SciFi Japan


    Kaiju fans and industry professionals have teamed up for the international KAIJU DEFEAT COVID! campaign. Photo courtesy of Edward L. Holland.

    Author: Benjamin Chaffins* Special thanks to Edward L. Holland #KAIJUDEFEAT COVID #Capsulemonster

    Shinji Higuchi at Sakyo Komatsu Music Festival 2019. Photo courtesy of Edward L. Holland.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the entire world to its core and the spread of the nasty virus has only gotten worse after countless cases have been confirmed across the globe. In order to address this pandemic, directors Shinji Higuchi, Katsuro Onoue, and many others participated in KAIJU DEFEAT COVID!, a project to help inspire kaiju and anime fans worldwide to be safe and get through this pandemic together. Edward L. Holland, life-long Godzilla and tokusatsu historian and photojournalist also helped to promote this project. Along with Kyle Yount from the podcast, Kaijucast, he solicited others from the Monster Attack Team magazine Facebook page to recruit additional fans. It was fairly successful and they even received contacts from Thailand as well. Director Higuchi really liked the Thai group’s contributions and asked Edward to ask them to do subtitles in Japanese, which they delivered quickly. There was a live stream early on in the project with the Kaijucast crew and notable Godzilla quiz expert Robert Dwyer, where 38 entries were collected and sent off to Higuchi. The Capsule Monster Plan director went on to say, "I`m getting a little tired of this ever-changing situation by COVID-19... What can we do about it now? We thought about doing a film with my movie-making buddies. This is a simple idea. Everyone should shoot videos that can be taken at home and they will be connected together in a relay format. Like the capsule monsters that appear in ULTRASEVEN, we will ask you to post a video of a favorite monster, character figure or doll that everyone has and pass it to the next friend. Let`s defeat Corona with our beloved kaiju!"

    Take precautions to stay safe! SHIN GODZILLA © TOHO CO., LTD.

    1: First, a monster from someone flies from a smartphone (Please assume this), and then grab the monster near the front of your smartphone`s lens (by air) 2: Then grab your own favorite character in your home. 3: Have the monster you first grab from the air (received from a friend) swallowed into your collection of favorites. At this time,introduce your favorite monster or give a message to everyone if you wish. 4: Next, stick out your favorite monster, like throwing it towards the lens of your smartphone. That`s all. If we connect this with more and more powerful monsters, the movie to confront Corona is completed. We will relay the videos together. Your favorite monster is not limited to the Ultra Series; it can be any alien, hero, or robot, etc. By all means, please ask everyone to participate in our joint front to fight the Corona virus. Please take a video and hashtag your entry: #KAIJUDEFEAT COVID and #Capsulemonster.

    The Capsule Monster Plan founders were film directors: Shinji Higuchi (SHIN ULTRAMAN, SHIN GODZILLA, GAMERA) Katsuro Onoue (ULTRAMAN Z, SHIN GODZILLA, GAMERA) Kiyotaka Taguchi (ULTRAMAN Z, ULTRAMAN ORB, ULTRAMAN X) Takanori Tsujimoto (ULTRAMAN Z, ULTRAMAN TAIGA, ULTRAMAN R/B) Kazuhiro Nakagawa (ULTRAMAN Z, SHIN GODZILLA, ATTACK ON TITAN) While this project was spreading, others joined in to help address this menacing problem that has taken lives daily. When the participants were asked what they thought when they first heard about it, and what efforts were made individually or collectively, here is what some had to say. "When I first saw the #kaijudefeatcovid hashtag being used on Twitter, I was immediately intrigued but not sure what the project entailed, thankfully the gist of the movement was translated into English, allowing fans like myself to join in the fun. In times like this its so easy to dwell on the negative, but this project was all about positivity and kaiju battling that negativity (and the virus). I immediately began wondering who would be the best candidate to send on his mission to battle COVID-19. In addition to making and posting my video on Youtube, Twitter and Instagram, I was very happy to share the project on a well-timed video livestream on Facebook and YouTube featuring my co-hosts and friends. I also have been sharing the compilations from Japan on social media in the efforts to spread the word and the positive vibes. I hope the creators of this movement in Japan were thrilled by the amount of submissions, both from within Japan and beyond the seas!" -- Kyle Yount, Controller of Collect All Monsters and Kaijucast podcast "When I learned of it on Twitter, I was all in. It was a great idea to encourage the fandom in Japan and also fans around the world. It was also a great way for one to introduce oneself and his or her favorite kaiju to others. I retweeted and shared the social media posts and began thinking the video I wanted to contribute."

    Photo courtesy of Edward L. Holland.

    "I selected what most would not consider a kaiju, but what would be most effective at this time -- an unmanned train car like those from SHIN GODZILLA. Staying home, staying off public transportation and doing proper social distancing are allpart of defeating COVID-19. It was an honor to join and create videos with fellow kaiju friends such as Ed Holland and Monster Attack Team, Kyle Yount of Collect All Monsters and fellow kaiju fans for Director Higuchi`s very important project." -- John Ruffin, photographer and designer of MyKaiju "When I first heard about the KAIJU DEFEAT COVID! challenge, I thought it was such a fun, clever and really positive thing to do in this time of crisis. This is something to unite all of us kaiju fans so we can bring some humor, joy, and some love to the world. I’m so glad that director Higuchi created this challenge. I was a little bit late to the game because of my schedule, but I wanted to be a part of this awesome challenge and I recorded my entry and posted it to my social media accounts." -- filmmaker Yoko Higuchi With over 26 different compilations posted on YouTube and various platforms by fans and industry professionals from Japan, to Thailand, the US and regions in-between KAIJU DEFEAT COVID!, launched by the makers of SHIN GODZILLA and ULTRAMAN was a creative outlet for kaiju enthusiast during this challenging pandemic. As we honor those lost and afflicted it is comforting to note that communities came together personally, under the banner of defeating the Coronavirus with Japanese monsters from the comfort of their homes.

    Livestream hosts. Photo courtesy of Edward L. Holland.

    *Benjamin Chaffins is the author of the upcoming book, Discovering Tokusatsu: Interviews With The Makers of Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman, And Other Kaiju Eiga, which should be available in August.

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