from companies and organizations regarding the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. We`re presenting this information for anyone who would like to contribute to relief efforts, and also direct our readers to the banner links posted here at screen right. Official Statement from VIZ Media Regarding the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan The terrible events in Japan affects us all at VIZ Media directly, personally and professionally. Our hearts go out to those affected by the tragedy and the ongoing crisis, and we hope for a quick recovery. We know the people of Japan will persevere & prevail. Sincere thanks to all those who have inquired about our parent companies, Shogakukan, Shueisha

    Relief efforts to aid the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami are now underway. If you`re looking to help with a donation but want to be sure your money will be going to those in need, we suggest the following organizations which come highly recommended by our contacts in Japan and the United States... The American Red Cross is a top emergency response organization with 130 years` experience aiding victims of devastating natural disasters around the world. Donations supporting their efforts for those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific can be made at the American Red Cross website. A $10 donation can also be easily done via cell phone by texting `redcross` to 90999. Our friends at Japan Society have created a Japan Earthquake Relief Fund in partnership with several Japanese and American non-profits working on the frontlines of disaster relief and recovery. 100%

    Hello all, As a movie and TV news site, SciFi Japan has generally avoided covering real world events. But yesterday`s massive earthquake and tsunami (and the resulting aftershocks) in Northern Japan really hit home for us. We`ve spent much of the past several hours calling, emailing, and checking Facebook to make sure that friends, family, and associates in Japan are alright, and we feel extremely fortunate that all of them appear to be okay. On a larger scale, there has been massive destruction and hundreds of lives lost. Our thoughts, prayers, and hopes go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. Chris MaGee of the website Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow has suggested that Japanese film sites and blogs should work together to provide information and links to reputable aid organizations who will be doing work in Miyagi Prefecture and other affected areas in Japan. We think this is a wonderful idea

    An Interview with Producer/Director Tom Wyrsch Author: Bob Johnson Official Website: Garfield Lane Productions All Pictures courtesy of Tom Wyrsch. People growing up across the country have their own local nostalgia that stays with them a lifetime, embedded in their memories along with other old friends and experiences. Horror hosts, amusement parks, local attractions… some areas are or were overflowing with them, each a unique brand representing the cities and towns they originated from. Most lie only in people’s memories. Long gone, torn down. Making way for more modern attractions like strip malls and business parks. In the San Francisco Bay Area we had a rich history of parks, attractions and our fair share of horror hosts. However, far from distant memories, they are being kept alive and well documented by local fan turned producer/director Tom Wyrsch. His latest film BACK TO SPACE-CON is a look

    Authors: Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson Today is SciFi Japan`s fifth birthday, and we`d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the site over the past five years. We launched SFJ with a very specific intent in mind. As anyone who has written a book or article, published a magazine or fanzine, or run a website about Asian FX productions can likely attest, getting quality photos and accurate information on these films and shows can be extremely difficult. Due in part to the often dismissive and condescending attitude of the mainstream press in the west, coupled with those overzealous fan groups whose passion sometimes overwhelms their common sense, the studios in Japan and other countries have often been reluctant to deal with the foreign media. The team behind SciFi Japan is made up of published authors, reporters who have written for major news

    Interview with Tetsuya Shima Author Bob Johnson Websites: Tetsuya Shima on YouTube and Tetsuya Shima`s Facebook Page. From all appearances, Tetsuya Shima appears to be a normal Japanese college student, growing up in Japan. He spends his time swimming, watching movies, surfing the Internet and playing musical instruments. But, it is the musical instruments that make him unique. As Tetsuya puts it, “I have absolute pitch or perfect pitch, which helps me to make sheets by ear.” These sheets include a myriad of piano interpretations of Japanese superhero theme songs. While scanning through YouTube one day, I came across a video of a piano keyboard. The person playing was not visible, aside from arms and knees, but the playing was unique and the interpretation of the themesong from KIKAIDA kept me watching and then had me searching for more. After contacting Tetsuya, I decided his story

    THE WOLFMAN Production Notes Source: Universal Studios Official Movie Site: thewolfmanmovie.com Production Information “Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright…” —Gypsy legend In the 1930s and ’40s, Universal Pictures released a series of horror films that created a new genre of entertainment for audiences: the monster movie. By transforming themselves into such iconography as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, The Mummy and The Invisible Man, legendary performers including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Claude Rains committed to celluloid nightmares previously only available to the imagination of readers. One of the most haunting of these creations has been with us since Lon Chaney, Jr. introduced him in 1941. A lone man forced to give in to the most primal side of his spirit haunted moviegoers who breathlessly

    A SciFi JAPAN EXCLUSIVE SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 12 Author: Tim Eldred, Starblazers.com and Greasemonkeybook.com SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 1: The Anime Classic That Nearly Wasn`t SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 2: From Valley to Peak SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 3: ARRIVEDERCI YAMATO Goodbye Dark Ages, Hello Global Village SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 4: We`re Off to Outer Space SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 5: THE NEW VOYAGES Plural SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 6: BE FOREVER YAMATO...and the Kitchen Sink. SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 7: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO III: The Ground Shifts SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 8: FINAL YAMATO: The Legacy Begins SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 9: Dessler`s War and More: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO IN THE 80s SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 10: The Rollercoaster: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO in the 90s SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 11: The Leiji Matsumoto Renaissance, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO in the 21st Century If you

    SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 11 Author: Tim Eldred, Starblazers.com and Greasemonkeybook.com SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 1: The Anime Classic That Nearly Wasn`t SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 2: From Valley to Peak SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 3: ARRIVEDERCI YAMATO Goodbye Dark Ages, Hello Global Village SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 4: We`re Off to Outer Space SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 5: THE NEW VOYAGES Plural SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 6: BE FOREVER YAMATO...and the Kitchen Sink. SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 7: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO III: The Ground Shifts SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 8: FINAL YAMATO: The Legacy Begins SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 9: Dessler`s War and More: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO IN THE 80s SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 10: The Rollercoaster: SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO in the 90s When we last left our heroes, YAMATO was in need of rescuing (again). The ship’s captain (Exec Producer Yoshinobu

    An Interview With Actor William O`Leary Author: Bob Johnson Special Thanks to Steve Wang Official Website: Kamen Rider Dragon Knight CW 4Kids-TV Kamen Rider Dragon Knight A superhero television series is only as good as the villain they have to confront. For KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT, the producers turned to a veteran television and movie actor who they felt could carry the series as a villain that would appear from the very first to very last episode. William O`Leary spoke with SciFi Japan as we looked into just what makes a good villain bad and what it is like to go through the hectic and manic schedule of an independently produced television series. SciFi Japan - Tell us about your background growing up? What got you into acting? William O’Leary - My dad walked out when I was 4 and didn’t come back for 5 years. My

    Author: Sean Kotz Official Website: Virginia Creepers Movie Like most Americans, my first exposure to Japanese science fiction was on television back in the day when local TV was an integral part of most people’s lives, primarily through my local TV horror hosts. It was those shows that gave me my love for films in general and horror and sci-fi in particular. In December of 2005, I began making documentaries with a friend of mine, Chris Valluzzo, producing films for niche audiences like HOKIE NATION, a film about Virginia Tech’s football fans, and WHY OLD TIME?, a movie about traditional Appalachian music culture. At Chesapeake’s Monster Fest in 2007, I had the privilege of moderating a panel comprised of several Virginia TV horror hosts, past and present. This was a very funny, very talented group of people... some of whom were still playing their characters after

    Old Meets New as San Francisco`s Japantown Gets a Fresh Look for the 21st Century Author: Loren Portillo Source: VIZ Media Official Site: NewPeopleWorld.com With San Francisco`s Japantown passing it`s 100th year milestone in 2006, many have been complaining that the area is falling into disrepair and not up to date with modern times. I remember as a kid in the 1970`s pestering my Dad in taking me down to Japantown in a quest for anything Godzilla related. The small J-town mall and Kinokuniya bookstore still remain and are frozen in time, the same way they were back then. I guess that is nostalgic for some, but for the young mallrats and the iPod generation it is considered prehistoric and in desperate need of a makeover. That makeover has arrived with the new VIZ Cinema located at the recently opened ``NEW PEOPLE`` building

    SFJ Articles Featured in Inaugural Lineup of New CNN Website Official Site: CNNGo Special Thanks to W. David Marx and Andrew Demaria This past September 28th saw the premiere of CNNGo.com, a new lifestyle and travel site from CNN. CNNGo has launched with an Asia regional site and six city sites (Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Mumbai), giving visitors an insider`s look at the Far East. W. David Marx, CNNGo`s Tokyo City Editor, invited SciFi Japan to be part of the site`s Local Blog Buzz, a section where CNN will "be pointing to the very best blogs we think locals and travelers should know about." We`re honored to be featured alongside a number of excellent websites (including favorites like Anime News Network, Jason Gray, AltJapan, and An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla) and we look forward to welcoming new readers who learn of

    Japanese Animator Hayao Miyazaki to Receive the 2009 Berkeley Japan Prize Source: Institute of East Asian Studies press release Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California has been showcasing the stunning artistry, soaring imagination, and social conscience of internationally acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki in four special screenings, presented in collaboration with the Center for Japanese Studies at UC Berkeley. The screenings have been going on throughout the month of July and culminate in a rare in-person appearance by Miyazaki himself. The Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley is proud to award internationally acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki with the 2009 Berkeley Japan Prize, which honors individuals from all disciplines and professions who have, over a lifetime influenced the world`s understanding of Japan. In conjunction with his in-person acceptance of the award, Hayao Miyazaki will be honored

    Nishizaki Gives Fans the End (?) of Yamato! Author: Tim Eldred, Starblazers.com and Greasemonkeybook.com SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 1: The Anime Classic That Nearly Wasn`t SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 2: From Valley to Peak When we last left our heroes, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO had gone through an honest-to-gosh Cinderella story. From the depths of obscure early-70s TV animation, the great ship rose again to blindside all of Japan and turn into the biggest thing to happen to anime since… anime began. The movie scored boffo box office, the tone was set for a future of prodigious commerce, and the door was wide open for a sequel. Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki had, in fact, already expressed an interest in making one a month before the YAMATO movie premiered. In the July 1977 issue of OUT magazine, he toyed with the notion of a movie that

    The YAMATO Boom Begins! Author: Tim Eldred, Starblazers.com and Greasemonkeybook.com SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, Part 1: The Anime Classic That Nearly Wasn`t From the privileged vantage point of time and distance, it’s easy for us in the Western world to forget what an enormous struggle it is to make a successful anime series in Japan. The stuff just seems to gush out in an endless flood, the only limit being the size of the pipe it flows through. But hidden in that flood are many near-death experiences. Programs that we recognize as monster hits today--YAMATO, GUNDAM, EVANGELION and more--all narrowly avoided fatal blows. Ratings failed to spike, network support evaporated, and only by sheer blind luck did later circumstances come to the rescue. The onscreen story of SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO is loaded with drama, action, and sacrifice. The offscreen story, as it turns out, is exactly the

    NTV and Toho Score with Second Part of Their Sci-Fi Trilogy Author: Elliot Gay Source: NTV (Nippon Television Network) Official Movie Site: 20th Boys Special Thanks to Asuka Kimura, Tzeling Huang, and JM Shop Picking up where the first film dramatically left off, comes the second act of the trilogy, 20TH CENTURY BOYS -CHAPTER 2- (20-Seiki Shonen: Dai 2 Sho- Saigo no Kibo; lit. 20th Century Boys: Chapter Two - The Last Hope). Penned by original manga author Naoki Urasawa, and directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, CHAPTER 2, does what many manga adaptations wish they could do: grip an audience unfamiliar with the material. First however, a bit of back-story to refresh those who didn’t catch the first film, or don’t remember it as well. 20TH CENTURY BOYS follows a group of childhood friends, all adults living out their daily lives in monotony. One of them in

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